Save the Alewife Brook is a growing grassroots environmental group with supporters in Cambridge, Arlington, Somerville, Belmont, and Medford. We are working to address flooding and water quality problems in the Alewife Brook.

We are especially concerned with the Combined Sewer Outfalls, which discharge sewage water into the Alewife Brook during many storm events. During major flood events, sewage contaminated water from the Alewife Brook flows into the homes, yards, and parks of the area’s most diverse and vulnerable neighborhoods, which are considered Environmental Justice Populations. To make matters worse, the Alewife reverses direction during some flood events, sending that contaminated floodwater back to North Cambridge and Belmont, towards their most diverse and vulnerable neighborhoods.

A review of FEMA flood maps reveals there are an estimated 1200 East Arlington residents, 3500 Cantabrigians, and 300 Belmont residents living in the Little River – Alewife Reservation’s 100-year flood plain. This does not count the 643 residents living in the Belmont Uplands/Silver Maple Forest housing complex, who would be surrounded by hazardous sewage-contaminated flood water in the event of a 100-year flood. Climate Change threatens to exacerbate the problem, with wetter rain seasons, more frequent and more severe storms, and sea level rise.

Climate Change makes the sewage discharge problem exponentially worse.

The hope for the communities around the Alewife is improvement of brook water quality and adaptation to the effects of climate change through regional resiliency strategies.

Illustration of Combined Sewer System with Combined Sewer Outfall (CSO) that discharges untreated sewage in the Alewife Brook.

Environmental Health is Community Health

A Letter from Ellen Mass

Former President of Friends of the Alewife Reservation Dear water protectors to Save the Alewife Brook, After 20 years, your water quality campaign for watershed conservation is a great boon to the residents of the Alewife Upper Basin in Belmont, Arlington, Cambridge, Somerville and to the downstream Medford and Chelsea Creek communities, and for the…

Keep reading

A Path to Zero Sewage Pollution

for a Safe, Beautiful, Fishable Alewife Brook for Residents and Wildlife Save the Alewife Brook (StAB) is working hard for dramatic improvements in and around the Alewife Brook. Planning will be starting soon for what may be a huge investment to clean up the brook and make environmental improvements! The great cities of Cambridge and…

Keep reading

Earth Day Alewife Path Cleanup

& CSO Tour with Ghost Fish Art Installation On Saturday April 23rd, 2022, Save the Alewife Brook volunteers gathered along the Alewife Greenway for a trash pickup, CSO tour, and ended the event at the Ghost Fish Art Installation at Mass Ave and Route 16. Save the Alewife Brook thanks the two dozen people from…

Keep reading

Join our Google Group:

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.

Leave a Reply