Letter to MassDEP

On November 21, 2022, Save the Alewife Brook sent a letter to Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.  This letter is in response to the 36-month extension that MWRA, Cambridge, and Somerville have requested for completing the planning of the new Alewife Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) plan.

In our 11/21/2022 letter to MassDEP, we wrote:

“We don’t believe that the CSO parties have made a strong enough case for the requested three-year extension without taking immediate action. Nonetheless, if you determine that an extension is necessary, there are factors cited by the parties that have our support:

  1. Including Climate Change projections in the typical year modeling used for CSO infrastructure planning and performance evaluation.
  2. More extensive alternatives analysis.
  3. Increased public participation with additional meetings. 
  4. MEPA Review.
  5. Cambridge, Somerville, and MWRA preparing a common Updated Alewife CSO Control Plan.

We request that Cambridge, Somerville, and MWRA fund the updating of the Metropolitan District Commission 2003 Alewife Master Plan.[1] Specifically, we would like an Alewife Master Plan update to be completed in 2023. The updated Alewife Master Plan should look at river restoration and dredging as envisaged in the 2003 Alewife Master Plan. It should also consider the recommendations in the EPA[2] technical analysis. The scope should encompass Alewife Brook from the Alewife T Station to the Mystic River.

An updated 2023 Alewife Master Plan is essential for timely application for Federal Infrastructure Law funds to address flooding and water quality issues, increasing Climate Resilience and mitigating negative impacts on the area’s Environmental Justice populations. An updated Alewife Master Plan would also help in developing the new Long-Term CSO Control Plan.

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