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Sewage Pollution Notification Petition

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Michele Barden
EPA Region 1
5 Post Office Square, Suite 100 (06-1)
Boston, MA 02109

RE: NPDES MA0103284, Part I. B. 2. b.(8)

You can’t dump untreated sewage into Alewife Brook without telling us. There are too many of us living too close to it.

The Alewife Greenway/Bike path is a vital community transportation corridor. The Alewife Brook flooded over its bank and into the path after the downpour on August 8th, 2023.

No one using the path knew that millions of gallons of untreated sewage had been discharged into the water they were walking, jogging, and pushing baby carriages through.

The existing public Combined Sewer Overflow notification system is a failure.

People using the Alewife Greenway path need to know whether a particular CSO is discharging. They need to know immediately if the discharge has made using the Alewife path unsafe. They also need to know when an elevated level of risk has passed.

Technology has matured enough to allow an enhanced public notification system that operates in real-time. As an example, CSO Event Indicator Lights are required on the Potomac River [1].

A similar system should be required along the Alewife.

Our experience is that Massachusetts’ Sewage Notification Law is inadequate to protect us. EPA must expand on the public notification requirements in the Draft Permit to offer our community real protection.

[1] NPDES Permit No. DC002l 199 Part B, Sec.III, (h) Public Notification (1)

Sewage-contaminated Alewife Greenway. Shot at 3 pm on August 8th, 2023 by David Stoff.

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