CSO Meeting Talking Points

Tonight’s meeting is our chance to speak out!

Come to the Public Sewage Pollution Control meeting tonight from 6 pm to 8 pm and speak up for Alewife Brook.

It’s ok if you are a few minutes late! Please show up.

Be Prepared.

Be prepared to hear excuses about why Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, Somerville, and Cambridge can’t fix the problem of untreated sewage pollution and flooding in Alewife Brook.


MWRA is going to threaten us with the cost of fixing the Combined Sewer Overflows. Will it be expensive? Yes. But there exists once-in-a-lifetime Federal Infrastructure funding for CSO control! MWRA should apply for some of that Federal Infrastructure money, now. 


We need an equitable tiered-rate system for our water bills to help pay for solutions, so folks who can’t afford to pay won’t have to. Clean water is a human right! The MWRA needs to stop making struggling folks pay for their hazardous pollution – they can’t afford it and exposure to untreated sewage is making people sick. We should not have to walk through untreated sewage to get to the T on rainy days!

No More Flooding & Sewage Pollution.

They are going to threaten us with more flooding and sewage backups in our basements in the streets if the CSOs are closed. But it’s not true if they fix the problem!

A Holistic, Systemic Approach.

The CSOs in the Alewife are part of a system. They’re connected. Cambridge, Somerville, and MWRA must work together. 

MWRA’s regional sewer system is too small for the volume it needs to handle, due to increased wastewater from development and increased precipitation from Climate Change.

Somerville is not in compliance with the Clean Water Act and they are not in compliance with their Variance Permit. Somerville needs to take bold action to solve the problem of untreated sewage pollution in the Alewife Brook because their CSO is the worst of all six. 

Cambridge must finish their good work to complete their Alewife watershed sewer separation, add Green Stormwater Infrastructure, and reduce flooding.

The Solution.

  • Separate the sewer systems to keep sewage out of stormwater.
  • Grey Stormwater Infrastructure – a CSO treatment facility for the Alewife to eliminate untreated sewage discharges, underground CSO storage tanks to collect combined sewage, and regional sewer system upgrades.
  • Green Stormwater Infrastructure to retain rainwater and not waste it. Rainwater should be used to help plants to grow, reduce heat islands, improve air and water quality, and improve community health.

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