Why is the MWRA hiding sewage pollution?

The Boston Harbor Clean-Up worked wonders in the Boston Harbor and in the Charles River, but Massachusetts Water Resources Authority’s claim that they have achieved an 85% reduction of combined sewer overflows to the Alewife Brook is not consistent with their own data about the vast quantities of sewage actually discharged into our little brookContinue reading “Why is the MWRA hiding sewage pollution?”

Public CSO Meeting Strategy

We need a strong show of support on Wednesday night. The MWRA must make major upgrades to their regional sewer system. Their sewer system reaches capacity during many storm events. This is when sewage pollution is dumped into our rivers and streams. The MWRA will not fix the problem if they think no one cares.Continue reading “Public CSO Meeting Strategy”

Now is Your Time to Make a Difference

Public Meeting on Combined Sewer Overflows Wednesday June 29th at 6 PM We need you now! On Wednesday, June 29th, at 6 PM, Cambridge, Somerville and the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) are holding their first public meeting via Zoom to discuss Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs). The legal limit for sewage discharge in the AlewifeContinue reading “Now is Your Time to Make a Difference”

The Alewife Brook Resolution

On June 8th, 2022, Arlington Town Meeting voted 197-1 to pass a Resolution for the Alewife Brook that states: “Town Meeting declares the Alewife Brook to be a valuable natural resource deserving of equal commitment to rehabilitate and restore to the highest water quality standards feasible for wildlife, resident abutters, and recreation; and  FURTHER, thatContinue reading “The Alewife Brook Resolution”

Exciting News from EPA

In response the new CSO (Combined Sewer Outfall) control plan “draft scopes”, the EPA has sent letters to MWRA, Somerville, and Cambridge, addressing every single one of our concerns, which are described in our “Alewife Brook Path to Zero Sewage Pollution“. What is a “draft scope”? A draft scope is framework for the planning ofContinue reading “Exciting News from EPA”

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 theContinue reading “A Letter from Ellen Mass”

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 andContinue reading “A Path to Zero Sewage Pollution”

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 fromContinue reading “Earth Day Alewife Path Cleanup”

The Dirty Secret About the Alewife Sewer System:

It was Designed to Pollute In 2015, the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority reconstructed and enlarged the Combined Sewer Outfall known as MWR003 in the Alewife wetland.1 This CSO was enlarged and functionality was added to it, to provide hydraulic pressure relief for the system downstream. Before the MWRA performed the work on this CSO inContinue reading “The Dirty Secret About the Alewife Sewer System:”

Earth Day Saturday Alewife Path Clean-up & CSO Tour

Join us Saturday morning, April 23th, for an Earth Day Alewife Greenway Path Clean-Up and CSO Tour! We’ll be working with Everywhere Arlington Safe Streets to gather trash along the path next to the brook. While we’re there, we can show you the CSOs you’ve been hearing so much about. You’ll know us by our new redContinue reading “Earth Day Saturday Alewife Path Clean-up & CSO Tour”

Boston Globe’s CSO Letters

On Saturday, 04/09/2022, the Boston Globe published our letter in response to the op ed, “The cleanup of Boston Harbor is incomplete”. (Note that we have subsequently determined that the 2021 Alewife discharges were over 50 million gallons.) Arlington’s Award-Winning Town Engineer, Wayne Chouinard, also had a letter published about the CSOs: In addition toContinue reading “Boston Globe’s CSO Letters”

Meetings with EPA & DEP & MWRA

Last week, the Charles River Watershed Association, the Mystic River Watershed Association, and Save the Alewife Brook had meetings with the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to discuss our recent letter to the regulators. This comes at a time when new plans are coming due to eliminate combined sewerContinue reading “Meetings with EPA & DEP & MWRA”

LATE-BREAKING NEWS! 1907 Board of Health Decries Unsanitary Sewage in Alewife Brook

In the historical Annual Report of the State Board of Health, published in 1907, it was determined that the Alewife Brook was the most polluted stream in the Mystic River watershed. It advised the city of Cambridge to implement a solution: “separate the sewage from the storm water in these combined areas.” This document readsContinue reading “LATE-BREAKING NEWS! 1907 Board of Health Decries Unsanitary Sewage in Alewife Brook”

Volunteers Needed Now!

Would you like to help flyer a neighborhood in Cambridge or Somerville that is connected to the sewer outfalls on the Alewife Brook? Please help our grassroots effort in North Cambridge and West Somerville, hanging our “Please don’t flush when it rains” flyers. We will be visiting neighborhoods that are still hooked up to theContinue reading “Volunteers Needed Now!”

We’re Speaking Truth to Power!

On March 11th, 2022, the Charles River Watershed Association, the Mystic River Watershed Association, and Save the Alewife Brook came together to speak with one voice to the Federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. Together, we collaborated on the following letter about the decades-long Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) work; weContinue reading “We’re Speaking Truth to Power!”

MWRA is Dumping Belmont Sewage into Alewife Brook

At the March 4th, 2022 Massachusetts Water Resources Authority’s (MWRA) Wastewater Advisory Committee meeting, core activists from Save the Alewife Brook learned something awful about Belmont’s sewage. In 2015, the MWRA reconstructed a Combined Sewer Outfall (CSO) known as MWR003 in the Little River/Alewife Brook. They did this as part of the 2006 Long TermContinue reading “MWRA is Dumping Belmont Sewage into Alewife Brook”

March 13th Community Meeting

Join us on Sunday March 13th at 7 PM Please join us on Sunday March 13th at 7 pm for Save the Alewife Brook’s March Community Meeting! We’ll discuss the looming April 1st deadline, when Cambridge, Somerville, and the MWRA are required to submit the initial scope of their new Long Term CSO (Combined SewerContinue reading “March 13th Community Meeting”

ISO: Cartoonist / Comic Book Artist

Save the Alewife Brook is an environmentalist group that is trying to eliminate sewage pollution and flooding in a little brook on the border of Arlington, Cambridge, and Somerville. The brook is named after the herring that used to live there. There used to be so many herring living in this brook, that the MenotomyContinue reading “ISO: Cartoonist / Comic Book Artist”

MWRA Final CSO Meeting Bombshells

On February 17 2022 the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) hosted a public briefing to discuss their Final combined sewer overflow (CSO) Performance Assessment Report. This was based on their four-year CSO assessment, which looked at their system’s CSO performance from 2018 to 2021. This briefing was a requirement of the Federal Boston Harbor Clean-upContinue reading “MWRA Final CSO Meeting Bombshells”

MWRA Final CSO Report Meeting

Talking Points THURSDAY FEB 17th at 10 AMCLICK HERE FOR MWRA’s online meeting!Access Code: 2331 962 5386Password: February17 The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) is holding a briefing at 10 am on Thursday February 17 for their Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) project’s Final Report.  This meeting is a final milestone in the completion of theContinue reading “MWRA Final CSO Report Meeting”

MWRA’s Final CSO Report Meeting

IMPORTANT ALEWIFE CSO MEETING:THURSDAY FEB 17th at 10 AM The Massachusetts Water Resource Authority (MWRA) is holding an online meeting this Thursday, February 17th, at 10 am. They plan to claim victory for their Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) project. Their good work is a victory for Boston Harbor, but what about the Alewife Brook? TwentyContinue reading “MWRA’s Final CSO Report Meeting”

FEMA’s 100-year Flood Model with CSO and Environmental Justice Populations Data

Click here to use an interactive map that displays CSO locations, FEMA’s 100 year flood model from 2020, and Environmental Justice Population blocks. This interactive map displays Combined Sewer Outfall locations as clickable red dots. Clicking on the red dots will reveal additional information about each individual CSO, including links to the NPDES pollution permitContinue reading “FEMA’s 100-year Flood Model with CSO and Environmental Justice Populations Data”

Despite upgrades, 50 million gallons of sewage were released into the Alewife Brook over 2021

By Kristin Anderson and David WhiteThis article was originally published Sunday, January 16, 2022 at Cambridge Day Fifty million gallons of sewage-contaminated stormwater were discharged into the Alewife Brook from the cities of Cambridge and Somerville in 2021, according to websites for those two cities and the Metropolitan Water Resources Authority. There was as much sewage-contaminated water discharged into the AlewifeContinue reading “Despite upgrades, 50 million gallons of sewage were released into the Alewife Brook over 2021”

Fifty Million Gallons of Sewage-water Released

This article was originally edited by Jeff North and published at the Belmont Citizens Forum: Fifty Million Gallons of Sewage Released Discharges to Alewife Brook Have Persisted for Two Decades By Kristin Anderson and David White Fifty million gallons of sewage-contaminated stormwater have been discharged into the Alewife Brook from the cities of Cambridge andContinue reading “Fifty Million Gallons of Sewage-water Released”

MWRA CSO Report Provides No Solution to Alewife’s Problems

On December 30, 2021, the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority (MWRA) published its anticipated Final CSO Performance Assessment, as part of a series of regulatory reports that have been submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. These reports are a requirement of the landmark Boston Harbor Cleanup Case.Continue reading “MWRA CSO Report Provides No Solution to Alewife’s Problems”

CSOs 101: What is a “CSO”?

Combined Sewer Outfalls (CSO) are where sewage overflows occur when the combined sewer system is overwhelmed by stormwater during rainy weather and sewage mixes with stormwater and overflows or discharges into a waterbody like the Alewife Brook. CSOs are a relic of outdated Combined Sewer Systems (also known as “one pipe systems”) from the 1800s, when flushContinue reading “CSOs 101: What is a “CSO”?”

StAB’s 12/13/21 Community Meeting

We held our second community meeting on Monday night, this time online. 50 area residents joined us from Arlington, Cambridge, and Somerville. Elected officials were there, including Senator Will Brownsberger, Arlington Selectboard Member Diane Mahon, an aide from Representative Dave Rogers’ office, and a number of Arlington Town Meeting members. MyRWA Director Patrick Herron presentedContinue reading “StAB’s 12/13/21 Community Meeting”

REGULATORY TIMELINE FOR ALEWIFE CSOs

with links to source documents 2021 DECEMBER 31, 2021Metropolitan Water Resource Authority (MWRA) Combined Sewer Outfall (CSO) “Final Performance Assessment and Water Quality Assessment” Report is out. 2022 JANUARY 2022Public comment meeting date will be announced for MWRA’s CSO Report, thirty days in advance of a February meeting. Source: DEP 2019 Alewife Variance Permit, SectionContinue reading “REGULATORY TIMELINE FOR ALEWIFE CSOs”

Cambridge’s ARPA Finance Committee Meeting

On December 1st, 2021, Save the Alewife Brook (StAB) attended Cambridge’s Finance Committee Meeting, which was dedicated to the discussion of the allocation of $80 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds. The Finance Committee includes Cambridge’s mayor Sumbul Siddiqui, Vice Mayor Alanna Mallon, Councillor Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler, Councillor Marc C. McGovern, Councillor Patricia Nolan,Continue reading “Cambridge’s ARPA Finance Committee Meeting”

Alewife Brook Sewage Pollution Today Vs. 1997, Pre-Boston Harbor Cleanup

The 2021 CSO discharge numbers are significant because they show ZERO reduction in the volume of discharges, as compared to the original 1997 assessment. That predates any improvements that were made as part of the Boston Harbor Cleanup case to close the CSOs.

Representatives Sean Garballey and Dave Rogers Vote for Federal ARPA Funding for CSOs, Sewer Infrastructure, and Climate Change Resilience

In a recent YourArlington.com article about the new ARPA funding, Representative Sean Garballey was quoted as saying, “As the chair of the House Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change, I was proud to work on and help secure $100 million toward infrastructure for communities to adapt and become climate resilient, $100 million for water-and-sewerContinue reading “Representatives Sean Garballey and Dave Rogers Vote for Federal ARPA Funding for CSOs, Sewer Infrastructure, and Climate Change Resilience”

The Save the Alewife Brook Field Recording Library Project

You can see and smell the Alewife Brook when you walk along the Alewife Greenway, the path that runs along the eastern edge of Arlington, parallel to the Alewife Brook, from the Minuteman Bike Trail to the Mystic River. Seeing it and smelling it is how most people experience the Alewife Brook. Silas Price, however,Continue reading “The Save the Alewife Brook Field Recording Library Project”

MassDEP’s Interactive CSO Map

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s GIS map is a resource that displays information about all Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) throughout the Commonwealth. Each CSO is marked with a link to a pop-up window that displays a wealth information, including: the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit ID, the system that it belongs toContinue reading “MassDEP’s Interactive CSO Map”

The Alewife Brook After CSO Discharges

After receiving notification of multiple Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) activations in the Alewife Brook, filmmaker Clare Nosowitz grabbed her video camera and her rain coat and headed out the door. The date was October 26, 2021 and the Alewife was experiencing rain at the start of a gusty autumn Nor’easter. On this day, less thanContinue reading “The Alewife Brook After CSO Discharges”

COMBINED SEWER OVERFLOWS (CSOs) SPOOKY WALKING TOUR
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 16th 2021

The Save the Alewife Brook group hosted a “Spooky” Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) tour of the Alewife Brook in East Arlington on the lovely morning of Saturday, October 16. Twenty Arlington residents, including some Town Meeting Members came out for the event.  The goals of the group are summarized in a petition that was distributed:Continue reading COMBINED SEWER OVERFLOWS (CSOs) SPOOKY WALKING TOUR
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 16th 2021

Petition to Stop Sewage Discharges & Flooding in the Alewife Brook

During major flood events, the Alewife Brook washes onto the yards and into the homes of Arlington residents. Most of those flood events also include sewage contaminated discharges from the active Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) from Cambridge and Somerville.  Climate change, with its wetter rainy seasons, more intense storms, and sea level rise, is expectedContinue reading “Petition to Stop Sewage Discharges & Flooding in the Alewife Brook”