Document Library

EPA response to Draft Scope, sent to MWRA

This is the EPA’s May 11, 2022, guidance for MWRA, regarding their new CSO control …

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Sediment Quality of Lakes, Rivers, and Estuaries in the Mystic River Basin, Eastern Massachusetts, 2001–03

Sediment Quality of Lakes, Rivers, and Estuaries in the Mystic River Basin, Eastern Massachusetts, 2001–03 …

Little River/Alewife Brook Survey, 1988

The Massachusetts Division of Water Pollution Control carried out a limited program of sediment sampling to ascertain the viability of dredging as a short term solution to pollution and flooding problems in the Alewife Brook. No dredging ever occurred but the data from the study remains. Five representative sites along the Little River/Alewife Brook were chosen for sampling and every sample showed some form of contamination.

Alewife North Walking Tour June 21 2022

Hi Folks, Here is part of the 2003 Alewife Masterplan which we will be discussing …

EPA response to Draft Scope, sent to Cambridge

This is the EPA’s guidance for Cambridge, regarding their new CSO control plan “draft …

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EPA response to Draft Scope, sent to Somerville

This is the EPA’s response to Somerville’s new CSO control plan “draft …

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Save the Alewife Brook Draft Scope and cover letter

Three entities – the City of Cambridge, the City of Somerville and the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) have submitted draft scopes to the federal Environmental Protection Agency and to the state Department of Environmental Protection for the development of a new Long Term Control Plan (LTCP) for the Combined Sewer Overflows (CSO) in the Mystic and Charles Rivers watersheds. Missing from these three scopes is a regional approach which will address the under-represented Environmental Justice Populations who will be most affected by the outcome of the new CSO Control Plan. These include residents who receive the Alewife’s hazardous flood waters in their homes, yards, and parks during flood events. Documented adverse health effects from unavoidable contact with contaminated Alewife flood waters have included, but were not limited to: severe abdominal cramping, bloody diarrhea, headaches, nausea, and vomiting.
The Alewife Basin is densely populated, with 5,000 people living in the Alewife’s 100-year flood plain. Due to the flood-prone topography of the Alewife Basin, when flooding occurs, the flood water can remain for days before receding and flowing out to the Boston Harbor via the Mystic River.
During major flood events, the water level in the Mystic River can rise, causing the Alewife Brook to reverse direction and send hazardous untreated sewage from Belmont, Cambridge, and Somerville into East Arlington, Belmont, and North Cambridge neighborhoods.
Save the Alewife Brook presents its own CSO Control Draft Scope to better represent the humans and other species whose health and well-being are directly impacted by the hazardous risks of untreated sewage discharge in the Alewife Brook.

MWRA’s Chelsea Creek Headworks Service Area

This map is provided by …

1953 MDC Spy Pond Report

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MWRA 2018 Wastewater Master Plan

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Alewife Brook 2004 Through 2021 Calendar Year and Typical Year Hydraulic Model Results vs LTCP

City of Cambridge CSO Control Plan Scope

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Somerville Updated CSO Control Plan Scope of Work and Schedule 04/01/2022

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MWRA Updated CSO Control Plan – Draft Scope of Work and Schedule 04/01/2022

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1978 MAPC Boston Area Waste Treatment Management Plan

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MWRA 1997 CSO Facilities Plan and EIR Table of Contents

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MWRA 1997 Combined Sewer Overflow Facilities Plan and Environmental Impact Report VOL. 3

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MWRA 1997 Combined Sewer Overflow Facilities Plan and Environmental Impact Report VOL. 5

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MWRA 1997 Combined Sewer Overflow Facilities Plan and Environmental Impact Report VOL. 4

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MWRA 1997 Combined Sewer Overflow Facilities Plan and Environmental Impact Report VOL. 2

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MWRA 1997 Combined Sewer Overflow Facilities Plan and Environmental Impact Report VOL. 1

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MWRA 2001 CSO Control Plan Notice of Project Change

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Annual Report of the State Board of Health 1907

P. 35 “PURIFICATION OF MYSTIC RIVER AND ALEWIFE BROOK. Under the provisions of chapter 445 of the Acts of the year 1904, the State Board of Health was directed to prepare and report to the next General Court a method and plans for purifying Mystic River, Alewife Brook and the adjacent water courses, ponds and drainage areas, with due regard to the purposes indicated in chapter 327 of the Acts of the year 1903, entitled “An Act to authorize the cities of Cambridge and Somerville and the towns of Arlington and Belmont to improve the condition of Alewife Brook, Little River and Wellington Brook ,” and to the plans of the Metropolitan Park Commission for park developments within the said region, and after conference with the commission ap pointed under the above-mentioned act. An appropriation for carrying on this investigation was made under chapter 129 of the Acts of 1905 ; and on April 28, 1906, the following report was submitted to the Legislature : Acting under the provisions of section 2 of chapter 445 of the Acts of the year 1904, and chapter 129 of the Acts of the year 1905, the te Board of Health has examined the Mystic River and Alewife Brook and their drainage areas, and presents herewith a report of its investigations, together with its recommendations for purifying these waters, and preventing further injury to the public health by reason of unsanitary conditions existing in the valleys of these streams.”

P.39 “The main stream of Alewife Brook is badly polluted by the discharge of foul wastes from a tannery, which enter the stream through Tannery Brook, in the neighborhood of Massachusetts Avenue below the main portion of the marshes on that stream. The quantities of liquid wastes from this tannery vary greatly from time to time, but have been found to amount at times to nearly 100,000 gallons per day, while the quantity of putrescible organic matter contained in these wastes amounts to from five to ten times the quan tity of such matter found in ordinary sewage. A glue factory near the upper end of the Alewife Brook water- shed dis charges foul wastes into marshes bordering the stream, badly polluting sev eral pools in the neighborhood of Concord Avenue. The stream also receives considerable pollution from manure piles and other sources. The chief pollution of Alewife Brook is that which is caused by the over flow of sewage from the combined systems of sewers in the city of Cam bridge, at times of rain or when snow is melting rapidly. The water- shed of Alewife Brook is very thoroughly provided with sewers, which are con nected with the Alewife Brook branch of the metropolitan sewerage system. Most of these sewers are constructed upon the separate plan , with the inten tion of excluding rain water ; but in three districts, in Cambridge, the sewers are built upon the combined plan, and take rain water as well as sewage. These sewers were in existence at the time the metropolitan sewer was con structed, and, as in the case of other similar sewers, the metropolitan system was not designed to take all of their flow ; but provision was made for receiving into the Alewife Brook branch all of the sewage flowing in these sewers in dry weather and a portion of the mingled sewage and storm water at times of rain, allowing the remainder above the capacity of the metro politan sewer at such times to overflow into Alewife Brook. Calculations show that the quantity of sewage discharged into Alewife Brook in this way is large enough to cause gross pollution of the stream in dry weather ; and observations during the past year show that the stream is grossly polluted at such times, and very offensive to those living in its neighborhood, especially in the region above Massachusetts Avenue, where the water available for the dilution of the sewage is only that which flows nat urally from the Alewife Brook water- shed. The effect of the pollution diminishes below Massachusetts Avenue, chiefly on account of the dilution by tide water which runs up the stream to this neighborhood. Whatever provision may ultimately be made for the drainage and im provement of the marshes along Alewife Brook and elsewhere in the Mystic River water-shed , there is no doubt, in the opinion of the Board, that the best plan of preventing the further pollution of Alewife Brook by sewage from the combined sewers, which now discharge into that stream, is to sep arate the sewage from the storm water in these combined areas ; since the rain water and ground drainage, if unpolluted by sewage, could be dis charged into local waters without objection , and all of the sewage proper could then be removed from the district in the metropolitan sewers at all times. It is evident, from an examination of the sewers tributary to the Alewife Brook branch of the north metropolitan sewerage system and the records of the quantity of sewage flowing at different times, that some of them are already overcharged at times of wet weather, owing to the entrance of excessive quantities of water at such times, particularly in the spring. This is especially true of the branches from Belmont and Arlington, and, while some relief has been provided by rebuilding some of the sewers in the former town, further relief will soon be necessary. In the case of the Ar lington sewer also an enlargement is likely to be required when sewers are built in the town of Lexington, which has recently been admitted to the district, and the sewage from which must find its way into the metropolitan system through the Arlington sewer, unless a new sewer shall be constructed. Under the conditions prevailing in this valley, it is likely that the pollution of the streams by sewage from other sewers than the combined systems in Cambridge will result, unless some relief shall be provided. Whether this can best be done by enlarging the metropolitan sewers, or preventing the entrance of unnecessary quantities of water from the tributary systems, is a matter for further and immediate investigation.”

P. 708 “that the sewer in North Cambridge which enters Tannery Brook, the sewage from which flows along and enters Alewife Brook, is a menace to the health of the neighborhood , and should be remedied without delay”

March 2022 Letter to Regulators from StAB & Watershed Associations

March 11, 2022   Via email   Regional Administrator David Cash Environmental Protection Agency, Region …

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SOM001A Tannery Brook Area

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SOM001A Tannery Brook 1873 Atlas Detail

This is a cool image of the Tannery Brook, taken from the 1873 …

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Somerville Stormwater Map

Dated June 15, 2020. Awesome map of Somerville stormwater, combined system, and sanitary system. Includes: …

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Cambridge Catchment and Combined Sewer Map

This is a very cool and easy-to-read map of Cambridge’s stormwater catchments. It is well …

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MWRA Final CSO Performance Assessment Hearing Notification

Massachusetts Water Resources Authority PRESS RELEASE Date: January 6, 2022 Contact: Ria Convery (617) 788-1105, …

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The Boston Harbor Cleanup by Paul F. Levy & Michael S. Connor, published in 1992

New England Journal of Public Policy Volume 8 | Issue 2 Article 7 9-23-1992 The …

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MWRA 2021 Final CSO Performance Assessment

MWRA CSO Report is Unfair to Alewife’s Environmental Justice Populations On December 30, 2021, the …

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Somerville’s IDDE Stormwater MS4 Plan, June 2020

Somerville’s top six worst stormwater outfalls discharge into the Alewife …

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Somerville Stormwater Management Map, June 2020

Stormwater Management Map. Includes: Storm Discharge Points, CSO Outfalls, Stormwater Manholes, Sanitary and Combined Manholes, …

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United States v. Metropolitan District Commission July 2021

Civil Action 83-1614-RGS United States District Court, District of Massachusetts United States v. Metropolitan District …

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MPC 1904 Report on Improvement of the Upper Mystic and Alewife by John R Freeman

1904 Metropolitan Parks Commission Report on Alewife Improvements, including tidal gates and channelization of the …

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Court Case 2016 Document, including Compliance Order 239, USA v. MDC & CLF v. MDC

Doug Foy, Esq., director of the Conservation Law Foundation, who brought the groundbreaking Boston Harbor Clean-up lawsuit, probably quoting an ubran sociologist, said, “A great city had three characteristics: It had world-renown cultural and educational institutions. It had enduring distinctive residential neighborhoods, and it had a body of water that it embraced.”

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Somerville’s 2020 Stormwater Management Plan

This document outlines the stormwater management practices that are currently in place and ones that …

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Somerville’s 2017 Infrastructure Presentation

New projects described here include combined sewer separation, flood control are encouraging. Interesting data about …

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CRWA MyRWA 2021 Letter re US v MDC

2021 Letter from the Charles River Watershed Association and the Mystic River Watershed Association to …

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MDC’s 2003 Alewife Master Plan Map North

This is the MDC (rebranded as DCR) map of the Arlington and Somerville half of …

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Cambridge’s 2017 Alewife Sewer Separation Project Overview

Wondering what’s involved in combined sewer separation and CSO elimination work? This is Cambridge’s $90 …

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MWRA’s Economic Impact Summary from 1994, Adjusted for Inflation in 2019 USD

This document provides the MWRA’s 1994 cost estimate and economic analysis for system-wide (not just …

MDC 2003 Master Plan Map South

This is the Cambridge half of the MDC (rebranded DCR) 2003 Master Plan Map …

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Alewife Reservation Stormwater Wetland MCWRA 2017 Symposium

This is a powerpoint presentation by Carter Stantec for the 2017 Massachusetts Coalition for Water …

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Cambridge’s 1979 Alewife Development Plan, aka The Fishbook

This is Cambridge’s Alewife Development Planning document from 1979. The MBTA’s Alewife T stop was …

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Cambridge’s 2019 Alewife District Plan

This is Cambridge’s 2019 Alewife Planning and Development document. It includes information about flooding, water …

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EPA’s Approval of the CSO Variance Permit to Pollute the Alewife Brook

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MassDEP 2019 Variance Permit

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MassDEP CSO Variance Permit Fact Sheet

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