The 2019 Alewife Brook CSO Variances (permits to pollute through sewage pollution discharges) expire on August 31, 2024. A requirement of the Variances is that a control plan be in place to improve conditions. As you are aware, the process has begun to create a new CSO control plan. However, the Alewife CSO Permittees (Cambridge, Somerville, and MWRA) have recently requested a 36-month deadline extension for completion of the plan. Please see the attached PDF, which contains the recent letters from Cambridge, Somerville, and MWRA to Mass DEP.
Cambridge, Somerville, and MWRA have promised to use this additional 36 months to develop a sewer infrastructure and performance model that includes the projected impacts of Climate Change on precipitation in the coming decades. This consideration of future climate change for CSO control is something that has never been done before. If the owners of the CSOs follow through on this promise, it will be a huge win for Alewife Brook!
There are many great cities in the World facing the same problem with combined sewer overflow pollution in their rivers and lakes, including: London, Paris, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Seattle, San Francisco, and Washington DC, among many other old cities. No other city is using a CSO model that includes Climate Change projections. This would mean that Cambridge, Somerville, and MWRA could be World leaders in the fight to combat the effects of Climate Change. It would be revolutionary.
Enthusiasm for Climate Change planning aside, Save the Alewife Brook refuses to allow 36 months to go by without any tangible progress to mitigate the severe health risks associated with the deprecated state of the Alewife Brook. Therefore, Save the Alewife Brook will soon respond to the request from Cambridge, Somerville, and MWRA with reasonable demands for immediate improvements.