Alewife Brook Hydraulic Study for Climate Resilience and Flood Mitigation in Arlington, Belmont, Cambridge, and Somerville, not less than $150,000
Alewife Brook, which borders Arlington, Cambridge, and Somerville, regularly overflows its banks, inundating residential areas that are home to multiple environmental justice communities. Untreated human and industrial waste discharged into the brook from combined sewer overflows exacerbates the public health threat from flooding. Climate change is making this situation worse. EPA recommends that Alewife Brook be dredged and its concrete channel removed to increase stormwater capacity and decrease surface flooding. Modeling and analysis of current hydraulic conditions is the required first step, urged by flood mitigation and river restoration experts. The hydraulic study will identify the specific actions needed to protect affected communities from sewage-contaminated flooding, providing the information required to secure federal and state funds for implementation of the measures identified. Given the protected wetland landscape, sediment depths, and storm water and sewage inflows, an acceptable study will cost at least $150,000 according to the multiple experts consulted. Funding would go to the Mystic River Watershed Association, which has a long history of work in the area.