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.
On April 28th, 2022, Save the Alewife Brook presented their own Alewife Brook CSO Plan Draft Scope to the Environmental Protection Agency and to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. The need arose to do this, as it became clear that the people and other species most affected by the Alewife sewage pollution were not represented in the Draft Scopes presented by MWRA, Somerville, and Cambridge.