Alewife Study Group > government > Dec. 13 2000, Cambridge/Arlington and MWRA Search 

Sewer-separation and storm drain
public hearing

City and MWRA
Public meeting, Dec. 13 2000

(This page updated Dec. 15, 2000)


Arlington Senior Center, behind Arlington Town Hall. Park on Mass. Ave.

This MWRA and City Hearing will take in responses from citizens and concerned environmentalists as to what might go wrong, what is not enough, and what might be achieved by this positive water regulatory step of remedying previously potential health, and environmental problems for the citizens of the uppermost Alewife Brook and their downstream communities.


Information below, from FAR, added Dec. 15, 2000

Questions for MWRA and City of Cambridge relating to progress plans for City and Alewife Brook and Alewife Brook Reservation December 13, 2000 Arlington

Friends of Alewife Reservation questions and concerns

Friends of Alewife Reservation has concluded a Shoreline Survey this Fall under the Program auspices of Riverways of the Dept. of Fisheries And Wildlife and Environmental Law Enforcement. We gift a second Survey to MWRA staff in hopes that this careful scrutiny of the Brooks waterway and shoreline will help the agencies in their evaluation and planning of the water outflow infrastructure designed for the improvement of citizens and the well being of the waterways and sensitive Reservation environment.

FAR and its Stream Team have researched and met to discuss the most recent plans of the City's Storm water Division as well as the Montgomery and Watson Engineers presentation walk on Nov. 4, Mass Water Resources Authority spokespersons; and also, SEA construction firm which will be doing the construction on the Reservation. As a result we are asking these questions below, which need close, continuous scrutiny and discussion with all impacted-upon parties, and water change plan initiators.

We ask about the need and opportunity to achieve permanancy with Total Class B swimable/fishable Alewife Brook waters coming from the Cambridge BMP outfalls and storage areas (best management practices).

We ask about the quality of this large containment body, its botton, sides, depth, tree damage estimated, landscaping, riparian planning, and accessiblity. Common urban practice is to place urban flood storage or sewage holding below ground i.e. a subsurface detention area as has been done on the Charles River, and could be done beneath Park Drive's large impervious areas (asphalt) before it reaches the Reservation. This way the Pond could be more in keeping with the narrowness of the Reservation. Would residue for construction be left on the premises?

What type of Best Management Practices will insure B quality for fishable/swimmable possiblities?

Will the Pond have Advantages for the habitat that abide throughout the environmentally sensitive wild? Will it consider the timing of the Alewife spawning habits?

The containment Pond is placed as a North Cambridge storm water 10 year storm retention area, which can periodically wet the marshlands via leeching water more slowly into the Brook. What more can be done with this project to alleviate flooding, especially Cambridge, Belmont and Arlington. (Please include regional cooperation possibilities. As we know flooding is both a Belmont, Arlington, Somerville, and responsibility of further downstream communities as well). Could better Dam management practices effect our flooding problems?. By constructing more subsurface containment, large amounts of water would not create an untenable situation for those downstream.

What type of alternatives or improvements might you suggest for the floatable devices planned for 003 MWRA outfall? Please Describe in full detail the type of sewage holding best management practices which will be utilized by this MWRA sewage outfall, so close to Route 2 and the Channel through 5 communities to the Mystic River? How will transport access for solids removal be considered for avoiding damage to the open fields and marsh area? What will be the construction practices by SEA for widening the channel, and what other construction and removal measures would be used?

Is there anything that can be done from 7 sewage outflows to bring down to the national average of 4, and why not below the average to no sewage in this abused precious natural resource?

What are the possibilities of separating all CSO's? Isn't that part of the US EPA mandate? To separate all CSO's?

(Information provided by the Friends of Alewife Reservation,
which is not affiliated with the Alewife Study Group.)

Additional information from a member of the Alewife Study Group:

This is an exceedingly important meeting for anyone living in the Storm Sewer separation area. The Whittemore/Seagrave/Columbus/Madison/Magoun/Kimball/etc. neighborhood is slated (according to this plan) to undergo construction in 2001. If any one knows anyone who has gone through this process, it is intense and very dislocating. Folks from this neighborhood ought to attend.