U.S. Water News Online
BOSTON -- As the nation's largest harbor cleanup effort,
billion Boston Harbor Project has been considered a maritime cause directed
toward removing sewage overloads and making the harbor fishable and swimmable
once again. On the project's fifth birthday, the overall focus is being
directed inland toward the eight watersheds that drain into Boston Harbor.
Over the past five years, notes the Massachusetts Water Resources
(MWRA) in its latest annual State of the Boston Harbor report, the success
of the cleanup project has been gauged by the environmental health of Boston
Harbor. But in the coming years, the report states, "a watershed-based
approach towards protecting and maintaining Boston Harbor will prove
essential in developing both the harbor and its adjoining watersheds for the
benefit of all communities."
The watershed approach to pollution control is considered a key to
marine life, recreational uses, and the overall health of the harbor, the
report says. The watersheds that drain into Boston Harbor include Winthrop
Bay, Inner Harbor, Quincy Bay, along with the Mystic, Charles, Neponset,
Weymouth Fore, Back, and Weir rivers.
Much of the pollution entering Boston Harbor is carried by water
from these watersheds rather than just the two existing sewage treatment
plants that have been the focus of the cleanup project thus far, noted
Douglas MacDonald, executive director of the MWRA. "As we continue to work on
the Boston Harbor Project, a watershed perspective reminds agencies and
citizens alike that the health of Boston Harbor also depends on preventing
pollution in other water resources," said MacDonald.
In order to address pollution that is emanating from the
watershed, MWRA and
other agencies involved in the harbor project are drafting a plan to control
combined sewer overflows, commonly known as CSOs. In addition, sewer
interceptor construction and replacement projects will be undertaken, as well
as pollution prevention programs by industries, municipalities, and
businesses. The Infiltration/Inflow Assistance program by MWRA provides over
$20 million to communities for projects to reduce stormwater and groundwater
flow into the sewage collection and treatment system.
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