Region 1: EPA New England
Other Strategies to Protect Charles River
Municipal Illicit Connections
EPA has completed most of the work to detect and remove illicit connections – especially those that connect sewer pipes directly to storm drains. The effort to eliminate illicit connections that commenced in January of 1995 has proven extremely effective and has eliminated over 1 million gallons of flow per day of sewage to the river.
While some municipalities continue to find fecal coliform above acceptable levels a variety of other sources could be contributing to this problem: animals, flow from other cities, or, most significantly, flow that seeps into storm drain systems through loose joints, accumulates there, and is then flushed out during wet weather events.
Municipalities are sorting out these issues and attempting to track down the final, direct illicit connections. Once complete this will be followed by compliance sampling to confirm that the identified direct illicit connections have been thoroughly remediated.
State SRF Funding
The MA DEP State Revolving Loan Fund (SRF), a successor to the construction grants program, is a mix of state and federal money that provides low/zero-interest loans on a competitive need basis to fund water pollution control projects. A summary of recent sewer and stormwater pollution abatement projects located in the Charles Basin are summarized below. (It should be noted that other municipalities have undertaken projects without SRF assistance).
|Charles River SRF Project Funding 1995 - 2007|
|Year||Municipality||CWSRF Loan Amt||Project Description|
|1998-1999||Boston||$13,401,790||Gardner St. Landfill Closure|
|2006||Cambridge||$23,944,253||Cambridge Park Drive Area Drainage Project|
|2005||Cambridge||$8,456,150||Stormwater Management Improvements|
|2003||Cambridge||$3,042,212||Cambridgeport Area-wide Stormwater Improvements|
|1998-2000||Cambridge||$22,490,000||Phase VI, Contract 3 Sewer Seperation|
|1997||Cambridge||$3,562,000||Floatables and BMP Control Plan|
|1995||Cambridge||$11,727,293||Common Manhole Rehab and Illicit Connection Removal|
|2000||Dedham||$30,000||Drainage Capactiy Assessment|
|1998||Dedham||$800,000||Stormwater Management Plan|
|1996||Dedham||$50,000||Stormwater Study River St. area|
|1998||Needham||$500,000||NPS Pollutino Study|
|2000||Newton||$126,000||Complete Laundry Brook Invest.|
|1998-1999||Newton||$14,638,000||Laundry Brook/Cheesecake Brook Underdrain Seperation|
|1998||Newton||$117,000||Laundry Brook subarea illicit connection idnetifiation/removal|
|1998||Newton||$385,000||Albermarle St./Concord St. I/I removal|
|2004||Norfolk||$253,000||Stormwater Management Plan|
|2007||Waltham||$600,000||Illicit Connection Detection|
Other EPA-Funded Projects
In February 2003, the Charles River was selected as one of only 10 sites in the country for piloting EPA's new water quality trading program. Using a $106,000 grant from the EPA, The Charles River Watershed Association is pursuing a first-of-its-kind project in which increased instream flows in the river would be used as a trading tool for addressing the river's water quality problems.
The project is in response to increased development in the Charles River watershed, which has resulted in lower water levels in aquifers, streams and the river itself. By setting up a trading program, the watershed association plans to create a market to increase flows in the Charles, particularly between April and December, thus decreasing concentrations of pollutants in the river and providing greater habitat and resilience to droughts. For more details »
In May of 2003, the Charles River was selected by EPA Administrator Christie Whitman as one of 20 watersheds to receive funding under EPA's recently launched Watershed Initiative. The CWRA will receive $400,000 to pursue a variety of projects to improve water quality through this grant.