Mystic River Watershed

The Mystic River Watershed Initiative

The Mystic River Watershed Initiative is a collaborative effort with a goal to improve water quality and environmental conditions as well as create and protect open space and public access to the Mystic River and its tributaries through safe public pathways and access points. The Initiative is guided by a steering committee composed of 22 organizations including not-for-profit community groups, local, state, and federal governmental agencies. To hear thoughts, perspectives, and insight from some of the not-for-profit and municipal Steering Committee members, play video below.

Mystic River Watershed Initiative Video, May 2010

Learn More:

Meetings and Events

You will need Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA's About PDF page to learn more.

Upcoming Meetings

Mystic River Watershed Steering Committee
Date: Thursday, November 30, 2017
Time: 10:00-12:00pm
Location: TBD

Past Meetings Archive


Steering Committee

Mystic River Watershed Steering Committee, September 14, 2017
Location: Century Bank Executive Conference Room, 400 Mystic Ave, Medford, MA 02155

Mystic River Watershed Steering Committee, June 15, 2017
Location: GreenRoots Chelsea, 227 Marginal St #1, Chelsea, MA 02150

Steering Committee Meeting, April 13, 2017
Location: MADEP - 205 Lowell St, Wilmington, MA

Steering Committee Meeting, January 26, 2017
Location: Watertown Town Hall, 149 Main St, Watertown, MA

Steering Committee Meeting, October 13, 2016
Location: Massachusetts Dept. of Environmental Protection, 205 Lowell St, Wilmington, MA

Open Space Subcommittee Meeting, September 29, 2016
Location: Green Roots Chelsea, 227 Marginal St. Suite 1, Chelsea, MA

Steering Committee Meeting, June 9, 2016
Location: City of Everett, 484 Broadway, Everett, MA

Mystic River Federal Partners Grant Information Event, March 31, 2016
Location: EPA New England, 5 Post Office Square, Boston, MA

Steering Committee Meeting, March 10, 2016
Location: Arlington Town Hall, 2nd Floor Lyons Hearing Room, 730 Massachusetts Ave., Arlington, MA

Open Space Subcommittee Meeting, February 11, 2016
Location: Century Bank, 400 Mystic Ave., Medford, MA

Steering Committee Meeting, December 10, 2015
Location: House Member's Lounge, Massachusetts State House, 24 Beacon St., Boston, MA

Steering Committee Meeting, September 10, 2015
Location: Chelsea Collaborative, 318 Broadway, Chelsea, MA

Mystic River Watershed Federal Partnership Annual Call, September 1, 2015

MA DCR's Mystic Master Plan Presentation, June 18, 2015
Location: EPA Region 1 - Leighton Hall, 1st Floor, 5 Post Office Sq., Boston, MA

Steering Committee Meeting, June 4, 2015
Location: EPA New England, 5 Post Office Square, Boston, MA

Steering Committee Meeting, April 16, 2015
Location: Teleconference

Steering Committee Meeting, December 11, 2014
Location: EPA New England, 5 Post Office Square, Boston, MA

Steering Committee Meeting, June 19, 2014
Location: EPA New England, 5 Post Office Square, Boston, MA

Steering Committee Meeting, March 6, 2014
Location: EPA New England, 5 Post Office Square, Boston, MA

Steering Committee Meeting, September 25, 2013
Location: Preotle, Lane & Associates, Ltd., River's Edge Office Park, 200 River's Edge Drive, Medford, MA

Steering Committee Meeting, June 12, 2013
Location: EPA New England, 5 Post Office Square, Boston, MA

Steering Committee Meeting, March 28, 2013
Location: River's Edge, 200 River's Edge Drive, Medford, MA

Steering Committee Meeting, December 5, 2012
Location: Arlington Town Hall, 730 Mass Avenue, Arlington, MA

Steering Committee Meeting, September 5, 2012
Location: Winchester Town Hall, 71 Mount Vernon Street, Winchester, MA

Open Space Sub-Group Meeting, July 26, 2012
Location: Draw 7 Park, Somerville, MA (Back-up location: EPA New England, 5 Post Office Square, Boston, MA)

Steering Committee Meeting, June 6, 2012
Location: MassDEP Northeast Regional Office, 205B Lowell Street, Wilmington, MA

Steering Committee Meeting, March 7, 2012
Location: Pfizer Building, 200 Cambridge Park Drive, Cambridge MA

Steering Committee Meeting, December 7, 2011
Location: EPA New England, 5 Post Office Square, Boston, MA

Steering Committee Meeting, September 7, 2011
Location: Conservation Law Foundation, 62 Summer Street, Boston, MA

Steering Committee Meeting, May 18, 2011
Location: Massachusetts State House, Boston, MA

Steering Committee Meeting, Open Space Group - Conference Call, April 26, 2011

Water Quality Subgroup Meeting, April 11, 2011
Location: EPA New England, 5 Post Office Square, Boston, MA

Steering Committee Meeting, February 16, 2011
Location: MAPC, 60 Temple Place, Boston, MA

Water Quality Subgroup Meeting, January 24, 2011
Location: EPA New England, 5 Post Office Square, Boston, MA

Steering Committee Meeting, Water Quality Group, December 8, 2010
Location: EPA New England, 5 Post Office Square, Boston, MA

Steering Committee Meeting, November 17, 2010
Location: Tuft's Boathouse, 300 River's Edge Drive, Medford, MA

Steering Committee Meeting, Open Space Group, November 8, 2010
Location: EPA New England, 5 Post Office Square, Boston, MA

Steering Committee Meeting, Open Space Group, October 4, 2010
Location: Groundwork Somerville, Somerville, MA

Steering Committee Meeting, Water Quality Group, September 29, 2010
Location: EPA New England, 5 Post Office Square, Boston, MA

Steering Committee Meeting, September 15, 2010
Location: Delta Dental Building, Schrafft's Complex, 465 Medford Street, Charlestown, MA

Steering Committee Meeting, July 21, 2010
Location: Whip Hill Park, Perkins Street, Stoneham, MA

Steering Committee Meeting, Open Space Group, July 7, 2010
Location: Pfizer, 25 Cambridge Park Drive, Cambridge, MA

Steering Committee Meeting, Water Quality Group, June 14, 2010
Location: EPA New England, 5 Post Office Square, Boston, MA

Steering Committee Meeting, Open Space Group, May 26, 2010
Location: Pfizer, 200 Cambridge Park Drive, Cambridge, MA

Steering Committee Meeting, Water Quality Group, May 12, 2010
Location: EPA New England, 5 Post Office Square, Boston, MA

Steering Committee Meeting, March 31, 2010
Location: Century Bank, 400 Mystic Avenue, Medford, MA

Steering Committee Meeting, January 20, 2010
Location: EPA New England, 5 Post Office Square, Boston, MA

Steering Committee Meeting, November 18, 2009
Location: Chelsea City Hall, 500 Broadway, Chelsea, MA

Steering Committee Meeting, September 16, 2009
Location: EPA New England, 1 Congress Street, Boston, MA

Steering Committee Meeting, July 15, 2009
Location: Century Bank, 400 Mystic Avenue, Medford, MA

NAWCA Grant Writing Workshop, June 9, 2009
Location: Chelsea City Hall, 500 Broadway, Chelsea, MA

Steering Committee Meeting, May 20, 2009
Location: Town Hall in the Winchester Room, Winchester, MA

First Mystic River Watershed Steering Committee Meeting, March 11, 2009
Locaton: JFK Federal Building, Boston, MA

Pre-Steering Committee Meetings


Municipal

Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination (IDDE) Program Workshop for Mystic Municipalities
Location: Lexington DPW: 201 Bedford St., Lexington, MA

Municipal Subcommittee Meeting, November 25, 2014
Location: Woburn Senior Center, 144 School St, Woburn, MA

Municipal Subcommittee Meeting, November 15, 2012
Location: Arlington Town Hall, 730 Mass Avenue, Arlington, MA

Municipal Subcommittee Meeting, September 22, 2011
Location: Everett City Hall, 484 Broadway, Everett, MA

Municipal Subcommittee Meeting, July 20, 2011
Location: Woburn Senior Center, 144 School Street, Woburn, MA

Municipal Subcommittee Meeting, October 28, 2010
Location: Winchester Town Hall, Winchester, MA

Municipal Subcommittee Meeting, July 29, 2010
Location: Reading Public Library, 64 Middlesex Avenue, Reading, MA

Municipal Subcommittee Meeting, April 29, 2010
Location: Senior Center, 144 School Street, Woburn, MA

Municipal Subcommittee Meeting, January 14, 2010
Location: EPA New England, 5 Post Office Square, Boston, MA


Science

Mystic River Watershed  Initiative Science Forum, May 4, 2017
Location: EPA New England, 5 Post Office Sq., Boston, MA

Water Quality Subcommittee Meeting, March 3, 2016
Location: EPA New England, Mt. Madison Room (15th Floor), 5 Post Office Square, Boston, MA

Science Forum, April 9, 2015
Location: EPA New England, 5 Post Office Square, Boston, MA

Water Quality Subcommittee Meeting, March 19, 2015
Location: EPA New England, 5 Post Office Square, Boston, MA

Water Quality Subcommittee Meeting, November 18, 2014
Location: EPA New England, 5 Post Office Square, Boston, MA

Water Quality Subcommittee Meeting, July 15, 2014
Location: EPA New England, Mt. Madison Room (15th Floor), 5 Post Office Square, Boston, MA

Annual Mystic River Water Quality Forum, January 24, 2013
Location: EPA New England, 5 Post Office Square, Boston, MA

Mystic River Watershed Water Quality Sub-Group Meeting, July 25, 2012
Location: EPA New England, 5 Post Office Square, Boston, MA

Science Subcommittee Meeting, Water Quality Workgroup, May 11, 2011
Location: EPA New England Regional Laboratory, 11 Technology Drive, Chelmsford, MA

Annual Mystic River Water Quality Forum, January 11, 2011
Location: EPA New England, 5 Post Office Square, Boston, MA

Science Subcommittee Meeting, Water Quality Workgroup, November 3, 2010
Location: EPA New England, 5 Post Office Square, Boston, MA

Science Subcommittee Meeting, Water Quality Workgroup, May 4, 2010
Location: EPA New England Regional Laboratory, 11 Technology Drive, Chelmsford, MA

Water Quality Science Subcommittee Meeting, January 7, 2010
Location: EPA New England, 5 Post Office Square, Boston, MA

Water Quality Science Committee Meeting, February 11, 2009
Location: EPA New England, 1 Congress Street, Boston, MA

Science Subcomittee


Summit

EPA New England would like to thank everyone that participated in the Mystic River Watershed Summit, held April 10, 2008 in Boston. Over 170 people attended the summit and we are quite pleased with all the energy and enthusiasm that was displayed at the summit. We look forward to working with the Mystic watershed groups and communities to restore water quality in the watershed. Revitalizing the Mystic will be quite a challenge, but forming strong partnerships is the first step toward reaching our common goals.

The draft meeting notes from the Summit have been posted on this web site. Numerous conference calls were held over the summer to finish up discussions and review our typed notes from the breakout sessions. The goal of these calls was to review and refine the meeting notes and further develop actions and priorities.

As an outgrowth of the Summit, EPA New England is spearheading a collaborative effort to revitalize the Mystic with federal, state, and local partners. We are hoping to work with a formal steering committee to implement short- and long-term water quality goals that will be established early 2009. This winter, EPA New England hopes to co-sponsor a science committee meeting, which will be a forum to provide opportunity for researchers to share information on their projects within the watershed.

Mystic River Summit Notes:

Flooding
The flooding group met at the summit and discussed several opportunities for additional communication between agencies and municipalities during a flood event. Currently, DCR, Winchester and Woburn work together during a flood event, but there is opportunity for additional collaboration with the Arlington-Belmont-Cambridge flooding group and the City of Somerville. There remains difficulty discussing flooding as it relates to water quality. A brainstorming session was summarized into several types of actions that could improve flood conditions and reduce flooding in the watershed. They are: maintenance actions, regional communication/collaboration, and updated land use policies.

Land Use and Connecting people to the River
The land use group identified several areas where action is needed in the watershed. The group tackled issues such as changing land use and its impact on the river, reconnecting people to the river, and fish advisories. The group determined that access and redevelopment are needed in designated port areas; that enforcement of permits and regulations at the federal and state level should be a priority; that there is a need to add and connect bike paths, multiuse paths, and walkways in the watershed; that all new development and redevelopment should be environmentally responsible; and that public access to the river is still a big issue. This group recommended public education campaigns for many of these issues as well as for subsistence fishing, for which there is a watershed-wide advisory.

Bacteria & Stormwater
One of the biggest outcomes of the bacteria group is the recommendation to add a Science Committee to the Initiative structure. The Science Committee will provide a venue once or twice a year for scientists to share research and information about water quality in the watershed. The committee may also be accessed for recommendations or scientific advice in future steering committee actions. Other follow-ups suggested from the session are to reduce the inflow from CSOs and SSOs, to increase monitoring thru increased funding and support for monitoring, and to reduce and eliminate stormwater and illicit connections in the watershed.

Industrial Contaminants
The Industrial Contaminants group has continued to focus on expanding recreational uses in the watershed by prioritizing key sites (Mill Creek, Malden River, Spy Pond, and Upper Mystic Lake). These locations were selected from an initial list of ten sites* based on their geographic distribution, potential for improvement, and diversity and number of people who will benefit from their improvement. This is still a draft list, as the group intends to vet these to a wider audience. Since July, MyRWA and EPA have conducted water quality studies, collecting more than 500 samples from throughout the watershed. USGS has also conducted sediment quality monitoring. Data from these studies are being used to identify and eliminate both point and non-point sources of pollution in areas that can provide greater recreation to residents.

*The original list of sites included:

  • Mill Creek, Chelsea
  • Urban Wild, Chelsea
  • Admirals Hill, Chelsea
  • Spy Pond, Arlington
  • Sandy Beach, Winchester
  • Cross St. Swimming Area, Winchester
  • Blessing of the Bay Boathouse, Somerville
  • Constitution Beach, East Boston
  • Tufts University Boathouse, Malden
  • Horn Pond, Woburn

Summit documents


Business

Business Subcommittee Meeting, September 22, 2010
Location: Century Bank, Medford, MA

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Mystic River Watershed Report Cards

2016 Mystic River Watershed Report CardEPA produced a watershed map for 2016 that identifies areas in the watershed where water quality is generally good and generally needs improvement.

EPA has been assigning a report card grade for the Mystic River Watershed since calendar year 2006. For the last three years, grades have been assigned to 14 individual stretches of the river and its tributaries. Prior to 2014, a single grade was assigned to the watershed as a whole.

Grading Criteria 2014-present

Since calendar year 2014, EPA, in coordination with the Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA), has utilized an enhanced, more locally-specific analysis of water quality in the Mystic River Watershed to better illuminate environmental conditions for the public. Instead of one grade for the entire watershed, EPA and MyRWA now issue grades for each segment of the watershed, totaling 14 separate stretches of river and its tributaries. The same grading system applies (see below), but now an average between the overall percentages that water quality met the state criteria for swimming and boating (for the Aberjona in 2016, it was 61.8%) as well as qualitative criteria that are similar to those developed for the Charles River Initiative (see below) are calculated for each segment to produce the grades shown here.

Chart of Compliance Rates and Grades for 2016View a larger version of this image.
Figure 1 - Developed and provided by MyRWA.

Mystic River Water Quality Grades & Compliance Rates for Freshwater Sites
  2016 2015 2014
Sites Grade Total Grade Total Grade Total
Aberjona River C 61.8% C+ 66% C+ 65%
Alewife Brook D+ 54.2% D 50% D 46%
Little River D 49.4% D- 44% D- 40%
Malden River C+ 65.1% C 63% C- 59%
Meetinghouse Brook C+ 66.5% C- 58% D 47%
Mill Brook D+ 53.1% D 49% D- 46%
Mystic River (fresh) A- 85.8% A- 85% B+ 85%
Upper Mystic Lake A+ 98.9% A+ 96% A+ 96%
Winns Brook D- 42% F 33% F 33%
Mystic River Water Quality Grades & Compliance Rates for Saltwater Sites
  2016 2015 2014
Sites Grade Total Grade Total Grade Total
Belle Isle Inlet A- 85.7% B 78% C 64%
Chelsea River A 91.2% A- 90% A- 87%
Island End River F 36.3% F 25% F 33%
Mill Creek F 33.5% F 34% F 32%
Mystic River (salt) A- 87.6% A- 89% A 90%

For more information on how the grades are assigned please read the Frequently Asked Questions and review the data on MyRWA's Website Exit.

2015 Report Card
2014 Report Card

Grading Criteria Prior to 2014

When assessing water quality to assign a grade to the Mystic River Watershed prior to 2014, EPA used an average between the overall percentages that water quality met the state criteria for swimming and boating (for 2013, it was 66%) as well as qualitative criteria that are similar to those developed for the Charles River Initiative, as follows:

A - met swimming and boating standards nearly all of the time
B - met swimming and boating standards most of the time
C - met swimming standards some of the time, and boating standards most of the time
D - met swimming and boating standards some of the time
F - fail swimming and boating standards most of the time

Mystic River Report Cards
Year Grade Overall* Dry* Wet*
  Boating Swimming Boating Swimming Boating Swimming
2013 D 83% 49% 88% 51% 67% 42%
2012 D 75% 47% 84% 58% 45% 14%
2011 D 87% 46% 93% 54% 69% 25%
2010 D- 70% 28% 72% 26% 63% 33%
2009 C- 93% 57% 93% 51% 90% 75%
2008 C- 90% 59% 93% 64% 81% 43%
2007 D 68% 46% 63% 45% 83% 50%
2006 D 80% 52% 93% 59% 41% 30%
2005**   85% 56% 90% 64% 69% 31%
2004**   79% 52% 85% 59% 61% 59%
2003**   81% 55% 81% 53% 81% 62%
*Figures represent the percentage of time that state bacterial standards are met.
**The Mystic River Watershed did not receive formal grades for the years 2003 - 2005.

Mystic River in the News

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Accomplishments to Date


Ongoing Accomplishments

  • Real-Time Monitoring

    EPA is conducting real-time monitoring using a remote sensing buoy near the Blessing of the Bay Boathouse to track water quality conditions and cyanobacteria blooms for the fourth year in a row.

  • Stopping Illicit Connections

    EPA enforcement efforts have stopped over 14,000 gallons per day of sewage from being discharged to the watershed through illicit connections (a 4,000 gallon increase since 2009).

  • Providing Monitoring Equipment

    EPA Region 1 has loaned over $14,000 worth of monitoring equipment to the Mystic River Watershed Association in support of baseline and hot spot monitoring programs, as well as microbiology assistance. The agency has analyzed over 2,000 samples from the Mystic River Watershed for E. coli and Enterococcus bacteria.

  • Steering Committee Efforts

    The Steering Committee has formed subcommittees to focus on the mission and priorities of the Steering Committee: to help establish strategic direction and priorities as well as to recommend and promote key projects and actions needed to improve environmental conditions in the Mystic River Watershed.

    Learn more about the Steering Committee

2013

  • Urban Waters Academic Forum Jan 2013

    EPA organized the Urban Waters Academic Forum to bring together academic professionals to explore areas for future collaboration on urban water issues in the Mystic River, Neponset River, and Charles River Watersheds, with a focus on the challenges of stormwater and nutrient pollution in these urbanized watersheds.

  • Mystic River Water Quality Science Forum Jan 2013

    EPA Region 1 hosted this forum to update stakeholders on water quality and environmental conditions, learn from success stories, and foster discussion on what action will be needed to increase publicity and funding in order to achieve goals in the coming year.

2012

  • Enforcement Litigation

    As a result of EPA enforcement action under the Clean Water Act, Sterling Suffolk Racecourse LLC (Suffolk Downs) was required to pay a civil penalty of $1.25 million and will perform three environmental projects that provide water quality monitoring and protection. This includes implementing green infrastructure and low impact development techniques to address stormwater discharges from the racetrack and maintenance areas of the facility.

    • Sterling Suffolk Racecourse LLC Clean Water Act Settlement
    • Clean Water Act Settlement Ensures That Boston Racetrack Addresses Wastewater and Stormwater Discharges
  • Greening Boston's Infrastructure

    As a result of a consent decree between EPA and the Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC), BWSC was required to implement extensive remedial measures to minimize the discharge of sewage and other pollutants into the water bodies in and around Boston, including the Mystic River. This settlement will produce lasting benefits for the people of Boston, incorporating green infrastructure, low impact development, and other controls that will help reduce harmful discharges and protect the environment.

  • Arlington Porous Pavement Project

    EPA Region 1 used regional and national funds to construct a porous asphalt stormwater best management practice (BMP) retrofit in Arlington, MA, as part of an education and outreach project under the Clean Water Act. The Hurd Field, Arlington, MA, parking lot was designed and constructed over the course of 2012 and completed in September of 2012. Under an agreement with the Town of Arlington, the Town will maintain the parking lot and EPA and the Town will observe the BMP over time to better understand the performance and longevity of this BMP technology. EPA will use the project as an opportunity to inform practitioners as to the overall efficacy of porous asphalt for stormwater control in urban areas. In addition, the project will help to improve water quality in Mill Brook, an impaired waterbody in the Mystic River Watershed. View a video detailing the project.

  • Supporting the City of Chelsea

    EPA Region 1 provided technical assistance to complete a detailed review of the City of Chelsea's existing codes and ordinances with specific recommendations for: incorporating green infrastructure in the City; a technical support documents summarizing the range of GI techniques (including costs, operation, and maintenance, etc.) that may best be employed considering the City's constrained urban areas and class C/D soils; and a convenient informational brochure summarizing pertinent information on incorporating GI within the City. Also, this led to a December 2012 information workshop for the City's officials and board to better understand GI.

2011

  • Agreement with UMass Boston

    EPA Region 1 signed an MOU with UMass Boston for the region's Urban Waters/Mystic River University Collaborative. EPA hired a co-op student in 2010 and is working closely with UMass Boston to support its urban waters/Mystic River Watershed efforts, beach, nonpoint source and other programs.

  • Improved Permitting of ExxonMobil

    Two years after the settlement with ExxonMobil, EPA issued a modified permit that incorporated the substantial improvements ExxonMobil made to the stormwater management system at its Everett Terminal. The facility upgrades greatly improve the capacity of the stormwater system to collect, store and treat large storm events and provide advanced treatment for residual contaminated groundwater that infiltrates into the stormwater collection system.

  • Stormwater Workshop April 2011

    EPA Region 1 held a stormwater workshop in Chelsea, MA to review the provisions of the draft North Coastal small MS4 NPDES permit and low impact development techniques.

2010

  • Consent Decree in Revere

    Under the terms of a Consent Decree lodged in federal court, Mass EPA reached a settlement with the City of Revere to spend approximately $50 million on infrastructure improvements. This will be used to significantly reduce illegal discharges of raw sewage overflows into the Mystic River Watershed from its wastewater collection system and separate storm sewer system.

  • Financial Support to Mystic River Watershed Association

    EPA Region 1 awarded $9,000 to the Mystic River Watershed Association and community partners to support stormwater education and outreach efforts in the watershed.

2009

  • ExxonMobil Litigation

    The Mystic River Watershed received grant funding derived from the criminal sentence imposed in the federal Clean Water Act case against ExxonMobil Pipeline Company. As a result of this case, the Massachusetts Environmental Trust issued $1 million in grants and the North American Wetlands Conservation Trust issued $1,663,150 in grants all for environmental projects to the Mystic River and Chelsea Creek.

2008

  • Administrative Order to Reduce Bacterial Waste

    EPA ordered Suffolk Downs to immediately cease discharging pollutants being discharged to Sales Creek, a tributary in the Mystic River Watershed. Suffolk now routinely inspects its facility for discharges to Sales Creek and the adjacent wetland and collects limited dry- and wet-weather samples from its outfalls.

  • Mystic River Watershed Summit April 2008

    EPA Region 1 held a Mystic River Watershed Summit that focused on Flooding, Industrial Contaminants, Bacteria and Stormwater, and Reconnecting people to the river. The summit was attended by over 150 people.

2001

  • Funds for Real-Time Monitoring

    EPA Region 1 awarded $363,257 to Somerville to develop a state-of-the-art system that can predict, assess and report the Mystic River's water quality in real time. Residents will be able to check water quality indicators online or by flags along the river to determine whether sewer overflows and runoff have made the water unsafe for recreational use.

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Mystic River Timeline

  • 2005 - 2006 - Information Requests Issued: EPA issued information requests to five municipalities in the lower watershed based on baseline data collected by MyRWA which indicated high bacteria levels in the Mystic and tributaries. Information Requests provided more data and led to the issuance of several orders in later years.

  • 2007 - First Annual Water Quality Report Card: The Mystic receives a D as its first Water Quality Report Card grade for calendar year 2006. Grades and related press releases for subsequent years can be seen at: https://www.epa.gov/mysticriver/mystic-river-watershed-initiative#ReportCard .

  • 2008 - The Mystic River Watershed Initiative: EPA launches the Mystic River Watershed Initiative in order to improve water quality and public access to open space in the watershed.

  • 2007 - 2009 - Administrative Orders: EPA issues Administrative Orders to several lower Mystic River communities to remove illicit discharges from the storm drain system discharging to the Mystic River and its tributaries.

  • 2008 - Administrative Order to Suffolk Downs: EPA ordered Suffolk Downs to immediately cease discharging pollutants being discharged to Sales Creek, a tributary in the Mystic River Watershed. Suffolk now routinely inspects its facility for discharges to Sales Creek and the adjacent wetland and collects limited dry- and wet-weather samples from its outfalls.

  • 2009 - Exxon Mobil Litigation: The Mystic River Watershed received grant funding derived from the criminal sentence imposed in the federal Clean Water Act case against ExxonMobil Pipeline Company. As a result of this case, the Massachusetts Environmental Trust issued $1 million in grants and the North American Wetlands Conservation Trust issued $1,663,150 in grants all for environmental projects to the Mystic River and Chelsea Creek.

  • 2009 - Mystic River Watershed Steering Committee: The Steering Committee was created to allow environmental advocates, state and federal regulators, and business and municipal leaders to work collaboratively to promote actions that will improve environmental conditions throughout the watershed. The Committee is focusing on restoring and protecting water quality, wildlife and its habitats, while also protecting and creating open public spaces for safe public access to the waterfront.

  • 2010 - City of Revere Consent Decree: EPA and the Department of Justice negotiate a Consent Decree with the City of Revere to address Sanitary Sewer Overflows ("SSOs") and illicit discharges, where the City will spend $50M to $100M over the next ten years to address infrastructure problems related to these issues.

  • 2012 - Sterling Suffolk Racecourse LLC Action: As a result of EPA enforcement action under the Clean Water Act, Sterling Suffolk Racecourse LLC (Suffolk Downs) was required to pay a civil penalty of $1.25 million and will perform three environmental projects that provide water quality monitoring and protection. The settlement required the facility to implement green infrastructure and low impact development techniques to address stormwater discharges from the racetrack and maintenance areas of the facility and all construction is now complete.

  • 2012 - City of Boston Consent Decree: EPA and the Department of Justice negotiate a Consent Decree with the City of Boston to address Sanitary Sewer Overflows ("SSOs") and illicit discharges and to address infrastructure problems related to these issues

  • 2013 - Mystic River Watershed Federal Partnership: EPA's Office of Water announces the Mystic River Watershed’s designation as an Urban Water's Federal Partnership Location. This exciting partnership reconnects urban communities, particularly those that are overburdened or economically distressed, with their waterways by improving coordination among federal agencies and collaborating with community-led efforts to improve our nation’s water systems and promote their economic, environmental, and social benefits.

  • 2014 - Final National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits for seven bulk petroleum storage facilities to meet the requirements of the Clean Water Act. On September 24, 2014, EPA Region 1 (EPA) and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) reissued seven NPDES permits to require wastewater treatment and regulate the pollutant discharges from these seven facilities located along Chelsea River in Chelsea, Revere and East Boston. Along with these draft and final permits EPA conducted several public meeting to enhance community information, participation, and outreach, and issued an Environmental Justice Analysis prepared in support of the permitting actions.

  • 2015 - Improved Grading System: EPA and MyRWA develop an improved system to assign water quality grades to the Mystic River and its tributaries. The increased availability of data allows for segments of the watershed to be assigned individual grades based on bacteria levels instead of one grade to describe all segments of the watershed. This new system indicates that water quality in some parts of the watershed is quite good, while other parts still need improvement.

  • 2015 - EPA launched a Mystic River water quality monitoring buoy in front of the Blessing of the Bay Boathouse in the City of Somerville. The buoy measures a number of water quality parameters such as temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity, specific conductance, and chlorophyll that can be viewed by the public in near real time, and data is made available on EPA's Mystic River Website. In addition to providing real-time water quality data to the public, the buoy is used to monitor for and track cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) blooms.

  • 2016 - Phosphorous Loading Studies: EPA and MyRWA with support for USGS and MWRA, begin to examine how high levels of phosphorous, from stormwater runoff, are impacting the watershed. EPA and MyRWA also explore effective ways to reduce phosphorous loading throughout the watershed.

  • 2016 - The main stem of the lower Mystic River earns an A- for bacterial water quality (for calendar year 2015).

  • 2016 - Final Massachusetts MS4 General Permit. In April 2016 EPA issued a final stormwater general permit updating requirements for small "Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems" (MS4) located in Massachusetts. The new permit will enhance stormwater management efforts across Massachusetts, better protecting rivers, streams, ponds, lakes and wetlands from pollutants including elevated levels of nutrients, which are causing algae blooms and other problems in many Massachusetts communities. The permit conditions apply to all communities in the Mystic River Watershed. Special conditions for the reduction of phosphorus and pathogen found in stormwater are included in the permit for all Mystic River Watershed communities.

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