Mystic River logo'The report card shines a light on all the work ... to improve water quality.'
-- Patrick Herron
The 2019 water-quality report card for the Mystic River watershed continues to show that, overall, its river and lakes are clean -- again earning “A.”

 The downsides of the report show that Alewife Brook scored a "D," while the Mill Brook drew a "D+." See all of the grades in the chart reporting the full news release >> 

“It is great that the report card shines a light on all the work that agencies, towns and cities are doing to improve water quality on the river,” said Patrick Herron, executive director for the Arlington-based Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA). “It is also an opportunity to shine a light on the great assets the rivers, lakes and tributaries are for area residents to enjoy.”

Among the questions was: What is being done to improve the Alewife River portion of the Mystic?

Cambridge helps

The response provided by the news release says that the Town of Belmont is actively investing in finding sources of contamination, and that Cambridge and Arlington have ongoing work. Cambridge has invested very significant money in sewer separation in the Alewife watershed, but Alewife is still the scene of combined sewer overflows. MWRA is undertaking a period of measurement to determine whether more investments are required to meet the standards agreed to in the long-term control plan of the Boston Harbor cleanup.

Also asked: Is there a plan to physically clean up Alewife Brook?

"MyRWA is initiating a trash-free waters program. Stay tuned or reach out for additional info," the release says.

Highlighted in the webinar reporting the results is the story of the improving grade at Island End River -- which has gone from consistently earning a “D” or lower to this year’s grade of “B,” thanks to repairs made to sewage infrastructure in Chelsea that are now preventing wastewater flowing into the river.

Tom Abrosino, City Manager of Chelsea, highlighted the importance of the Island End area to regional climate resilience. The City is now turning their attention to making major improvements to Mill Creek.

Since 2014, the EPA has assigned grades to 14 separate water bodies based on levels of bacteria contamination in the Mystic watershed. Bacteria are introduced into the watershed by raw sewage, which reaches waterways via leaking pipes, illicit connections, and combined sewer overflows. Much of the field sampling work is done by a cohort of volunteers from the watershed association who sample at 15 locations throughout the year, as well as data provided by MWRA.

The Aug. 13 webinar featured Dennis Deziel, Region 1 administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Martin Suuberg, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection; Fred Laskey, executive director, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority; Sen. Patricia Jehlen, Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria, Ambrosino, as well as Andy Hrycyna, watershed scientist.


June 26, 2019: Mystic River's main stem draws high grades for 2018


 This news announcement was published Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020.