Shaping MWRA Projects and Initiatives – Giving Communities a Voice

The role of the Advisory Board is to provide feedback on MWRA projects and initiatives. At the January 19 meeting in Canton, the AB weighed in on two such undertakings.

The first was the MWRA’s emerging plans for system-wide water redundancy. Having participated in a half-day information session on redundancy in December, AB members unanimously voted to support an emerging MWRA plan to insure water system redundancy to the metropolitan area.

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Community members at the metropolitan redundancy workshop

AB members included five conditions to their recommendation:

1. Use a Program Management Division (PMD) approach, similar to the Boston Harbor Project

2. Select deep rock tunnel versus surface piping alternative

3. Support the MWRA’s recommendation for two tunnels, north and south

4. Recommend that MWRA construct both tunnels concurrently, rather than in a phased manner

5. Pursue strategies that dedicate revenue from non-typical, or one-time water users sources (e.g. drought connections) to help fund the Metropolitan Tunnel Redundancy

The MWRA Board of Directors will take up their discussion on redundancy as we move forward in the spring. The Advisory Board looks forward to participating with the Board and MWRA staff in shaping this critical project.

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Smoke testing

AB members also weighed in on expanding eligible projects under the Local Community I/I Grant/Loan Program. This community-initiated discussion was first presented at our Operations Committee meeting in November. Eligible projects now include:

  • Permanent flow monitoring equipment
  • Sewer inspection equipment
  • Building inspections, smoke testing, dye testing
  • Administrative tasks related to planning/development of procedures and public outreach
  • Database development and mapping of connections to public utilities

This expansion will provide communities more tools to upgrade their local sewer systems.

Your voice can make a difference. Please attend AB Operations and regular meetings. There are also seats available on our Executive Committee. Feel free to contact us for more information.

Just the FAQs – Watershed Management

The Green Sheet is a monthly video series that focuses on financial topics. The question staff asked was what to do if we had a great topic for a video that wasn’t financial in nature? Voila, the Just the FAQs video series was created. The inaugural episode outlined the role and responsibilities of the Advisory Board, followed by other editions. Unlike the regular Green Sheet, this series was intended to be used on an as-needed basis.

The latest edition of Just the FAQs takes on the topic of watershed management, explaining the history and the importance of watershed protection in the MWRA waterworks system. As always, we hope you find these videos informative and helpful.

 

Just the FAQs – Watershed Management from MWRA Advisory Board on Vimeo.

Lead Service Line Replacement Collaborative

In addition to MWRA’s Lead Loan Program, the Lead Service Line Replacement (LSLR) Collaborative is an excellent resource for communities as they continue to rehabilitate critical water infrastructure. The site contains resources pertaining to all steps of the process:

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  • A roadmap to build consensus with community stakeholders and to develop a plan for implementation
  • Tools for replacement practices, from highly technical descriptions to broader, more accessible language useful for outreach
  • Descriptions of policies
  • References to community case studies

The Collaborative was created to expedite voluntary LSLR in communities to keep lead out of drinking water and is composed of numerous national organizations. With topics as important as drinking water safety, the Advisory Board will to continue to equip our communities with the best tools available. Stay tuned for more updates!