#MuniWorks | Stakeholder Letter for MWRA Long-Term Water Redundancy workshop

Dear Stakeholder,

Each decade there is one construction project that sets the stage for decades to come – a generational decision the impacts and benefits of which are felt for the next 30 years or beyond. For the MWRA, these projects have included the Boston Harbor Cleanup, the Carroll Water Treatment Plant, and the MetroWest Tunnel. Today, the generational decision for the MWRA is how to best ensure potable drinking water for all of its cities and towns all of the time. The project that will accomplish this for Greater Boston is the MWRA’s Metropolitan Water Redundancy Project.

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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.