Water System Redundancy

Evaluate the community impacts, costs, and timetables  of proposed alternatives to provide redundancy for the Metro Boston water system. Engage with communities and stakeholders early to solicit input on final option. Once selected, conduct public outreach to ensure communities and ratepayers are aware of the upcoming financial and construction impacts of the project.

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.

muniworks side
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.

arlington smoke testing
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.

Recent Activity
FY 2017 Q2 Goals
  • Hold a #MuniWorks Meeting to provide communities the opportunity to learn about the project alternatives and costs
  • Make a formal recommendation on the project to provide to the MWRA Board of Directors
FY 2017 Activity

September 2016

  • Staff attended Special Board of Directors meeting where the project alternatives and costs were presented.
  • Staff proposed tabling discussion until after the communities and other stakeholders had an opportunity to review and comment on the proposal.
  • Staff secured the Yawkey Center at Boston College as the meeting location for a December 8, 2016 #MuniWorks meeting on Water System Redundancy.
Prior Activity


May 2016

  • Advisory Board votes to support keeping a $1.4 billion placeholder project in the proposed FY17 CIP while reserving its right to make future recommendations.
  • Advisory Board recommends the Authority explore a Project Management Division (PMD) approach similar to the one used for the Boston Harbor Project.
Comments and Recommendations History

FY 2017 (printed June 2016)


  • The Advisory Board recommends keeping the $1.4 billion associated with Metropolitan Tunnel Redundancy in the CIP as a placeholder for the future project. The Advisory Board reserves its right to make future recommendations on the cost, scope, and makeup of any project(s) associated with this expense. (page 34; #1)
  • The advisory Board recommends that the Authority consider using the Program Management Division model used for the Boston Harbor Project when implementing the Metropolitan Tunnel Redundancy Project(s). (page 34; #2)

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