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.
Ensuring water system redundancy has been a major goal of the MWRA since that infamous day in May 2010, when a water distribution gate burst in Weston at Shaft 5A, pouring millions of gallons of water into the Charles River. Throughout the MWRA water system, residents were forced to boil water to ensure the safety of their families, and businesses either scrambled to provide bottled water to customers or shut down completely. Through yeoman efforts by MWRA staff, the boil order only lasted a few days; however, the lessons learned and the all-too-real impacts of this water break drive this discussion today. The Metropolitan Water Redundancy Project presents many challenges: costs for this project could exceed $1.5 billion, and different construction methods would create different levels of impacts to communities. Yet, with the memory of the 2010 water break’s impacts fresh in our minds, the economic cost of not completing this project could be far greater.
On December 8 at the Yawkey Center at Boston College, all of us will have an opportunity to learn, listen, ask questions, and weigh in on a potentially significant MWRA project. Hosted by the MWRA Advisory Board – the voice of the MWRA’s communities and ratepayers – the opportunity to shape this project starts with this half-day session.
It is important for your community – from your CEOs and elected officials to your finance staff and technical/operations staff – to be aware of this project. We will be inviting our state officials and legislators as well.
Secretary of Economic Development Jay Ash will keynote our meeting to discuss the economic impacts of this project – both pro and con. MWRA staff led by Executive Director Fred Laskey will outline options, timing, and costs.
If there is one meeting you should attend – this is it.
Executive Director, MWRA Advisory Board