The MWRA will be present at the Earth Day celebrations at the Hatch Shell this Saturday, April 24th, to highlight the improved health of the Charles River.
The MWRA's School Education program will provide information about the MWRA's Charles River initiatives, Boston Harbor Project and water quality improvements.
The MWRA's most recent contribution to the health of the Charles River is the new disinfection system at the Cottage Farm Combined Sewer Overflow facility. Located in Cambridge just upstream of the BU Bridge, the Cottage Farm facility activates when wet weather flows necessitate combined stormwater/sewage discharges into the Charles River. Other improvements, such as the increased flow capacities at the new Deer Island Treatment Plant, have dramatically reduced the frequency of such overflows in recent years. Now, on rarer occasions when they occur, the new system installed at Cottage Farm assures more effective bacteria kill, protecting water quality in the entire river basin for boaters and walkers on the shore. The new system also includes dechlorination so that the disinfection system does not present a risk to fish in the river. Completed in March, the new system and other improvements at Cottage Farm have cost approximately $ 4.3 million. Remaining site work and landscaping at the facility are expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Annual estimated overflows at Cottage Farm (1990): 1.5 billion gallons
Annual estimated overflows at Cottage Farm (1999): 110 million gallons
Net decrease: 93%