The Boston Harbor Case
Since 1985, MWRA has been subject to a Clean Water Act enforcement action to end years of wastewater pollution of Boston Harbor and its tributaries from the old Deer Island and Nut Island treatment plants and combined sewer overflows (CSOs).
The enforcement case was initiated by the Conservation Law Foundation in 1983 and taken up by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1985. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Boston Water and Sewer Commission, the City of Quincy and the Town of Winthrop are also parties to the case.
The late Federal District Judge A. David Mazzone presided over the case from 1985 to September 2004. On September 30, 2004, the Boston Harbor Case was transferred to Judge Richard G. Stearns, who currently presides over the case.
The Orders of the Court set forth the schedules of activities to be undertaken to achieve compliance with the law. Since 1985, MWRA has complied with 420 milestones which include the completion of extensive new wastewater treatment facilities at Deer Island in Boston and Nut Island in Quincy, a residuals facility in Quincy, and 35 CSO control projects in Boston, Cambridge, Chelsea and Somerville which comprise long-term CSO control plan, the last of which were completed in December 2015.
As part of compliance with the Court’s Orders, MWRA was required to file monthly compliance and progress reports on its ongoing activities thru December 15, 2000 and quarterly compliance and progress reports thru December 2016.
MWRA is currently required to submit bi-annual compliance and progress reports through December 2020.
Updated January 21, 2020
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