Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA
MINUTES ARCHIVE

 

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Nov. 7, 2014

The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA met at the MAPC conference room, 60 Temple Place

Attendees/Contributors: WAC: Stephen Greene (chair), Taber Keally (vice-chair), Mary Adelstein, Travis Ahern, Craig Allen, Zhanna Davidovitz, Karen Lachmayr, Beth Miller, Martin Pillsbury, Elie Saroufim, Dan Winograd

Guests: Wendy Leo (MWRA), Kevin McCluskey (MWRA), Julie Wood, (CRWA), David Duest (MWRA), Ben Wetherill (Save the Harbor/Save the Bay), James Doucett (DEP). Bill….. (governmental affairs, ADA)

Staff: Andreae Downs (WAC),

 

FUTURE MEETING DATES/TOPICS

NEXT: Jan. 9, 10:30 am, MAPC: Planning the Valve Replacement in the North Main Pump Station

VOTE: October 17 minutes approved.

 

DIRECTOR’S REPORTS

Andreae Downs: Invited members to the Nov. 12 MWRA Board of Director’s meeting at the Quabbin.

EPA Stormwater Permit Hearing: WAC had directed Andreae to attend the Oct. 30 hearing on the stormwater NDPES permits for smaller municipalities:

Anyone interested in the details should go hear the speaker, Newton Tedder, who will be presenting at the Advisory Board meeting Nov. 20, at the Wellesley Library, 11 am.

Background: Stormwater is the biggest pollution source in New England—about 55% of impared waters in the state are within 128
Permits for stormwater pollutant discharges were first issued in 1987 to Boston & Worcester. In 1999 all urban areas got their first stormwater NPDES permits. The last permit was issued in 2011. Comments are due on this draft “MS4” (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) permit Dec. 29,2014
The new permit probably won’t be issued until Dec. 2015 earliest, and it takes 6 months to be in effect.

As part of the new permit, each municipality will need a stormwater management plan that is renewed and reviewed annually for results.
For most of the rivers and water bodies in the MWRA service area the key pollutants are phosphorus and chlorine.

Each plan requires:
• Public education & involvement
• Removal of illicit connections
• Construction site run-off control
• Management after construction and in-street and parking design
• Good housekeeping (street sweeping, catchment basin clearing, etc.) Municipalities can share responsibility via a watershed organization.

Two takeaway items:
• The most effective money spent is to capture & treat the first .8” of water.
• Control of winter salt application is key for controlling chlorine (but sand adds phosphorus).

 

PRESENTATION & DISCUSSION:

Existing and Future Combined Heat & Power at Deer Island WWTP

David Duest. Director, Deer Island Waste Water Treatment Plant (DIWWTP)

Deer Island operations use a tremendous amount of energy (ca 150 million KWh), but that has been reduced 10% with optimization and energy efficiencies.

Currently, 23% comes from “green” energy—the bulk is digester gas (burned for heat and power), followed by water turbines. Solar and Wind supply a very modest additional amount.

But a new system, which consultants helped MWRA identify, could flip that percentage, and have MWRA only buying 23% of its power, producing the remaining 77% on-site.

(The plant is required to have generators on-site as backup power. The Authority uses them also to produce power when the price of electricity goes above 35 cents per KWh, which is what it costs to operate them. They burn ultra-low sulfer diesel. WAC members asked if they could burn bio-diesel.)
The original combined heat & power system is 20 years old, and approaching its expected lifespan. It was installed to produce heat for the digesters first, then electricity off the back. In 1985, the MWRA expected to have more digesters to heat, but in fact the heating needs on the island are lss than they thought. The current system is 60% efficient for heat—which is very good in the industry, but only 9% efficient for electricity.

While planning for an upgrade to the current system, staff has been optimizing the current one. They’ve managed to get more value from extracted heat, increasing the electric efficiency to more like 10.5% in the summer, or 4.5million KWh ($500,000/yr savings).

The heat is used for the digesters, the buildings and the odor control process.

A study of the system by CDM Smith found that gas turbines could cut emissions and increase electrical generation efficiency to 35-40%, creating a very short payback period. The proposed system would generate electricity first and heat off the back of that system, raising that efficiency from 60-90%.
Payback, without green credits or the planned co-digestion pilot, is roughly 8 years for the three gas turbine (most expensive) option. With credits and full co-digestion, the payback period drops to 5 years. In addition, the amount of digester gas used beneficially could rise from the current 95% to close to 100%.

Because the Island would be producing so much more of its own energy, it could reduce the number of tanker trucks delivering oil to the island (currently 200,000 gallons/year to supplement digester gas. If we didn’t have di-gas, we would have to buy 5 million gallons/year worth $15million)

Mary Adelstein: Does the energy need vary?

It varies day by day or week to week, but annually it’s fairly constant. Rain events, which require additional pumping, use more energy.

Mary: Might you produce more than you use with codigestion?

The island uses so much power, that it would be unlikely. But it is possible, and in this case the Island would export power over the network and get credit for it.

Martin Pillsbury: Have you done the benefit analysis on the avoided greenhouse gas emissions?

Not yet (consensus of WAC that this would be a good idea).

What is the lifespan of the gas turbine system?

20 years—which is longer than the payback period. It can extend beyond that period with good maintenance. The current system turns 20 on June 20th, but is still in fine order.

What does the $75million for the new system include besides the three turbines?

All the building modifications, plumbing, design and construction. If we replace these turbines in 20 years, we won’t need to replace all of that. It also includes operations and maintenance, even without codigestion.

Codigestion will slowly increase from 7-21 dry tons/day to 50-70 dry tons/day at full deployment. The estimated increase in gas because of the addition of food waste is 35%, but that is very conservative.

The evaluation of the replacement of the combined heat and power system includes various approaches—from converting incrementally to doing a full-scale conversion.
Staff is now looking at refining the estimates and the payback periods.

If co-digestion goes full-scale, the island will need additional storage for the food waste slurry.

During the pilot, one or two digesters will be involved, the remaining 6-7 will be controls. The plan is to vary volumes to find the optimal levels of food. We already know that 100% food waste shuts down the digestion.
Plan is for Waste Management to collect and process the waste, so there are no contaminants. The trucking option is off the table, so both Waste Management and Deer Island are working on a barging system. That would have been the final, full-scale result per the plans.

Stephen: Have you figured out contingencies for the turbine system?

Yes—the third turbine would be emergency backup.

Timeline?

Working on the specs for the next six months. Will request a design contract—that should take 2-3 yeafrs. Construction will be another 3-5 years. Probably be 10 years before the new full facility is constructed, but the first gas turbine could be in as early as 6-7 years.

Benefits: not a new technology, already tested. Hands-off and reliable. As we move through the procurement process, will be looking at increasing efficiency.

Craig Allen: Will overall emissions be less?

Yes. Remember that food waste in the landfill emits methane, which is not easy to capture. Methane is 20x more potent a green house gas than carbon dioxide. Of course, burning methane creates carbon dioxide, but that will offset fossil fuel burning, and this method is more efficient than the current system.

 

EPA’s proposed Dental Mercury rule

Andreae presented three issues raised by Carolyn Fiore of the MWRA and John Reinhardt, administrator of the DEP’s model dental mercury program:

  1. Massachusetts already has a successful dental mercury control program administered by DEP. The EPA rule would move this into treatment plants’ TRAC programs, creating an enforcement mechanism and moving the program at some expense, without necessarily creating a better outcome. Andreae raised the issue with Jay Pimpare at the EPA, who said that stricter state rules would supersede EPA rules, and that the choice to do so would be the state’s. WAC would like its letter to reiterate the expectation that the EPA rules do not add an unnecessary financial and administrative burden, and that Massachusetts can continue its current system.
  2. The EPA asks that all dental offices submit paper forms. The DEP now collects information via electronic forms. Pimpare suggested this would be a good comment.
  3. The rule specifies a non-chlorine line cleaner of a fairly neutral PH. John Reinhardt suggested that it might be easier for dentists to comply if a list of acceptable chemicals were listed instead. WAC members worried about EPA being allowed to recommend certain products, but decided to go ahead and make the recommendation.

In discussion, members noted that the rule would require a weekly cleanout. Some dentists’ offices might need to do cleanout more often. It certainly should not be less often.

Beth said that the MWRA has an interest in keeping mercury out of the wastewater, so Deer Island's residual solids can be pelletized & sold as fertilizer. At too high a levels of mercury, this could not be done, and the residuals would instead have to be landfilled. This would increase the operating costs of the MWRA. (Under the DEP’s current program & the TRAC’s current enforcement, mercury has not proven to be a problem yet).
She added that MWRA's Toxic Reduction and Control (TRAC) has a report about dental facilities dated 1998, which she recommended be updated [or possibly even omitted] as part of the MWRA's response to EPA's Mercury Amalgam Rule [Perhaps not right away, but it is something to keep tabs on].
The link: http://www.mwra.state.ma.us/03sewer/html/dental.pdf

Zhanna said some disinfectants might not be safe for the sewer system. EPA should include only products that will not interfere with the processes at Deer Island.

Stephen noted that pretreatment standards for industrial dischargers are a lot of work for industry. To put them on dentists, who are very small operations, is not appropriate.

Karen stated her sense that WAC’s job was certainly not to comment on how EPA’s rules affected other states.

Beth moved that the WAC meet in December for a fuller discussion of the mercury rule.

The committee voted 6-3 not to hold a December meeting. Mary noted she was willing to have December meetings in principle, but that having to arrange for a presentation and discussion at such short notice was impractical.

WAC asked that the current director of TRAC for MWRA, John Riccio, come to report on the new rule once he had completed his work on it.

The committee voted to have Andreae draft a comment letter within the above parameters that committee members would edit online and Stephen would sign for the committee.

BWSC request
Elie Saroufim distributed a stormwater flyer from Boston. He asked members to visit the BWSC website “We are All Connected” (ww.bwsc.org/stormwater) and send him comments.

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Minutes
Oct. 17, 2014

The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA met at the MAPC conference room, 60 Temple Place

Attendees/Contributors:

WAC: Stephen Greene (chair), Taber Keally (vice-chair), Mary Adelstein, Travis Ahern, Craig Allen, Wayne Chouinard, Zhanna Davidovitz, Karen Lachmayr, Beth Miller, Martin Pillsbury,  Vin Spada,  Dan Winograd

Guests: Wendy Leo (MWRA), Kevin McCluskey (MWRA), Winthrop Fire Chief Paul Flanagan (MWRA Board), Courtney Forrester (City of Newton, Recycling), Cameron Barclift, Margaret Van Deusen, (CRWA)

Staff: Andreae Downs (WAC),

FUTURE MEETING DATES/TOPICS

NEXT: Nov. 7, 10:30 am, MAPC, Combined heat & power possibilities at Deer Island

 

CHAIRMAN’S REPORTS
Stephen Greene: Welcomed Travis Ahern, Advisory Board staff, as WAC’s newest member.
Vin Spada has been hired by the MWRA as Construction Coordinator in the Engineering & Construction Department. Andreae is checking with MWRA legal staff about whether Vin can remain a voting member of WAC.

PRESENTATION & DISCUSSION: Food Waste and the Landfill Ban

Zoe Neale, consultant & journalist, Mass Organics Solutions, LLC:

The move to ban organics from landfills is driven by the drastic predicted reduction in landfill capacity within the next 5-6 years—about to be cut in half.

The current state of facilities that accept food waste:

The issue for composters and digesters is how “clean” the waste is. Utensils, plastic, glass and other contaminants can interfere with the composting/digesting process. And because food waste is picked up in barrels, it is difficult for haulers to see what’s inside.

Problem: the ban is enforced on haulers. That makes enforcement haphazard, and ineffective. Before the food ban, 40% of solid waste loads consisted of banned materials. And DEP does not have a sufficient number of inspectors.

Further, the ban is a regulation, not a law.

Karen Lachmeyr: why is that an issue?

That means there’s discretion. The ban would work better if it were a law because it makes the conversation between hauler and producer easier. VT and CT have laws that mandate recycling of food waste if a facility to accept it exists within 20 miles of the producer. It works.

Mary Adelstein: Are regulations more vulnerable to lawsuit?

Boards of Health were not happy with it—they felt they were being written out of the equation (communities averse to accepting other communities’ trucks of waste)

The biggest facility is WeCare in Marlborough, which composts food and sludge from the Marlborough sewage treatment plants.  It also accepts the dirtiest wastes, as they can screen out plastic bags, but they charge a comparably high tipping fee, and the resulting compost is not Class A, as MWRA’s pellets are.

Incinerators charge even more—ca. $75/ton, where WeCare is $65/ ton and composters who only accept clean wastes $55/ton.

Tipping fees are rising across Massachusetts because of the food waste ban.
Folks looking for a composting operation prefer the clean guys because they know the end product compost is better.
Dirtier wastes are harder to get rid of, but that’s why the tipping fee is higher. Food is just not homogenous, and its energy value varies seasonally (summer wastes are higher energy)

Is the ultimate goal a residential organics ban?

I’ve heard the complete opposite. Cambridge, Salem and Hamilton-Wenham are piloting residential curbside pickup.

Courtney Forrester: Newton is no longer looking at this. Between the management and number of additional trucks, it didn’t make sense.

Another pilot is garbage grinders/disposals for residences. Boston is piloting. Philadelphia gave away grinders to residents.

Stephen Greene: Yard waste was already banned in 1992, and got yard waste composting going.

Zoe: Cooking oil has a commodity value , and is already separated.

Separating organics is cheaper because the tipping fee is lower, but you add another truck, so there’s hauling costs, the extra dumpster, the extra labor at the source (restaurant, cafeteria)
For haulers, for every extra mile driven, there is extra time/labor costs, maintenance on the trucks, fuel, and corrosion from food waste.

But industrial operations, such as food processors, which have the cleanest waste, are already recycling.

That leaves commercial operators, such as restaurants and cafeterias, which produce 60% of the total food waste in the landfill stream.

Mary: could commercial operators use food grinders to move wastes to the treatment plan without trucking?

Wendy Leo/ Travis Ahern: No, it would be too high in corrosives for the pipes, and would clog the municipal pipes feeding the MWRA pipes.

Why would this work in residences then?

Homes use very little water for food grinding, compared to other uses (toilets, showers, etc.), so the percentage of food waste in the water is very low.
Taber Keally: What happens when there isn’t a market for compost?

Within 128, there are very few options—although most of the generators of food waste are located here. The closest digesters in the state are Rutland and Hadley (slides show locations and capacities of composters & digesters).
DEP had hoped that there would be new digesters in the area by now, but encountered strong “not in my backyard” (NIMBY) opposition

OVERVIEW—There isn’t enough capacity for food waste diverted by the ban either within 128 or within short driving distance. The current need is for 1,000 tons per day capacity. Deer Island, at full capacity, will be able to handle 400-700 tons per day. It also has economies of scale unavailable to smaller operations, and the food waste will have to be transported a much shorter distance than most other facilities, including waste water treatment plants that are currently digesting, but not accepting food waste.

Chief Paul Flanagan: Know that the recipe needs to be perfected (for co-digestion at Deer Island). If DI goes to full scale, our concern is the additional methane. We know it will produce over $20m of electricity for the MWRA, and to build out to the full program will cost $25m. Will there be a cost to feed this plant? To get more or cleaner waste?

Waste Management’s job is quality control for the food waste slurry. There should be plenty of feedstock looking for a home. There are only 2 composting operations within 128—Saugus and Hamilton. The appeal is the lower hauling costs and higher level of separation and diversion.

Chief Flanagan: Would MWRA ever have to pay for food waste?

If the pipeline comes in from Western Mass with fracking gas, would that price the MWRA out? I doubt it. The main investment is the boiler, which is more efficient than the current one. The fact is that pre-digested food is much higher energy than post-digested food (sewage). Adding food waste creates more energy and would enhance the current operation.

Travis: Could the tipping fee potentially have to be removed from the financial equation?

It’s unlikely. At Deer Island’s scale, it would crowd out the development of competition. The largest operation in the state is at 150 tons/day. Deer Island can accept 400 to 700 tons/day at full implementation. And there is no development in the market now. To start, you have to find a site. None of the state’s 351 muncipalities is a willing partner, except Bourne and there are clearly issues with that location in terms of logistics. That’s why current waste water treatment plants are so attractive—they are already sited.

Chief Flanagan: I think Winthrop is happy with co-digestion on a barge. It was not happy with more trucks.

MWRA UPDATES

Kevin McCluskey: Fred Laskey received the Norman Leventhal environmental award from A Better City. (http://www.abettercity.org/about/nblawards.html)
Wendy: the Outfall Monitoring Science Advisory Panel (OMSAP) met in September. They are looking at changes to the monitoring programs. They fielded requests for more frequent meetings and more interesting topics
Andreae: the PIAC, of which WAC is a member, meets immediately afterward, and raised the science panel’s low attendance, declining membership and repeated the suggestion that meeting topics could be made more interesting.

ADVISORY BOARD UPDATES

Travis: Newton Tedder of EPA will join the Advisory Board Nov. 20 at the Wellesley Public Library to talk about the stormwater NPDES permits.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORTS

Andreae: Suggested that WAC allow her to post the minutes once the Committee has edited them, and at least 10 days after the meeting, since by Open Meeting Law they must be sent to anyone requesting them anyway. Object is to increase transparency and communicate with the public better. Over the summer and December, long gaps between approvals. Members concurred.

A letter correcting the Charlestown Patriot’s article on co-digestion, suggesting that gas would be produced in Charlestown, has been sent to the editor. A copy will be posted to WAC’s website.

Andreae presented three comment opportunities to the committee

The committee asked Andreae to attend the Oct. 30 hearing on MS4 permits and report back, but decided only to comment on the mercury rule.

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WAC Minutes
June 6, 2014

The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA met at the MAPC conference room, 60 Temple Place

Attendees/Contributors:

WAC: Vin Spada, Wayne Chouinard, Stephen Greene (chair), Mary Adelstein, Taber Keally (vice-chair), Karen Lachmayr, Beth Miller

Guests: Dan Winograd (Woodard & Curran), Janna Shub, Belinda Stansbury (Practical Applications), Wendy Leo (MWRA), Kevin McCluskey (MWRA)

Staff: Andreae Downs (WAC),

FUTURE MEETING DATES/TOPICS
NEXT:  Sept. 18, 11 am with MWRA Advisory Board, location TBD
FUTURE:

VOTES:

MWRA UPDATES

Kevin McCluskey: The Authority qualified for a Platinum Award for its Deer Island operations—seven continuous years without a permit violation.
gave updates on the water infrastructure and debt service assistance bills in the legislature.

CHAIRMAN’S REPORTS
Stephen Greene: Bill Katz, who has been a WAC member since March 2004, is retiring from WAC. Suggest that WAC accept his resignation and send him a letter of thanks for his participation.
Members suggested adding words appreciating his valuable contributions and keen financial sense.
Mary noted that his 90th birthday was the upcoming weekend.
WAC voted to send a letter, which Andreae would draft and send to members for edits before mailing.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORTS

Andreae Downs: Among the highlights this year, WAC submitted comments supporting increased Debt Service Assistance, supporting the extension of the current residuals contract; raising issues on the draft Clinton NPDES permit, and supporting the Advisory Board’s suggestions on doubling aid to municipalities for I/I.
WAC also successfully nominated Meg Tabascko and the MWRA Schools Program for an EoEA Education award.

WAC has three new members—Zhanna Davidovitz, Wayne Chouinard, and Elie Saroufim, and now has nominated Dan Winograd as a possible fourth new member.

WAC’s ED has continued outreach to new constituencies, edited and helped research an article on infrastructure planning and funding, and researched outreach at the MWRA for the committee.

DISCUSSION: FY 15 Meeting Schedule and Topics

Possible meeting topics were suggested and discussed. Andreae will work to find presenters and to schedule them over the summer and next year for WAC’s meeting schedule.

Topics of considerable interest to members:

Possible tours:

Other ideas: making video of MWRA wastewater ops to share on You-Tube; keeping presentations short enough to ensure discussion time for WAC.

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Minutes - May 2, 2014

The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA toured the Cambridge Constructed Wetland near the Alewife T station.

Attendees/Contributors:

WAC: Craig Allen, Vin Spada, Elie Saroufim, Wayne Chouinard, Stephen Greene (chair), and
Mary Adelstein, Zhanna Davidovitz, Taber Keally (vice-chair), Karen Lachmayr, Beth Miller, Vincent Spada,

Contributors: Catherine Woodbury (Cambridge DPW), Duke Bitsko (Bioengineering Group), David Kubiak (MWRA), Vincent Spada (Woodard & Curran)

Guests: Dan Winograd (Woodard & Curran), Sumner Brown, Jeanne Richardson (BWSC), Kurt Kelley (Arlington DPW), Janna Shub, Julie Simpson (MIT Sea Grant)

Staff: Andreae Downs (WAC), Lexi Dewey (WSCAC)

FUTURE MEETING DATES/TOPICS

NEXT:  

VOTES:

TOUR

Cambridge Constructed Stormwater Wetland

Catherine Woodbury:
This wetland’s purpose is to slow the discharge of stormwater from newly separated sewers in the North Cambridge area (the map in the handout shows the newly-separated sections of the city), and to clean it of contaminants before it discharges to the Little River.

From the wetland, the water flows to the Little River, then to the Alewife Brook, the Mystic River and into the Boston Harbor. The grade change from the wetland to the Harbor is only about one foot.

Upstream of the wetland, Cambridge is installing porous pavement in parking lanes, deep sump catch basins with hoods to remove sediments and litter, and a 3,000 linear foot box culvert. Within the box culvert and Fresh Pond Parkway are grit chambers where sediment is captured from the stormwater.

The wetland was located within a portion of the Alewife Reservation that had historically been filled by construction activity, and the vegetation had marginal ecological and habitat benefits.

Sumner Brown: The dominant fauna were teenagers.

Duke Bitsko: The constructed wetland mimics a river system hydrology and was designed to store and attenuate peak discharge rates to the Little River.  This is not a flood alleviation project, rather designed to not exacerbate existing river flooding.  There is a marginal amount of additional storage created through the creation of the Oxbow.

The wetland is located within the floodplain of the Alewife Brook and many of the paths and the entire wetland basin will be underwater during a 100 year flood event... The entire wetland complex is 3.5 acres. It is called an in-line system. All storm water comes in one place (forebay), and all goes out another place (outfall). During low-flow it goes through 2 or 3 open water sections before discharging to the Little River. In high-flow events water is slowed as it travels through the wetland system and can be released over spillways in addition to the outfall. 

There are several Deepwater zones (shown in blue on the handout), which will hold water most of the time—at the wetland’s design elevation at 1.0 feet the pools are 5.5 feet deep. The olive-colored areas are deep marsh-1.5-3 feet deep, and will sustain water lilies , pickerelweed and other deep marsh plants.

The wetland is like a bath tub—during storms greater than a 10-year storm it is meant to overflow via two spillways to pre-existing wetlands. Normally the Little River is at a 1 foot elevation. Today it is at 1.5 feet.
At the forebay stormwater enters through a 4x8 box culvert, and exits via a 36” outfall pipe.

There are some hydraulic controls built in—there’s a flap gate at the outfall, which shuts if the river is higher than the wetland. There’s also an equalization gate near the Oxbow that will allow water into the wetland if water within the wetland is very low and the river is higher.

The wetland was planted with over 120,000 wetland plants and over 4,000 upland trees/shrubs plants were planted in the upland. The City’s contractor is responsible for maintenance for three-years. After that, Cambridge is responsible for the wetland system and DCR is responsible for the upland areas and site amenities.  

They don’t anticipate needing to dredge the wetland, but will monitor the deep pool areas for sediment every 5-10 years.

The forebay bottom is lined with concrete cable blocks to accommodate maintenance vehicles for sediment removal every 3-5 years.

Duke showed WAC a wet meadow, which was seeded last fall and covered in secured with fencing and string to keep Canada Geese from feeding there until the seedlings are well-rooted. It is seeded with wildflowers and grass, and DCR will need to mow it once a year to keep the woody plants in check. It was holding water on the day WAC visited.

Along the edges at the spillways was a permanent erosion control blanket—which was used to stabilize the slopes instead of rip-rap.

Woodbury:
Water quality testing started this spring. They are testing for bacteria, but will also look at nutrient removal.
The overall project was approximately $18 million including the box culvert and utility systems.  The wetland was approximately --$6.3 million and included existing and overhead utilities that needed to be lowered below the wetland and the Little River. 

Dave Kubiak:
Near the bicycle bridge close to Alewife Station, Kubiak discussed the remaining CSO project, at Outfall MWR003, and pointed out the areas where construction is planned.  He also pointed out that a little triangle of land there, mostly a grassed area, is owned by a Belmont woman, descendant of the recipient of a King’s Grant in the early 1600’s, and that her permission to cross the land is needed for a portion of the construction. He noted that a lot of construction would happen in the area beginning in August and continuing into the fall of 2015...  All of the CSO projects need to be finished by 2015 to meet the court order.
MWRA will then have to conduct a system performance assessment to verify that the sewer separation and CSO projects had been successful in attaining the required long-term levels of control—this is anticipated to culminate in a report to EPA and DEP in December 2020 (court order milestone).
All of this information is detailed in the MWRA’s annual CSO Control Program reports, which can be viewed here: http://www.mwra.state.ma.us/cso/csoannualreports.htm

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Minutes April 8, 2014
The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA met jointly with the Water Supply Citizens Advisory Committee at the Waterworks Museum in Chestnut Hill.

Attendees/Contributors: WAC: Craig Allen, Vin Spada, Elie Saroufim, Wayne Chouinard, Stephen Greene (chair), and Mary Adelstein
WSCAC: Michael Baram, Bill Fadden, Whitney Beals (chair), Elie Saroufim
Contributors: Wendy Leo (MWRA), Kathy Soni (MWRA), Dave Whelan (MWRA)
Guests: Fabiola deCarvalho (Framingham), Mike Conway (BWSC)
Staff: Andreae Downs (WAC), Lexi Dewey (WSCAC)

FUTURE MEETING DATES/TOPICS
NEXT:

VOTES: Minutes for the March. 18 meeting, amended, approved.

PRESENTATION

MWRA Proposed Current and Capital Budget for Fiscal 2015
Kathy Soni

The FY15 Proposed budget was presented to the Advisory Board in December 2013 and February 2014. The Advisory Board will submit their comments and recommendations to MWRA in May.

MWRA can be characterized as a “steady state,” operation repaying debt and putting $28 million in maintenance in the current expense budget. This is the second year of the new, lower spending cap on capital expenses. In 2003 the Advisory Board challenged the Authority to stay within a 5 year cap to both prioritize projects and manage rates. FY14 18 is the third cap established. The FY15 capital budget is the lowest 5-year spending plan to date, and rates are projected to increase 3.6%, at the same level as projected last year.

The average assessment increase for the next five years is below 4%, however the challenge is to smooth the peaks driven by the debt in certain years. Already, the 8.5% projected rate increase for 2017 has been reduced to 6.0% through defeasances.

Defeasance is funded by setting any variance in the variable debt rate aside. Those funds are put in an escrow account, which is interest-bearing, to give the Authority funds to pay down bonds when they mature.

The Fiscal 2015 current budget is projected at $683m. The Capital budget is proposed from Fiscal 14-18 at $791.7m (cap), although now it is at $787.1m. For FY15, the Authority is budgeting $124.6m.

Soni noted that historically the Authority’s spending is below budget however, the main goal is protecting capital equipment and assets. The under spending on the capital program depends on a variety of factors, some outside of Authority’s control.

Q: Does the MWRA manage the Inflow/Infiltration funds allocated for communities, specifically for the Cambridge project?

Kathy: The Authority and Cambridge managed parts of the Cambridge CSO projects jointly, but the MWRA does not manage stormwater unless mandated by EPA.
The FY15 budget does not include the increased funding for the I/I program but it is expected that the final budget will include additional phases (9 & 10) and will double the funds in each phase from $40m to $80m, as recommended by the Advisory Board (and WAC). In the Capital budget, CSO spending is still significant at 19%, but it should be complete by FY16. As of this budget, water and wastewater are approximately the same percentage of the total budget.

Big projects in FY 15 include:

The top 5 projects account for 80% of the budget.
The challenge of bidding and completing projects remains as smaller projects take almost as much time as the bigger ones.

Ongoing Capital Projects:

Q: Are the Authority’s bonds going out further than the life of the equipment?
Kathy: There is an on-going effort to reflect the matching concept, however there are some
disconnects—particularly in case of electrical and HVAC equipment that is in corrosive
environments.

Defeasance:

FY 14 is projected to have a $25m surplus, which the Authority will use to defease debt in the years it is needed the most.

Direct expenses this year are tighter than last year; however a 3-4 million under spending is
projected.

Other Liabilities:

The continued strategy is to fund the pension first—MWRA experienced high returns in 2013 at 15.9%, for an average of 8.3% since 1986. Once that is funded, the Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB—mostly retiree health insurance) will be funded, by setting up an irrevocable trust—which will allow good returns.

Q: Are the defeasance accounts committed?
Kathy: Funds are committed but available to cover unexpected expenses up to the end of the fiscal year.

Assumptions for the FY15 Current Expense Budget:

Headcount remains at 1,175 (currently 1,164)—the largest challenge is personnel succession planning, given the average age of the Authority’s staff.

The minimum required pension funding remains is $7.8m plus $4.8m based on OPEB evaluation, both allocated to the pension fund.

No debt service assistance assumed for FY15. However, this year’s DSA receipt will be applied to the FY15 assessments.

95% of the revenues are coming from community assessments.

Debt is now up to 61% of expenses—in 2017 it will be 63%.

The current expense budget is 1.8% larger than the FY14 budget for direct expenses.

Health insurance (GIC) increase this year will be 1%.

Debt increases 5.4%.

Rate revenue increase (combined, average) 3.6%

Last year, the MWRA did not use rate stabilization funds; FY15 includes the use of $7.9 m.

FY17 rate increase was projected at 8.5%, but now is at 6%. We have another year to refine the FY17 assessments.

Next (debt) mountain is FY20 at 7%, which is now down to 6.5%.

As of FY17, MWRA is starting to pay more principal than interest.

The average household bill, at 61,000 gallons/year, has risen $15/year.

Challenges include:
1. Short-term interest rate market conditions;
2. Regulatory requirements;
3. Pension and OPEB obligations;
4. Uncertainty of Health Insurance premiums;
5. Limited system expansion opportunities;
6. Continued prioritization of CIP projects;
7. Inflationary pressures as economy improves; and
8. Availability of Debt Service Assistance

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Minutes March 18, 2014.  The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting jointly with the Water Supply Citizens Advisory Committee at the Waterworks Museum, Chestnut Hill.

WAC: Craig Allen, Bill Katz, Vin Spada (Woodard & Curran), Elie Saroufim (BWSC), Wendy Leo (MWRA), Wayne Chouinard (Town of Arlington)

WSCAC: Bill Fadden (OARS), Dona Motts (LWVMA), Paul Lauenstein (NepRWA), Gerald Eves (Trout Unlimited), Elie Saroufim (BWSC)

Presenter/Guests: Denise Breiteneicher (MWRA), Janna Shub, Kurt Kelley (Arlington), Pamela Cady (Town of Acton), Fabiola deCarvalho (Town of Framingham),

Staff: Andreae Downs (WAC), Lexi Dewey & Sue Costa (WSCAC)

FUTURE MEETING DATES/TOPICS:

April 8 10:30am at Waterworks Museum: MWRA Current and Capital budget preview, Kathy Soni

May 2, 10:30am at Cambridge Constructed Wetland (Alewife area): Vin Spada, Cambridge Public Works

June 6 10:30am at MAPC: WAC planning for the year ahead

VOTES:

Minutes for the March 7 meeting, amended, approved.

PRESENTATION

Going Green, Saving Green: Energy Initiatives at the MWRA-Denise Breitneicher:

Denise Breiteneicher and Kristin Pateneaude share in energy initiatives at the Authority. Kristin is focused on Deer Island and renewables, Denise on all the field operations facilities..

Water is an energy intensive business. The MWRA used 206 megawatt hours in 2013 to run all of their facilities. Their total electricity costs in 2013 were $21 million, or about 10% of direct expenses, up from $15 million in 2002. Electricity represents 81% of the Authority’s utilities.

The Authority’s approach to energy involves energy audits, dealing with “low-hanging fruit,” purchasing the most efficient motors available when replacing motors, optimizing processes, taking advantage of grants and other funds available from utilities and government, putting standard energy language in all Requests for Proposals, and coordinating energy retrofits with capital improvements.

The MWRA will take on 13 small energy projects in the next 5 months. They are using the Green Communities Act of 2006 to purchase energy initiatives without going out to bid—using the utilities’ pre-screening to get the best deal for all measures under $100K, while also saving time and money on procurement. The utilities get bids every 3 years from suppliers; they are required to hold the costs steady for that period.

Some completed projects include:

Denise presented a graph showing about a 25-30% energy use reduction from January 2008 to July 2013 at the Chelsea facility, and noted that during that period, building occupancy was increased.

Q: Is the Authority looking to make its facilities “solar ready” meaning having low enough energy use that they could be completely powered by solar panels?

A: A consultant is doing a solar assessment of every MWRA building that does not currently have solar, and will be making recommendations.

Denise noted that MWRA does not have a required payback range, because it takes into account the useful life of the energy improvement vs. the payback. A longer payback makes sense for facilities that the Authority expects to keep for longer periods.

In January, the MWRA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with NSTAR for its eastern operations, which codifies what they are doing. It looks out 3 years, sets goals (but no penalties), and pushes the MWRA to reduce energy demand by 15%, or 18MWh. It also guarantees $.30 per kWh saved, which is more than the former payback of $.25. The Authority pays on average $.14.

Q: Did the MWRA get hit with the 16% increase in electricity costs in January?

A: The MWRA has a three-year contract, so no.

The other advantage to the MOU is that MWRA staff can consult with NSTAR’s staff dedicated to energy efficiency. They help her make sure everything in MWRA projects gets maximum energy efficient as part of standard operating procedure.

Currently, about 45% of MWRA’s total energy profile is from renewable sources. Some of that is purchased. 25% is self-generated hydropower, solar, wind and methane/digester gas.

MWRA is also looking to replace boilers on Deer Island with ones that are more efficient and produce electricity first and heat as a by-product (it is now the other way around). Denise will find out how much more efficient.

The Flo wind turbine on DI (the hooded turbine) is more efficient at lower wind speeds. It has a capacity of 100kw. A newer prototype will be installed. The turbine does not produce a light flicker. Denise will find out how much quieter and how much more efficient the hooded turbine is than the standard, 3-blade one on DI. This turbine was installed free as a pilot project. A newer version will be installed; again, free of charge to the MWRA, once the kinks are worked out.

Hydropower generates $1.8m/year in savings and revenue for the Authority, but only operates when water flows. The most consistently running turbine is on the outfall at Deer Island.

Solar represents $242K/year in savings.

The Authority has aggressively pursued grant funding, including $33m in ARRA funds, for energy savings and renewable energy. They have also received more than $680K in energy rebates, and $177m in savings and revenue from energy retrofits. Annual savings from FY2002 to FY2011 went from $6 million to $24 million.

Future initiatives—if co-digestion works out, it could result in a 4-8% increase in gas production, or an additional 480,000 kWh.

The authority is looking at in-line hydro turbines, being careful not to hinder water delivery. They are in the midst of a solar assessment that should be complete in June, when they will consider other solar projects. They are not currently looking at solar panels for parking lots—Andreae noted that the Lexington Schools have a contract for solar over parking at no cost to the schools. Framingham’s REI and Red Hook (Brooklyn) Whole Foods already have them.

The MWRA has purchased many alternative fuel vehicles. Their MIS department does green computing, and the Authority recycles. Denise stressed that it is important to talk in terms of energy per unit to remove the impact of rainy versus dry years. The MWRA is working toward more unit metrics—a summer intern will get this project off the ground.

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Minutes March 7, 2014.  The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MAPC offices in Boston.

Attendees/Contributors: WAC: Taber Keally, vice-chairman; Beth Miller, Craig Allen, Bill Katz, Vin Spada, Elie Saroufim, Martin Pillsbury, Karen Lachmeyr, Wayne Chouinard, Contributors: Wendy Leo (MWRA), Stephen Estes-Smargiassi (MWRA), Michael Hornbrook (MWRA)

Guests: Dan Winograd (Woodward Curran), Kevin McCluskey (MWRA)

Staff: Andreae Downs (WAC)

FUTURE MEETING DATES/TOPICS:

NEXT:  Tuesday, March 18, 10:30 am, Waterworks Museum with WSCAC: MWRA Energy Initiatives: Going Green & Saving Green

Tuesday, April 8, 10:30 am, Waterworks Museum with WSCAC: MWRA Capital and Current Expense Budget

Taber Keally opened the meeting

VOTES:

PRESENTATION

Staff Changes at MWRA

Michael Hornbrook explained that MWRA’s succession planning has been put into effect this quarter with three key retirements (Marcis Kempe, Rick Trubiano and –in April—Dan O’Brien).

All of these three individuals had several portfolios, and some of these have been broken off to give the Authority flexibility and resilience. Cross-training of staff continues.

The replacements are all internal—demonstrating the Authority’s “strong bench,” but mean that the Authority is now back-filling the positions held by the promoted individuals.

Carolyn Fiore will replace Trubiano as Deputy COO under Hornbrook. Trubiano’s portfolio was TRAC, the laboratories, ENQUAD (now ENQUAL). He led policy changes that crossed division lines, worked on strategic plans, master plans, GPS for vehicles, sustainability and other initiatives. Fiore is an accomplished manager with an impressive resume.

John Riccio, superintendent at the Clinton WWTP will replace Fiore as head of TRAC. Besides his strong resume, he was WW operator of the year last year.

David Duest will replace O’Brien at Deer Island, when Dan retires April 4. His background is in biology and how the plant works (optimization, remote monitoring). He was responsible for putting live monitoring of all DI processes on each administrator’s Blackberry.

John Colbert will become Deputy Director at Deer Island, a new position that will focus on mechanical/maintenance functions formerly also overseen by O’Brien. Deer Island management was too lean, and this will allow for backup.

Wendy Leo has been promoted to Grace Vitale’s job, senior program manager for NPDES compliance at ENQUAL.

Stephen Estes-Smargiassi has had sustainability and data management, once part of Marcis Kempe’s job, added to his title—he will work on climate change, sea level rise, water and wastewater meters, data on energy.

Andrew Hildick-Smith, currently SCADA program manager, will assume Marcis’ emergency management portfolio, including training, drills, cyber- and physical security

Dave Coppes, currently western water operations director, will assume Marcis’ water operations portfolio, in the new position of Director of Waterworks, reuniting western and eastern water systems—from reservoir to tap.

Water & Sewer maintenance and SCADA will come under a new position.

Hornbrook noted that since 2000, MWRA has shrunk personnel by about 600 people as capital projects got less complicated and as systems were automated. They’ve done very little external hiring so far. One reason average age of an MWRA employee is 52.

But as the staff levels stabilize, they are recruiting interns, and are planning for 14-16 in the next fiscal year, recruiting  at technical high schools in particular. Entry level is where they are seeing the most growth potential. They are interested in engineers, operators, plumbers, electricians, etc. The Authority is also recruiting for diversity.

They are posting new jobs weekly.

Personnel costs represent about 40 percent of the MWRA operating budget (including pension & benefits), 1 of every 6 dollars if you include the capital budget. (UPDATE—looking more closely at the budget, Stephen E-S says: “Almost half of the operating budget and around 1 in 5 dollars of the total budget (including debt service”)

WAC members talked of Marcis Kempe’s  contribution, including his enthusiasm for all things water and water system history. Mike Hornbrook agreed, and noted that Marcis harped on the legacy and responsibility of running a massive water system, and regularly asked him to read the plaques at all MWRA facilities, commemorating the people who helped construct them.

The committee thanked Mr. Hornbrook for his presentation.

Climate change adaption

Stephen Estes-Smargiassi—the Planning staff have been thinking about climate change for 20 years, since the early 1990s. The Master Planning process for a major utility forces them to think out 60-100 years.

As they continue planning, they have gone to various climate change meetings, been a resource for Congress & others, and thought about ways the Authority can adapt—with an eye also on mitigating the Authority’s contribution to climate change and to adding resilience to Authority structures and process.

Deer Island was the first structure that explicitly added adaptation to climate change. It was set up 2 feet, protection was added for 14 foot waves with 2 feet of sea level rise, and they accounted for capacity reductions at the outfall.

Steve explained how the models have become more useful over time, with smaller data points and less uncertainty. Planning staff look at existing climate models and also look at rain gauge data, some of which (too new to be of much use now) may be on the website at mwra.com. Rain gauges show remarkable differences in precipitation within a few miles.

Planning also looks at expected population changes in the service area, existing community water supplies and variations, seasonal water use. But on the water side, the expectation is that there may be a small increase in yield. And because the Authority has very large reservoirs, they may be able to help mitigate the predicted increase in variability of the weather for the MWRA communities and those on the perimeter of the service area, particularly in case of drought.

Similarly, water supply side structures are 85% gravity fed, and most are high enough to avoid flooding. The Authority looks at ways to make them more reliable and flexible for extreme events, but also at how such adaptations can benefit water delivery daily.

On the sewer side—Sandy provided a wake-up call. Its left turn from the ocean to the coast gave the New York/New Jersey areas a higher than usual surge. NY saw surges 9 feet above the average high tide. The surge in Boston was 4.5 feet, but Sandy hit at low tide. At high tide, the surge would have been equivalent to the storm of 1978.

MWRA took advantage of the increased attention after Sandy to look at sea level rise for all MWRA facilities.

21 facilities are on the coast and near sea level, as a result of the sewer system being mostly gravity fed. Already, the Authority is looking at moving electrical and communication equipment higher, so they won’t lose power.

The utilities that lost power during Sandy had no backup power—or their generators/pumps flooded, and as a result their power equipment was flooded, and thus billions of gallons of raw or partly-treated sewage entered the ocean, for weeks. Passaic Valley—about half the MWRA size, got Federal reimbursements for about $100million +, but that doesn’t mean all damages are covered. NYC is spending several $100s of millions to flood proof its infrastructure.

You try to learn from other people’s mistakes. MWRA’s most critical facilities have backup power, and MWRA’s goal would be for them to stay in service, or, in the worst case, go off line and return to service in a matter of days, not weeks.

The Authority is looking at the 100 year flood (a flood with a probability of one/100 each year), the 100 year flood plus 2.5 feet, hurricane tracks and slosh and wave action. A combination of flooding and hurricane/slosh is not well understood yet. If the region had a storm as big as the storm of 1978, DI would be isolated, but the facility is high enough to continue to operate. They would go on backup power, on the expectation that the power utility would go offline, because it’s easier to switch power sources than to start them up.

MWRA has listed its facilities by level of risk.

Six facilities are within a foot of the 100 year flood, including the Chelsea pump house—which is very expensive to flood proof.  But if it went off-line, the MWRA now has work-arounds, and the ability to make repairs quickly.

Twelve facilities are within 100 year flood with 2.5 feet of sea level rise—and there the question is how quickly they could recover, and how well the MWRA could operate with that facility offline. The MWRA will direct funds to facilities with higher consequences if they are lost even temporariliy.

The next generation of work is to look at how the whole system works, especially if predicted high intensity rainfall occurs in areas where the sewers are low.

The data on biggest level of impacts is not yet at a fine enough level of detail for this to start yet. Typically wastewater modelers need data with 15 minute time step precipitation, not weekly or monthly data, and the geographic variability over relatively close distances  is also critical.
Adaptation includes looking at whether facilities can flood, whether flooding can be blocked—and for how long, and if a facility floods, how quickly it can be brought back online.

In the short run, MWRA is deciding where sandbags should be deployed, along with mobile generators. Medium-term, they are looking at temporary flood barriers for at risk buildings. As they renovate buildings, they are looking at changes that will reduce the number of times these temporary measures will be required—whether water proof doors, stop logs (and training in their use for enough people), back-up control systems.

Q: Why was 2.5 feet chosen as the sea level rise number?

A: looking at the studies, there was a cluster at year 2050 around 2.5 feet of possible sea level rise. It covers most scenarios. But even though any number you pick will be wrong, you’ve got to pick one and begin to act.

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Minutes Feb. 7, 2014.  The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MAPC offices in Boston.

Attendees/Contributors: WAC: Stephen Greene, Chair, Beth Miller, Craig Allen, Zhanna Davidovitz (MIT), Bill Katz, Vin Spada , Elie Saroufim (BWSC), Martin Pillsbury (MAPC), Karen Lachmeyr (Harvard), Wayne Chouinard (Arlington DPW),  John Reinhardt (Mass DEP)Wendy Leo (MWRA), Joseph Favaloro (MWRA Advisory Board), Carolyn Fiore (MWRA), Joshua Das (MWRA),

Guests: Joe Nerden (MassDEP), Zoe Neale (Mass Organics), Kendall Christiansen (Gaia Strategies), Rich Ludley? (Roche Brothers), Brian Houghton (MA Food Assoc.), Jeff Dinnean (Roche Bros), (inaudible) (Office of Technical Assistance of EoEA) Wendy Robinson (Cambridge DPW), Randy Mail (Cambridge DPW), John Dempsey (Brookline SWAC),Dan Winograd (Woodward & Curran)

Staff: Andreae Downs (WAC)

FUTURE MEETING DATES/TOPICS:

NEXT: March 7 10:30am at MAPC: Mike Hornbrook giving a general MWRA update; Steve Estes-Smargiassi on Resiliency and Preparedness.
AND
Tuesday, March 18, 10:30 am, Waterworks Museum with WSCAC: MWRA Energy Initiatives: Going Green & Saving Green

Stephen Greene opened the meeting

VOTES:

PRESENTATION

What Goes Down the Drain: “Flushables,” Food Grinders & more -

Carolyn Fiore described how TRAC got involved in extensive detective work to determine where some industrial non-woven rags that clogged the Braintree-Weymouth pump station last February, causing an overflow.

Fiore described the process of determining who might be using these rags, including print shops and garages, or municipal oil spill cleanup, as well as the work following the pipes upstream to find where the rags entered the system.

While TRAC was able to determine that the wipes came from a septic collection site in Randolph, and that they were long, perforated and contained oil with a specific fingerprint, they have yet to find the industry or shop that is contributing these rags.

But the mystery started TRAC looking at wipes in the pipes, and they quickly realized that this is an international problem that is growing in magnitude for sewer systems—baby wipes, industrial wipes, cleaning wipes, paper towels.

TRAC did talk to all the industries they visited about the problem of wipes in pipes, but found nobody was using their toilets to dispose of toweling—because it would clog their own pipes.

They also talked with other septage receiving sites, and one told them they had turned back a load from a nursing home which was full of wipes—which is the right response.

MWRA then decided to make “It’s a Toilet, not a Trashcan” the subject of this year’s School Program poster/essay/video contest, and is working on other public education efforts, and ways to approach the problem.

The MWRA website: http://www.mwra.com/03sewer/html/toiletnottrashcan.html now has new materials on what NOT to flush or put down the disposal.

The little plastic fruit stickers survive the entire DI process and are regularly found near the outfall. Not sure how to prevent that.

More wipes are being used for all kinds of residential and commercial purposes—cleaning, shoe shine, etc.,

But the big issue in SSOs and other back ups remains fats, oils and greases (FOG), which when combined with food waste can create cement-like blockages in pipes.

TRAC oversees food processors & regulates their food waste in the sewers. But not restaurants.

Usually, local departments of public health enforce the requirement for restaurants to have grease traps, but MWRA can step in if they aren’t enforcing adequately.

Maine POTWs are weighing clogs caused by wipes in their pipes and educating the public about the costs they create when flushed.

On May 6, there will be a national conference in Chelmsford to address flushables (Don't Let Wipes and Fog Clog Your Collection System, Radisson Hotel, Chelmsford, MA. Registration: https://www.neiwpcc.org/portal/connect.asp)

MWRA doesn’t usually get clogs from these things, because they have very large pipes, and screening facilities at several locations before sewage gets to Deer Island. It’s more of an issue in the communities, which have the smaller pipes.

Q: Have you seen in the screens an increase in tonnage?

Carolyn will find out.

Q: Do efficient toilets, which  use less water, make the clogging worse?

It may well be, but the point is you don’t want these things in the sewers even with more water.

Comment: “flushable” cat litters—is anyone getting these companies to refrain from putting “flushable” on the labels of their products? Consumer Reports demonstrated that “flushable” wipes do not break down whatsoever.

NACWA (National Association of Clean Water Agencies, formerly, American Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies, AMSA) is working with the non-woven fabric industry on getting the “not flushable” label on the top of wipe containers, particularly for baby wipes.

Comment: There are national efforts to improve labeling and public education.. More stringent standards in Europe, with a test of what’s flushable and more regulation.

Joshua Das: Disposals

The MWRA draft policy on food grinders distinguishes between commercial and residential grinders.
They would prefer no commercial grinders be used, since large amounts of food from restaurants and cafeterias or food processors could clog municipal pipes.

Josh found no strong policy anywhere in the country on garbage disposals. New York City used to ban them, but no longer does. MWRA had no policy at all.

After assessing the costs of hauling food waste vs treating & digesting it, the Authority policy declares that disposals are better than land filling food waste. Deer Island can harvest methane and fertilizer from the ground wastes. Composting locally is probably the most environmentally friendly method to handle food wastes, but MWRA feels that it’s not the Authority’s role to get into it.

The main concern is to keep FOG out of the disposals. Boston is particularly concerned about clogs. If people use these disposals for too much FOG, it can create problems.

Need a strong education component on FOG.

There are new uses for FOG across the country, and some communities collect FOG for re-use-such as biofuels.

Cambridge is piloting a food scrap collection in one neighborhood.

Garbage disposals are being installed in pilots in residences in Boston and Philadelphia along with waste audits to see how much waste is going to a landfill.

The concern with commercial grinders is the new ban on food waste of over 1 ton/week in Massachusetts (effective October 1, 2014) in state landfills. They are supposed to send their wastes to compost, use wastes for animal feed or waste-to-energy plants (incineration). Deer Island is piloting co-digestion this year to see if this would make financial sense for MWRA.

This is a draft policy, and we would welcome feedback.

If disposals are promoted, some towns and cities are nervous that clogs will increase.

The state plumbing code requires them in all restaurants, and it will be interesting to see what effect the food waste ban may have on restaurant grinder usage. Many smaller producers are already doing the green thing & sending wastes to composters or other recycling sites.

Martin Pillsbury: The DEP ban is meant to set up the infrastructure for food waste. It would be no surprise if they later lower the threshold below 1 ton/week.

Cambridge: We are starting a pilot program in April to collect food scraps.

Q: What about preventing food waste instead of focusing on managing it? The NRDC estimates 40% of food is wasted in the US.

A: The MWRA policy initially looked at that, but the decision was to focus just on disposals.

Greene: This needs a comprehensive look at some of these issues: the plumbing code, the energy produced and more. There is some very good food cooking oil that could be used as a biofuel, and it just needs to be made more convenient. If a lot of agencies just work together: the Boards of Health, Plumbing Inspectors, Sewer Authorities and Recycling divisions, to move this along, we could have the stick on one hand and with the infrastructure on the other side—there’s a lot that could be done.

Comment: The plastic stickers on fruit are found in the outfall effluent—if disposals are more often used, you will see more of them in the Harbor.

Q: Where’s the enforcement muscle for the commercial policy?

A: Our regulations allow us to enforce if our pipes get a clog that you’ve contributed to and your restaurant does not have a grease trap. But in practice, our pipes don’t clog as readily as the towns’. We have issued notices of non-compliance, but have never taken on the restaurant issue—it’s too big and we would need to hire too much more staff.

We are going to have to keep a close eye on this after the state ban goes in; as people produce just over a ton, will they put more down the drain so they can put food out with the trash? The towns, obviously, will see this first.

Kendall Christianson a consultant said that his client, Insinkerator (a food-grinder company) was working on a demonstration project in Boston in a new 48-unit LEED-Gold building in Dorchester to increase recycling and divert food scraps. They are installing disposals for food scraps in all the units. They are doing regular waste audits and educating residents on how to use the disposals effectively. They will install in April and finish after Labor Day. They are also seeing if they can reduce food waste in the trash. They work with the Recycling office, rather than BWSC. He said food is 70% water and can move pretty well once ground.

Q: Why not put coffee drains down the disposal?

A: not sure. Think that it may not move well. Insinkerator had no issues with them or their conveyance, unlike eggshells. Composters consider coffee grounds “black ground.”

Elie Saroufim noted that BWSC had new educational materials on wipes in the pipes and FOG, and shared a new bill stuffer. In addition, he said the BWSC had videos at bwsc.org which he said any community could use with BWSC attribution for their own residents. He also invited the committee to suggest video subjects that BWSC could produce.

Comment: I read the list (on the MWRA website) as things not to flush down the toilet, not as things not to put down the disposal.

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE:

Joseph Favaloro, MWRA Advisory Board

S1880 did about 5 things:

Natural Resources hearing, revised the bill to S1947, which added $200m/year more in state funding for water & wastewater projects. They tapped corporate tax reserve to fund that. But in the second round of bonding hearings, it appears the extra money in S 1947 will not go further. The legislature has no appetite for taking from a reserve account, and thus that version of the legislation is probably dead.

What you will see before the Senate for debate will look more like 1880.

The UMass Collins Center’s Economic Development Report for the AB showed that $1 invested in water & sewer could return $14 in taxes and $7 investment in the private economy. And if water is a constraint, over 45,000 jobs may be at risk. (Full report and the cover letter can be found under “Documents of Note” on www.mwra.state.ma.us/monthly/wac/wac.htm). Case studies included Southboro and Somerville.

The Senate should act on the water/sewer issues in mid-february or March. Water & wastewater are no longer on a back burner, but water funding will be addressed this year.

Comment: Important not to forget that water and wastewater are important investments.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORTS:

The current outreach at the MWRA report was distributed. Andreae explained that the purpose of the report was to give WAC a clear idea of how the MWRA was interacting with the public so that if it wished the committee could fill gaps in the outreach or enhance rather than overlap with the Authority. Members noted that WAC doesn’t have a huge outreach and printing budget, but that WAC could comment to the MWRA on what they are doing right. Others noted WAC’s mission includes public education and outreach. Some suggested efforts could be coordinated with WSCAC to support aspects of what MWRA does. It could mean coordinated op-ed pieces or letters to the editor of local papers. It could be reports that papers might pick up on various aspects of the MWRA. US water systems work a lot better than, say, those in Sochi right now.

Two WAC members volunteered to judge the School Program’s annual contest, which this year is “It’s a Toilet, Not a Trashcan.”

Future meeting topics: Members were most interested in the progress of the North Hydraulics study, both because WAC hadn’t looked at it in a while, and that MAPC is looking at possible economic development that might be constrained by that capacity. An additional meeting for March 11 (now March 18) will be jointly with WSCAC as the topic is energy initiatives at the MWRA, including efficiency measures and renewable projects. The thought is to book the meeting, but not make it obligatory.

April’s meeting will be jointly with WSCAC at the Waterworks Museum.  WSCAC is also interested in joining WAC for a tour of the Cambridge constructed wetland, currently scheduled for May.

2013
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Minutes Nov. 19, 2013.  The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting jointly with the Water Supply Citizens Advisory Committee at the Waterworks Museum, Chestnut Hill.

Attendees/Contributors: WAC: Stephen Greene, Chair, Taber Keally (WAC vice chair and NEPRWA), Beth Miller, Mary Adelstein, Craig Allen, Zhanna Davidovitz (MIT), Bill Katz, Vin Spada (WAC), Elie Saroufim (BWSC), Martin Pillsbury (MAPC), Wendy Leo (MWRA),

WSCAC: Bill Fadden, Gerald Eves (Trout Unlimited), Michael Baram (BU, CFL), Dona Motts (LWVMA), Alice Clemente (Blackstone River Watershed), Paul Lauenstein (NepRWA), Martha Morgan (Nashua River Watershed),

Other:  Fabiola DeCarahlho (Town of Framingham), Jennifer Pederson (Mass Water Works Assoc.), Carl Leone (MWRA), Lise Marx (MWRA), Kelly Coughlin (MWRA), Pamela Cady (Town of Acton), Julie Wood (CRWA), Bruce Berman (Save the Harbor), Sen. Jamie Eldridge, Kristin Hall (MWRA), Ward Motts (UMass, retired)

Staff: Andreae Downs (WAC), Lexi Dewey (WSCAC)

FUTURE MEETING DATES/TOPICS:

NEXT: Jan. 3 10:30am at MAPC: TRAC, wipes/rags, food grinders with MWRA's Carolyn Fiore

Stephen Greene opened the meeting

VOTES:

Minutes for the Oct. 4 meeting, amended, approved.

New members: Wayne Chouinard, Arlington  DPW and Elie Saroufim, BWSC, unanimously recommended

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE:

Senator James Eldridge

Senator Eldridge thanked the committees for the opportunity to speak.  The Senator served as the co-chair of the Water Infrastructure Finance Commission (WIFC).  The WIFC was established by the legislature in 2009 with appointees chosen in 2010.  The WIFC met for over 2 years and had many discussions on how to finance water infrastructure.   Sen. Eldridge noted that there wasn’t consensus on how to fund infrastructure repair. 

Sen. Eldridge mentioned that Martin Pillsbury served on the Commission.  In addition, although she was not on the Commission, Jennifer Pederson attended every public hearing.

The Senator spoke on the work of the WIFC including the analysis of infrastructure needs across the state, which add up to more than $20billion over the next 20 years. Another focus was whether there were reforms needed to encourage greener infrastructure for water that mimics natural processes.  Things like decentralized water and wastewater treatment were discussed.  He mentioned that the MWRA is the gold standard for water distribution and wastewater treatment. The discussion centered on the smaller water districts – i.e. communities outside the MWRA system.  The Senator is hopeful that the report generated by the WIFC will be useful as a starting point to guide cities and towns across the state.

The Commission discussed whether there should be strings attached to SRF funding or other state grants for upgrades to water systems requiring energy conservation, leak repair, and developing and implementing other best practices including enterprise funds.  Regionalization was also considered.   The Commission discussed the need to provide a financial incentive for communities on the periphery of the MWRA system to be able to join. S. 1880 includes a DEP matching 1:1 grant to help pay the MWRA admission price for communities in SWMI identified stressed basins.

The WIFC ended last year and the legislative session began in January.  Senator Eldridge and Representative Dykema filed several bills including a bill on water banking and another to establish a new trust to fund innovative ways to treat wastewater.   As an example, Senator Eldridge noted that earlier this year a group went to Deer Island Wastewater Treatment Plant to look into the possibility of using the unused treatment areas to test emerging technologies and establish best practices in wastewater treatment.

Senate President Therese Murray emphasized funding of water and wastewater infrastructure as one of her top 5 priorities.  Senator Eldridge worked with Murray’s office for several months and is pleased that as a result, Senate Bill 1880 has been filed.  He highlighted some of the details of the bill including a requirement that DEP identify best practices for water districts and water managers as well as looking at green infrastructure.

The Senate bill includes funding to pay for 50% of the entry fee for communities interested in joining the MWRA.  There is additional funding for technical assistance.  Sen. Eldridge notes that the bill is a great way to highlight the accomplishments and record of the MWRA.   It is also a way to expand the best practices of the MWRA to smaller communities outside the service area. 

The WIFC could not agree on different forms of revenue for infrastructure so that’s why Senate Bill 1880 is expanding the loan capacity for Water Pollution Abatement Trust with a relatively modest increase to $138 million.  Senator Eldridge supports more progressive taxation, and an updated bottle bill  and a dedication of some of that money to fund water infrastructure.  He noted that water is not a sexy issue and few people want to talk about it.  We need to figure out how to generate more public interest in the importance of water.

The Senator concluded his presentation and took questions.

Q: Would the portion of the entrance fee paid by the state be a loan or a grant to the community?

A: It would be a grant.

Q: Water related energy use is a significant portion of total energy use.  If we are going to subsidize joining the MWRA can we require progressive ascending water block rates to encourage conservation so we are not subsidizing water that will be used for lawn irrigation?

A: The bill challenges DEP to come up with full cost water pricing.  We need to have those discussions.

Comment:  Mary Adelstein noted that a major virtue of Senate Bill 1880 is full cost pricing.  She went on to say that we shouldn’t seek to make water cheap.  When you under price water, maintenance of the pipes goes down.  We should be careful not to perpetuate this situation by subsiding water costs.

Q: Stormwater presents a huge challenge for small communities with big drainage repair needs but that was not included in the WIFC report.  Please don’t stop here.  We need to fix these problems.  Can you share your view on the Senate bill and the Interbasin Transfer Act (IBTA)?  Second, what can citizens do to help?

A: The environmental community is universally concerned that Senate Bill 1880 is not following the policy of keeping water local or regional.  The bill is expanding the bonding capacity for Water Pollution Abatement Trust.

Q: Going back to the IBTA.  Senate Bill 1880 would exempt communities from having to go through the existing review process of the IBTA.  It’s a good process that requires communities to do thorough planning and allows for a public input process.   The environmental communities are looking to not override this process.

A: I understand.  We have heard universal opposition/concern to this from the environmental community so it may not be in the final bill.   (Scribe’s note:   The language on the IBTA has been removed from the bill)

Comments:  Lexi Dewey spoke to say that WSCAC’s members are strongly opposed to the portion of the bill that overrides the IBTA.  She stressed that the public process and due diligence on the side of the joining community is important.  The transfer of water is worth the review and process.   She further noted that reducing the process to 20 days for MA DEP doesn’t do justice to large transfers.  If you want the water you should need to put out that information for review.

A:  Thank you for your comments.  This is one reason we wanted experts in the Environmental community and the public to review the Bill.

Q: Why did you decide to incentivize joining the MWRA?  Also, when you incentivized did you make a distinction between water and wastewater?  Did you understand that there is little or no excess capacity in the wastewater transport system?

A: There are a number of communities wanting to join the MWRA but the entry fee is high so incentivizing is a way to make it more likely to happen.  As far as water and wastewater, the Senator will need to check on that.

Comment:  Paul Lauenstein pointed out the connection between conservation-oriented ascending block rates for water and inter-basin transfers.  If you incentivize conservation there will be less water used and less transfers and that will be true to the principal of keeping water local.

Comment:  Jennifer Pederson thanked Senator Eldridge for his leadership on the water issue.  One of the WIFC main recommendations was to increase public awareness about water.  Mass. Water Works Association and the American Council of Engineering Companies of Massachusetts (ACEC/MA)
have come together to form a Water Infrastructure Alliance and part of that is supporting legislation and a secondary part is creating tools for public water systems to use to make their case for infrastructure repair, and sending opinion pieces and letters to the editor to local papers.   She noted that water managers frequently want to do maintenance but the public is not supportive of rate increases.

The committees thanked the Senator for his time.

PRESENTATION

MWRA Master Plan -

The first Master Plan (MP) was done in 2006 and was used to set the MWRA 2009-2013 budget cap.  As part of the 2013 MP staff went back and revisited the goals and objectives from 2006 to see if they were still relevant going forward.   The MP projects over a 40 year period with the most detail in the first 5 years then will gradually decreasing detail further out.  The outlying years are planning estimates and place holders.

Since the MWRA’s inception, the Authority has spent $7.7 billion in capital dollars – primarily in wastewater (73%).h The Authority infrastructure has a replacement asset value of approximately  $13 billion split fairly equally between water and wastewater assets.  On the wastewater side, the Deer Island Treatment Plant and outfall account for approximately 46% of the value.   Most of the dollars on the water side are in tunnels and pipelines. 

The MP is a tool for staff to use for annual CIP development and for management when projecting over the next 3-4 years.  There are $ 4 billion in projects addressed in the MP:  $1.5 billion in water and $2.5 billion in wastewater.  There are 367 projects in the MP that are prioritized as 1-5 beginning with #1 rated as Critical and #5 rated as Desirable. 
 
The 2006 Water MP themes were redundancy, pipeline rehabilitation, and asset protection needs.  There has been little significant change.   Moving forward the Authority believes the existing safe yield is adequate.  They see nothing down the road in federal or state regulations that will require major system dollars.  Climate change is not expected to have a major impact on reservoir system yield.  

Recommendations on the water side reflect that the MWRA believes that operational flexibility and system security are enhanced by having redundant means of supply.  An inspection of the Quabbin tunnel is included in the CIP.  Additional redundancy is included in the MP to systematically eliminate single points of failure in the system.  Lise spoke in some detail about specific locations that need replacement, repair, or redundancy.

Storage is important to the MWRA and they are looking at specific distribution storage.  Spot Pond covered storage of 20 million gallons is slated to come on line in 2014.  Lise presented information on historic storage levels.

Pipeline rehabilitation remains critical with 53 miles of cast iron pipes relined so far.   A map of pipes showing those rehabilitated and those still to be completed was presented.  Lise spoke about the importance of asset protection – maintenance and improvements to MWRA facilities such as the MetroWest and Hultman tunnels, the Carroll Water Treatment Plant, the Ware Disinfection facility and pump stations among others.

Q:  Foss Reservoir – does the land belong to DCR and the dam to MWRA?

A:  Yes

Q:  What is MWRA doing about keeping water within basins?  Are they taking any kind of a lead in recharge?

A:  Lise suggested that Steve Estes-Smargiassi could answer this question more fully but noted that Reading and Wilmington are MWRA water users located in the Ipswich Basin where the focus is to keep more water in the Ipswich River.  She wasn’t sure what else the MWRA might be doing.

Lise concluded her remarks and Carl took over to discuss wastewater planning. MWRA is working to keep stormwater and ground water out of the sewer system.

Carl discussed the wastewater portion of the MP.  The wastewater system covers 43 communities.  The CIP has $1 billion currently, mostly in the next 10 years. The Master Plan has another $1.5 billion in projects, mostly asset protection.  Major themes from 2006 Master Plan continues, but add upgrades to residuals facilities and co-digestion pilot with food waste at Deer Island.  Also, CSO projects are coming to a conclusion. Maintenance and improvements at Deer Island are using about 40% of the wastewater funds.  In FY 2014 a co-digestion pilot will be underway at Deer Island.  Wastewater is not expected to have any significant changes in flows and loads over the 40 year timeframe, nor are regulations expected to have major impact.  Sea level rise and flood mitigation is accounted for at the Deer Island plant but other MWRA wastewater facilities are being evaluated as they come up for repair and replacement.

Carl had slides showing expected asset protection costs.   Residuals will account for about 10% of wastewater spending with co-digestion at Deer Island driving that over the next year or two.

Other wastewater issues discussed:

  1. Cross harbor tunnels and drop shafts to Deer Island
  2. The remote headworks – Chelsea Creek, Columbus Park, and Ward Street— slated for upgrades
  3. Phosphorus removal for the Clinton Plant
  4. 20 Pump stations and CSO facilities
  5. CSO control program 4 remaining projects, no planned additional facilities after FY20, because need to do a 3-year performance assessment
  6. Collection system sewers – 30% over 100 years old, 8 percent or 18 miles are C-rated
  7. Interceptor renewal projects—6 of projects in CIP, remaining 7 in Master Plan—watched closely.
  8. Wastewater metering and remote monitoring
  9. Community financial assistance for I/I--$40m each round, 45% grant; 55% loan. The Authority will be talking with the Advisory Board on whether to increase that amount, given increased regulatory focus on I/I.

There is $2.5 billion in the wastewater MP - $1 billion in the CIP and $1.5 billion going forward.  Carl had graphs showing the breakdowns of these figures.

Q: Are there any clean energy projects going on in Clinton?

A:  Carl wasn’t sure. Clinton has a very small footprint. But in all renovations, MWRA incorporates energy efficiency.

Q: What is involved in asset protection?  Is climate change taken into account?

A: Asset protection is rehabilitation and maintenance.  We want to protect the facilities from sea level rise and any changes to facilities will take sea level rise into account.

Q: What have you done in regard to climate change and CSO compliance?

A: We have done simulations of sea level rise and storm surge for all of our facilities.  We are looking on a project-by-project basis to determine what needs to be done to protect facilities.  We expect to look at the CSO plan and climate change again after the three years’  monitoring. After the three-year assessment, the argument will begin on whether or not we need to spend more money.

Q: Is there financial I/I assistance for Clinton and Lancaster?

A: No. It is under discussion. The plant at Clinton has capacity to receive and treat the I/I, but the regulators won’t let us increase our flow limit there, so we occasionally exceed it.

Q: What are your assumptions on interest rates for bonding costs?  What about inflation?

A: The MP doesn’t take interest rates and inflation into account - all MP costs are current costs.  At the time projects are brought into the Capital Plan, we update the costs. We know the costs in years after the first five years are ballpark costs.

Q: So if your assumptions are too small, do you stretch out some of the projects?

A: If costs rise, we either increase the funding cap or we’ll do less with the same amount of money.

Q: How much of the sewer system is privately owned (sewer laterals)?

A: About the same amount as is publically owned, about 5200 miles.

Carl concluded his presentation and Andreae Downs led a brief meeting of WAC business including a discussion on pipe rehabilitation. 

Paul Lauenstein noted that the water system portion of the Master Plan doesn’t seem to include climate change and green energy.   Paul suggested we need to encourage the MWRA in this regard.  The green energy discussion continued with various people mentioning specific locations and projects.  Climate change predictions for New England are for more water not less.  The four wastewater Headworks can end up being shut down by flooding and will be renovated.

Q:  What are the headworks?

A: They are stations where wastewater is screened and its velocity and pressure reduced on its way to Deer Island.

Q: Is there an update on the Bottle Bill? 

A: Paul answered that all signatures are being certified on a town-by-town basis. The legislature has until May to preempt this process.  Additional signatures will be needed to get the bill on the ballot.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORTS:

January 3 meeting topics up for discussion: North Hydraulics System testing, TRAC with wipes/rags, food grinders and industrial permits, or the Co-Digestion pilot. BWSC is doing a huge push on wipes and rags. Unanimous vote for TRAC in January, with Co-Digestion perhaps after the full digester pilot is up and running.

April’s meeting will be jontly with WSCAC at the Waterworks Museum.  WSCAC is also interested in joining WAC for a tour of the Cambridge constructed wetland, currently scheduled for May.

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Minutes Oct. 4, 2013. The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MAPC conference room in Boston. Attendees/Contributors: Andreae Downs (WAC Executive Director), Karen Lachmayr (Harvard and WAC), Stephen Greene, Chair, Taber Keally (WAC vice chair and NEPRWA), Beth Miller (WAC), Mary Adelstein (WAC), Craig Allen (WAC), Zhanna Davidovitz (WAC & MIT), Bill Katz (WAC), Vin Spada (WAC), Patrick Smith (MWRA), Margery Johnson (MWRA), Stephen Cullen (MWRA), John Vetere (MWRA), Elie Saroufim (BWSC), Kevin McCluskey (MWRA), Wayne Chouinard (Arlington DPW), Betsy Reilley (MWRA).

FUTURE MEETING DATES/TOPICS:

NEXT: November 19 on MWRA long-range planning (CIP) with Stephen Estes-Smargiassi, jointly with WSCAC, at the Waterworks Museum in Chestnut Hill.

Karen L. cannot be at the 19th meeting.

Stephen Greene opened the meeting

Comment Letter on the MWRA Residuals Contract: APPROVED with edits.

Minutes for the May 31 meeting approved.

DELEGATED AUTHORITY:

The committee voted unanimously to give Stephen Greene authority to send a letter on WAC‟s behalf commenting on the Clinton draft NPDES permit along the lines of WAC‟s discussion at this meeting (see below).

VOTE:

To join the Water Infrastructure Alliance—unanimous (4-0, voted after noon, when several members had to leave).

PRESENTATION

John Vetere, Patrick Smith, Margery Johnson & Stephen Cullen, MWRA: Sewer pipe and interceptor maintenance, I/I removal, asset protection

VETERE: Sewer: 43 communities, 5,000 miles of municipal sewers, 4 communities with combined systems (Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, Chelsea)

Deer Island—360mgd to 1.3bgd capacity.

Gravity system. MWRA has 11 pump stations.

Because of Combined Sewers and I/I, Deer Island is at capacity (1.3bgd) 7% of the time.

famp

Facility Asset Management Program (diagram on right)

same program for water lines as for sewer lines.

Take away one of these blocks, and the system can fail. It‟s expensive, but worth it.

276 miles of sewer pipes, siphons and force mains. Inspect them so we can replace them prior to any failure.

Have less than 1% allocated for emergency maintenance, and we try to keep it below that because don‟t want to always be having emergencies. Try to maintain so we don‟t have emergencies.

We did have one in Braintree/Weymouth when some materials blocked the pumps.

Inspection program—want to make sure the 88% of the system that is gravity collection system is inspected every 7 years. Industry standard is 5-7. 20 siphons, or 44% of them, annually or once every 3 years. A siphon blockage will get you an SSO. Also other structures.

Use Closed Circuit TV (CCTV) to check the pipelines; Sonar to inspect the siphons. We clean more than inspect. Every time we do work upstream, we clean downstream to prevent problems.

We do help out our communities with CCTV when they need it.

The CCTV truck & equipment is out during most of the week. But do have down time to repair and refurbish them, usually during wet weather, when the pipes are too full of water to inspect.

Sonar siphon inspections—prevent SSOs.

Bucket lines to clear sediment and trash, hydraulic jets to clear fats, oils, grease, „Vactors to pull out trash—just remove the solids, and leave the water in the system. But also do spot repairs and community assistance.

Questions on the 9 Vactor trucks—they are designed to both squirt high-pressure water into the pipes and suck out debris. They can often be used from the surface, unless something hangs up in the pipes, then a worker needs to go down.

Debris over a short period can be plastics, personal hygene products, etc. See wipes in screens after wet weather. Industrial rags in Weymouth caused flooding after wrapping themselves around the grinders.

Other “flushable” wipes, partly cloth, and industrial rags collect on screens. The personal wipes will often clog household pipes, and MWRA is about to come out with educational materials on them. May be more of a problem for local systems than it is for the MWRA.

TRAC is ready to come to WAC, possibly in January.

Training and cross training with other state authorities is also a regular component of maintenance.

“Special waste” is some of the material that is taken out that needs to be sent to a landfill—such as building materials—it is tested to be sure there‟s no asbestos or other hazardous material.

The MWRA‟s I/I program is also critical to keeping flow down. The MWRA Board is talking about increasing the amount available to the program, and state legislation may add funds to reimburse the MWRA for that. A chart in the presentation shows that average flow is down over the past 15 years.

Long-term program for rehabilitation of the sewer system inspection ratings for materials and age are used to determine when a pipe will need to be replaced or rehabbed.

Pipes are rated A, B and C; unrated pipe isn‟t yet inspected. C pipe needs attention. The worst is vitrified clay, laid in the 1930s. When salt water comes into pipes, it can corrode, but the Authority has back flow valves to keep it out. More problematic is hydrogen sulfide, which can corrode the tops (crowns) of concrete pipes.

Lining sewer lines requires drying out the pipes—so bypasses have to be created and flow has to be pumped out of the system. This can be complex in older, crowded communities.

MWRA spent about $126m in rehabbing sewer lines. Not maintenance—considered Capital.

Future rehabilitation work: Some of the pipes are huge—including horse-shoe shaped, brick 106x98 Chelsea metropolitan sewer, built in 1892 that need to be repaired or modified. Putting sewer from a pipe this large into a bypass so it can be dry enough to repair is going to be difficult and expensive. That‟s why the slide here notes that the plan for these repairs is still a draft.

Stephen Greene stressed again that maintenance is the most important task—protecting the assets.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORTS:

CLINTON NPDES PERMIT—Betsy Reilly, in charge of water and wastewater quality at the Authority, described the issues MWRA has with the permit and how it has been amended. The verbal assurance of extension to Nov. 17 by EPA is not guaranteed since the government shut-down, so MWRA is preparing to submit its comments for the original deadline.

Permit from 2000 was to be updated in 2005, but has been extended. 2010 draft, changed and re-opened, is now before us.

The main issue for MWRA is keeping Clinton and Lancaster on as co-permittees with more O&M requirements and deadlines.

The problem is that MWRA‟s role is not clear, but the history includes EPA trying to make MWRA responsible for the towns‟ collection systems.

The two towns are currently co-permittees, but their current O&M requirements are light.

There‟s also the likelihood that the Clinton permit language would be added to the Deer Island permit. I/I costs are huge for the municipalities‟ pipes. MWRA has interpreted the permit as making it “Jointly and severably liable,” which is very messy, but that language is not explicitly in the Clinton draft permit. MWRA legal staff are concerned that it may have this effect.

In Superfund sites, all permittees are jointly and severably liable for wastes found, even if they had nothing to do with the hazards. The results are draconian, although effective.

Currently there are no issues with industrial emissions in the communities, as MWRA also has TRAC. The issue is flow, which EPA sets slightly lower than the current average. This may mean MWRA has a higher level of responsibility.

Co-permitting may put MWRA as enforcer or funder of the I/I repairs that the communities cannot afford. The Authority prefers that EPA permit each community, rather than going the co-permittee route. Boston currently has such a permit, and its consent decree includes reducing I/I to MWRA.

Discussion: anything required of the communities should be realistic, given their financial capabilities. Pressure to fix pipes is good, but MWRA should not be the enforcer, and should not be held responsible if the towns don‟t do it.

MWRA will meet the new Phosphorus limits required in the draft permit, but the schedule in the permit isn‟t realistic.

The EPA‟s average flow limit for the facility is also too low—the plant has the capacity for more flow. This is partly related to the flow to the Wachusett River, but Betsy wasn‟t clear on the details.

In the DI permit, “severable” needs to be kept out.

Reducing I/I and preventing SSOs is good, but co-permitting is not an effective method. The MWRA‟s relationship with communities is collaborative, with technical assistance, grants and loans. EPA should cut the co-permitting or clarify the responsibilities of the towns vs. the MWRA.

EPA acknowledges that the co-permitting of Clinton and Lancaster did not result in any of the requested I/I work being done.

In the 60-odd communities that drain to Deer Island, the sewer rates keep communities interested in addressing I/I, because controlling it keeps their rates down (charged with flow). In fact, they have a negotiated I/I plan that the communities worked on together. Clinton doesn‟t have that incentive because of its special arrangement with MWRA.

MWRA prefers that the EPA either remove the towns from the Clinton permit or make clear the responsibilities of each permittee.

FUTURE MEETING TOPICS:

Because WAC can only comment on Master Planning shortly after the Master Plan is presented to the MWRA Board, this will be the subject of the November meeting—note new date.

In January, WAC can hear about co-digestion and residuals or about wipes & disposals. The co-digestion bench tests have been done; in June the full digester pilot will begin. The MWRA is also looking at struvite prevention to recover useful phosphorus and cell lysis to increase solids destruction and gas production.

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Minutes May 31, 2013.  The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the Department of Environmental Protection offices in Boston. Attendees/Contributors: Andreae Downs (WAC Executive Director), Karen Lachmayr (Harvard and WAC), Stephen Greene, Chair, Taber Keally (WAC vice chair and NEPRWA), Beth Miller (WAC), Wendy Leo (MWRA), John Reinhardt (MyRWA), Joe Nerden (MassDEP), Mary Adelstein (WAC), Marcis Kempe (MWRA).

FUTURE MEETING DATES/TOPICS:

NEXT:  Thursday, 19 September, 11:30 am—State of MWRA with Fred Laskey, Wellesley Public Library, jointly with the Advisory Board and WSCAC

Stephen Greene opened the meeting

WAC thanked John Reinhardt for arranging a conference room for the meeting.

Minutes for the April 5 and May 3 meetings approved.

DELEGATED AUTHORITY:

The Legislature has two budgets, and will need to resolve the differences in conference committee, which had not been formed by May 31. Among the issues to be resolved is roughly $600,000 in debt service assistance that would go to treatment works, including MWRA. The matter must be resolved before June 30, but WAC will not meet before then. Therefore, Andreae suggested that WAC consider delegating authority to Stephen Greene to sign a letter supporting such assistance. She noted that the committee had done so in most of the preceding years. Some noted that the funds were minimal, but that the funding keeps a line item in the budget for future, and the amounts suggested by the Water Infrastructure Finance Committee were in the tens of billions. If the state doesn’t help with this infrastructure, it will deteriorate further and cost more. The letter does not need to be long. Beth Miller objected, saying she believed the MWRA should be able to stand on its own, and the state’s funds should go for the many other worthy line items that could be supported with this funding. The final letter will be circulated, but limited to wordsmithing changes. Others noted the Legislature’s role in inflating the cost of Deer Island because they neglected to fund it earlier. Mary Adelstein agreed that MWRA was not bleeding and dying. Beth countered that, by delaying, MWRA ended up with a state of the art plant, the parts of which were perfected at the expense of earlier adopters.

The committee approved delegating authority to Stephen Greene to send a letter supporting debt service assistance to the conference committee by a vote of 4-1.

PRESENTATION

Marcis Kempe: Recalculating unmetered sewer areas & new meters

Deciding how to estimate unmetered sewers is always a bit of a compromise. Over 2,000 municipal connections to the MWRA system. We metered 200 of those. The rest estimated or use other techniques:

Q: so you put the meters at the town lines?

Every community was a work of art. In the 1990s, collective effort to get to the goal of 85% metered flow. Little connections are estimated proportionally, knowing that even there you’ll get some I/I.

Water metering is far easier.

Shows graphic of Medford—poster child for finding glitchy issues. Has numerous connections to the system, and a lot of different methods to estimate flow. System carries water from Winchester, Somerville, etc. Shaded areas are metered at the point of connection. Like a catchment area. See how little of Medford is calculated that way?

Chart 2, top of the next page, is Net Flow areas, where we have a meter in and a meter out. The red arrows there are where the meters are. It’s a little more complicated, since you measure the flow going in at the top and subtract that from the flow coming out the other end.  This is because the unmetered areas in this area are too small.
 
The other adjustments we make—

The system-wide goal was 85% metered system-wide, and no community with less than 70% metered.

So you get a slice of time—and this is back in the 90s, before a lot of I/I removal may have happened, or businesses changed.

And then, oh, by the way, the water-shed boundary may not match the municipal boundaries. You get contributions from other communities, and that was the trouble here. Tufts sits up on this hill. That’s Somerville over there, but Tufts did a major capital expansion and there was more sewerage coming in over there. You don’t find that out until you go back and test.

Took 47 tests to get this one done. At the end of it, we come to find that our numbers were no longer good, and Medford was paying while Somerville was getting off.

So around the system, there are 647 sites accounted for by scaling factors (estimated flow) that had this temporary test done in the 1990s. We have to do this all over again.

We went to the Advisory Board and agreed to try to do this all in one year, where we pay one or more contractors—and it may be multiples—and do communities, work our way around the system, collect all our numbers, show everyone what we’ve got and then implement the results all at once. Because there will be some redistribution of flow.

Communities with less than 10 connections probably won’t see much change. But the Medfords and Milfords, with dozens of connections, they may see a difference. Because it’s no more than 30% unmetered, the changes won’t be catastrophic, but people need to know. Bottom line is we need fair distribution of the costs.

On metered connections, if someone thinks something funny is going on, we will test the meter by putting out another one to check it.

On the water side, if we see a dramatic change, we flag the community. One of those came up, but we discovered it on the sewer side after a week or so of extra flow, and we discovered a blow out in their water system was feeding their sewers.

My feeling is we will have to do a re-set regularly to check on things, so the flows will be fairer. Probably every 5-10 years, but if it costs $1m to do it, you don’t want to do it unnecessarily.

Meter replacement

The sewer meters we do put out, are in a tough atmosphere and they do wear out. Currently, we have collected data on our second generation meters. When I got the system, in the first generation, we were consuming in parts in four years the cost of new meters. We kept plugging more stuff in. We did system wide replacement in 2004-05, which we tried to do on a tight schedule because everyone was jumpy about flow changes and who wins/loses. Now they are 8 years old, and they have about a 10 year lifecycle. But we are starting to see signs. Are trying to enhance and improve as we do it. Possible improvements to make these metering sites more accurate and more accurate meters.

We’ll also be looking at sites where we frequently need data and see if they can be electrified so that we aren’t going down to replace the batteries all the time.

We’re also looking to keep the meters there until it’s close to time to replace them. I don’t want to replace a perfectly functional meter, but we don’t want to be at the point we were, where we were spending half a million dollars to maintain a $2million system.

Q: can you get I/I information from these meters?

If you look at base flows, dry vs. wet weather, you can draw some conclusions. And you can look at water consumption. We do let communities go online and check their meters to see if there’s a difference after a storm. And we alarm some stuff, for instance a dry weather rise, you want to let the community know. But you can’t tell them the source of the water, just which catchment area it came from.

Q: are sewer meters like water meters, where they run slower over time & advantage those with the older meters?

Water meters are a different technology—usually mechanical, using a blade that turns a wheel. As it gets older, gunk will make the wheel stick, or in some cases a blade will snap off, so it under registers or slips.

Sewer meters aren’t mechanical. They use an ultrasonic signal to measure depth—that’s hard to confuse, except with silt, which we try to keep out. The other measurement is velocity, which we measure with a Doppler. That stuff stays constant with time.

Even the failing meters give accurate data. They were just picking our pocket on parts.

There is no requirement for communities to notify the Authority if they’ve authorized a massive development. The MWRA tries to do that itself.

Sewer metering is much tougher than water. It’s also tougher on personnel. The best meters you can lift out of a manhole. The guys have legendary stories of what happens to the guys who have to go into a sewer.

Q; Remind us what portion of the sewer rate is based on flow?

It’s about half. There are population and strength calculations that go into it.

Q: Strength?

Well, there was a time there where Breyer’s was literally dissolving our sewer lines.

Mary: And monthly maximum flow, which is where you get hit if you have a lot of I/I
There’s also 3-year averaging, to protect communities from wild swings.

Emergency Preparedness

Marcis also works in emergency preparedness, which includes how the MWRA is planning for hurricane season and future sea level rise. Might be a good topic for a future WAC meeting.

Stephen contrasted the difference in impact between a broken meter and a disaster.

Marcis agreed but noted the Authority is moving toward keeping track of data in real time, which is useful on several fronts.

Marcis also suggested that he could give WAC a presentation on historic sewer technology, as he is a regular volunteer at the Waterworks Museum in Chestnut Hill.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORTS:

 

WAC CONTRACT

Changes from last year: 2% pay increase for the Executive Director, health insurance reimbursement increased to make it equivalent to WSCAC executive director, ability for MWRA to audit WAC’s books.

WAC unanimously approved authorizing for Stephen Greene to sign the contract for WAC.

OMSAP REPORT

Wendy Leo summarized the Outfall Monitoring Science Advisory Panel meetings April 1 and by telephone afterward.

The MWRA had asked whether it could change its red tide plan to move some of the monitoring stations to coincide with stations in the routine water quality monitoring surveys, but still covering the same area of Massachusetts Bay. OMSAP agreed to its proposed changes.

Red tide, or Alexandrium, has generally come in from the Gulf of Maine to Massachusetts Bay. It does not seem to be related to nutrients in the outfall, but MWRA will still monitor blooms for EPA and DEP. It is connected to paralytic poisoning of people who eat shellfish harvested during a bloom.

MWRA had been asked to measure floatables with net tows near the outfall, and asked to stop doing that, since all it was finding was a little fat. OMSAP agreed.

MWRA’s continuous monitoring of the Harbor on a buoy in the harbor was also in question. The weather buoy is no longer available and was not reliable (kept getting hit by passing ships). MWRA asked for guidance on what scientific question the monitoring was supposed to answer, and how to continue doing it without the weather buoy. OMSAP will get back to MWRA by the end of the summer.
WAC questioned what the environmental quality group had found in exceedence of its permit near the outfall. Wendy explained that the diversity of life around the outfall was unusually high, and that since there were no indications that the diversity was related to the outfall (no excess carbon, for instance), the group felt this was not a problem.

Andrea Rex is retiring. Her replacement is Betsy Reilley, a microbiologist who works to ensure the quality of MWRA’s water coming to the tap, and will now combine her job with Andrea’s.

CLINTON NPDES PERMIT

WAC asked what changes might be included in the new Clinton Permit. The biggest change may be in co-permitting the communities (Clinton and Lancaster) with the treatment plant and tighter phosphorus limits. A draft permit from 2010 includes both of these, and was sent to WAC earlier. They may change in the new draft, since MWRA commented on them.

A co-permitee rationale may be attached. This has also been sent to WAC members. The final permit will include comments and EPA’s responses. MWRA may appeal.

On the Clinton operation, WAC asked how MWRA came to be responsible for it. It’s part of MDC’s agreement with Clinton when it flooded local land to form the Wachusett Reservoir.

Lancaster ratepayers pay for their water & sewer services.

Clinton gets about the same amount of water & sewer services, but pays nothing. The state pays $500,000 for Clinton's water, and MWRA ratepayers subsidize the remaining $1.6 million.

The EPA may reissue the permit in the summer. If so, WAC will meet to comment on it, and members have received background materials so they can be up to speed if a summer meeting is needed.

WAC asked what the PILOT payments to watershed communities amounted to. According to Kathy Soni, they are $8.2 million in FY14. These are paid to communities for land that MWRA removes from their tax base in order to prevent development (and pollution into the reservoirs).

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Minutes May 3, 2013.  The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the NEFCo (New England Fertilizer Company) Pellet Plant in Quincy. Attendees/Contributors: Andreae Downs (WAC Executive Director), Taber Keally (WAC vice chair and NEPRWA), Wendy Leo (MWRA), John Reinhardt (MyRWA), Bill Katz (WAC), Mary Adelstein (WAC), John Dempsey (Brookline SWAC), Jeanne Richardson (WSCAC), Lexi Dewey (WSCAC), Danielle Domingos (BWSC), Sean Canty (BWSC), Betsy Reilley (MWRA), Ibrahim Dayib (MWRA), Sumner Martiwsow (MA DEP), Greg Cooper (MA DEP), Kevin McCluskey (MWRA), Carl Pawlowski (MWRA).

FUTURE MEETING DATES/TOPICS:

PRESENTATION:

Carl Pawlowski gave an overview of the Pellet Plant, and then the WAC toured the facility.

Critical statistics:

The plant takes the digested sludge and puts it through a centrifuge with a polymer to de-water it. The centrate (water) is returned to Deer Island, where it enters the sewage treatment process again.

The solids are sent up an auger-conveyor (see pictures on WAC website), which is coated in tungsten carbide tiles, because the residuals are abrasive. Without the tiles, the augers were lasting 400 hours. With the tiles, they last 15,000 hours.

The residual solids are mixed with seed pellets and dried in a large, rotary drier (see video on WAC website). The abrasiveness of the solids means that the dryer drums often need re-building. The newly formed pellets from the dryer are sorted by size and stored in silos that are kept inert using nitrogen. If not cooled, the pellets generate heat and possibly combust.

Pellets shipped long distances by rail can self heat—therefore, NEFCo markets them locally. They fertilize products like corn, wheat, tobacco, and turf.

The air from the dryers, etc. is cleaned, and the volatile organic compounds are thermally oxidized (removed). See the huge stack on the WAC website!

98% of the pellets are sold by NEFCo, 2% are sold as Bay State Fertilizer in $3.50 bags. MWRA distributes. They do not market.
Milorganite (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milorganite), basically the same product sold by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, sells for $13/bag at Home Depot. It is in demand as a slow-release, highly-desirable fertilizer—the nitrogen and phosphorus care not easily dissolved, and stay by plant roots. In-the-know customers come to the MWRA. Carl is currently clean out of Bay State Fertilizer.

Q: what about contaminants?

The pellets are tested regularly for heavy metals and other contaminants regulated by EPA. The biggest issue is molybdenum, which in MA must be under 25 mg/Kg – the federal limit of 75 mg/Kg. If exposed to high levels of molybdenum, cattle & other ruminants can develop a copper deficiency.   This level jumps over the MA limit when large cooling towers are used to cool office buildings; molybdenum is used as a corrosion inhibitor.  The blowdown from these units raises the molybdenum level in biosolids pellets in the late summer/fall.

It costs the MWRA ~$60K/year to test the pellets for contaminants

MWRA pays NEFCo $380/ton for residuals processing and distribution.

LETTER—

Following the tour, WAC members discussed a draft letter to the DEP on its wastewater and clean water regulations. Minor changes in the order of questions, dates, and typos were suggested. The letter was approved with a unanimous vote.

Because of the lateness of the hour, the committee did not vote minutes or hear other reports.

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Minutes April 5, 2013.  The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MAPC in Boston. Attendees/Contributors: Andreae Downs (WAC Executive Director), Karen Lachmayr (Harvard and WAC), Martin Pillsbury (WAC, and MAPC), Taber Keally (WAC vice chair and NEPRWA), Beth Miller (WAC), Craig Allen (WAC), Wendy Leo (MWRA), John Reinhardt (MyRWA), Zhanna Davidovitz (MIT), Maggie Kenneally (AB, WAC), Kathy Soni (MWRA), Steve Pearlman (NEPRWA)

FUTURE MEETING DATES/TOPICS:

May 3—Pellet Plant tour in Quincy.
June 7—Cybersecurity at MWRA—possibly with WSCAC

Taber Keally opened the meeting.

Minutes for the March 1 meeting approved.

LETTER

WAC decided not to send a letter to the Globe in response to an infrastructure op-ed by Juliette Kayyem

OPEN MEETING LAW

After a discussing options for quicker response on Globe articles under the Open Meeting Law, the committee discussed delegating authority to Stephen Greene, if he would accept it, to write letters supporting debt service aid or rate relief for the MWRA, but tabled the idea pending further research.

As an alternative, the committee could instead put together opinion pieces ahead of issues coming up in the press.

Andreae will ask the MWRA lawyers for further clarification about quorum requirements, whether a draft letter can be edited by email the way WAC edits minutes (not decision to send, just wording of the letter).

MEMBERSHIP

WAC members said they liked having the balance of industry and watershed the two new members represented, particularly getting Mystic representation, which has not yet been seen on WAC, unlike the Neponset and Charles.

Why has membership from the DPWs of various communities faded out? The Advisory Board is explicitly community-based, often DPW membership. WAC has no mention of community representatives in its contract. In the past, some water utility staff from communities came to WAC out of personal interest; Somerville’s DPW director came because of his personal interest and expertise in wastewater, not as a city representative. The WAC's most recent two members said they don't represent any particular constituency or their home cities.

The Advisory Board is concerned that proposed member John Reinhardt works for one of the regulatory agencies (DEP) that oversees MWRA. John said he can recuse himself for any votes on DEP regulations.

Andreae will also raise this with the MWRA lawyers.

Zhannah Davidovitz and John Reinhardt's memberships were endorsed by a unanimous vote.

MWRA's board will probably take up a vote at the June meeting on all WAC-related items, including the contract.

DEP REGULATION CHANGES

Steve Pearlman of the Neponset watershed explained his objections to the regulation were mostly about DEP leaving the permitting of industrial discharge to local authorities, which presents two problems besides being a possible violation of the Clean Water Act.

  1. it can present a conflict of interest for local authorities charged with expanding their tax base with new development;
  2. Local authorities may not have the expertise or training to control for industrial chemicals in wastewater.

Steve noted that MWRA has delegated authority, which means any municipality on the sewer system will have MWRA's personnel permitting industrial discharges. It is one area he is not worried about.

Andreae proposed that WAC might want to comment on some of the I/I provisions in CMR 12

Taber noted some industries are staying outside of MWRA sewer shed to avoid high treatment costs.

Mary: if you want to have rational land use, you don't want that to happen, you want industrial users close to the city. This regulation change could give small industries carte blanche to move out of the MWRA districts and messing up other areas.

Steve: currently, DEP regulates what can be discharged from any industry, so they know what may be entering the rivers. But if no state permitting, nobody is necessarily going to know about it.

After further discussion the question became what concerns MWRA had about the regulation changes--this is still under study by the agency, so the suggestion to write a letter requesting more time from DEP for comments was endorsed 7-0.

PRESENTATION

Kathy Soni:

As we develop the FY14 budgets, MWRA is reaching two significant milestones. The size of the outstanding debt, mostly because of Boston Harbor Project and the CSO program, is starting to come down.

  1. In FY14-18, for the first time, the Authority will borrow less each year than it is spending on capital. A new cap of just under $800m is proposed for the FY 14-18 period.
  2. FY18 will mark the first year when MWRA will pay more in principal than in interest.

Operating (CEB) budget, $640 million for FY 14. Capital spending is projected to be below $800m over the next 5 years. That’s a significant reduction, in comparison with the prior two 5-year caps, which exceeded $1.1 billion.

Actual spending for FY 13 ($138m) shows capital spending $28m under budget, but this is typical. Often MWRA spending projections are too aggressive. Delays can happen for many reasons, and then the funds for that year don’t get spent as fast as anticipated. Deer Island in particular had a lot of delays in CIP projects last year.

That was balanced by overspending in CSO projects and community grants and loans for I/I. FY 13 is an unusual year, as some communities requested higher allotments than expected.
The capital cap was an Advisory Board suggestion in 2003, as a way of containing spending and allowing better long-term community & MWRA planning. The cap is lowered by over $300 m in this five-year budget, which is a lot. How was this done? Prioritization, meetings, coupled with the historical actual spending of around $800-850m.

In establishing the cap level, we also looked at the economic climate, which has not yet experienced a strong recovery.

Going forward, the Authority will focus on asset protection for both water & sewer, and water redundancy projects.

There are going to be a lot of water projects to ensure redundancy, and pipeline projects on both water & sewer sides. Also continued energy initiatives will remain a major focus. For example, the Oakdale hydro project upgrade will offset energy costs that we have to reimburse (DCR). It is expected to be completed by May 1.

A significant project going forward is the rebuilding of the headworks: $140m total for Chelsea, Ward and Columbus rehabilitation—Chelsea is scheduled first, and we hope to learn from that for the two remaining projects

CIP risk factors:

Current Expense Budget: We had a great FY12, but deliberately so. We are very financially responsible when it comes to the debt service, and establishing the best possible rate in line with the Authority’s multi-year budget strategy.

When we have (positive) variances, we are putting these funds into a defeasance account, which means funds will be used to pay off debt. It’s an excellent tool, because we can target certain years, put funds in an escrow, and that’s a very effective tool for shaving off the peaks in the most challenging years.

Last year, we had more than $17m surplus related to the variable rate. Outside of that, we had $10m favorable variance because of lower direct expenses, and favorable income from energy related projects.

So far this year, we put aside about $8.5m in defeasance by February. Outside of that, we generated another $5.6m. So this year we are projecting $24m favorable variance. We have other challenges, as some of the surplus is from people retiring and we have to address succession planning. Our average age is 51, and last year a lot of people retired. We are re-instituting our intern program, and apprenticeship programs with universities; and on-the-job training in anticipation of declared retirements.

Last year, we proposed a 4.4% rate increase for FY14; this year we came to the Board with a 3.9% increase. Our overall expenses are driven by the debt. Since FY06, we defeased a lot of debt, and this chart shows the historical impact per year.
Again, most of the surplus is from, using historical averages on what interest rates were (about 3.5%), and then when we get a lower rate (now less than 1%), taking the surplus and putting it toward the debt.

Q: Are there guidelines from the ratings agencies?

No. What they look at is overall obligations, which along with the capital debt include retirement/pension liabilities and Other Post Employment Benefit (OPEB) obligations (to employees).

Q: what is that 1% rate—fixed for a year? Fixed for longer?

It’s the short-term variable rate. We have an average 4.4% fixed rate, for a blended rate of approximately 3.5%.

Other tools to smooth rates: rate stabilization and bond redemption funds. We have a self-imposed limit on these. Not using more than $12m a year, which seems to be acceptable (to ratings agencies).

We also have bond indenture reserves, which used to be high because MWRA was so new. But as we stabilized, we don’t need as much. We think we have about $100m coming available from that, starting in FY16.

Also, we are lowering our headcount by about 20 positions in FY14. We are cross-training, looking at each position as it comes vacant and refilling only those that are really critical to core operations.

I mentioned defeasance. Some of that money is going to pay down debt in FY14, some will be held for when future bonds come due. But in the meantime, it is collecting interest, and $500,000 of that is going into the FY14 budget.

New mortality tables are out, which adds about $2.1 million to our pension obligations, because people are living longer. Our strategy right now is to pay down our pension first, and after we are at full amortization, we are going to start paying OPEB obligations.

This slide is showing how the debt service is growing over time.

This is the direct expense budget. Over the past six years we have managed to level fund this by concentrating on line items which are under our control.

We’ve had some decreases in fringe benefits, mostly because the GIC (health insurance) came in with significantly lower increases than expected. Also retirees were paying 20% of health care; new hires pay 25%-- that’s a savings of $1.5-1.6 million just last year.

Regarding indirect expenses, we can’t do much about the PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) payments for land the Commonwealth owns in the Quabbin Wachusett, Ware River and Sudbury watersheds. Changing the current practice would take legislative action.

Pensions—good news is that we are at 87% funding, and expect by 2024 to be fully funded. The big issue is the OPEB liability. By the end of FY12, it was $75 million. In 30 years, based on actuarial studies, that will be $200 million. But there’s a possible legislative change that will have a huge impact on this number. Today, when you retire with 10 years of service at 55, you get 80% of your health benefits paid by the Authority. This new legislation is proposing different contributions by different numbers of years of service. It could mean a 25-30 percent reduction in that $200 million.

Q: won’t you then have to budget more for wages & salaries, since people will work longer?

We are expecting our headcount to go down somewhat, but we are close to steady-state today. On the revenue side, no real change, except for rate revenue, which is of course going up.
Investment income is doing the opposite of the debt service; we are not getting the kind of investment income that we expected.

On the rate increases—you can see the difference between what we thought this line would look like when we developed the FY13 budget, and how it looks now. The peak years are 2017 and 2020. But a lot will depend on what we can do about the debt. That’s the critical item—there are so many moving pieces, and strict rules about what we can apply, and when. But it is looking much better than it looked a year ago. The challenge is these high years, where we may be able to apply reserves or take other measures to control the cost.

Q: are other groups focused on the financial side of this? What can the Wastewater Advisory Committee do?

Public relations & education, mostly. The MWRA Board oversees and directs the financial management of the Authority. We are looking to add water customers, because that would reduce the cost for all the other communities. If we add a customer for 1 million gallons, everyone else’s rates are lower, based on their share of the system.

Taber: This is informational only. We’re not here to pass judgment on your accounting ability. This is to help us understand where the money’s going and coming from.

One positive is that we also get new ideas as people raise questions.

Mary: if you watch government, you get familiar with budgets and bonding and such. Maybe if we’re going to expand membership, we need people with financial expertise, who can reflect on this, because this is ultra-sophisticated.

Q: And the Advisory Board annually goes into the budget and produces a robust report, where they take what the MWRA is proposing and make recommendations, usually with an eye toward “can this be reduced; can this cost be put off.”

Q: when I talk with the general public, they say, we are spending a lot of money on this, and that’s all they see.

I believe we could do a better job of representing what we’ve done over the years. But we did our jobs. We did what we had to do. It is a testament to the MWRA that outside of those first few years, the rate increases have been kept reasonable. I’ve never understood why, when we have the public hearings on the budget, for the past five years no one attends. Is that because people are OK with the rates? Or that the average wholesale rate increase is about $15/year over the past 10 years, per household?

Of course there are communities where the retail rate is much higher or much lower, depending on their specific circumstances.

Q: individual people don’t respond to increases in rates. But you try to raise the water rates in a town and you get a lot of flak.

Our rate is the wholesale rate and each town charges more to their customers to cover the respective town’s operating needs. People call us with questions on their retail bill, but MWRA can only explain the wholesale portion of that bill.
Given the late hour, the committee adjourned and will hear the director’s reports at the May 3 meeting, after the pellet plant tour.

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Minutes March 1, 2013.  The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MAPC in Boston. Attendees/Contributors: Stephen Greene (WAC and Howland-Greene), Andreae Downs (WAC Executive Director), Karen Lachmayr (Harvard and WAC), Bill Katz (WAC), Martin Pillsbury (WAC, and MAPC), Taber Keally (WAC and NEPRWA), Beth Miller (WAC), Craig Allen (WAC), Wendy Leo (MWRA), John Reinhardt (MyRWA), Zhanna Davidovitz (MIT), Julie Wood (Charles River Watershed Assn), Julie Conroy (MAPC), Bob Zimmerman (CRWA), Kevin McCluskey (MWRA)

FUTURE MEETING DATES/TOPICS:

April 5 meeting—MWRA Operating and Capital budget
May 3—Pellet Plant tour in Quincy.
June 7—Cybersecurity at MWRA—possibly with WSCAC

Stephen Greene opened the meeting

Vote: Approved minutes of Feb. 1, 2013 meeting, with changes from Dave Duest and Maggie Kenneally 6-0.

At the WAC’s April Andreae Downs will give an update on proposed updating to the sewer metering system.

NEW MEMBERS

John Reinhardt and Zhanna Davidovitz are interested in becoming WAC members. WAC will vote on their membership at WAC’s April meeting; they will then need to be approved by the MWRA Board.

John—president of the Mystic River Watershed Association and long-time member. Professional experience in wastewater, works at DEP on sewer regulations and other wastewater issues. Lives in Somerville, member of the Conservation Commission for some time.

Zhanna—works at MIT’s office of Environment, Health and Safety, compliance for the campus. Mainly tells people not to put anything down the drain. Issues of being an old campus with things in the old pipes.

LETTERS

Andreae presented a draft letter on the Mystic, responding to the Globe’s Feb. 18 article. Suggested thinking about responding more quickly, perhaps with a smaller “rapid response” team that could generate letters between regular meetings. The committee has done that before, but tightened Open Meeting Law restrictions may apply.

Andreae will check with the MWRA lawyers, and report back next meeting.
One reason WAC hired Andreae was to better publicize the committee and MWRA.

Question before WAC whether to submit the draft to the Globe and perhaps post to the website.

Members noted inaccuracies and misperceptions in the article, and that the court-ordered work to clean up the Mystic River wasn’t finished yet. 

John—noted that the article mentioned sanitary, not combined sewer overflows, which aren’t covered by the court ordered work. There’s a connection between what MWRA does and what happens in local sewers, and that’s not being addressed much at all.

Noted: Mystic Watershed contains few wealthy communities, and the problems are expensive to fix. The big message from the Water Infrastructure Finance Commission: we have overarching problems with older infrastructure and rather than assign blame, it’s a bigger shared responsibility: state and federal funding are needed.

ENQUAD found comparisons between the Charles and the Mystic were of different kinds of areas; including their analysis would be helpful.

Agreed to send the letter to the weekly papers also.

Motion to submit the letter, edited to reflect the discussion. Committee members will see changes in email, have an opportunity to comment, and WAC will submit it by Friday, March 15.

Taber—moved, Karen seconded, the motion passed unanimously.

WAC decided not to write a letter to support state support for the co-digestion set up at Deer Island.

PRESENTATION

Bob Zimmerman: Smart Sewering

Bob estimated how much storm water “green infrastructure” would be able to return to the aquifer to replace groundwater currently leaking to Deer Island because of I/I. He said about 1/3 of the MWRA’s sewer service area would need to be converted to “green infrastructure,” or more than all of the built area.

It is not stormwater and its losses that cause low flows in the three rivers. It’s wastewater. The system in the ground steals something like 1/3-1/2 of the Charles flow needed to reduce the impact of the nutrients that flow into it.

In all urban rivers across the US, seeing tremendous algal blooms associated with phosphorus and raised temperatures.
CRWA got involved with smart sewering in the 1990s because recognized that unless our systems change, we are never going to restore surface water bodies in urban areas.

Smart sewering is an attempt to mimic nature rather than be antithetical to nature. Name comes from the marriage of “smart growth” concepts to stop suburban sprawl with sewers. CRWA is trade-marking the term to prevent it becoming meaningless from overuse.

Series of 4 principles associated with the concept:

Littleton, MA is the first site for smart sewering. Idea is that in suburban/exurban areas susceptible to sprawl, to introduce sewering in a contained area the town would like to see growth in, allow sewering and density there that is otherwise not possible with state laws re: septic systems, etc.

As soon as you cross 128, most drinking water comes from the ground, not from the Quabbin and Wachusett reservoirs. Relatively small coastal watersheds tapped for a tremendous amount of water. The idea is to put that back, for ground water recharge for surface water bodies. Not let that enormous volume go out to Deer Island, or through one of the 5 other wastewater treatment plants on the Charles, where it’s thrown away.

Phosphorus is becoming an expensive product, used in lots of things, like the refinement of gasoline, and it can be recaptured from wastewater sludge.

[Slides of maps of Littleton now--lots of green space]. Most of these green areas are privately owned. As the economy recovers, the best things to grow in those areas have 4-5 bedrooms and three bathrooms in them, in terms of how much money you can make. Look at this again—green and open space now, and what it will look like if we allow it to sprawl [map of potential build-out of Littleton]

[Another Littleton map slide] Here is water in town. Most of the water is north and west of I-495, and most of the people live south and east of I-495. 70-80% of the people are on public water supply, so most of the water is drawn from Littleton out of the north and west and pumped to south and east. Once it gets used, it goes into a septic system, which is the same as sending it to Deer Island as far as these surface water bodies are concerned. It will never go back, because this is a different water shed. The circles are protected wells. Up to 34% of the surface water and stream flow is lost to public water supply alone.

In 2000 CRWA started working with Littleton on the notion of creating a dense, walking center and a more dense industrial area, of sewering that and not sewering the entire town. Traditionally, you sewer the entire town because sewers are so expensive we need to spread the costs around. Our charge, when we did a sewer study for the town, was whether a town can be sewered in a limited fashion, and just enough that only those entities that actually contribute wastewater to the system pay for 100% of the system.

This blue area here is the common area and the industrial area; combined they make up the density zone. There are 102 properties there. First thing is to begin to look at the organics and wastewater as a resource. It’s only wastewater if you waste it.

Attached to these smart sewers are these smart growth objectives:

Enhancing economic growth--development of a density zone. A lot with a one-story convenience store on Littleton Common, given a sewer system, can support a three-story building. The sewer could double or triple the value of the property; the town of Littleton collects double or triple the taxes on that property. If the 102 property owners pay for this, the town doesn’t. So the new taxes are found money.

One of the big problems with conventional sewer systems is that we build the capacity that we’ll need 20 years from now. So the town of Acton looks out 20 years, and builds for the capacity that could be there. All the betterment and monthly fees are associated with paying off that capital debt. In 13 years, Acton has expanded, but they are still paying for more capacity than they use. Their betterment fee for 300 gallons, treated, is $36,900, and their monthly fee is $200/month. We figured that was a little too expensive.

Reduce overall energy
We wanted to generate energy at the Littleton plant, because it’s an income source.

Increase short-term affordability
One of the things we looked at is phasing capacity of the treatment on the basis of actual need. Why build a quarter of a million gallons capacity, which is the potential for these properties 20 years out, when they currently produce 65,000 gallons per day? We don’t know what the economic future of Littleton will actually be. Instead, you phase the capacity of the system. You permit for the entire 250,000 gallons up front. Build a steel building which can house the capacity, but we won’t install a quarter of a million gallons worth of anaerobic digestion. We’ll install something like 100,000 gallons. This allows for immediate expansion, but you don’t build more capacity unless you see the development; you add the capacity in a modular way.

As a consequence, rather than a $23m plant, Littleton will be building a $7.5m plant, which includes $3m in energy capacity. Much more affordable. You can look up the study we did at www.crwa.org/smartsewering.html, the “Littleton, MA Smart Sewering Strategy.”

In our economic analysis, the lowest betterment fee was $5,000 and the highest was $13,000. All of these compare favorably with the installation of a septic system in Massachusetts. The monthly fee for treatment varied from $37-$101. Dramatically different than what happened to Acton.

Question: at some point might Littleton pay more per gallon than their neighbors in Acton?

No. It may be more expensive to put in anaerobic digestion, but you’ll only pay that on the betterment side.

Skipping the word slides, I’m going to the conceptual smart sewer process.

The wastewater comes in; we capture the organics; we send it into anaerobic digestion, we take food waste from 5-10 miles away—the Market Basket, Stop & Shop, etc.— grind it up and add it. To really generate methane, need to enhance wastewater with other solid waste. To generate enough energy to spin a turbine or run a fuel cell you need 100,000 gallons/day of actual wastewater, not just capacity.

To generate enough income:

In Littleton’s case, this is between $200-300,000/year in new income to reduce debt service on the treatment plant, and cut the overall cost to the ratepayer.

If all 102 properties build-out to their potential, it adds between $2 - 4 million to Littleton’s tax base.

Benefits to Littleton

Question: is there a mechanism to return the water back to where it comes from?

The likely location of the wastewater facility is north of the density zone. Near IBM, which would like to expand, but can’t without sewers. And we’ll discharge the effluent into constructed wetlands so the water gets back to the surface water body impacted by the withdrawal.

Question: So the economic analysis includes the cost of pumping the water back uphill?

Yes and the design favors areas where gravity would allow us to get the water back there.

If this is built, it will be built not because of its environmental benefit, but because it is economically desirable. The real issues are of politics—there is a significant segment of the population that’s just opposed to this, regardless of the facts.

Littleton also likes the growth control aspect. Littleton has been facing a series of 40Bs (affordable housing developments) built in middle of nowhere—and some end up back on the town dole because they go bankrupt. They like the water aspects; they like the air aspects. Using anaerobic digestion as we envision here actually reduces carbon emissions dramatically. In Littleton, according to our analysis, if we were not to build the plant and its energy capacity, we would have to plant a mature 245-acre forest in the center of town to get the same greenhouse gas reduction.

Question: what do you do about the infrastructure already in the ground, where you’re sewering? Don’t want to run the sewers just for the capacity today, because if the guy down the street hooks up, now you’ve got to tear up your street and pull up the plant.

Our plan anticipates putting in the pipe for the entire area. Remember, this is a 102-property area, so the total number of pipes is something like 2.4 miles. All 102 properties would have to send their wastewater to this plant from the start. What you’re really asking is do you size the pipe differently, and no, you size for the maximum capacity. The cost is the trench and the labor, not the actual pipe.

Over the next 10-20 years, still anticipate I/I. The difference is that you’re sending the water back to the surface water body anyway; you’re obviating the impact of I/I over time.

One of the reasons we did this in Littleton, is that it is not in a large sewer district. Everybody is on septic. Moving this concept to places on the Cape, or into the MWRA system, is a whole different animal because of debt service. If I do this in Dedham, I can’t charge for the wastewater. Sewer charges continue to go to the MWRA, because you can’t step in front of the debt service.

The key, economically, is do you have the products to sell on the other side: the electricity generated, the process water, the residuals, the heating and cooling capacity, etc. to at least make the construction of the plant revenue neutral and the development around it economically desirable. That’s the question.
CRWA is currently looking for the funding to move ahead with economic analysis in a series of places around the state, and to actually build the plant in Littleton. CRWA is convinced that unless we demonstrate that the economics run to the benefit of the community, these things won’t happen.

If we can’t do these things, we are certainly never going to restore our surface water bodies.

Climate change benefits. We’re getting a lot more rain; we’re now getting 45” a year and are likely to get 65” in the next 20-25 years. None of the systems in the Northeast is designed for that kind of rain.

This rainfall is going to happen more in the spring and the late fall. In the summer we’ll see extended periods of little or no rainfall. If you think of the last 10 years, anecdotally, the pattern is already beginning to emerge. So if we continue to steal the kind of water that we are right now and throw it away as a waste product, we’re going to face serious dilemmas, especially in areas dependent on groundwater for water supply. Those are small watersheds. Amazing how fast little towns like Franklin and Holliston get in trouble as soon as it stops raining.

If we cycle that water back around, we’re building tremendous resilience to drought. And we’re restoring habitat and enhancing water quality.

DISCUSSION

Question: How are you able to get your members to jump into another watershed?

We have two ongoing projects funded by MAPC, one in Sherborn and one in Wrentham, both in the watershed. The politics of getting smart sewering going were ridiculous, but we’re beginning to reach an audience that was initially opposed to this idea.

Martin and MAPC did most of the work in Littleton on creating the density zone, and then CRWA came in as consultants to the sewer committee. We didn’t charge the town. CRWA’s board has never been opposed to pursuing advocacy or demonstration projects in other watersheds.  For example, our attorney represented the Ipswich River Watershed over issues surrounding the MA Water Management Act. The principles we argued there absolutely affect the Charles. The issue for us is to find the best case, regardless of where it is, making sure that the benefits inure to the Charles River.

Martin: Through MAPC’s sustainable communities grant, we are seeing if we can’t help CRWA bring this idea back to their communities inside their watershed. Part of problem is just getting the idea of smart sewering. They see the word sewer and they forget about the smart part, and they have a knee-jerk reaction against sewering as it has been done as carpet-bomb sewering all over and creating sprawl. It takes time to have those conversations, but I think as people see the Littleton project, they’ll ultimately see this as feasible in other places.

Additional benefits: When all these little plants start to take wastewater out of the MWRA’s 43 communities, you don’t have CSOs or SSOs. In fact, you have a large set of MWRA interceptor pipes that could be repurposed for flood control. There is tremendous potential for control of flash flooding and some amount of catastrophic flooding. 

Question: But will people be willing to pay the repurposing fee?

Remember, we didn’t step in front of the debt service. So as long as that’s paid off, you’re OK. You’ve got a wastewater treatment plant on Deer Island, and one of the things we did was count acres of open space. In Boston alone about 3,000 acres of open space. You could repurpose some of that open space to hold flood water until after the storm. The question is, during Sandy in Manhattan—had those sewer systems been available, would it have been possible for New York to keep the subways dry?

If you had 70 plants around the city instead of one big one right near the ocean, the likelihood that all will go down at once during a storm is very close to zero.

Question: Homeland Security, which has a lot of money, might actually be interested in funding that kind of thing.

Question: Does wastewater get treated first?

No, it goes right into an anaerobic digester in Littleton.

Question:  So you want to be careful you don’t get too much additional water in there. Removing the organics and any valuable content of the wastewater will require more negotiation with agencies and NEFCO, if you are looking at an MWRA community. So how will you make it economically feasible?

CRWA started looking at economic benefit over a decade ago, knowing that regulations and taxes and rates would not fly with Congressional opponents. Since 1998 or so CRWA has been looking at radically transforming how we deal with water in a way that is economically desirable to overcome those objections and the costs to governments and agencies.

Question: How will this benefit IBM, if they want to expand?

We spent a lot of time talking to property owners. They all hate being in the wastewater business. It’s a serious liability to them. Costly to insure, operate and maintain. They’re willing to pay a premium to get out of the business.

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Minutes February 1, 2013. The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MAPC in Boston. Attendees/Contributors: Stephen Greene (WAC and Howland-Greene)—by telephone, Andreae Downs (WAC Executive Director), Karen Lachmayr (Harvard and WAC), Bill Katz (WAC), Martin Pillsbury (WAC, and MAPC), Taber Keally (WAC and NEPRWA), Beth Miller (WAC), Craig Allen (WAC), Wendy Leo (MWRA), Maggie Kenneally (WAC, MWRA Advisory Board), David Duest (MWRA), Ethan Wanger (MWRA), Zhanna Davidovitz (MIT), Julie Wood (Charles River Watershed Assn), Alan Slater (MassDEP), Jeff Reade (AECOM), Joe Savage (Save the Harbor), Zoe Neale (Save that Stuff), Randi Mail (City of Cambridge DPW)

Next WAC meeting is scheduled for March 1.

Stephen Greene phoned in to the meeting

PRESENTATION:

Dave Duest: Feasibility study to evaluate co-digestion on Deer Island.

Background: Slides of the presentation (PDF) gives the lay of the land for wastewater treatment plants, and where DI stands in terms of volumes processed and methods of processing wastewater.
There are 6 treatment plants with anaerobic digesters in MA
Less than 5% of the flow to DI is commercial

Residuals: Pellet Plant started in 1991. New DITP started in 1995.
The contract with NEFCO at the pellet plant ends in 2015
The lifespan of the plant is 50-100 years. (Major infrastructure—100 year end, internal equipment on the 20-50 year end)

Using the methane for heat saves MWRA between $15-20 million/year

Electricity generated on the “back end” saves about $2.8 million/year

Digesting gets rid of 2/3 of organic solids

Co-Digestion=adding organic solids from outside the wastewater process to the anaerobic digesters to generate more methane.

MWRA is studying the process to extend the useful life of DI and pellet plant, optimize both, recommend other residual treatments, increase digester gas production/green energy production, and reduce sludge volumes.

Benefits to MWRA:

Costs to MWRA:

Costs to waste haulers:

Study so far:

Possible Issues

DISCUSSION

Taber: Can restaurants just use their garbage disposals more to circumvent the bans?

Dave: No. Sewer use regulations limit disposal use for restaurants or the food industry. Global studies of food waste—many funded by food grinder industry—look at all costs of materials handling, transportation, and disposal—treatment plants are designed to handle this material and have an overall lower carbon footprint than trucking. From MWRA perspective—disposals are fine for residences, but for a commercial/industrial process, it’s better for them to separate the material & put directly into the digester, bypass the wastewater treatment process.

Karen: Could DI become an energy producer?

Dave: Slim odds that we’ll get to net zero or energy production. Right now we use about 18 MW and produce about 4.5 MW. (adding 20 percent food waste could bring digas generation to 7 MW or so). We have a long way yet to go.

Taber: Didn’t DI have barges to conduct residuals to the pellet plant?

Dave: Yes. 750,000 gallon barge. In 2005 MWRA completed the 7 mile pipeline to FRSA. We won’t dictate where they load on the barge, just that it needs to come to us by barge.

Save that Stuff, Charlestown (http://www.savethatstuff.com/), has property right on the Mystic River. Two others expressed interest: Waste Management and Casella.

Will MWRA require feedstock to be pre-treated?

Pre-processed, yes. The specification will require blending of multiple waste types together—waste meats with veggies, preferably 6-7 types together. Dave is refining the specs now. Target concentration between 10-14% total solids. Has to be pumpable; it has to be in a slurry form; it has to be pre-screened to 5-8mm, trying to exclude any glass, metals, plastics. That will add to the waste haulers’ costs.

Right now, haulers are charging $60-80 per ton to landfill. Our part of the process will add costs.

Taber: What will food processors try to do to avoid increased tipping costs?

Not our issue, but MWRA needs to be sensitive to what waste haulers are charging so we don’t price ourselves out of the market.

Taber: Is it possible that MWRA will create this expensive plant & find no takers? You may not find many waste haulers with a dock and a barge. And you don’t want to be there with a beautiful new facility & no one who will use it.

They won’t be able to landfill it when the regulations come due. Our preliminary numbers are reasonable—3-4 cents/gallon. Septage is now 5 – 10c/gallon. Food waste I’ve heard limitations of 7-8c/gallon.

Ethan: We won’t want to spend on a new facility until we’re certain we’ll see all the waste that’s expected. We’ll phase this up and will do this in a careful way.

Dave: And pilot will go on 3 years. Ban begins summer of 2014, so we hope to be up and operating a digester pilot by that time. If we take all the design material by 2020, we’ll be at 35% -40% of state’s food waste by MassDEP estimates. Our population is about 34% of the state’s population, so we’d be handling our share.

By the time co-digestion is ready to be implemented in 3-4 years, our on-site power plant at DI will be 20 years old. This could phase that out and bring this online. All part of our decision-making.

Julie Wood (CRWA): Can you talk about what you hope to learn from the bench top study?

Phase One determined the ultimate digestibility of this food waste—anywhere from 0-100%, actually, with varying concentrations of food waste.

Phase Two, will operate more like a conventional wastewater plant; they’ll feed it daily a fixed amount of material, draw out material, monitor gas production with varying amounts of food waste: 0 - 40%, also sludge quality.

Karen: what are the parameters of sludge quality?

Heavy metals, levels of organics, bacterial levels—all in Class A requirement, monitored weekly at the Pellet Plant. Sample and document anything that goes out. Massachusetts has a limit on molybdenum—5x more strict than the national limit.

Karen: would food waste lower those levels?

As long as it’s pre-processed appropriately. Can get trash in with food waste, and it’s one of the regulations DEP put in. Can’t have the plant upset because of the food waste, or have your quality go down.

Anticipate it should improve the quality. May do screening on the island to improve quality—a 5 mm screen.

Zhanna Davidovitz (MIT): Does the feasibility study include the economic analysis?

Yes—but based on a lot of assumptions, which we want to test in the bench scale and the pilot studies. With any of these analyses, you want to predict what this material will break down into. Also depends on the mix of the materials we get. Our numbers are probably pretty conservative.

Randi Mail (Cambridge DPW): question on residential food grinders.

Haven’t officially come out in favor of them. It costs us a lot of money to handle food waste that way. Secondary treatment is 31% of our energy costs and generates 33% of our sludge.

Craig: Toronto collects organic waste. Is that an alternative to food grinders?

Don’t know if we are moving to that in the long run.

Randi: Cambridge is.

Martin: This is probably a first step, and as capacity to handle it is increased, then can increase the amount of residential organic waste that’s collected and processed. San Francisco is already doing this.

Craig: From the MWRA perspective, this seems like a lot of work and some risk. Electricity originally sounded like a windfall, but with the need for tipping fees there’s risk. Is there a broader public policy reason to proceed with this?

DEP is trying to divert food waste from landfills. Originally, DEP hoped that private entities like Waste Management would build digesters to process the material and generate electricity for themselves. But it’s expensive. On DI, a module of digester, 3million gallons each, with gas generation, costs between $80-$100 million. Our costs with the new plant and receiving facilities are between $20-30 m, but that can be offset with 3-4c/gallon tipping fee.

Martin: in July of 2014, when the regulation comes on line, you will have all this organic waste without a home, and nowhere near the amount of capacity you need to handle it.

DEP will be monitoring, and whether markets are opening up. That’s why they are encouraging treatment plants like DI that have capacity available.

Martin: So if this in the long run is a net positive—cost is of up-front expenses. Would you think about making this a separate private-public partnership to do the expansion needed? Would that help reduce the risk to the ratepayer?

Others have done this, but in the state of MA it’s harder to do. We haven’t looked at it yet. But it is under discussion.

LEGISLATION:

Maggie said the Advisory Board is not pursuing the Economic Development Bill or the Online Sales Tax revenue bill because it is not the right timing due to all the other priorities the Legislature is facing right now. 

VOTE:

January minutes unanimously approved.

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Minutes January 4, 2013.  The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MAPC in Boston. Attendees/Contributors: Stephen Greene (WAC and Howland-Greene), Andreae Downs (WAC Executive Director), Karen Lachmayr (Harvard and WAC), Bill Katz (WAC), Mary Adelstein (WAC), Martin Pillsbury (WAC, and MAPC), Taber Keally (WAC and NEPRWA), Vincent Spada (WAC), Wendy Leo (MWRA), Kevin McCluskey (MWRA Public Affairs), Maggie Kenneally (WAC, MWRA Advisory Board), Rick Trubiano (MWRA, Deputy COO), Michael Hornbrook (MWRA COO), John Reinhardt (Mystic River Watershed Association), Kate Goyette (Kleinfelder), Steve Kaiser, Kate Bowditch (Charles River Watershed Assn), Julie Wormser (Boston Harbor Association), Vivien Li (BHA), Ann Lowery (MassDEP)

Next WAC meeting is scheduled for February 1.

Stephen Greene opened the meeting, and introduced Andreae Downs.

LEGISLATION:

After brief discussion WAC indicated general support rate/debt relief legislation and the allocation of some of the online sales tax for MWRA rate/debt relief. The Advisory Board will pass along exact wording of the legislative proposals as they are finalized—probably in a few weeks.

MEETING TOPICS:

WAC members indicated that they would rather have a sewers-only look at the MWRA budget, not meet on it jointly with WSCAC or the Advisory Board. The budget meeting is usually held in April.

The February meeting will look at co-digestion, the disposal of food wastes directly in digesters to produce methane for power and heat, which MWRA has been piloting. A proposed state ban on organic waste in landfills and incinerators will help create demand for digestion, and the state DEP is interested in siting more digesters to handle food waste around the state.

A tour of the pellet plant is possible in May, and WSCAC is interested in joining that.

PRESENTATION:

Mike Hornbrook outlined the measures that MWRA took before Hurricane Sandy—from briefings with the National Weather Service, tracking rainfall and its variations locally, releasing water from reservoirs to prevent flooding, sandbagging equipment and buildings that occasionally see flooding in heavy rainfall, testing generators, topping off fuel and chemicals and scheduling staff. Rainfall from Sandy was 2.25”, the later storm in December was 2.75”. The main impact of the hurricane to MWRA was power outages and some drives blocked by trees.
The storm surge in NY harbor was 11 feet above mean tide, up to 11.8 feet on some gauges. The 100 year storm, which is what MWRA has been using as its design storm, is currently projected at 115.8’ above mean tide, but Sandy surges in the NY/NJ area were 117” to 120”. Paul Kirschner’s predictions are 118”, and by 2100 should be even higher with sea level rise.

This has caused MWRA to examine its surge assumptions and look at where its vital equipment might be in various scenarios. The question will be how much to spend for modifications—whether to use a 100-year or 500-year storm, and what additional steps to take. The agency is conducting a study of which facilities would be flooded in various scenarios which should be done in April.

Designs for facilities due for rehabilitation are being reexamined with new flood levels in mind. Chelsea Creek Headworks, for instance, has underground hatches leading to equipment that the agency is looking to protect from higher surge elevations. Alewife Brook Pump station is another facility in design, and the design firm has now been asked to see what flood-proofing can be done in case the Alewife rises--or flows backwards.

Hornbrook displayed a FEMA map of flood impacts for hurricane categories 1-4 superimposed on a map of MWRA facilities, and wastewater infrastructure bears the brunt of hurricane damage.

He also showed a chart of MWRA’s coastal plain properties and the lowest openings at each. Staff is developing cost scenarios for different surges. In a 100-year-storm as now predicted, two of MWRA’s facilities are impacted. A direct-hit Sandy-type storm impacts 13 facilities.

Critical water supply facilities aren’t affected in a major hurricane. Some equipment, meters, shafts, could see damage, and the reservoirs could have turbidity, but none of this would directly harm public health.

Another way to look at storm events is survivability and level of service. It may be more feasible to survive a hurricane and resume service quickly afterward than to risk losing a piece of equipment by keeping the power on. MWRA is looking to prioritize critical facilities to protect or shut off in a storm. For instance, pump stations are higher priority than a CSO treatment facility.

Availability of funds to do the necessary flood retrofits is also a policy question for the agency’s board.

Hornbrook noted that MWRA is also working with member communities on its plans and hurricane preparedness.

On the question of how to measure Sandy’s surge in NY. Hornbrook noted that against mean sea level, the surge was 11’ but against mean high tide, it was a 9’ surge. New York City has a 4.5’ range in tides; Boston has more like a 10’ difference. Boston’s surge was at low tide, so saw a 4.6’ surge, and thus had no flooding. Reports of 14’ in NY were not verifiable by storm gauges MWRA could get reports of, but that doesn’t mean they might not have been recorded in other gauges.

Mike had to leave; Rick Trubiano remained to answer questions

DISCUSSION

Critical lessons learned?

March 2010 learned to sandbag some facilities, but it was a flooding/rainfall event; with hurricanes, the issue isn’t flooding, it’s the storm surge, what comes in from the coast.

Has MWRA also looked at the cost of doing nothing? Could that be even higher than not being protected? And is it doing phase-planning: what you have to do today, what if seas are 2.5’ higher, what if 5-10’ higher. How do you prevent locking in to an expensive system that won’t work in 100 years?

Rick—are working with other agencies and municipalities across the state in case they build infrastructure to see if something they are working on will eliminate our need to build something.

Steve K—FEMA only maps rainfall events, Army Corps maps storm surges. Army Corps maps showed tidal flood surge all the way up the Mystic River and into Alewife, which would affect the Alewife Pump Station. Tidal events are very complicated.

Martin—Army Corps is revising its hurricane surge maps.

Rick—map MWRA is working with is a FEMA map. Army Corps is due out next 6 months.

Ann Lowery—CZM (state office of Coastal Zone Management) is also looking at mapping coastal surge. (see the shoreline change management section at www.mass.gov/czm/czmail/currentczmail.htm)

Steve G--Survivability is an attractive concept. It would be interesting to see in NY how its earlier plans to move equipment up succeeded.

Rick—that may be all we can do. More important is to move our generators up above the surge.

Taber—in summer, to prevent brownouts, electrical utilities ask industries to move to backup generators. Is there a benefit for MWRA to ask folks to refrain from using extra water until after the storm?

Rick—we do ask large users to postpone water uses when there’s a danger of SSOs. Hard to say how big an impact and it may not make a difference when there’s so much water. The announcement would come from MEMA to avoid mixed messages during a crisis.

Kate B—any CSO storage capabilities beyond the Dorchester tunnel for flooding situations?

Rick—there are sewer separation projects ongoing, but outside of Cambridge’s CSO wetland project, in construction now, no.

Steve K—have found out whether any permanent damage to NYC’s sewer system?

Rick—have not done that yet. Passaic Valley contacted us about getting rid of 4 million gallons of sludge as they were totally flooded out.

Andreae—I read the sewage treatment plant on the Far Rockaways had significant wave damage (note—it’s back online ad)

On the CSO tunnel in Dorchester, Rick noted that so far there hasn’t been a storm that exceeded its capacity (25-year-storm). But with bigger storms, that is a concern, and the question is how big you can make the storm drainage system.

Mary noted that the 100-year and 500-year storms were coming more frequently, that the designations were ultimately arbitrary.

Taber said that NYC was building up infrastructure for a storm surge, but that the surge they got was higher than the one they’d planned for.

Steve G—and because the surge height may exceed your best plans, survivability may be the smartest option.

Kate B—are you looking at distributed storage & treatment throughout the system as maybe a potential way to achieve some storage and flood relief?

Rick—not actively, except in studying North System—served by our Chelsea Headworks as a means to prevent SSOs with small storage and small treatment—perhaps just chlorination, not full treatment. Not systematically or on a wide scale.

Steve K—when you design for a storm surge, do you take average high tide and then determine the surge?

Rick—not decided on the numbers yet, whether mean sea level plus 9-11’ surge, or high tide, plus 11’, or whether look 100 years out and add 2.5’ sea level rise, I can’t tell you yet. Exactly the question.

Steve K—climate change and storm surges could be related. This was a very late storm, late October, past the regular storm season; category 1 storm, but huge surges because the extreme low pressure sucked the ocean higher. How much do we know that Sandy was a result of climate change? We might be getting peculiar things happening to our storm patterns.

Taber—any program with MWRA to follow up with NY/NJ sewer systems about all the mistakes they made, all the things they would have done differently.

Rick—No direct connects with NY, but preliminary stages of study now. Am sure we will be contacting them.

Steve G—Sandy also happened in early leaf season, wonder what lessons learned. What happens when leaves get flushed into the sewers and into the headworks?

Rick—our headworks do get stuff, all 3 are in planning/design to tune of $150m. One of the issues we are looking at is the impact of the fall season on the rakes and preliminary treatment. Do intend for these facilities to be unstaffed in future.

Steve K—NY is going to the Dutch for expertise. Best in world and cover every alternative.

POLL—Steve G asked new attendees what drew them to this meeting.

All said the topic, and Andreae’s visits to some of the advocacy groups. All noted that their non-attendance did not mean they were not interested, and that they relied on minutes and online posting of the presentations to stay abreast of issues of common interest.

 

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LATEST MINUTES

Minutes November 2, 2012

Minutes November 2, 2012.  The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MAPC in Boston. Attendees/Contributors: Stephen Greene (WAC and Howland-Greene), Karen Lachmayr (Harvard and WAC), Bill Katz (WAC), Mary Adelstein (WAC), Martin Pillsbury (WAC, and MAPC), Taber Keally (WAC and NEPRWA), Vincent Spada (WAC), Craig Allen, Andrea Rex (MWRA), Joseph Nerden (MassDEP), Wendy Leo (MWRA), Sumner Brown, Pam Heidell (MWRA), Kelly Coughlin (MWRA), Kevin McCluskey (MWRA Public Affairs), Maggie Kenneally (WAC, MWRA Advisory Board)

Next WAC meeting is scheduled for January 4.

Stephen Greene opened the meeting.

STAFF CHANGE

Ed Bretschneider has moved on, Andreae Downs is the new executive director, and while she could not be here today, she has been establishing contacts with the MWRA.

Pam Heidell is leaving WAC to devote more time to her other responsibilities at the MWRA. Wendy Leo will be joining WAC in her stead. Wendy’s trained in oceanography; she works in the Environmental Quality Department, and is responsible for environmental monitoring gateways.

NOMINATION FOR WAC

The committee considered the nomination of Craig Allen to become a member of WAC. Allen has been in MA four years, after moving here from Canada. His background is in insurance, currently he works with an economics consulting firm that does litigation-related work. His academic work on environmental costs and losses inspired his interest in WAC. He’s also a personal friend of Beth Miller’s. He told the committee he would like to contribute his perspective, which is more quantitative—actuarial, with background in the financial ripple effects of environmental issues. He also looks at risk analysis/making decisions in uncertain situations. He does not belong to any environmental organizations, just the Rotary of Boston. After some discussion, the committee agreed that adding Allen to the committee would be beneficial, although future nominees may need more of an environmental background for balance. The committee is capped at 12 members.

VOTE recommend MWRA consider Craig Allen for membership in the Wastewater Advisory Committee, 7-0.

PRESENTATION:

Karen Lachmayr “Superbugs” are those bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. Antibiotics work—usually—by preventing bacterial replication or by killing bacteria outright.
WHO considers antibiotic resistance one of the three biggest health threats to the public in the 21st century, after malaria and AIDS. In the US, resistance is considered the biggest threat; those with a resistant bacterial infection are twice as likely to die from the infection as those with a sensitive bacterial infection.

Huge cost—est. $35billion in the US.

Antibiotic uses, and how they can reach our aquatic environment:

Animal waste—antibiotics seep into surface water; crops—surface and to general population via consumption.

Antibiotics are designed to be persistent compounds for maximum therapeutic effects. 25-75% of antibiotics given to a person are excreted in viable form. These flow into our sewage.

They can also reach landfills via household trash—and seep into surface runoff.

Aquaculture effluents can flow into sewage or directly into aquatic environment.

Don’t believe have a lot of agricultural waste going into MWRA sewage. Prescription drugs are the biggest likely source.

What are the concentrations? Highest in animal waste. Hospital waste, up to 150mg / liter. Municipal 6 mg/liter, surface water, less than 2 mg/liter.

Concentrations of antibiotics in surface water really not a concern in effect on fish.

MWRA system does not measure for antibiotics, but committee members remembered a few pilot studies at Deer Island. The data is old and not thorough. The USGS did a study of rivers and streams. Evidence shows that fewer antibiotics are being used now than in past, as doctors are being pressured to only prescribe them when necessary.

The high concentration of hospitals in the MWRA service area may mean significant concentrations of antibiotics in the wastewater.

How does the treatment process affect concentrations?

Not designed to remove them—we don’t know.

More polar antibiotics, less likely to be removed if significant amounts are absorbed by activated sludge.  Raises the question of antibiotics selecting for resistance in soil or on crops, if sludge is used as fertilizer or compost. But does the high heat used in the pellet plant affect antibiotics? What about incineration? Lachmayr said possibly, but no one has measured it.

Bacteria are ubiquitous, around us, in us. We each have 10x as many bacterial cells inside us as we do human cells. Seawater—107. Much higher concentrations for soil, and wastewater has one of the highest concentrations—1011, before it’s treated.

Bacteria have gotten a bad rap. The vast majority are not harmful or pathonogenic, in fact many are beneficial, and some critical to maintain the right chemistry on earth.

Bacteria frequently swap genes when they are crowded together, like in sewage. Horizontal gene transfer in sewage is very well documented in scientific literature.

Lachmayr looked at bacteria in the MWRA process—influent and effluent at Deer Island Plant. Collected 35 samples, each of 6 sites, and determined concentration of specific antibiotic resistant genes.

Sewage treatment leads to order of magnitude reduction in bacteria. BUT, in the case of antibiotic resistance to two different classes of drugs, the concentration of resistant genes was higher in treated effluent than in water in other areas of Massachusetts Bay. This means increased resistance potential. The magnitude of difference is statistically very significant. This suggests that resistant bacteria seem more likely to survive the treatment process.

The committee asked if the control samples had elevated antibiotic levels that would not be there without human activity. Lachmayr said that is likely. Many scientists are interested in this question and are examining prehistoric ice cores to determine what pristine might look like.

Nonetheless, because Massachusetts has little agriculture, we probably have lower levels of antibiotics in our waterways than those areas downstream of animal pens.

DISCUSSION

The committee asked if there is a correlation between raised levels of antibiotic resistance in the environment and human health. This has not been established. The human health impacts are mostly in hospitals, where people entering for simple procedures end up with life-threatening infections with resistant bacteria. The question is how bacteria in hospitals are acquiring resistance. The whole field is very young.

Even outside of hospitals, resistant bacteria are showing up more often.

Committee members wondered if the EPA might start to regulate antibiotics in wastewater, but others assured them that the agency wasn’t close to listing them as a contaminant.

It is also clear that treating antibiotic-laden wastewater will increase the number of resistant bacteria, so pre-treatment is not a viable answer yet.

Lachmayr: we don’t even have the technology to reduce prevalence of resistance in wastewater. Have seen some action on making sure these compounds aren’t used carelessly. We are showing they have an effect. We certainly have enough evidence that we shouldn’t be using them for unnecessary purposes. Legislation pending to limit feeding animals antibiotics that are important to human medicine. Medical community—this is staring them in the face—making them more careful in prescriptions. Data shows that unnecessary prescriptions going down.

Lobster facilities and aquariums use antibiotics, but they are a minor source in our wastewater.

Tabor: just finished two leases for shrimp farms. MA has no regulations on shrimp farms. It is self-contained, but eventually they will have to empty the tanks. Do treat feed with medications. Localities wanted nothing to do with it until state said it was OK. Marine Fisheries came back & said we have no idea what you’re talking about. The state has no rules & regulations.

The committee asked  how Deer Island eliminates bacteria—this is a part of secondary treatment, which includes digestion and light chlorination. In secondary treatment now, bacterial growth is encouraged, and then they are settled out and treated as sludge.

Lachmayr: I did not test the sludge. No data on whether antibiotic resistance is in bacteria in the sludge, but with the amount of heat applied, the sludge should be sterile.

Craig Allen: It sounds like bacteria aren’t just antibiotic resistant, they are chlorine resistant

Lachmayr: you could be on to something. Maybe the same bugs that have antibiotic resistance have resistance to chlorine. On a molecular level, we know that many resistant bacteria encode for a cellular pump, which pumps out the antibiotic so the bacteria can survive. This is very well studied. A lot of these pumps are not specific; they pump out a lot of compounds—perhaps also chlorine.

One area of study is finding new ways to treat and disinfect effluent. Deer Island does not use UV light, which is energy intensive and has a large footprint. But UV treatment would not be affected by a cellular pump in the bacterium, and could break-down genetic material

Reducing usage and preventing compounds from entering the waste stream is easier than treating afterward. Folks are now told not to flush old medications down the toilet. Least costly.

Lachmayr: that’s where we are at with this: education, awareness, limiting use. This was one of the first studies that tracked antibiotic genes in wastewater system. A lot more study is needed before we can talk about changes to technologies on a scale like Deer Island. This is very early stages of looking at this problem.

Lachmayr mentioned non-profits that are working on source reduction, including in Boston area the Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics (http://www.tufts.edu/med/apua/). They are trying to educate the public, educate the medical community; they have been the ones drafting this legislation to limit the use of certain antibiotics.

More studies need to be done in the watersheds that receive large amounts of animal wastes, such as the Midwest, looking at runoff from these animal facilities that really use massive amounts of antibiotics. If you talk to people in the industry, they feel these antibiotics are critical to the growth of their industry. Lachmayr spent some time looking in the literature to see if there was a correlation between antibiotics and growth promotion, and it’s sketchy at best. Maybe that’s another place to start—studies to show that there’s no real need to use these antibiotics on a routine basis.

Committee members agreed this data is just the first of many studies that will need to be made to determine if antibiotic resistance in the Massachusetts Bay is a problem MWRA will need to address. The next step is to look at the human health risk analysis, and whether the two are correlated. There is limited data on the concentrations of antibiotics in receiving waters, such as Massachusetts Bay.    Theoretically, high concentrations of antibiotics should kill an entire population of bacteria, and is thus the clinical strategy for treating infection; however low concentrations of antibiotics, like those expected in anthropogenically affected waterways, would promote the  development of resistance.  Modern scientific methods also open up the possibility of collecting data on levels of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance in source waters, such as the Quabbin Reservoir.

Has any work been done on creating antibiotics that break down easier?

Lachmayr: right now, real emergency just to come up with new antibiotics. It’s just not profitable for pharmaceutical companies to produce them because resistance develops so quickly. And you also only take them for two weeks, unlike heart medication. So, no, they haven’t.

NEW BUSINESS

The committee expressed interest in examining the lessons of Sandy in NYC and New Jersey and what the Boston area might have faced if Sandy had landed here instead. What did NY and NJ do right? What mistakes were made? MWRA already makes changes as upgrades are installed—for instance when electrical upgrades are made, the equipment is also placed higher out of potential flood zones. But the extent of the flood zone is now the question—New York planned for 12 foot zones, but got a 14 foot flood. The agency is looking for grants to protect the headworks from stormwaters, and building in redundancies.

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Minutes June 1, 2012.  The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MAPC in Boston. Attendees/Contributors: Stephen Greene (WAC and Howland-Greene), Ed Bretschneider (Staff), Karen Lachmayr (Harvard and WAC), Bill Katz (WAC), Mary Adelstein (WAC), Beth Miller (WAC),  Martin Pillsbury (WAC, and MAPC), Taber Keally (WAC and NEPRWA) and Stephen Kaiser (Cambridge).

Review and Planning

Stephen Greene said that the committee should start to think about who would replace him as Chair, since he has been doing it for over ten years.

There was a discussion of DEP looking to have primacy (over EPA) on wastewater policy; committee agreement that it would be a good thing. Martin Pillsbury saying the odds are pretty good for it happening. It is a line item in the state budget on the assumption that it will happen. It is at a difficult time with such large staff reductions at DEP. Mary Adelstein saying we should know follow up on this.

Beth Miller requested that we reschedule the tour of the Pellet Plant. There seemed to be muted support. Taber Keally requested that we have a follow up meeting on options around the Pellet Plant in some depth. He said for WAC to support one option over another will require some detail information.

Beth and others suggested we go through month by month what we discussed at our meetings and what action items we agreed to. Ed said the meeting in September was a joint meeting with the Advisory Board and WSCAC. Fred Laskey reviewed accomplishments from the previous fiscal year and outlined the challenges going forward. The October meeting was with Dan O’Brien on the pellet plant operation. The action items were to have a tour of the pellet plant and to then draft a letter supporting a particular option once the NEFCO contract expired. Taber added we would require a follow up meeting to get a better understanding of the options. Ed said he would follow up. A tour was scheduled but canceled. Taber asked if WSCAC was invited to participate in the tour, Ed responded yes. Bill Katz asked if there was a date for the expiration of the NEFCO contract. Ed said it was 2015. Mary Adelstein said it’s coming up fast and if we want to respond we can’t wait to the last minute. Stephen Greene said that’s there’s been a lot of wear and tear on the equipment. Taber added that there’s been a lot of technological advancement in sludge handling. Martin Pillsbury said we should be better informed about these alternative technologies. He asked is there some consultant that we could bring in to educate us?  Ed bretschneider added that the MWRA is in the middle of a process to pick a consultant to evaluate different options and to make a recommendation. Martin said he like to understand if the current equipment can be upgraded or do you have to start from scratch. Bill Katz said he’d like to know how many similar operations are there to NEFO. Bill also asked how reasonable is it to change the process; I would think that would be difficult, whereas changing the contractor seems like a minor change. Ed Bretschneider added an option is to extend the current contract short term to give the MWRA more time to make a decision.

Beth asked about November meetings, Ed said we had two, one a joint meeting with WSCAC on climate change and another on North Side Hydraulics Capacity issues.

Ed Bretschneider mentioned that in January Pam Heidell came to talk about system expansion. A bottom line was that the MWRA is encouraging system expansion on the waterside and discouraging it with wastewater. Martin added that the water customers that the MWRA is considering about adding are not in the wastewater system.

The April meeting was a joint meeting with WSCAC on FY13 budget and rate methodology. There was some concern that this might open up a hornet’s next of renegotiating the rate methodology with the communities. Karen Lachmayr said this is an important issue that deserves serious discussion. Taber added that there is a lot of mistrust in communities about how rates are determined and that communities think they are getting a raw deal. Taber added there is a belief that there is waste that is added to the overall cost, additionally there is no MWRA marketing plan that explains why the rates are where they are: Rate methodology is one thing, communication is another. Mary Adelstein said you have to distinguish between MWRA rates and rates at the local level. She added its based on consumption of water and in my town we know that there are illegal connections to the sewers. There doesn’t seem to be the resources to deal with this problem. Martin Pillsbury said this issue is difficult to deal with on the wastewater side since there aren’t individual meters, Karen Lachmayr added there are town meters so the town could be charged for illegal connections but not the individual violator.

Beth Miller mentioned that at our budget meeting Kathy Soni said that there two types of service life, one was financial the other engineering. She said I think this is a very important thing to look into. This has something to do with the value of the system and the investments. She questioned why rates have to keep going up if there is so much value in the system, others noted that the biggest part of the MWRA budget is debt, which is about 60%. Martin Pillsbury said some of the benefits are hard to quantify. For example the cost of cleaning up the harbor was huge, the benefit cleaner water resulting in beach days where there were none. But how do you quantify that social benefit. Some economist’s call this external costs. Karen Lachmayr mentioned that sometimes the engineering life is longer than the financial life but you don’t want it the other way around. Martin added if you’re paying for something for 40 years are you going to get the benefit for 40 years. Mary added you don’t want to keep paying for something that already has to be replaced.

Taber Keally mentioned that many MWRA projects were court mandated and a good idea. The Authority needs to do a better job of selling the value and benefits of these projects, which should be in place for decades. Ed Bretschneider mentioned that we have given this feedback to MWRA often but they are somewhat reluctant to “blow” their own horn. The committee asked Ed to get Ria Convery to present at a fall meeting on the MWRA’s outreach and communication strategies. Martin Pillsbury asked to what extent is the MWRA using social media to get their message out. Martin said the MAPC is doing this to get their message out.

Ed Bretschneider mentioned that he would be leaving at the end of his year and the committee needs to start thinking about a replacement. Ed said he would send out a memo about his leaving and ask members and others to check interest levels in their networks. Karen said some of the best options might be people we know.

 There was some question about what this would mean for contract renewal,
Ed said there was strong support at the BOD level for WAC (at the next MWRA BOD meeting the contract was approved).  Martin said there might be a renewed push to have WAC and WSCAC combined into one committee. Ed said he didn’t think there was much support for that at this time. Martin added we should think about this and be able to respond if advocated. Ed added that whenever there is a change it would be irresponsible not ask is there a better way to do this. The answer might be no, but there’s nothing wrong with asking the question.

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Minutes February 3, 2012.  The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MAPC in Boston. Attendees/Contributors: Stephen Greene (WAC), Ed Bretschneider (Staff), Bill Katz (WAC), Beth Miller (WAC), Taber Keally (WAC and NEPRWA), Maggie Atanasov (WAC/AB), Stephen Cullen (MWRA), Lisa Hamilton (MWRA), Kristina Bigdeli (SH/SB), Don Walker (AECOM), Stephen Kaiser (Cambridge) and Craig Allen (Commonwealth Research Group).

Stephen Greene called the meeting to order at 10:30.  The January minutes were approved with some minor changes. Stephen Greene briefly talked about the emerging attention to pharmaceuticals in wastewater and the attention it is getting in the popular press and it’s something we need to be thinking about. Taber Keally mentioned this is a big issue in the mid-west where it is showing up in the drinking water.

 North Dorchester Bay Start Up Update - Stephen Cullen and Lisa Hamilton

Stephen Cullen started by outlining CSO and Storm water requirements. Overall the goal is to make beach closings a rare event.  Specifically for CSO control the objective is eliminate discharges up to the 25-year storm. For storm water control the objective is to prevent separate storm water discharges to the beaches up to the 5-year storm. The overall cost for the North Dorchester Bay CSO plan is $272 million: $3.2 million for Pleasure Bay Storm Drain completed in March 2006, $147 million for the Storage Tunnel, completed in November 2009, $26.9 million for Pump Station completed May 2011, $5.2 million for Below-Ground vent building completed May 2011, $36.2 million Morrissey Blvd. Drain completed July 2009 and $53.5 million for Permits.

There was a discussion of the CSO and Storm water control strategy. Stephen said that for up to a 1-year storm, the objective is to capture all CSO and storm water in the tunnel from the outfalls. For a 1-5 year storm the objective is to capture all CSO and storm water as well but to divert some storm water to BWSC’s Morrissey Boulevard Drain. For 5 to 25-year storms, storm water gates are closed and dedicate the tunnel to capturing CSO up to tunnel capacity. Stephen Cullen added that the total yearly O&M costs are a little over $355K.

There is an intensive training program for all staff. They have been trained in all aspects of the operation and maintenance of the pumping station, storage tunnel diversion chambers and odor control facility. Additionally, standard operations procedures have been developed and implemented that include SCADA control and monitoring, wet weather operation, tunnel dewatering and carbon monitoring.

The maintenance programmed is performed on a regular basis and includes:

Stephen mentioned that the MWRA has captured and pumped back to the sewer system about 191 million gallons of storm water and CSO flows since May 2011.

Stephen then reviewed South Boston water quality and noted that there are more beach days suitable for swimming after the tunnel start-up. For example in 2008 it was 60 days and in 2011 after start-up it was 75 days.

Complementing the above improvement there are fewer high-bacteria beach days in 2011, despite more rainfall. For example in 2008 21% of the time water quality standards were not met whereas in 2011 it was 5%.

 In summary, the $272 million tunnel project was completed in May 2011, at the beginning of last year’s swimming season.  Since start-up, the storage tunnel and related facilities have consistently performed as designed, preventing millions of gallons of CSO and separate stormwater from discharging to the harbor during more than 75 rainfall events and sending the stored flows at the end of each storm to Deer Island for treatment. Although summer 2011 was rainy, beach closings on South Boston beaches were minimal.
The work involved five major construction contracts by both MWRA and the Boston Water & Sewer Commission (BWSC), including the 2-mile long, 17-foot diameter tunnel; the pumping station located at Massport’s Conley Terminal and related 24-inch diameter force main that remove stored flows from the tunnel after each storm; the below-ground tunnel ventilation and odor control building behind the State Police Barracks on Day Boulevard; the BWSC Morrissey Boulevard storm drain; and the Pleasure Bay storm drain improvements that eliminated stormwater discharges to Pleasure Bay Beach.

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Minutes January 6, 2012.  The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MAPC in Boston. Attendees/Contributors: Stephen Greene (WAC and Howland-Greene, by phone)), Ed Bretschneider (Staff), Karen Lachmayr (Harvard and WAC), Bill Katz (WAC), Mary Adelstein (WAC, Beth Miller Martin Pillsbury (WAC, and MAPC), Taber Keally (WAC and NEPRWA), Maggie Atanasov (WAC/AB), Joe Favaloro (Advisory Board), Paul Brinkman (Wright-Pierce), and Pam Heidell (MWRA),

Taber Keally called the meeting to order at 10:30. Stephen Greene joined us by phone.
The November minutes were approved with some minor changes

Ed Bretschneider briefly spoke about the open meeting law and how it pertains to WAC. He also explained why WAC has to undergo Online Conflict of Interest Training as all members are considered special state employees.

Karen Lachmayr agreed to give a presentation to the committee on her research at Harvard on “super bugs”.

There was a brief discussion of the Pellet Facility Tour, which is scheduled for March 6. Stephen, Taber, Ed, Beth, Martin and Maggie all expressed interest in attending.

 System Expansion – Pam Heidell 

Pam started by giving an overview of the MWRA sewer service area, that consists of 43 member communities covering an area over 500 square miles and serving almost 2.2 million people. She added that over 95% of the area in these 43 communities is sewered by the Deer Island Treatment Plant. Pam said that the enabling act lists the communities that are in the MWRA’s service area and it also provides the foundation for all our policies. She mentioned that system expansion for both water and sewer areas are addressed in Sections 8c and 8d of the enabling act. Pam reviewed the criteria that has to be met for communities to enter the system:

Early in the process we discovered that these initial criteria were not sufficient and we needed an update.  The last update was in 2006.

A key requirement is that a verifiable four to one gallon reduction in peak inflow in the transporting community and communities downstream. This requires a report that identifies actual projects with follow-ups discussions.  Also inflow removal projects cannot be projects that are being partially funded under MWRA’s I/I program; they must be new ones. The criteria have evolved over time with the MWRA and it’s Advisory Board working together.  The System Expansion Policy is reviewed roughly every five years. The policy OP#11 is used for new communities and other requests for sewer service and policy OP#4 is used much less and deals with submissions for sewer connections that straddle town boundary lines.

Pam compared difference between the water system and sewer system. For example on the water side there’s been a significant reduction in water use which results in extra capacity that can be used to bring online more communities and generate revenue as well. There has not been the same reduction in volume on the sewer side, during heavy rains and inflow and infiltration, sewer transport capacity is constrained so the ability to bring in whole new communities is nil. We’d run the potential risk of overflows in our transport system. .

Bill Katz asked why has there been reduced demand on the water side of the business.  Pam said it’s a number of things; part of the enabling act stressed conservation over expansion at the time the Authority was created, demand in the early years was reduced by getting rid of lots of leaks in the both the community and MWRA systems.  We now require communities do leak detection every two years. Mary Adelstein said she thought the biggest driver for conservation is individual meters consumers and usage cost money. Pam said yes price response plays a role in conservation efforts. Pam added that changes to the plumbing code also played a role. Pam said per capita use is declining across the country so it’s more than just the price point. She added that there is also more of an environmental conscience on conservation.

Pam said the ideal situation for sewer system expansion is someone comes to the MWRA, tells us what they want to do, we give them a copy of the policy, and we meet with them to express key concerns and regulatory requirements. The key things we communicate is that the communities must be on board, both the originating community and the transporting community. The CEO and DPW have both communities need to be on board.  Part of the reason for this is sometimes communities use lack of a wastewater systems to restrict growth, so we require documentation not just word of mouth and a handshake that both are on board. Pam said we don’t always get the ideal for example there can be connections to are system that are not authorized and sometimes these can be innocent mistakes and sometimes intentional. She added it is difficult for example for innocent connections that have been there for many years and than have to tell them that they have to disconnect. In some cases when large volumes are involved we look for ways to legalize the connection.  Taber Keally added these could have large financial impacts. If a developer is looking to do a project and than discovers that the connection is not legal. Pam said we try to be sensible and not overly beauricreatic. Taber added that local attorneys might not catch these anomalies where in commercial situations it is more likely.

Pam added that we couldn’t just expand the service area “willy-nilly”; the service area is defined by the enabling act. If we add a property there has to be an addendum to the act that says add this property. Before we agree to an expansion we want to make sure that all alternatives were evaluated. Just saying you want to join because it’s cheaper than dealing with a septic system is not sufficient for entry. Pam stressed that the adapting community that we connect to must identify projects that achieve 4:1 inflow removal. Martin asked if that was strict, Pam replied very strict. Taber said he thought most of the low hanging fruit has probably already been dealt with. Pam agreed and added that that is often the case and the ones that are left tend to be significantly more expensive to accomplish. Sometimes people end up saying never mind. We don’t ask that an investment in inflow removal be made until there is formal approval from the MWRA. People tend to think it’s the entry fee that keeps people from looking to joining that can easily be out done by the cost of reducing inflow. Inflow was favored over infiltration since it’s real; you’re taking it out of the system, where infiltration can just pop up someplace else in the system. Pam added that this is an example of how thoughtful the process in designing and updating our system expansion policies.

Pam mentioned that we don’t recommend direct connections the MWRA system although we did accommodate Regis College; in general connections are made through the local sewer system. We assist communities and others in drafting legislation to get the necessary approval to join the system, so they don’t have to go out and hire a lawyer Mary Adelstein noted for Regis College, legislation was passed before any other parts of the process were completed which obliged the MWRA to approve their entry. Pam said we don’t dictate what order things need to get done in, but I will say that sometimes politics can play a role. She stressed no matter what the order, all parts of the process have to be completed. Pam added that the BOD could waive any part of the policy that is not part of the enabling act.

Pam stated that the entrance fee assessed by MWRA is to cover costs of servicing entities from communities outside its service area. She noted the entrance fee is based on new user share as a function of total system flow times the sewer system asset value.

Pam reviewed what happens after the connection is approved. She mentioned that there has to be an implementation of flow removal projects and completion of flow removal report, annual reporting to MWRA on wastewater discharges, annual reporting of commitments relating to maintenance and upkeep of measures to reduce flows as well as annual report to the BOD on the status f new connections to the system and compliance with MWRA conditions. We like to collect the entrance fee within 30 days of the connection.

Pam reviewed new possible connections such as Genzyme building of a new science building, Cambridge School of Weston wants to legalize an existing connection as well as a few others.  She concluded by reviewing system expansion policies for water, which includes emergency water supply withdrawals.

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2011
Mar
Jul
Aug
Sep
Dec

Minutes November 4, 2011

The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MAPC in Boston. Attendees/Contributors: Stephen Greene (WAC and Howland-Greene), Ed Bretschneider (Staff), Karen Lachmayr (Harvard and WAC), Bill Katz (WAC), Mary Adelstein (WAC, Beth Miller Martin Pillsbury (WAC, and MAPC), Taber Keally (WAC and NEPRWA), Joe Nerden (DEP), Craig Allen, Dan OBrien (MWRA), Richard Trubaino (MWRA), Lise Marx (MWRA), Craig Allen, Stephen Kaiser (Cambridge), Roger Frymire (Cambridge), Hohn Reinhardt (Mystic River Watershed Association), Patrick Herron (Mystic River Watershed Association) and Don Walker (AECOM).

Taber Keally called the meeting to order at 10:30. Stephen Greene joined us by phone.

The October minutes were approved with some minor changes. Ed Bretschneider mentioned that both Beth Miller and Maggie Atanasov nominations go before the MWRA BOD for final approval. WAC agreed to have a joint meeting with WSCAC on climate change the end of November.

There was a brief discussion on when to have a tour of the Pellet Facility, the committee asked Ed Bretschneider to work with the MWRA to agree on a date either in January or March.

North System Hydraulic Study – Richard Trubiano

Rick started by giving an over view of the MWRA service area. He noted they provide wholesale water and wastewater services to over 2.5 million customers in 61 communities and that on average delivers 220 million gallons per day to its water customers, with peak demand of 350 million gallons. The MWRA also collects an average of 350 million gallons of wastewater per day, with a peak capacity of 1.2 billion gallons.

Rick reviewed CSO projects and said upgrades at the Somerville CSO facility resulted in a improved chlorination disinfection system, a new dechlorination system and a new process control and safety system. The project was completed in 2001 at a cost of $4 million. Rick continued, the Cummingsville Branch Sewer project provided additional capacity to ensure adequate and reliable wastewater service for upstream communities. The project was completed in 2005 at a cost of $4.8 million. In 2007 the Wedgemere Siphon project was completed to alleviated chronic flooding in Winchester. The cost was a little over $1.0 million. In 2008 we completed the Mystic Valley Sewer Rehabilitation, which was due to extensive deteriation of the brick and concrete sewer. Work of this type in general also included general maintenance, which results in improvement of the I/I characteristics of the sewer, he added we tighten the sewer and get better hydraulics out of it. Rick added at the Alewife Brook, we minimized CSO discharges by separating combined sewer systems in parts of Cambridge and upgrading local system connections to MWRA’s interceptors.

Rick noted that these projects along with others have resulted in dramatic improvements in wet weather water quality.

The North System Hydraulic Study envisions a collaborative effort between an expert engineering consultant team and MWRA staff. Rick noted that the MWRA picked AECOM. The goal is to analyze the MWRA Chelsea Creek Headworks tributary area and develop recommended means for system optimization and SSO impact reduction as it relates to various areas of discharge. The study area includes MWRA interceptor system tributary to Chelsea Creek Headworks associated with overflows to the Mystic River and its tributaries. This included 18 communities and 46% of the North System flow to Deer Island (and 30% of total system flow).

The initial phase of this study is to review and confirm baseline information on system performance under a range of typical and extreme wet weather events. It will involve site visits, staff interview, data collection, data analysis, current capacity analysis and hydraulic model refinements and baseline calibrations.

The second phase will identify potential system operational or physical modifications or optimization opportunities to eliminate, reduce, or modify (relocate or consolidate) SSO’s and improve wet weather flow conveyance. Considerations to include economic, public health impacts, water quality and operational feasibility. This phase will rely on use of the MWRA’s hydraulic model.

Three levels of alternatives will include:

  1. system optimization measures;
  2. inflow and infiltration data for the MWRA and tributary community systems; and
  3. major system modifications and/or new facilities. Other questions are being asked , such as, to what extend would I/I need to be reduced to eliminate SSOs as well as identify significant sources of infiltration and inflow (include river flooding).

Rick gave an example of a potential major project that could result: Construct a large relief line to intercept SSOs along the Mystic River to location which would provide tidal dispersion and potentially divide disinfection through the Somerville CSO facility.

Rick concluded with major project deliverables:

  1. Baseline Performance Assessment and Summary Report
  2. System Optimization Technical Memorandum
  3. I/I Findings Technical Memorandum
  4. Major System Modifications Technical Memorandum
  5. Final Report.

The report would include the following:

  1. Recommend an overall plan to eliminate, reduce or relocate SSOs
    for that part of the service area tributary to Chelsea Creek
    Headworks based on best engineering/planning/industry
    practices. The plan may include a mix of SOP measures, I/I
    reduction and major system modifications as appropriate.
  2. For each potential grouping of project alternatives, discuss the overall costs and benefits, construction considerations,
    engineering and operational requirements, regulatory/permitting
    issues including water quality, and any other relevant non-
    hydraulic factors.

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Minutes October 14, 2011.

The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MAPC in Boston. Attendees/Contributors: Stephen Greene (WAC and Howland-Greene), Ed Bretschneider (Staff),  Vin Spada (WAC and SEA), Karen Lachmayr (Harvard and WAC),  Bill Katz (WAC), Mary Adelstein (WAC,  Beth Miller, Martin Pillsbury (WAC, and MAPC), Taber Keally (WAC and NEPRWA),  Joe Nerden (DEP), Craig Allen, Dan OBrien (MWRA), Carl Pawlowski (MWRA), Carl Leone (MWRA), and Pam Heidell (MWRA).

Stephen started the meeting at 10:30. The June minutes were approved with some minor changes. Beth Miller a regular attendee at WAC meetings was nominated and approved to become a committee member. Her nomination goes before the MWRA BOD for final approval. Beth has degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering and exceptional work experience in both the public and private sector. WAC agreed to have a joint meeting with WSCAC on climate change the end of November.

Long –Residuals Planning – Dan B and Carl Pawlowski (MWRA)

In introducing Dan and Carl,  Stephen Greene mentioned  that getting the sludge out of Boston Harbor was a landmark event in cleaning up the Harbor.

Dan OBrien started with a basic statistical review of US wastewater treatment plants. He mentioned there are over 16,000 facilities and very few have capacities of over 100 MGD. Deer Island is rated at 1270 MGD and is the second largest in the US  with Detroit being the largest. Only 2000 have centralized sludge processing facilities with ultimate disposal approaches including land application, landfills and incineration. Taber Keally asked if any of the processed sludge was used for fertilizer. Dan said yes, and that it’s referred to as beneficial use. Carl Pawlowski added when processed sludge is used in land applications it is normally applied as a flowable liquid or spray.  Dan noted that 544 plants have anaerobic digestion but only 106 use the methane gas, which is generated, which he said is an enormous waste of energy. Martin Pillsbury added not only is it a waste of energy, methane is a green house gas and so that is a secondary problem as it contributes to climate change. At Deer Island methane gas is sent down to the power plant where it fires the boiler, the boiler creates the steam, the steam creates energy as it passes through a steam turbine generator that eventually enters the heating loop that heats the entire plant. If we don’t have enough gas we supplement it with fuel. The gas that is generated is worth to the ratepayer about $15 million per year in avoided fuel oil costs.  Dan mentioned that Deer Island is a 200-acre site, with the plant occupying 150 acres and the other 50 acres is a public access walk around the site.

Dan noted that about 5-6 years ago we switched from barging the sludge to the pellet plant in Quincy to pumping it through the tunnel system under the Harbor to Fore River. The pumps are huge and labor intensive, we are experimenting with smaller more efficient pumps. Dan mentioned that treated sludge from Deer Island is pumped to NEFCO which processes all the digested sludge to pellets that are then used for in beneficial re-use applications.

Carl Pawlowski mentioned that the contract with NEFCO is set to expire December 31, 2015. NEFCO is responsible for all the O&M, all the operations and maintenance of the facility. When the sludge arrives to NEFCO they own it. The MWRA has the responsibility that the Biosolids meet the 503 standards for exceptional quality. We use the term Biosolids, it is a term that the EPA has been pushing, and it implies the material has a benefit as opposed to sludge, which is something you throw away.  Ed Bretschneider asked if there are formal definitions for Biosolids and Sludge. Carl said there have been several attempt at that by the EPA. Carl said the way he defines it is sludge is what goes into the digester, Biosolids is what comes out. Stephen Greene asked who defines if it meets the quality set points.  Carl said NEFCO samples that get sent each week to the central lab at Deer Island where the testing is done. The analytical results are put together by the MWRA, so we set whether it meets the quality set points. The result is also sent to the DEP and EPA. Dan added that NEFCO has been our only operator since 1991 when the operation began. Karen Lachmayr asked if testing was done for PCB’s. Carl said yes we do. Karen followed up and asked about organics. Carl said we test weekly and do metals, PCB’s and pesticides, monthly we do organics that would result from combustion byproducts. Karen Lachmayr asked do you test for estrogens and bio-estrogens. Carl said they didn’t. Beth followed up and asked if they are coming. Carl said that is what we refer to as contaminants of emerging concern; decisions like these will be made by the EPA. Karen Lachmayr said when she thinks of these type of contaminates its usually personal care products and antibiotics. Karen continued I think the next wave will be potential genetic contaminants.

Carl spoke about NEFCO distribution of the Biosolids.  He noted that about 30% goes to Maryland for a renewable fuel cement kiln to displace a portion of the coal normally used. He added this is helpful because the agricultural use of the material is cyclical. There’s not a lot of fertilization that takes place in the winter. Ed Bretschneider asked if when pellets are delivered does it say MWRA on the packaging or delivery trucks. Carl said when delivered by truck or rail they spread it directly from the delivery vehicle. He added that anyone in a Massachusetts municipality can get the product for free, except for delivery, this application comes bagged and says Bay State Fertilizer and the MWRA gets credit for that. Carl added that in some cases Massachusetts specifications are more stringent than the Federal but he expects in the future there state will end up adopting federal standards. Karen Lackmayr asked once approved as exceptional Biosolids, can it be used anywhere? Carl said yes, it could be used in a vegetable garden, that’s the benefit of exceptional quality. Joe Nerden asked if the application on golf courses and sports fields was as a dry product or a tea. Carl said as a dry product, it comes as a granular product and is applied with a spreader. Mary Adelstein asked to review who owns what especially as regards real estate. Dan said everything on Deer Island is MWRA, he added that the Authority owns the sludge plant and it’s basically called a privatized operation. We designed it and contracted out to have it built. We retain ownership of the facility and hire out for someone to operate, maintain and market that product. Dan added once our product hits their tank they legally own it. Mary asked if there was conflict between the MWRA and the people who have to maintain it. Dan said no, they have to keep the plant maintained to keep moving the product out. Also, currently NEFCO operates it and they would like to continue their contract with the MWRA, we are their largest operation. They also operate plants in Florida, Minnesota and Greater Lawrence in Mass. We also had an independent assessment of the plant and it was viewed to be in great shape. Taber Keally said it sounds like they own the space for the term of the contract and the MWRA has no responsibility, to fix leaky roofs, snowplow the grounds, new capital investment, Dan said yes, that’s basically it. Vin Spada said they are responsible to essentially return the facility in the state they found it, so they are somewhat obligated to maintain to meet that end. Stephen Greene asked if there was a problem with Struvite in the transfer pipe. Carl said a recent inspection show no build up. He added that it really hasn’t been a problem in the pipeline but a little bit in the centrifuges.

Dan spoke about the basic long-range planning steps. He mentioned steps included assessing current condition of facilities and assets, evaluating emerging technologies, and piloting most promising ideas.    Dan also mentioned the need to do benchmarking so that we can learn from best in class.  He also said we need to consider whatever changes we make in the future we need to maintain Class A Sludge classification and beneficial re-use as well as considering what future regulatory trends of both state and federal agencies. Finally the operation has to be run in a safe and reliable manner. Ed Bretschneider asked if 2015 is the deadline is there a timeline with milestones to accomplish your goals. Dan said we did have a draft timeline but like most things, changes occur and we’ll get to what that means. He added we are a little on hold with the planning step, 2015 is a deadline in that the contract expires. We own the facility so that’s not going away, they’re not going to take the building with them. Some short-term options are a contract extension or renewal of NEFCO’s contract as well as make improvements. Dan said it’s unlikely that there’s r sufficient time to totally do the operation differently and build a new facility. So, it looks like we’ll be pelletizing beyond 2015 as a practical solution. Roger Allen does the current contract give NEFCO the option of improving the current operation. Dan said they can do process optimization on their own; what they can’t do is make a major process change. Taber Keally asked has the MWRA ever asked NEFCO what they would differently. Dan said has been some discussion on this issue. He said the oldest part of the facility is 20 years old with newer major improvements being about 10 years old. Newer pellet plants use more modern technology and in some cases more efficient approaches, such as more focus on waste heat recovery.

Dan reviewed some of the constraints of what’s next. There are “sunk costs” that have been somewhat recent. The fact that we have a split operation where the sludge is generated in one place and it’s processed in another is, not really efficient. Of course if we expand we need sufficient land. There really is no room on Deer Island to expand and not much at Fore River, also neither of these facilities is that easy to get to, a logistics issue.

We have met with the leaders of the Residuals Industry to find out who’s running their residuals operation, what’s been their experience and what jobs do they do. The goal is to learn what’s the best of class doing and do they make sense for our operations. Basically, we wanted to pick their brains. One of the things we learned is that we are doing a lot better than many other large utilities. For example, solids reduction is 65% (typical 45%-50%), our renewable energy work and gas capture and reuse at 98% is best in class. Dan mentioned that pellitization is becoming more popular; we started out with this as our process. Taber Keally asked why privatize the operation with NEFCO. Dan said this was an area where the MWRA had no operating experience;  – at the time, it was a very specialized technology that our employees were not familiar with. Carl said that NEFCO takes good care of their people and a large percentage have been there for a long time. Carl added that I think that they can run the operation more efficiently than we could because of all their specific experience. Some key learning’s from meeting with this group are: optimize existing assets where feasible, fast track improvements don’t wait until 2015, keep a diverse market for the pellets and finally don’t rule out any options prior to screening. Dan added that in a current addition analysis by AECOM in 2010. They found the facility in good-excellent shape.

Dan said the process has been on hold, there were some concerns about going too fast, was the industry changing too rapidly, we did find some of the technologies that were being talked about as showing a lot of promise weren’t really panning out, this resulted in us sitting on the sidelines for about 18 months. I think all this will result in us having a more focused direction and scope as we re-start the process. This may result in a dual-track of enhancing what we have at Deer Island and enhancing what we have at the pellet plant, likely sticking with privitatization.  These are merely some of the staff ideas being tossed around but still premature for any formal policy direction – which really rests with our Board of Directors. We are looking for formal direction before the end of this calendar year in terms of re-starting the planning.

Martin Pillsbury asked if more facilities are moving to pellitization, does that have any implications for the market and with potentially more competition that could drive won the price, could the plant still be run with a competitive advantage and there are ways to grow the business. Dan said we have some who would take all the pellets we currently make. Karen asked how many still incinerate. Dan said it’s about 20%, but in this state it is very unpopular. Dan said with this process volume reduction is tremendous, but there are environmental concerns. Karen added that some are concerned that the sludge may have contaminants that we need to identify and understand their environmental implications if any. Stephen Greene suggested that the MWRA have a communication strategy to educate the public about the safety and benefits of using MWRA Biosolids in the ways discussed today. Carl said the MWRA is receiving a lot good press about this product through the internet through forums of how do you keep your lawn green and how do you fertilize your lawn.

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Minutes June 3, 2011.  The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MAPC in Boston. Attendees/Contributors: Stephen Greene (WAC and Howland-Greene), Ed Bretschneider (Staff), Maggie Atanasov (Advisory Board), Vin Spada (WAC and SEA), Karen Lachmayr (Harvard and WAC), Stephen Kaiser (Cambridge), Bill Katz (WAC), Mary Adelstein (WAC, by phone), Beth Miller and Martin Pillsbury (WAC, personal communication)

Stephen started the meeting at 10:30. He asked for the authority to sign the contract between the MWRA and WAC if approved by the BOD. WAC supported the proposal. Stephen asked for approval of the May minutes they were approved without changes.

Ed Bretschneider reminded the committee that we don’t meet during July and August but that he would keep WAC current via email. He mentioned that the next meeting is in September and that is a joint meeting with the Advisory Board and WSCAC. Ed Bretschneider mentioned that he received a number of suggestions from MWRA staff and others on possible topics for WAC.

Stephen Greene said he didn’t expect any big announcements on permitting in the near term. Bill Katz asked if that was motivated by politics. Stephen said he didn’t think so, since this goes back to a republican administration. Bill continued if there has been no action for the last seven years, what are we working under. Ed bretschneider said the expired permit until it’s replaced. Bill continued and asked what area is the regional EPA Director responsible for. Stephen said all of New England.

WAC Review and Planning

Ed Bretschneider reviewed letters and recommendations made in the past year. He noted we wrote letters supporting MWRA CSO variances, Outfall Monitoring recommendations and letters supporting Advisory Board positions on Bottle Bill legislation. In addition we agreed with both the Advisory Board and the MWRA in not supporting potential legislation that would make the MWRA co-permittees with the local towns and communities, in effect taken over local sewer systems. WAC also wrote a letter to the Boston Globe regarding storm water.

Ed quickly reviewed meetings held in the last 12 months, including maintenance, SSO’s, I/I and Metering; He mentioned that there were three joint meetings, two with WSCAC on Budget and maintenance and one with WSCAC and the Advisory Board on MWRA Challenges. Karen Lachmayr recommended that we shorten future presentations to 30 minutes leaving more time for Q/A. Stephen Kaiser agreed, adding that too much time is allocated to presentation and not enough to discussion. Beth Miller in an email made the same recommendation. Martin Pillsbury in a private communication said that we should develop some outreach processes, perhaps by use of the web or bringing in outside groups, like watersheds for presentations. Vin Spada said most of the presentations only share successes it would be good to know what were some of the pitfalls along the way. He added that we should be inviting the MWRA to offer what areas they would like input/comments on.

Suggestions for future meetings included, System Expansion, Rate Methodology, Pellitization, North Dorchester Bay Start-Up, Permit Update, Watershed Input on their Issues, Capacity Issue related to Hydraulics on Northside, the list goes on. Ed said he would publish a suggested list to discuss. Stephen Greene mentioned that the pellet process is something we should engage ourselves in sooner rather than later. He added that some groups are looking to use pellets as a fuel rather than using plasma and driving energy out of it. Karen Lachmayr agreed that sludge management is a good topic and she would be interested in any environmental concerns that might arise with its use. Stephen Greene said he’s interested in what are the emerging technologies for sludge management. All agreed that a tour would be of interest. Stephen Kaiser reminded everyone of the water line clamp break last year and asked if a similar type break is possible on the wastewater side. The point is are their lessons in general from the waterside that we should be learning that translates to wastewater. Stephen Kaiser continued and mentioned the energy savings of MWRA and the great strides they made here, is their learning from this that might be of benefit to other state agencies.

There was some focus on Wastewater Rate Methodology. All felt that the committee needed a better understanding of how sewer rates are determined. Martin Pillsbury (by phone) said it always makes sense for the committee to learn more but everyone needs to understand how difficult it was to reach a consensus. He added the current methodology is clearly an improvement of what existed before and does include incentives to deal with I/I. Mary Adelstein said while we’ve had some brief conversations in the past I believe we require a more in depth education. She added that I’m not advocating that we change anything but just know more. Karen Lachmayr agreed but added it’s important to understand if it makes sense to use rates as a method to drive behavior on issues important to the MWRA. Ed Bretschneider agreed to try to get Joe Favaloro to visit WAC and give a presentation on how sewer rates are determined and the process used to get agreement.

All agreed we should find additional members for WAC. Mary Adelstein said what she missed most someone with the experience of working in a DPW sewer/water service, someone who understands the pipes underground. Mary said we should try to find someone like Thom Donohue who was a committee member year’s back. Stephen said there’s always high interest when major new construction is going on it’s the management of the new technology (like moving from construction of Deer Island to Management of Deer Island) that impacts the ability of committees like WAC to retain or add new members. He added that’s it’s in the management that we preserve the long-term value. This is similar to when Fred Laskey speaks about the Authority transitioning from “headliner projects to “blocking and tackling”.

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Minutes May 6, 2011.  The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MAPC in Boston.  Attendees: Larry Schafer WAC, (Newton), Ed Bretschneider (Staff-WAC), Karen Lachmayr (WAC and Harvard), Martin Pillsbury (MAPC, WAC&WSCAC), Beth Miller (Civil Infrastructure), Taber Keally (WAC and NepRWA), Maggie Atanasov (Advisory Board and WAC), Richard Trubiano (MWRA), Carl Leone (MWRA), Vin Spada (WAC and SEA Consultants), Patrick Herron (Mystic River Watershed), Bill Katz (WAC), Mary Adelstein (WAC), Stephen Kaiser (Cambridge), Roger Frymire (Cambridge), Joe Nerden (DEP), and Steve Pearlman (NepRWA)

Ed Bretschneider called the meeting to order at 10:30. The WAC minutes for February and April were presented and approved. At that point Taber Keally took over to chair the meeting.

Ed also noted that the June 3 meeting would be dedicated to a review of FY11 as well as planning for the next year. Several members suggested we should evaluate ways to increase our clout and improve on how we draft input from stakeholders.

Mary Adelstein asked if WAC was in the FY12 budget. Ed Bretschneider said as far as he knows it is at level funding. It’s not approved until the MWRA BOD vote on it at their June meeting. Karen Lachmayr added that at WAC’s June meeting one outcome should be defining our value-add from FY11. Taber said one of our goals is to get public input and bring that forward to the MWRA. That includes what the MWRA does well and where there’s opportunity for improvement and give some direction.

Patrick Herron said the roll of WAC as being a liaison for the public is critical but there is not a formal mechanism to do that. He asked the committee to consider having an annual meeting dedicated to getting feedback for the MWRA from appropriate watershed committees.

Metering and I/I – Richard Trubiano and Carl Leone (MWRA)

Rick gave an overview of the MWRA wastewater collection system noting it encompasses 43 communities with 221 metering sites, 185 that are rates meters to the communities. The other meters are used to understand the hydraulics of the system. He added that the Authority owns about 200+ miles of large interceptors and the communities own another 5000 miles of sewers and laterals.

Regarding metering Rick said that we’ve had an interim system since 1991 and the first permanent system was completed in 1994. These stayed in place until the new meter replacement project was completed in 2005. These meters are replaced individually when appropriate. Rick added that it wasn’t until 1996 that we started to use wastewater generation for rates. Rick briefly discussed the different meter types that are in use.

Most use radar/velocity flow meters whereas acoustic doppler flow meters are used for larger conduits. Patrick Herron asked about the ability to monitor flow when it’s above a certain level, is there a limitation to what they will measure? Rick said they work well in both wet and dry weather. Rick added that the measurement is probably a bit better in dry weather. Carl Leone added that some meters have a second pressure depth sensor these are susceptible to drift and have to be continually brought back into calibration.  Rick mentioned that the meters get regular maintenance; they have to run smoothly since they are determining flow and hence rates for our customers. We also use them to alert us to alarms like pipe breaks and leaks since real time data is available from our meters. Rick added that any community could get a password and review their data on our web site. Taber Keally asked if you could get information for other towns aside from your own. Rick said not on the web site. Taber added wouldn’t it be helpful to know how you compare to other communities. Rick we can make that data available on request.

Rick spent a few moments describing how rates are determined. He said for any given fiscal year we determine how much we are going to spend. Then we assign portions to water and wastewater depending on how much it is going to cost us. Mary Adelstein asked last year when the rate increase was 1.5% how did that break out between water and wastewater. Rick said he didn’t have the exact numbers in his head but he thought they would be in the same ballpark. Rick added that rates for water are based on metered water provided to each community relative to the system as a whole whereas sewer rates are a function of average daily flow and peak month flow as well as population. He added that it is the Advisory Board that put together the recommendations of how rates should be determined which has to be approved by the BOD. The advisory board also plays a key role in determining what rate increases should be. Patrick asked if they’re any winners and losers in how rates are determined. Rick said he didn’t think there were too many losers. Patrick asked about communities with a lot of I/I would have the benefit of having half their bill based on flow as opposed to population. Rick said part of the rate structure was based on incentives to control I/I and also to keep the rate increases somewhat predictable and stable. Taber said why couldn’t we look at household sewer bills by community to assess winners and losers. Rick said you have to remember that 1/3 to 1/2 the overall bill is from the MWRA and the rest is community based. Roger Frymire said winners and losers track if a community is CSO based or not, where CSO communities are favored a little bit. In response to a question from Karen, Carl said if you want to understand the dynamics of the rate structure and how it was put together it would be best to have Joe Favaloro come in to discuss. Patrick asked if there was a regular review of the rate structure... Roger said there is no way anyone is up to reviewing that again. Karen said rates are a good way to influence the type of behavior you want I would think as those changes over time it would be good to review. Carl said it was not the MWRA who developed the rate structure it was the advisory board, so basically it was the communities coming together and agreeing on what is should be and what they could buy into. Karen added that we’ve heard Joe talk about how difficult the process was, but still, it doesn’t seem very progressive to say they can never be changed. Roger added perhaps if there were new goals that could drive a discussion about modifying the rate structure.

Carl Leone overviewed the MWRA Regional Collection System. He noted that there are 43 wholesale customer communities. The average flow is 360 mgd. Carl added that peak flow at Deer Island is about 1.3 billion gallons a day. There are over 240mmiles of interceptors and over 4000 manholes and 5 CSO facilities. He continued for community collection systems there are over 5000 miles of public sewers and over 100,000 manholes as well as 1800 connections to MWRA Interceptors. Carl said the MWRA has over 2 million retail sewer customers. Other flow components are groundwater infiltration, manhole inflow, sump pump inflow and downspout inflow. Carl said all this is meant to indicate to make impact on flow to Deer Island we need to work with the communities. Mary said it looks like you don’t have inflow into your system. Carl said we do have infiltration into our system; we do try to back this out so that communities are not paying for it. He added this is a mathematical calculation not a real estimate of what is happening. Carl said because of the much larger size of the community system a much greater portion of the infiltration is found there. He continued that the cost to rehabilitate all of the 5000 miles of pipe would cost somewhere between $8-$14 billion. Carl said on average communities are paying an $11 million per year to rehabilitate pipes.

The I/I program started in 1993 at $25 million. Total funding to date is $260 million. Carl said in addition community investment in I/I reduction is available fro SRF funded projects. He also made clear there is continuing support from the BOD to put money out to the communities to support I/I projects. Carl up to February 2011 we’ve distributed $203 million, 45%, which are grants and the remainder interest free loans. The loan payment is over 5 years. That money comes back to the MWRA.  Mary Adelstein asked if it was an interest free loan. Carl said yes. All 43 communities are participating in over 400 funded projects. Mary asked if communities get the money no matter what the project is?  Carl said they have to apply and if it’s an eligible I/I reduction project then they can move ahead with that project. Patrick asked if you test if they are spending the money in the best place, the highest priority? Carl said the basic answer is no, the communities hire engineering consultants, who write reports that identify the I/I projects. The MWRA does review the reports. These are community projects, so it’s really their decision. Carl said there are different processes for borrowing money with towns and cities. For example with cities we deal with the mayor and the city council since they have more direct ability to make decisions whereas with towns we generally have to go through town meetings so it’s more of an annual or semi-annual process. A community has to do a bond with the MWRA that’s a general obligation of the community to make sure they pay us back. Carl reviewed results of the I/I program. They can be found on pages 37-40 of the presentation (http://www.mwra.com/monthly/wac/wac.htm). Overall after completion of 400 local projects, we estimate that 79mgd of average daily flow of I/I was reduced at the point of completed projects .Ed Bretschneider asked if some of the reduction could be a function of water conservation. Rick said that certainly that is a contributing factor. Carl said his expectation is that flows will come down very slowly over time. Patrick Herron noted that improvements early in the program were more dramatic and in latter years it seems to have leveled off. Carl said there is an annual I/I reduction report that shows monthly wastewater flow data by community, annual flow component summary by component and community statistics and ranked flow components. Karen said looking at the 2010 data 53% of flow going to Deer Island was sewer and 47% I/I. Carl agreed. Rick said the real issue is that when we get heavy rains 90% of the flow can be I/I and a significant amount is from private sources.  He also noted that the DEP plays a roll in I/I. They have a policy that applies to all communities in the MWRA sewer service area. In addition projects over the MEPA threshold for an EIR and have new wastewater flow exceeding 15,000 must offset new flow via I/I mitigation. Taber Keally asked about infiltration data and how much is from dry day analysis. Carl said all of it. Mary asked how much of the water use is going to irrigation in the summer. Carl said it’s not as much as you might think on volume. But peak use can be high. Karen asked about the incremental costs to deal with all the I/I at Deer Island. Rick said from an expense perspective it is not that great. The biggest expense is capital costs since everything has to be sized to deal with the total flow.

Rick reviewed the North System Hydraulic Study. He said the scope is to review and confirm baseline information on system performance under a range of typical and extreme wet weather conditions. A second phase will identify potential system operational or physical modifications or optimization opportunities to eliminate, reduce, or modify (relocate or consolidate) SSO’s and improve wet weather flow conveyance.  Considerations to include economic, public health impacts as well as water quality and operational feasibility.  This phase will rely on use of the MWRA’s hydraulic model.  Three levels of alternatives will include: 1) system optimization measures; 2) inflow and infiltration data for the MWRA and tributary community systems; and 3) major system modifications and/or new facilities.

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Thanks to Lexi Dewey from WSCAC for writing summary (includes some minor changes).

Summary Minutes April 8, 2011.  The Wastewater Advisory Committee and Water Supply Citizen Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its joint monthly meeting at the MAPC in Boston.  Attendees:  Ed Bretschneider (Staff-WAC),  Stephen Greene (WAC and Howland-Greene Consultants), Martin Pillsbury (MAPC, WAC&WSCAC), Joseph Favaloro (Advisory Board),  Beth Miller (Civil Infrastructure),  Maggie Atanasov (Advisory Board and WAC), Lexi Dewey (WSCAC)),  Paul Lauenstein (WSCAC), Stephen Estes Smargiassi (MWRA), Kathy Soni (MWRA), Tom Durkin (MWRA), Mary  Adelstein (WAC), Jeanne Richardson (WSCAC, BWSC), Michael Baram (WSCAC) and  Stephen Kaiser (Cambridge))

Paul Lauenstein called the joint meeting to order at 10:30.

Budget Challenge – Kathy Soni and Tom Durkin (MWRA)
 See LINK TO THE ENTIRE PRESENTATION: (http://www.mwra.com/monthly/wac/presentations/2011/042011-ceb-cip.pdf)

Kathy Soni, MWRA Budget Director and Tom Durkin, Treasurer, gave a very detailed and informative presentation titled, Fiscal Year 2012-Current Expense and Capital Improvement Budget Overviews to WAC and WSCAC members at MAPC in Boston on April 8th.

As noted in the MWRA Staff Summary:

The largest component of the MWRA’s annual Current Expense Budget (CEB) is the cost associated with the capital finance program. In the Proposed FY12 CEB, capital finance costs account for approximately 60% of the total budget. The capital finance portion of the CEB will continue to increase until it accounts for approximately 64% of the total budget in 2021. These increases to debt service expenses are the result of the MWRA’s 5.8 billion in outstanding debt necessitated by capital improvements to the water and wastewater systems.

Presentation facts include:

Kathy Soni and Tom Durkin’s presentation was extremely helpful in creating a picture of the MWRA’s financial structure, monetary policies in use, upcoming costs and projects, and a forecast of the Authority’s focus in the years ahead.

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Minutes February 3, 2011.  The Wastewater Advisory Committee and Water Supply Citizen Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its joint monthly meeting at the MAPC in Boston.  Attendees: Larry Schafer WAC, (Newton), Ed Bretschneider (Staff-WAC), Karen Lachmayr (WAC and Harvard), Stephen Greene (WAC and Howland-Greene Consultants), Martin Pillsbury (MAPC, WAC&WSCAC), Joseph Favaloro (Advisory Board), Pamela Heidell (MWRA) Beth Miller (Civil Infrastructure), Taber Keally (WAC and NepRWA), Maggie Atanasov (Advisory Board and WAC), Lexi Dewey (WSCAC)), Whitney Beals (WSCAC and NEFF), Fred Laskey (MWRA), Richard Trubiano (MWRA), John Vetere (MWRA), Mike Morris (MWRA), Mike Hornbrook (MWRA), Joel Bariera (MAPC and MWRA BOD), Paul Lauenstein (WSCAC), Steve Cullen (MWRA), Margaret Van Hausen  (WSCAC and CRWA), and Betsy Works (WatchWater Gloucester)

Stephen Greene called the joint meeting to order at 10:30. The WAC minutes for January was presented and approved.

Legislative Agenda Update – Fred Laskey

Fred said that the MWRA works closely with Joe Favaloro and the Advisory Board on what the legislative agenda should be.  Approval of the MWRA Board of Directors on MWRA’s legislative agenda is obtained. He added we work with our legislative caucus and what they think is acceptable. Fred mentioned once the BOD accepts it we file the legislation. He added that the MWRA has sought federal relief funding for emergency related expenses associated with the excessive wet weather events in the spring.

One of the most significant issues for the Authority is debt service assistance.  The state subsidy for the portion of the debt service on many of our major projects is now on life support: This program starting years back to help support the cleaning of the harbor.  Over the last few years we’ve lost about $60 million in assistance that now has to be absorbed by ratepayers rather than assisted by the entire state.

To try to make up for some of these costs the Advisory Board is advocating expansion of the bottle bill to include a deposit on bottled water. Unclaimed deposits would go into a dedicated Water and Wastewater Infrastructure fund to be used by municipalities, water districts, and the MWRA for water and sewer infrastructure repairs and projects.

Fred mentioned the PILOT (Payment-in-lieu of taxes) program in the Quabbin Reservoir that now in effect results in some duplicate payments. Reform is sought.

He continued that an important goal is that when laws are mandated by the state they should put up some funds to support them.

Stephen Greene asked as you look at these proposals is there anyway that the two committees can weigh in to lend support and assistance. Fred said support to keep the bottle bill in play would be helpful. Also the funding we are asking for is to support statewide projects and benefits and that the state should provide some level of support. He added that projects went forth with the idea that the state would be partners with the MWRA. Joe Favaloro added that to the extent that the committees can support that there should be a dedicated state support for sewer and water infrastructure like the bottle bill and like debt service assistance that would be helpful. Fred added that municipalities are dealing with additional direction from regulators on storm water and that is going to drive another whole set of issues regarding funding.

Stephen Greene asked in the unlikely event that there is some federal funding is the MWRA positioned to compete for it. Fred said we are always well positioned because of our Master Plan as well as our long-term capital strategy. This means we have projects that are shovel ready or close enough to get going. Joe Favaloro added just look at the stimulus funding and how much went to the MWRA because of being ready to implement. He added that with all the talk about cutting spending at the federal level there is not much funding in the foreseeable future.

Fred moved to water issues where he said redundancy and storage is key. The water break suffered last year just emphasized the discussions we have been having with the Board about new redundancy projects.

Maintenance – John Vetere and Steven Cullen

John said maintenance is a high priority at the MWRA to ensure that we keep the operations running smoothly and we don’t run into the problems we did many years ago at Deer Island. He then reviewed what he called the archway, which is our maintenance program, and how we maintain and how we design the maintenance system. John talked about the Facility Asset Management Plan (FAMP). He said it is all encompassing and includes benchmarking, the master plan as well as the computer system that measures everything we do and tracks the costs associated with that (Maximo).  John said the most important item, which is the foundation of our success, is management commitment. He added like any archway all components are important, remove anyone and the archway will collapse.

John said our goal is very simple we want to prolong equipment life and we want to make sure we don’t have large spikes in our capital spending because if we do it shows we are not doing proper planning or proper maintenance. He said we don’t want to replace things prematurely or obviously wait till they fail. John said it is an art as well as a
science.

John moved to Deer Island and noted it was the centerpiece to the clean up of Boston Harbor. He noted that it was a $3.8 billion construction project and it is built on 120 acres. He added that maximum treatment capacity is 1.27 billion gal/day and average daily flow is 365 million gal/day. Maximum treatment capacity occurs during storm conditions. John said Deer Island is the second largest treatment plant in the U.S., the largest is Detroit.

John next discussed the John J. Carroll Water Treatment Plant, which was placed in service in the summer of 2005 at a cost of $350 million. Maximum plant capacity is 405mgd and is designed for 270 mgd average, but operates at less than 200mgd. John said some interesting points are that primary disinfection is ozone, our secondary disinfection is going to be UV, requiring a $38 million upgrade, which will start this fall. This obviously is a huge asset and we want to make sure it is protected and maintained. Fred Laskey added that in winter flows are so low we might have to make upgrades to make sure we can handle these low flows, which is a result of very successful conservation efforts.

John reviewed Metro Operations which he described as well designed and that the people who came up with this system were geniuses. He said the transport system is $2.2 billion of assets and the water system is $6.0 billion of assets. When you think of that it is a tremendous amount of assets to keep maintained and running.

Regarding capital spending John said we get tremendous support from the MWRA BOD, Spending FY08 through FY12 is $1,010 million to keep operations running and improve redundancy and the overall system. He reviewed some major capital projects; spot pond storage facility ($63M), Metrowest Tunnel ($704M) and Huitman Aqueduct that we continue to do for the next 21/2 years and of course Deer Island ($512M). He said where spending a ton of money on just replacement of equipment. John said that maintenance is 17% of the total FY12 expense budget and we are going to continue to argue for similar expenditures to ensure best in class operations.

John reviewed maintenance planning, which consists of crating a maintenance priority list and a daily dispatch record that schedules work and tracks productivity. He reviewed the tremendous amount of work this entails including over 41000-work orders/year and over 2000 preventive maintenance/month. The results speak for themselves, 100% preventive maintenance completed, 98% equipment availability and less than 1% emergency maintenance. He said we use reliability centric maintenance system (RCM) to help us determine when equipment is going to fail that allows us time to repair or replace. This all meets or exceeds industry goals for maintenance metrics, in many cases it is best in class performance but not all, we are always striving to improve our performance. John added that operations also does light maintenance which a major productivity advantage. One of our metrics is backlog, which tells do we have enough money, do we have enough staff. There is always a 3-5 week backlog. We work this to make sure we are not over or understaffing and the same goes for materials.

John talked about wastewater pipeline maintenance. He noted there are 228 miles of sewer pipeline and we are able to maintain 32 miles at a time with our camera inspection system every year. We then identify as good, needs repair or needs immediate repair. We then build that into our capital program. There are also siphon inspections and manhole inspections. On the waterside we have a leak detection system and we inspect our entire water pipeline of 284 miles every year.

John said regarding preventive maintenance it is done on a set program. These programs are audited and monitored through our quality control program. He added predictive maintenance is much more complicated. If you can predict when something is going to fail you have a better way of replacing it; you can plan it and schedule it in a proactive not reactive way. Heat analysis and oil analysis are examples of predictive maintenance. Some of these analyses are done through contract work John said one of the areas where we are best in class is having operations do light maintenance PM’s. This was accomplished through a program that we negotiated successfully with the unions. This approach is much more productive than to continue to work in silos. This saves time for maintenance to do some of the more critical work. John showed the impact of dealing with water leaks in a vigilant fashion and how that has contributed to declines in water usage.

John mentioned the Maximo computerized maintenance system where every piece of equipment is entered into and tracked that now is interfaced with our Lawson system that tacks all our account payable, all our purchasing and all our warehouse activity. We can now measure costs for every piece of equipment that is being maintained.

All that we have described takes knowledgeable skilled workers to execute. We have an intensive operations and maintenance training program that covers alignment, Maximo, Vibration, RCM and others to keep the knowledge base where it needs to be.  John said to control costs much training is done on site.

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Minutes January 7, 2011.  The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MAPC in Boston.  Attendees: Larry Schafer (Newton), Ed Bretschneider (Staff-WAC), Karen Lachmayr (WAC and Harvard), Stephen Greene (WAC and Howland-Greene Consultants), Cathy Vakalopoulos (MADEP), Martin Pillsbury (MAPC, WAC), Joseph Favaloro (Advisory Board), Pamela Heidell (MWRA) Beth Miller (Civil Infrastructure), Bill Katz (WAC), Taber Keally (WAC and NepRWA), Andrea Rex, Mike Mickelson, Ken Keay and Maggie Atanasov (Advisory Board)

Stephen Greene called the meeting to order at 10:30 and asked for approval of the November 4 minutes. They were approved with minor changes.

Stephen mentioned that in the Globe there was an article announcing that parts of the Bay were open for clamming. That is an acknowledgement of the excellent progress that has occurred in cleaning the Bay open.  Stephen also noted that other utilities are starting to acknowledge the cost of storm water treatment, upgrading their water and wastewater systems; he added the MWRA has been out in front on these investments and these utilities will start to see their rates climb.

Ed Bretschneider mentioned that the EPA joined the suit with CLF against BWSC. Taber Keally noted that from NepRWA perspective the BWSC has been responsive in meeting with them on their concerns in contrast to some other towns. Stephen Greene added that the BWSC has a reputation for doing good work.

Ed Bretschneider mentioned the input he received for future meetings. The committee agreed to have a meeting on Metering and its ability to understand I/I data. It was also agreed that the June meeting should be a review of the past year and discussion for topics going forward. 

Outfall Monitoring Update  - Andrea Rex, Ken Keay and Ken Mickelson

Andrea started by thanking WAC for its support of the MWA recommended changes to Outfall Monitoring. She added that it was a difficult process getting the approval of the regulatory agencies and letters of support like WAC’s are quite helpful.

The collection process is designed to collect samples from the outfall area and compare them to samples taken from reference areas. Andrea said that today we focus on the results of this monitoring for 2009. She noted that this was a rainy year with lots of flow but still one of the lowest years for blending and that almost all flow received both primary and secondary treatment. Andrea noted that metal discharge was low and most meets water quality standard in-pipe. The majority of the metal discharge was zinc and copper. Larry Schafer asked amount mercury, Andrea said it is quite a low percentage. Larry asked where does it go, Andrea said the bulk of it is removed as solids.

Andrea mentioned that Flounder health is monitored annually. Since 2006, no liver tumors in flounder have been found at any location. In the past that was one of the big problems in Boston Harbor. Also skin ulcers have virtually disappeared. This was also a big problem in past years. We believe that it might have been some event like an infectious disease that caused the problem. Andrea added that Flounder early liver disease remains at low levels.

Andrea noted that improvement in flounder liver health is consistent with improved water quality for PAH’s as measured by mussel testing. Mussel data also show improvements in water quality for chlordane, which is not surprising since it was banned years ago. Overall decrease in chlordane since mid-90’s can be seen in meat of both lobster and flounder.

Ken Keay said he was going to review the sediment studies in Mass. Bay.  He noted the study design that included four stations in Boston Harbor and, three stations in Stellwagan Basin. There were four surveys per year in May, July, August and October. The samples are collected in box cores and then incubated at in-situ temperatures in our laboratory. This study was designed to tell us about the impact of the discharge in metabolism such as how fast the sediment is processing organic carbon, oxygen and nutrients, chlorophyll is also analyzed which is a content of surface sediments. This work has been going on since 1992 and as we look at the data through 2009 we see essentially no change in the data at the analyzed sites from baseline monitoring to discharge monitoring. In some cases there was some increase but it was not significant.

 

Ken said the conclusions from this study that we brought to the science panel and regulators was that there was no indication of increased organic matter loading to nearfield, no indication of an increase or change in any of the metabolism sediment properties that the study was measuring. This was the last time this study was going to be done as part of the recommended and approved changes. Much of this information will be picked up in other studies that we do.

Another study that we are involved in is sediment contaminants. Most of these contaminants adhere to fine particles; hence they build up in muddy, depositional areas of the sea floor. Organic matter and SOD (sediment oxygen demand) from the effluent would build up in the same areas. While Boston Harbor use to have the reputation of one of the dirtiest harbors in the country we found that Mass Bay sediments were relatively free of contaminants. This was one of the major concerns with the Outfall the potential for significant contamination. Ken said there are 23 stations have been part of our study since 1992, we sampled them every year until 2003, thereafter every third year. It was clear early on that any build up of contaminants would be relatively slow.

Analysis of data from 2008 shows that for total PCB’s t the average discharge  are below the baseline mean. There was some outside lyers but no indication they are a result of the outfall for PCB’s or any other contaminant.  The same is true for PAH’s there is no indication that there is any impact from the outfall. Taber Keally asked how long do PAH’s last in the environment, are they similar to PCB’s that can be stored in the sediment for 30-50 years. Ken said there are bacterial processes that degrade them but they are very slow.

Ken said the overall conclusions from the sediment data are that the 2008 data were generally consistent with the long-term data and that a specific bacterial signal is evidence of effluent discharge in the sediments. However, all the statistical analysis’s shows no difference for discharge data form baseline data for most chemicals except for total DDT and total PCB, but they are going in the right direction, down. Finally, the long-term data indicate no accumulation of toxic chemicals following effluent diversions.

Ken reviewed sea floor and sediment profile images. He said conclusions of this study was that operation of the outfall, starting in 2001, did not appear to effect benthic habitat quality and sediment characteristics remained similar through time.

Mike Mickelson reviewed water column monitoring results for 2009 which focuses on nutrients; too much is bad, because it can cause excess algal growth causing consumption of dissolved oxygen that can be harmful resulting in harmful algal blooms. So there is an extensive sampling program for the water column.

Analysis shows water column ammonia has decreased since 2001. This indicated presence of discharge; the 2007-2009 results are similar to 1998-2000. If there are any changes we need to understand whether it is due to the discharge or other sources. Also Chlorophyll analysis shows all data below caution and warning thresholds.

Mike spoke to Alexandrium red tide events. He noted that in 2005 Alexandrium Bloom was a major regional event in New England, two storms moved the current into Mass Bay. Mike mentioned that in 2009 there was an exceedance of the threshold level. He added that in 2010 there was an early bloom but nothing came of it. . In general you need a lot of winds coming from the northeast for the bloom to materialize.  Mike said a predictor of bloom is cysts found in the sands are used as a predictor of the following year’s bloom. WHOI measures the number of cysts. In responding to a question Mike said that the red tide was lower than predicted throughout the coast of Maine.  Kathy asked  it was a surprise that with the high rains in March and all the micronutrients that were flushed into the Bay that there was no Bloom.

Mike said in conclusion that there have been trends in chlorophyll and plankton, but these appear to be regional in nature, occurring throughout Mass Bay and further offshore in the western Gulf of Maine.

Karen asked if there was any impact on whales.  Karen asked about
Phaeocystis blooms, and Ken said that in 1997 there was a bloom and the
whales stayed away.  Karen asked if he believed the two events were related.
Ken said in other blooms the whales did not stay away."

Stephen said it appears that the outfall is not having an effect, period. Ed Bretschneider added that all 3 presentations would be available on WAC’s web page.

Joe Favaloro mentioned that there have been staff changes at the Advisory Board and that Maggie Atanasov would be staffing for both WAC and WSCAC which is consistent with what I have been saying regarding the relationship between all three committees. He added that Cornelia was now working limited hours and would be focusing in on other things.

Joe added that an irony of the EPA joining the CLF suit against the BWSC is that Boston is one of the national success stories regarding a major harbor clean up. He added EPA’s main argument is that they are enforcing the clean water act and not enough is being done. Joe continued that in State Supreme Court they ruled against the town of Saugus in their attempt to collect I/I fees for development within the city and that was not a reasonable assessment of cost onto a developer. So on one hand you’re being told to spend money and on the other hand you can’t develop fees to allow you to do it.

Larry Schafer asked how one determines that nature of a storm and who sets the criteria for say the definition of a 100-year storm and if one wants to change it what is the process. He requested that we discuss it at some future meeting.

Karen Lachmayr recommended that we keep the June meeting open for a review of WAC’s accomplishments and planning for the future. The committee agreed. Karen requested that we combine the meeting on Metering with the meeting on I/I. Stephen added that it would be good to understand how Metering helps to know where inflow is occurring. Taber and Stephen suggested that we might want to invite watershed groups to this meeting as well.

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2010
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Minutes of the November 4 Meeting

The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MAPC in Boston.  Attendees: Larry Schafer (Newton), Ed Bretschneider (Staff-WAC), Karen Lachmayr (WAC and Harvard), Stephen Greene (WAC and Howland-Greene Consultants, by phone), Stephen Kaiser (Cambridge), Richard Trubiano (MWRA), Mary Adelstein (WAC), Carle Leone (MWRA), Martin Pillsbury (MAPC, WAC), Joseph Favaloro (Advisory Board), David Kubiak (MWRA), Bill Katz (WAC), Roger Frymire (Cambridge), Patrick Herron (Mystic River Watershed Association), Paul Keohan (BWSC), Pamela Heidell (MWRA) Beth Miller (Civil Infrastructure),and EKOngkar Singh Khalsa (Mystic River Watershed Association)

Stephen Greene who was participating by phone asked Ed Bretschneider to run the meeting. Ed asked for approval of the October 15 minutes. They were approved without any changes.

Impact of Potential New SSO Regulations (Continuation of October Meeting)

Ed Bretschneider started with a summary of last month’s discussion on SSO’s. He noted that Rick Trubiano presented MWRA’s view of potential new SSO regulations and Patrick Herron advocated from the Mystic River Watershed Associations perspective.

Ed said Rick must have said the same thing 20 different ways to make sure he got his point across, which was that currently the MWRA has specific legal responsibility for what it owns and the member communities have specific legal responsibility for what they own; this is the way it is and the way the Authority would like it to be in the future. Ed added, that Rick made clear MWRA didn’t want to regulate local sewers and doesn’t want to be the planning arm for the communities. Rick also noted that the Advisory Board supported that position and that the Authority does work cooperatively with the EPA, DEP and local communities on a number of these issues. He added that the EPA is considering issuing permits to the communities with the MWRA as a co-permittee; it was re-emphasized that the MWRA believes it should only be responsible for what it owns and operates. Ed said that Patrick Herron had stated that MWRA should collaborate with the communities since MWRA is handling their excess flows, and asked how the MWRA could collaborate and assist the communities if they are not co-permitees. Rick responded that I/I funds are available to help with that situation.

There was also a discussion of what size storm the system operator should be responsible to handle, a two year storm or a hundred year storm. Roger Frymire last month said the fix is to first consider what size storm you want to contain, then set differential rates to the communities that they pay more for storm water than they do for sewage and every time there’s a smaller storm than you permitted for you ratchet up the differential if necessary. Roger said at that time that he hadn’t seen this approach implemented anywhere. Here he added that he planned to correct that statement later in the meeting. Karen Lachmayr said at that time another approach might be to adjust the rate structure so that a higher proportion of the rate is based on flow volume than population. Carl said that the rate structure and any changes come from recommendations of the Advisory Board to the MWRA Board of Directors. Rick added how much money do you invest for infrequent storms and measured water quality improvement. Patrick talked about what he believed to be under-reporting of SSO’s and that no effort was being made to report to the public the health risks of SSO’s. He added that CSO and SSO’s are roughly comparable in the Mystic River Watershed. Patrick also noted that DEP forms did not allow for quantifying SSO’s larger than one million gallons. He also believed that we should be more concerned about backups into people’s homes because of the concern of viruses and pathogens. Rick added that if the backups were pumped into the street it would then be an SSO because of the likelihood of it making its way to a drain that might flow into a river. Patrick said that he would like to see greater cooperation between the MWRA and local communities. He felt that I/I money is being spent in a patchwork framework rather than strategically. Ed Bretschneider concluded his summary of the October meeting. He added that there was a lot of energy in the discussion but no specific follow up actions, so it was important to continue the conversation to see what direction the committee wanted to take.

Stephen Greene asked if it made sense to focus more on inflow to provide relief for the SSO problem. Carl Leone added that when the MWRA BOD approves I/I money it gets allocated to the communities on what percent share they pay. This methodology would be quite difficult to change. Working with communities to see what was a higher priority is something that a group could do. Carl added that while inflow might be the highest priority in the Mystic Watershed that is not consistent with all the groups that I meet with. For example in Neponset they are concerned with low river flows and ground water levels and infiltration so more water is in the river in the summer. So, that’s a competing interest. This is the reason we allocate money to the communities so they can decide the most effective way to use it.

Ed Bretschneider said one of the items he forgot to mention in his summary was that both the MWRA and Advisory Board submitted letters to the EPA stating that they were opposed to MWRA being a co-permittee with the communities. Mary Adelstein stated that this was one of the items she wanted to address and that WAC send a letter if the EPA is still in a listening mode opposing the condition that the MWRA be a co-permittee on the SSO problem. Mary added that she agreed with the conclusion of the Advisory Board and the MWRA but wouldn’t use the same argument to get there. She added her opposition is based on it being an ineffective regulatory system. Yes, the MWRA has excellent resources but they have no experience with regulation. She continued that there’s a built-in conflict of interest when a supplier regulates its customers and it’s an additional level of responsibility that’s going to result in more needed resources, more money and potentially higher rates. The regulators should be the EPA and the DEP, not MWRA. She added that no one size fits all. Stephen Greene added that if the MWRA became a co-permittee they would have control over the municipal sewer system and that is too much of a stretch. Roger Frymire repeated his idea of a differential rate structure to deal with the problem and said that the MWRA did use this approach with their water rates when they wanted to cut back on water use when they applied a higher rate for higher usage and that had an effect of reducing water usage. So a small change in rate structure can have a huge effect in results. He said he does not like the idea of MWRA and the communities being co-permittees, but he would like this committee to come up with some feasible alternatives, and varying the rate structure is one possibility. Roger added that if the EPA doesn’t go the co-permittee route, than what’s left is for the EPA to fine the MWRA for every SSO and having the MWRA pass those costs on, which would be a painful way to do it, because that money goes to the general fund and is not earmarked . Roger continued that I’d like this committee to define how much SSO is too much SSO. In other words a storm that is so big we all accept that they are going to happen in a 50 year storm, we all accept they are going to happen in a 20 year storm, because of the capacity limits at Deer Island, we’re not going to build bigger pipes, we’re not going to build more huge infrastructure, that’s not money well spent in my mind. After we define the goal, then we define the rate structure that meets it. Karen Lachmayr said she agrees that the capacity to tweak how sewer rates are set up can drive behavior. She understands that having some stabilization in the rates is important, but maybe putting a little more of the rates based on volume will put a little more incentive for the communities to address I/I.

Joe Favaloro gave a little background on how the methodology to create rates was developed. He said that before the MWRA was created and the early years of its creation rates were solely a function of population and it caused a war to end all wars.  It was the suburban communities versus the urban communities. It was the communities themselves that came together, it took 3-1/2 years to come up with a methodology that was predominantly flow-based, but not all flow, on the operating side and the capital side it’s predominantly population-based. Joe added the reality is that there is no chance that the rates are going to get tweaked; it’s not going to happen. He added that there really isn’t much correlation from the water to the wastewater side. Joe added on the water side every drop of water is measured, every drop is metered, and pretty much every household is metered. There’s a correlation of what those numbers look like that does not exist on the wastewater side. Roger said if tweaking is not possible, what about asking the EPA if there was a fine for an SSO, ask what that would be, and then use that money to invest in more I/I work. Carl said we have already spent about $200 million for community I/I work. He said it’s much more difficult to take inflow out of the system.

EK said he believes there is an information gap. He said he doesn’t believe that there is sufficient consideration to conditions on the ground by the towns and cities as well as the MWRA. Joe Favaloro asked what the towns and cities don’t pay attention to.  EK said he didn’t believe anyone had characterized the extent of SSO’s in the Mystic River Watershed. Additionally the reports to the DEP characterize overflows at one million or more and we believe that many SSO’s are large multiples of this. EK said a second problem is that you have a system that is bifurcated, you have the main system managed by the MWRA,  which is managed very well, but into that system are all these individual towns with a variety of approaches with different effectiveness to reducing I/I and reducing overflows. It then becomes the problem of the DEP and EPA to resolve issues of failure. EK added I’m very receptive to home rule but I believe you need more comprehensive planning done rather than having DEP and EPA address the problems after they have occurred. He continued in the Mystic River Watershed SSO’s is a significant problem contributing to the water quality of the river. Having the MWRA play a leadership role and guidance to the communities on this issue would be very useful. I agree this would be very expensive but it needs to be addressed as it affects the health of the community and the river.

Patrick Herron mentioned some things that WAC might consider recommending:

Larry Schafer said I/I and SSO’s are two different processes; I/I is to improve the efficiency of the process while SSO’s are a potential health hazard. Larry said regarding SSO’s we need good information before we can act on it. A key question who is going to compile the data and make sure it makes its way to the right people.

Stephen Kaiser said how could we expect agencies to report on SSO’s when they are illegal. He added maybe we would get better reporting if the regulatory characterization were that SSO’s are undesirable and need to be eliminated but are not illegal.

The committee asked that Ed write a letter supporting the Advisory Board and MWRA ‘s position on co-permittees. Joe Favaloro said right now there is nothing to respond to and it would be better to wait until the EPA issues a draft permit.  Mary asked if anyone has an idea of when the EPA will issue their draft. Joe said we really don’t have a clue.

Joe made it clear that communities are not sitting on their hands.  They have done a lot of good things, they have a lot of good programs, and they are dealing with a lot of competing priorities. Carl Leone said that he has 5 people in his group to deal with a lot of the issues that we are discussing. EK said what we want to do is be clear about the scope of the problem and if more resources are needed is there a way to develop them. In no way are we assigning blame, there is no question the MWRA has done heroic efforts.

North Dorchester Bay CSO Project Update – Richard Trubiano

Rick said the goal was to make beach closings a rare event by eliminating CSO discharges to the beaches up to a 25-year storm and preventing separate stormwater discharges to the beaches up to a 5-year storm. Rick said currently there are 100 stormwater discharges on average (every rain event). The North Dorchester Bay CSO plan has a total cost of $272 million. He detailed the specifics of the project; Pleasure Bay Storm Drain, CSO Storage Tunnel, Pump Station, Vent Building, Morrissey Boulevard storm drain, and Engineering/Land/Permits. Rick said the storage tunnel has a 17-foot finish diameter, is 2.1 miles long with a storage capacity of 19 million gallons.

The goal for this investment is to capture all CSO and storm water in the tunnel for up to a 5-year, 24-hour event (with the exception of the portion of stormwater that will be diverted to Savin Hill Cove in storms greater than a 1-year, 24-hour storm, and to capture all CSO for a 5-year to 25 year, 24-hour storm.

Rick said that there would be a well-planned maintenance plan for all North Dorchester Bay facilities when turned over to the MWRA. The staff will be trained on preventive and corrective maintenance and that all maintenance activities will be tracked in Maximo. He gave examples of routine maintenance that will be performed on a regular basis: daily inspections of the dewatering pumping station and odor control facility; monthly inspections of pumps, diversion structures and hydraulic systems; quarterly inspection of motors and HVAC systems; and semi-annual inspection of tide gates. He is reviewing service contracts that will be required to operate and maintain the facilities: grit and screenings removal, fire alarm and sprinkler systems, crane maintenance, boiler and water heater, hydraulic equipment and finally weather service for SCADA programming.

For more details and diagrams of the system see the full presentation at the following link: http://www.mwra.com/monthly/wac/presentations/2010/110410-ndb.pdf

Rick than reviewed the Remote Headworks Project at Chelsea Creek, Columbus Park and Ward Street. He said the purpose is flow control, which is limited by tunnel capacity and Deer Island capacity, screening and grit removal to protect the downstream tunnels and pumps at Deer Island, and flow metering to pace Deer Island pumps and measure flow contributions from Boston at Ward Street and Columbus Park Headworks. He then reviewed pictures locations and pictures of these Headworks.and gave some background. Rick mentioned that all were built in the 1960’s with major equipment replaced in 1987 and SCADA has been implemented at facilities. Upgrades are planned to include influent gates for managing flow, replacement and automation of all solids handling equipment including screens, grit collector systems and solids conveyance systems.  In addition odor control and HVAC systems will be replaced as well as all ancillary systems, including emergency generators and fuel oil tanks as well as improvements of building exteriors and grounds.

There are still some issues that need to be addressed. For example, the influent sluice gates are used continuously during storm events to maintain maximum flows and protect the facility, the existing gates are at the end of their usual life. The existing gates also do not seat against the influent wall resulting in spraying wastewater during choking operations. In addition Climber Screens require extensive maintenance. They currently fail frequently during storm events and will be replaced with Catenary screens. Also grit collection and conveyance systems will be replaced. Finally, HVAC systems are inefficient and failing requiring replacement

Rick said the Headworks projects are proceeding under one design contract and assume one construction contract. The preliminary design report is scheduled for March 2011 and project completion April 2016. Major challenges will be inherent during construction, facilities must maintain full capacity and be full operational for example.

The complete presentation can be viewed at: http://www.mwra.com/monthly/wac/presentations/2010/110410-headworks.pdf

Ed Bretschneider said WAC’s next meeting is scheduled for Friday, January 7, on Outfall Monitoring.

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Minutes of the October 15 Meeting. 

The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MAPC in Boston.  Attendees: Larry Schafer (Newton), Ed Bretschneider (Staff-WAC), Karen Lachmayr (WAC and Harvard), Stephen Greene (WAC and Howland-Greene Consultants), Stephen Kaiser (Cambridge), Richard Trubiano (MWRA), Mary Adelstein (WAC), Carle Leone (MWRA), Taber Keally (WAC and Neponset River Watershed Association), Martin Pillsbury (MAPC, WAC), Cornelia Potter (Advisory Board and WAC), David Kubiak (MWRA), Roger Frymire (Cambridge), Patrick Herron (Mystic River Watershed Association), Donald Walker (AECOM), Mark Thompson (SEA) and Julie Wood (CRWA)

Stephen Greene called the meeting to order at 11:00 A.M. The June minutes were then approved as written.

Impact of Potential New SSO Regulations – Richard Trubiano (MWRA)

Rick started by noting that in the 43 communities that the MWRA serves, there are over 5000 miles of sewer, 370 pump stations, over 2 million retail sewer customers, over 1800 connections to MWRA interceptors and over 100,000 manholes. He added that anything the EPA does regarding SSOs could impact the 43 communities that the MWRA serves. Rick noted that the EPA recently had an open listening process to receive feedback on concerns of stakeholders on proposed regulation of SSOs.. The EPA is looking to make changes nationally, not just locally. They have identified a list of SSO issues to possibly
address in NPDES permits. There are a number of key points of interest to the MWRA.

There are currently are no requirements for public notification of SSOs but the Authority is required to report SSOs to DEP and EPA as they occur.  EPA is concerned that the 43 communities are not covered by NPDES permits regarding SSOs.  He added that the EPA is looking for enforcement discretion.  MWRA  would prefer affirmative defense for SSOs rather than discretion. This means that  if the communities meet the requirements enumerated in the permits, then no enforcement sanctions are necessary. He also noted that SSOs are prohibited.

In Rick 2002 he worked with WAC, member communities and the DEP on SSO issues. An important issue raised by MWRA at the time was that the MWRA had specific legal responsibility for what it owned and the member communities had specific legal responsibility for what they owned, and this is the way MWRA would like it to be; basically MWRA worries about its system, others should be concerned with their own. The Authority wants the DEP and EPA to regulate communities that they want . He added that MWRA believes it should regulate what is in the parameters of the TRAC program and Municipal Permits with member communities. MWRA’s Enabling Act states that municipalities and local communities should have charge and control of their water and wastewater systems. Rick emphasized that the MWRA does not want to regulate local sewers.  We don’t want to be the planning arm for the communities; we don’t want to be the decision makers saying whether you should have development in those towns. He added that the Advisory Board supports the same position. The concern is the potential role change places MWRA on a slippery slope. The MWRA looks to communities DEP and EPA to work cooperatively with them. MWRA’sr responsibility is to regulate discharge of wastewater pollutants to MWRA owned system and the DEP and EPA to regulate communities O&M and addition of new connections. Rick said that MWRA is looking to maximize use of available capacity in possibly underutilized pipes to facilitate SSO reductions.

When the EPA recently announced their rulemaking process, they raised seven questions. A key question was whether EPA should propose requiring permit coverage for municipal satellite collection systems. In other words, should the 43 communities have their own permits? The EPA is considering having the MWRA as a co-permittee with the communities if they go down this path. The MWRA and Advisory Board both feel strongly that MWRA should only be responsible for the parts of the system that it owns or operates. Mary Adelstein noted that the EPA has already negotiated NPDES storm water permits with individual communities. Patrick Herron asked how the MWRA can collaborate with these communities if they are not co-permittees, since MWRA is handling the communities’ excess flows. Rick mentioned that there are I/I funds available as a loan or a grant to improve their I/I condition. Carl Leone added that we have an annual municipal permit with each community where we agree to accept flow from them at specific points that are identified in the permit and the community agrees that it will not contribute excessive I/I. Carl added that we do not reach up into the community if they have an SSO problem, if it’s in our system obviously we take care of it. David Kubiak said that if a community plans major changes to its system to control local system surcharging or flooding, MWRA evaluates the plans to ensure the problem does not get pushed downstream onto other communities or onto MWRA. The MWRA does not want to regulate local systems and the enabling act clearly defines local O&M as a local responsibility.

. In addition, in response to EPA questions, MWRA believes that reasonable public notification of SSOs is appropriate, but it should be left up to each state to set more detailed recording and reporting requirements and that extending reporting to include backups into buildings or other SSOs that do not reach a receiving water is unwarranted.

Additionally, there are questions regarding operational issues, the Authority wants guidelines and not specific standards of what is allowed. We should not necessarily have the same hard requirements as a small town in Wyoming. The EPA would still have to approve what we do. There may well be uniform country standards like what level of storm requires treatment. Do you want to capture a 2-year storm or a hundred year storm? Martin Pillsbury said you’re not going to get down to zero SSOs; so isn’t this analogous to CSOs with potential control solutions in similar ways? Taber said  there’s a limit to what happens: the size of the pipe. Also, I believe that inflow is a much bigger problem and sometimes could have been dealt with better up the line more appropriately. Rick said there is a limit it’s the 1.2billion gallons that Deer Island can handle. He added we don’t want to be the decision make of how much flow to allocate to each community. Roger Frymire gave his take on the solution, first figure out what size storm you want to contain, then set differential rates to the communities that they pay more for storm water than they do for sewage and every time there’s a smaller storm than you permitted for ratchet up the differential if necessary. Ed Bretschneider asked if any places had implemented such an approach; Roger said no. Karen Lachmayr said another approach would be to increase the percentage of rates based on volume, since rates are based on a combination of population and volume. Carl Leone said the way we do our rates is that we bring in as much as we spend. Karen responded that by changing the rate structure the MWRA could increase the financial incentive to the communities to control I/I. Carl said it’s not the Authority but the communities through the Advisory Board that set the sewer rate mechanism and through that process it’s quite difficult to make change.  Rick replied averaged over a year only about an eight of total volume is peak flow. Rick said I don’t know where the EPA is going with this, but one thing for sure is that we need much more rigorous discussion on these issues.

Rick mentioned the Advisory Boards opinions that the EPA must not introduce any new federal mandates that are unfunded and that broad based SSO regulations would place  substantial financial impacts on communities at a time of significantly reduced resources of money, personnel and stressed communities. Mary Adelstein asked why do you care about backups at all. Rick said when there is a backup in a local community we are always asked how close is a connection to us and if they could they be impacted by the hydraulics of our system. Rick reminded everyone that all SSOs are illegal. MWRA’s input to the EPA was that we would like an affirmative offence not something that is open to the interpretation of the EPA, if you meet all the parameters of the permit you are not liable. He emphasized you can’t have a zero tolerance SSO requirement. Taber Keally asked if the EPA goes with an affirmative offence, resulting in little discretion on their part of the EPA that might work against you if there’s some minor error that should be overlooked but can’t. Rick said he thinks in this case the EPA would still have some leeway. Rick reiterated we would like to see SSOs handled similar to CSOs.  David Kubiak added that if you do spend a bucket of money to reduce SSOs, how does that translate to improved water quality; that’s the real issue. Mary Adelstein asked what’s the status of all this and what’s the timeline. Rick said right now it’s open ended. Mary added you’d need incredible resources to manage some of the changes that we’ve discussed.  David Kubiak said he believes it’s very early in the process.

Sanitary Sewer Overflows in the Mystic River Watershed – Patrick Herron

Patrick said the Mystic River encompasses 22 communities including Logan Airport, Bedford, Arlington, Somerville and Woburn.  Patrick pointed out what a great partner the MWRA has been. He said that the Mystic River is not the crown jewel of the area like the Charles River is with the Escapade and the boating that occurs there. Patrick continued saying that we would like to make the Mystic River a greater resource to the people who live in the area. We are a serene watershed as well as a very industrial one.  Patrick spoke to the sewage contamination that occurs from both CSOs and SSOs having a very large impact during storms.   People think what they are seeing discharging to the river during large storms is just storm water without realizing that it is both storm water and sewage. Patrick said over a 9 year span over 100 SSOs were reported. He believes the SSO reports are significantly under-reporting the true magnitude of what is happening. Patrick showed a series of vivid videos of the effects of SSOs following storms.

Mystic River Watershed Association studies have shown that during major storms, SSOs contribute to high bacteria levels and 40% of SSO events for the Mystic reported to the MADEP have incomplete documentation. Patrick added that residents have a long memory of these SSO events, many saying they remember them from their childhood. He reviewed the impact of the March storms. Patrick noted that 9 SSOs occurred in MWRA locations with an excess of 1 million gallons of discharge. Six of these locations were in the Mystic River Watershed. He added that no effort was made to inform the public of the health risks. He reiterated that while CSOs are allowed, all SSOs are illegal. There is general agreement that attaining zero SSOs is unlikely and that a possible path forward is to develop a SSO control program similar to CSOs.  Richard Trubiano said that while SSOs are a problem, they should be put in perspective: major SSOs occur infrequently, perhaps one every few years. Patrick said that he believes that CSO and SSO overflows are roughly comparable in the Mystic River Watershed.

Patrick said one of his concerns was that state DEP reporting forms allow you to characterize order of magnitude with the top characterization as “greater than a million gallons.” This can be misleading when some storms cause releases close to 10 million gallons each. He did agree that the results of this past March storms were an anomaly in terms of the impact of large storms, but that he would not be surprised if additional storms of the same magnitude impacted the area in the next few years. Mary Adelstein added that there’s a problem when sewer backups occur in people’s basements and are then pumped out into the storm drain system, that’s not an SSO. She added I don’t see when you have a neighborhood doing this why it’s not an SSO. Patrick said we should be more concerned about backups into people’s homes because of the concern with pathogens and viruses.  Rick added that if they pumped it into the street it would be an SSO.  Patrick noted that in his opinion MWRA is the best reporter and they do a lot better than the municipalities. He said he would like to see greater cooperation between the MWRA and some of the communities to address these issues.

Patrick said he was at WAC to advocate for WAC to nudge the MWRA to do more perhaps going beyond what the EPA and DEP are asking for. He said none of the cities have the expertise of the MWRA and could use greater help. For example is it possible to model more accurately the level of overflows? Basically looking for more public notification when SSOs occur and improved reporting of overflow volumes and to have I/I funds directed to communities with the greater problems, the money needs to be used in the most cost-effective manner. Rick added that communities impact other communities down stream when they don’t handle these problems appropriately. Patrick said it was more patchwork and not strategic in how the money was spent. Taber Keally concurred from his experience with the Neponset River Watershed Association. Taber said he would love to cooperative with the Mystic River on these issues. Patrick said more information on small and medium size storms and their impact would have great value. He said when he visited municipalities’ engineering departments; he was not awed in how money was spent to fix the problems we have been discussing.

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Minutes of the June 4 Meeting.  The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MWRA Advisory Board in Boston.  Attendees: Larry Schafer (Newton), Ed Bretschneider (Staff-WAC), Karen Lachmayr (WAC and Harvard), Stephen Greene (WAC and Howland-Greene Consultants), Stephen Kaiser (Cambridge), Pamela Heidell (MWRA), Mary Adelstein (WAC), Krista Chapdelaine (Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Building Group), Taber Keally (WAC and Neponset River Watershed Association), Martin Pillsbury (MAPC, WAC and WSCAC), Joseph Favaloro (Advisory Board) and Rick Reibstern (OTA.EOEEA).

Low Impact Development (LID) – Martin Pillsbury (MAPC and WAC)

Martin said that MAPC is a regional planning facility for eastern Massachusetts’s for101 cities and towns. One of our major roles is to provide technical assistance to our communities on planning related issues. We try to stay on top of the latest issues in planning and pass that on in a consumable way. He added that LID is not new but a packaging of a lot of different things under one banner. Martin said a key goal is the management of storm water by the way we develop and manage the land. He added that instead of focusing on how to direct or use storm water this effort is to reduce it. LID focus is to reduce how much storm water we generate in our communities.

Martin said that LID is a comprehensive approach to land development around storm water. So it is not an answer to all development issues. It does try to maintain the existing natural hydrology. The planning world has its hot fashions for the last year or so LID has been a hot topic. He added that it is not formulaic there are lots of options that require careful thought about what is the best approach. This is a new field to some extent and is still evolving. He added that conventional development concentrate storm water runoff in storm sewers and delivers it to a few large ponds for treatment at the end of the pipe. LID seeks to create multiple small “sub-watersheds” on a site and treats runoff close to the source in smaller structures. Current approaches are moving water out of local watersheds and to some extent depleting aquifers and impacting on rivers and streams. Unfortunately, LID at this point is not very common in Massachusetts.

Martin said that LID designs tend to be friendlier developments, consistent with the character of the area and more pleasing to look at. One way this is accomplished is minimize impervious services and preserve portions of the site in undisturbed natural conditions. Ed Bretschneider asked about costs of LID. Martin said the jury is out because it is a new field. He added that he wouldn’t be surprised to see some approaches that are not that cheap and others might be comparable to conventional methods. Martin added that with LID the majority of run off is maintained on-site, by infiltration into the watershed whereas in conventional systems the majority of runoff is lost to the site. He added that traditional approaches guard against peak flow by building detention basins to prevent flooding, this is good thing. But it lacks retention and recharge approaches for recharge to the watershed. Traditional approaches do require larger systems on site to deal with detention and in most cases bio-retention areas increase ground water recharge. They also help to reduce stress in watersheds that experience severe low flows due to impervious services.

Martin said one of the key principles of LID is to look at the site and use existing natural systems as an integrating framework for site planning. For example if there is a large area of permeable soil that would serve to recharge that is not where you would decide to put your parking lot over unless you build some of these recharge chambers that can be put under the parking lot. Ed Bretschneider asked why a developer would do LID. Martin said sometimes after some research developers find out that LID may make a site more marketable, sometimes town regulations want to see this approach. Ed Bretschneider followed up and asked if this is a replacement for cluster zoning. Martin said no, it is really in addition to this. Cluster zoning is really about reducing the footprint of the development. Martin mentioned how commercial site design can use cluster and multiple parking areas to protect water resources and provide opportunities for low impact storm water management techniques. A design like this can provide the same square footage and parking spaces as a conventional design that encroaches on nearby sensitive sites like marches. Martin added that with cluster zoning it helps reduce costs by limiting how much you have to extend your infrastructure, roads, water wastewater, etc. He added that LID seeks to maximize the travel time for storm water runoff. Conventional pipe systems increase this speed resulting in bigger peak discharge rates at the end of the pipe. LID seeks to increase the time.

Martin said a key principle is storm water prevention. In general you want to minimize clearing and grading of potential development sites. At this point your not even talking about how to handle the storm water your focus is reduction by minimizing impervious surfaces. The storm water that is generated you want to treat close to the source, a move away from big centralized systems. These small-distributed storm water micromanagement techniques have an advantage over the centralized approach because if one or more of the individual structures fail it does so without comprising the overall integrity of the storm water management of the site. LID does not advertise itself as being able to handle large flows from huge storms; it is designed to deal with more ordinary day to day events. Martin said there are some applications where storm water can be used for landscapes that require some irrigation. In addition using drought resistant plants and local plants that can maintain themselves without excessive water or chemicals.

In LID you reverse the normal development approach first by identifying those areas you want to conserve, what areas are appropriate for development and then identify the house lots. Once you identify house lots then you put in the roads to serve those houses and align the roads and trails. Then the lot lines are drawn. What you now have is a site that has part of it with development along with conservation areas. Other approaches look at clustering buildings within the development envelope, designing building with smaller footprints, which can sometimes mean building taller buildings, which can be in conflict with suburban communities, which have a prejudice against taller buildings. So we might have to ask communities to rethink their strategies because this is a more efficient way to develop and reduce the impact on the site. Cornelia Potter asked if these areas are sewered. Martin said that is not an issue because we are focusing on storm water. He added where it might make a difference to the sewers is if you were disconnecting the storm water from the sewer you might make a difference on the inflow. The process we are talking about would retain the storm water in the site and recharging the ground water decoupling it from the sewer system. Ed Bretschneider asked if there were metrics that tell you how well this process is working. Martin said the biggest metric they look at is the hydrology of the site and how much are you recharging and maintaining. Martin said there is really no one number that we can measure although the regulators might want something like this in the future. There might be performance standards that get worked into the methodology.

Martin continued that the methods we are encouraging is to keep roadways as narrow as possible and putting in permeable parking lanes, although we know there are problems in putting in permeable lanes in high traffic areas. There are different types of permeable pavement. It started out with porous asphalt, which is still available but creates problem in high traffic areas. Some retail parking areas are sized for peak traffic times of the holiday season that may last a month or two. So areas that get, not as much traffic during most of the year might be candidates for permeable paving. Other alternatives are now available. Permeable paving can be prone to clogging from sand and fine sediments that fill void spaces. Consequently, it is important to minimize use of salt or sand during the winter months. Permeable paving reduces the need for storm water conveyances and treatment structures, resulting in cost savings elsewhere. Permeable paving also reduces the amount of land needed for storm water management and may satisfy requirements for green space, allowing more development on a site. Martin showed a schematic of a parking lot that uses a variety of low impact techniques. Parking areas are separated by vegetated swales that convey runoff to bioretention areas, and permeable paving is used for overflow parking at the periphery of the lot.

Martin said that bioretention is a big component of LID. It is essentially an excavation filled with an engineered soil mix then planted with herbaceous perennials shrubs and trees They allow ponds of water to collect in there and then gradually infiltrate to groundwater. Taber Keally said that Neponset River Watershed in the past got a contract from the state to be a contractor for one of these bioretention cells for Pine Tree Brook. Martin said LID bioretention is still small scale but the more we can show tangible benefits we think it will catch on. He said in New England we are traditionalist and it is difficult to bring on new technology like this. He said we like to think we are on the leading edge of technology but in certain areas like bioretention we aren’t. Martin said these demonstration models are critical to show that these new techniques work. Stephen Greene said it’s important people understand the maintenance part of these efforts regarding mowing, landscaping and weeding. The question is how does maintenance cost compare with conventional developments? Martin said even when you’re talking about narrowing roads you need to be concerned about fire trucks and public vehicles and there ability to use and turn around. Karen Lachmayr asked if there were concerns about standing water and safety. Martin said the water is not suppose to be there forever, by design it will slowly infiltrate. Large developments may require centralized systems. But it may be possible to use these decentralized approaches to feed a large centralized venue.

Martin said that infiltration trenched and dry wells are standard storm water management structures that can play an important role in LID site design. Cisterns and rain barrels are simple techniques to store rooftop runoff and reuse it landscaping and other nonpotable uses. I know in the past WAC had CRWA to present on their application of this technique. Martin mentioned green roofs that are a vegetated roof system that stores rainwater in a lightweight engineered soil medium, where the water is taken up by plants and transpired into the air. As a result, much less water runs off the roof, as compared to conventional rooftops.

Martin some of LID approaches may only work six months of the year around here because of weather, we also have to ensure adequate emergency access and prioritize pedestrian safety, we have to define ownership because it is incorporated into the lot design. Traditional approaches are clearer about what is public ownership and private, where as with LID storm water control approaches can be built into what is part of the private development. In situations like this who owns it, who maintains it is questions that have to be answered. All storm water systems require maintenance. Some can be as simple as mowing and picking up liter. With these systems all is above ground so you can identify problems more easily than with underground pipes. Communities may also have to rethink some of thee zoning laws, which could make LID techniques difficult in some cases. Martin said that a codes checklist has been developed to help communities understand the potential conflicts. He added that towns looking at Phase 2 requirements, around storm water regulations, support all this work. A lot of cooperation is needed among all the town boards to support LID. This is one of the reasons that LID is moving at somewhat slow pace. There is a built in conflict between developers and town officials. Developers tend to think of new approaches as ways to stall development. So trust isssues need to be dealt with. Larry Schafer asked if mosquito control was an issue. Martin said in some communities it might be an issue. Taber Keally added that storm water under current approaches is subject to the same concern. Stephen Kaiser said he believed that LID solutions have been ignored in Alewife. Martin added that much of what he talked about were solutions for suburban sites where more land is available than in urban settings where LID solutions might be more limited. green enough. Martin said LID approaches are meant to deal with what is on the site not bringing in or taking out storm water. Stephen Kaiser said controlling storm water helps MWRA by relieving flow in its pipes. Martin added by controlling storm water upstream that contributes to CSO will obviously be a benefit. So long term, source reduction will help reduce CSO’s. Martin Pillsbury said information on LID tool kit is available on MAPC website (www.mapc.org/lid).

Martin introduced moved to water reuse. He said MAPC is doing work in water resource management issues through a unique project MAPC has working with communities in the 495 Metro West corridor. This area will probably be the next big growth node which will place constraints on water quality and quantity. The project is conducted in collaboration with the 495/MetroWest Corridor Partnership with participation of the US Geological Survey.. MAPC several years ago put together a proposal to the federal government to do a regional water resources study. The project was funded with the help of congressman James McGovern. The project is administered through the EPA. There are several elements of the project. One completed several years ago was to put together a Low Impact Development Tool Kit (LID). This has to do more with storm water and how land use development can be done in a more sustainable way to retain more water within the watershed.

The second piece of the project is water reuse, which we will discuss today. “In order to ensure continued growth, communities and businesses need to find new supplies of supplies that are cost effective and environmentally sustainable. The reuse of treated wastewater can provide significant incremental supply of water for use in nonpotable applications, including irrigation, industrial uses, power plant cooling, toilet flushing, and many other uses. Treated wastewater, also known as recycled water or reclaimed water, can also be discharged to large scale soil absorption system to help replenish local aquifers.” In other more arid parts of the country these techniques have been in use for much longer periods of time. Examples are the Southwest, California, Texas. Part of the challenge is to see if these techniques and see if they can be useful in Massachusetts and be applicable to what is unique in our region. Martin said there are cost challenges, technical challenges and regulatory challenges. He added that the underlying principle is that we can no longer think of wastewater as waste. Martin said the same is true of storm water. The goal is to take the burden off of potable water for uses that do not require potable quality. There are examples of water reuse that have been applied in Massachusetts already. So, this is not so wild an idea. We think these ideas have application outside of our state as well.

Massachusetts has a substantial amount of precipitation of 44 inches per year. So, why do we need to worry about water? He noted that we have limited aquifer storage statewide, impervious surfaces reduce aquifer recharge; piping of storm water carries rainwater away, seasonal demand prevents full aquifer recharge and development on poor soils requires sewers and outside water sources. Larry Schafer asked what do you mean by poor soil? Basically its areas that are not amenable to septic systems and require sewers that take water out of the watershed. He added that the DEP is getting quite serious about this issue in the Ipswich watershed. Sam showed a map outlining the stressed basins within the state. Martin added that there are some areas projecting a 20% increase in water usage by 2030.

Some of the potential consequences if nothing is done to modify projected water demand. They include: longer, more contentious, more expensive water permitting processes, higher water rates, affecting home owners and businesses, limits on new connections could impede economic growth and increasing impacts to rivers, streams, and wildlife. This is one of the issues driving the DEP in the Ipswich area. The Ipswich is the second most stressed basin in the country.

Water reuse is increasing worldwide, in such places like Australia, the Middle East, parts of Latin America and the Caribbean, Japan and Europe. Irrigation is a common use. In the US Florida recycles 584 mgd and California recycles 358 mgd. In Massachusetts, spray irrigation is allowed for golf courses, toilet flushing in commercial applications and artificially recharging aquifers.

Types of commercial reuse include; irrigation, toilet flushing, vehicle washing, fountains, reflecting pools, waterfalls, and dust control & concrete production and fire protection. Many of these have not been used in Massachusetts Some of the issues with commercial reuse, wastewater needs additional treatment beyond standard conditions (tertiary plus conditions), possible on-site storage of recycled water, dual distribution system, and demand evaluation. There could be significant capital costs to deal with these issues.

The best-known case of reuse in Massachusetts is Gillette Stadium. Without water reuse the town would have been overwhelmed with potable water demand and wastewater flow. The solution was a 1 million gallon elevated holding tank for potable water, a wastewater treatment plant with subsurface disposal to recharge aquifers and 60% of treated wastewater used for toilet flushing in the facility. Other cases include a golf course in Yarmouth and the Wrentham Premium outlet Mall. For the golf course treated wastewater was used to irrigate 7 holes and to recharge groundwater. In the case of Wrentham a 100,000 gpd wastewater treatment plant was built next to the parking area. 50% of wastewater effluent was recycled and used for toilet flushing and groundwater recharge. In this case there were no sewers to deal with the commercial mall. One of the issues is what do you do with irrigation water in the non-growing season. It’s usually held in holding ponds or discharged to the ground. Martin said some of these private sector projects could not have taken place unless reuse was an available option and that the cost-benefit analysis supported this type of investment.

In the industrial arena, reuse is for cooling water and industrial processing water. Main industrial users of recycled water are, utility cooling towers, metal working facilities, paper mills, textile industry and tanneries. Issues associated with this use are, potential for corrosion, biological growth, scaling due to concentrations of contaminants and different industrial processes requiring different levels of water quality. Mary Adelstein noted that in Australia recycled wastewater is used in numerous applications and the country relies on its used. The use is well received by the public. Martin said public health perceptions are a major issue of reuse in this country and particularly Massachusetts. These are closed systems where the water is recycled over and over again.

An example of industrial reuse is the EMC plant in Hopkinton. EMC wanted to expand but there were water shortages during summer months and EMC was the largest water user in town. The solution was a self-distributed wastewater treatment and recycling plant that treats 32,000gpd with 11,000 gpd reused mostly for toilets and some for cooling.

Another industrial example he reviewed was Intel in Hudson. It is a semiconductor fabrication facility with a high demand on town water and sewage treatment facility. Plant expansion was limited by the town’s sewer pipe capacity and ability to remove phosphorous from wastewater. The solution was to recycle spent rinse water for reuse as Ultra-Pure water and use less treated water for lower quality demands. Intel saves 50+ million gallons per year in the Ultra Pure Recycle System. The cost savings of $200K/year as water not purchased from Hudson. Also the municipal water seasonal variability was minimized. All this resulted in a successful expansion where production increased by 50% with decreased wastewater discharge.

Next reviewed were examples of groundwater reuse. He cited the benefits; prevents saltwater intrusion in coastal aquifers, provides treatment and storage for future water reuse and supplements existing potable or non-potable water supplies. Some of the problems related to this are, land requirements, cost, possible aquifer contamination and liability. An example was in Kingston, as development pressure increased with rail service to Boston. There were failing septic systems that threatened water quality in Jones River and Kingston Bay, town wells were overdrawn in summer and there was a need for a wastewater treatment plan as well as sewers. The solution was to use treated effluent for irrigation at proposed golf course and subsurface leaching fields to recharge aquifers.

In reviewing agricultural water reuse that irrigation for agriculture accounts for 75% of all water use worldwide. Studies show reclaimed water is safe for irrigation and crop yields were increased by nutrients in reclaimed water. Some of the issues; crop damage from increased salinity (chlorine and trace elements), runoff, and groundwater monitoring may be required. An example is California’s San Joaquin Valley where reclaimed water is used on more salt-tolerant crops and finally discharged to solar evaporators. Larry Schafer asked if there is a salt disposal problem. Sam said there is, but at least it’s not in your soil.

Water is reused in recreational and environmental reasons, such as, wetlands restoration, constructed wetlands, stream augmentation, and water impoundments for boating and swimming. Stephen Greene asked is swimming allowed. Martin said there is no place where swimming is allowed in reuse water. Wherever reuse water is available for public use there is always signage alerting you to that fact. The issues are significant land use requirements and limited application in urban settings. Mary Adelstein asked if all this water reuse resulted in more overall demand for water. Martin said you could ask should the water be used to irrigate a golf course. If the water wasn’t available could you have the golf course in the first place? And of course people own the land and have a right to develop it. Most important you’re not using virgin water for irrigation that could be used in other applications in town. Mary Adelstein asked if reuse is all right for golf courses, why not for ball fields? Martin said you come back to the public health issue; any place where children may be present is not viewed acceptable.
There are significant costs associated with reuse, such as, capital improvements at wastewater treatment plant, installation of reclaimed water transmission lines, O&M costs for power, water quality monitoring, and administration, cross-connections prevention program and revenue loss for potable water supplier there are no federal regulations on reuse of treated wastewater. However, 25 states have adopted water reuse regulations, 16 states have guidelines to aid in developing reuse programs and 9 have no regulations or guidelines, sometimes permitted case-by-case. In Massachusetts the DEP is evaluating use of reclaimed water for: public park and playground irrigation, non-residential, highway & cemetery landscaping and cooling water for industrial uses. Of course no growth advocates may oppose any additional water supply. Sam said the universal piping color for reused water is purple.

Ed Bretschneider asked about the cost and capital investment to move forward. Martin said that each case is individualized, but that municipalities and private industry would not move ahead unless it was a net positive. Mary Adelstein asked if the storage ponds for reused water could be used as a pumping source in case of fire. Martin said in many cases they could. Martin added moving forward on one of these projects has a lot to do with public acceptance and market ability. If your building nice new homes people may not want to see the toilet flushed with anything but nice clean water. With more and more concerns about water availability this option might become more widely spread. Mary Adelstein added that as water becomes more expensive water reuse might look more reasonable.
New ideas for irrigation use as, parks, ball fields, cemeteries, developments, crops and residential irrigation. Other suggestions included, toilet reuse for condos and apartments, fire protection, power plants, and automated car wash.
He concluded with several recommendations:

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Minutes of the May 7 Meeting.  The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MWRA Advisory Board in Boston.  Attendees: Cornelia Potter (MWRA Advisory Board and WAC), Larry Schafer (Newton), Ed Bretschneider (Staff-WAC), Karen Lachmayr (WAC and Harvard), Stephen Greene (WAC and Howland-Greene Consultants), Bill Katz  (WAC), Stephen Kaiser (Cambridge), Pamela Heidell (MWRA), Mary Adelstein (WAC), Krista Chapdelaine (Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Building Group), Kathy Baskin (Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs), Taber Keally (WAC and Neponset River Watershed Association) and Roger Frymire (Cambridge).
 
Stephen Greene called the meeting to order at 10:30. After a round of introductions WAC’s April minutes were approved. Stephen Greene gave kudos to the MWRA for their outstanding handling of the water emergency.

Ed Bretschneider mentioned that come the fall we would need to find a new place to have our meetings. He mentioned MAPC, DCR and MWRA as potential places for meetings. Others are being investigated. At the June meeting the intent is to review what is available and what the committees preferences are. Ed also asked the committee to think about having some of our meetings combined with the Advisory Board when MWRA staff members give the same presentation to both groups. There was agreement to have the September meeting combined with the Advisory Board when Fred Laskey gives his update in September.

Pam Heidell gave a review of the water emergency where the Metro West tunnel meets the City tunnel there are two pipes that are connected and held together by two clamps that let go.   She noted the pieces of the missing pipe have still not been found. It is quite a mystery despite best efforts.  There’s a fence surrounding the area, it’s a big piece but somehow hidden. Bill Katz asked if anyone was suggesting that it could have been sabotaged. Pam said no.  There are security cameras in the area. Kathy said at an emergency MWRA Board of Directors meeting they focused on what happened and for what to do going forward. They will set up a commission to evaluate.  Stephen Kaiser said the two clamps are bolted together and I would worry about the bolts they are the most likely things to break if they get corroded or overloaded or not designed properly. Pam added they are looking into this as well. Roger Frymire added they are searching for the bolts with metal detectors it is important to find to help in understanding what happened. Bill Katz asked if they knew what the pressure was at the point of failure. Kathy Baskin said she thought it was one million pounds. In response to a question from Larry Schafer, Pam looked at the flow at Deer Island at the time of the water emergency. She said there was no impact. Pam said part of MWRA’a planning is looking at possible catastrophic situations. What happened is one to the possible scenarios evaluated which resulted in a quick response and getting the water back on line as quick as we did. She added I’m biased but this says a lot about the quality of the people we are fortunate to have at the Authority. Ed Bretschneider asked if there was a major financial impact on the MWRA. Pam said that hasn’t been totally evaluated yet. There are costs associated with the MWRA and a host of costs outside of MWRA like the purchase and distribution of bottled water. Stephen Kaiser said the Authority should come away with pride with the way this emergency was handled and FEMA could learn something from the MWRA in how to handle emergencies.

Stephen added while drinking water is an important function of public water supply, we tend to forget the significance of fire protection and sanitation, which don't require potable water.

Sustainable Water Management in Massachusetts – Kathy Baskin – (EOEEA)

Kathy mentioned that Secretary Bowles announced a big initiative in December that started up in January with committees that had been appointed to provide advice on evaluate sustainable water resources for Massachusetts. The committee members were lawyers, engineers, academicians, fishery biologists, water suppliers, and MWRA has a seat. They constituted this advisory committee that looks at policy issue to ensure that we manage our water resources in a sustainable way for human use and ecological use. A technical subcommittee supports that committee. Kathy said there are two deadlines, one is to determine safe yield (“the maximum dependable withdrawals that can be made continuously from a water source including ground or surface water during a period of years in which the probable driest deficiency is likely to occur; provided, however, that such dependability is relative and is a function of storage and drought probability.”). This is a regulatory term for the allocation of water. This is information is needed for the Ipswich River by the end of August, and the other watersheds by the beginning of November.

Kathy said when people are talking about the man-made water cycle they are referring to redirection of water to pavements that prevents rainwater from infiltrating in the ground and recharging streams, this is an issue particularly in the eastern part of the state.  As a result we have low flows particularly in eastern rivers, which have economic and environmental impacts. Low flows can also be due to dams holding water back and decreased stormwater recharge due to impervious surfaces. Ed Bretschneider asked if there were regulations regarding use of surface type. Kathy said they tend to be at the local level regarding low impact development (LID). Also the last EPA stormwater permit did say to recharge as much as possible in stressed basins. There are also DEP drought regulations that are in process that might also have an impact. Mary asked about stormwater regulations at the local level, Kathy said there are three communities with storm water utilities: Reading, Newton and Chicopee. Kathy said there will be a lot required from the communities from the next EPA permit round and communities are not sure how they are going to pay for it, some are talking about a rain tax.

Kathy talked about stressed basins and that they were categorized in 2001 as low, medium and high. The methodology did not compare actual conditions to unimpacted conditions. It didn’t tell you how are to what you should have been. It didn’t tell you if it was a naturally low flow river or it was low flow because of man-induced alterations.  Kathy moved to the 2004 Mass Water Policy that dealt with water quantity and how to use every drop as efficiently as possible. In 2007 USGS did a study of the least altered places in New England and what did the streamflows look like. Then that data was evaluated to understand what those rivers would look like if they had not been impacted. For example the Charles River would be compared to a river similar in size and geology and had not been impacted and what would the flows be in the Charles River if it had not been impacted. This resulted in 2009 with a publication showing unimpacted and impacted stream flows for a number of rivers.  It is a desktop management tool. It can be used to analyze for example what would the impact of a new well. And will that effect streamflow. This could be used to understand the impact of indicators of alteration such as hydrology, water quality and biology. Kathy said these reports are available online. One of the key conclusions is that the eastern part of the start is much more altered than the western part of the state. It doesn’t say that’s a bad thing it just states what is.

Kathy than reviewed a 2009 study of target fish, looking at which fish live here and which fish should live here. Kathy said only the Westfield River showed up with the type of fish that would have been expected. She added that there were five basins that were presented as fair and five basins that were presented as poor. The poor ones were more to the eastern part of the state, because of more development and in general, more things going on. Kathy said there are two types of fish that the scientist look at, the generalist, that can live pretty much anywhere and then there are fluvial that need flow for either some or all of their lifecycle. In the Ipswich it was expected that half of the fish would be fluvial. But what was found that only 3% of the fish were fluvial. Kathy said it makes sense that in a stressed river that the generalist would do better.  A pilot study showed that fish communities in response to any type of alteration (i.e., flow dams, water quality, etc.) The data showed a drop off and then a flat line indicating that the fish were really fussy, they like things their way. This was interesting, for many years it was said if we could just get the wastewater returned the flow would be fine and everything okay. What we find is that the fish are a lot fussier than that, maybe they don’t like the temperature or the chemistry or the cycle that it’s returned in. This study gives a good indication of the health of the eco system.

Kathy reviewed water management regulations regarding safe yield of water sources. She added there is much debate on what safe yield is and the likelihood of getting everyone to agree is low. Part of the challenge is coming to some agreement on the definition of what constitutes a drought. Kathy said under the water management act permits have to consider a lot things including economic development, protection of natural resources, and safe yield. Kathy added no permit can cause an exceedance of safe yield. The committees evaluating this have identified initial steps regarding stream classification. The first one is to group streams based on physical characteristics and the second one is to classify the current status of streams within each group based on biology. This organizes our thinking about the health of these eco systems. Are they what they would expect them to be or different? The next steps are to classify the health of the streams; we need to be able to quantify what distinguishes a class 1 from a class 2 or 3. This will be a big policy discussion, a big argument and possible -- litigious. But it is taking the science we have to develop policy.

Kathy gave some hypothetical examples of how this streamflow classification could work. For example there could be certain expectations the amount of fluvial fish expected in a watershed, depending on the watershed’s size and gradient. Various thresholds could be established to “grade” the conditions of the fluvial fish communities in these watersheds. A watershed with a high amount of fluvial fish could be considered to be in excellent condition. One with a low amount of fluvial fish could be considered to be in poor condition. Obviously there could be other things aside from fish that might be used to classify streams.

Kathy said in conclusion for the first time we will have streamflow classification and criteria for the first time in Massachusetts. The science around this has been cutting-edge. It should lead to predictability in permitting and protection of aquatic life. She added there’s still a lot more to do.

Minutes of the April 16, 2010 Meeting

The Wastewater Advisory Committee and the Water Supply Citizen Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MWRA Advisory Board in Boston. Attendees: Cornelia Potter (MWRA Advisory Board and WAC), Larry Schafer (Newton), Lexi Dewey (Staff-WSCAC) Ed Bretschneider (Staff-WAC), Karen Lachmayr (WAC and Harvard), Stephen Greene (by phone, WAC and Howland-Greene Consultants), Bill Katz (WAC), Stephen Kaiser (Cambridge), Vin Spade (WAC), Jeanne Richardson (WSCAC), Sumner Brown (Belmont), Tom Durkin (MWRA), Kathy Soni (MWRA), Charles Ryan (MWRA), Mary Adelstein (WAC), Paul Lauenstein (WSCAC), Daniele Mucciarone (CRWA), Whitney Beals (WSCAC and NEFF), Krista Chapdelaine ( Energy Efficiency and Sustainablility Building Group), and Martn Pillsbury (WAC, WSCAC and MAPC).

Whitney Beals called the joint meeting to order at 10:30. After a round of introductions WAC’s March minutes were approved as written. Ed Bretschneider mentioned that WAC’s next meeting was May 7; Kathy Baskin from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs would be giving a Policy Update.
Whitney introduced Charles Ryan from the MWRA to give an update on the February/March storms.

February/March 2010 Storm Updates – Charles Ryan (MWRA)

Charlie mentioned that there were six rain events from February 24 to the end of March with a total rainfall of 21.13 inches. He noted for comparison that average rainfall
amounts for a typical year for the greater metropolitan Boston area were 44 inches. Hence, this 36-day period was half the rainfall expected for a year. These storms resulted in both the Governor and President issuing Emergency Declarations. The amount of rain was the most since October 1955. These storms were placed between a 50 and a 100-year storm. There was record river flooding in central and eastern Massachusetts. This resulted in record flow levels at the Deer Island Treatment Plant. The previous high was in May of 2006 where the average daily flow was 1.2 billion gallons, For these recent storms we reached a new record of 1.3 billion gallons of daily flow. Mary Adelstein said there must have been a lot of blending. Charles said when we get about 700 million gallons of flow we blend. He added that we were at 1.3 billion gallons of flow for over 106 hours at Deer Island. CSO discharges for these February/March storms amounted to more than double the total for all of 2009 at Somerville, Prison Point, Cottage Farm and Union Park facilities. Charles also noted that Emergency Operations Centers at Chelsea and Deer Island were staffed 24 hours per day during and after the storms. Advisories through emails and on MWRA’s web site were issued throughout the storm.

Because of the heavy rain flows the emergency storage for Nut Island was filled to capacity. This resulted in opening the gates to the emergency outfalls which discharge to Quincy Bay for two short periods of 39 and 18 minutes to protect the facility from damage. The total untreated discharge to Quincy Bay was estimated to be no more than 5-10 million gallons, while Nut Island continued to operate at full capacity. If we didn’t do this discharge we would have been flooding homes in the Quincy area. All the appropriate regulatory notifications were made. Larry Schafer asked what was the flow from Nut Island to Deer Island at that time. Charles said it was over 300 million gallons; we were at capacity at Nut Island. Paul Lauenstein asked what would the effect have been if the MWRA had not reduced its water use from over 300 million a gallons a day to under 200 million gallons a day currently. Charles said that it would have resulted in additional overflows. Paul said it’s interesting to see that connection between the water and wastewater systems.

The Deer Island Plant remained in compliance with its NPDES permit limitations throughout this storm event while setting numerous records for pumping and treatment.
As mentioned previously flows up to 700 million gallons per day received full secondary treatment, while the balance of excess flows were blended, receiving primary treatment and disinfection. Larry Schafer asked if there were record flows in the North, Charles said there were in the South but he was not sure about the North. Mary Adelstein asked about SSO’s; Charles said there were many SSO’s that were reported to the Department of Environmental Protection. When there is an SSO we have to report when it starts, stops and estimated quantity. Both MWRA and all local systems probably had some level of SSO’s. Charles said on the waterside we were overflowing a billion gallons a day. Charles added that during these storms every facility was staffed 24 hours a day, we had additional maintenance and field staff on call, it took its toll on field operations staff. All present congratulated the MWRA on doing an outstanding job in extremely difficult situations.

MWRA Budget Update and FY11 Challenges – Kathy Soni and Tom Durkin

Kathy said they would review 2011 expense and capital budget as well as where the MWRA finished last year. Kathy said the total capital budget is $5.1 billion and the expense budget exceeds $600 million for the first time. Kathy noted that in 2003 the Authority established a 5 year cap to put a limit on capital spending as well as to provide an estimate for future capital spending. She added that the cap for the next budget is $16 million less than the previous cap. Kathy then reviewed what makes up the expense budget. A direct expense is anything that is operationally related, from wages to professional services to materials. For FY09 the direct expenses were under-budget by about $3,9 million. That was a result of favorable utility costs as well as holding back an optional pension payment. Savings in a given year can be put in a reserve fund then we can defease debt with it. For the past two years this has been our practice.

Tom Durkin explained MWRA's debt financing of capital projects. The authority uses a mix of short term notes and fixed and variable rate bonds. The options are determined by budget constraints and expected interest rates. Restructuring has been used to spread debt service over a longer term. Tom added whenever there is an opportunity to pay off the principle early we try to do that. Ed Bretschneider asked if debt has peaked yet for the Authority. Tom said in the year 2022.

Kathy said that we are not sure if we have captured all the costs for the storm events that Charlie spoke to and how that might affect FY10. For FY11 the budget process was a bit different in that the Advisory Board challenged us to level spending; that is to have a 0% impact on rates for the communities, given the economic situation. One impact of this challenge resulted in no COLA’s for union members or non-union managers at the MWRA. Kathy added that it has always been the strategy of the MWRA to look at rate increases as a multi-year challenge to control. We look at a minimum of a ten-year horizon. At the end of the day we came up with a 1.48% increase for FY11, This is the lowest MWRA rate increase since 1996, a year in which the MWRA received $31.5 million in debt service assistance; none was assumed for the FY11 budget. The projected rate increase for FY12 and FY13 is 3.9%. Kathy added that this multi-year strategy provides needed rate relief in the short-term, preserve’s the MWRA’s high credit rating of AA+ and bridges the gap to FY14 when the Authority anticipates a sizable release of reserves, which will be able to mitigate rate increases going forward. Kathy said these low rates are achievable by controlling costs and expenses, defeasing more than $23 million of debt using a projected FY10 surplus as Tom mentioned previously and restructuring $75 million of debt to provide budgetary relief in FY11-13. She added that the proposed FY11 budget is $1.8 million lower that FY 10 budget. Martin Pillsbury asked about future projections of debt relief assistance, Kathy said we are assuming it’s gone forever.

Kathy continued aside from controlling COLA’s, overtime is now limited to covering emergencies and critical maintenance projects. She added utilities are one of the more volatile line expense items. But with increased self-generation at Deer Island and green initiatives FY11 budget is primarily level funded with FY10. Kathy added that debt is the mountain we need to get over in the next couple of years. She added that debt service is currently at 59% going up to 61% in 2016. Ed Bretschneider asked if the MWRA has benchmarked its debt with other public utilities. Tom said what is unique about the MWRA is our age. The bonds for this debt were
purchased in the 1990’s puts us in a younger state than more mature bigger utilities who have been able to amortize their debt for longer than we have. We would have to match our age and amortizations schedules with others, we are higher leveraged than others, explained by our age.

Kathy said the debt service remains the largest driver of the budget. Close to 80% of all our projects were mandated. The proposed FY11 debt totals $335.3 million reflecting $8.4 million increase over the FY10 budget. However, had it not been for the availability of the projected FY10 surplus to defease over $23 million in debt and the ability to restructure, the FY11 debt service would have been over $30 million higher. Kathy said there are some expenses that are outside of the MWRA’s control. But with all the challenges we still increased maintenance by over 3%. This is a commitment we have in maintaining our assets and not letting them degrade. Asset protection is a major objective of our multi-year Master Plan. Kathy emphasized that what we are discussing is the proposed budget. It is very likely that components of the budget will change but not the commitment to only a 1.49% increase. She added that controlling key benefits played a significant role helping us meet this challenge. One of the components that might change is a 7.5% increase for health insurance. She noted that we are controlling headcount as usual and will have a slight lower number for FY11. Larry Schafer asked if they knew the average age of their employees: Kathy said it was between 51 and 51.5.

This is a significant issue in terms of succession planning. Kathy added that members of the BOD asked for a study of staffing and how MWRA's departments are doing in comparison with other utilities. In regards to the cost of the storm events, Kathy said the Authority did a remarkable job but not surprisingly there were increased costs. For example overtime spiked as well as fuel usage to support field operations and equipment run time. Regarding controlling costs Martin Pillsbury asked how much does energy self-generation contribute to the overall energy costs. Kathy said that Deer Island consumes about 70% of all the energy and of that about 20% is through self-generation. For FY11 we believe that will increase to 28%. Whitney Beals said that in New England we are at a competitive disadvantage for the cost of electricity. He added that EMC in Westborough last year finished a data center and they are walking away from it. They are going to rebuild in one of the Carolina’s. The electric bill in Westborough was going to be $9M; down there it is going to be $4M. Whitney added that is because a lot of the energy down there is coal generated. Kathy was asked about the storm events again and the impact on the current year. She with the upside surprises early in the year, even with the costly storm events, we will have about a $22M surplus for this year.

Kathy moved to capital expenses and said for the last cap (discussed previously) we spent about $180M and the budget for the new one is $250M. She added that it would not be unusual for projects to slip into future years. Ed Bretschneider asked if the Master Plan still drives capital spending, Kathy said absolutely, in every cycle we are looking at the Master Plan that was developed in 2006 and when we add new projects we look at the roadmap. She added that there are always some emergency projects, which are a special case. Kathy said that capital spending for CSO’s is slowly diminishing and the capital program is going to be reshaped with more funding going to asset protection and infrastructure improvement. North Dorchester Bay and the Reserve Channel are some of the major projects on the wastewater side and of course maintenance and asset protection of Deer Island. On the waterside redundancy is going to be the scheme going forward. Kathy added that a number of projects on both sides would in part be funded by stimulus money.

Ed Bretschneider mentioned that WAC’s next meeting is May 7; Kathy Baskin from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs will give a Policy Update. On June 4 Martin Pillsbury will discuss water re-use and low impact development.

Appendix: From Tom Durkin

The MWRA is a capital intense agency. $7.1 billion has been spent on MWRA’s modernization efforts to date. Much of this investment has been financed through debt. Total outstanding debt as of June 2009 was $5.8 billion. The debt payments on this debt including both principal and interest budgeted for fiscal year 2011 is $355 million. Managing this debt service is very important given that this component of the budget can have the greatest impact on the rates.

As a percent of the total MWRA budget, debt service will be 59% for fiscal year 2010 up from 36% in 1990 and is estimated to grow to 61% in 2016. This increased share of the budget consumed by debt requires greater implementation of debt management strategies that will help to control capital financing costs. MWRA’s debt portfolio includes fixed rate bonds, variable rate bonds, commercial paper, and Massachusetts Water Pollution Abatement Trust loans. These different types of debt and the blend of each enabled MWRA to have lower financing costs. Also, MWRA’s past year’s practice of using year-end budget surpluses to defease (pay principal early) debt together with some measured restructuring of the amortization of certain bonds has resulted in a reduced annual debt service burden.

Treasury will continue to monitor its debt portfolio for opportunities to refinance bonds with higher interest rates for lower rates. This practice of “refunding” bonds has yielded significant savings for MWRA. Treasury will advocate for operational and financial management practices that will preserve the high credit rating that MWRA currently enjoys from Standard and Poor’s (AA+), Moody’s Investor Services (Aa2)and Fitch Ratings (AA) as a way of minimizing perceived credit
risk to MWRA investors and therefore lower interest costs.

Continued monitoring of MWRA’s debt portfolio from a perspective sensitive to importance of controlling capital financing cost will be very important. Implementation of established best practices in tax exempt debt issuance including a prudent measure of variable rate debt, maximizing the subsidized Massachusetts Water Pollution Abatement Trust loans, short term issuance of commercial paper notes while construction is underway as well as a carefully considered approach to the modern debt instruments offered by banking institutions will aid MWRA in controlling capital financing costs.

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Minutes of the March 5, 2010 Meeting.

The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MWRA Advisory Board in Boston.

Attendees: Cornelia Potter (MWRA Advisory Board and WAC), Larry Schafer (WAC), Tabe rKeally (WAC and Neponset River Watershed Association), Ed Bretschneider (Staff - WAC), Karen Lachmayr (WAC and Harvard), Stephen Greene (WAC and Howland
Greene Consultants), Bill Katz (WAC), Patrick Herron (Mystic River Watershed Association), Richard Chretien (DEP), Stephen Kaiser (Cambridge), Roger Frymire (Cambridge), Donald Walker (AECOM), David Kubiak (MWRA), Nadine Smoske
(MWRA), Wenley Jiang (MWRA) and Pam Heidell (MWRA).

Stephen Greene called the meeting to order at 10:30. Ed Bretschneider mentioned that the meetings with WSCAC and the Advisory Board about combining the committees under one umbrella would not continue since there was insufficient support to consider the
approach viable. Stephen Greene said he thought there might have been opportunities to perhaps save money with this combination and in this environment this is quite important.

Ed continued noted that the April 16 meeting would be a joint one with WSCAC on MWRA budget challenges and that in May Kathy Baskin from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs would join us. Ed Bretschneider mentioned that WAC would have to find a new place to meet starting in the fall of 2010. The Advisory Board will be moving and this conference room will no
longer be available.

CSO Update – David Kubiak, Nadine Smoske and Wenley Jiang (MWRA)

David mentioned that all CSO projects have to be completed by December 2015 per a court order. He added that there are 35 CSO projects and the last two will be completed by December 2015. After that the MWRA has to demonstrate that it has met the
performance goals of the program, that we have attained the level of control at every one of the outfalls that were addressed in this plan. Originally there were 84 outfalls.

David highlighted 2009 progress and said the jewel of the program has been the North Dorchester Bay project sometimes known as the South Dorchester beaches project. He added that we completed construction of the 17-ft diameter 2.1-mile long tunnel that will store discharges that now go out to the beaches up to a 25-year storm. It will also store stormwater up to the five-year storm.

In 2009 two more of the original 35 projects were completed bringing the total to 24, 11 more are in design or construction. In calendar year 2009 the MWRA spent $89 million in design and construction of CSO control projects, 97% of the money was spent on construction activities. David added we are really into construction in a major way. He continued $89 million is a lot to spend in one year, but less than the $128 million we spent in 2008, we won’t see that again as spending is starting to come down. For 2010 spending will stay at about $90 million but after that spending will drop precipitously.

David noted we have 9 construction contracts under way now, 5 were new construction awards and the remaining 4 are continuation of remaining construction projects. Two of the projects started under one contract are related to the Alewife Brook plan. This is a huge turning point for the MWRA because those projects have been delayed for a long time.

David noted one of the completed projects Cottage Farm Brookline connection is located on the Charles River next to the CSO treatment facility. It was intended to reduce discharges from that CSO facility, at a cost of $3.3 million. The project was completed in June 2009. We maximize the holding capacity of these lines by controlling the gates. Because of this capacity there is a reduction in overflows. David reviewed performance of the system; he noted that before this connection was completed there were 7 activations with 44.5 million gallons of discharges in 2008. After completion there were still 7 activations but only 24 million gallons of discharges. He added we have already achieved what we planned to achieve in the 1997 facilities plan. Cornelia Potter asked what is the impact on the receiving water quality? David said since the upgrade we have dechlorination in place with very strict limits on allowed residual chlorine discharge, essentially zero. He added most of the overflows consist of stormwater. In response to a question David said dechlorination occurs very quickly in less than a minute.

Bill Katz asked what do you use to dechlorinate? David said sodium bisulfate. Chlorination takes a lot longer, at least 15 minutes. Karen Lachmayr asked about discharges, David said it happens as the discharge moves through an underground pipe with diffusers, similar to the outfall in the Bay.

Taber Keally added that you could actually see the diffuser pipe. David reviewed the Morrissey Boulevard Storm Tunnel completed project, which will capable of storing CSO and stormwater as opposed to going out into the beaches up to a one-year storm. Beyond a one-year storm, storm water will be redirected down to Savin Hill Cove. By doing that it allows the tunnel to store CSO and storm water up to a fiveyear storm. If we anticipate a greater than five-year storm, we will close the tunnel to storm water allowing the tunnel to be dedicated to CSO’s up to a 25-year storm.

Pam Heidell asked if there are other facilities that do this. David said there are certainly utilities that use storage tunnels, whether they use forecasts, he said, not sure. He added that I don’t think there are facilities that are separately controlling CSO’s and storm water. Taber Keally asked if the tunnel had to cleaned after each use. David said no, it’s not like Cottage Farm where you have to clean the tanks after use. He added that if we did have to clean it, it would be a major effort, requiring major equipment. Don Walker from Metcalfe & Eddy said this is very similar to other facilities, they have very little
sediment build up.

David talked about the odor control facility at North Dorchester Bay designed and agreed to as an above ground facility. But, shortly before construction a local developer complained and wanted the facility below ground. At considerable cost to the MWRA he won the day. Ed Bretschneider asked what was the convincing argument. David said that the developer was insistent which would delay construction. David said we had a court order that required we finish by a certain time.

David said East Boston is where the heaviest amount of construction is happening both in 2009 and 2010. The construction will be done by July 2010. He added that this is the only system that serves a neighborhood. When complete it will reduce the overflows of at
least 10 of the outfalls.

Reserved Channel Sewer Separation funded by MWRA but construction by BWSC started in May 2009 and completion by December 2015. The Bull Finch Triangle sewer separation is close to North station and construction also by BWSC, which started in 2008 and to be completed by July 2010. They have installed 4000ft. of storm drain since September 2008. This will impact the Prison Point CSO operation; before completion there were 30 activations with 350 million gallons of discharge after completion 17 activations with 243 million gallons of discharge which is
the long-term control plan goal.

The MWRA cost for the Brookline sewer separation is $24 million. Brookline is doing the construction to be completed by Spring 2010. Stephen Greene asked what is the total cost of the Alewife Brook project project. David said about $117 million of which the MWRA is spending about $63 million. The project started in January 2010. It will reduce discharges into Alewife Brook. This project is the result of many negotiations with Cambridge that goes back to the 1990’s. Stephen Kaiser asked if the costs included the drainage work. David said yes. Stephen Kaiser said that floodwaters are being moved from Cambridge into Alewife Brook. He added that he wasn’t worried about the peak flows but was worried about total flooding and that this would result in more inflows in the remaining CSO facilities.

David talked about system optimization whose goal is to maximize existing system performance. The intent was that before investing large capital dollars in a long-term CSO plan we were going to learn more about the operating process and improve, optimize the hydraulic performance. This resulted in more than 100 projects called SOP’s. The projects were completed in 1996 and cost less than $100 million and by themselves reduced discharges by 25% system wide. He said as a result of periodic reviews of improving system performance we have made many improvements and I’ve mentioned a number of them previously; the results of this work, essentially greatly reducing CSO overflows and in some cases reducing CSO activations; sometimes the improvements were a result of operating the gates differently. Ed Bretschneider asked is iterative computer modeling was used for system optimization. David said yes ant that it was the work of Wenley Jiang that made it possible. He added that Wenley is the best system modeler in this area. David said we are constantly testing the modeling against operation. Stephen Greene asked how much do you use your metering in this work? David said we use depth sensors all the time.

Patrick Herron said that depth sensors are important to the Mystic River Watershed since we are always looking for sanitary sewer overflows in our watershed we are concerned that they do pose a health risk. We have a group of monitors who go out and volunteer in heavy storms and help municipalities find problems. We feel that overflows are under reported. David said during heavy storms we also send out people looking for problems.

He added that what’s happening in local systems are not necessarily happening in the MWRA system. We also believe most SSO problems could be handled by doing things upstream.

David showed a graph highlighting CSO capital spending over the years. He notes that peak spending was about 2008 and we are now on a downward curve. There will be considerable spending over the next year and then it drops. He said included in that spending is performance assessment. We believe we can do better than some of the goals set out in the plan. In some cases we are already exceeding the control levels. This is
based on the computer modeling of Wenley.

David reviewed the achievements of the long-term control CSO plan. They included:

David said that regarding CSO spending the biggest bang for the buck came in the 1980’s and early 1990’s. We are now an era of diminishing returns for money spent. The closer you get to zero discharge, the tougher it is to get the remaining discharges and the more expensive it is as well. The total spending to date is $867 million. Karen Lachmayr asked how much of the reduction is due to sewer separation and how much to increasing the volume of storage tunnels? David said the numbers would be in the annual report; we can’t release it until approved by the Board of Directors. David said it might be interesting to also see the reductions as a function of each technology.

David reviewed the impact the improvements have had on wet weather water quality. He said that it would probably be difficult to improve beyond where we are now.

Stephen Kaiser said he thought it was an excellent presentation and that good progress is being made except in Alewife, which he said, had two unique aspects, Cambridge and it is an active flood site.

Stephen Greene said with all this progress we need to make sure that we are paying attention to maintenance needs. David said this plan carries a very low O&M cost. A bigger issue might be replacement costs.

Stephen Greene said I hope the MWRA is not taking responsibility for storm water which has been an issue in the past. David said there is a difference between storm water management and when storm water is in our system. When it is in our sewers and pipes and tunnels we have responsibility for it, once it is separated out it becomes a management issue and the MWRA’s position is that at that point not the its
responsibility.

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Minutes of the January 8, 2010 Meeting.

The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MWRA Advisory Board in Boston.

Attendees: Cornelia Potter (MWRA Advisory Board and WAC), Larry Schafer (WAC), Tabe rKeally (WAC and Neponset River Watershed Association), Ed Bretschneider (Staff - WAC), Karen Lachmayr (WAC and Harvard), Stephen Greene (WAC and Howland
Greene Consultants), Bill Katz (WAC), Patrick Herron (Mystic River Watershed Association), Richard Chretien (DEP), Stephen Kaiser (Cambridge), Roger Frymire (Cambridge), Donald Walker (AECOM), David Kubiak (MWRA), Nadine Smoske
(MWRA), Wenley Jiang (MWRA) and Pam Heidell (MWRA).

Stephen Greene called the meeting to order at 10:30. Ed Bretschneider mentioned that the meetings with WSCAC and the Advisory Board about combining the committees under one umbrella would not continue since there was insufficient support to consider the
approach viable. Stephen Greene said he thought there might have been opportunities to perhaps save money with this combination and in this environment this is quite important.

Ed continued noted that the April 16 meeting would be a joint one with WSCAC on MWRA budget challenges and that in May Kathy Baskin from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs would join us. Ed Bretschneider mentioned that WAC would have to find a new place to meet starting in the fall of 2010. The Advisory Board will be moving and this conference room will no
longer be available.

CSO Update – David Kubiak, Nadine Smoske and Wenley Jiang (MWRA)

David mentioned that all CSO projects have to be completed by December 2015 per a court order. He added that there are 35 CSO projects and the last two will be completed by December 2015. After that the MWRA has to demonstrate that it has met the
performance goals of the program, that we have attained the level of control at every one of the outfalls that were addressed in this plan. Originally there were 84 outfalls.

David highlighted 2009 progress and said the jewel of the program has been the North Dorchester Bay project sometimes known as the South Dorchester beaches project. He added that we completed construction of the 17-ft diameter 2.1-mile long tunnel that will store discharges that now go out to the beaches up to a 25-year storm. It will also store stormwater up to the five-year storm.

In 2009 two more of the original 35 projects were completed bringing the total to 24, 11 more are in design or construction. In calendar year 2009 the MWRA spent $89 million in design and construction of CSO control projects, 97% of the money was spent on construction activities. David added we are really into construction in a major way. He continued $89 million is a lot to spend in one year, but less than the $128 million we spent in 2008, we won’t see that again as spending is starting to come down. For 2010 spending will stay at about $90 million but after that spending will drop precipitously.

David noted we have 9 construction contracts under way now, 5 were new construction awards and the remaining 4 are continuation of remaining construction projects. Two of the projects started under one contract are related to the Alewife Brook plan. This is a huge turning point for the MWRA because those projects have been delayed for a long time.

David noted one of the completed projects Cottage Farm Brookline connection is located on the Charles River next to the CSO treatment facility. It was intended to reduce discharges from that CSO facility, at a cost of $3.3 million. The project was completed in
June 2009. We maximize the holding capacity of these lines by controlling the gates. Because of this capacity there is a reduction in overflows. David reviewed performance of the system; he noted that before this connection was completed there were 7 activations with 44.5 million gallons of discharges in 2008. After completion there were still 7 activations but only 24 million gallons of discharges. He added we have already achieved what we planned to achieve in the 1997 facilities plan. Cornelia Potter asked what is the impact on the receiving water quality? David said since the upgrade we have dechlorination in place with very strict limits on allowed residual chlorine discharge, essentially zero. He added most of the overflows consist of stormwater. In response to a question David said dechlorination occurs very quickly in less than a minute.

Bill Katz asked what do you use to dechlorinate? David said sodium bisulfate. Chlorination takes a lot longer, at least 15 minutes. Karen Lachmayr asked about discharges, David said it happens as the discharge moves through an underground pipe with diffusers, similar to the outfall in the Bay.

Taber Keally added that you could actually see the diffuser pipe. David reviewed the Morrissey Boulevard Storm Tunnel completed project, which will capable of storing CSO and stormwater as opposed to going out into the beaches up to a one-year storm. Beyond a one-year storm, storm water will be redirected down to Savin Hill Cove. By doing that it allows the tunnel to store CSO and storm water up to a fiveyear storm. If we anticipate a greater than five-year storm, we will close the tunnel to storm water allowing the tunnel to be dedicated to CSO’s up to a 25-year storm.

Pam Heidell asked if there are other facilities that do this. David said there are certainly utilities that use storage tunnels, whether they use forecasts, he said, not sure. He added that I don’t think there are facilities that are separately controlling CSO’s and storm water. Taber Keally asked if the tunnel had to cleaned after each use. David said no, it’s not like Cottage Farm where you have to clean the tanks after use. He added that if we did have to clean it, it would be a major effort, requiring major equipment. Don Walker from Metcalfe & Eddy said this is very similar to other facilities, they have very little
sediment build up.

David talked about the odor control facility at North Dorchester Bay designed and agreed to as an above ground facility. But, shortly before construction a local developer complained and wanted the facility below ground. At considerable cost to the MWRA he won the day. Ed Bretschneider asked what was the convincing argument. David said that the developer was insistent which would delay construction. David said we had a court order that required we finish by a certain time.

David said East Boston is where the heaviest amount of construction is happening both in 2009 and 2010. The construction will be done by July 2010. He added that this is the only system that serves a neighborhood. When complete it will reduce the overflows of at
least 10 of the outfalls.

Reserved Channel Sewer Separation funded by MWRA but construction by BWSC started in May 2009 and completion by December 2015. The Bull Finch Triangle sewer separation is close to North station and construction also by BWSC, which started in 2008 and to be completed by July 2010. They have installed 4000ft. of storm drain since September 2008. This will impact the Prison Point CSO operation; before completion there were 30 activations with 350 million gallons of discharge after completion 17 activations with 243 million gallons of discharge which is
the long-term control plan goal.

The MWRA cost for the Brookline sewer separation is $24 million. Brookline is doing the construction to be completed by Spring 2010. Stephen Greene asked what is the total cost of the Alewife Brook project project. David said about $117 million of which the MWRA is spending about $63 million. The project started in January 2010. It will reduce discharges into Alewife Brook. This project is the result of many negotiations with Cambridge that goes back to the 1990’s. Stephen Kaiser asked if the costs included the drainage work. David said yes. Stephen Kaiser said that floodwaters are being moved from Cambridge into Alewife Brook. He added that he wasn’t worried about the peak flows but was worried about total flooding and that this would result in more inflows in the remaining CSO facilities.

David talked about system optimization whose goal is to maximize existing system performance. The intent was that before investing large capital dollars in a long-term CSO plan we were going to learn more about the operating process and improve, optimize the hydraulic performance. This resulted in more than 100 projects called SOP’s. The projects were completed in 1996 and cost less than $100 million and by themselves reduced discharges by 25% system wide. He said as a result of periodic reviews of improving system performance we have made many improvements and I’ve mentioned a number of them previously; the results of this work, essentially greatly reducing CSO overflows and in some cases reducing CSO activations; sometimes the improvements were a result of operating the gates differently. Ed Bretschneider asked is iterative computer modeling was used for system optimization. David said yes ant that it was the work of Wenley Jiang that made it possible. He added that Wenley is the best system modeler in this area. David said we are constantly testing the modeling against operation. Stephen Greene asked how much do you use your metering in this work? David said we use depth sensors all the time.

Patrick Herron said that depth sensors are important to the Mystic River Watershed since we are always looking for sanitary sewer overflows in our watershed we are concerned that they do pose a health risk. We have a group of monitors who go out and volunteer in heavy storms and help municipalities find problems. We feel that overflows are under reported. David said during heavy storms we also send out people looking for problems.

He added that what’s happening in local systems are not necessarily happening in the MWRA system. We also believe most SSO problems could be handled by doing things upstream.

David showed a graph highlighting CSO capital spending over the years. He notes that peak spending was about 2008 and we are now on a downward curve. There will be considerable spending over the next year and then it drops. He said included in that spending is performance assessment. We believe we can do better than some of the goals set out in the plan. In some cases we are already exceeding the control levels. This is
based on the computer modeling of Wenley.

David reviewed the achievements of the long-term control CSO plan. They included:

David said that regarding CSO spending the biggest bang for the buck came in the 1980’s and early 1990’s. We are now an era of diminishing returns for money spent. The closer you get to zero discharge, the tougher it is to get the remaining discharges and the more expensive it is as well. The total spending to date is $867 million. Karen Lachmayr asked how much of the reduction is due to sewer separation and how much to increasing the volume of storage tunnels? David said the numbers would be in the annual report; we can’t release it until approved by the Board of Directors. David said it might be interesting to also see the reductions as a function of each technology.

David reviewed the impact the improvements have had on wet weather water quality. He said that it would probably be difficult to improve beyond where we are now.

Stephen Kaiser said he thought it was an excellent presentation and that good progress is being made except in Alewife, which he said, had two unique aspects, Cambridge and it is an active flood site.

Stephen Greene said with all this progress we need to make sure that we are paying attention to maintenance needs. David said this plan carries a very low O&M cost. A bigger issue might be replacement costs.

Stephen Greene said I hope the MWRA is not taking responsibility for storm water which has been an issue in the past. David said there is a difference between storm water management and when storm water is in our system. When it is in our sewers and pipes and tunnels we have responsibility for it, once it is separated out it becomes a management issue and the MWRA’s position is that at that point not the its responsibility.

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Minutes of the November 6 Meeting

The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MWRA Advisory Board in Boston. Attendees: Cornelia Potter (MWRA Advisory Board and WAC), Larry Schafer (WAC), Taber Keally (WAC and Neponset River Watershed Association), Ed Bretschneider (Staff-WAC), Karen Lachmayr (WAC and Harvard), Stephen Greene (WAC and Howland-Greene Consultants, by phone), Mary Adelstein (WAC), Joe Favaloro (MWRA Advisory Board), Bill Katz (WAC), Roger Frymire (Cambridge), Steve Pearlman (Neponset River Watershed Association), Sarah Shivers (Mystic River Watershed Association), Patrick Herron (Mystic River Watershed Association), Joe Nerden (DEP), Cynthia Liebman (CLF), Stephen Kaiser (Cambridge), Sumner Brown (Belmont), Krista Chapdelaine (MA State), Rob Belkin (MWRA), Kristen Hall (MWRA), and Carl Leone (MWRA)

Ed Bretschneider called the meeting to order at 10:30. He distributed copies of the letter WAC sent in support of the Bottle Bill H.3125. Ed also mentioned that the Advisory Board has recommended that the MWRA limit itself to flat funding for FY11. Joe Favaloro said that with the hardship the communities are under, having no rate increases is appropriate, Ed also mentioned that WAC, WSCAC and the Advisory Board would be meeting to have initial discussions about possible new ways to configure these groups to make them more effective and efficient. He added when there was something concrete to discuss he would bring it make to the committee for further discussion. The October 2 minutes were approved without dissent.

Inflow and Infiltration – Carl Leone

Carl started by reviewing the MWRA regional collection system. He noted there were over 240 miles of interceptors, over 4000 manholes, 13 pump stations 6 headwork facilities, 43 wholesale customer communities and 360 mgd of flow. For the 43 communities he noted there were over 5000 miles of sewers, 370 pump stations, over 100,000 manholes, over 400,000 private service laterals, over 2 million retail sewer customers and over 1800 connections to MWRA interceptors.

Carl stated that the I/I financial assistance program began May 1993 and that $186 million has been distributed in grants (45%) and loans (55%). Loans are repaid over 5 years. There has been 373 local projects funded, 72$ of those funds dedicated to construction projects, $40 million of new funding was allocated for FY10. The goal of the program is to at least offset ongoing collection system deterioration to prevent a net increase in regional I/I. Carl added that newer sewer systems, post-1950’5 leads to less I/I. Communities with combined sewer systems would tend to higher inflows. Mary Adelstein asked is infiltration primarily a function of old pipes, Carl said yes whereas inflows are more a function of direct connections such as manholes, sump pumps, cross connections, etc. Karen Lachmayer added that it sounds like about 50% of all flow to Deer Island is inflow and infiltration, Carl agreed. Karen added, wouldn’t it be safe to say that this generally something the population is not aware of. Carl said in general they’re not interested in sewers. Karen added that if people were more aware of this they would probably be more supportive of public work projects for I/I. Stephen Greene added isn’t true that this a long term chronic issue that requires constant monitoring. Carl said the 50% is not going to dramatically go down anytime soon. Stephen added it’s all about the finance; it’s how much money is available at any one time to get things done. Stephen continued, I think its more amount money that it is about interest. Taber Keally noted he doesn’t think people realize that wastewater is metered, since it is not metered coming right out of their house. The point is wastewater is not free; there is a cost to the community. Carl reviewed success stories in Belmont, Newton, Reading, Dedham, Weymouth and a few other communities where flow has been reduced. Stephen Greene asked how much of a problem are sump pimps; Carl said for residential communities it is one of the bigger inflow problems. Carl added sump pumps are okay as long as they are not tied into the sewer. Sumner Brown said Belmont removed sump pumps at a cost of $10k each ($1 million for 100 pumps) and their numbers didn’t improve. Joe Nerden added that there are other funding sources for this work aside from the MWRA; sometimes developers are required to fund these projects. Carl noted that there is a MWRA DEP community policy for what developers need to do regarding I/I control if there is an increase in sewer flow over a certain amount.

Carl showed a number of graphs that he felt showed a downward trend of flows looking at mgd flows for the total system and also broken out for the North and South systems. He showed the 20-year average which had a flow of 370 mgd, 245 for the north system and 125 for the south system. Joe Nerden asked if installation of the new metering system in 2004/2005 impacted collection of the data. Carl said when the community metering system was down for upgrades the data was collected from the headworks.

Karen mentioned that she thought it important that the MWRA communicate that MWRA make clear to communities that sewer flow is not free and controlling I/I has real cost benefits. Also for the MWRA reducing flow would increase capacity and allow for new communities to enter the system. Stephen Greene said that the MWRA recognize that controlling I/I is a long-term issue, like facility maintenance it requires constant vigilance. Taber Keally asked about the effectiveness of I/I spending to justify the $40 million MWRA investment. He added clearly controlling I/I is the right thing to do; it would be nice if the data showed a clearer correlation with flow reduction. Carl said that the estimated flow reduction with completed I/I projects is about 67 mgd.

Cynthia Liebman asked how the funding with distributed. Carl said 45% is a grant and 55% is an interest free loan for five years. He added that there is a similar program on the waterside, except it is a 10-year free interest loan and there is no grant. Carl said this program is like maintenance; you have to put a little money in every year, just like homeowners and their upkeep. Carl said it’s hard because the pipes aren’t seen. Stephen Greene asked about design standards, Carl said he thought the standards were good but these are just old pipes. A lot of the old pipes have joints every 2-3 feet; it will be a long time before all these are fixed. He added that we might have to raise parts of facilities such as manholes if water levels rise.

Patrick Herron asked about SSO’s. Carl said in the near term he does not see the elimination of SSO’s, because there are huge storms. He added what we hope to see are for the same size storms we have less SSO’s. Karen asked if it’s feasible to have such large I/I reductions that capacity at Deer Island opens up for new communities to enter. Carl said we would not see such large reductions. He said there is not a capacity issue on average daily flow, except for major rainstorms. Taber Keally mentioned that in many states, MA title 5 septic tank inspections are carried to sewer connections.

Larry Schafer mentioned the conference call about the Outfall and MWRA’s recommendations for reducing monitoring. He noted that the EPA said that the Department of Fisheries wanted to get involved and this might delay any changes for years. Larry continued the Outfall has demonstrated that it is innocuous to the marine environment and that we should support the MWRA’s proposals. He also commended OMSAP for the great they have done looking at this from a scientific perspective. He suggested WAC consider a field trip to the Outfall. Karen said she’s been there and not much to see.

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Minutes of the October 2 Meeting

The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MWRA Advisory Board in Boston.  Attendees: Cornelia Potter (MWRA Advisory Board and WAC), Larry Schafer (WAC), Taber Keally (WAC and Neponset River Watershed Association), Ed Bretschneider (Staff-WAC), Ken Keay (MWRA), Karen Lachmayr (WAC and Harvard), Stephen Greene (WAC and Howland-Greene Consultants, by phone), Mike Mickelson (MWRA), Mary Adelstein (WAC), Joe Favaloro  (MWRA Advisory Board, for water bottle bill and changes to citizen advisory committees)), Vin Spada (SEA Consultants and WAC), Roger Frymire (Cambridge) and Bill Gunther ( Neponset River Watershed Association)

Taber Keally called the meeting to order at 10:30.

Ed Bretschneider mentioned that Mary Booth WSCAC Executive Director had resigned.  He also noted that Joe Favaloro from the Advisory Board suggested that we take a look at combining all advisory committees under one umbrella.  Committee members brought up some concerns about such an approach, such as dilution of focus or expertise; advantages such as stability and increasing influence were also raised.  Joe Favaloro noted that WAC and WSCAC were created and serve “at the pleasure of the Board of Directors, whereas the Advisory Board was part of the enabling act that created the MWRA.  The committee gave Ed Bretschneider the approval to meet with the Advisory Board and WSCAC to discuss merits and report back.

Ed Bretschneider also mentioned that the State Legislature was about to discuss expanding the current bottle law to include bottled water, i.e., a refundable five-cent deposit.  The revenue generated from unredeemed bottles could be used to fund water and wastewater infrastructure needs.  The committee supported a draft letter be written supporting this expanded bill.

Proposed Changes to Outfall Ambient Monitoring – Mike Mickelson and Ken Keay

Mike said that the MWRA suggested revisions to effluent floatables sampling, and to ambient monitoring of the water column and sediment.  He said he would talk about water column and Ken would follow with a discussion of sediment monitoring.

Mike explained that the sampling design of the monitoring effort has been guided by the goal of answering a set of monitoring questions.  Those questions have largely been answered, with the finding that Deer Island treatment and the outfall are working well, and that many parameters did not change following diversion of the outfall to Mass Bay.  Several parameters did change, but are not plausibly related to the outfall.  Most importantly, some parameters have changed as a result of outfall relocation, but all of those changes are innocuous, expected, and understood.  Monitoring questions should continue to provide a basis for the sampling design of ongoing monitoring.  Careful consideration led MWRA to submit a proposal to decrease monitoring costs without impacting the value of information gained or compliance with the Contingency Plan.

Mike mentioned that the proposed monitoring changes relate to where, when, and what we measure. 

Mike noted that the proposed changes to water column monitoring include dropping some stations and treating them all the same for simplicity and ease of interpretation.  Spatially, our focus should be on the area affected by the outfall plume, plus a few reference stations somewhat to provide context beyond the affected area.  Thus fewer stations should suffice, and that allows for a more manageable survey.  Furthermore, MWRA proposed to simplify the sampling design, with the effect of visiting the nearfield less often but visiting the farfield reference sites more often.  MWRA also proposed to drop some measurements that are less useful or disrupt the sampling. 

Karen Lachmayr noted that at some point there were even more monitoring stations.  Mike replied that the number of nearfield stations dropped from 21 to 7 in 2004, and the proposal for 2010 is to further decrease the number to 4 or 5.  The reduction in number of stations in 2004 was approved because 21 stations are spatially redundant in that they told a similar story.  The number of farfield stations did not change in 2004, but the proposal for 2010 does drop farfield stations.  Ken Keay added the monitoring plan is attached to the NPDES discharge permit and that details the number of stations and types of measurements were included as well as the process for changing the monitoring plan.  Changes that Mike spoke of were changed in the 2002-2003 timeframe working with the regulators, and we are currently going through a similar process.

Mike added that most of the stations retained for 2010 have a solid historical record with plankton data.  We simplified the sampling design so that all stations will get the same analyses.  Karen asked how far out can the ammonium levels be detected, Mike said 10-20 kilometers out.  Taber Keally asked about discharges out in the Plymouth area.  Ken said when you get that far out the local discharges are so small that they are not detectable on our scale of sampling.

Mike said that the proposed changes don’t appreciably affect how the MWRA addresses the Contingency Plan thresholds.  He added that there have been no changes in primary productivity, so we plan to drop that study.  Furthermore, it disrupts the regular sampling.    Mary Adelstein asked how it is measured; Mike replied that it aspires to measure the growth rate of the phytoplankton.  Mike added that we intend to end floatables tows, as they have shown that there are no large plastics associated with the discharge.  Taber asked why the increase in plastic at the control site.  Ken said normally what’s caught is shopping bags and some bottles.  He wasn’t sure whether the numbers were significantly different.

Mike closed by saying that said the bays continue to support a healthy ecosystem in the water and sediments with no adverse impacts from the outfall observed over nine years of intensive monitoring.  Larry Schafer asked about floatables.  Ken said the aesthetics around the outfall is clean and lobster fishermen are not noticing any impact.  Karen Lachmayr asked isn’t it impossible for large objects like bottles to get through the diffuser holes in the outfall.  Ken said no, the riser cap ports are approximately 8 inches in diameter, plate size.  Larry said we need a definition of size around floatables.  Mike reminded the group that visual aesthetics is just one of the four main issues related to outfalls, along whether is safe to swim, whether it is safe to eat seafood, and whether natural resources are protected; all of these are in good condition near the outfall.

Mary Adelstein asked about the new permit.  Ken said the regulators are viewing the discussion we are having now and will form the starting point for the new permit.  Ed Bretschneider said he thought the recommendation from the MWRA for the new permit was no monitoring.  Ken said, yes that was part of the discussion four years ago, but he believes the regulators expect that there will be some level of monitoring.  Ed Bretschneider asked how much money would be saved with these recommendations.  Ken said if all the recommendations were implemented it would be about $1.5 million.

Ken starting the review off by outlining the current outfall monitoring sediment studies:

  1. Special study of benthic nutrient fluxes
  2. Special study of hardbottom environments
  3. Infaunal monitoring in nearfield and farfield
  4. Sediment contaminant monitoring in nearfield and farfield
  5. Sediment profile imaging studies in western Mass Bay

In terms of study design there are four stations in Boston Harbor, three stations in nearfield, one station in Stellwagen Basin.  These are seasonal processes so we survey four times a year.  Divers collect sediment cores in shallow water and deepwater by special boxcar sampler.  At the lab you measure how much nutrients is taken out of the water and how much oxygen is released in to it.  The results show organic carbon in the surface sediments over the last eight years has not changed at all nor has chlorophyll.  Sediment oxygen demand has been decreasing over the years as the old trapped carbon in the sediment gets burned off which is one of the key signs of recovery in the Harbor.  In short the rationale for stopping the studies is that the monitoring questions have been answered.  The processes have been as well studied in Mass Bay as anywhere else on the planet.  There have been no changes to the Bay during eight years of discharge monitoring.  This study is very costly, labor intensive and time consuming.  But the study had addressed the questions it was designed to address.  Ken said Mass Bay compared to other estuaries around the world is in good condition.  He emphasized that in Mass and Cape Cod Bay has shown no indications of discharge related increases.  Statistical tests confirm no increases in contaminants in nearfield sediments associated with outfall discharge.

Hard bottom sediment monitoring is complementary to soft sediment monitoring studies.  It was specially designed to see once the outfall was turned on are we suddenly smothering everything growing on the rocks in the nearfield.  The study covered an area within 5-10 kilometers of the outfall.  Results show the hard bottom areas to be very variable.  For example when you measure large boulders you see something different growing on the top from something growing on the side of the boulder.  Within that variability the hard bottom communities are relatively stable.  Recent changes have appeared north of the outfall, drape, which is thin sheets of mud settling out at least temporality over the rock faces and a decrease cover of coral and algae.  The pattern doesn’t match what we would expect if it was an out fall effect.  We would expect to see it at the stations closes to the outfall first.  So we don’t know if this is contributed from the outfall from an unknown mechanism or a natural change.  What we do know is that it is a relatively minor change.  We still see coral and algae in these areas, we just see a little more settlement drape.

When we look at species richness we see no difference between the baseline data and the outfall data.  In recent years we are starting to see more species being recognized.  We believe this is more a familiarity effect, after working on this for 15 years; people are better at recognizing what that small spot is on the slide.

There is evidence of physical disturbance from increase traffic of large freighters and LNG tankers.  Anchor scars are common.  All this is since 2001.  Additionally there is evidence of more boulders being overturned.  We have to time our studied of these sites around larger tanker presence

Overall the changes have been subtle, we have no reason to believe they are the effect of the outfall and this provides our rationale for changing the survey frequency Any changes are likely to be slow, so sampling every third year should be sufficient.  Regulators have expressed concern that in the event of treatment plant solids upset that we maintain the flexibility to survey.  Ken said we could certainly discuss that with regulators.

For soft sediment monitoring we are starting with 23 stations in western Mass Bay within about 7 kilometers of the discharge.  We’ve collected samples every year looking for contaminants.  The data shows that there has not been any difference since the outfall came online.  In western Mass Bay the baseline data is a bit higher due to its proximity to Boston Harbor and some spillover from a legacy of decades of discharges into Boston Harbor.  Overall the levels are low and show no contaminants in sediments associated with outfall discharge.  Ken said what we find in all the stations are data that fall within the baseline or below.  In 2003-2004 we changed the frequency of contaminant sampling from annually to every third year because we thought the changes in contaminants against the background would take decades.  So measuring every third year was protective.  Based on the data we are recommending that we drop stations in both farfield and nearfield, retaining ten in nearfield and three in farfield.  We also recommend that we reduce replication and analyze duplicates only if the results are anomalous.  In response to a question said there is no relationship between water column sites and sediment sites, since water moves around and sediment is immobile.  Ken said that Cape Cod Bay stations not impacted by outfall more distant than other reference areas.

Cornelia Potter asked if you are being approached for what you learned about Mass Bay for the scientific community [i.e. get the word out that the outfall has been vindicated].  Ken said we have quite a body of work, some in the scientific literature, and more is being readied.  Academics are interested in the work but there are perceived issues of ownership.  Cornelia said it’s ironic since the MWRA paid for the work.  Mary asked if the work is public, Ken said it is.  Taber asked how you find it.  Ken said we would supply it to anyone who asks.  It is the interpretative reports that take lots of time.  Karen said a lot of academics don’t know where to look for the work.  Mike said a lot of the reports are on the MWRA web site.  Ken said because of budget restraints we can’t go to many scientific meetings to report.

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Minutes of the May 15 Meeting

The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MWRA Advisory Board in Boston. Attendees: Cornelia Potter (MWRA Advisory Board and WAC), Larry Schafer (WAC), Bill Katz (WAC), Taber Keally (WAC and Neponset River Watershed Association) Ed Bretschneider (Staff-WAC), David Whelan (MWRA), Karen Lachmayr (WAC and Harvard), Stephen Greene (WAC and Howland-Greene Consultants), Pam Heidell (MWRA), Mary Adelstein (WAC), Joe Favaloro (MWRA Advisory Board) and Christine Hevelone-Byler (MWRA Advisory Board).

The meeting was called to order at 10:30 and the March minutes were approved.

Larry Schafer mentioned that in May 15 Boston Globe there was an editorial regarding the bottle bill. Stephen Greene added when we discuss the bottle bill he’d share how water and wastewater infrastructure needs are impacting many states not just Massachusetts. Mary Adelstein mentioned she wrote a letter to the local Newton paper about rate shock, a 17% increase, she added this is a great opportunity to promote water conservation. Mary said she mentioned MWRA and how it delivers outstanding water and wastewater quality and service.

Proposed Fiscal Year 2010 Budget – David Whelan

David is the Budget Manager for the MWRA. He emphasized that what he is reviewing is the proposed FY10 budget and that it is not formally voted on until the June Board of Directors meeting.

Dave mentioned that the rate revenue requirement is $566.8M and that $387.7M supports wastewater and $179.1M supports the water system. This is a 7.5% increase over FY09 for wastewater and a 0.6% for water. This will result in a combined rate increase of 4.8%, which includes Debt Service Assistance of $7.0M (unlikely). Ed Bretschneider asked if earlier indications had the rate increase much higher, double digits? Dave said when we received the initial requests from the different departments would have resulted in a much higher number, it was only through a difficult prioritization and cutting process that we were able to reach the 4.8%. Dave said it’s a bare bones budget and the tightest I’ve seen in the 15 years since I’ve been at the Authority. Stephen Greene asked what happens if you don’t get the $7M. Dave said we are going through different scenarios to cover that possibility. The goal would to be to keep the rate increase at the 4.8% level. Cornelia said there is a balancing act of how much risk do you want to take in the budget to keep the number constant. For example there are assumptions of what you think energy costs are going to be and how you choose to budget that line item. A specific case is electricity is decreasing 10.8% largely due to lower projected pricing.

Bill Katz asked about the variance history from price or quantity for budgeted items. Dave said that he would get back to the committee on this question (see end of minutes for his response). Pam Heidell said for measurement purposes towns have wastewater and water meters, homes have individual water meters but not wastewater meters.
Dave said that part of the difficult choices regarding this budget is a reduction of 24 positions to achieve a year-end target of 1,222 positions. Since 1997 the MWRA has lost 500 full time positions. As mentioned previously utility budget is decreasing due to lower projected pricing. This always presents a risk. To reduce risk we look to maximizing self-generation and embracing green initiatives such as energy audits. Also diesel costs are relatively low and we plan to top off all our tanks. The maintenance budget is increasing by 4.6%. This cost will continue to rise to preserve operating assets and maintain the Authorities infrastructures Dave said that personnel costs, utility costs and maintenance costs accounts for nearly 80% of the direct expense budget.

Debt service is the largest portion of our budget $354.4M before offset of Debt Service Assistance . For comparison in FY90 debt was 36% of budget, for FY10 we project it will be 58% and by FY16 we project it will be 61%. Dave added that debt service assistance in FY02 was at almost $53M, its fallen quite a bit since then and is projected at $7.0M for FY10 (this amount is unlikely).

Tasber Keally asked about pension liability. Dave said that the pension fund would not be fully funded until 2024. Cornelia said it’s going to take a little longer because of the loss in the market. She added that it is consistent with state regulations. Mary asked if pensions investments are with the state pension fund. Cornelia said MWRA has its own pension fund.

Capital improvement spending is estimated at $238M for FY10. The biggest drivers are wastewater spending. The CSO program remains the Authority’s largest initiative in terms of spending.

Dave said most of the capital projects come from the master planning process, he added second 5-year capital spending from FY09-13 $1,143.8B. Annual spending may vary by not more than 20%. Dave added that there is no effect from stimulus funding in this budget. Dave concluded by noting the strong credit ratings of the MWRA.

Taber Keally and Stephen Greene said the public needs to understand the debt load of the MWRA and it strong credit rating as it may help to explain rates.

Cornelia asks what happens now. Dave said we are studying every line item to make sure we are lean as we can be without jeopardizing assets or the future.

Bottle Bill - Joe Favaloro and Christine Hevelone-Byler

Joe thanked for the committee to continue the discussion on the bottle bill He said the goal of the Advisory Board on this bill is to generate discussion. So from that end of it the process has started and does exactly what I had hoped it would do. Making legislation is like making sausage. You may like the end piece but you may not appreciate all the individual ingredients that go into it. Joe said the one thing we know for sure these are tough times for the state. We also know the difficult state of water and wastewater infrastructure needs. These pipes are out of sight and people only respond when there is a problem. Joe went on to recounted the difficult and long process to get debt service assistance, and the probability that there will no resource here, we began to look for other options with the key being a dedicated funded source that doesn’t depend on general fund revenues. Joe said for a number of years there has been some bottle redemption process in place. We came forward to expand this process to bottle water, with unclaimed deposits going to a dedicated fund the commonwealth dedicated sewer rate relief fund, estimated to generate about $10M. We would not be first in line for this party but in line. Another option was to model a bill after a successful bill in Chicago that is to add a 5-cent tax on bottled water. The revenue would go to a dedicated fund for water and wastewater uses. When we proposed both ideas to the legislature they preferred the tax option. We recognize this is a long journey to get something approved. The process has started. Eventually something will materialize. You never know what the final version will look like. Joe said WSCAC supports this effort as does the MWRA staff and Board of Directors.

Taber Keally asked are you asking for the right amount of money? You only get one bite at the apple. Joe responded it depends what you consider a bite of the apple. I believe it is getting agreement to a dedicated fund outside of the general fund. Mary Adelstein said she doesn’t like dedicated taxes and they are unproductive. This bill is only one tenth of what you need. I believe dedicated funds only work if it is a revolving fund. Stephen Greene said there is no disagreement that there is a need for dedicated funding. But, how do you get it balanced so there is some federal funding or state funding. Joe said I’m not optimistic not in the foreseeable future. When you look at the stimulus the smallest portions are dedicated to water and wastewater needs. Stephen asked if the legislature has group that looks at infrastructure needs, Christine sad no. Karen Lachmayr said there is a public health aspect to this discussion as well. There is the potential of discouraging the use of bottle water. Bottle water does not have to adhere to the clean drinking water act. Joe added that MWRA water is a much better value than bottled water that can cost several dollars and not any better in quality or taste than tap water.

Ed Bretschneider asked if there is any action the committee would like to take based on this discussion. Stephen Greene said people forget about this hidden asset. Larry Schafer asked that a letter be drafted supporting this initiative. Taber said I don’t think it’s a perfect solution, but we need to keep this subject elevated. The committee then asked that a letter be sent supporting a 5-cent tax on bottled water. There was one abstention with the rest of the committee in support.

In a follow up to a question from Bill Katz about budget variances, regarding water and wastewater flows. Dave gave a detailed response, which I’ve summarized below:

Deer Island – Expected flows 365 mgd, 7-year average (FY02-FY908) 362mgd actual flows.

Water Usage –Budgeted flows 220mg, 3-year average (FY06-FY08) 210mg actual flows.

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Minutes of the March 13 Meeting

Minutes of the March 13 Meeting. The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MWRA Advisory Board in Boston. Attendees: Cornelia Potter (MWRA Advisory Board and WAC), Larry Schafer (WAC), Bill Katz (WAC), Taber Keally (WAC and Neponset River Watershed Association) Ed Bretschneider (Staff-WAC), John Vetere (MWRA), Karen Lachmayr (WAC and Harvard), Vin Spada (WAC and SEA Consultants), Stephen Greene (WAC and Howland-Greene Consultants), Ted Regen (MWRA), Steve Cullen (MWRA), Rick Adams (MWRA) and Dave Morris (MWRA).

The meeting was called to order at 10:30 and the February minutes were approved. Ed Bretschneider spoke about the MWRA FY10 proposed budget and the tough decisions that the MWRA staff had to make. He added there were potential impacts for both citizens advisory committees, WAC and WSCAC. Budgets don’t get finalized until June and there would plenty of opportunity to try to influence what was in the final proposal before the Board of Directors voted on it at their June meeting (at a Board meeting held after our meeting, they indicated strong support to keep these committees funded for FY10). Stephen Greene thanked all who made calls or wrote letters in support of WAC and WSCAC.

Taber Keally spoke about the need for the MWRA to be more pro-active about communicating about its successes and how rates pay for some of the best water in the country and being a leading edge utility. Bill Katz mentioned the yearly increase in rates and this needs to be explained what it pays for. Stephen Greene noted that most people don’t know that 60% of MWRA’s expenses is to pay off the debt in large part incurred to help pay for cleaning up Boston Harbor. Stephen said that WAC could play an important role in facilitating this communication process

Deer Island – John Vetere, Ted Regen, Steve Cullen and Rick Adams

John Vetere with an overview of Deer Island. He said that WAC’s support of Deer Island has been very important for us in the past and we hope that support will continue. John noted that the facility was built on 120 acres at a cost of $3.8 billion. He said that it is the second largest wastewater plant in the U.S. It has a maximum treatment capacity of 1.27bgd and an average daily flow of 365mgd. John introduced Richard Adams (Manager of Engineering Services), Ted Regen (Asset Manager) and Stephen Cullen (Deputy Director Maintenance). John added that for FY09 through FY12 capital spending is estimated at $240M. Bill Katz about water level rise as a result of global warming. John said that there hasn’t been a notable change since construction of the site. Karen Lachmayr added that with climate change the big concern would be more extreme and frequent storms. Taber Keally added that the average water height level doesn’t mean much when you’re dealing with extreme weather conditions.

Rick Adams talked about the capital projects and noted that there were 12 in FY09, 22 in FY10, 14 in FY11 and 12 in FY12. John added that major decisions have to be made about the residual facility, since the contract with Nefco ends in 2015. Rick added that with all programs we are trying to maintain the current equipment, extending their live as long as possible, at least until the equipment becomes obsolete or over time wear and tear requires replacement or upgrades. When we replace equipment we take energy efficiency in consideration as well as other criteria. Rick reviewed some major capital projects including, primary and secondary clarifier rehabilitation project, clarifier chain failures and residuals pipe replacement project, as well as several others. Rick noted that this is a good time to do construction. Because of the economic environment vendors are willing to give costs that are very favorable to the MWRA. Ed Bretschneider asked if you always have to take the lowest bid. John Vetere said yes, the lowest responsible qualified bid. Ed asked if staff resources were sufficient to do all the projects required Rick said we did some re-organization of combining groups so that we didn’t have to increase staffing to deliver our goals. John Vetere spoke about wind energy at Deer Island that will save about $260K/year with a payback of 10-15 years. We hope to get help from the stimulus package for funding. Bill Katz asked how tall were they. John said 150 feet.

Ted Regen reviewed FAMP (facilities asset management program). He noted that the drivers for this program are development and implementation of an agency wide multi-year maintenance plan. The goals are to protect ratepayer investment, prolong asset life and preserve the environment. Ted emphasized strong management commitment is necessary to be successful. He showed a pyramid of benchmarking and m aster plan components stressing that success is a function that each individual has to be optimized, so that a weal link does not lead to sub-optimal results. FAMP is about equipment (pumps, compressors, etc.) and non-equipment (facilities, utilities, etc.). Ted said when the program was started in 2001 it was divided into four categories: business practices, maintenance strategies, condition monitoring and MAXIMO (computerized maintenance management system). The program is divided into four Phases. We are currently in Phase III. Phase IV is looking forward for example how do we do continuous improvement.

A key component of FAMP is Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM). This is a structured process where the system experts (operations and maintenance staff) jointly analyzed system components and recommend the most appropriate maintenance requirements (including tasks, frequencies ad trades) of physical assets as they are operated. FAMP has been developed over a thirty-year period by the aviation industry to define reliability. Current status is that 83 RCM analyses have been completed as of March 1 2009. Also 72 are currently being implemented. There has been a 24%reduciton in preventive maintenance cost. There are a total of a 110 systems to complete. We maintain annual review to stay current. The goal is to do the right maintenance, reliably, at the right time.

Ted reviewed MAXIMO results. He said over 70,000 pieces of equipment are in Maximo. This includes over 32,000 work orders per year, 1800 PM’s/month, 12% PM and less than 1% emergency maintenance. Ted mentioned that Maximo initially a private company is now part of IBM. It has moved from a client server base to web based. We now have more functionality. Like the ability to link documents, b=data base rollups, performance reporting and enhanced reporting.

Ted noted that the MWRA is best in class and shares its best practices with others like, City of Detroit, Gillette, MIT, Mass Genera and Boston Public Library as examples. He added that we constantly benchmark against other industries and maintenance organizations.

Ted briefly discussed condition monitoring. He described it as non-intrusive maintenance techniques that monitor critical assets and alert staff well in advance of pending failure. Examples of what is monitored are oil analysis, vibration, temperature, thermography and ultrasonic. Ted reviewed benefits, for example, oil is changed only when required not on some timetable. This has led to a cost avoidance of over $57K. You can follow operations from your PC sitting at your desk; alerts are highlighted there as well.

Steve Cullen reviewed maintenance metrics and budget. He said that the amend maintenance budget is over $14M. The largest component is P&M services. Steve noted that Deer Island has a staff of 118 who deal with over 32,00 work orders/year of that 24%is preventive or predictive maintenance, 57% corrective maintence, 17% projects, 1% emergency and 1% other. Steve mentioned that there was a conscious decision by MWRA staff and Board of directors not to reduce the maintenance budge.

Maintenance planning consists of creating a priority list from weekly meetings with operations, maintenance and engineering. We schedule for the day and plan for tomorrow, management tracks productivity. Staffing has gone from a high of 152 in FY99 to 118 in FY08. This is a result primarily of the FAMP program.

Steve said benchmarking shows that we are best in class in most categories including, maintenance spending/RAV, emergency maintenance, overtime and operations doing light maintenance.

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Minutes of the February 6 Meeting

The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MWRA Advisory Board in Boston. Attendees: Cornelia Potter (MWRA Advisory Board and WAC), Larry Schafer (WAC), Bill Katz (WAC), Taber Keally (WAC and Neponset River Watershed Association) Ed Bretschneider (Staff-WAC), Andrea Rex (MWRA), Karen Lachmayr (WAC and Harvard), Vin Spada (WAC and SEA Consultants), Stephen Greene (WAC and Howland-Greene Consultants), Ken Keay (MWRA), Roger Frymire (Cambridge), Bill Genther (Neponset Watershed Association), Jenny Birnmaun (DEP), Katia Zink (DEP), Mary Beth Dechant (Mystic Watershed Association) and Joe Favaloro (MWRA Advisory Board)

The meeting was called to order at 10:30 and the January 6 minutes were approved. Ed Bretschneider spoke about the MWRA FY10 proposed budget and the tough decisions that the MWRA staff had to make. He added there were potential impacts for both citizens advisory committees, WAC and WSCAC. Budgets don’t get finalized until June and there would plenty of opportunity to try to influence what was in the final proposal before the Board of Directors voted on it at their June meeting (at a Board meeting held after our meeting, they indicated strong support to keep these committees funded for FY10).

Boston Harbor and the Rivers – Andrea Rex and Ken Keay (MWRA)

Andrea started by giving an historical perspective. She note that in 1986 a Federal judge ordered a schedule to construct a new Deer Island Treatment Plant (DITP) and related facilities. This was a result of two failing primary treatment plants that discharge a total of 350 mgd to the harbor, digested sludge being discharged into the northern harbor and 84 CSO’ discharging 3 billion gallons annually during wet weather.

During the period of 1988-1991 there were upgrades to the old DITP, including improvements to disinfection. By 1991 there were no more sludge discharges into the harbor; sludge is now made into fertilizer pellets. Finally CSO discharges were cut in half to 1.5 billion gallons a year.

From 1992-1998 there was improved pumping capacity at DITP that decreased CSO further, most dramatic in the Charles River. During this time Nut Island Treatment Plant flows were transferred to DITP. In 1998 discharges to the southern harbor were decommissioned.

In 2000 there was an end of effluent discharges to the Boston Harbor as the result of the start-up of a new 9 mile-long outfall that moved effluent from the harbor to discharge to Massachusetts Bay. This resulted in significant improvement in water quality as measured by an 85-90% drop in pollutant loadings to the harbor.

Andrea discussed the eutrophication process and the different categories from pristine to moderate enrichment to over-enrichment. She noted that after 2000 with the DITP outfall online that there has been a decrease in phytoplankton biomass. She added that the harbor went from an abnormal pattern of having highest levels of phytoplankton in the summer to having the normal pattern of highest levels in the spring and the fall. Overall there was significant improvement in water quality on a number of different dimensions. While the harbor is certainly not pristine significant improvements continue to be made.

Andrea noted that after 2000 wastewater treatment plants were no longer a significant source of contamination to the harbor. She reviewed CSO projects from 2000 to2007. In 200 there were the Cottage Farm CSO facility upgrades and Neponset River sewer separation, in 2001 she highlighted the Dorchester Bay CSO facility upgrades and the Chelsea Relief sewer projects. In 2006 there were sewer separation projects for Stony Brook and South Dorchester Bay. And in 2007 the end of CSO discharges to South Dorchester Bay.

Ken Keay reviewed sediment and flounder studies in Boston Harbor. He noted that most contaminants of concern adhere to fine particulates and so contaminates build up in muddy, depositional areas of the Harbor. Organic matter sediment oxygen demand builds up in the same areas.

Sediments in Boston Harbor were the most contaminated in a significant scientific study this and other studies led to headlines that read Boston Harbor dirtiest harbor in the nation. The MWRA has studies, as part of the outfall study, whose purpose is to evaluate impacts of CSO discharges on adjacent sediments. We focused on Dorchester Bay with reference stations elsewhere in the Harbor, such as Boston Harbor and Fort Point Channel. We have sampled every 4 years since 1990. A sewage tracer has shown improvement in water quality over the last 18 years. Contaminants have also decreased both near and distant from CSO’s and pesticides. We also look to see if these improvements show up in the marine environment and we look to our winter flounder study for answers.

Flounder live in contact with the seafloor and are exposed to contaminants through gills, prey and direct contact. Fin rot and liver disease were among the earliest sight of degradation in Boston Harbor prior to the clean up. In the mid-1980’s over 80% of fish showed signs of fin rot. 60-80% of fish showed signs of liver disease linked to toxics exposure and up to 12% of fish bore liver tumors. As part of long term monitoring of the outfall we included monitoring of flounder. What we found steady reduction in flounder disease over time. Liver lesions have virtually disappeared.

Ken went on to discuss soft sediment community studies. Animals living in soft sediments are mostly, sessile, they don’t move around much and are exposed to sediment contaminants continuously. The MWRA has sampling at 9 stations in Boston Harbor. Samples are collected annually for grain size, infauna and sewage tracers. The sampling is supplemented by camera images at 60 sites. What we look for are changes in density of organisms, number of species, changes in species composition and changes in community structure. What we find is little faunal abdnunace in 1991, increasing fairly dramatically after that, then going down a bit and then up. Biodiversity has increased dramatically over time. There has also been a recolonization of seagrass beds, which is a sign of improving water quality. This is the first sign of this in 17 years. In response to a question Ken said that you could request our data including raw data. Andrea added that there are technical reports that are also available. Stephen Greene asked if the data could show any impact from global climate change. Ken said we have the monitoring in place that could measure potential changes over 10-20 years. He added that 20 years is a little short to see changes from global warming. Larry asked about measuring new contaminants like pharmaceuticals. Andrea said that concentrations are normally very low that it is very expensive to measure. Most of the studies that you see are rivers that are impacted. Andrea we have done some collaborative works with UMass Boston. EPA is looking into this but is moving slower that it would like to on this issue.

Andrea reviewed Enterococcus counts (a sewage indicator in rivers. In the Neposnet there was a huge drop from 1989-2007. The biggest drops were in wet weather counts over dry weather counts. Similar results were seen in the Charles River. These improvements were in large part due to the significant reductions in CSO’s that I mentioned earlier. For the Mystic river similar improvements were not seen because the biggest source here is not CSO’s.

Andrea said that they review their monitoring program every year based on stormwater and CSO questions.

There was a brief discussion on the MWRA FY10 proposed budget and potential impact on WAC as well a WSCAC. The budget does not become finalized until June when the MWRA Board of Directors votes on it (at a
BOD meeting held after our WAC meeting, the Board voiced strong support to keep these committees funded).

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Minutes of the January 9 Meeting

The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MWRA Advisory Board in Boston.. Attendees: Cornelia Potter (MWRA Advisory Board and WAC), Larry Schafer (WAC), Bill Katz (WAC), Taber Keally (WAC and Neponset River Watershed Association) Ed Bretschneider (Staff-WAC), Pam Heidell (MWRA), Karen Lachmayr (WAC and Harvard), Vin Spada (WAC and SEA Consultants), Stephen Greene (WAC and Howland-Greene Consultants), Richard Trubiano (MWRA), Deinise Breiteneicher (MWRA), Chris Lam (MWRA), Vivian Lam ( Boston Harbor Association), and Isacc Lozuda (Boston Harbor Association).

The meeting was called to order at 10:30 and the November 6 minutes were approved. This was a joint meeting among WAC, WSCAC and the MWRA Advisory Board. Stephen then introduced WAC’s newest member Karen Lachmayr who is currently at Harvard University. Karen is an aquatic microbiologist whose research has focused on wastewater treatment and the effects of wastewater effluent on marine ecosystems.

Stephen Greene mentioned that in December WSCAC had a meeting on climate change. He noted that the speaker highlighted that the NYC areas utilities were having a challenge getting sufficient funding to support their basic maintenance. Ed Bretschneider added that on March 13 WAC will have a meeting on maintenance and this will be an opportunity to support the needs of operations to get the maintenance budget they need to protect MWRA facilities.

Update on Renewable and Sustainable Energy Initiatives – Richard Trubiano and Denise Breiteneicher

Richard Trubiano is director of field operations. He said we define renewable as that derived from natural resources such as solar, wind, ocean tide, bio-fuels, geothermal hydropower and other types of renewable energy. Stephen Greene asked if some of the savings from this program could provide coverage from the loss in dollars due to the budget crunch. Richard said we do fold that into the budget. He added that we look for energy savings not only from our facilities but also from the miles of pipeline for transmission. Richard noted that MWRA’s total energy cost for FY2008 was $20.1M and that Deer Island accounts for 62% of the energy budget. He added that 43% of MWRA’s energy was self-generated in FY2008; electrical is the primary driver for energy costs.

Denise Breiteneicher noted that Deer Island utilizes 97% of the methane generated to power a stem turbine generator for Plant heat and hot water that resulted in approximately a $15M savings in fuel oil. She added that at the Clinton Wastewater Treatment Plant 70% of the plant’s heat is currently met by burning methane. Larry Schafer asked if there was storage for methane, Richard said no, just for day-to-day use.

Denise noted that the MWRA has identified 16 possible facilities where wind power could be feasible. She added the most cost-effective locations have significant electrical demand and an infrastructure to consume the power on site. At Deer Island the FAA has approved 2, 190-foot turbine, with an estimated generation of 2 million kWh. The Authority has a $400,000 MTC grant for design and construction. The Carroll Water Treatment Plant had a wind-monitoring tower installed in 2007. The Nut Island Plant in Quincy has a proposed 328-foot turbine, with an estimated generation of 3.7 million kWh. A $500,000 MTC grant was awarded for design and construction. Quincy has been very supportive of this project. The pay back time with the grant is less than 15 years. Denise added that payback, cost and efficiency was of course related to location and those locations with the most wind tended to have the shortest pay back times. Ed Bretschneider asked if there is a big demand for wind power are their problems getting the necessary hardware. Denise said it is, and that Europe is so far ahead of us and that is where the supply is. She added that in the mid-west people are building 100-200 wind farms and they don’t want to build us just one or two. There cold be up to a two year wait for supplies. Bill Katz asked if there was any production going on in China. Denise said no, that it is primarily Europe and India. In contrast for solar there are a lot of local options.

For solar power, at Deer Island, a 100kW photovoltaic system was completed in May 2008. It generates 105,000 kWh. This is the only facility that has this option running. At the Carroll plant a study is underway for 60,000 kWh solar installations. Karen Lachmayr asked about the fuel cell at Deer Island and where did it go. Denise said it was decided that it was not the right thing to do. She added that in anticipation of economic stimulus package focusing on green energy we are packaging together 7 or 8 facilities to see if we can get money from these green incentives.

Denise then moved to hydroelectric power. She noted that at Deer Island there are two generators that produce 5.8M kWh. She reviewed several other facilities that are looking into this option. Stephen Greene said that all this work on alternative energy sources is great but isn’t most of your energy usage from pumping. Denise said yes and that is where a lot of savings are, just from conservation efforts. You also see the money from the savings a lot quicker.

She mentioned that the MWRA has periodic energy audits. They are done by outside suppliers like NStar and most are free or have a minimal charge. These audits can result in savings of hundred of thousands of dollars. The recommendations can range from lighting changes to shutting down equipment like the soda ash mixer at the Carroll Water Plant. One of the surprises was an audit for the new Carroll Water Treatment Facility resulted in significant savings. Denise said that wasn’t a function of poor planning on the part of the Authority but how fast the technology is changing.

Denise reviewed electrical and steam turbine generator upgrades at Deer Island. She noted that rehabilitation of water pump stations decrease energy use. This also made us eligible for $190k in rebates. Denise added that energy audits have occurred at Deer Island, Carroll Water Treatment Plant and Chelsea Facility. An energy audit for the Southborough Facility is planned to start mid-2009. Payback from the work resulting from these energy audits tend to be 1-3 years, they’re really a good deal.

Denise concluded reviewing fleet optimization, and noted that 249 out of 378 vehicles are powered by alternative fuel, that all new PCs are Energy Star compliant and Authority wide recycling efforts. Denise said that revenue generated from renewable resources was $3.6M in FY2008. This included steam engine generator upgrades, variable frequency drive replacement and low voltage lighting at various facilities as well as alternative energy initiatives discussed. The proposed FY10 capital budget includes Deer Island Wind $3.6M, Nut Island Wind $3.6M, Loring Road Hydro $1.5M and Deer Island Solar $0.4M. These programs when installed will result in $700,000 savings per year. She added that the MWRA received the Leading by Example Innovation Award last fall.

Stephen Greene asked what the overall goal of the Authority regarding conservation is. Denise said for existing facilities the goal is to get to 75% energy efficiency. She said that the EPA is developing water and wastewater benchmarking criteria so utilities can evaluate the progress that is being made. Stephen Greene added he was pleased to see how much attention is being given to the conservation side. Too many pay attention to the more glamorous solar and other technologies. Conservation is where quick and permanent progress can be made by going after the lower hanging fruit.

Taber Keally asked why with all this good work so few people know about. It seems that this information deserves wider distribution so ratepayers know how their money is being spent and how the Authority is leading the way in conservation efforts and new technology to both conserve resources and control costs. Taber mentioned the water tasting tests that Fred Laskey did that was terrific in bringing public attention to the good work of the MWRA.

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2008
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Minutes of the October 17, 2008 Meeting.  The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MWRA Advisory Board in Boston. Attendees: Cornelia Potter (MWRA Advisory Board and WAC), Vin Spada (WAC and SEA Consultants), Larry Schafer (WAC), Bill Katz (WAC), Martin Pillsbury (WAC and MAPC), Taber Keally (WAC and Neponset River Watershed Association) Ed Bretschneider (Staff-WAC), Pam Heidell (MWRA), Fred Laskey (MWRA), Michael Hornbrook (MWRA), Joe Favaloro ( MWRA Advisory Board) , Karen Lachmayr (Harvard), Roger Frymire (Cambridge), Ben Lasley (SH/SB) and Don Walker (Metcalfe & Eddy)

Stephen Greene asked for approval of June minutes that were accepted as presented.  Ed Bretschneider reviewed the MWRA Board of Directors (BOD) and Advisory Board meetings that he recently attended. He noted the MWRA staff was charged with meeting their financial challenge as a result of the economic downturn without a mid-year rate increase. Debt relief was eliminated which translates to about $12M that has to be absorbed to meet the BOD’s directive of no rate increase.  Fred Laskey, Executive Director said this economic challenge is substantial and the elimination of debt relief did not come as a surprise. He added that this is not a one-time problem it will probably follow us into FY2010. Stephen Greene asked if there would be an impact on bond rating. Fred said the MWRA’s  bond rating remains strong. That is not to say that there were not challenges along the way that were very stressful. He note that the financial staff is strong and at full strength. Ed Bretschneider also mentioned that an abutter was challenging the North Dorchester Bay CSO project and wanted the Odor Control Facility changed from above ground to below at MWRA expense. Joe Favaloro said at this late date this is unacceptable. The project has been permitted and approved by the legislature with a transparent process within the community. Fred added that the abutter didn’t seem to get involved until the crane was visible even though we had multiple discussions with this individual. Fred mentioned that they are in negotiations with this individual to try to prevent an extended fight. The Advisory Board wrote a letter to the MWRA BOD stating that any changes should be ratepayer neutral and the abutter should shoulder any additional expenses. WAC supported writing a letter that parallels the argument of the Advisory Board.

Stephen Greene introduced Fred and Mike by saying that WAC has been very interested in the subject of blending and contacted the EPA about a year age to get their perspective on the issue.  The MWRA has a NPDES permit from the government that controls the way we run Deer Island. That permit was issued in 2000 and we ran the plant in a way that we thought maximized environmental benefit reporting to the EPA and DEP what we were doing in great detail. The permit was for five years and in 2005 the EPA questioned our process claiming that they were not aware of what we were doing. The issue was how and when we were using secondary treatment. Fred continued the plant is designed to blend and the permit envisions blending. He added that primary capacity is larger then secondary and in a storm primary and secondary run at full capacity but when flows exceed the secondary level we blend and the water quality meets secondary levels. We don’t push secondary levels beyond a certain point for blending because we run into operational issues and all this data was reported to the EPA. Fred stressed that there were volumes and volumes of reports that were sent. The end result is that we met the water quality requirements that we thought were the goal. Fred said that without any requirement we invested over $3M in the plant to improve the overall process. He added that we also built the sludge line from Deer Island to Quincy so we no longer had to barge the sludge. This allowed us to get a higher level of treatment. Fred show a graph representing the improvements, in 1995 we had the worse Sediment Oxygen Demand (SOD) improving to one of the best over time. One of the concerns was that we were transferring the problem from the inner harbor to the bay, but the data showed the Bay held steady. So, we were surprised when the EPA requested reams and reams of data on plant operation that we were sending all along. Fred said it was almost like a criminal investigation into what we were doing. We were stunned when the EPA told us that we owed them millions of dollars in penalty because we were polluters. Especially since for years they made no objection to the manner in which Deer Island was operated. Also, by this time the permit had expired meaning that we are not operating within that permit that they want us to follow. It was insulting when they told us they didn’t read the reports that we were submitting on a regular basis on plant operation. Mike Hornbrook added that for a CSO community blending is allowed and we have been doing it per our permit and we have met all the permit limits.  Mike noted that permit has no blending number in it. Fred said we met with DEP and said you if you don’t like the way we are running the plant let’s put it in our new permit and they agreed with that. Fred continued that he believes Region 1 of the EPA agreed with that when the folks who were driving this didn’t like the response they got from Region 1 they went to the Washington office. Now we end up with the same lawyer we fought with over filtration of the water system. Fred said we considered fighting this in court that can get very expensive. So, we decided to negotiate.  Fred said we argued there was no environmental harm since we did not operate below the level of the permit. He said so the original $82M penalty was dropped to $8M. With continued talking the final settlement was reached for $610,000 that included a payment of $305,000 for environmental projects. Another $305,000 was for SEPS (Supplemental Environmental Projects). The entire settlement process took almost three years. The environmental projects included marine debris clean up for the rivers tributary to Boston Harbor, a sewage pump-out boat to be run by the city of Boston and installation of low-flow toilets in municipal building in the MWRA service area. Each project received about $100K. Fred added that we didn’t think we owed anything, the $600K showed a reasonableness that allowed us to settle.  Taber Keally asked what is the status of the new permit. Mike Hornbrook said we have not seen it yet. He added that one of the things we would like in it is a significant reduction in outfall monitoring and that our research and data supports that. Mike said one of the things the EPA would like is the communities to be co-permittees with the MWRA for SSO’s and I/I. In essence the MWRA would be in part have an enforcement responsibility. Bill Katz asked how long would the new permit be good for. Mike said five years from the time it is executed. Roger Frymire noted that the EPA assigned a permit writer about six-months ago but she has been out with a bad back but plans to be back in about a month and one of the first things on her agenda is the new permit. Roger said that blending is thought of being needed primarily in wet weather. Fred said there are circumstances where blending is required in dry weather. Joe Favaloro said that the Advisory Board would fight the attempt to tie the MWRA and its communities as co-permutees in court. Joe also said that the EPA rejected having the communities putting in cameras to understand and control I/I by finding illegal connections. . He said the only reason is that they are more interested in giving penalties than fixing the problem.

Fred quickly ran through the CSO projects that are underway and running smoothly except for the Odor Control issue associated the North Dorchester Bay project. He said the whole 15-year plan is in swing.

Larry Schafer asked for a vote of confidence in the MWRA organization, it was seconded and unanimously approved.

Ed Bretschneider noted that our next meeting is November 6 and this is a session with WSCAC and the Advisory Board (operations committee) in Southborough.

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Minutes of the June 6, 2008 Meeting.  The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MWRA Advisory Board in Boston. Attendees: Cornelia Potter (MWRA Advisory Board and WAC), Vin Spada (WAC and SEA Consultants), Larry Schafer (WAC), Martin Pillsbury (WAC and MAPC)  Mary Adelstein (WAC), Taber Keally (WAC and Neponset River Watershed Association) Ed Bretschneider (Staff-WAC), Pam Heidell (MWRA), Carl Leone (MWRA), Joe Favaloro (discussion on EPA permitting, MWRA Advisory Board) , Kevin Brander (DEP), Joe Nerden (DEP), Lisa Hartman (Genzyme), Karen Lachmayer (Harvard), Stephen Kaiser (Cambridge), Nancy Hammett (Watertown)  and David Stoff (Arlington).

Taber Keally called the meeting to order at 10:30 AM.  After introductions the May 2 minutes were accepted with corrections. Ed Bretschneider followed up from the April 11 meeting where there were questions regarding the permitting process and the lack of participation between the EPA and other groups and agencies such as the MWRA. Ed Bretschneider said that after talking to others that the belief was that this change in behavior was being driven by career professionals lower in the organization or that the EPA in the past had been led and staffed by scientist and technical professionals whereas today it is more lawyers. Pam Heidell added there are many communities that are trying to do the right thing that are having problems with this new behavior. Joe Favaloro joined us at this point and said that Mr. Varney is well aware of the criticism. He added that Bob Varney is one of the most open leaders at the EPA in a long time. Joe added that the problem lies with the EPA adding things to permits that don’t belong. He added that in the past they tried to make MWRA the czar of storm water even though it’s outside of their mission and scope. Joe added the latest is their suggestion to make MWRA communities co-permittees with the Authority. In effect making the MWRA a regulatory agency. Joe said he made it clear to Mr. Varney that this action would result in 44 appeals tying it in up in litigation for years.

Ed Bretschneider reviewed discussions from a recent Advisory Board operations meeting.  He mentioned that there was a presentation form the Massachusetts Water Coalition for Stewardship. Ed mentioned that it’s a new group that has been in place for about six months. Their focus is to share a common and unified response to EPA and DEP on issues of common concern such as NPDES permits.  Right now the focus is on the EPA.  They made a pitch for the MWRA to join the group.  They also talked about the lack of collaboration between the EPA and communities in the Commonwealth as well as the MWRA as it develops the new NPDES permits.  Ed mentioned that both Joe Favaloro and Mike Hornbrook noted that when the current permits were being developed there was a lot of discussions and collaboration prior to a draft being available for public comment. Currently, it appears that the EPA is working in isolation. Joe Favaloro said that one of the goals of the coalition that you spoke about previously was for the EPA and DEP to look at the MWRA and communities as partners.  Joe and Mike noted that once a draft is made public it’s very difficult to make changes and there is normally a 30-60 day window to do so. They contrasted this to prior permits where there were over a year of meetings before the draft was even made public. Taber Keally mentioned that the EPA and MWRA have not been able to talk about this for some time. It seems like you will be tried in the press for not complying or participating even if you have not been allowed to participate. Ed Bretschneider added that the EPA has not been secretive about their intent; they would like the 43 sewer communities to be co-permittees with the MWRA that would make the MWRA a regulator of these communities. Taber Keally asked if these communities had participated in discussions with the EPA. Mary Adelstein said that Joe Favaloro indicated that there would be 43 legal suits against the EPA in part, because of lack of involvement.  Joe gave a “made up” example of unreasonable behavior. “If it costs $100M to get to 96% improvement and another $100M to get to 97% does that makes sense?” He added that he supports the Advisory Board and MWRA becoming members of this Coalition. Martin Pillsbury asked if this EPA behavior being described is unique to New England? Joe responded you could go from region to region and have a whole different approach.  Kevin Brander said that it would be very unusual for the DEP or EPA in his experience not to include permittees in discussions before document reached the public draft phase. He added the issue of co-permittees has been initiated already where there are regional sewer authorities such as the city of Lowell where it is part of the permit. These permits are on the EPA web site for all to see.  Kevin added that it puts the co-permittees responsible for I/I and collections system operation and maintenance. This gives the DEP some leverage of these communities. He added that communities may not be happy about this situation but I don’ think it makes the MWRA the main regulator.  Joe noted when working on the old permits, a contentious issue was to try to make the MWRA the “big brother” for SSO’s beyond the MWRA’s system and storm water management. That led to many appeals that in the end through negotiation led to permits that work. Joe said that he thought a major goal of the EPA was to get a hook into the communities. He added that we are in the process of hiring an attorney, just in case. Joe agreed to come back in the fall to spend a full session with WAC to go into more detail on this important issue. Kevin added these problems are not easy to solve like SSO’s and I/I and we need to be thoughtful about a regulatory approach that gets at these long term and chronic problems.  Joe added that he expects the EPA to make public the draft of the new NPDES permits sometime in October.

Ed Bretschneider mentioned that at the June 4 MWRA BOD meeting that WAC’s contract for FY09 was approved. He requested that the committee authorize Stephen Greene the authority to sign the contract on behalf of WAC. All agreed.

 Inflow and Infiltration – Carl Leone (MWRA)

Carl said he was going to focus on the financial assistance program and the mechanism for getting money out to the communities. He noted that the MWRA collection system has an annual regional average flow of 360mgd, over 240 miles of interceptors, more than 4000 manholes, 13 pump stations, 5 CSO facilities, 6 headworks and 43wholesale customer communities. The 43 community collection systems are comprised of over 5000 miles of sewers, 370 pump stations, over 100,000 manholes, over 400,000 private service laterals, over 2M retail sewer retail sewer customers and over 1800 connections to MWRA Interceptors. Carl said this makes it clear that the MWRA owns and controls only a small portion of the regional system.

Carl said that the I/I assistance program has been in place for 15 years, starting in 1993, $165M has been distributed in grants and loans and 343 local I/I reduction projects funded. A key goal is to get money into construction and we estimate 73% of funds get to construction projects.   Projects are intended to at least offset ongoing collection system deterioration to prevent a net increase in regional I/I. This takes constant vigilance; these systems tend to deteriorate over time. The MWRA does give advice and ideas on their plans. This program is marketed through letters, meetings as well as the Advisory Board through it members. A community has to vote to take a grant, borrow funds and repay the loan. Communities need to sign financial assistance and loan agreements. Taber Keally asked how are the size of the loans and grants determined. Carl said the grant portion is 45% and the loan portion is 55%.  Total dollar amount is approved at a MWRA BOD meeting, and a community share is determined by the rates they pay. For example, Boston is about 30% of the sewer rate, so they get a 30% allocation of the available funds. So communities get back their fair share. Carl added every time when we get money for this program we are using the prior year percentage, so we are rolling that forward.

Carl mentioned that when we distribute money to communities it goes into a Mass Mutual Depository Trust (MMDT) account. It is an interest bearing account and both the community and MWRA gets statements.  We monitor that the money is getting drawn down as the project progresses. We do project tracking (there are six phases) and communities do project reporting. At the end we do a project close out where the community certifies that the project is complete and what the final project costs were. Carl added that if there is money left over or interest it could be used in a suitable manner in the community. Carl was asked in there was a population increase in the MWRA area. He said that it might have spread out a bit but has been basically flat. He also mentioned that every program except for I/I the intent is to maximize the flow to Deer Island and reduce overflows. He added that there has been some flow reduction due to I/I reduction but that has been counterbalanced somewhat by CSO overflows. Carl went on statings a key goal is to smooth out peaks in the system so we don’t have SSO’s. Martin Pillsbury asked if it is possible to break out flow into its components. Carl said we do I/I and sanitary flow estimate. Nancy Hammett asked if the communities buy into the I/I reports. Carl said we don’t ask the communities to buy in; I review all the data and publish the reports. He added all the reports are based on calendar year data. Obviously, he said the amount of flow is heavily dependent on weather conditions, wet more flow, dry less flow.

Carl reviewed some planning results for all 43-sewer communities. He noted that 960 miles of sewer were TV inspected, 750 miles of sewer flow were isolated, 800 miles of sewer smoke were tested, 28,000 sewer manholes were inspected and 56,000 buildings were inspected. Carl said this was for the whole program, 15 years. Joe Nerden asked if there were follow up inspections, Carl said no, we buy into the projects as planned and if there is no requirement for follow-up, there is none.

He then reviewed results for infiltration, 35 miles of sewer were replaced, 47 miles of sewer were CIP lined, 100 miles of sewer were tested and chemically sealed, 1750 sewer spot repairs, 5300 service connection repairs and over 2 miles of under drains were sealed.

Carl reviewed results for inflow, 700 catch basins disconnected, 35 miles of storm drains new or replaced, 8000 manholes rehabilitated, 1150 manhole covers replaced and inflow seals installed, 315 sump pumps redirected and 6000 downspouts drains disconnected.

Carl gave an overall results summary, $165M grant/loan funds to local projects, 343 local I/I projects undertaken and 66mgd estimated average daily flow reduced from completed projects. This is a reduction at the source not the end of flow. He added that all 43 communities have taken advantage of some money. Some have taken advantage of all grant money allocated to them. Lisa Hartman asked if unused funds go back to the community. Carl said unused funds could be allocated to other appropriate projects within the community. Lisa asked what are the range of I/I fees. Kevin Brander said we are seeing fees from $2/gallon to $15/gallon.  Kevin said we don’t get involved in setting fees. He added you might want to go the Neponset River Watershed Association web site they put together an I/I guidance document for communities.  Carl was asked about future funding. He said we weigh that against funding for all other projects at the Authority. Joe Nerden asked if the new wastewater flow meters have impacted the I/I analysis. Carl said that it’s taken time to shake out all the bugs of the new system and it is working fine. The goal is to monitor 80%- 85% of the flow in each community. Some communities are 100% metered. Most meters are used for rates; some are used for modeling purposes.   In addition I am a wastewater user, by that I mean the data is refined before I get it.  Karen Lachmayer asked if anyone is doing a cost/benefit analysis on money spent for this program. For example could I/I reduction allow for future system expansion and make your money back?  Pam Heidell said the MWRA is not looking for any expansion of our sewer system.  She added that question might be more appropriate for communities, if they can reduce I/I, does that allow for more growth? Pam added that we are not trying to pick up revenue by expanding our system. Carl said for communities it helps to have a bigger base to base their cost on. For the MWRA we base our costs on total flow. The goal for the MWRA is to increase the percentage of sanitary flow to Deer Island and not treat large amounts of rainwater.

Carl concluded by reviewing SSO’s from both the South and North Systems from 2006-2008. Mary Adelstein said these are just the ones within the MWRA system.  She asked if you hear amount the ones in the communities themselves?  Carl said in some cases.  He added every SSO’s has to be reported to DEP and EPA. Kevin said there are a lot of overflows and not all are rain related.  There are probably overflows that we are not hearing about. Stephen Kaiser said it’s important to focus in on one overflow and understand it well. He added that because SSO’s are illegal it’s hard for people to talk about them. Kevin said where we have persistent SSO’s we should be diligent about reducing I/I. He added that I don’t think there will ever be a permitted SSO. David Stoff, said once it’s reported, it has to be eliminated.  Others added it would impossible to eliminate all SSO’s and cost quickly becomes prohibitive. Carl added that building more capacity, bigger pipes has the pitfall of allowing more I/I, sucking out more groundwater. There has to be some balance. Carl said he’s only talking about storm related SSO’s.

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Minutes of the May 2, 2008 Meeting.  The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MWRA Advisory Board in Boston. Attendees: Cornelia Potter (MWRA Advisory Board and WAC), Bill Katz (WAC), Mary Adelstein (WAC), Stephen Greene (WAC and Howland-Greene Consultants) Taber Keally (WAC and Neponset River Watershed Association) Ed Bretschneider (Staff-WAC), Kathy Soni (MWRA), Thomas Durkin (MWRA), Joe Favaloro (discussion on EPA permitting, MWRA Advisory Board) and Pam Heidell (MWRA)

Stephen Greene called the meeting to order at 10:30 AM.  After introductions the April 11 minutes were accepted with corrections.  Stephen Greene mentioned we needed to keep in front of us the common issues for WAC, WSCAC and the Advisory Board for future joint meetings and actionable items. Ed Bretschneider followed up from the April 11 meeting where there were questions regarding the permitting process and the lack of participation between the EPA and other groups and agencies such as the MWRA. Bill Katz had asked if this was a function of the current administration in Washington. Ed Bretschneider said that after talking to others that the belief was that this change in behavior was being driven by career professionals lower in the organization. Pam Heidell added there are many communities that are trying to do the right thing that are having problems with this new behavior. Mary Adelstein added that this all arose because of the monitoring system that has been going on for years and probably more than is currently needed. The longer the decision is delayed regarding this, the more money is spent on things that you don’t need to do. Pam said that’s not the only issue in the permitting process. Stephen Greene said this is something to bring up with Bob Varney the EPA regional administrator. Taber Keally asked if this is a regional problem or a national one. Cornelia Potter said that there have been some observations that Region1 may have unique problems regarding this behavior. Joe Favaloro joined us at this point and said that Mr. Varney is well aware of the criticism. He added that Bob Varney is one of the most open leaders at the EPA in a long time. The problem is with the “true believers”, career professionals. Joe added that the problem lies with the EPA adding things to permits that don’t belong. He added that in the past they tried to make MWRA the czar of storm water even though it’s outside of their mission and scope. Joe added the latest is their suggestion to make MWRA communities co-permittees with the Authority. In effect making the MWRA a regulatory agency. Joe said he made it clear to Mr. Varney that this action would result in 44 appeals tying it in up in litigation for years.

Ed Bretschneider concluded this session by alerting folks to tours of the new South Boston CSO Storage tunnel next week and that he would distribute information with details of timing for those interested.

Debt and Rates – Kathy Soni and Tom Durkin

Katy noted that MWRA has an operating budget heavily weighted by its debt obligation, currently at 56%. She added that the budget is adopted in June with the approval of the Board of Directors. Kathy went on to say that debt service assistance in the proposed budget is a little over  $11M,  significantly lower than last year. She added that this number is not final and will be debated in the state legislature.

Mary Adelstein said she remembers when the debt was 60% or more of the total budget. Kathy responded there were some years when it was at that level, although we see it leveling out at about 58% for the next few years. She added through aggressive refinancing of the debt we have been able to have more predictable, sustainable and reasonable rate increases. Kathy said a good benchmark is a $5M change in the current expense budget, either positive or negative, results is approximately a 1% change in the rate. Bill Katz asked how does the significant interest rate reduction in the last several months factor into this discussion. Kathy said this is an excellent question and it affects us in two ways. First on the debt service side when we are paying our obligations on the variable rate debt it impacts directly. Ed Bretschneider asked what percentage of the debt is variable and fixed. Tom Durkin said he would get into that a bit later. Kathy continued, a 0.25% change in interest rate results in a $1.7M impact per year. On the investment side a 0.25% change has approximately a $1.2M impact.

Kathy reviewed the major forces on the FY09 budget a few are, the assumed reduced level of debt assistance, rising healthcare cost, revised investment assumptions and increased pension liability. Other potential impacts outside of MWRA control on the budget are, interest rate changes, energy pricing and changing regulatory requirements. Kathy noted that the preliminary combined rate increase is 5.9% compared to last year. The breakdown is a 4.7% increase for the sewer system and an 8.5% increase for the water system.

Tom Durkin talked about the capital structure being exclusively debt and the outstanding debt is about $5.6B that is made up of two components, a fixed rate structure and a variable rate structure. A fixed rate is similar to a fixed rate   mortgage and predictable for the term of the debt. Bill Katz asked if they could be called, Tom said in some of them there is a call provision, in which case investors (are at some risk and) demand a higher interest rate. To get a better rate for fixed rate we look to insurers so that in the event we don’t pay the bond holders, (what would it cost for) the insurer (to) pays. (the bond holders.) Insurers have an AAA rating, which is higher security than our AA and investors are willing to take a lower interest rate. Insurers know how much that difference is and they charge about 70% of those savings. So, we save about 30%. This was the model for 30-40 years until they started to get involved in sub-prime mortgages. The rating agencies began to downgrade these insurers. For the fixed rate there was no change, but there were major impacts on our variable rate debt. Tom said that the variable rate bonds were $1.6B or 27% of the total debt  of $5.6B. The reason the MWRA doesn’t hold all the debt in fixed rate is because there is significant savings associated with variable rate bonds, so our job is to balance the risk and savings ratios to get to the best place for the Authority, which is about 73% fixed and 27% variable. Tom said the insurance companies let us down with their riskier investments.  When they were downgraded to AA the MWRA lost its AAA rating Auction Rate buyers became scarce. If there is no one to buy an auction rate security your only option is to hold onto it. Variable rate buyers of our bonds had the option of re-buyers holding the bonds but they also ran into trouble. Like Bear Stearns, they didn't  have the cash to buy the bonds and hold them for a week or two. In this case they can go to a liquidity buyer that the Authority pays for. Tom said our plan is to re-fund (re-finance) bond holders pay them and issue  new bonds. A difference is that these new bonds are not insured. These will be our own AA bonds trading on our own credit. Taber Keally asked if they were tax-exempt. Tom said they were.  He also said to keep rates sustainable, reasonable and predictable we sometimes move debt out into the future to smooth rates over several years. It’s a balancing act since you don’t want to have too much debt in future years. Tom added it’s a daily internal debate on what’s the right balance.

Kathy reviewed changes from the FY08 budget. She stated that total expenses increased by $22M or 4.0%.  She said that direct expense represent 81% for operating costs increases. Wages and salaries increased by 3.2% (Kathy added that we are staying at the same 1255 positions), energy and utilities 3.4% (Kathy said she anticipated a larger increase in the final budget because of the dramatic increase in energy costs), health insurance costs by 9.8%, maintenance by 9.2% and chemical expenses by 8.8%. The increase in pension liability is due to adoption of new assessment methodology. Kathy said because of the issuance of new debt and a reduction in debt assistance, capital-financing costs would increase by$11.6M. Kathy added that there is a big debate about post employment benefits how we recognize and how much we recognize on the books going forward. Mary Adelstein asked if the increase in retirement funding was due to the aging of the workforce or failure to fully fund  pensions. Kathy said it is strictly due to the new methodology that we adopted in FY09 defining 100% in a different way than we did before. Mary added so you always funded at the 100% level, Kathy said yes.

Kathy said that the debt service as a percentage of total MWRA budget has increased significantly and is projected to remain high. She showed a chart that in 1990 debt service at 36% and increasing to 58% in 2006 and basically staying in that range until 2018. Kathy said that this not include the debt restructuring that we have been discussing.  Bill Katz asked if a very rich person came along now and said I want to pay off everything now, how much would that cost?  Tom said would be the $5.7B we discussed earlier. Tom added that new debt would still be added every year because of new capital investment. Kathy noted  capital spending will shift from major big new projects to maintenance. She added that nearly 80% of MWRA’s capital spending is mandated.

Kathy reviewed assumptions driving rate outlook. They include, level of debt service, inflation rate, capital spending, fixed rate interest cost and variable rate interest cost. Taking all this into account the projection is an annual rate increase of about 6%.  Cornelia Potter noted that even though the rate increase stays constant in absolute dollars there is rate revenue change from $30M in FY09 to $39M in FY13. Kathy noted that over the next ten years the rate revenue requirement grows by 51% or $281M, this includes both operating expenses and capital finance.

Kathy moved to capital spending and reiterated what she said previously that this spending would shift from major new capital programs to maintenance. Ed Bretschneider mentioned that when Fred Laskey and Mike Hornbrook visited us they described it as transitioning from “headliner projects to blocking and tackling.” Kathy showed a chart where capital spending peaked in 1994 at over $600M when the Boston Harbor Project was in full force. It has come down since that time to a projected $203M for FY2008 and continuing a decrease out to FY2014 at $165M. Kathy outlined the top 5 capital projects in the FY09 budget as North Dorchester Bay, DI Treatment Plant Asset Protection, East Boston Branch Sewer Relief, Morrissey Boulevard Drain and Metro West Tunnel all totaling $157M.

Kathy reviewed the first 5-year capital-spending cap from FY04 to FY08 with a limit of $1.135B. She added we are projecting to spend a little over $900M. Kathy added that the MWRA has complied with both the 5-year spending cap and annual cap limitations. She noted that for this 5-year cap we under spent by over $200M. Kathy said some of the reasons for the under spending were schedule and spending shifts due to changes in Authority priorities and regulatory requirements, project deferrals and repackaging as a result of temporary loss of state debt service assistance and awards less than budget. Kathy noted that in this first cap 47% of the spending was for wastewater.

The new 5-year projection FY09-FY13 we are projecting to spend $1.161B. Under this umbrella wastewater totals  $600M of which $303M is for CSO projects, wastewater programs account of 57% of total budget or $659M from the $1.161B five-year spending cap. Leading the spending was $178M for Deer Island Plant Asset Protection. Kathy said there will be a significant challenge to meet this cap because there are significant changes on the horizon regarding spending for the CSO projects. We already have cost increases approaching $70M. It’s very difficult to predict actual spending because of priorities outside of Authority control. Cost increases for a few projects are very detrimental to other projects. Kathy added we do add a contingency cost factor of about 10%. We are decreasing this to 7% to free up money for anticipated increases just discussed. Mary Adelstein asked is there an effort to balance the spending between water and wastewater. Kathy said that the Master Planning assigns priorities to all Authority capital projects. Stephen Greene said he was surprised how much wastewater is going to continue to cost the MWRA. Stephen asked about self-insurance for mishaps. Tom said that we have a reserve to handle this but according to rules when we dip into it we need to replenish in a prescribed amount of time.

Ed Bretschneider mentioned that the next meeting is June 6 and the topic is Inflow and Infiltration with Carl Leone from the MWRA.

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Minutes of the April 11, 2008 Meeting.

The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MWRA Advisory Board in Boston. PRESENT: Cornelia Potter (MWRA Advisory Board and WAC), Bill Katz (WAC), Larry Schafer (WAC), Mary Adelstein (WAC), Ed Bretschneider (Staff-WAC), Andrea Rex (MWRA), Mike Mickelson (MWRA), Pam Heidell (MWRA), Joe Nerden (DEP), Roger Frymire (Cambridge), Ben Lasley (Save the Harbor/Save the Bay), Karen Lachmayer (Harvard University), and Cathy Vakalopoulos (DEP).

Ed Bretschneider called the meeting to order at 10:30 AM. After introductions the February 8 minutes were accepted. Ed Bretschneider reviewed a meeting with WSCAC and the Advisory Board. In addition to himself Stephen Greene and Taber Keally represented WAC. The focus was to identify topics of potential interest to all three committees. Ed reviewed a draft list of topics that was developed. He asked the committee to review the list and get back to him with edits. Ed also distributed a letter that the committee sent to the legislature on Rate Relief.

MWRA’s Harbor and Outfall Monitoring – Andrea Rex and Mike Mickelson

Andrea Rex gave a brief introduction and introduced Mike Mickelson as the Program Manager for the Outfall Monitoring. Andrea mentioned that monitoring is a requirement of the discharge permit and that even though the permit expired in August 2005 we are still bound by that permit until a new permit is issued. The timing is uncertain and there has been very little collaboration between the MWRA and the EPA, which has been a major disappointment. It is quite possible that the new permit could have different requirements for monitoring and or modeling. There has been a hint that we may see a draft proposal before the fall. Andrea said that one of the aspects of the permit that is unusual is that we have a contingency plan. This was a result of the Endangered Species Act and we were required to see if the Outfall was having an adverse effect on the Bay and if so what can be done about. The plan has very stringent recording requirements that require environmental thresholds that we need to report on. She said this requirement was quite unusual and maybe unique. Andrea added that effluent thresholds are quite common and are also part of the contingency plan. Cornelia Potter asked what does an environmental threshold mean. Andrea said that it just means something different has been observed. Cornelia followed up and asked does that mean that you own it. Andrea said no, it means that if something different occurs we are supposed to look and see if we do own it and if we do, we are supposed to fix it. Mary Adelstein said that it seems that exceedances have diminished over time. Andrea said that when the Deer Island Plant first started up there were a number of effluent violations but they have come down dramatically as we have learned to run the plant better although they still occur. Bill Katz asked about violations in 2008, Andrea said there have been none. She added over time we have been increasing the amount of flow that has been receiving full secondary treatment. Andrea said that all the flows from blending meet all permit requirements. Roger Frymire asked if the plant was still doing blending. Andrea said that blending has not stopped. Larry Schafer said that primary flow is weather dependent, Andrea agreed.

Andrea showed a chart on the reduction in solids; she noted that metals and mercury have decreased significantly over time, from 1999 to 2007. She added that one of the prime reasons for the reduction in mercury is that there has been less coming into DI. Andrea added that most of the mercury is deposited directly from the air. Bill Katz asked how did it get there. She said from our friends from the Midwest, where it’s delivered from the coal plant smoke. Larry Schafer referring to the charts asked when did the outfall go on line, Andrea said the fall of 2000. She added that biological oxygen demand in discharges has also decreased but not as much as the others we discussed. Andrea noted that a consequence of secondary treatment has been an increase in ammonium discharge but that total nitrogen still remains below its threshold. Since 2003 the total nitrogen loading has been relatively constant, although the ammonium content has increased somewhat. There is very little organic nitrogen in the discharge, which is expected from secondary treatment, which gets rid of BOD, metals and contaminants as well as total suspended solids, but not nitrogen. Basically, the monitoring is evaluating what role nitrogen as nitrate, nitrite and ammonium is playing in the environment as they are more easily taken up by algal species than organic nitrogen.

Mike Mickelson said he would discuss the result of the monitoring. Mike showed a water column list of a number of things that are monitored. He mentioned that the MWRA does not pay for everything for example NASA supports some of the monitoring. Larry Schafer noted that floatables was on the list of measurements and asked if any are observed. Andrea said there are floatables and they are measured in parts per billion, very low levels. They tend to be very small fatty food particles. Mike added that you rarely see trash. Cornelia Potter asked about the sighting of whales and their location. Mike said there are about 128 right whales in Cape Cod Bay, which is an incredible number. Mike said they are extremely rare; there are only about 350 worldwide. Mike added one of the tasks is to understand why so many have congregated in this area. He said we have ruled out the Outfall being a nuisance attractor for whales.

Mike said the reason for water column monitoring is to focus on the nutrients, which can lead to excessive growth leading to algal rot, the wrong kinds of algal or the species composition can change. Mike showed data on dissolved oxygen after the Outfall that looks good but described an exceedance that occurred with Chlorophyll in 2006 that was high for July but would not be considered high for spring or fall. In summer the water column is supposed to be layered with the nutrients exhausted and not much is happening. Mike said that the Outfall is designed for the discharge to go to bottom waters. This tends to trap nutrients and make them unavailable for plant growth until fall. In summary Mike said the July bloom’s high chlorophyll caused the seasonal threshold exceedance. He added normally effluent nutrients are trapped in deep water but wind driven upwelling brought deep nutrients toward light at the surface allowing phytoplankton to grow. About one-third of the nitrogen nutrient was from the Outfall and the rest ambient deep nitrate.

In 2007 high chlorophyll in Mass Bay resulted from combination of local growths and currents bringing chlorophyll from the Gulf of Maine. Most of the chlorophyll was due to Phaeocystis that Blooms in April. This was not a result of the Outfall because the bloom was regional, typical of previous years. There was no effect on right whales. Termination of this bloom is a result of temperature they don’t like it warm. Mary Adelstein asked if there is a decrease in oxygen when the bloom crashes. Mike said he’d have to go back to see if there was a dip in the oxygen. In summary Mike said Phaeocystis has bloomed every year wince 2000. They are widespread regional events and warming seems to explain its termination but not clear what initiates it.

Alexandrium red tide out breaks in 2005 and 2006 was due to two strong northeasterly storms that swept the cells past Cape Ann and deflected them into Mass Bay. Prior to 2005 there were no major Alexandrium events from 1992 to 2004. In 2007, no significant red tide entered mass Bay and there were no shellfish closures and no contingency plan threshold exceedance. Obviously, the MWRA did not cause the bloom at the regional level and model results, done by Wood Hole Oceanographic (Mike added at no cost), of the 2005 bloom suggest that the Outfall could, at most, contribute to a 10-15% increase in maximum Alexandrium abundance within Mass Bay. There is an increasing chance of a big red time in 2008 because resting Alexandrium cysts were very abundant in sediments in late 2007. Mike added that others do a lot of this work such as State Marines Fishery Department and Wood Hole Oceanographic. Our quest as always is to understand what is the effect of the Outfall on Alexandrium that appears to be minimal.

Mike addressed benthos, which is brought to the service and sieved for the worms, and creatures living in the mud and elemental carbon of the mud itself are examined. Too much carbon is bad. There’s been a general decrease in the Harbor over the last decade and continued low levels in the Bay.

Diversity retains moderately high and normal near the Outfall. Oxygen penetration remains good. Normal plant and animal communities are present. There is abundant growth on active diffuser persists it appears as it is viewed as just a different kind of rock. Cod like to hang around the Outfall; the same appears to be true for Lobster and Crab. Flounder liver disease is monitored annually. Early liver disease has decreased in the harbor over time and there is no increase at the Outfall site. This is viewed as an indicator of environmental health since Flounder lie on the bottom and can absorb contaminants through their skin and they can feed food that is contaminated. There were blind-side lesions found in flounder several years back that were cause for concern but the episode appear to be over. There was no assignable cause to this occurrence. Andrea said the event was quite mysterious. Mike added that the lesions eventually heal and the fish don’t die.

In summary, Mike said that Alexandrium and Phaeocystis only minor adverse impact could be attributed to the outfall. For fish and shellfish no threshold exceedances and flounder lesions have decreased. He added that Benthos, sediment oxygenation and community structure remain healthy and that loadings for solids and metals are low.

Larry Schafer asked how the Outfall plumbing was working. Mike said it works fine unless seawater intrudes in it and that presents problems such as bringing in sand or live material that can grow. Andrea said we had a good purge in February. Larry added when you purge you get out the water but not the sediment. He continued saying that the design of the Outfall was very good and that it was doing its job. Mike said that it is an example for others to follow. Ed Bretschneider asked if there was any opportunity to reduce the frequency of sampling or the number of sites as part of cost control. Andrea responded that all that is incorporated into the permit and we cannot change it. She added we have a lot of ideas on how to make the sampling more targeted. She added that before the Outfall went online there was a huge amount of concern on its potential impact, which influenced early sampling protocols. Andrea added, I think most would agree that those earlier concerns have proved to be unwarranted as by all measures as you heard today it is operating by and large in harmony with its environment. Andrea added that one of the big costs is the survey of water columns so cutting back here would pay big dividends. Mary said that the permit is being negotiated as we speak. Andrea said we not exactly negotiating, EPA is essentially drafting with little or no input from the outside. It is a very different process from the first time where there was early collaboration in development of the permit.

Andrea said it would be good to return to WAC and talk about Boston Harbor and the Rivers.

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Minutes of the February 8, 2008 Meeting

The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MWRA Advisory Board in Boston. PRESENT: Stephen Greene (Howland Greene Consultants and WAC), Cornelia Potter (MWRA Advisory Board and WAC), Bill Katz (WAC), Larry Schafer (WAC), Ed Bretschneider (Staff-WAC), Richard Trubiano (MWRA), Brian Kubask (MWRA), Joe Nerden (DEP) , Stephen Kaiser (Association of Cambridge Neighborhoods) and Joe Favaloro ( Advisory Board, for Rate Relief discussion).

Stephen Greene called the meeting to order at 10:30 AM. After introductions the January11minutes were accepted. Ed Bretschneider reviewed a draft letter on Rate Relief. Ed said that the FY09 budget allocated $15 million for rate relief. Last year $23 million was budgeted and of course years back it was as high as $60 million. Bill Katz said that he thought this was going to be a tough year for the budget. Joe Favaloro said it was going to be brutal. He added that letters like WAC’s are critical to influencing the process. The committee made several changes and agreed to send the letter to Robert DeLeo (Chair, House Committee on Ways and Means) and Salvatore DiMasi (Speaker of the House). Bill Katz asked when did we need to get the letter sent. Joe said as soon as possible. Stephen Greene stressed that while the MWRA gets the lion share of the money it is distributed throughout the state.

Stephen Greene mentioned that he has not heard anymore about possible changes in how WAC and WSCAC might operate in the future. Ed Bretschneider said that he and Eileen Simonson received and e-mail from Fred Laskey stating he instructed finance to budget for both WAC and WSCAC as they currently operate. Bill Katz asked how much these committees cost the Authority. Ed Bretschneider said WAC is $55 thousand and WSCAC is about $170 thousand. He added that Joe Favaloro has recently said that he didn’t think cost was the reason that the MWRA was considering doing things differently.

Stephen asked what high priority topics the committee would like to hear about in the future. He said some are maintenance, CSO projects, solids management, climate change, inflow and infiltration, energy efficiency, harbor monitoring, budget and finance, project prioritization and transport of sewage. Stephen said it’s important that non-sexy things get the right amount of attention. Richard Trubiano added that Municipal Permits is something you might want to consider, the way we regulate and enforce community requirements. Larry Schafer added the MWRA’s position on blending, performance of outfall and the hydraulics of the outfall. Bill Katz added what is the outlook of the MWRA’s debt over the next twenty years and what is the implication for rates? When is the debt going to get paid off if ever? Stephen Kaiser added the interaction between flooding and sewage and SSO’s. Larry Schafer asked Rick about blending. Rick said negotiations are still ongoing and we are getting close to agreement.

Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) – Richard Trubiano and Brian Kubaska (MWRA)

Rick introduced Brian who is the Program Manager for SCADA implementation of wastewater. SCADA is an integrated system of instruments such as level sensors, gas meters and flow meters. It takes those instruments and data collection devices, software, data management system, communication system and others which give the ability to monitor and control facilities remotely. It’s almost like Star Wars. Rick asked what do you need for SCADA? He said you need reliable equipment so when you press a button in Chelsea the pumps work elsewhere.. This has required the replacement of pumps (Alewife Pump Station) as well as instruments and controls. So part of the project was to upgrade facilities. He added much more conduit wire was required to ensure good communication between instruments, computers and our communication system. Rick said, remember all SCADA facilities are not staffed. He said you also need a control panel with SMARTS. All the signals are fed into a control panel and it has to figure out what these signals mean and then tell the station what to do and then send a signal back to Chelsea and tells what the station is doing. Ed Bretschneider asked if SCADA was an on shelf item. Brian said no, every facility has to be custom designed for the specifics of their operational needs. Rick added that Deer Island has a SCADA system, which is made up of the same things as our system, but it’s different than the system we have in wastewater transport. Theirs was put together back in 1995 when the plant started up and it uses different technology than we have. Larry asked what are the different systems? Rick said that it is the difference between Deer Island sewer and wastewater transport sewer. He added that Deer Island would be upgrading their system as it is becoming obsolete. Rick said he thinks when they are ready to replace they will go to a more customized system like ours.

Rick continued that one of the more important aspects of SCADA is the communication system. You need to send signals from the facilities to wherever you are going. He showed a microwave tower at Deer Island that is part of their communication system. He said the communication between the Headworks and Deer Island is done by this microwave system. Ed Bretschneider asked if this all in house capability. Rick said it is now but it was outsourced for initial installation. He said since installation staff can maintain, fix and replace when necessary. Brain said the software comes from outside but we know how to customize and operate the software that runs our systems. Rick showed a picture of the control center at Chelsea, he added it has one operator 24/7. Once the project is done this operator will be able to control the entire system. Rick added that we are right in the middle of the SCADA implementation. Bill Katz asked how did you operate before installing this new system. Rick said we use to staff all our facilities, we use to have 120 operators, and we now are around 50. We were also able to alarm some of our systems but not able to control them. This ability is now greatly enhanced. Bill Katz said it sounds like this system is not fully implemented. Rick said it is online in our water system and we are now spending about $15 million to bring it online in our wastewater system. We are about 50% complete.

Bill Katz asked why did you do SCADA? Rick said we started back in 1999. We were interested in standardizing all our technology across our water and wastewater facilities. Rick sais he was responsible for field operations that includes everything outside of Deer Island or the Pellet Plant. He added one of the reasons was also for cost savings. A major part of this came from reduced staff. Rick added that our staffing assumptions have been that our pumping facilities on the wastewater side (about 10 or 11) and pumping facilities (about 10 or 11) on the water side are all unoccupied, running fully automatically and fully remotely controlled.

Rick said complete automation remotely for the pump stations is one of the key advantages of the system as well as improved automation for the CSO’s. He added because CSO’s operate intermittently they would never be fully automated; there will always be some staff there. There will be some level of automation for the Headworks until they are overhauled which will allow them to be fully automated in the next 5-6 years. Ed Bretschneider asked if there was back up capability. Brian said at our pump stations if the PLC were to fail there is a backup that does not require the PLC at all. Rick said one of the things we are adding is 36 real time monitoring locations at manholes. We are putting sensors in the system that can tell us level, H2S levels, and mount of flow. This information will help us to optimize our system operations.

Rick said the benefits of SCADA are clearly the ability to monitor and control these facilities from a central location. This allows for a timely response to problems, it allows you to reduce your staffing numbers; it allows you to collect a tremendous amount of data, which is available for analysis at a later time, like what happened during a storm and why did it happen. Rick added this is a remarkable enhancement to what we had before. He said routine and emergency response should be a lot better with this system resulting in no overflows because of pump failures. We should know about these problems quickly. Also because of the consistency of all the data we should be able to improve the maintainability of the system. We will be able to optimize the flow of what goes to the rivers and what goes to Deer Island. At CSO facilities it should reduce the amount of overflow. The computer will be able to perform better at this control than people. Bill Katz asked if the staff reductions happened at unionized facilities and if there was any pushback. Rick said it was done by retirements, attrition and reassignments. But, there was definately push back but they worked with us in a cooperative fashion. Brian added that the members wanted to see the operation run better. Joe Nerden asked if the operators were required to work at a higher level. Rick said yes, they’re at a higher technical and pay level. Bill Katz added that this seems to indicate that there will be a reduction in the number of union employees and surprised that you were able to accomplish this so smoothly.

Brian Kubaska showed some screens at Prison Point one of the more complex facilities. He showed a transport screen that gives a geographical view of all the facilities. If there was an alarm at a facility the appropriate icon would be blinking an alert signal meaning the operator needs to go and check out what is going on there. This is a starting point on how to drill into each of the facilities. Brain showed a number of screens on how an operator can drill down to locate the source of the problem. There is an alarm that would tell exactly where the problem could be found. Brain showed how under wet conditions an alarm would go off, indicating that it was time to activate the facilitate by allowing flow into detention basins going then into a wet well, which at a certain level pumps that are in remote automatic come on drawing down the wet well and discharging out into the harbor. Brian added that operators could access dry or wet side of the facilities on the appropriate screens. He showed how an operator could access different points along the Charles River to get a current status on what pumps are running, the speed of the pumps and amount of flow. Joe Nerden asked doesn’t the system prompt the operator if something goes wrong, so it’s not just looking at numbers. Brian said yes that’s the case. Ed Bretschneider asked if there was any interaction between SCADA and their maintenance system to alert for preventative maintenance. Brian said it’s not a computerized interaction but we are collecting data that can be used for the same purpose. Rick added that some of the staffing reductions came from not having operators running up and downstairs to check on equipment, since it can now be done remotely and centrally. Additionally, he added we report to DEP on a regular basis on what are staffing is. Ed Bretschneider asked if there were also safety improvements as well. Brian said there may be and that’s something we’ll evaluate over time. Brian said there is a multitude of information that can be drilled down into. Brian said with CSO facilities since they run intermittently, they have to be running to diagnose a problem. If there is a problem even without the same amount of control the data is still stored and available for analysis after the fact. Brian said during rain events operators can make changes on the fly to respond to weather conditions and how the facilities are responding to the event. Stephen Kaiser asked isn’t it the rate of flow that does the system in.? Rick said absolutely.

Larry Schafer asked where do you go to get weather information. Rick said several places, Internet as well an outsourced service. Joe Nerden asked how secure is the SCADA system to hackers. Rick said his understanding is that they have a very secure system and firewall. The most danger would be from the inside. Brain added that there is no connection between SCADA and the outside world, we push data out through a firewall, there is no connection coming back the other way.

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Minutes of the January 11, 2008 Meeting

The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MWRA Advisory Board in Boston. PRESENT: Stephen Greene (Howland Greene Consultants and WAC), Cornelia Potter (MWRA Advisory Board and WAC), Taber Keally (WAC and Neponset River Watershed Association)), Vincent Spada (WAC and SEA Consultants), Martin Pillsbury (WAC and MAPC), Bill Katz (WAC), Larry Schafer (WAC), Ed Bretschneider (Staff-WAC), Richard Trubiano (MWRA), Carolyn Fiore (MWRA), Denise Breiteneicher (MWRA), Paul Barden (Framingham DPW), Tom Holder (Framingham DPW), Lisa Hartman (Genzyme), Stephen Geribo (SEA Consultants), Joe Nerden (DEP),Richard Chretien (DEP), Paul Brinkman and Joe Favaloro (MWRA Advisory Board)

Stephen Greene called the meeting to order at 10:30 AM. After introductions the November 13 minutes were accepted. Ed Bretschneider mentioned that the MWRA is reviewing the structures of both WAC and WSCAC and asking is there a more effective model for these citizen advisory committees than the current format. Stephen added that at the end of today’s feature presentation we would discuss this in more detail. Ed also noted that the joint meeting with WSCAC in November was very successful with over 30 people in attendance.

Framingham Extension Sewer/Odor Update – Richard Trubiano, Denise Breiteneicher and Carolyn Fiore

Richard Trubiano introduced the other presenters and said they would be giving an overview of odor and corrosion issues system wide with the focus on the Framingham Extension Sewer (FES). Three elements that would be discussed are asset protection, source reduction and treatment. There are a number of successes to discuss.

System-wide odor and corrosion issues are not that bad. More significant problems are found in section 93A in Lexington, siphons in Medford, Hingham force main and Chelsea Creek headworks. Treatments include chemical treatment and replacement materials. These are not the only areas where odor and corrosion problems occur. Richard added that system-wide we view this as a troublesome issue but not a major problem.

Richard described the chemical and biological processes that create the odor and corrosion conditions. He said that slow moving wastewater that have laminar flow and contain BOD and sulfates become anaerobic that is all the oxygen is consumed. A “slime layer” is created against the sewer wall and that layer allows organisms to generate sulfides. Higher sulfate levels make the problem bigger. The sulfides release H2S gas above the waterline that creates an acidic condition, basically sulfuric acid resulting in corrosion of the sewer. All types of sewer independent of construction of materials have been attacked. It is a biological and chemical process and is most severe with slow moving systems containing sulfates and BOD.

Richard said that sources contributing to odor and corrosion in the FES and downstream (about 30 miles of sewer) are high levels of sulfate and BOD from industrial discharges, elevated levels of sulfide entering the MWRA’s system from the municipal collection systems, and physical characteristics and wastewater travel time within the MWRA interceptor system. High levels of sulfate are due to industrial discharges that resulted in high levels in municipal systems and ultimately in MWRA's system. The Framingham is system is very flat and slow moving and as mentioned previously ideal for generating sulfides and H2S gas. These 30 miles of sewer are somewhat unique in this regard resulting in the serious nature of the problem and the reason there are more problems here than in other areas of our system. The operational goals are to keep H2S levels below 100 ppm (higher levels are very serious and present potentially serious health problems), average H2S levels below 20 ppm (literature suggest below this level significantly reduces corrosion problems), reduce/minimize odor complaints and protect and preserve infrastructure.

Richard reminded us that there was a three-prong attack to deal with the problem, asset protection, source reduction and treatment. He added that in those 30 miles of sewer we have replaced sewer, built new relief lines, replaced bad sewer and relined it, all under asset protection. To protect assets we have added chemicals to reduce the levels of H2S.The addition of bio-filters is being considered to help reduce more sulfides. Bio-filters physically remove H2S from the sewers and treat it.

This project has a high priority at the MWRA and with the Board of Directors. Over the next 10 years we plan to spend over $90M to deal with odor and corrosion issues. Most of that money is for rehabilitation of the West Roxbury tunnel. Through FY07 we’ve spent $60M over half that is associated with odor and corrosion problems. Operating cost from FY00 through FY18 will total over $9.5M. Bill Katz asked what is the diameter of that tunnel, Richard said 14-15 feet. Larry Schafer added that he believes that it is gravity fed.

Regarding Source Reductions, we established municipal sulfide limit of 0.3 mg/l for five municipalities (Ashland, Framingham, and Natick in January 2001, and Needham and Wellesley in January 2004). These are enforced through municipal permits. We also have the establishment of BOD and sulfate discharge limits for five industries (Coca-Cola, Genzyme, Good Humor, Natick Paperboard and Nyacol). All are in compliance with Natick paperboard going out of business. Richard added that these are all site-specific permits. Ed Bretschneider asked if there were permits before these problems started. Rick said there were no individual limits for BOD, sulfate or sulfide prior to the 2001. Larry Schafer asked if sulfide limits have been looked at in other parts of the system. Denise Breiteneicher said that we have look at this in other parts of the system where we might have similar environment and flow patterns. So we did look up north at Burlington that had much lower sulfide and BOD levels. Taber Keally asked how the MWRA problems compared with other sewer systems. Rick said other “systems” has what we called typical levels and these are the levels we want to get down to. Taber asked if other utilities attacked the problem in a similar fashion to the MWRA. Denise said that many utilities are coming to the Authority to look at our methodology. Carolyn Fiore added that it is very unusual to have the high level of sulfates that we experienced. Rick added that to ensure compliance we have a scheduled sampling process. This is primarily a warm weather phenomenon so sampling occurs during warmer months. Stephen Greene asked if there were similar problems in Wellesley. Rick said not as many. Rick added that for the communities involved the MWRA has not had to take any disciplinary action. Some of the industries fought us on compliance issues and threatened to take the MWRA to court but eventually had a change of heart and came into compliance.

Regarding treatment the MWRA spends over $200K/ year for chemicals such as an oxidizer and a nitrate based product at the Arthur Street pump station and plan to install bio-filters in FY11-FY13 to physically remove H2S and treat it. These are planned for three locations in Framingham. Larry Schafer asked if bio-filters treat the liquid or the vapor. Rick said the vapor and they actually remove the H2S.

There has been significant progress. BOD, Sulfate and Sulfide levels in the FES downstream sewers have decreased since program in 2000. The magnitude of municipal violations of the sulfide limit has decreased since the imposition of the limit and in 2007; MWRA met its goal of daily average peak H2S concentrations 97% of the time. He added that in hot dry summers there would be violations because these conditions are conducive to production of H2S gas. We do measure H2S in the water and in the gas phase to determine progress and compliance. Rick showed slides demonstrating the downward trend of BOD, sulfate and sulfide concentrations from 2000 to 2007. Rick reviewed the Interceptor condition assessment and Inspection schedule. Most of FES was in good condition there was a 5000-foot section in poor condition that is being continually monitored. This would be quite expensive to correct and there is currently no money in the CIP to fix it. At some point we will have to take corrective action. Cornelia Potter asked if it was in the Master Plan and Rick said it was. He also reviewed the status of West Roxbury Tunnel and the Weston Sewer Rehabilitation, which required relining, or some rebuilding. West Roxbury Tunnel is inspected by a contractor we cannot do that in house.

We continue to monitor existing and new industries to ensure that none increase their BOD or sulfate loading to the system and continue to work with communities on improving the quality of wastewater coming from their systems in the FES and downstream sewers. While we don’t have a system wide problem we want to stay on top of this in a very proactive manner. In the Master Plan there is a system wide look at corrosion and odor issues although it is not in the CIP. If we start to view it has a larger problem we will have to put in back into the CIP. We’ve also plan to install 12-15 meters at key areas around the MWRA system to monitor H2S levels. Larry Schafer asked about safety issues. Rick said that if there is any concern we ventilate prior to any work being performed.

Discussion of Possible New WAC Structure

Stephen Greene mentioned that the MWRA has noted that the major projects are now behind them and the focus will now be on more operational issues like maintenance, asset protection and project prioritization. So, doesn’t it make sense to look at the Citizens Advisory Committees (WAC & WSCAC) and ask if there is a more effective way to structure them? For example combining them into one new committee to deal with these common agenda items. Stephen mentioned that WSCAC has taken a position of leaving the committees independent and separate. Stephen mentioned that he had a conversation with Fred Laskey on this issue in December. Stephen added that in his opinion the committee structures should not dilute each other, which is a concern if we form one committee. He noted that while there are common issues there seem to be ones that are unique to each committee.

Ed Bretschneider added that to a certain extent the genesis of this goes back to meetings that WAC has had with both Fred Laskey and Mike Hornbrook. They noted that the emphasis of the MWRA was moving from “headliner” projects to “blocking and tackling” projects. So that many of the topics that WAC and WSCAC would be dealing with would have similar themes. If your talking about maintenance at Deer Island or the John Carroll Water Facility it’s still maintenance. Stephen mentioned some options being looked at is one committee or two committees linked by a common director. Ed Bretschneider mentioned that Eileen is retiring from WSCAC and from the Authorities perspective this is good time to do something different. Stephen mentioned that the two committees operate quite differently. For example with WAC the entire committee is engage on all issues for WSCAC they have an Executive Committee that drives the agenda and actions for the full committee.

Taber Keally asked if there is a budget issue driving this discussion. Joe Favaloro said budget is not an issue. It’s the changing environment that’s driving the conversation. Larry Schafer asked Martin Pillsbury who sits on both WAC and WSCAC what he thought about forming one new committee.

Martin said he’s been giving it a lot of thought and that he’s agnostic on how it’s administered, how the staff is arranged. But when it comes to the functioning of the committees all you have to do is look at the map and see for one system it ends at Southborough and for the other system it ends at South Hadley. It really is a different set of issues and constituencies. He added each committee has had a full plate with their own issues and there have been a handful of topics where there is crossover. Martin can’t imagine a scenario where all the meetings would be joint meetings. Stephen Greene said he shared that thinking. Ed Bretschneider said some at the MWRA said if you look at all the projects 70% would be common to both committees, 30% to WAC and WSCAC exclusively. Martin said he thinks it is the other way around 30/70, even if it’s 50/50 it’s hard to imagine one committee satisfying all the needs. One suggestion was to have one committee that breaks into sub-committees. Martin said we are all volunteers that would have to happen at a monthly meeting since it would be difficult to get volunteers to several meetings a month. Larry Schafer said this committee would be diluted too much if we took up water issues as well. Martin said if Eileen is retiring it really is an ideal opportunity to open it up. Joe Favaloro that makes it an ideal opportunity to pose the question of operating differently. Cornelia Potter said each committee has evolved to its original mission. She added that maybe focusing on future agendas would help answer the question of the best structure. Taber Keally said NEPWRA has a seat both on WAC and WSCAC. He added when these two people chat they find there is nothing in common in the meeting agendas. He added that MWRA should not worry about the different cultures of WAC and WSCAC the only thought is what’s the work that needs to get done. Taber added that he believes two separate groups are required to deal with the different agendas. Joe Favaloro added that agendas are off shoots of where you see the committee going. But over five years from now where is the most influence and the best opportunity to debate issues. Joe said take a step back and ask what are the most significant issues that need to be addressed. For example if you have one dollar to spend what is the best way to spend it. That is meaty enough for both committees to debate for some period of time. Joe stressed think not about today but further down the road and what are the issues that will need to be addressed. Vin Spada said that he thought having one common committee has lots for support among different agencies since they have organized around similar principles. Cornelia Potter said that it is critical that function in a way that has maximum influence with the Authority and BOD. Stephen Greene added that these committees play an important outreach role in the constituencies they support. Martin said combining staff may make sense but having separate chairs is important. Cornelia added maybe we should view the staff role as a full time position, which would attract a different kind of person.

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2007
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Minutes of the November 13, 2007 Meeting - Joint WAC/WSCAC Meeting

The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MWRA Southborough Facility This was a joint WAC/WSCAC Meeting. PRESENT: Stephen Greene (Howland Greene Consultants and WAC), Taber Keally (WAC and Neponset River Watershed Association)), Ed Bretschneider (Staff-WAC), Marian Orfeo (MWRA), Daniel Nvule (MWRA), Stephen Estes-Smargiassi (MWRA), Nancy Hammett, Richard Chretien (Mass DEP), Martin Pillsbury (WAC/WSCAC and MAPC), Matthew Romero (MWRA Advisory Board), Jon Beekman (WSCAC), Alice Clemente (WSCAC), Kathy Baskin (EEA), Tom Miner (WSCAC), Don Walker (M&E), Lexi Dewey (WSCAC), Eileen Simonson (WSCAC Staff), Paul Lauenstein (WSCAC), Bob Zimmerman (CRWA), Brian Joyce (Stockholm Environmental Institute), Andrea Donlan (WSCAC and CRWA), Joan Boegel (Genzyme), Mason Phelps (WSCAC), Whitney Beals (WSCAC), Connie Craycroft (CSCT), John Craycroft (WSCAC and CSCT), Sally Newbrey (WSCAC), Mary Adelstein (WAC), Bill Katz (WAC), Larry Schafer (WAC), and Tabor Keally (WAC)

Both WAC and WSCAC held short business meetings where minutes were approved and reports and articles discussed. Whitney Beals chaired the meeting per agreement that joint meetings would alternate WAC and WSCAC chairing these meetings. Whitney started with introductions, it was noted that over 30 members and guests were in attendance.

Eileen introduced Bob Zimmerman from the CRWA as a presenter and Stephen Estes-Smargiassi introduced Daniel Nvule from the MWRA and Brian Joyce from the Stockholm Environmental Institute as presenters.

Bob Zimmerman reported on Don Elders work who is the President at Rivers Network in Portland. It is a presentation that Don gave to the EPA. Bob noted that he was condensing down to 40 slides from the 411 slides that Don used.

Bob said the essence was saving energy by saving water and the notion is that a lot can be done for global climate change by reducing the amount of power that we used to pump water around and heat it. Bob said that Don believes this is the most reliable, quickest and predictable way to save energy in the next 20 years over any other approach in the U.S. to meet the target of reducing the amount of energy we use by 2% a year.

Bob mentioned that Municipal Water and Wastewater Plants use 75B KW Hours/ year at a cost of over $4B/year energy cost alone. Bob added that the cost for the residential heating of water with electricity takes more energy than all energy of indoor and outdoor lighting. He added this is only 38% of the total energy we use to heat water. Residential water heating comes to about 180B KW Hours/year. About 20% of all energy generated in the U.S. is associated with water usage. Bob added there is a lot of waste here and we already know how to deal with water issues and water conservation that have been successfully implemented in different parts of the country. Bob said that water demand is not increasing in the U.S. The per/capita demand for residential use has been dropping. It’s dropped about 25% since 1980. Two main reasons for there are the Clean Water Act and industrial users moving to closed loop systems for cooling.

Bob asked what could we accomplish by doing things differently. Key things are conservation and water re-use. Communities need to do a better job of using water rates and seasonal rates to encourage conservation. In many cases seasonal rate increases are not enough to make people in more affluent communities change their behavior. He added that industrial users have done a good job of controlling water use in large part a reflection of the power of the Clean Water Act. He mentioned Raytheon that doesn’t discharge at all because they use a closed loop system. Bob said that there are approaches to conservation that don’t require a change in behavior such as water sensors that control the amount of water used automatically. He added that we need to get comfortable with the idea that we don’t have to use potable water for all uses, there is great potential for water re-use and use of storm water. Bob described the difference between conservation and efficiency. He said conservation was using less (in this case water) to do the same thing that in many cases requires behavioral changes. Efficiency on the other hand relies on technology to help and hence requires no change in behavior, for example new toilet systems that use less water automatically or showerheads that do the same.

Stephen Estes-Smargiassi introduced Daniel Nvule and Brian Joyce. He said they would discuss how we need to change our behavior to deal with the impact of climate change. The data is preliminary and will you an idea of where we are heading with this project. Stephen added that our goal is to figure out how to use this data to best design and protect MWRA infrastructure.

Daniel said he has been with MWRA since 1987 in the Planning Department. I will discuss what we know and what we are learning. Why does the MWRA care about climate change? Citing EPA data, Daniel said that water and wastewater utilities use about 7500 KW Hours/Year and contribute about 7% nationwide of green house gases. Daniel mentioned that at Deer Island the Authority is looking at alternate energy such as hydropower, solar panels and has looked at wind energy but because of potential airplane interference has resulted in Federal resistance.

Clearly, the MWRA will be affected by climate change, with increased intensity and frequency of storms and longer periods of drought. We have to worry the impact of sea level rise and the capacity of CSO’s as well as supply and demand. As we look at construction, sizing and capacity of new systems has to reflect the latest knowledge of the impact of climate change. We have had extensive energy audits around the MWRA to help as identify opportunities to conserve and find alternate sources of energy. Daniel mentioned that when Deer Island was being designed in 1989 they took into account the impact of global warming an assumption of 1.19 feet of sea level raise was taken into account.

One of the most striking impacts of climate change is sea rise. We looked at the impact of 100-year storm on top of global warming with a storm surge of over 12 feet. Daniel showed a picture of how that would impact the greater Boston area, much of it underwater (someone mentioned we would have to make sure to move the golf courses to higher ground). A number of MWRA facilities would be flooded under this scenario. In response to a question, Daniel said this was not a worse case scenario but in the middle of the predicted models.

Daniel reviewed an EPA study that utilized a Canadian and an American general circulation model and came up with two different outcomes. Daniel asked which one do you believe? There are many players in climate change modeling. He added the best approach might be to use a probability analysis that uses all the results. One of the reasons for different outcomes in these models is the manner in which they model the land, ocean and atmospheric processes. . Bob Zimmerman added that most of these models are overly conservative. Daniel introduced Brian Joyce from the Stockholm Environmental Institute (SEI) who is working with the MWRA.

Brian mentioned that the work with the MWRA on climate change is going on at about a half dozen utilities to identify potential vulnerabilities to climate change and to build tools to look at those vulnerabilities and evaluate how climate change might impact them. Brian mentioned that SEI is housed at Tufts University.

Daniel said seasonal water demand is expected to change significantly due to global warming. He added that all the climate change models are predicting a temperature change most pronounced in the winter period. He then showed probability information looking at different models. Daniel added that 50% of the models (or 50% probability) are predicting a 2.1C increase in the North East within the next 50 years. Stephen Estes-Smargiassi said that on infrastructure issues the MWRA acts on a 2-5% probability. There is also the likelihood of more frequent and intense storms with longer drought periods. This may result in a slight increase in safe yield for the MWRA. This result may not be the same for smaller reservoirs that cannot take advantage of the timing of rainfall. Stephen added that MWRA has a capacity for five years whereas smaller reservoirs tend to fill up in the spring and is used in summer months. It was added that the MWRA has the resources to do these types of studies and modeling but communities outside of its reach don’t have that capacity and is there a way for the Authority to offer some help. Bob Zimmerman responded that there is no such thing as safe yield for groundwater. He added lets not look at transferring water from one community to a second and throwing it away in a third. We need to look at keeping water locally. Daniel added that about 5% of the models are predicting a decrease in precipitation.

Bob Zimmerman added that the communities with smaller reservoirs that use as much water as they can and through it away are playing a dangerous game with the advent of climate change. If modern cities stop doing this they will be less vulnerable to climate change. Stephen Estes-Smargiassi said this is not only true of new systems but also ones that have been in place for the last 50 years. Bob said it is possible to build new systems that are sustainable. We need to think about infrastructure very differently.

Daniel said that as the MWRA thinks about climate change we need to rethink pipe size (capacity) for future construction. Additionally, he added that the questions we are asking are about safe yield, sewer capacity, CSO’s, sea level rise as well as pipe size. Bob Zimmerman added that we better start making the changes in the next five years. Since new infrastructures are in place for over 30 years we need to make the right decisions now.

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Minutes of the October 12, 2007 Meeting

The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MWRA Advisory Board in Boston. PRESENT: Stephen Greene (Howland Greene Consultants and WAC), Cornelia Potter (MWRA Advisory Board and WAC), Taber Keally (WAC and Neponset River Watershed Association)), Ed Bretschneider (Staff-WAC), Marian Orfeo (MWRA), Lise Marx (MWRA), Carl Leone (MWRA), Kristin Hall (MWRA), Stephen Kaiser (Alewife Coalition)), Roger Frymire (Cambridge) and Nancy Hammett

Stephen Greene called the meeting to order at 10:30 AM. After introductions the September 7 minutes were accepted. Ed Bretschneider mentioned that the November 13 meeting is a joint meeting with WSCAC and we will meet at the MWRA Southborough Facility. The topic is Climate Change.

MWRA Project Prioritization Process – Marian Orfeo and Lise Marx

Marian started by describing the function of key members of the Master Planning Team. Lise Marx is the visionary on the master planning process and has taken the lead on the waterside. Carl Leone has taken the lead on the wastewater side and has community involvement with the inflow and infiltration program. Kristin Hall makes sure the numbers always add up and are correct. Marian stressed that this was a totally in-house effort from the conceptualization of the process to the creation of the final document. She added that we have been working on this for about 21/2 years. Marian said that she waited before coming to WAC for the process to transition from planning to actual implementation. She added that we are at the point of implementation.

Over the next 40 years we have a $3.2B master plan with approximately 70% of the money for reinvestment in existing infrastructure. We have been working with the budget director to incorporate in the capital budget all the top priority projects in the Master Plan. Lise and Carl engaged the entire organization including engineering, operations and finance to develop our Master Plan. It has been a real collaborative organizational effort. Projects had to be identified and prioritized and presented to the Board of Directors for the approval. Marian said there are numerous challenges ahead. Construction costs are escalating about 7%. This is a pretty big number when you consider we are talking about $1B for a five year CIP (capital improvement program) and we have to live within a spending cap. We don’t know what future levels of debt service assistance will be. This is a key support we need for implementation of the master plan. Additionally we have to ask do we have the staffing capacity today with an aggressive master plan. Where the rubber hits the road on project prioritization will be determined by how much money MWRA will have to spend in FY09-13.

Lise Marx said because this was an in-house effort we convened a committee in late 2005 to start looking at prioritization questions. One of the things we did was to benchmark with other prioritization processes used around the country. We learned they vary a lot, from mathematical modeling systems to triple bottom line reporting to a group just sitting in a room deciding what they want to do. We decided that a more qualitative rather than quantitative system would be more successful for the MWRA. We wanted to be realistic we knew we were not going to set up a department of prioritization. We also knew we know a fair amount about our system and condition of our assets. Our Senior Managers and Board of Directors are all interested in playing a role in the prioritization process. So a system that gave you projects from 1-300 would not work well for us but a system that got the information of how you were prioritizing was most important. To start we developed goals and objectives to drive the process.

Lise added we wanted to be able to use the current condition assessment we had but also be aware of those situations where we didn’t have the right information, the challenge how would we go about getting it. For example, the headworks we have some uncertainty about the condition of parts of that facility. The study to find out if its in danger of failing in any part of the process is as important as fixing something that you know is in bad condition. For conditions like this you have to be able to move them up in the process.

Lise mentioned that in their analysis they wanted to take risk and consequence in to account. So if something has a high risk of happening that’s a bad thing but if you have a high consequence (even at low risk) that may also be a bad thing. Lise said they came up with a five-priority system that was very similar to what was in the 1993 water plan. Looking around the country from our benchmarking we found this to be a rather good approach not just for prioritization but also for the Master Plan in general. Priority One was Critical/Emergency, Priority Two was Essential Projects, Priority Three was Necessary Projects, Priority Four was Important Projects and Priority Five was Desirable Projects. Lise described Priority One Projects as ones we should have already done, Prevent imminent failure of the system and significant loss of service. Here the risk is moderate to high and the consequence very high. There shouldn’t ever be a lot of One projects. Priority Two we describe has variable risk with high consequences. For example reduce SSO’s, upgrade emergency backup facilities or maintain wastewater effluent and residuals quality. In general cases where if you don’t know something you need to find it out. Also mandated projects were in this category because you cannot always say that mandated projects should take precedence over something that needed to be done right away. Cornelia Potter added that the Master Plan gives the Authority more control of what is important rather than outside forces. Lise added that One’s and Two’s have moved into the CIP. Over time, ones should be rare and there should be fewer Twos. Over time the balance shifts to doing more FAMP (facilities asset management program) or routine system rehabilitation and replacement projects. You want to move projects around and the Master Plan gives you a basis for this. Lise referred to the Executive Summary of the Master Plan which gives you an overview of all the work that went into the Plan and sense of all the organizations involved in putting it together and the use of in-house local experts. The numbers in the Master Plan didn’t come from planning but from the ground up from the groups responsible for them.

Lise reviewed all the projects in the Master Plan, which is quite substantial. For new projects there is a “daunting form” that is required. This is necessary when trying to decide between two projects of equal priority which project do you do if there is only funding for one. Lise said this form helps give management all the information and consistent information they need to make such decisions. The information also helps to decide if projects should be grouped (for example if the same street has to be dug up for two different projects). Also it makes clear the link between the CIP and the Master Plan.

Cornelia Potter took exception to one of the items in this form that gave the impression that a Division Manager could override the Master Plan and put selected projects in the CIP that were not in the Plan. Cornelia said that the Master Plan should be respected and that it’s not up to some else to change the priority. While the relative priority of projects could change over time the collaborative effort that went into creating the priorities of the projects should be respected. Lise said this item was really meant to flag projects like this and that additional rigor would be applied to see if indeed the selected project should be included in the CIP if not in the Master Plan. Cornelia added that there is a need to ensure that the collaborative process is followed and that violation of the agreements be done with great care and diligence.

Lise said that over time, there probably would be schedule changes for some projects as a result of cost increases for other projects. But we view this as part of an overall iterative process. Marian added we did try to balance the cost among projects and timing. Cornelia said she understood that political elements have to be balanced as well. Marian added that we wanted to flesh out the out years to make a case for debt service. Lise said that MWRA has changed and rather than doing two or three big projects we are doing many smaller projects.

Taber Keally asked if communities have come to MWRA for help in creating Master Plans because of your expertise. Marian said that operations experts have always participated in information exchanges with other utilities to share information. Marian said the MWRA is fortunate to have a robust planning group. This type of work is staff intensive and many communities don’t have that luxury. In many cases the best solution might be a consultant. We would be happy to help but they probably need outside expertise.

Nancy Hammett asked if you track diversion from the Master Plan especially cumulative ones that sneak up on you. Marian said that was a good point. Cornelia said this is an important point because it is a reflection of the commitment to the cooperative effort that put the plan together. This is also important because the Master Plan and commitment to it can be a decision factor if the CIP cap has to be altered.

Stephen Kaiser asked how do you prioritize when there is a court order mandate such as CSO separation because in that situation the judge is telling you what the priorities are. For example like the CSO project for Alewife and then Cambridge comes along and says they want to include storm water control and the price goes up significantly. How do you prioritize in an intervention like this? Lise said if there is a regulatory requirement or an appeal that delays the project we can’t move forward until those issues are resolved. Lise said there were extensive discussions with the Board of Directors relative to the Cambridge CSO Control Project but that these were outside of the Master Planning prioritization process. For the purposes of the Master Plan, staff assumed that the CSO control work would move forward.

Nancy Hammett said that earlier you mentioned that you were going to do an evaluation of staff capacity against projects in the Master Plan. Is that work planned? Lise said that as part of the Advisory Board recommendation that these issues be examined, staff is looking at all the financial information relative to CIP implementation ( budget spending vs. actual spending and other measurements) and discussing with engineers how long it takes to do projects. Stephen Greene said that during implementation it sounds like the planning group doesn’t have any operational role but does get pulled into the process and discussions that occur. Marian said absolutely we are involved in discussions relating to implementation. Additionally updating the Master Plan on a regular basis will keep us involved.

Nancy Hammett asked when you did your benchmarking was there sharing of others on how to manage to keep the Mater Plan alive? In some cases people said the utility Master Plan sits on the shelf and isn’t well used. Ed Bretschneider said you need upper management support by continuing to ask questions and linkage of projects to the Master Plan. Lise added that you also get support by incentives when people see projects getting done that they think are important. Marian added sometimes cost and schedules get out of control and local communities don’t have the systems to control. Fortunately the MWRA has strength in these areas. Nancy Hammett said looking at the Master Plan it seems like the MWRA knows what it has to do. I’m just wondering were there any surprises in the Master Plan. Marian said I don’t think there were any big surprises, except maybe how big the numbers are. Marian said one of the surprises might be the impact that climate change may have on the Master Plan when you think 30-40 years out what changes have to be made. Stephen said there are some short-term issues as well like more intense storms. Marian said I think storm water issues are going to become huge.

Stephen Greene suggested if there was some simple way to visually show maintenance equipment condition so people could see the value and importance of asset protection at a glance. The information is laid out in the plan but for some a visual presentation is easier to grasp. Lise noted that at Deer Island, some electrical equipment is not lasting as long as predicted because of the harsh environment and because of technological changes that result in early obsolescence and loss of vendor support for some older equipment. Nancy Hammett said Stephen’s idea is great because of all the current interest in infrastructure. So for communication to the legislature or the public a simple visual presentation could go a long way to facilitate understanding.

Ed Bretschneider mentioned that the next meeting is scheduled for November 13 at the MWRA Southborough Facility. It is a joint meeting with WSCAC on climate change.

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Minutes of the September 7, 2007 Meeting

The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MWRA Advisory Board in Boston. PRESENT: Richard Chretien (DEP), Mary Adelstein (WAC) Larry Schafer (WAC), Stephen Greene (Howland Greene Consultants and WAC), Cornelia Potter (MWRA Advisory Board and WAC), Taber Keally (WAC and Neponset River Watershed Association)), Ed Bretschneider (Staff-WAC), Pam Heidell (MWRA), Fred Laskey (MWRA), Mike Hornbrook (MWRA), Joe Favaloro (MWRA Advisory Board), Joe Nerden (DEP), Ben Lasley (Save the Harbor Save the Bay) Stephen Kaiser (Alewife Coalition)), Vivien Li (Boston Harbor Association) and Sumner Brown (Belmont).

Stephen Greene called the meeting to order at 10:30 AM. After introductions the June 1 minutes were accepted as corrected.

MWRA Challenges – Fred Laskey

Fred started with a review of FY07. He noted a number of major CSO programs came on line that dramatically reduced the number of discharges and amount of discharges. For example in FY07 MWRA eliminated 227 million gallons of discharge. This was composed of 3.9 million gallons in Little Mystic Channel, 44 million gallons in the Charles River, 30 million gallons in South Dorchester Bay, 64 million gallons in Fort Point Channel and 85 million gallons for the Inner Harbor. All in total this may have been the one of the biggest improvement in Harbor water quality but came at a huge expense. MWRA didn’t get the press on this major improvement that it deserved. He added that it seems like good news is no news.

Fred went into a little more detail and spoke about the Stony Brook Sewer Separation project, which was completed in September 2006 at a total cost of $45 million. That resulted in 99.7% reduction in discharges: 44.5 million gallons to 0.13 million gallons (going from 22 discharges down to 2). He added that storm water runoff was removed neighborhood and MWRA sewers by installing 74,000 feet of new storm drains. The project is working as designed.

South Dorchester Bay sewer separation construction was completed in December 2006 at a cost of $118.2 million with 100% reduction in discharges. Storm water runoff was removed by installing 136,00 feet of new storm drains. He added we essentially separated all of Dorchester. This is like separating a city the size of Brockton. This should allow us to de-commission the Fox and Commercial Point CSO facilities on the Dorchester shore eliminating discharges into the North Dorchester Bay.

In Little Mystic River Channel we completed construction in March 2007 at a total cost of $14.2 million with an 86% reduction in discharges (going from 4.4 million gallons to 0.6 million gallons and 13 discharges down to 2). Larry Schafer asked if the facility required staffing. Fred said no, it is an automated facility. Fred added that all of our CSO facilities are un-staffed, all computer driven resulting in huge savings. Taber Keally asked how this project compared to the one in Dorchester. Fred said it is the same concept only on a much smaller scale.

The Fort Point Channel Sewer Separation Project was completed in March 2007 at a cost of $7.7 million with 100% reduction in discharges. We also removed storm water runoff by installing 4,550 feet of new storm drains. This is an area that is under redevelopment. Mike Hornbrook added that with some of the new work we are waiting for a major rain event to make sure everything is working as designed. Mike Hornbrook mentioned that at the Prison Point CSO project for $50,000 we eliminated 80,000 gallons of discharge; that is a great deal.

Fred reviewed the MWRA I/I Community Financial Assistance Program. He noted that $160 million grant/loan funds to local projects in 43 communities. This included 900 miles of sewer TV inspected, 30 miles of sewer replaced, 120 miles of sewer repaired, 8,000 sewer manholes repaired, 600 catch basins disconnected and 5,000 downspouts disconnected. He specifically noted the I/I Program impact on Neponset River Watershed Communities. Fred mentioned $12.3 million MWRA grant/loan funds expended in 7 communities (Canton, Dedham, Milton, Norwood, Stoughton, Walpole and Westwood). This included 180 miles of sewer TV inspected, 8 miles of sewer replaced, 12 miles of sewer repaired and 725 sewer manholes repaired. Fred said we are not only aggressive with maintaining our systems but also help community systems to keep them operating smoothly. Mike said we want to help communities to do continuous upgrading and evaluating of their systems. Mike added that the funds are MWRA funds for MWRA communities it is pro-rated on their share of the budget. All communities are actively engaged in this program.

Fred talked about how staffing has been reduced from over 1700 in FY97 to 1241 in July 2007. He said there has been no decline in operations, quality or safety. We have to meet our performance indicators. Fred added we are asking where is steady state. We think we are in the ballpark for what it will take to go forward. These reductions have resulted in significant savings. He went on to discuss more operational issues like maintenance and how their preventive maintenance program is on par with best in class, which means that 100% of work orders are completed. Our predictive maintenance is also on target.

Deer Island’s annual electricity budget is nearly $14 million. There is a target for FY08 that 23% is self-generation. Mike said this energy we don’t have to buy or import. He added we have energy credits that we can sell because of our renewable energy. This energy comes for our digesters and the methane gas that is formed and converted to electricity. Staying with energy Fred said that as part of their renewable energy and sustainability program there is a fleet optimization program that has resulted in 23-hybrid vehicles 188 biodiesel and a retrofit of 65 large diesel powered units with catalytic converters. Also 500 computer monitors were replaced with energy-star related LCD’s. We have installed energy detectors in our conference rooms, all efforts to conserve energy. The Authority has been awarded $870,00 in grants and no-interest loans at Deer Island for solar panels in addition they have recently submitted grant applications for: Nut Island Wind design and construction, Carroll Solar design and construction, Norumbega Wind feasibility study and Loring Road Hydro feasibility study. In FY 07 Cosgrove and Oakdale hydroelectric facilities generated almost $1 million. Fred said places like Deer Island where we would like to put wind energy on the wastewater side the windmills would interfere with airline aviation. Wind energy has a transmission cost, which is why many of our locations are ideal except for the aviation concerns. Regarding wind energy Fred said that the Midwest is much more comfortable with the use of windmills for energy use than we seem to be in the east, Texas is a leader in this area. They don’t have all the obstacles that we face here. Mary Adelstein added that the big windmills in Holland are tourist stops; Mike Hornbrook said the country is moving in this direction and we want to be part of it, energy is a big cost for us. Stephen Greene said maybe the FAA would show more flexibility in the future. Fred added that we are an environmental agency and have to lead by example.

Looking forward, Fred said a high priority is to complete the CSO program. He noted that we now have predictability with this program because of the agreement we reached with both the EPA and DEP on scope and timing. We need to do this while maintaining this global agreement, which includes five three-year variances. Mary Adelstein asked about Cottage Farm. Fred said we could get to the point where it activates only a couple times a year. Mike added this brings up issues of keeping chemical fresh. But he said this is a good problem to have. Fred said by the time we finish this program it will cost close to $1 billion. Projects like this have detracted somewhat from tackling projects like maintenance that need attention now.

Fred said we need to focus on maintenance and that in FY08 we spent $15.8 million on repairs and modifications of facilities and structures, upgrades and replacements at Deer Island and for FY09-FY13 have budgeted $128.1 million; equipment that runs 24/7 needs to be replaced. Fred reviewed the rehabilitation of remote headworks. He noted that 3 older Headworks (Chelsea Creek, Columbus Park and Ward Street, all1967) remain operational, but are in only fair condition. Significant investment is required now. Nut Island Headworks is relatively new (1998) and in very good condition. He added that headworks are a little like the aortic artery you don’t pay attention to it until it clogs up, but they keep the system running.

Rehabilitation of collection system sewers was reviewed. Fred said that there are 227 miles of gravity sewers, 30 miles of Force Mains, Siphons and Outfalls as well as 4000 Manholes and Structures. He spoke about the rehabilitation of West Roxbury Tunnel, which was constructed in 1963 and is 2.5 miles long and suffers from hydrogen sulfide corrosion as does Section 624, North Weymouth, which was constructed in 1933. Pipes are rated as A, B or C quality (there some unrated gravity pipe). The best condition is A rated and is 23% (52 miles) of all the pipes, B rated is 615 (139 miles and C rated is 8% (18 miles); 65% of C rated pipe is over 100 years old and 54% is brick. C means it needs to be fixed, A’s are okay and B’s are mixed.

Fred briefly spoke about the residuals processing facility. He noted the sludge-to-fertilizer plant in Quincy is currently operated under contract with NEFCo. The contract will expire in 2015 and we will have to decide to completely rehabilitate or replace in-kind or with another technology. Stephen Greene added who knows what the new technology would be by then. Larry Schafer said that the pellets are used in Florida orange groves. He added that it looks like the decision to pump sludge rather than move it by barge was the right one.

Fred reviewed rates management. He said the combined water and sewer rate in 1985 compared to other large cities was the lowest, but because of large investments grew to the largest in 2006; $1006 compared to San Francisco $971 or Indianapolis $439. The biggest driver of MWRA rate increases is debt service that grew from 36% for FY1990 to 60% for FY 2007 and is projected for 62% for FY 2016. In 2007 the Authority did debt restructuring to smooth out near term increases and move them out further into the future. This was at the prodding of the Advisory Board that saw this opportunity. Fred added that over the next 10 years (FY07-FY17), the rate revenue requirement grows by 73% or $360 million. One of the big drivers for controlling rate increases is debt service assistance. In FY02 it was $52.9 million but with cuts was reduced to $4.1 million in FY04 and for FY08 is $17.25 million (MWRA’s share out of $23million). The rate increase for FY08 was 4.5% but bigger increases (FY09-FY13, 5.8% each year) looms for the foreseeable future. This means by FY13 an estimated household bill could climb to $1,343. Fred added that we could close the doors and rates would still go up because of debt service. We are making up for decades when we didn’t spend enough. Joe Favaloro said this is the tip of the iceberg because this is only what MWRA has to do but doesn’t include what local communities need to do. Mary Adelstein said it’s not the communities or MWRA it’s the ratepayers. Fred added we need to get people to pay attention to this. He said with regulators we are not a priority on this issue and this is the major challenge we face. Mary Adelstein said maybe what you need is rate shock. Joe Favaloro added that regulators say that maybe rates are not that high, past revolts have not been fun. Another key challenge is not to get dragged into something beyond our mission. Everything relates back to the ratepayers and controlling rate increases. It is constant complaint about the cost of our services. Larry Schafer said the Authority should not be shy about blowing your own horn on the good work that you do. People need to understand that the rates are paying great water and a major clean up of Boston Harbor.

Stephen Greene asked about the head count leveling out and what impact on OSHA rates if any. Fred said that all our performance measures are met. Mike added that trends are either flat or going down certainly not going up. Mike added that over-time is also reasonable. Mike said we have a central control where we can look at our entire system. Taber Keally said on the PR side maybe the MWRA should look at putting accomplishments with the billing statements; one liner what we’ve done. Taber added the towns are looking for the same thing, here’s your bill but this is what it’s paying for. Mike said a lot of this information is on our web page. Stephen Kaiser said there is one anomaly in your success story that is Alewife where Cambridge piggybacked on your project with numerous additions. He thinks the MWRA is doing their piece but dealing with Cambridge is impossible. Mike said this has been a very public process over the years and untold possibilities for public input and it has altered the nature of the project. The longer this gets dragged out the more difficult it will be to clean up the Brook.

Larry Schafer asked about the Struvite in the digester. Mike said it is a maintenance issues that is not is going to stop our process but it will cost. Ed Bretschneider asked if you could talk about Blending. Fred said the issue is still under sensitive discussion. Vivian Li asked about Union Park and noticed construction has not started. She asked is it under the responsibility of Boston Parks Department. Fred said yes and that the MWRA is paying for it. Vivien also mentioned the Judge Mazzone memorial at Deer Island on October 19 and encouraged all to attend.

Ed Bretschneider mentioned that WAC’s next meeting is scheduled for October 12 and the topic is MWRA Project prioritization process.

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Minutes of the June 1, 2007 Meeting

The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MWRA Advisory Board in Boston. PRESENT: Richard Chretien (DEP), Mary Adelstein (WAC) Larry Schafer (WAC), Stephen Greene (Howland Greene Consultants and WAC), Cornelia Potter (MWRA Advisory Board and WAC), Bill Katz (WAC), Ed Bretschneider (Staff-WAC), Pam Heidell (MWRA), Carl Leone (MWRA), David Kubiak (MWRA), Betty Gowen (MWRA), Joe Nerden (DEP), Glenn Hass (DEP), Roger Frymire (Cambridge), Stephen Kaiser (Cambridge), Kathy Baskin (EOEEA) and Sumner Brown (Belmont).

Stephen Greene called the meeting to order at 10:30 AM. After introductions the May 4 minutes were accepted as corrected. Stephen mentioned that there are no meetings in July or August. Stephen responded to a request from Sumner Brown to have a meeting focused on Inflow and Infiltration (I/I). He said that this is an important issue that we have reviewed on a regular basis and asked Ed Bretschneider to schedule a meeting to update the committee. Stephen noted that the MWRA owns the smallest portion of the infrastructure that’s involved, the communities own about 50% and private landowners and their connection to the line own the largest portion. This makes it a challenging issue because you need to look at small incremental amounts that add up to a significant amount.

Larry Schafer asked who is responsible for ground water around central Boston. Stephen said that there is the Groundwater Trust that is responsible for ground water in Boston from a building protection point of view. Kathy Baskin said the there is a city/state task force looking at the issue. But, no single entity has claimed responsibility because there is a lot of litigation associated with the issue. There are a number of agencies looking at the issue like the MWRA, MBTA, DCR, and the city of Boston. So, there is a collective effort to get at the problem. Larry Schafer asked where do you go to find out what the situation is. Kathy said the Groundwater Trust is charged with monitoring groundwater levels every month in the city so you can find out where depleted areas of groundwater are. The biggest concerns are wood pilings and their condition, if they start to degrade the buildings may be at risk. David Kubiak said that only building owners are responsible for groundwater. He added that the city/state working group is able to solve problems without having to deal with liability issues and they are correcting a lot of problems associated with the city and state infrastructure. David added that the Groundwater Trust reports to the city/state-working group. Finally, David said that communities track this very closely and are working with the two groups mentioned previously. Stephen Greene said he thought the biggest issue with I/I was how to manage inflow during major storm events so that capacity down the line is not impacted. Bill Katz said that there are big problems in Florida with houses caving in because of the issues being discussed. He added that there might be something to be learned from talking to Florida authorities.

Ed Bretschneider mentioned that the WAC’s contract would be reviewed at the MWRA Board of Directors on June 6. If approved he said he planned to have Fred Laskey at the September meeting to talk about high priority issues for the MWRA and added that if possible a joint meeting with WSCAC on Master Planning implementation focusing on project prioritization process. Others have suggested the Outfall, I/I and MWRA operational issues. Larry Schafer asked for a session on NPDES permits. Mary Adelstein also expressed interest in this topic. Ed added to contact him for other suggestions.

Stephen asked that the committee authorize him to sign the contract on behalf of WAC if approved by MWRA. The motion was approved

State Wastewater Policy – Kathy Baskin (EOEEA) and Glenn Haas (DEP)

Kathy said that the new name of the organization was Energy and Environmental Affairs indicating a new area of focus for the agency. She added that the Secretary has a strong interest in renewable energy and the reduction of green house gases. She added that he has been working hard on energy legislation. One other top priority is to complete the merger with DCR that he feels is not yet complete. He has also been working closely with the legislature with a specific goal of reducing earmarks so the agency can go forward with its mission and not get sidetracked. Finally, he’d like to streamline permitting without sacrificing environmental protection by removing redundancies. Kathy sees water issues coming to center stage next year.

Kathy talked about the Mass Water Policy. One of the key themes is to reuse and recharge wastewater the over arching theme is to use every drop of water most efficiently, recharge storm water, conserve water supply and reuse wastewater. Kathy introduced Glenn Haas from the DEP.

Glenn said a key component of State Water Policy is to keep water local. We try to write this into specific policies as best we can. Of course we don’t want things in the regulation that could get in the way of keeping water local. He showed how this works in the new title 5 regulations. It used to be if you had a failing septic system and you had the option of tying into a sewer system, you had to do it. That language has been taken out. So now you have the option to fix the septic system and not tie into the sewer. Whether people will fix it or not is another question. DEP has also made it easier to get cluster developments and low impact developments in. There use to be a regulation that every single lot had to support a title 5 system, that language is now gone.

Glenn mentioned that as part of the Water Management Act before anyone could get a drop of water they have to demonstrate that they are managing there resources the best they could, they have to have an I/I program, they have a good conservation program, they are basically using good management practices. We wanted to be sure if someone said they were saving a gallon of water we wanted to be as confident as we could that they were. Glenn said the areas where they are making the biggest progress are on the ground discharge program and wastewater reuse program. DEP is currently revising these regulations; drafts will be available for public comment in the coming months. DEP is trying to make it clear what can and cannot be done and be more sensitive to environmental impact. And it wants to encourage people to do the right thing and is moving somewhat from being technology driven to outcome based. So if you can protect the environment without new technology that will be allowed.

Wastewater reuse is currently limited to toilet flushing, golf course irrigation and commercial nursery type activities. DEP plans to expand that to include air conditioning coolant; indirect recharge to aquifers and any type of commercial irrigation will be allowed. DEP recognizes that water reuse is not an easy sell.

Glenn said DEP is also working on water resource guidance that pulls together, wastewater planning, water planning and storm water planning. The guidance should be out in July. Mary Adelstein asked if there was any concern about antibacterial soaps. Kathy Baskin said there is some low level work going on for this as well as antibacterial products that are use in food processing, especially meat industry. EEA and DEP are concerned about pharmaceuticals, 70% of what is ingested is excreted. We need to know how long they survive in the water system. EEA and DEP want to know what BMP’s they can propose. Mary Adelstein said the reason she asked about antibacterial soaps is that they are so prevalent in the U.S., but she also lives in Australia in the wintertime and those types of soaps are not permitted. Stephen Greene said he would send Glenn and Kathy information on REACH, which is a European chemical approval process; it goes in effect today. Some refer to it has TOSCA on steroids. Basically, you have to prove the chemical is safe, rather than the government proving the converse. Kathy said that Nano-technology might have a big effect here. Reduced drug coverage can be targeted to a specific area resulting in less being excreted into the environment. Of course Nano-technology may have its own set of unique issues. Stephen Greene asked if your BMP for water reuse is segmented for different industries. Glenn said it would not be available for residential yards but would be for commercial use. Glenn said if a community needs approval for a wastewater system DEP puts them through the wringer. If water reuse requires inter-basin transfer it may trigger an EIR (environmental impact report). Some trading might be allowed here like if a transfer is required you can reduce inflow to offset. The Water Resources Commission would like to see some in the ground improvement. In general it wants to minimize transfers has much as possible. If a community is looking for water it needs to demonstrate that it is worthy by demonstrating strong conservation. Before approval is granted for some one to take someone else’s water we want to make sure there aren’t other alternatives. Pam Heidell said that the Quabbin is a major state resource and you’ve probably heard that MWRA wants to expand the water system. Sometimes keeping water local makes the most sense but if you have this reservoir that stores 4-5 years of water and then you have these water suppliers throughout the state using ground water close to rivers that are highly stressed, it may be that MWRA water makes more environmental sense. She said there’s a point to be considered here. It’s a pretty good benefit. We have a good resource here and people should be open to what it can do. Bill Katz said he agreed.

Kathy Baskin said the Secretary is interested in looking at the impact of climate change in water and wastewater infrastructure. There could be an opportunity to weigh in here in the next year or two.

Stephen Kaiser asked Kathy Baskin about the 4 to 1 inflow reduction required to support new wastewater needs and asked where that ratio came from. Both Kathy Baskin and Pam Heidell said they were not sure where it was initiated. Glenn Haas said he thought it was an agreement between the DEP and MWRA years back and there was probably no big scientific study to support it. The belief was that 4 to one probably meant you were getting one to one in the end.

Mary Adelstein asked if there were regulations that governed storm water recharge or permeable surfaces or low impact construction for new developments. Kathy said that the EEA has policies and guidelines for Smart Growth that are currently being updated. They recognize home rule and that each community will set its own standards. Glenn said a handbook from the DEP is being developed with new storm water regulations included. Kathy said many communities are creating storm water by laws. Mary said there is state standard for flushing your toilet why wouldn’t there be one for development. Glenn Haas said the resource to manage something like that would be huge. Ed Bretschneider mentioned that Martin Pillsbury last year gave a presentation on Low Impact Development that the MAPC was involved with.

Stephen Kaiser asked if there were any studies looking at ground water reductions in the Back Bay area. Kathy said she thought there were a lot of studies, people who are suing are having there properties studied, different agencies are doing defensive studies, but speaking very broadly there is no particular agency that is responsible. DCR has been sued because it pumps ground water at the storrow drive underpass to prevent flooding. Stephen Kaiser asked what would you do. Kathy said the first thing is to fix the pipes in that area to prevent leaking; you want to minimize or eliminate water leaving through that route. Stephen Greene said there are techniques you can do but they are expensive. For example fiberglass lining, fixing leaking joints all are expensive and time consuming. In some ways preventing and fixing these leaks is almost a continuous process. Stephen Greene asked what would you do to protect these systems.

Glenn Haas said that many of the wastewater treatment plants in Massachusetts outside of Deer Island were built more than 30 years ago and have outlived their useful life. Many of these communities outside of the MWRA are behind in CSO control, which will be a massive amount of money to correct particularly along the Conn. River Valley and the Merrimack. Additionally communities along rivers are facing nutrient controls. This requires new technologies. In many of these communities there is too much nutrients going into the ground water. What we’ve learned and the MWRA has learned that these treatment plants will require maintenance investments forever; they need to be fixed before they fall apart. Kathy Baskin mentioned that there has been a lot written about the wastewater issues we are discussing and the associated costs. Of course this bumps up against the whole rate issue and trying to keep that under control. Kathy added that the MWRA has always been forward thinking in protecting their system.

Mary Adelstein asked about the State Revolving Fund (SRF). Glenn Haas said that even though Federal support has been going down we have been funding more and more projects every year. We have been funding projects since 1989. SRF is recycled money that is spent again. We get approximately $40M from the government, we match $10M from the state and we leverage it three to one so that is $150M. But we’re lending out $350M every year so $200M of that is money that has been recycled. Of course all this collides with the state budget. He would say that the SRF is alive and strong. The MWRA takes a pretty big share of this funding. He said there is no question about this it is expensive. Glenn added that the MWRA is not the highest rate anymore, there are other communities catching up quick. He added that Worcester would have to double its rates. Glenn said where rates are increasing the fastest are communities that have wastewater in small portions of town and most of the town is on septic systems. He added we are encouraging these communities to treat their septic systems similar to the wastewater system, user fees and encouraging regular maintenance. Glenn said no one is listening to them yet. The goal is to get them to think of septic systems as part of the overall wastewater system of the town.

Roger Frymire asked Carl Leone when would the I/I report for last year come out. He said we haven’t had any since 2003 with any hard numbers. Carl said the June Board where rates are set would review the numbers that are now in draft form. Once approved by the Board they will be released and available on the web.

Ed Bretschneider mentioned that WAC’s next meeting would be in September. Topics and schedules for the fall will be distributed in early August.

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Minutes of the May 4, 2007 Meeting

The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MWRA Advisory Board in Boston. PRESENT: Richard Chretien (DEP), Mary Adelstein (WAC) Larry Schafer (WAC), Stephen Greene (Howland Greene Consultants and WAC), Vincent Spada (SEA and WAC), Cornelia Potter (MWRA Advisory Board and WAC), Bill Katz (WAC) , Ed Bretschneider (Staff-WAC), Pam Heidell (MWRA), Leo Norton (MWRA), Kathy Soni (MWRA) and Sumner Brown (Belmont).

Stephen Greene called the meeting to order at 10:30 AM. The April 6 minutes were approved with corrections. Stephen asked Pam Heidell to give an update on MWRA wastewater issues and areas that need attention. Pam said that the letters of support from WAC on debt relief have been very helpful but it is still unclear what is going to happen. She added that the system is operating quite well, handling the storms we had last month quite smoothly. There were some overflows but less than might have been expected. Larry Schafer asked if there were any sanitary overflows. Pam said yes, but again less than would have been expected based on the severity of the storms. One of the reasons is that there is a lot more storage than there has been before to control the flow to Deer Island. Stephen Greene asked about the Harbor monitoring. Pam said there was little to report there; things were going pretty well. NPDES negotiations are continuing. She added that there is some action on the system expansion side., both for water and wastewater. In general entire communities are usually interested in being brought into the system for water, while for wastewater it tends to be developments, single homes or the like that are interested. Pam added for a bunch of reasons we do not encourage wastewater additions. She added on the wastewater side there is a request from someone from Sharon to be added to the Walpole system of course a critical criterion for entry is a 4:1 inflow reduction. Avalon also has a proposal to support a 40B housing project that would come in through the Norwood system. Last month the Board of Directors approved adding the Hingham Fire Station to the system so they could be brought up to modern day fire fighting capabilities. There has been a flurry of activity in the last couple of months, more than all the prior years combined. Every time we put our policies through this we test to see what works and what has to be changed or improved. Pam emphasized that the wastewater proposals deal with relatively small amounts of additional flow to our system. Mary Adelstein asked about the Avalon project. Pam said it’s about 300 bedroom units and their wastewater flow would be about 16,000 gpd. She added in all these projects we like to see as much water conservation as possible. Sumner Brown asked how many new customers could be added to the wastewater system. Pam said we aren’t looking in that direction at all. We don’t look for people; they come to us with a request. There has to be a critical reason for us to consider a proposal. Pam added that system expansion policies apply to new communities looking to enter the system. A community like Wilmington which is 80% sewered could, by right extend its coverage. Pam added that we aren’t encouraging applications on the outskirts of our area. There are a whole bunch of issues like interbasin transfer. Stephen Greene asked if this is an example of the tension the Authority is under. On the one had you have this huge infrastructure that needs to be funded on the other hand is the issue of moving water out of an area where it is better kept. It’s that dynamic that has to be balanced. Cornelia Potter added that there are choke points in the system during wet weather conditions.

Cornelia mentioned that there is a new use for the residual pellets. It has been found that when it is mixed with coal it reduces the amount of release of carbon compounds when burned. She added that this is from a very large customer.

MWRA Proposed Current Expense Budget Overview – Kathy Soni

Kathy noted that the Authority restructured its debt in February in order to smooth rate increases. A restoration of $20 M in debt relief from the state would significantly ease rate increases. Kathy added that what she was reviewing was the proposed budget, as the Board of Directors has not approved it. Kathy added that the budget process tends to be somewhat continuous. We are looking to the BOD to approve at the June meeting.

Kathy said that revenue requirement is $527.2M and that $358.2M is for sewerage and $169.0M is for the water system. Both are increases over the FY07 budget. The preliminary combined rate increase is $6.4 compared to the FY07 expense budget. The major driving forces for the FY08 budget are, effect of the February 2007 debt restructuring, projected level of debt service assistance and funding of retiree health insurance costs. We believe that debt relief will be around $20M from the commonwealth but that is still not finalized. Also we have to make sure that we fund projected retiree health costs as a result of a new law. So, this has to done on an annual basis. And we are still not sure of the real costs. Kathy also talked about the difficulty in budgeting for energy costs, because of the volatile nature of the market and trying to predict what cost to use. She added that we seek long term contracts to give us predictable costs for a period of time. But, the question is how much premium to you want to pay for this certainty. We normally take a balance between a variable and fixed rate energy costs. Mary Adelstein asked what assumptions are made for wages and increases. Kathy said that is a function of union contracts, which for FY08 is an estimated 3%.

In February 2007 we restructured $675M in revenue bonds which will generate approximately $400M in rate relief thro0gh FY17 and $34M became available to be used to defease debt due in FY07.

Kathy said that there is still a level of risk in this proposed budget due to uncertainties concerning the level of debt service assistance, energy pricing, regulatory changes, health insurance costs and interest rate and other market conditions. She said the largest user of energy is Deer Island. Kathy added that the regulatory changes regarding the receiving waters have changed, requiring more chemicals for the effluent.

Kathy said that debt service assistance and bond redemption will help control the rate increase to 6.4%, otherwise it would have been over 7%. She noted that rate stabilization and bond redemption helps to smooth rates. We assume $4.6M of which $1.7M in rate stabilization and $2.9M in bond redemption funds. The proposed FY08 planning estimate assumes these funds are exhausted by FY2013.

Kathy mentioned that total expenses will increase by $17.9M or 3.2M over FY07. This is comprised of an increase of 4.2% in wages and salaries, a decrease of 6.1% in energy and utilities (to more historical levels), a 6.35 increase in fringe benefits, a 9.6% in maintenance and a 13.6% in chemical expenses. Staffing has decreased from a high of 1768 in FY97 to 1255 in FY07, a reduction of 515 fewer positions. We believe that we are at an appropriate level, steady state, for the near future, FY08 and beyond. Kathy mentioned that soda ash has gone up over $800k for this budget. We can only get this chemical from the mid-west and purchasing could not get any better pricing. This is an example of some of the costs that are beyond our control. There was some discussion of the costs associated with watershed protection by the buying of land as well as funding for DCR an indirect expense of over $23 million.

Kathy reviewed post employment benefits, primarily non-medical benefits like life insurance. It is also part of the pension plan. These costs need to be recognized and are part of a new accounting regulation. This will be about $8.8M in the final budget. Failure to fund this could have a negative effect on our credit rating and ultimate borrowing costs.

Kathy mentioned that debt service for the Authority accounts for 57% of total expenses, largely to support capital improvements already completed. In 1990 it was 36% and is projected to rise to 61% by 2017. There was a big increase from 1990 to 2006 largely as a result of borrowing to support court-mandated improvements. Cornelia said this period was really the start of construction on Deer Island. Kathy added that nearly 80% of MWRA’s capital spending is mandated. Ed Bretschneider asked if they broke out the data into fixed and variable costs. Kathy said that was something that they didn’t do. Ed also asked if the MWRA challenged of court-mandated work. Mary Adelstein said that the courts don’t mandate the spending; they mandate the work or outcomes that need to be achieved. Bill Katz said about the only thing you can challenge is could the work have been done cheaper. Pam Heidell added we try to do things as cost effectively as possible.

Bill Katz asked what made the refinancing possible. Kathy said that the market conditions were very good and that we had enough bonds that we were able to refinance. Kathy said don’t forget that we are pushing out some of the costs but the benefits justified doing this. Bill asked what was the dollar amount that became available because of this work. Kathy said about $35M. Cornelia Potter said that about $200-$300M worth of debt was pushed out in time to drive this saving. Bill continued and said it sounds like at some point you would be paying more than was scheduled. Cornelia said that was true but it wouldn’t happen until after 2022. Bill asked when would this debt be paid off. Kathy said 2043. Stephen Greene added that the MWRA’s high credit rating saves the Authority large sums of money in its borrowing.

Kathy, said last fall, the Master Plan identified $3.1B in future spending of which $2.0B represented the Wastewater Program. The proposed FY08 CIP added 67 high priority projects from the Master Plan totaling $952.2M of which 47 were Wastewater totaling $578.6M. Kathy added that Wastewater Programs accounts for 48.4% of the CIP and 60.8% of future spending. Kathy said the Master Plan was viewed as a road map on future spending. She added there is a whole range of issues that determining what projects make it into the CIP. This time only priority one and two’s made it into the CIP. There is also the question what is the risk of the projects that don’t get into the CIP.

Kathy reviewed CSO spending. She said it represents the 3rd largest capital improvement initiative in Authority spending. She added CSO is the dominant wastewater spending initiative and account for over 26% of proposed capital spending. Kathy said that investment income from high yield bonds was $33.7M. She said that we also get revenue from new users joining the MWRA system. Revenues like these help offset the Authority expenses. Mary Adelstein asked if all the communities paid their bills on time. Leo Norton said that they do. Leo added that the MWRA has the ability to intercept local aid in cases of nonpayment. But, that is rarely needed.

Kathy outlined key factors impacting rate outlook. She said they were the amount of debt service assistance, inflation rate, and variable interest rates. Rate increases are estimated to be roughly 6% over the next six years. Kathy added that without all changes we discussed today that increase would be in double figures.

Ed Bretschneider reminded everyone that the next meeting is scheduled for
Friday June 1. Kathy Baskin from the EOEA will discuss State Wastewater Policy.

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Minutes of the April 6, 2007 Meeting

Meeting The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MWRA Advisory Board in Boston. PRESENT: Richard Chretien (DEP), Joseph Nerden (DEP), Mary Griffin (DEP), Cathy Vakalopoulos (DEP), Mary Adelstein (WAC) Larry Schafer (WAC), Stephen Greene (Howland Greene Consultants and WAC), Vincent Spada (SEA and WAC), Taber Keally (Donohue Associates and WAC), Cornelia Potter (MWRA Advisory Board and WAC), , Ed Bretschneider (Staff-WAC), Richard Trubiano (MWRA), Denise Breiteneicher (MWRA), Kristen Patneaude (MWRA), Rachel Madden (MWRA), Chris Lam (MWRA), Pam Heidell (MWRA) and Paul Lauenstein (WSCAC).

Stephen Greene called the meeting to order at 10:30 AM. The February 2 minutes were approved as presented.

Stephen Greene mentioned that London is putting in a tunnel sewer, CSO collection system and they have been giving the go ahead to do what Chicago basically did which is a tunnel collection system that is pumped out after rain events and then treated at a treatment plant. Mary Adelstein asked if it was a totally combined system. Stephen said he thought it was mostly combined. Stephen also noted an article in the Patriot Ledger that in Whitman because of sewer capacity issues that they were going to stop development until Brockton upgrades their system , Whitman will not discharge any more than they already have. Stephen continued that the EPA is looking into guidance issues for CSO’s regarding climate change for the Great Lakes and the New England region. The concern was not only with long-term issues of sea level but also shorter-term issues of storm intensity.

Ed Bretschneider mentioned the letter that the WAC sent the legislature to support increasing rate relief from $15M to $25M, the allowance in last years budget. He added that there has been no closure on that recommendation.

MWRA Energy Conservation and Wind Energy – Richard Trubiano, Denise Breiteneicher and Kristen Patneaude

Stephen Greene asked Rich Trubiano how much they spend per kilowatt. Chris Lam said it was somewhere between 15-20 cents per kilowatt. Stephen added that it’s amazing how much energy you end up consuming so that anything that can cut down that cost is welcomed by ratepayers. Paul Lauenstein asked about the trend in energy costs. Kristin Patneaude said it was going up. She added that it has doubled in the past few years. Rich added that’s why we want to talk about our energy conservation measures and the need for wind power.

Rich said the total budget for field operations in FY06 was about $56M and some of those costs are fixed about $32M for wages and salaries, $5M for chemicals and $9M for utilities. Utilities are projected to go to $11M for FY08 so the impact of energy costs is clear. Roughly 75% of this cost is electricity. The other large piece of this cost is diesel fuel, which is about 15%. Rich introduced Denise Breiteneicher to explain how the energy accounts work and the energy is procured.

Denise noted that there are 245 electrical accounts and 56 of these accounts are competitively bid for the generation component, These accounts represent 98% of the energy used by field operations She added that thee are two parts to each account: generation and distribution. 189 of the accounts are for basic service, they tend to b quite small for example meters that don’t draw a lot of electricity. Denise then reviewed electricity procurement.

She noted that the current contract for Deer Island expires at the end of May of this year. The contract is being re-bid. The John Carroll Water Treatment Plant contract expires in the same time period and is also being re-bid. The bid for the Water Plant includes 6 months on the variable market and then combines with FOD ( Field Operations Department) interval accounts to procure a bigger block to increase potential for better prices. The bids need to be approved by the Executive Director and the Board of Directors. This is a challenge because the bids come in at 10 A.M. and need to be accepted by 3- 4 in the afternoon because they will change the price if we don’t. They will hold the price for about four hours. Taber Keally asked how long due contracts normally run. Denise said lately they’ve been a year, but it varies because the rates change depending on so many issues. Denise said if you want the price stability of a three-year contract you will a premium for it. The MWRA opted not to do that and go with the shorter bid.

Denise reviewed many of the energy conservation efforts underway. She described the use of variable frequency drives to allow motors to respond to changing conditions. We’ve transitioned to ultra low sulfur fuel oil for emergency generators and we’ve conduct energy audits at the John Carroll Treatment Plant for HVAC the largest draw of electrical power and strive to meet the Massachusetts Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) Plus goals for new construction and large rehabilitation projects.

After reviewing where the Authority is Denise then reviewed where we would like to go for energy conservation efforts. She mentioned use of solar domestic hot water heaters at Chelsea, the use of bio diesel in heating and process applications to increase use of renewable resources and conduct wind energy studies at multiple facilities. Denise added that these are all things that we are investigating and some of these things may never happen. Ed Bretschneider asked about potential savings. Denise said that at the Chelsea Facility and the John Carroll Facility she would estimate about 25%.

Denise added that there is also a fleet management program. The MWRA currently has 20 hybrid/flex-fuel vehicles on the road and is going to purchase 10 hybrid and 2 flex-fuel vehicles in FY07 and may purchase 10 additional hybrid vehicles. Finally, we are retrofitting 65 existing large diesel vehicles with an n oxidation catalyst designed to reduce noxious emission pollutants by about 50%.

Rich Trubiano then spoke to their Western Operations and the conservation efforts underway. These operations include the Quabbin Reservoir, the Wachusett Reservoir and the John J. Carroll Water treatment Plant. The Water treatment Plant budget is about $2.7 M/year it’s about 15% of the budget for Western Operations and maintenance. Rich added that we do have hydropower out west. The Winsor power station has been out of commission due to a fire in 1991. Every so often bringing it back online is discussed but the economics have not made sense. We have the Oakdale and Cosgrove power stations at Wachusett. The Oakdale Power station generated about $77K of revenue that goes to DCR. We only use this station when we are transferring water from the Quabbin to Wachusett. The Cosgrove Power station generated about $120K of revenue.

Denise briefly spoke about the Demand Response program, which requires enrolled participants to switch to self-generation during peak energy demand periods. Enrolling in this program is being evaluated for the John Carroll Water Plant. Deer Island already participates in this program. MWRA receives an energy payment and a capacity payment for each event it responds to. By participating in both demand response and price response programs, Deer Island was able to net approximately $900K. Denise added that the MWRA couldn’t apply for the savings directly; we need to do it through our supplier. She added that we need to take at least 100KW off the grid when the event is called.

Rich talked about ozone optimization, which is important, because it accounts for approximately 50% of the energy usage at the John Carroll Treatment Plant. He added that there are a number of parameters that are fixed regarding ozone usage, such as, ozone demand, water temperature, ozone half-life and plant flow rate are all pretty fixed. Factors that affect the cost of ozone production are electrical cost, liquid oxygen cost and percent weight of ozone produced. Rich added that the MWRA is the largest user of liquid oxygen in New England. Rich added that total ozone cost is a balance of energy cost and oxygen cost. He noted that the cost of ozone production is almost linearly tied to the cost of electricity.

Kristen reviewed the Wind Power program at the MWRA. She started with a review of the history of wind power at Deer Island. Kristen said that there has been a lot of work done but it is a very slow process. In 1996 a feasibility study was done for the potential of wind energy at Deer Island. In January of 2003 a grant was approved (for UMass) for wind energy with the Anemometer (measure wind speed, velocity and turbulence) Loan Program. A feasibility report was funded in 2004, by Renewable Energy Trust (funded from a surtax on electric bills). It would estimate wind resources, evaluate land use and obstruction issues, review electrical infrastructure and electrical load profile, and identify potential permitting requirements. A financial analysis was included in the scope. The conclusions which were reported in 2005: wind resources could support up to 1.8 MW turbines, up to five possible turbines at three different locations, Desirable average wind speeds (15mph). The payback would be close to $500K annually, which is 4% of Deer Island electricity budget. The cost of construction would be about $1400/kw or $2.5M per turbine. The costs have gone up since the time of this study. The next phase included some aviation work since before we could put turbines up we would have to go the FAA. This is becoming more important as it is the very first step you do in the permitting process. Kristen added that the permitting process with the FAA is not an interactive one, you pick a project and submit it to the FAA and they will come back and give you a response. The first proposal had the turbines 393 Ft high from the bottom of the tower to the tip of the blade. Some months later we received a letter of presumed Hazard from the FAA for exceeding obstruction standards.

This came as no surprise. So we went back to the drawing board with a revised proposal to the FAA a tower height of 246 feet. Our consultant thought this would also receive Determination of Hazard to Air Navigation. The MWRA agreed to lower height to 190 feet based on the original Notice of Presumed Hazard where it was indicated that this height would be acceptable. The economics of this changed significantly to where the payback was over a 20-year period and in the original proposal it was closer to seven years. This is because the energy out was reduced to 250kW from the original 1800kW. Kristen said the project is still viable because we are hopeful of getting some grant funding.

After all this work in December 2006, the FAA indicates that any wind turbine in close proximity to Logan, regardless of height, could cause unacceptable impact to radar and would therefore receive a Determination of Hazard to Air Navigation from FAA. The problem is that when radar bounces off a turbine they can’t tell whether it’s a turbine or a plane. Buildings are stationary so it is not a problem, but with moving turbines radar would see an object in many different positions. This was new to experts working on this; it has been a problem in Europe near military stations but has been overcome with software solutions. In January 2007 the MWRA continues to aggressively seek expertise and possible resources from radar/aviation experts. This issue extends beyond Boston Harbor and Logan Airport and will potentially impact many projects proposed near airports throughout the U.S. So we have started to look at this from a more global aspect. Its been somewhat of a tricky process, since we want to move ahead but don’t want to get on the wrong side of the FAA since as I said earlier they don’t negotiate and just give an ok to proceed or not.

We are looking at wind power at other MWRA facilities. Since permitting for direct hook up to the grid is too complex, MWRA is looking only at projects with on-site demand. We are pre-screening 12 facilities that meet initial established threshold requirements. Feasibility studies for up to four of these facilities to assess the economic, operational, technical and environmental feasibility of installing wind turbines. Ed Bretschneider asked if you would expect any resistance in the communities that you are evaluating wind power for a wind energy project. Kristen answered yes. People are concerned about noise, or the fear of wind farms, which no one is talking about. Rich Trubiano said that when you put a wind energy turbine in a town, they want to share in the revenue, which changes the economics.

Kristen said the lead-time for delivery of a turbine is up to 18 months for delivery. The manufactures are backlogged. They tend to go to Europe or wind farms in the mid-west but not in this area. Funding for these projects are also getting more difficult to obtain. A key obstacle for Deer Island is the radar issue from the FAA. Manufacturers are looking at ways to solve this problem. Kristin added that to date the Authority has not spent any of it own money.

Larry Schafer requested that we have regular updates from the MWRA on operational issues as well as priority items the committee should be paying attention too.

Ed Bretschneider reminded everyone that the next meeting is scheduled for Friday May 4. Rachel Madden from the MWRA will discuss MWRA Budget Challenges.

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Minutes of the February 2, 2007 Meeting

The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MWRA Advisory Board in Boston. PRESENT: Richard Chretien (DEP), Larry Schafer (WAC), Stephen Greene (Howland Greene Consultants and WAC), Vincent Spada (SEA and WAC), Taber Keally (Donohue Associates and WAC), Cornelia Potter (MWRA Advisory Board and WAC), Bill Katz (WAC), Stephen Kaiser (Alewife Coalition), Nancy Hammett (Mystic River), Rick Mattila (Genyzme), Martin Pillsbury (MAPC and WAC) and Ed Bretschneider (Staff-WAC)

Stephen Greene called the meeting to order at 10:30 AM. The January 5 minutes were approved.

Stephen Greene mentioned that wastewater facilities around the country were picking up storm water responsibilities. Larry Schafer said he has heard the same thing. Stephen added that London similar to Chicago is looking to build a tunnel for storage and treatment of storm water. Taber Keally added that companies were looking to come south of Boston to set up their labs and businesses to escape being in the MWRA system. He added that Brockton will probably have to significantly upgrade their wastewater system resulting in significantly higher rates. Cornelia Potter added that in our area MWRA is not responsible for storm water that belongs under the umbrella of the communities. Larry Schafer said he went to a WSCAC meeting where there was tremendous discussion of storm water issues. H added that Newton has added a storm water engineer. Martin Pillsbury said that it is Phase 2 requirements that are driving communities to be more active in storm water management.

Ed Bretschneider noted that the MWRA Advisory Board Green Sheet showed the impact on rates of having debt service relieve and that it could control rate increase to single digits. The difference is 3-4% reduction. Cornelia Potter said the debt relief is not assured. In response to a question from Bill Katz, Cornelia said that it will probably never get back to the $50-$60M range.

There was a brief discussion about blending and what is more important performance or process and technology. Most felt that if Deer Island is meeting permit obligations what is the point of spending millions of dollars to fix a problem that does not exist. Martin Pillsbury added that this is an age-old point of contention with the EPA is it technology standards or performance standards or some combination of the two. If you have the two, which one takes priority; He added that EPA has vacillated on this over the years. Cornelia said there seems to be a region-by-region difference on this issue. Stephen Greene said this is a good topic for a future meeting. Bill Katz said no mater how you slice this, it seems to be somewhat political.

Stephen Greene stated that one of the challenges for the MWRA and WAC in its advisory role is how do you maximize the efficiency of the Authorities capital asset base to keep cost low for the ratepayer and at the same time have due diligence for environmental concerns, with this he turned the meeting over to Martin Pillsbury.

Low Impact Development (LID) – Martin Pillsbury (MAPC and WAC)

Martin said that MAPC is a regional planning facility for eastern Massachusetts’s for101 cities and towns. One of our major roles is to provide technical assistance to our communities on planning related issues. We try to stay on top of the latest issues in planning and pass that on in a consumable way. He added that LID is not new but a packaging of a lot of different things under one banner. Martin said a key goal is the management of storm water by the way we develop and manage the land. He added that instead of focusing on how to direct or use storm water this effort is to reduce it. LID focus is to reduce how much storm water we generate in our communities.

Martin said that LID is a comprehensive approach to land development around storm water. So it is not an answer to all development issues. It does try to maintain the existing natural hydrology. The planning world has its hot fashions for the last year or so LID has been a hot topic. He added that it is not formulaic there are lots of options that require careful thought about what is the best approach. This is a new field to some extent and is still evolving. He added that conventional development concentrate storm water runoff in storm sewers and delivers it to a few large ponds for treatment at the end of the pipe. LID seeks to create multiple small “sub-watersheds” on a site and treats runoff close to the source in smaller structures. Current approaches are moving water out of local watersheds and to some extent depleting aquifers and impacting on rivers and streams. Unfortunately, LID at this point is not very common in Massachusetts.

Martin said that LID designs tend to be friendlier developments, consistent with the character of the area and more pleasing to look at. One way this is accomplished is minimize impervious services and preserve portions of the site in undisturbed natural conditions. Rick Matilla asked about costs of LID. Martin said the jury is out because it is a new field. He added that he wouldn’t be surprised to see some approaches are not that cheap and other might be comparable to conventional methods. Martin added that with LID the majority of run off is maintained on-site, by infiltration into the watershed whereas in conventional systems the majority of runoff is lost to the site. He added that traditional approaches guard against peak flow by building detention basins to prevent flooding, this is good thing. But it lacks retention and recharge approaches for recharge to the watershed. Traditional approaches do require larger systems on site to deal with detention and in most cases bio-retention areas increase ground water recharge. They also help to reduce stress in watersheds that experience severe low flows due to impervious services.
Martin said one of the key principles of LID is to look at the site and use existing natural systems as an integrating framework for site planning. For example if there is a large area of permeable soil that would serve to recharge that is not where you would decide to put your parking lot over unless you build some of these recharge chambers that can be put under the parking lot. Ed Bretschneider asked why a developer would do LID. Martin said sometimes after some research developers find out that LID may make a site more marketable, sometimes town regulations want to see this approach. Ed followed up and asked if this replacement for cluster zoning. Martin said no, it is really in addition to this. Cluster zoning is really about reducing the footprint of the development. Martin mentioned how commercial site design can use cluster and multiple parking areas to protect water resources and provide opportunities for low impact storm water management techniques. A design like this can provide the same square footage and parking spaces as a conventional design that encroaches on nearby sensitive sites like marches. Martin added that with cluster zoning it helps reduce costs by limiting how much you have to extend your infrastructure, roads, water wastewater, etc. He added that LID seeks to maximize the travel time for storm water runoff. Conventional pipe systems increase this speed resulting in bigger peak discharge rates at the end of the pipe. LID seeks to increase the time.

Martin said a key principle is storm water prevention. In general you want to minimize clearing and grading of potential development sites. At this point your not even talking about how to handle the storm water your focus is reduction by minimizing impervious surfaces. The storm water that is generated you want to treat close to the source, a move away from big centralized systems. These small-distributed storm water micromanagement techniques have an advantage over the centralized approach because if one or more of the individual structures fail it does so without comprising the overall integrity of the storm water management of the site. LID does not advertise itself as being able to handle large flows from huge storms; it is designed to deal with more ordinary day to day events. Martin said there are some applications where storm water can be used for landscapes that require some irrigation. In addition using drought resistant plants and local plants that can maintain themselves without excessive water or chemicals.

In LID you reverse the normal development approach first by identifying those areas you want to conserve, what areas are appropriate for development and then identify the house lots. Once you identify house lots then you put in the roads to serve those houses and align the roads and trails. Then the lot lines are drawn. What you now have is a site that has part of it with development along with conservation areas. Other approaches look at clustering buildings within the development envelope, designing building with smaller footprints, which can sometimes mean building taller buildings, which can be in conflict with suburban communities, which have a prejudice against taller buildings. So we might have to ask communities to rethink their strategies because this is a more efficient way to develop and reduce the impact on the site. Cornelia Potter asked if these areas are sewered. Martin said that is not an issue because we are focusing on storm water. He added where it might make a difference to the sewers is if you were disconnecting the storm water from the sewer you might make a difference on the inflow. The process we are talking about would retain the storm water in the site and recharging the ground water decoupling it from the sewer system. Ed Bretschneider asked if there were metrics that tell you how well this process is working. Martin said the biggest metric they look at is the hydrology of the site and how much are you recharging and maintaining. Martin said there is really no one number that we can measure although the regulators might want something like this in the future. There might be performance standards that get worked into the methodology. Martin continued that the methods we are encouraging is to keep roadways as narrow as possible and putting in permeable parking lanes, although we know there are problems in putting in permeable lanes in high traffic areas. There are different types of permeable pavement. It started out with porous asphalt, which is still available but creates problem in high traffic areas. Some retail parking areas are sized for peak traffic times of the holiday season that may last a month or two. So areas that get, not as much traffic during most of the year might be candidates for permeable paving. Other alternatives are now available. Permeable paving can be prone to clogging from sand and fine sediments that fill void spaces. Consequently, it is important to minimize use of salt or sand during the winter months. Permeable paving reduces the need for storm water conveyances and treatment structures, resulting in cost savings elsewhere. Permeable paving also reduces the amount of land needed for storm water management and may satisfy requirements for green space, allowing more development on a site. Martin showed a schematic of a parking lot that uses a variety of low impact techniques. Parking areas are separated by vegetated swales that convey runoff to bioretention areas, and permeable paving is used for overflow parking at the periphery of the lot.

Martin said that bioretention is a big component of LID. It is essentially an excavation filled with an engineered soil mix then planted with herbaceous perennials shrubs and trees They allow ponds of water to collect in there and then gradually infiltrate to groundwater. Taber Keally said that Neponset River Watershed got a contract from the state to be a contractor for one of these bioretention cells for Pine Tree Brook. Taber suggested that Martin contact Ian Cooke to get details. Martin said LID bioretention is still small scale but the more we can show tangible benefits we think it will catch on. He said in New England we are traditionalist and it is difficult to bring on new technology like this. He said we like to think we are on the leading edge of technology but in certain areas like bioretention we aren’t. Martin said these demonstration models are critical to show that these new techniques work. Stephen Greene said it’s important people understand the maintenance part of these efforts regarding mowing, landscaping and weeding. The question is how does maintenance cost compare with conventional developments? Martin said even when you’re talking about narrowing roads you need to be concerned about fire trucks and public vehicles and there ability to use and turn around. Nancy Hammett asked if there were concerns about standing water and safety. Martin said the water is not suppose to be there forever, by design it will slowly infiltrate. Large developments may require centralized systems. But it may be possible to use these decentralized approaches to feed a large centralized venue.

Martin said that infiltration trenched and dry wells are standard storm water management structures that can play an important role in LID site design. Cisterns and rain barrels are simple techniques to store rooftop runoff and reuse it landscaping and other nonpotable uses. I know WAC had CRWA to present on their application of this technique. Martin mentioned green roofs that are a vegetated roof system that stores rainwater in a lightweight engineered soil medium, where the water is taken up by plants and transpired into the air. As a result, much less water runs off the roof, as compared to conventional rooftops.

Nancy Hammett added that the storm water advisory committee is making recommendations to the state on this issue. Martin added that if the state changes its guidelines that it will trickle down to the communities and they will be more receptive to LID applications and the DEP is involved with this group as well. Martin also said there are a lot of questions regarding LID but there are not always answers as there are with any new approach. Nancy Hammett mentioned that LID has made significant head way in Europe and they are way ahead of us on this issue.

Martin some of LID approaches may only work six months of the year around here because of weather, we also have to ensure adequate emergency access and prioritize pedestrian safety, we have to define ownership because it is incorporated into the lot design. Traditional approaches are clearer about what is public ownership and private, where as with LID storm water control approaches can be built into what is part of the private development. In situations like this who owns it, who maintains it is questions that have to be answered. All storm water systems require maintenance. Some can be as simple as mowing and picking up liter. With these systems all is above ground so you can identify problems more easily than with underground pipes. Communities may also have to rethink some of thee zoning laws, which could make LID techniques difficult in some cases. Martin said that a codes checklist has been developed to help communities understand the potential conflicts. He added that towns looking at Phase 2 requirements, around storm water regulations, support all this work. A lot of cooperation is needed among all the town boards to support LID. This is one of the reasons that LID is moving at somewhat slow pace. There is a built in conflict between developers and town officials. Developers tend to think of new approaches as ways to stall development. So trust isssues need to be dealt with. Larry Schafer asked if mosquito control was an issue. Martin said in some communities it might be an issue. Nancy Hammett added that she believes it is more fear than an actual concern. Taber Keally added that storm water under current approaches is subject to the same concern. Stephen Kaiser said he believed that LID solutions have been ignored in Alewife. Martin added that much of what he talked about were solutions for suburban sites where more land is available than in urban settings where LID solutions might be more limited. Nancy Hammet said she thought this was an arguable point. Rick Matilla said that with green buildings about 20% of the credits to green building rating is site sustainability and part of that includes storm water retention, reduction and heat island effect. He added that in urban areas even if LID is applicable in small bits, every little piece helps. In urban areas green roofs have real potential. Rick said sometimes in towns and cities the conflict is internal among their own boards. Rick said he was involved with a project where zeroscaping was proposed that requires no additional water use to irrigate but planning people were concerned it would not look green enough. Martin said LID approaches are meant to deal with what is on the site not bringing in or taking out storm water. Stephen Kaiser said controlling storm water helps MWRA by relieving flow in its pipes. Martin added by controlling storm water upstream that contributes to CSO will obviously be a benefit. So long term, source reduction will help reduce CSO’s.

Martin Pillsbury said information on LID tool kit is available on MAPC website (www.mapc.org/lid).

Ed Bretschneider reminded everyone that the next meeting is scheduled for
Friday, March 2. Richard Trubiano from the MWRA will discuss Energy Conservation.

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Minutes of January, 2007 Meeting

Minutes of the January 5, 2007 Meeting The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MWRA Advisory Board in Boston. PRESENT: John Vetere (MWRA), John Colbert (MWRA), Gerard Gallinaro (MWRA), Richard Chretien (DEP), Roger Frymire, Larry Schafer (WAC), Stephen Greene (Howland Greene Consultants and WAC), Vincent Spada (SEA and WAC), Taber Keally (Donohue Associates and WAC), Cornelia Potter (MWRA Advisory Board and WAC), Bill Katz (WAC), Stephen Kaiser (Alewife Coalition) and Ed Bretschneider (Staff-WAC)

Stephen Greene called the meeting to order at 10:30 AM. The December 8 minutes were approved with corrections.

Ed Bretschneider mentioned the MWRA Advisory News and Notes highlighting that Governor Deval has committed to restoring the cuts that Romney took by executive action including the $25M allocated for debt relief.

DEER ISLAND MAINTENANCE – JOHN VETERE, JOHN COLBERT AND GERARD GALLINARO (MWRA)

John Vetere gave an overview of the presentation and introduced Gerard Gallinaro and John Colbert who would do most of the formal presentation. He added that Gallinaro and Colbert built the asset program that we are going to talk about today. Vetere continued that the key challenge is to maintain the plant so that it continues its best in class performance and do it in an economical way. He added that we will review the strides that we have made and the direction we are heading in. He mentioned that a key aspect of the program is RCM, Reliability Centered Maintenance. One of the key questions asked is when is it appropriate to maintain versus run a piece of equipment in to the ground and then replace. John Vetere asked that if you have a question during the presentation please ask rather than waiting until the end At this point he turned over the meeting to John Colbert.

John Colbert said there were three things he wanted to review: maintenance overview, an update in FAMP (facilities asset management program) and monitoring performance. Colbert mentioned that there were about $2.4B of assets that are divided between equipment ($1.22B) and non-equipment ($1.26B). there are over 72,000 assets in the equipment category. The major groups in equipment are electrical ( motors, switchgears, etc.) and mechanical (pumps gearboxes, drives) and in non-equipment buried piping, seawall, roads and buildings. There are 38 buildings on site. Gerard Gallinaro added that in FY08 budget about $1.8M for roof replacement and coatings; about 15% of the budget is on non-equipment type maintenance. Richard Chretien asked where are they allocated, Colbert said in equipment under mechanical. Bill Katz asked if the financials were historical numbers. Colbert said they were inflated to reflect appropriate construction costs. Bill continued that from a bond payment you are paying off a different number. Gallinaro and Colbert replied yes.

John Colbert said that in FY06 maintenance was 19% of the total budget. John Vetere added that this is strictly material and services, it is not staffing. Bill Katz asked how many people are required to run Deer Island. Vetere said it takes approximately 250 people to operate the facility. Taber Keally asked what percent of the total budget does it take to run Deer Island? Cornelia Potter said it’s about 25% of the total budget. Vetere added that it is about 50% of the total wastewater treatment budget for the Authority.

John Colbert mentioned that the maintenance craft hour distribution is 24% preventive maintenance (PM), 58% corrective maintenance (CM), 15% projects (PROJ), 3% predictive maintenance (Pdm), and 0.3% emergency (EM). Gallinaro said that redundancy has been built into the system to allow maintenance work without shutting down. Bill Katz asked what is the average rate for flow? Vetere said about 360mgd. Colbert continued and said that there are 116 staff (technicians and supervisors) that support 26,000 work orders per year.

John Colbert reviewed Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM), which is a structured process where operations and maintenance jointly analyze system components and recommend the most appropriate maintenance requirements that include tasks, frequencies and trades of physical assets as they are operated. The process was developed in the aviation industry. It is s non-intrusive technique, which eliminates intrusive investigations, which have proven to result in more work. This technique results in longer useful life of equipment due to proactive monitoring of asset condition before failure.
The process includes meetings that include trades, operators and staff to review how the equipment is working today compared to how it was designed to work. Then the group determines what tasks need to be done to keep the equipment running smoothly. It is a very rigid structured process. Colbert emphasized that you go component by component in the system and that it is a failures mode and effects analysis program. He added that we also rely on our computerized management maintenance system called MAXIMO. Colbert said an advantage of having maintenance and operations staff working together is that each gets an appreciation of what the other has to do. The focus is on condition monitoring that is non-intrusive techniques. It leads you to do an oil analysis or vibration analysis. You end up with a longer life of the equipment. It gets fixed before there is a catastrophic failure. Ed Bretschneider asked about the strategy used since Deer Island has the redundancy of equipment. Colbert said, for example, in the case of two pumps, one strategy is to run each 50% of the time. Most people think that the most logical. But, there is the possibility that they will both fail at the same time. In RCM you would rum one to failure, and focus maintenance on the run pump. The back up pump would be run periodically just to check status to keep in back up readiness. John Vetere said of course you need redundant systems to operate in this fashion.

John Colbert said the reason we changed on our strategy is that we have 180,000 maintenance work hours per year and 26,000 work orders/year. We have a staff of 116 to support this effort. As mentioned previously 24% of the work is preventive maintenance. RCM is quite intensive so you want to focus on the critical equipment. He continued, 40% of equipment is critical to plant operation and accounts for 75% ($900M) of the plant equipment cost. Colbert added you want to minimize intrusive maintenance since greater than 50% of equipment failures is self-induced. He added that RCM is mainly focused on preventive maintenance but does influence design and safety issues. John Vetere added that one of the wonderful things about RCM is that the folks involved with maintenance were involved in the decision making process and feel more involved and have a greater sense of ownership. We’re building a team that is highly motivated and involved in both maintenance and operations. Gallinaro said while this program did result in staff reductions we are now at steady state and hiring in critical areas. Roger Frymire asked if this approach allowed operators to pick up new work. Gallinaro said in special cases, for example, operators now do limited maintenance work. Bill Katz asked what is the age distribution. Vetere said the average age is about 40.

John Colbert said 58 systems have been analyzed by RCM, 40 systems remain to completed over next 3-4 years. Training is an on-going process as well. Benefits from this program include improved PM for critical assets, higher system availability and reduced PM cost (a reduction in about 3000 hours/year)

John Colbert said that RCM is not appropriate for all assets. It is not appropriate for our non-equipment assets, and it wouldn’t make sense from a cost/benefit perspective to use it for all our equipment assets. We are only applying RCM to critical equipment assets, which is approximately 40% of all equipment that accounts for 75% of the plant operation cost. About $900M of the equipment receives RCM and about $300M does not. Colbert said that non-equipment items like roofs are also evaluated.

John Colbert defined preventive maintenance optimization (PMO) as a review of each job plan in Maximo. This is for all equipment that did not have an RCM completed, which consists of 72,000 equipment items. This is about 2000 job plans that needed to be reviewed. This process also resulted in light maintenance duties being done by operations and eliminated tasks that provide minimal value. For example equipment were being maintained by original vendor instructions. In some cases a pump might be evaluated once a month taking an hour each time. It cost more to evaluate than the cost of the pump. In cases like this the pump would be run to failure. The impact of this work resulted in 25% reduction in PM hours and 5000 less PM work orders issued/year. The reduced maintenance hours have been made available for more project work and training as well as staff reductions in some areas. John Vetere emphasized that getting operators to do light maintenance work was a major break through that resulted in signicant productivity improvements. Larry Schafer asked what union did you have to work with. Vetere said there are five unions: Moses (scientists and engineers), Unit 6 (steel workers), Unit 1 (administration), then you have Units 2 and 3. These include operation folks and licensed people, electricians, plumbers, etc. Vetere said we meet with the unions once a month. Larry Schafer asked if there were questions of which union had jurisdiction. Vetere said yes. Bill Katz asked if there have been strikes. Vetere said by law they cannot strike. It doesn’t mean they won’t but by law they can’t. Galinaro, in response to a question, said there are monthly meeting to share learning’s among all operations. These are FAMP meetings (facilities asset management meetings). Colbert also noted that IBM has bought Maximo. It is also currently available on the Intranet, which means it is accessible on people’s computers. Colbert noted that 2-3% of work orders are audited each month to make sure that work has been done correctly. The result is over 95% o work being done correctly.

John Colbert said that in 1998 they had 152 full time equivalents and in 1996 that had been reduced to 116. He noted that these were just technicians and supervisors. Galinaro said that in 1995 it was projected that the number would grow to 200 by 1996. John Vetere added that the graph showed the budget increasing and clarified that that is a combination of CEB and CIP money. He added that staffing is starting to level off. Stephen Greene asked about how the costs are divided. Gallinaro said that the maintenance portion in the CEB is about $10M and $15M in CIP. Stephen Greene said that many people don’t understand the investment that is required to maintain the equipment. Cornelia Potter asked if it is still required to report staffing to the EPA Vetere said that they are required to report on staffing every two years to DEP. He added that is for the operational staffing not maintenance.

John Colbert showed a graph that demonstrated that Preventive Maintenance has decreased over time, Corrective Maintenance has remained relatively constant and Predictive Maintenance has gone up. He then reviewed maintenance metrics which overall showed performance that is best in class in several categories. The plant is 12 years old and is still running at peak efficiency as demonstrated by plant metrics versus best in class benchmarks.
Stephen Greene asked if there has been a grit problem with some of the major storms we have had over recent years. Gallinaro said the grit system has been upgraded and there has not a significant issue.

Cornelia Potter asked about under spending of the budget for Deer Island and asked them if they will spend the budgeted amount. Gallinaro said there is no issue that we will spend that money in 2007. He added that we spend about $1M/year just on coatings. He said we call it coatings because it more than just painting. He said management understands that these are things that we cannot put off. Stephen Kaiser asked about life expectancy of equipment at DI. Gallinaro said electronics about 10 years electrical equipment about 20-30 years, motors can last 20-30 years with proper maintenance. The average of all equipment is probably 30 years. Larry Schafer asked about the safety record. John Vetere said it is within industry standards.

Ed Bretschneider reminded everyone that the next meeting is scheduled for Friday, February 2. Martin Pillsbury will discuss Low Impact Development (LID).

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2006
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Minutes of December, 2006 Meeting

Minutes of the December 2006 Meeting The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MWRA Advisory Board in Boston. PRESENT: Carolyn Fiore (MWRA), Tim Hawes (DEP). Nancy Hammett, Stephen Greene, Howland Greene Consultants and WAC), Mary Adelstein (WAC), Taber Keally (Donohue Associates and WAC), Cornelia Potter (MWRA Advisory Board and WAC), Christine Hevelone-Byler. (MWRA Advisory Board, and Ed Bretschneider (Staff-WAC)

Stephen Greene called the meeting to order at 10:30 AM. The November 13 minutes were approved with corrections.

Ed Bretschneider mentioned upcoming meetings, January 5 Maintenance at Deer Island (John Vetere MWRA) and February 2, Low Impact Development (Martin Pillsbury, MAPC).

Toxic Reduction, Control and Compliance (TRAC) – Carolyn Fiore (MWRA)

Carolyn reviewed how her organization has changed. The group is significantly smaller and stretched but able to accomplish its mission. There are currently 46 positions where it was as high as the 80’s. It is functional in structure and supported by staff in the Law Division and Field Operations Department. There are over 4000 commercial/industrial facilities in the database. There are over 1400 active permits,

Carolyn outlined accomplishments over the past year that was quite significant. Over 200 permits were issued, 704 facilities inspections completed, 504 inspections of gas/oil separators, 57 inspections of septage receiving sites and over 2000 monitoring events completed. In terms of enforcement she noted that there were over 400 enforcement actions. Carolyn mentioned that the number of significant industrial users have stayed relatively constant over the last six years. The composition has changed somewhat from industrial to more biotech. She also noted that significant noncompliance has been steadily dropping over the same time period. It was at a high of 102 in FY00 and 51 in FY06. The breakdown for FY06 has been: reporting violations 5, discharge and reporting 7, discharge only 33 discharge and failure to achieve compliance 6.

Carolyn spent a fair amount of time discussing mercury enforcement. She stated that <WRA regulations prohibit the discharge of mercury. TRAC enforcement limit is 0.001mg/l. Starting in 1994 TRAC and industrial users study ways to reduce mercury discharges to the sewer and identify effective pretreatment methods. A mercury database was developed. In 1996 investigated mercury management and pretreatment and produced guidance documents. This was all part of mercury taskforce whose work formally concluded in March of 1997.

In March of 1997 initiated mercury Safe Harbor Program that provided an “enforcement safe harbor” for industrial users. In this program MWRA deferred higher-level enforcement action if a sewer user actively took steps required by Safe Harbor guidance document. This program stayed in place until new local limits were submitted to EPA in 2000. In this time period 37 facilities were covered. They were divided into two groups. Group 2 had more stringent requirements including the requirement to evaluate, design, and install pretreatment. By April 2001 29 facilities were in compliance. The MWRA adopted New Guidance to address continued mercury violations. Final compliance was required by July 2002. After this date MWRA will consider penalties for violations. By the end of June 2002 22 enforcement orders were issued. By June 2003 15 facilities had achieved compliance. The Authority began meeting with remaining 7 to discuss noncompliance. By January 2004 5 facilities still in violation. MWRA begins drafting penalties. At the end of 2004 settled with one facility with a substantial penalty and schedule to install pretreatment. In 2006 agreements to settle with all but one facility, including penalty payments and schedules. There are still active negotiations with remaining facility.

The impact of these programs has been a reduction in mercury influent levels and effluent levels. In addition mercury levels in biosolids are also down. This is all due to the TRAC Mercury Program, DEP Dental Regulations requiring amalgam separators and increase in overall awareness of issued (thermometer collection, etc.).

TRAC is looking to update its systems by on-line permit application ability and Web submittal of self-monitoring and other reports. To do this we are entering a contract with Inflection Point Systems for COTS 9Commercial off the Shelves) system. We have an 18-month implementation schedule to integrate/replace five separate information systems.

The EPA has an effluent guidelines program, for national industrial wastewater regulations for direct and indirect discharges. They will be industry specific for example metal and finishing. There are existing guidelines for 56 major industrial categories.

Under current review are airport deicing operations. This is a concern because of the antifreeze ingredients used in the process. The Federal Register proposal scheduled for December 2007. In the same timeframe is a drinking water treatment plant proposal. There will be additional studies for steam electric power generators, pulp and paper mills and tobacco products. Additional data collection will be required for the Health service industry, industrial container drum cleaning and independent and stand alone laboratories

Taber Keally noted how in his work how many people are looking for commercial real estate outside the limits of the MWRA system to bypass some of the regulation.

Ed Bretschneider reminded everyone that the next meeting is scheduled for Friday, January 5. John Vetere and his team will give an update on Deer Island Maintenance.

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Minutes of the November 13, 2006 Meeting

The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held a joint meeting with WSCAC at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) in Boston. PRESENT: MEMBERS: Cornelia Potter, Mary Adelstein, Larry Schafer, Bill Katz, Taber Keally, Martin Pillsbury, Jon Beekman, Alice Clemente, Martha Stevenson, Sally Newbury, Tom Miner, Whitney Beals and Stephen Greene STAFF: Ed Bretschneider, Eileen Simonson and Bill Elliot MWRA: Pam Heidell and Stephen Estes-Smargiassi PUBLIC: Stephen Kaiser Alewife Coalition, Kathy Baskin EOEA, Richard Chretian DEP, Anna Eleria CRWA, Connie Craycroft CSCT, John Craycroft CSCT, Roger Frymire and Sumner Brown MWRA ADVISORY BOARD: Joe Favaloro and Ryan Ferrara

Stephen Greene called the meeting to order at 10:30 AM. There was a quick round of introductions followed by brief WSCAC and WAC business sessions. WSCAC approved October minutes. Eileen Simonson noted that there were a number of important documents for distribution. The most critical was a WSCAC position paper on their position on whether there is a water surplus and if there is what might be done with it. She added it is a working document for WSCAC and the MWRA Advisory Board to work together to resolve differences. Eileen said this was at the request of Joe Favaloro’s and she is delighted he is willing to do this. WAC approved amended October minutes. Ed Bretschneider mentioned that there was an MWRA staff summary of their System Expansion Policy that would be useful in light of today’s topic. Roger Frymire noted that WSCAC signed off on DEP wastewater regulations. He noted that there are some disturbing elements that allow for a large variety of industrial users presumptive permits if you are below 50,000 gallon a day of wastewater or if you are 5% of the treatment works capacity. That means for industrial users in the MWRA district that means they are liable for a presumptive permit instead of an actual one if they produce less than 22 million gallons a day of wastewater. Roger believes all users are below this and that it goes too far for presumptive permits. Roger would like to support a change to less than 50,000 gallons a day in addition to (not or) less than 5% treatment capacity. He would like WAC’s support on this and noted that comment period ended 5 P.M. today. Stephen Greene said we missed the boat on this and it would be difficult to get agreement this quickly. Eileen suggested writing an e-mail to DEP asking for an extension. Kathy Baskin noted that the comment period had already been extended but that she would pass along the request to DEP from WAC and WSCAC. Bill Elliot asked if there was an explanation in writing of the conversation Roger had with the DEP. Roger said there is not. Mary Adelstein requested a copy of the document that WSCAC signed on to; Eileen through Ed agreed to get her a copy.

Ed Bretschneider read a brief letter he received from the Harrington family in appreciation for the letter WAC wrote in sympathy for the passing of Joe a long time WAC member.

Joe Favaloro then gave a brief on Advisory Board news. Joe stated that Governor Romney on Friday eliminated all debt service assistance. That means $18.75M to cities and towns of the MWRA area that would have to be made up. Joe noted that the next Advisory Board meeting is this Thursday at the State House where we will discuss the Governor’s action.

Joe also was critical of WAC and WSCAC for the current meeting on system expansion. He said with all the critical issues facing the Authority system expansion is clearly not one of the most important topics to be discussed at a joint session. Joe added that if the committees wanted to have a major impact they should think more carefully about where they should put their emphasis at these meetings. He talked about the importance of Master Planning and Maintenance as examples. Stephen Greene said that we have tried to be very conscience that there is only one pot of money and that all the competing resources have to b funded from this resource. Eileen said that this is an incentive to have more joint meetings on the priority areas.

He concluded by noting that after 11 years Ryan Ferrara is leaving the Advisory Board for a high level position in Newton.

Stephen Kaiser – Model for Mitigation Requirements of New Sewage

Steve said for 8 years in worked in the MEPA office. In the late 70’s he became aware of a situation with developer coming in where there is a sewer overflow during a storm already and they wanted to add new sewage to the system: what do you do. Sewer bans were tried unsuccessfully. From this arose the idea that if you want to put one gallon in, you have to take out 2 gallons of I/I which was the recommendation back then. Stephen said the current policy is four to one. He said the interesting question is what is the right number to use. Stephen asked where did the number come from, was it the DEP, MWRA or some other agency. He said he believed it came from MWRA with support from DEP and trying to get MEPA and others to support it. Opposition comes from developers who say they don’t want to do it and have political friends to go to for support. Stephen said since he couldn’t find good analytical support for the number, he’d try to mathematically come up with the right number. He said he came up with 12 equations and 12 unknowns. The model he developed was to look at the components of flow include raw sewage, infiltration and inflow. New sewage added to all this flow can result in overflows as well as the desired treatment at Deer Island. The question is for every gallon of new sewage how much inflow has to be removed to mitigate overflows. If you don’t remove enough, who pays for the resulting damage? It’s not the developer it’s the MWRA.

Stephen introduced the concept of pollutant load, which is flow times concentration. If concentration of a pollutant goes up, you can keep the load constant by reducing the flow. Hence, you can add sewage to the system and keep the load constant by removing the appropriate amount of inflow. Stephen applied this model to Alewife and came with a ratio of 26 to one. He said if a developer was giving a hard time about 4 to one, an argument could be made that they are getting off easy, because a rigorous analysis says it should be 26 to one. He added this might make the MWRA’s job a little easier. Stephen said he would like a technical expert to review his work to see if there are any errors.

Stephen Estes-Smargiassi said most of the regulatory framework is volume based. He also said the genesis of the 4 to 1 ratio was a function of reducing uncertainty. The regulators wanted 1 to 1 but because removal of I/I is so uncertain we want you to do more to be sure you get at least one to one. Nowhere was there a mechanism to count bugs they were only looking at volumes. He said it's important to differentiate between dry weather overflows and CSO’s. Also, the data is not available to say the while bugs are bad a bit more may make it worse. He said the labeling of water quality issues is broad based (course) and not fine-tuned. While there may be more coliform it may not matter in terms of public health. Kaiser said, yes, that these items needed to be considered in analyzing the model and results.

MWRA System Expansion Policy – Pam Heidell

Pam said the enabling act formed the foundation for the MWRA System Expansion Policy. It lays out the requirements for communities or entities to join the system that are not part of the original act. All submissions require the approval of the MWRA BOD, Advisory Board, Legislature and Governor.

Pam reviewed the admission processes for both water and wastewater. She noted that there is a checklist for communities to use to facilitate the process. It is a description of the documentation that is required for the process to proceed. There are similarities for both water and wastewater; for example, the first steps are for the applicant to contact the Authority regarding its request for admission to the MWRA. Then the MWRA sets up an informational meeting with the applicant. Pam noted that practically all of the action has been on the waterside; several new communities over the past several years have been added to the system. There are new communities currently looking to join as well. On the sewer side there have been new connections but no entire communities have been added to the system. Several new potential connections are under discussion.

Pam said there are five major System Expansion Policies:

• Sewer Connections Serving Property Partially Located in a Non-MWA Community
• Admission to New Community to MWRA Sewer System and Other requests for Sewer Service to Locations Outside MWRA Service Area
• Water Connection Serving Property Partially Located in a Non-MWRA Community
• Admission of New Community to MWRA Water System
• Emergency Water Supply Withdrawals

There are several key criteria for a new community to join the water system. There has to be a safe yield of the watershed system to meet the new demand. No existing water supply source has been abandoned unless its been declared unfit. A water management plan has been adopted by the community and approved by the Water Resources Commission. The community has developed effective demand management measures. A local water supply source feasible for development has not been identified. Expansion of service area shall have no negative impact on current MWRA communities. There are special regulations and considerations when an applicant’s area straddles two adjacent towns. Special consideration is also given to short term and six month emergency water supply issues. These don’t have to go through the water resources commission. Eileen Simonson said it sounds like on the sewer side an individual facility can apply whereas on the waterside unless it’s a state or federal facility it cannot apply but entities such as Weymouth Naval airbase, which likely set itself up as a water district than becomes a municipality and can apply. Pam said they are like a municipality. Eileen added that while individual houses have been connected on the waterside that is not suppose happen with water.

Pam said the Advisory Board has played a key role in shaping the policy. In 1996 they formed and System Expansion Committee that looked at the policy and procedures and looked at what could be done. In 2001 the committee was re-assembled to review and update their work. Recommendations were brought to the MWRA BOD. The policies were revised based on these recommendations along with other changes. This process was repeated in 2006 as well. This all is done to make the policy and expectations clearer. Pam said the changes continue to stress no negative impact on current users as well as watersheds.
Both policies have added conservation requirements whether it is inflow reduction on the sewer side or EOEA conservation on the waterside. Both policies have looked at entrance fees for equity. Also, communities need to make sure the requests are consistent with their internal planning. Reporting requirements have been increased to make sure people are doing what they say they are going to do. The entire policies are quite long in excess of 20 pages, which is why the checklist mentioned above was developed.

Pam she is often asked is there a form that is filled out to apply. She said it’s not a form. There are a lot of things that need to be done. Sometimes just the pre-work can be as long as five years. Communities have to ask is it worth the cost to enter the MWRA system and what other options are available that maybe more favorable to the community. Before a community comes to the MWRA they need to have all the regulatory agreements in place. Pam said some people say we don’t have formal criteria but we do. Many of the criteria steps have to be completed before communities come to the MWRA. Pam said in many cases people meet with the MWRA for the first time and never come back. She we try to make it clear that you should be coming to us if we are your only option and even with that there are significant costs associated with it. One critical area we look at for sewer looking to join on the sewer side are there any issues with the interceptors they would require. Of course they have to remove inflow at a 4 to one ratio of new sewage to the system. It’s inflow and infiltration because that is measurable. No one has balked at this condition. This is in addition to any requirement the local community may have. Joe Favaloro said the standard to join is quite stringent. He added that a positive is that communities that come forward to join the system are coming forward with their master plan. Pam added that developers are also coming forward with more creative plans like recycling water for non-potable uses.

Ed Bretschneider said that WAC’s next meeting is December 8. The topic is toxic reduction, control and compliance. Carolyn Fiore from the MWRA will be the quest speaker.

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Minutes of the October 13, 2006 Meeting

The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) in Boston. PRESENT: MEMBERS: Cornelia Potter, Vin Spada, Mary Adelstein, Larry Schafer, and Stephen Greene STAFF: Ed Bretschneider MWRA: Marian Orfeo, Carl Leone and Kristen Hall PUBLIC: Stephen Kaiser, Coalition for Alewife, Mark Casella DEP, Roger Frymire Cambridge, Sumner Brown Belmont and Don Walker Metcalf & Eddy,

Stephen Greene called the meeting to order at 10:30 AM. He started the meeting with a moment of silence for the recent loss of Joe Harrington a long time member of the Wastewater Advisory Committee. The committee requested Ed Bretschneider write a letter to the Harrington family expressing our condolences and appreciation of his services on WAC.

The September minutes were approved as presented. Stephen mentioned that in the news was an article stating that Indianapolis agreed to pay $1.86M to stop sewer overflows. He noted in the September meeting Fred Laskey mentioned that the Authority was on the leading edge of sewer infrastructure improvements and how other cities around the country that did not make that investment are now paying the price. To emphasize the point Stephen noted that Indianapolis was putting 8B gallons of untreated sewage into the White River.

Ed Bretschneider mentioned that the next meeting was a joint session with WSCAC. The topic is system expansion. Steve Kaiser will discuss his model for mitigation requirements for new sewage. The MWRA will give an overview of their water and wastewater system expansion policy highlighting interdependencies where they exist. The meeting is Monday, November 13 at the MAPC.

MWRA: Master Planning – Marian Orfeo, Carl Leone and Kristen Hall

Marian thanked the committee for inviting the planning team to give an update on Master Planning. She said that she was sharing the presentation that was given to the MWRA BOD at Deer Island recently. Marian noted that there was a tour, which helped the Directors, appreciate some of the recommendations in the Master Plan, where they could see first hand the impact that both time and harsh conditions have had on the equipment and infrastructure. She added that sometimes we forget that parts of the plant are over ten years old. Marian said probably the biggest challenge for the Authority is balancing the need for continuing investment with the very real challenges of managing rate increases. Marian added that because of limited funding the MWRA has to look at scaling down its capital improvement program. The CIP has to be structured in a rationale way that looks at all the infrastructure and identifies what the needs are and then prioritize them so that the CIP can be realistically sized to meet the need of the system without causing rate revolt in the service area. Marian said the Master Plan covers all the projects that are now in the approved FY07 CIP. All projects have been prioritized from 1-5 with Priority 1 being the most critical. The projects are being further scrutinized as they go through the CIP development process. She added that $192M has been budgeted for FY07-13 needs. The Master Plan takes a 40-year view. Marian said there is a very strong focus on equipment replacement due to obsolescence and deterioration. The total wastewater needs identified in the Master Plan totals over $2B. 201 wastewater projects have been identified that have been prioritized from 1-5.

Marian talked about the Deer Island Plant being expensive to have built and expensive to maintain. She added we are going through the replacement cycle for some of the equipment in the plant. Additionally, it is expected that there will be a need for large-scale equipment replacement for the residuals facility when the current contract with NEFCO expires. Three of the four Headworks were built in the 1960’s and require significant reinvestment. Interceptors are aging and some sections require rehabilitation or replacement. All these changes occur while in operation that will result in operational challenges during capital construction. Although the needs assessment goes through FY48, today we will focus on the near term.

Some key assumptions are that no new communities will join the wastewater system, no funds are included for additional regulatory requirements and cross-harbor tunnels are on good condition requiring no rehabilitation. Criteria were based on the consequences of failure. Ed Bretschneider said that all this sounds consistent with what Fred talked about, moving from headline projects to those more focused on maintenance. Marian responded that Deer Island has consumed most of the maintenance dollars and support for this is reflected in the Master Plan. She added John Vetere always makes a strong case for adequate funding in the CEB.

Carl Leone started with a review of collection system facilities that consists of 4 remote headworks and 20 combined pump stations and CSO facilities. Some of the key elements to minimize risk of failure include, keeping the equipment running and maintenance of electricity and standby power in light of recent power failures on Deer Island. The four remote headwords are Chelsea Creek, Columbus Park, Ward Street and Nut Island. Three older remain operational and require significant investment. Nut Island is relatively new and in good condition.

The Headworks reinvestment strategy includes a $2M assessment facilities plan in current CIP FY07-08. This is mostly targeted to equipment inside the plant. The system as a whole will be looked at to see if there are new technologies that can be used. The challenge is how to upgrade and make changes while the equipment is still operating. Mary Adeltstein asked about public health concerns for people that work in these Headworks. Marian said she would expect that anything that is characterized, as a health and safety issue would be fast tracked. Steve Kaiser asked if any capacity improvement were being planned. Carl said we believe there is sufficient capacity. He added that Deer Island was built to support the capacity of the Headworks and Tunnels. There were a number of questions on prioritization. Carl said while we tend to give presentations focused on water or wastewater there is one Master Plan. Because there is so much information we tend to break it up when we talk about it, but it is an integrated plan. Cornelia Potter asked about trimming back on some projects in the Master Plan. Carl said he thought a more likely outcome is changing time frames of the work rather than eliminating projects. Marian added other considerations, like how many streets in Boston do you want to be tearing up at the same time come into play when scheduling of projects.

Carl moved to pump stations and CSO facilities that on average are 17 years old: 15 of them the Authority built, after 1985. Most are in good to excellent condition. There is $3M in current CIP FY07-13 for equipment rehabilitation and replacement projects at five of the 20 facilities. Alewife is the oldest pump station from 1951. Framingham need some work due to hydrogen sulfide odor and corrosion problems. $60M is recommended for FY14-18 for future upgrades of 10-year-older facilities. Finally, we recommend a long-term annual asset protection budget included with 20 other sewer facilities of $2-5M annually for FY11 and beyond.

Carl said screens at the Headworks run smoothly except in conditions of high flow when excessive material on the screen blinds them. During times of peak flow these problems can result in SSO’s.

Carl outlined the major projects for FY07 through FY13; CIP total for this timeframe is $37.8M:

• $11.5M to complete Braintree/Weymouth Relief Facilities
• $2M Assessment for older Headworks
• $5M to replace Headworks screens
• $3M for rehabilitation and replacement projects
• $16M to upgrade wastewater SCADA system

Additional needs of $121M have been identified for FY08-FY18. The largest piece is $60M to design and construct upgrades for 10 older facilities. Marian and Carl both said that the Headworks would be ideal for a tour by WAC if interested.

Carl then moved on to discussing sewer planning. He stated that a lot of money has been spent on new building of sewers for capacity going out to Wellesley, Framingham area, Neponset and others. These efforts are winding down and we need to put more money into the existing sewers that are aging. The sewers system is composed of 227 miles of gravity sewers, 30 miles of force mains, siphons and outfalls as well as 4000 manholes and structures. Mary Adelstein asked about West Roxbury tunnel. Carl said that $80M has been recommended for FY11-18 for rehabilitation to the 2.5 mile tunnel. He used this has an example of timing of different priority projects. Carl said if this is a priority one project but there is a priority two project of $1M it might be easier to time. He added that is why in come cases lower priority work gets done before higher priority work. In general there is a mix of different priority projects ongoing at the same time. Carl emphasized that sewer rehabilitation has been ongoing but it has been overwhelmed by the amount of money that has been put into relief sewers and new sewer construction.

Carl than discussed the interceptor renewal project development. Here the condition of sewers is rated: A (very good), B (fair to good), C (poor/severely damaged). We developed a methodology to prioritize the C rated pipes in to projects. The pipe ratings are as follows: 23% (52 miles) rated A pipe, 61%(139 miles) rated B pipe, 8% (18 miles) rated C pipe and 8% (18 miles) of unrated gravity pipe. Ratings are a result of TV inspection. The unrated pipe is newer pipe that has not been TV inspected yet. The methodology to prioritize C rated pipe was:

  • Risk/consequence of failure ranking
  • Risk of failure
    • TV inspection
    • Age (C rated tends to be older pipe)
    • Material (C rated pipe tends to be brick)
  • Consequence of failure
    • Location/population density
    • Land use residential/commercial/industrial
    • Impact to public health/environmentally sensitive areas
    • Ability to bypass/divert flows

Stephen Greene asked about frequency of inspection. Carl said A rated tends to be less often and C rated more often. So, inspection is targeted based on ratings.
He added that $79M has been recommended for interceptor renewal projects to address C rated pipe. Another $100M is budgeted for later years. The work is broken up into projects of up to $5-6M. This allows in-house engineers to handle design, planning CAD work and getting them out to bid. Bigger projects require the assistance of a consultant to do the design. Roger Frymire said as you gradually improve things, things would gradually deteriorate. He asked if there was a long-term target goal of say getting C rated pipe down to 5%. Marian said she like the thought and we need to look into this more.

Carl reviewed cross-harbor tunnels. There are plans for inspection but re-emphasizing what Marian said earlier, no funds are currently being recommended for future rehabilitation or repair of tunnels.

The CSO control program has $460M on total projects for FY07-18 in current CIP. The bulk of the money budgeted for FY07-13 ($439M).

Carl mentioned that community systems have the same problems as the Authority such as I/I. He spoke about the financial assistance program that has $240M budgeted through FY15. $134M has been distributed through June 2006. 305 programs have been funded. The Master Plan includes 2 additional $04M funding rounds for FY12 and FY17. Carl added that all this has to be looked at by finance to see how it all comes together and what we can afford and how to adjust timing of projects.

Carl said, as you know we have a contract with NEFCo to run the Residuals plant. The contract runs out in 2015. They are responsible for O&M through that time period. There is a lot of work to do to plan for when the contract runs out. Carl said we are approaching this like a blank slate, to review all available options. Mary Adelstein asked about the pipe that transports the flow to the Residuals plan and if they’re any problems. Carl said that it is working as far as he knows and that it is part of the Deer Island Facility.

Marian introduced the topic of Deer Island. She said because of the large asset value a lot of thought has gone into how to protect that value. Marian said they have the benefit of having very good asset management staff who employ state of the art techniques to ascertain which equipment is critical, ten years of maintenance history, and people who aggressively analyze the data to determine and advocate for those projects. They have been very successful in arguing for their part of the CIP pie.

Carl said that $2.4B is the replacement asset value of Deer Island. It is the second largest wastewater plant in the U.S. (Detroit is largest). It is built on 120 acres and has a treatment capacity of 1.27B gal/day with an average daily flow of 360 million gal/day. He added that there are 72,000 pieces of equipment. Non-equipment consists of buried piping, seawalls, roads and buildings. These all have different useful life cycle that has to be taken into consideration during planning.

There are potential new regulatory impacts with a new NPDES in 2007 and new air permit in 2004. There is some money allocated to deal with potential impacts.

There has been a lot of scrutiny of electrical items in the last couple of years. Marian said one of the things that she learned is that Variable Frequency Drives have a useful life of about ten years, which means every decade you are looking at replacement. This has received a lot of attention because of power failures in recent years and the implications for the plant. Carl briefly spoke to primary and secondary clarifier and sludge pump replacements. He also mentioned the public access, which consists of a 2.2 mile walk around the Island, which is worth the trip. One of the projects recently completed was the digester storage tank membrane. Marian said another example of a ten-year useful life. Carl mentioned that everything on the Island is done through the Process Instrumentation Control System (PICS) and an upgrade for the system is planned. Marian noted that some funds for this work is coming from the CEB. One of the discussions going forward is going to be what funds belong in the CEB and what funds are more appropriately capitalized. To pay for things out of current expenses makes it more expensive.

There was a brief discussion of non-equipment work such as roof repairs, paintings and seawalls.

Carl mentioned the Clinton wastewater treatment plant. It has a 3 million gal/day capacity. He noted that the MWRA took over operation in1985 and upgraded in 1992 with advanced treatment capability. It discharges into South Branch of the Nashua River.

Carl summarized the major projects in FY07-13 saying that they totaled $90M. Additional needs have been identified for FY08-FY18 of $105M. Dollar numbers are current dollars. The Finance department may scale these numbers up.

Carl and Marian closed by noting that while today’s focus was near-term (FY07-FY18) the Master Plan includes projects from FY07 to FY48. In the FY19 to FY48 time frame, staff has identified $882 million in wastewater project needs.

Marion said that DI has more sophisticated data for capital planning than the transport division; hence its capital needs are more readily met. This plan attempts to address this in balance.

Ed Bretschneider reminded everyone that the next meeting is scheduled for Monday, November 13. This will be a joint meeting with WSCAC. We will discuss system expansion.

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Minutes of the September 15, 2006 Meeting

The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MWRA Advisory Board in Boston. PRESENT: MEMBERS: Cornelia Potter, Bill Katz, Taber Keally, Vin Spada, Lauren Thirer, Larry Schafer, and Stephen Greene STAFF: Ed Bretschneider MWRA: Fred Laskey, Mike Hornbrook and Pam Heidell PUBLIC: Stephen Kaiser, Coalition for Alewife, Richard Chretien DEP, Roger Frymire Cambridge, David Stoff Arlington, Don Walker Metcalf & Eddy and Joe Favaloro MWRA Advisory Board.

Stephen Greene called the meeting to order at 10:30 AM. The June 2 minutes were approved as presented. Stephen Greene mentioned that WAC’s contract was approved for FY 2007. Stephen commented on the opinion piece in the Boston Globe on corrosion in the sewers, which was prompted by concern of corrosion in the Alaska pipeline. He added that this is one of the things we need to keep the public aware of; there is this major infrastructure that requires a lot of work and expense to make sure it functions without mishaps.

Ed Bretschneider noted that WAC’s next meeting is October 13 and that the topic is Master Planning. Fred will be outlining future challenges for the Authority today, the Planning team will describe how Master Planning will deal with some of these challenges. Ed also mentioned that on November 13 there would be a joint meeting with WSCAC on system expansion. He introduced Stephen Kaiser who wrote a research paper on mitigation requirements for new sewage and will give a presentation at the November meeting, but asked for an outline at what Stephen was proposing. Stephen Kaiser said that when he worked at MEPA they used a mitigation ratio of 2:1, for every gallon of sewage you put in, you had to take out 2 gallons of I/I. He noted that the ratio today is 4:1. Stephen said as best as he can find out it is an arbitrary ratio. He said that led him to do a mathematical analysis of flows going in and out of the system to make sure that the pollutant load on the overflow is not increased. The ratio he came up with is 26:1. Stephen is circulating his paper for comment. In responding to a question from Pam Heidell, he said the impact of infiltration was minor; the big impact was from inflow.

Roger Frymire spoke about SSO’s and stated that he had the June MWRA report on SSO’s and noted that in the May report there were more overflows then reported in the May report. Mike Hornbrook responded that at a meeting with the DEP he identified two overflows that were mislabeled, the remaining ones were on community collection systems. He added that a more precise way to identify overflows in the MWRA system has been initiated.

MWRA: The Challenges Ahead – Fred Laskey

Fred said the entire presentation of future challenges for the MWRA has to be put in the context a very high rate base that continues to rise. The average bill approaches $1000, we also have an analysis that the cost of the water/sewer bill in some of the poorer communities is now becoming prohibitive in an affordability analysis that has been done. When the Authority first started the average bill was a couple of hundred dollars.

Fred noted that the environmental success story of the Boston Harbor Project is not in dispute. The recent audit of the project praised the environmental benefit of what has been accomplished in the CSO project and that Deer Island project is one of the great environmental success stories of our generation nationally. Fred mentioned that even after storms, for the most part, the water in the Harbor is suitable for swimming. He added we have also spent considerable sums of money to upgrade the water system. We have to remember that the MWRA was created to take over the management of the water and sewer system in the greater Boston area and rebuild it. The infrastructure was neglected by the then MDC. The mission given to the MWRA was clear, and as we sit here on our 21st anniversary of the Authority I think it is clear we have met that mandate. On the water side there is the new integrated water improvement program, The John Carroll treatment plant, the Metro West Water Supply tunnel all bringing us into compliance with the safe drinking water act. Some of the key indicators of the ozone treatment plant show that chlorine by products has been reduced and disinfection has improved with ozone treatment. We believe we have been successful with our core mission that was created in the mid-1980’s.

To accomplish all these goals we have spent a ton of money. We have spent $7B to improve that infrastructure. As we go forward we continue to spend significant amounts of money on the ongoing projects. The challenge is how do we manage our rates while we still have major projects that need to be done. Our average rates are high relative to other major metropolitan areas. When the Authority was created we were clearly below the average of our peers. By the 10-year anniversary 1994, we were basically at the average of our peers. In the last ten years our rates have outstripped our peers. Major capital spending has driven our rates. Some people argue that the high rates are a good thing because people should pay for what they use, others say it is because being forced to spend major sums of money in a relative short period of time to make up for decades of under funding. Stephen Greene asked if these peers were comparable in terms of infrastructure. Fred said it is very difficult to get an exact match, but we believe it is as close as you can get. Stephen Greene said the reason he asked the question was that in the news lately you see a lot of the smaller city plants are coming under the gun of the EPA and seeing huge $100M projects that they are going to have to undertake. Fred said we do have the advantage of economy of scale. Joe Favalora said that older utilities because of deteriating infrastructure would have to invest raising their rates, in that respect the Authority is ahead of the curve. Larry Schafer asked when you said economy of scale, did you mean because you are so big. Fred said yes. It gets very expensive for a small or mid-size city to go out and build it’s own treatment plant. There’s an advantage to having size and the expertise that we have. Ed Bretschneider asked about privatization and do proponents claim that they can do more for less. Fred said that he feels very strongly that it is a public policy mistake to give the keys of your most critical infrastructure to a for profit business. He said he supports sub-contracting out some functions where you retain control but that is very different then handing over control. This is a strategy to get the advantage of market forces without giving up control. Stephen Greene added that there are case studies where for profit groups leave after contract expiration and the facility is run down because of lack of investment. Fred said the trend is away from privatization. He added that we have a massive maintenance program to keep Deer Island and all the other facilities up to speed.

Fred said that all our capital spending is driving rates and as we sit here 60% of our operating budget is to pay the mortgage (debt) on the projects we have built. We have been very aggressive in cutting our operating expenses in parallel. We are looking at is there some way to restructure our debt. Ed Bretschneider asked if the debt of the utilities you benchmarked against were similar to the Authorities. Fred said they are less, but as they start to invest in major CSO programs, which are behind us, I believe their debt will increase significantly. Stephen Greene added he doesn’t believe the public has an understanding of the debt financing of the Authority. For comparison, Mike Hornbrook noted that the MBTA was lamenting because their debt was 32%. Fred added we can show people what we’ve done with the money, we’ve built things.

Fred said one of the things that have been a key issue for us has been the state assistance program and we appreciate the support that WAC has given in this area. He added that for every dollar the state gives us we could show a reduction in the rates. In the fiscal crisis of 2003 this support was eliminated. We have been fighting to get that money restored. We are appreciative of the $18.7M we are getting for FY07 but it is a far cry from the $60M FY02. Rates going out in the future don’t get any better they are 10-11% depending on assumptions. We have to work really hard to bring it down.

CSO’s are going to be the single largest spending over the next several years. The federal court recently accepted with DEP and EPA blessing the 15- year plan. This will bring us to the final conclusion of the CSO program. What’s left to do, the East Boston Branch Sewer Relief will be optimized (interceptor) to get more of the flow over and across for treatment. Alewife Brook is tied up in environmental debate. It includes sewer separation and a man-made storm water wetlands to cushion the surge that comes down the lines. This project cost has grown from $20M to $$90M. It is clear that the initial projections and assumptions were wrong. The North Dorchester Bay/Reserved Channel will be the single largest piece of spending. The contractor has been given the go ahead to proceed. This project will get us to 25-year level of CSO control and a 5-year level of storm water control. The project includes a massive drain for storm water down Morrissey Boulevard.

The Charles River is viewed as a national model for CSO control. The Authority has already achieved significant reduction of CSO related impacts to the river. Sewer separation and hydraulic relief projects have dramatically reduced combined sewer overflows, much more flow is sent to Deer Island and upgrades to Cottage Farm and Prison Point facilities have improved disinfection. By 2015 CSO activations will be reduced from 16 down to 2 and released volume decreases from 117M gallons to fewer than 7M gallons. The Charles River by volume is probably the greatest beneficiary of the CSO program. From 1998 to 2003 there has been a reduction of CSO discharges to the Charles River of 99.5%, annual CSO volumes have already been reduced by 2.5B gallons, by 2015, 95% of the remaining CSO flows will be treated. One of our challenges is not to do more than our statutory responsibilities. Fred said because of the MWRA’s success there is an attempt to get us involved in projects that we view outside our charter.

Ed Bretschneider asked with getting the agreements on CSO projects going forward to you see a transition from high profile work to one of a more incremental mode, continuous improvement, clearly important, but not as jazzy. Fred said we have been very successful in meeting the environmental goals. But, we cannot lose sight of the importance of maintenance, it’s a lot of blocking and tackling. Part of Deer Island had been running for 10 years, it’s a heavy industrial operation, heavy corrosive materials, lots of moving parts, and a harsh climate. The result is expensive and important upgrades that need to be done to the system. Within the context of South Boston we are potentially moving into another era unless the environmental requirements change. He added that the learning’s from Deer Island are also being transferred to the new water facility. He talked about some of the drills they went through at Deer Island after recent power failures; they went through a similar process at the John Carroll water plant. Fred went back to Deer Island saying that when you have acres of roofs and miles of pipes doing proper maintenance gets expensive. He said we spend $1M/year just on painting in the island. On the seawall we have erosion and corrosion, which we want to take care of before they become catastrophic. Stephen Greene added that maintenance has always been a high priority with WAC. Its one thing to build a new facility but if you want it to be around for its life expectancy or longer you do that by maintaining it properly. Fred agreed and added that what adds to the expense at Deer Island, is everything is big and most equipment are not stock items but need to be built to order.

Fred said one of today’s themes is that while we have built massive Deer Island and while we have built our pump stations there are large parts of our sewer system that are in need of repair. For our 43 customer communities we have 230 miles of interceptors, 12 pump stations, 4 headwork facilities, 246 miles of pipe and 5 CSO facilities. Fred said the headworks need major overhaul. These are the main facilities to transport sewage to Deer Island. They were built in the 1960’s. During major storms we usually have people over there because they generally need some repair. It tends to be a fire drill of extraordinary proportions. They have not been at the top of the priority, because the priority has been to meet the schedules in the court order. Headworks are where the interceptors come to a common location and then drop down into a shaft of a tunnel that goes over to Deer Island. The shafts are 200-300 feet deep; the weight of the water creates a head that pushes the water through the tunnel to Deer Island where it is pumped out. That’s where you get the idea of headworks.

Fred added there are large segments of our sewer interceptor system that need renovation. There are brick sewers, some 100 years old, some 50 years old, they need to be brought up to speed. The system is rated by A, B, C. Larry Schafer asked if that referred to the amount of corrosion. Fred said basically, “good, bad and ugly”. Fred said that over 60% of C rated pipe is over 100 years old. Pipes of this caliber are often busted or cracked resulting in inflow and infiltration. Fred mentioned the $80M West Roxbury Tunnel project and referred back to earlier discussion, that this does not get headline attention, but certainly is a major project. He added there is a similar story on the water side, 4500 valves, 11 pump stations, 11 storage tanks, 8 tunnel shafts and 284 miles of pipe, a whole bunch of facilities and pipes that need rehabilitation. We are noticing a lot of leaks in our steel pipes and asking ourselves if there is someway to use something else. This leads us to Master Planning Program where we are prioritizing projects of this nature. Then there is the debate of how much can we afford to spend and when to spend it. Bill Katz asked if you budget for all these maintenance projects. Fred said we have a five-year capital budget and a five-year projection, resulting in a ten-year horizon of capital spending. Mike Horbrook said we normally fund about $200M for maintenance. But in the next 5 year period we did not fully fund and that’s what we’re trying to do is identify those projects that need attention to get back to full funding. Fred added that a crisis looming is the 5000 miles of community-owned water pipelines and 5000 miles of community owned sewer pipelines. He added many of these are the same age as our interceptors. How does the fact that many of these lines are a 100 years old and in need of repair, how does this get addressed? Many of the leaks we see in water lines are ones that have already been repaired.

Fred noted there is a real push for storm water control. Many would like to see the MWRA involved because of the success of our cleanup. With all the environmental improvements that have occurred in water quality storm water has risen in priority. We believe that work in this area is outside of our mandate. We have been vigilant with strong support from the Advisory Board that we do not get in the storm water business. Mike Horbrook mentioned that they would like to see significant reduction in outfall monitoring and that the data supports this. We believe that we would save millions of dollars that could be better spent O&M and maintenance. We have not had formal discussions with DEP or EPA on this, it something that we are concerned about. There is some discussion about co-permittees for satellite collection systems. This is not something we have had in the past. Mike added that there is not a blending limit in the current permit but believe that may change. We don’t know if that means more secondary treatment or more capital investment. Joe Favaloro said it would be good if you would put dollar estimates against these possibilities.

Fred talked about SSO problems during big storms when Deer Island is at full capacity. When you have long term storms Deer Island backs out to the headworks, you have to save the headworks if they flood out you have SSO’s for weeks or months. You save your stations by choking them down and having SSO’s, we only to do this to save our stations. To eliminate SSO’s would take billions of dollars, you’d have to rebuild the whole system for 100-year storms. David Stoff talked about SSO’s in cellars and backyards in Arlington, which are unacceptable. Fred said he was talking more about steps necessary to save the system. Joe Favaloro said you would not see a lot of federal funding coming into Massachusetts for quite some time because of the investment in the Big-Dig.

Fred said the state auditor’s report on CSO program went very well and a key conclusion was that programs under the control of the Authority went very well; built as designed and worked as design. One of the auditor’s key assessments was that if the program went ahead without the delay, the cost of inflation would have been eliminated. The original plan in 1990 was $1.2B in 1990 dollars it would be $1.9B in today’s dollars. This program was abandoned because of cost and it didn’t deliver the level of control we wanted. In 1994 a conceptual plan was developed for a cost $395M in today’s dollars would be $577M. So, the correct comparison is the $395 to $577, which takes a little bit of the sting out of the cost comparison. Taber Keally mentioned that most customers are not aware of what the MWRA is doing to improve and maintain the system and that the Authority needs to be more proactive in informing the public on how and why money is being spent. He added that the only times you read about the Authority in the paper is when something goes wrong and that overshadows all the good work that is occurring under the radar screen. Fred and Mike agreed that there is the opportunity and need to do better in this area.

Fred noted that there is no silver bullet to deal with all these problems; solution will require a number of components:

• Prioritization of capital projects
• Continued restraint on the operating budget
• Judicious, multi-year use of reserves
• Strategic use of debt restructuring and refinancing to smooth peaks in debt service payments
• Aggressive pursuit of increased state debt service assistance
• Responsible rate increases

Ed Bretschneider reminded everyone that the next meeting is scheduled for Friday, October 13. MWRA Planning Team will discuss how Master Planning will deal with some of the challenges identified at today’s meeting.

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Minutes of the June 2, 2006 Meeting

The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council in Boston. PRESENT: MEMBERS: Cornelia Potter, Mary Adelstein, Joe Harrington, Bill Katz, Martin Pillsbury and Stephen Greene STAFF: Ed Bretschneider MWRA: Carl Leone, Jon Szarek and Pam Heidell PUBLIC: Stephen Kaiser, Coalition for Alewife, Joe Nerden DEP, Richard Chretien DEP, Nancy Hammett Mystic River Watershed, Jenny Birnbaum Mystic River Watershed, Roger Frymire Cambridge, Ashly Hanna Conservation Law Foundation, Sumner Brown Belmont, David Stoff Arlington, Catherine Daly Woodbury Cambridge DPU,

Stephen Greene called the meeting to order at 10:30 AM. He then moved the May minutes, which were approved. Stephen mentioned an article in the Boston Herald (Thursday, June 1 2006) referring to Boston as the eighth greenest city in the U.S. Mary Adelstein asked what criteria did they use. Stephen wasn’t sure but would do a little more research to find out. He then stated that in the article Boston was 40th for tap water quality. Stephen added he finds that hard to believe since he thinks Boston water quality ranks number 1 in the world.

Stephen noted that the contract between WAC and the MWRA is renewed each year and that for FY2007 it goes before the BOD June 7. He asked the committee to authorize him to sign the contract after approval by the MWRA, the committee approved.

Stephen asked the committee to recognize Taber Keally as the Vice- Chair. WAC approved unanimously.

He then suggested one of the things the committee should think about is the weather impacts on the MWRA system what are some of the planning things what are some of the contingency things that we should be paying attention to. Joe Harrington suggested bringing in Paul Kirschen to speak to the longer term implications of episodic storm conditions due to global warming, noting that he has presented to WAC previously.

Joe Harrington requested as we plan for next fiscal years agenda we include joint meetings with WSCAC.

Inflow and Infiltration – Carl Leone

Carl Leone Senior Program Manager of the MWRA Community Support Program stated one its missions is to work with communities on Inflow/Infiltration reductions.

Carl started with a brief overview of MWRA collection system and the 43-community collection system. The take away message was that in the community system there are a lot more miles of sewer and that’s why we need to work with communities on I/I reduction because that’s where most of the flow that comes into Deer Island ends being SSO’s and CSO’s comes from. Carl said he was going to review what goes on with the MWRA collection system but it is a relatively small part of the total system. For example MWRA has over 4000 manholes whereas communities have over 100,000, and MWRA has over 240 miles of interceptors, whereas communities have over 5000 miles of sewers.

Carl showed a series of pictures demonstrating infiltration from broken joints showing small leaks throughout the whole system. Anyone by itself being not cost effective to fix but as a maintenance problem we have to go after it to prevent the flow from getting worse. Carl said the goal on infiltration is not necessarily to reduce but to prevent it from getting worse. He added we have the ability to treat the amount of flow at Deer Island as long as it doesn’t get worse. Carl then showed pictures of inflow from sump pumps and wetland areas resulting in flow into unsealed manholes. During major storms it’s inflow that results in the MWRA system getting inundated almost immediately. Problems, which can be identified and fixed, will hopefully reduce some of the overwhelming inflow that creates SSO’s. Mary Adelstein asked if this is a fixable problem. Carl said if we can find it, we could fix it. In response to a request from Roger Frymire Carl handed out a letter (May 19 2006) sent to the EPA and DEP listing all the MWRA SSO points from the May 13-15 storm. Roger said from his personal knowledge the report was missing some data overflow sites. Carl requested the information on these sites. Nancy Hammett asked how you know when an SSO problem has occurred. Carl said it is not automatic but depends on calls coming in as well as at some of our meter sites we have automatic alarms that tell the operation staff that flow is getting high. Operators will then go investigate the known problem site. Carl added that during major storm events we open our emergency (EOC) operation center, which is where all the calls come in.

Carl reviewed some regional I/I reduction plan goals as; O&M for MWRA collection system, eliminate backups and minimize impacts of SSO’s related to I/I, educate and involve the public, and provide technical assistance on O&M. He then described the MWRA in-house pipeline rehabilitation process, which consisted of, conceptual design report, preliminary design report and final design (plans and specs).

Carl showed pictures of the process of relining pipes. Steve Kaiser asked what is the life of a newly relined sewer pipe. Carl said they estimate 50 years.

Carl reviewed some of the work the Authority does with communities. He showed TV inspection equipment. He said this is used to assist in cleaning processes; it is used to assess back ups or SSO’s. Carl added that communities do a lot of contracting out for this work as well. He next showed an example of roots getting into clay pipes and where they grow they will create a blockage. He also showed clay pipes that have broken at the crown and when the water gets high enough it will result in leaks, and resulting in eventual collapse. Old clay pipes typically have lots of joints; PVC pipes that are replacing these are longer pieces resulting in fewer joints. In these newer pipes leaks only occur if there is a crack in the pipe or the o-rings in the joints degrade. He added that with these old clay pipes of which there are still 1000’s of miles of, leak at just about every joint. Bill Katz asked when were the new PVC pipes first used, Carl said in the 1960’s. The largest pipes still tend to be re-enforced concrete. He added a lot of older pipes in the communities have been there since the late 1800’s.

Carl next showed pictures of a wetland that was flowing into a broken manhole that the community didn’t even know existed. Carl said this is a classic inflow problem, that when found can be fixed. He added that you would need a whole lot of infiltration leaks to equal the water flowing from the wetland into this manhole. In this case the manhole was fixed resulting in a nice success story of the community working with the MWRA. The community fixed it. Communities find these problems during annual routine maintenance. The MWRA is encouraging communities to set a regular schedule t o do this type of work so that a problem identified one year can be fixed the following year and to continue in a rotating fashion to eliminate has many of these inflow problems as possible.

Carl showed data for a typical year of wastewater flow, which averages about 360mgd, a 150mgd from sanitary flow, 155mgd from groundwater infiltration, and 55mgd from stormwater inflow. In response to a question, Carl said its inflow that causes SSO’s and back up and environmental problems. . He added that we have to continue to go after infiltration, but we need to keep the expectation that it is not going to be significantly reduced in the short term, the next 10-20 years.

Carl noted that there are huge swings in the flow to Deer Island when comparing high flow average (for 1996) conditions (424mgd) to low flow average (2002) conditions (332mgd). In 1997 in April the high flow was 602mgd, of this 150mgd was sanitary flow, 343mgd was infiltration and109mgd was inflow. Carl said for each month for each community we try to estimate similar flow components of the total flow. Reports are generated for DEP and EPA with this information and analysis. Carl said the information is also available on the MWRA web site. He showed a chart which he believed showed a downward trend for flow into Deer Island, although, he would leave it to statisticians to analyze the data and draw more rigorous conclusions. The chart also showed during large storms, the dramatic effect of inflow on total flow to Deer Island where it jumped from about 250mgd to over 800mgd in less than half a day. He added that there are no I/I data components available for 2004 and 2005; during those years the wastewater metering system was being upgraded. Data evaluation will be re-started during the summer of 2006. So, a year from September 2006 that data will be available. Joe Harrington asked if precipitation data is from Logan. Carl said precipitation data is Logan through 2003, the 2004 and 2005 is an average between Reading and Blue Hill. Roger Frymire said a very reliable gauge is online from the USGS. Bill Katz asked what is the capacity of Deer Island. Carl said it is 1270mgd.

Carl gave a summary of the I/I local financial assistance program. He noted that $180M was budgeted through FY13 and that $134M has been distributed through June 2006. The program is 45% grant and 55% interest free loan. The loan repayment was over 5 years. In the 43 communities involved 305 projects have been funded. Carl said the $180M is apportioned to the communities on the same basis that the ratepayers pay into the Authority. So, for example, Boston is about 30% of the total rates paid into the MWRA and they have available 30% of whatever money is budgeted for the I/I local financial assistance program. Mary Adelstein asked if all the communities take full advantage of the program. The BOD to address that has put a sunset provision to the grant portion of this program. Nancy Hammett asked if this data is available on the MWRA website. Carl said much but not all the information is available at www.mwra.com. Steve Kaiser said that much of the data required to ascertain the effectiveness of the program is available and Carl agreed. Steve then asked if it is available to anyone. Carl said to whoever asks. He added to look at in depth you really have to get at the meter data at the community level. Carl said that projects approved for assistance by the Authority are not checked afterwards for outcomes, but only that the money was spent the way it was supposed to be. The goal of the Authority is to get communities to look at this like a maintenance program and to continue to upgrade portions of their system on a regular basis. Mary Adelstein reacted to Carl saying that this program was running out of funds and it was not clear what future funding would look like. She added that the Authority is supplying critical resources to the communities to support this important program. Has the Authority ever petitioned the Legislature for rate support because of the effort put in this program? Carl said that the BOD has to balance this program against many other priorities in deciding appropriate priorities and that his group would be looking for future support but it’s up to the BOD to decide the best places to spend the money within the operational budget.

Ed Bretschneider reminded everyone that there are no meetings in July or August. The next WAC meeting is scheduled for September 8.

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Minutes of the May 5, 2006 Meeting

The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MWRA Advisory Board in Boston. PRESENT: MEMBERS: Cornelia Potter, Mary Adelstein, Joe Harrington, Taber Keally, Bill Katz, Vin Spada, Lauren Thirer and Larry Schafer STAFF: Ed Bretschneider MWRA: Richard Trubiano, Marcis Kempe and Charles Calapa PUBLIC: Stephen Kaiser, Coalition for Alewife, Joe Nerden DEP, Nancy Hammett Mystic River Watershed, Roger Frymire and Bernadette Buchanan SH/SB

Ed Bretschneider called the meeting to order at 10:40 AM. He then moved the April minutes, which were approved.

Cornelia Potter gave an update brief on the CSO project and the recent agreement among DEP, EPA and MWRA on the Authorities holistic plan. Cornelia said that in the mid 1990’s a revised CSO plan was developed about 1997, but as that plan moved forward from concept to detailed design there were a number of cost increases and other technical issues that warranted further assessment. This new agreement is a culmination of that extended discussion over all those years. The final cost is still significant it is over $800M but considerable less that it was originally. Joe Favoloro said, “We will only have a huge waste of money but saved from having a colossal waste of money.” He added that’s what the judge signed off on last week. Larry Schafer asked what judge; Joe said it was Judge Sterns who replaced Judge Mazzone. Steve Kaiser asked if the agreement was on the web, Cornelia said it could be accessed on the Authorities web site. Joe added that it’s basically a series of three-year variances over 15 years that will bring a level of closure between now and 2020. Joe said a key part of the agreement is that the MWRA will only be responsible for the CSO discharges that they activate; beyond that Cambridge, Boston, Somerville, and Chelsea are now back in the game. It is their responsibility to manage their combined overflows. That is a significant change from what has been the plan for the last decade.

MWRA Wastewater Meter Replacement Project – Marcis Kempe, Richard Trubiano and Charles Calapa

Richard Trubiano introduced Marcis Kempe to give the presentation on wastewater meters; Richard added that he would bring WAC up to date on how the Authority handles sludge and the recent leakage into Boston Harbor.

Marcis said he started on the waterside about 4-5 years ago. There was an effort to consolidate the water and sewer functions and metering was one of the things that could be consolidated since the technicians are capable of working in both areas. He added that Charlie Calapa group does all the maintenance and noted that Rick Trubiano is responsible for all field operations.

Marcis gave a quick system overview outlining the 43 communities that are served by the Authority in the wastewater area. He noted that there are roughly 200 wastewater-metering sites installed mainly in sewer manholes. Marcis mentioned that these meters serve several purposes; they measure flows for rate data, measured flows are also used for operational performance (understanding the impact of wet and dry weather conditions) and finally the data is used for design purposes (new pump stations or new pipelines), to allow proper sizing. Some communities have only one meter whereas others have as many as seventeen.

Marcis stated the system is getting old. The technology is outdated and is getting less and less support from ADS. Also there is deterioration of the containers and electronics because of corrosive gases such as hydrogen sulfide. Also the software that supports the system is DOS based and it is getting more difficult to support is another aging issue. Large sums of money were spent to keep the meters running. Sometimes repairs would even come late. Hence, it was time to replace with updated technology. Marcis added that MWRA was an unusual customer for ADS in that we did our own maintenance and data management. Most clients would have a service contract with ADS. Also benchmarking has shown that a ten-year life is typical for wastewater metering systems.

Marcis reiterated that the reason this project was necessary was because the meters were 10 years old and in the ground in an environment that was not conducive to long- term life of the electronics. The meters were beginning to fail and fairly excessive rates and there was an unacceptable amount of down time. While cost is always a key criteria it was not the only one, overall performance is what mattered in the analysis of vendors for this project. A project advisory committee was created. These people were chosen for their expertise in waste and wastewater operations. The committee had a number of representatives from the Advisory Board who helped guide the process. Out of this process RJN Engineers was retained as the Contractor. Part of the contract was an agreement that any part that failed during the first three years was on them. Their contract annual contract cost is $10K compared to the cost of ADS during the last few years when it was anywhere from $250K to $400K. The agreement with RJN for the first three years is a no fault clause.

One of the key issues was how to handle impact of bills if new meters operated differently. The decision made was to take a year to put all the new meters in and during that year use 3-year historical averages for billing purposes during the implementation period.

Marcis said that vendors had to bring in their equipment in and send it through a hydraulic laboratory. Alden laboratories were able to ascertain how reliable these meters were. All submittals had to run their product through Alden rigorous evaluation, which resulted in formal reports that were critical in the selection process. Marcis briefly outlined the procurement approach for replacement meters. It included accuracy testing; technology used manufacturers responsibilities, and quality assurance and control testing. He mentioned evaluation criteria included: cost, accuracy of meters, maintenance and reliability. Bill Katz asked how much money was involved in the winning bid? Marcis said he thought was about $5M. Ed Bretshcneider asked what happens when 50% of the meters installed are new. Marcis said that we continued to collect on the old meters that raised the question who is winning and who is losing. He added that flow in sewers is in large part rainfall. Marcis restated that the data at this point was not used for billing but to evaluate before and after flow. Marcis added that anything within a range of plus or minus 10% was considered normal variation under actual conditions. If data were greater than 10% people would be sent out into the field to do calibrations check positioning of meters as well as a host of other parameters that would need to be verified. Marcis emphasized it must be remembered that the initial determination of old versus new meter flow differences is based on just a snapshot of data from around the time of the meter installation. There is a fair amount of variation in meter data on a day-to-day basis. Annual rates assessments also vary widely on a year-to-year basis due to relative flow variability’s among service area communities. Clearly on some days weather events could result in large swings, so you need to evaluate the data over a suitable length of time. . When we started to install the new meters we were working in the lowest flow period of the year. This tends to exaggerate differences. Ed Bretschneider asked because of this variation could rates change significantly for some communities. Marcis said yes and he would discuss a little later. He added we need to collect the information over a longer period of time and compare it to historic averages. He added small difference during periods of low flow give rise to large percentages, whereas small differences during higher flow give smaller percentages. Marcis said we never stop looking at the data and evaluating. He added during the transition period we measured a clean period before and a clean period after and noticed an upward bias, more sites were coming in higher rather than lower. In part it was do the period of the test that made it difficult to separate if it was the meters or the weather (summertime reading during low flow). He added that in a few cases the old meters were not working properly and the new meters showed increased flow. Marcis said in agreement with the Advisory Board that there would be no retroactive billing to correct only moving forward the rates would be based on the higher flow rates. Bill Katz asked if there was any significant change in sewer population in the towns during the transition period, Marcis said he didn’t think so. Steve Kaiser asked about I/I impact on flow and rates. Marcis said any community subject to MWRA I/I the Authority has the responsibility to correct for this impact. Meters are a pure reading and reads whatever passed through it. Larry Schafer noted the biggest change was for Newton. Marcis said this is a case where we believe a more accurate meter was put in place that is reading higher. Mary Adelstein added that Newton is one of the communities that have done a lot of work on I/I so this should not have a major affect on flow. Marcis said there have been a number of meetings with Newton. In general any community that was reading higher we have met with to explain the difference. Nancy Hammett asked about getting actual flow for communities. Richard Trubiano added if anyone is interested in actual data, he would get the information to them. Marcis reiterated we did not find any cases where we thought a retroactive adjustment was necessary.

Marcis moved onto safety issues. He added that the new meters are also much easier to maintain. Marcis stated that these systems require regular entry into the manholes for routine maintenance. Some of the manholes can be three feet deep others twenty feet deep. The place where there has been the most trouble is in these sewer entries. This is where the atmosphere changes. One can be exposed to many different gases. Although the MWRA has a very good safety record in this area, there have been serious accidents in the past but none in recent years. The most frequent type of serious safety issues has been inhalation of noxious gases.

Marcis said there are ongoing quality control checks to ensure the system operates at maximum efficiency and best in class up time. He added the Authority has begun to allow web access to data so towns know what’s going on. Marcis offered at some future date to show interested parties how to access information such as flow, velocity and elevation will be accessible. Ed Bretschneider asked how fast does the technology in this area change. Marcis said it hasn’t been changing that quickly. The advancement will probably come in ruggedness and electronics; components will most likely get smaller.

Mary Adelstein asked if in addition to determining flows could these meters help identify I/I problems or leaks in the system. Marcis said that this is something that Carl Leone follows. Marcis said there are some inherent drawbacks in wastewater systems; one is there is not 100% metering in all contributing areas, we are making estimations. On the water side there are nice repeatable cycles, on the wastewater side it’s a function of rainfall, blockages and other mysterious stuff, even tidal changes. Charles Calapa said we are installing the best available technology. He believes the new wastewater metering system is now on par with the waterside. Marics said everything we do confirms that the new meters are reading a true flow.

Richard Trubiano reviewed how the system works. All wastewater goes to Deer Island. Deer Island processes the wastewater to produce sludge, and sludge is than pumped to Quincy. Here the sludge is dried and made into pellets. In the early 90’s when the plant started up no one knew how viable the process would be so there needed to be a long- range agreement with several landfills. A 30 year- long- term disposable arrangement was made with a company out of Utah. It costs roughly about $1M/year to have a landfill stand-by. The landfill was to be accessed by rail. The court agreement stated that either pellets or sludge cake be capable of being transmitted by rail to the landfill. This has been in place since 1993. The system has operated very reliably since that time. In conjunction with the Advisory Board we looked into a less expensive option with a local landfill, a five-year plan (2006-2011) with a local landfill that has landfills in Maine, Vermont and New York. If rail is not available the arrangement is that it would be trucked. This plan over the next 10-15 years will save about $10M for the Authority. The pellets are either used as fertilizer or soil amendment. The court, EPA, and DEP approved this new short- term plan. Quincy objected to the plan because of the potential of trucking sludge through portions of the town. If the plant had problems it could result in 10-20 trucks passing through town daily. The MWRA met with the city of Quincy who asked if it was possible in case of a plant problem to use rail rather than trucks. Rick said right it looks like we will go ahead with the short term plan and continue to work with the city of Quincy with questions that they have. Taber noted that during peak season trucks are used. Rick said during this time of the year it makes sense because of high local use of sludge pellets. Steve Kaiser asked during last year’s power problem what was the impact on DI. Rick said that plant lost all power was shut down for several hours nothing could be pumped or processed during that time. Steve asked if that meant whatever was in the pipes had to overflow as CSO’s. Rick said yes. Taber asked if the questions with Quincy have been resolved. Rick said he believes we are going forward with the new plan and we will continue to work with the city of Quincy and I believe we are going to give them other options for rail transport. Taber asked about barging; Rick said the Authority has given up the barges and they were only used to transport liquid sludge. Larry Schafer asked about the recent spill in the harbor. Rick said at some point at the discharge from the pumps at DI to Fore Island there was a crack in the pipe. Mary Adelstein is this one-off or is it likely to happen again. Rick said it’s likely improvements will have to made to all the pumps.

Ed Bretschneider mentioned that the next meeting is June 2. The topic is I/I.

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Minutes of the April 7, 2006 Meeting

The Wastewater Advisory to the MWRA held its meeting at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. PRESENT: WAC MEMBERS: Mary Adelstein, Joe Harrington, Ed Selig, Larry Schafer, Vin Spada, Martin Pillsbury and Cornelia Potter. STAFF: Ed Bretschneider. PUBLIC: Jose Santin Harvard University, Linda Liang Harvard University, Pamavi Mandi CRWA, and Sam Cleaves MAPC

Ed Bretschneider called the meeting to order at 10:40 A.M. The March 3 minutes were approved with minor edits.

Water Reuse – Martin Pillsbury and Sam Cleaves MAPC

Martin introduced Sam Cleaves is the author of the MAPC report to be reviewed today gave some background. Martin said MAPC is doing work in water resource management issues through a unique project MAPC has working with communities in the 495 Metro West corridor. This area will probably be the next big growth node which will place constraints on water quality and quantity. The project is conducted in collaboration with the 495/MetroWest Corridor Partnership with participation of the US Geological Survey.. MAPC several years ago put together a proposal to the federal government to do a regional water resources study. The project was funded with the help of congressman James McGovern. The project is administered through the EPA. There are several elements of the project. One completed several years ago was to put together a Low Impact Development Tool Kit (LID). This has to do more with storm water and how land use development can be done in a more sustainable way to retain more water within the watershed. The second piece of the project is water reuse, which we will discuss today. “In order to ensure continued growth, communities and businesses need to find new supplies of supplies that are cost effective and environmentally sustainable. The reuse of treated wastewater can provide significant incremental supply of water for use in nonpotable applications, including irrigation, industrial uses, power plant cooling, toilet flushing, and many other uses. Treated wastewater, also known as recycled water or reclaimed water, can also be discharged to large scale soil absorption system to help replenish local aquifers.” In other more arid parts of the country these techniques have been in use for much longer periods of time. Examples are the Southwest, California, Texas. Part of the challenge is to see if these techniques and see if they can be useful in Massachusetts and be applicable to what is unique in our region. Martin said there are cost challenges, technical challenges and regulatory challenges. He added that the underlying principle is that we can no longer think of wastewater as waste. Martin said the same is true of storm water. The goal is to take the burden off of potable water for uses that do not require potable quality. There are examples of water reuse that have been applied in Massachusetts already. So, this is not so wild an idea. We think these ideas have application outside of our state as well.

Sam Cleaves stated that we have a substantial amount of precipitation of 44 inches per year. So, why do we need to worry about water? He noted that we have limited aquifer storage statewide, impervious surfaces reduce aquifer recharge; piping of storm water carries rainwater away, seasonal demand prevents full aquifer recharge and development on poor soils requires sewers and outside water sources. Larry Schafer asked what do you mean by poor soil? Sam said basically its areas that are not amenable to septic systems and require sewers that take water out of the watershed. He added that the DEP is getting quite serious about this issue in the Ipswich watershed. Sam showed a map outlining the stressed basins within the state. Martin added that there are some areas projecting a 20% increase in water usage by 2030.

Sam outlined some of the potential consequences if nothing is done to modify projected water demand. They include: longer, more contentious, more expensive water permitting processes, higher water rates, affecting home owners and businesses, limits on new connections could impede economic growth and increasing impacts to rivers, streams, and wildlife. This is one of the issues driving the DEP in the Ipswich area. The Ipswich is the second most stressed basin in the country.

Sam said water reuse is increasing worldwide, in such places like Australia, the Middle East, parts of Latin America and the Caribbean, Japan and Europe. Irrigation is a common use. In the US Florida recycles 584 mgd and California recycles 358 mgd. In Massachusetts, spray irrigation is allowed for golf courses, toilet flushing in commercial applications and artificially recharging aquifers.

Sam categorized uses as, commercial, industrial, groundwater recharge, agricultural, and environmental/recreational reuse. He then went into detail on each.

Types of commercial reuse include; irrigation, toilet flushing, vehicle washing, fountains, reflecting pools, waterfalls, and dust control & concrete production and fire protection. Many of these have not been used in Massachusetts Some of the issues with commercial reuse, wastewater needs additional treatment beyond standard conditions (tertiary plus conditions), possible on-site storage of recycled water, dual distribution system, and demand evaluation. There could be significant capital costs to deal with these issues.

The best-known case of reuse in Massachusetts is Gillette Stadium. Without water reuse the town would have been overwhelmed with potable water demand and wastewater flow. The solution was a 1 million gallon elevated holding tank for potable water, a wastewater treatment plant with subsurface disposal to recharge aquifers and 60% of treated wastewater used for toilet flushing in the facility. Other cases include a golf course in Yarmouth and the Wrentham Premium outlet Mall. For the golf course treated wastewater was used to irrigate 7 holes and to recharge groundwater. In the case of Wrentham a 100,000 gpd wastewater treatment plant was built next to the parking area. 50% of wastewater effluent was recycled and used for toilet flushing and groundwater recharge. In this case there were no sewers to deal with the commercial mall. One of the issues is what do you do with irrigation water in the non-growing season. It’s usually held in holding ponds or discharged to the ground. Martin said some of these private sector projects could not have taken place unless reuse was an available option and that the cost-benefit analysis supported this type of investment.

In the industrial arena, reuse is for cooling water and industrial processing water. Main industrial users of recycled water are, utility cooling towers, metal working facilities, paper mills, textile industry and tanneries. Issues associated with this use are, potential for corrosion, biological growth, scaling due to concentrations of contaminants and different industrial processes requiring different levels of water quality. Ed Selig asked what is left in the recycled wastewater. Martin said it depends on the process but there is always some residual nitrogen and phosphorous which can result in corrosion and biological growth. Mary Adelstein noted that in Australia recycled wastewater is used in numerous applications and the country relies on its used. The use is well received by the public. Martin said public health perceptions are a major issue of reuse in this country and particularly Massachusetts. These are closed systems where the water is recycled over and over again.

An example of industrial reuse is the EMC plant in Hopkinton. EMC wanted to expand but there were water shortages during summer months and EMC was the largest water user in town. The solution was a self-distributed wastewater treatment and recycling plant that treats 32,000gpd with 11,000 gpd reused mostly for toilets and some for cooling.

Another industrial example he reviewed was Intel in Hudson. It is a semiconductor fabrication facility with a high demand on town water and sewage treatment facility. Plant expansion was limited by the town’s sewer pipe capacity and ability to remove phosphorous from wastewater. The solution was to recycle spent rinse water for reuse as Ultra-Pure water and use less treated water for lower quality demands. Intel saves 50+ million gallons per year in the Ultra Pure Recycle System. The cost savings of $200K/year as water not purchased from Hudson. Also the municipal water seasonal variability was minimized. All this resulted in a successful expansion where production increased by 50% with decreased wastewater discharge.

Sam reviewed examples of groundwater reuse. He cited the benefits; prevents saltwater intrusion in coastal aquifers, provides treatment and storage for future water reuse and supplements existing potable or non-potable water supplies. Some of the problems related to this are, land requirements, cost, possible aquifer contamination and liability. An example was in Kingston, as development pressure increased with rail service to Boston. There were failing septic systems that threatened water quality in Jones River and Kingston Bay, town wells were overdrawn in summer and there was a need for a wastewater treatment plan as well as sewers. The solution was to use treated effluent for irrigation at proposed golf course and subsurface leaching fields to recharge aquifers.

Sam said in reviewing agricultural water reuse that irrigation for agriculture accounts for 75% of all water use worldwide. Studies show reclaimed water is safe for irrigation and crop yields were increased by nutrients in reclaimed water. Some of the issues; crop damage from increased salinity (chlorine and trace elements), runoff, and groundwater monitoring may be required. An example is California’s San Joaquin Valley where reclaimed water is used on more salt-tolerant crops and finally discharged to solar evaporators. Larry Schafer asked if there is a salt disposal problem. Sam said there is, but at least it’s not in your soil.

Water is reused in recreational and environmental reasons, such as, wetlands restoration, constructed wetlands, stream augmentation, and water impoundments for boating and swimming. Ed Selig asked is swimming allowed. Sam said there is no place where swimming is allowed in reuse water. Wherever reuse water is available for public use there is always signage alerting you to that fact. The issues are significant land use requirements and limited application in urban settings. Mary Adelstein asked if all this water reuse resulted in more overall demand for water. Martin said you could ask should the water be used to irrigate a golf course. If the water wasn’t available could you have the golf course in the first place? And of course people own the land and have a right to develop it. Most important you’re not using virgin water for irrigation that could be used in other applications in town. Mary Adelstein asked if reuse is all right for golf courses, why not for ball fields? Martin said you come back to the public health issue; any place where children may be present is not viewed acceptable.

There are significant costs associated with reuse, such as, capital improvements at wastewater treatment plant, installation of reclaimed water transmission lines, O&M costs for power, water quality monitoring, and administration, cross-connections prevention program and revenue loss for potable water supplier.

Sam said there are no federal regulations on reuse of treated wastewater. However, 25 states have adopted water reuse regulations, 16 states have guidelines to aid in developing reuse programs and 9 have no regulations or guidelines, sometimes permitted case-by-case. In Massachusetts the DEP is evaluating use of reclaimed water for: public park and playground irrigation, non-residential, highway & cemetery landscaping and cooling water for industrial uses. Of course no growth advocates may oppose any additional water supply. Sam said the universal piping color for reused water is purple.

Ed Bretschneider asked about the cost and capital investment to move forward. Martin said that each case is individualized, but that municipalities and private industry would not move ahead unless it was a net positive. Mary Adelstein asked if the storage ponds for reused water could be used as a pumping source in case of fire. Martin said in many cases they could. Martin added moving forward on one of these projects has a lot to do with public acceptance and market ability. If your building nice new homes people may not want to see the toilet flushed with anything but nice clean water. With more and more concerns about water availability this option might become more widely spread. Ed Selig added that as water becomes more expensive water reuse might look more reasonable.

Sam listed several new ideas for irrigation use as, parks, ball fields, cemeteries, developments, crops and residential irrigation. Other suggestions included, toilet reuse for condos and apartments, fire protection, power plants, and automated car wash.

He concluded with several recommendations:

• State should work with communities to promote reclaimed water projects
• Minimum water reuse thresholds for developments on state property or using state funds
• Public education campaign
• Technical assistance for communities
• Formation of regional water use districts
• Reuse standard & cost-benefit analysis in MEPA review

Sam said copies of the brochure ONCE IS NOT ENOUGH - A GUIDE TO WATER REUSE IN MASSACHUSETTS are available from the MAPC and the 495/MetroWest Corridor Partnership:

http://www.mapc.org/waterreuse

http://www.arc-of-innovation.org

Ed Bretschneider said the next meeting is May 5 at the MWRA Advisory Board. Richard Trubiano from the MWRA will give an update on the new MWRA wastewater meter implementation program.

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Minutes of the March 3, 2006 Meeting

The Wastewater Advisory to the MWRA held its meeting at the MWRA Advisory Board. PRESENT: WAC MEMBERS: Stephen Greene, Joe Harrington, Taber Keally, Larry Schafer, Vin Spada Bill Katz and Cornelia Potter. STAFF: Ed Bretschneider. MWRA: Pam Heidell PUBLIC: Jenny Birnbaum Mystic River Watershed, Roger Frymire and Ian Cooke Nepra

Stephen Greene called the meeting to order at 10:40 A.M. He asked for approval of the February 3 minutes. The minutes were approved without change.

Stephen commented on the letter WAC sent to the legislature. He said it’s important that people understand that it’s not only MWRA ratepayers who benefit from debt relief but there are benefits to the whole commonwealth. It’s true that the MWRA gets the bulk of the money because of its size but virtually all of the other sewer authorities are having similar problems with the huge cost escalation associated with aging infrastructure and old equipment and bringing them up to date. Cornelia Potter added that about 20% of the funding goes to other Authorities than the MWRA and it is obviously helpful to them. Taber Keally added that ratepayers pay a significant bill; you get what you pay for in this case quality. Debt relief is important to help control rate increases without decrease in service or quality.

Ed Bretschneider noted that the advisory board has reconvened the systems expansion committee. He added that he asked Vin Spada to give a brief update on what’s happening with Wilmington, since they are looking to joining the MWRA system.

Vin said the town is located primarily in the Ipswich River Basin, which is one of the most 10 stressed water basins in the nation. So DEP is implementing some new strict initiatives for this area. Vin noted that MWRA has included Wilmington in their long term planning since the 1970’s and Deer Island has the capacity for the entire Town. The Town is about one-third sewered. A wastewater facility plan prepared for the Town in the 1980s proposed to sewer the entire Town. But, because of the Ipswich condition DEP will not approve a major extension of the sewer system. Vin said SEA is working with the town to look at minimizing the limits of proposed sewer and investigate other alternatives other than sewering. Larry Schafer asked how much of Wilmington is in the Ipswich basin, Vin said two-thirds. He added the town is evaluating modifying the existing septic systems. No final recommendations yet.

Vin discussed water and noted that the town is applying for MWRA membership. Their wells have experienced some contamination problems; they are close to a landfill area. Right now they have emergency status. WRC approval of an interbasin transfer is required for membership, but they are opposed. DEP has a water local focus initiative requiring use of local sources to the full extent possible before they use other sources as required by the interbasin transfer regulations. Bill Katz asked why is this the situation. Vin said because the Ipswich is such a stressed basin the DEP is looking to utilize new initiatives. The DEP goal is to keep water within the watershed and to only export water from other watersheds into the area during dry periods when the basin is stressed. Pam Heidell added that both the WRC (primarily interbasin transfer act) as well as MWRA regulations require that towns look to alternatives before being brought into the MWRA system. So, this is not new this has been a requirement.

Vin noted that Wilmington is also considering a storm water permit for new and redevelopment sites. Permit will require on site collection and disposal of storm water into the groundwater. Storm water must be collected from roofs and impervious surfaces and reinfiltrated to the ground through leaching systems or stored and reused for lawn and garden irrigation. Wilmington will be one of the first towns requiring this.

Stephen Greene noted the tension between meeting the fiscal needs of the MWRA district by maximizing use of its infrastructure (capital equipment) but that is sometimes in conflict with the environmental needs of the district.

Bill Katz said he asked last time if there was extra capacity in the sewer system and he was told no, because of major storm events. So now is there extra capacity of the water system. Bill said based on what he’s heard the answer is yes. Pam Heidell said there is extra capacity on the waterside. Bill Katz then stated it seems like from a fiscal point of view you would want to sell water. Ian Cooke said the only problem with that is that you are not promoting water conservation. Pam added that the MWRA is not trying to sell water so that everyone can abandon his or her water conservation program. She added that a requirement for MWRA admission is that the town has to continue their conservation program. We are trying to address some areas where there are stresses. Taber added that in commercial development, some of the smaller businesses are driven by water and wastewater costs and that MWRA is not cheap, so if they can find less expensive sources they do so.

Neponset River Watershed Association – Ian Cooke (Executive Director)

Ian starting by saying even though we don’t always agree with MWRA we always felt that the MWRA is an important and useful and professionally run organization. He added the Nepra does a lot of water quality monitoring and he said the MWRA is an important partner because of their donation of some analysis of water quality samples. We hope even with the financial strains on the Authority that they will be able to continue this support.

Ian identified the Neponset watershed and noted that the Neponset River starts in Foxboro right by the stadium where the Patriots play runs about 30 miles northeast to Dorchester Bay ends right by the gas tank. Ian said about 330,000 people live in the watershed. The watershed has been helped by the MWRA by its support and improvement of infrastructure but also hurt by interbasin water transfer. Ian said in the last several years he has become concerned about the amount of water in the river, it is certainly not in the most endangered status like the Ipswich but there are significant declines in inter-stream flow levels over time. Some of the causes of this decline are the increasing population and the increase seasonal water usage basically for lawn watering in the summer right at the time that the river needs that ground water most. Ian said most of the watershed area was developed before the first iteration of storm water policy in the state. Hence, there is a lot of impervious area that tends to increase peak flows, reduce ground water recharge and reduce summertime low flows. Most of the wastewater in the watershed area his serviced by the MWRA sewer system, a little bit is serviced by the Charles River treatment plant in Medfield. He added any water that finds it way into a sewer is not going to find its way back to neponset watershed. Once you factor in I/I it’s a big loss to the watershed. He said the area has five of the worst communities for I/I. In many of the communities the sanitary flow is only 50% and in many it’s as low as 25% and the rest is I/I. The net between MWRA water imports and sewer outflows is about a 25million gallon a day negative. Ian said most of the communities have taken advantage of MWRA I/I grants, but it’s somewhat uneven.

Ian introduced the concept of I/I banking and project that is being funded by the EOEA. Basically, if you put flow into the wastewater system you have to take so much flow out, for example if you put 1000 gallons in, you have to take 1000 gallons out. This project has just started and grew out of one of the recommendations from the MWRA I/I task force several years back. Ian said that I/I banking was agreed as a good idea but the question is how well does it work in practice. Ian said DEP has a number of active decrees with municipalities requiring I/I banking. He gave some real life examples; Canton wanted to have a new local well to get away from paying MWRA water rates, but then that water was going to be discharged into the MWRA water system triggering the interbasin transfer act, the WRC saying you can do that only if you offset that two to one so that you don’t harm the Neponset Watershed. Ian said these are all great ideas but no one can say how well they are working. For example, in the Canton situation you don’t see a decrease in water balance in their reports. Ian than added there is some confusion around I/I definition, some older consent decrees focused on removing peak day inflow, which may only occur three times a year, which is probably a drop in the bucket, but still worthwhile since you prevent sanitary overflows. Ian reminded everyone that inflow is rainwater getting into the system, and infiltration being slow in permeation through cracks which accounts for the vast amount of water moving out of the watershed on a regular basis. Ian said this is probably close to 75% of the water lost. So, how do you want to define inflow, peak day, average day flow, what is it that you are actually trying to remove. Ian added that removing one million gallons of I/I does not mean that a similar reduction shows up at sewer collection. He said the problem is common in systems that have a great deal of variability. Ian said another issue with I/I banking is that not all expansion is coming under DEP regulation, a number come from home building and small commercial projects that come under the rules of local municipalities. Ian summarized by saying his project is going to look into all this and how all this works or really what works. A steering committee is going to be formed to deal with this. The product will be an I/I handbook dealing with best practices of how to deal with this. The goal is finish by late summer.

Ian changed topics to discuss a septic maintenance utility project in Walpole. He contrasted the I/I project that is just beginning to this one that is nearing conclusion. He said about three years ago he was discussing with Walpole what could be done to help the river and do water conservation. The sewer commissioner said the most important thing that could be done is to make sure that the 2500 septic systems in Walpole stay as septic systems and don’t get turned into sewers. This was critical to make sure enough water remained in the ground to supply its own water without help from outside sources. The Board of Health noted that only 40% of systems are regularly pumped. It was apparent without regular maintenance sometime in the future there would be widespread septic system failure which would likely lead with replacement to a sewer system, this lead to the idea of a septic system utility. A survey from several years back concluded that people understood that they were better off with a septic system, it didn’t create an interbasin transfer problem, it didn’t create water quality problems and probably cheaper than a sewer system. However, over 90% said they would prefer to be on a sewer system. The conclusion was that there was a social difference, septic system owners are responsible for their own system while with sewers there are professional people in charge of keeping track of what needs to be done, all you have to do is pay for it; hence, sharing of risk. The question of how to share risk among septic system users is how we get involved with a septic system utility project.

Evaluation showed that 2500 septic systems save 830,000 gallons per day, for Walpole that’s a lot of water, essentially equivalent to a major new production well. There is no place in Walpole to put a new production well either. It’s not believed that major water conservation would come close to saving this much water in Walpole. A septic system utility could mean a lot of things, such as, homeowner education that was fee based so that you were not depending on town meeting to be sufficiently enlighten, or the town would pump everyone’s septic system, or the town assume the risk of septic system failure and replacement. There is a wide spectrum of potential ideas. Gloucester for example has a town mandate that you pump your system, and they also have a program of more frequent and more detailed inspections in between the time you sell house. Cohasset has a full voluntary utility, they pump it, they replace it if it fails, but no one signed up for it, primarily because you had to first go through a title 5 inspection. Other models include operating permit for your septic system, or fees applied to fund education and water testing models.

Ian said the next step was to break out what the steps in septic utility project would look like. He said there would be four components:

Outreach and education – broad agreement but town lacked computer system to support
Accelerate or require more detail of septic inspections- very effective program in Gloucester. Politically impossible in absence of overwhelming consensus
Incentives or requirements to maintain the system – implement bylaw requiring periodic pumping or inspection by homeowner, cost less than $80/year, or adjust water rates to create financial incentives to pump. Place $22/quarter on water bill of every septic owner, that fee waived if system pumped in last three years. Thought this approach very effective and simple to implement. Recommended this approach.
Program to require sharing cost of system to include replacement and repair – sweeping nature of change creates political obstacles. But we thought it would be surprisingly affordable even with a $7500 deductible.

There were three final recommendations from our work:

  • Education Program
  • Fee incentive through water rate manipulation or dump station incentives such as waiving fee for disposal of septage
  • Fee based financing from $1.6 per year (if everyone in town is charged) to $22 (if only septic users are charged) to fund programs 1 and 2.

It’s not clear what Walpole will end up doing to keep septic systems viable in town. We believe if what Walpole chooses does not work in the next few years that they may be more amenable to some of the more “radical” suggestions.

Stephen Greene asked if everyone in town is on municipal water. Ian said there are only about 200 people not on town water. Larry Schafer said he heard that MWRA does not have more capacity for system expansion; consequently more attention should be given to I/I. Roger Frymire asked that if the data regarding Neponset Watershed having five of the worst communities for I/I was recent. Ian said it was from the 2003 report. Stephen Greene said that his understanding that fixing infiltration requires significant maintenance because once fixed it degrades in several years back to where it was. Ian said he believed that 40-60% of total I/I was coming from private sources. Taber Keally said it’s surprising that for septic systems a final inspection is required before you sell your house but not for sewer connections. Larry Schafer asked if Neponset has a flood plain. Ian said they have quite a large one in the middle of the watershed. Ian said he thought one of the reasons that the Neponset is not stressed to the extent of the Ipswich is because of the large flood plain. Taber said the Neponset is more of a warm water rather than cold-water environment for the type of marine life that it supports.

Ed Bretscheider said the next meeting is April 7 at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. Martin Pillsbury will discuss water reuse.

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Minutes of the February 3, 2006 Meeting

The Wastewater Advisory to the MWRA held its meeting at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. PRESENT: WAC MEMBERS: Stephen Greene, Joe Harrington, Taber Keally, Ed Selig, Larry Schafer, Lauren Thirer, Martin Pillsbury, Bill Katz and Cornelia Potter. STAFF: Ed Bretschneider. MWRA: Andrea Rex and Pam Heidell PUBLIC: Matt Boger UCANE, Nancy Hammett Mystic River Watershed, Roger Frymire, Alexandria Harriet SH/SB, Steve Kaiser Alewife Coalition and Todd Borci EPA.

Taber Keally called the meeting to order at 10:40 A.M. He asked for approval of the January 6 minutes. Several edits were made and with that the minutes were approved.

Ed Bretschneider distributed documents from Kate Bowditch (CRWA) regarding their comments of NPDES Permit Requirements for Peak Wet Weather Discharges from Publicly Owned Treatment Plants serving Separate Sewer Collection Systems and Roger Frymire comments on FDA proposed changes to water quality standards.

Ed Bretschneider also commented that the MWRA has re-convened the System Expansion Subcommittee to update the work from several years earlier and make a recommendation to the MWRA Board. Bill Katz asked how much extra capacity is there at Deer Island? Pam Heidell said on a rainy day there is none the facility is at full capacity. Larry Schafer added that it was running flat out at the last big storm. Pam also added no community has requested to join the MWRA system under its expansion policy. She added part of the reason is the strict requirements for entry.

Ed Bretschneider also noted that Pam Heidell at the January MWRA Board meeting put forth the nominations of Lauren Thirer and Larry Schafer to become WAC members. The BOD unanimously approved the recommendation.

MWRA Outfall – Andrea Rex (MWRA)

Dr. Rex started by reviewing what the MWRA does for effluent monitoring and where to find the information. She said it is governed by three different documents: the discharge permit, the contingency plan and the ambient monitoring plan. Andrea noted that all those documents are available on the MWRA web site. She added that there are quarterly reports that track the data for each month and there is an annual report. Joe Harrington noted that the pH of Boston water was 9 but the effluent pH was much lower.

Stephen Greene asked if Andrea in her toxicity-testing saw any difference wet vs. dry weather conditions. Andrea said no. Stephen said he was concerned about the EPA policy regarding wet weather policy that comes back and puts restrictions on facilities that treat combined sewer systems. The data you’ve accumulated may be helpful in commenting to the EPA to make sure that potential new requirements are not onerous on the MWRA. Andrea said that the conditions that the EPA has put on blending don’t affect the MWRA because EPA’s CSO policy governs us. Stephen added that once a policy is set in one area it’s only a matter of time before it will affect other areas.

Roger Frymire changed subject and said that he is concerned that the state bacterial water quality standards for swimmable, fishable and boatable waters are being relaxed significantly. Roger also said that at WAC’s last meeting he noted that he and others had appealed the Cambridge CSO NPDES permit. The appeals are not moot, the EPA withdrew the CSO permit, it will go back to the writer, come back in draft and go through a new public comment period. So, it may be a year or two before Cambridge has a new CSO permit. Stephen Greene said that he would send me for distribution to the committee information on the water quality changes that are being proposed. Larry Schafer asked Roger if the changes for water quality take into consideration-wet weather. Roger said not that he knows of. Practically, Larry said that makes a difference because you can have good water in dry weather and excursion when you have a big storm. Roger asked committee members to look at the regulations on line and as individuals or the organizations that you represent you have the opportunity to comment until the end of the month.

Andrea said one of the more interesting studies is that of red tide effect. She started by asking why does the MWRA get involved in red tide monitoring. The issue is that of nutrients in the wastewater may somehow be involved.. She added that secondary treatment does a very good job of removing most pollutants except for nutrients. In the marine environment the nutrient of most concern is nitrogen. In 1996 before secondary treatment went online there was a little more than 1200 metric tons of nitrogen in the effluent. After secondary treatment went online there was some reduction in total nitrogen but there was in increase in the ratio of ammonium and nitrate/nitrate in the effluent. Andrea said this is typical of microbial action in the secondary treatment process where organic nitrogen is converted into inorganic nitrogen; these latter forms of nitrogen are more easily taken up by algae. One of the major purposes of the outfall is to provide dilution to that nitrogen to minimize impact on the environment. That’s why the outfall is spread out over a very long area with diffusers. Also, it’s in an area where during the summer the water column is layered which holds the effluent below the surface where light can get at the nitrogen. It is a combination of light and nutrients that that encourages the growth of algae. So the reason that the MWRA is involved in measuring nutrient levels in the environment is to answer the question is the outfall performing as intended. Steve Kaiser asked how frequently measurements are taken in the effluent, Andrea said weekly. He then followed asking what is the accuracy of the measurement. Andrea said it’s very tight probably around 5%.

Andrea showed a map that had decreased ammonium in the harbor, and lesser, local increase at the outfall. Larry Schafer asked compared to what. Andrea compared now to what was available before the outfall went online. Larry added that the diagram showed a great deal of work, a lot of sampling.

Andrea than discussed the monitoring question concerning contingency plan thresholds, specifically has the abundance of nuisance or noxious phytoplankton species changed in the vicinity of the outfall? She added the caution level threshold for Alexandrium (which causes red tide) is greater than 100 cells/L in any near-field sample. Red tide blooms do not occur every year in Massachusetts Bay. Andrea spoke to the life cycle of red tide. It is a microscopic algae, a Dinoflagellate. It starts out resting on the ocean floor, buried in sediment. Cysts can germinate and break open. A swimming cell emerges; the cell reproduces by simple division within a few days of hatching. If conditions remain optimal, cells continue to divide. A single cell could produce several hundred cells within a couple of weeks. Toxicity in shellfish may occur. When nutrients are gone, growth stops and gametes are formed. Two gametes join to form one cell, which develop into a zygote and then into a cyst. This falls to the ocean floor and is capable of germination the following year. In New England, red tide is caused by Alexandrium fundyense which produces a toxin, which causes paralytic shellfish poisoning, fatal to humans. We’re concerned about it because the cells get concentrated from water by shellfish. Red tide over time has been moving south from Maine coast. Cysts germinate in easstern Maine and established blooms can move into Mass. Bay if wind is favorable.

There is no history of toxic algal blooms in southern New England prior to 1972; after 1972, recurrent annual outbreaks in western Maine, NH and northern MA. Shellfish toxicity occurred frequently in Mass Bay 1972-1993. There has been no toxicity in Mass Bay over last decade, despite frequent toxicity in western Maine and NH. After 1993 MWRA monitoring data detected zero-low levels of Alexandrium cell counts in Mass Bay. Then in 2005 counts appeared and the question is what happened. The record levels of toxicity in some locations and first-time ever records of toxicity in some locations, a very dramatic change. Also there were record high A. fundyense cell concentrations in Mass Bay. Martin Pillsbury asked does the toxicity in the marine life stay for a long period of time. Andrea said it does even when you can’t measure cells in the water. In shell fish the toxicity can remain for months. The testing is quite complicated, it requires sampling the shellfish, grinding them up, diluting them, and injecting mice with the ground up shellfish and timing how long it takes for the mice to die. With a big bloom and a lot of toxicity you go through a lot of mice.

To help understand, Andrea said the outfall might affect red tide, a rapid response plan was implemented: testing was added to regular mid-May and late June surveys to characterize abundance and distribution of cells, and eight additional Alexandrium-targeted surveys in Mass and Cape Cod Bays were added, and four surveys in Boston Harbor. MWRA’s laboratory analyzed samples for nutrients and chlorophyll and added sampling for Alexandrium cysts to MWRA’s July sediment survey.

Larry Schafer said the data seemed to indicate Alexandrium algae seemed to be independent of nutrients; fewer nutrients resulted in more algae. Andrea said that is consistent with the nutrients being consumed as the algae grow. Alexandrium are not the only algae in the water and they are a minor component of the entire plankton community that is living out there. Cornelia Potter noted that the data was collected as part of the MWRA outfall-monitoring program. Larry also noted that the counts seemed to be seasonally, Andrea agreed.

Andrea said what was unusual about 2005 was the high numbers of Alexandrium cysts in western Gulf of Maine probably as a result of large fall 2004 bloom, heavy winter snowfall and spring rainfall resulting in abundant nutrients and Nor’easter storms at critical times.

Andrea said we do not think that the outfall was a major factor in regional red tide because:

  • Large numbers of A. fundyense cells upstream of the outfall in NH and western ME at the time of the first nor’easter.
  • Outfall discharge was similar to other years.
  • Toxicity as far south as Nantucket, probably from cells that bypassed the Bay, and thus did not pass through the outfall area.
  • The two major storms carried red tide cells into Mass Bay and kept them there, sufficient to explain high cell abundance and high toxicity in Cape Cod Bay and Buzzards Bay without invoking nutrient stimulation growth.

Andrea added that singling out an outfall effect in 2005 is difficult because of high background and that towards the end of the bloom, as cell abundance dropped dramatically, MWRA sampling continued, but found no apparent outfall effect stimulation growth or prolonging the bloom. Andrea noted that Boston Harbor was open throughout the 2005 episode. She believes the cells got flushed out by the tide and never got established.

Andrea said the next steps were to assess presence of cysts in Mass Bay sediments. If Alexandrium threshold is exceeded again in 2006, the MWRA will carry out targeted monitoring. There will be a continuing analysis of 2005 results. She said it is a serious concern if the there is an outbreak in 2006.

Stephen Greene said this sounds like some groundbreaking data collection and research the MWRA has done. We’re looking at things we’ve never looked at before. Are other Authorities doing work like this? Andrea said water agencies in Florida are. Bill Katz asked about the Northwest coast. Andrea said she thinks it’s monitored up there.

Larry Schafer said this work was outstanding but why do ratepayers have to fund this research. Andrea said ratepayers don’t pay for all of it, a lot of the research is sponsored by grants.

Matt Boger noted that the legislature is taken up Rate Relief Fund, which has not funded this for fiscal 2007. Matt suggested we consider writing a letter to support funding at a minimum of $23 million. He said he is working with Joe Favoloro from the Advisory Board on this issue. The committee agreed to write a letter and asked Ed Bretschneider to write a draft.

Ed Bretschneider said the next WAC meeting is scheduled for March 3 at the MWA Advisory Board. Ian Cooke from the Neponset River Watershed Association will be the speaker.


Minutes of the January 6, 2006 Meeting

The Wastewater Advisory to the MWRA held its meeting at the MWRA Advisory Board. PRESENT: WAC MEMBERS: Stephen Greene, Joe Harrington, Taber Keally, Ed Selig, Larry Schafer, Lauren Thirer and Cornelia Potter. STAFF: Ed Bretschneider. MWRA: Ralph Wallace and Pam Heidell PUBLIC: Matt Boger UCANE, Nancy Hammett Mystic River Watershed, Jenny Birnbaum Mystic River Watershed, Kate Bowditch CRWA, Paul Brinkman SEA Consultants Roger Frymire and Donald Walker Metcalf & Eddy

Stephen Greene called the meeting to order at 10:40 A.M. He asked for approval of the December 9 minutes. Ed Bretschneider said that several edits from Larry Schafer and Mary Adelstein still needed to be reflected in the draft minutes. With that the minutes were approved with the edits to be added.

Stephen said that EPA has started issuing policy on stormwater diversions from wastewater plants. It only applies to districts with separated sewer systems; no combined sewer systems are intended to be covered by this policy. EPA is silent on whether they are in compliance with the discharge. So there is recognition that you don’t want to over load a secondary treatment plant with excess flow or too low a nutrient level, but they don’t speak to compliance or meeting the levels that the permit indicates. Stephen said if they are thinking this way about separated systems we should try to find out what they are thinking about combined systems. He added that this is a very restrictive approach that they are taking and is concerned about the direction the EPA is taking. Operational issues should be left to the plant to meet permit limits. Taber Keally said that at the October meeting EPA was concerned about wastewater blending occurring during dry weather and wanted to know if there was an explanation for those events. Stephen said there wasn’t an explanation of why there was a dry weather diversion. Ralph Wallace said sometimes dry weather conditions could be misleading if there is high ground water. Kate Bowditch added that the intent of the EPA is to signal that numerical limits are not enough and that energy has to be put into fixing I/I and other concerns. She added that down the road combined sewer systems would probably be impacted. Cornelia Potter asked if there was a distinction made between discharges into saltwater ocean environments from fresh water drinking environments. Stephen said he didn’t think so.

Roger Frymire noted that the Cambridge CSO permit has been appealed to the environmental appeals board in Washington by at least three different parties.
Roger said his appeal was based on the fact that the limits in the permit are significantly higher than Cambridge currently achieves. He wants there to be recognition of these improvements which have occurred over the last ten years as well as keeping the pressure on to preserve current controls and to prevent backsliding. Stephen asked Roger what is the counter argument from the city of Cambridge. Roger said based on conversations that he has had, he doesn’t think there is one. Cornelia Potter asked Kate Bowditch if CRWA appealed. Kate said they had not and that it was primarily a resource issue. Kate added that CRWA basically agrees with Roger’s points and there should be recognition of the remarkable progress that the city of Cambridge has made.

CSO Project Update – Ralph Wallace (MWRA)

Ralph said that during the last year the Authority has expended more funds in design and construction than in any previous year. The program is now poised to enter its most significant period of investment largely being driven by the construction of the North Dorchester Bay CSO Program and than in a few years the construction of the East Boston Relief Sewer. The CSO program will constitute about 40% of the overall capital budget.

Ed Bretschneider asked Ralph was going to talk about this from the perspective of the holistic approach that the MWRA has been working with regulators. Ralph said that the Department of Justice, DEP and EPA have been in discussions for some time about developing a comprehensive agreement with regard to the level CSO control to be achieved by the Authority’s Long Term Control Plan. There are three receiving waters where there are open issues in our current agreement; they are the Alewife Brook, the Charles River and East Boston. In the case of Alewife Brook and Charles River, the DEP never issued and EPA never approved changes in the water quality designation. So, the MWRA has been operating under variance for those two receiving waters that continue to this day. For East Boston a change in the water quality designation was approved, however as the Authority worked through the recommended plan it was discovered that a slightly lower level of performance would be achieved than was originally envisioned (i.e., 7 events/year instead of 5). Consequently, approval from the regulatory agencies was necessary to proceed, because of this change. In terms of the holistic plan there was closure everywhere else except for these three receiving waters. The MWRA would like to get closure here so that a better handle on future costs can be determined. The critical issue has been the level of control in the Charles River. The EPA has never been happy with the proposed level of control of the prior plan, which was 6 activations in a typical rain year and a little over 24 million gallons of discharges. The Authority has made changes that have improved control levels significantly; this forms the basis for reaching an agreement with the regulators regarding this comprehensive plan. Ralph said he thinks that we are very close to reaching an agreement. Nancy Hammett asked if this would have to go through public comment. Ralph said he wasn’t sure how the public view was going to be addressed. Ralph added that court filings are posted on the MWRA web site. Ralph said that there is agreement with DEP on all points and once we come to agreement with EPA we will make a court filing.

Ralph moved to the North Dorchester Bay Storage Tunnel that is now primed to start construction. The MWRA BOD approved a contract to review tunnel plans and specifications at the October meeting. The hope is to award the storage contract at the June meeting. The court schedule is August. The construction is costs are approximately $160M. The goal is to have the entire project finished by May 2011.

Based on discussions with DOJ, EPA, and DEP, the MWRA will implement existing recommended plan. No changes to the recommended plan were required. Pending finalization of agreement with these parties on overall CSO control plan, design would resume in 2006.

Union Park Detention/Treatment Facility is a joint project between MWRA and BWSC and is approximately 90% complete. Underground detention basins and effluent channels are complete. CSO building is largely complete with mechanical and electrical work underway. BWSC will run the pump station and MWRA will run the treatment and detention basins. Completion is forecast for December 2006.

South Dorchester Bay Sewer Separation is also approximately 90% complete. Work is on schedule for completion in November 2008.

Stony Brook Sewer Separation is about 90% complete. Work is in schedule for completion in September 2006. Downspout removal and final paving are also underway. Taber Keally asked how many downspouts are there. Ralph said he didn’t know how many there were. He added that there are 100’s not 1000’s. Ralph said it’s fairly complicated work because you have to go block-by-block and house-by-house and make some assumptions what to remove. This is slow and time-consuming work.

BWSC is moving ahead with Fort Point Channel Sewer Separation and it is 8% complete and schedule for completion in March 2007.

Alewife Brook Sewer Separation, as with East Boston, the DOJ, EPA, and DEP have concurred that MWRA/Cambridge can to implement the existing recommended plan. The critical path to this work is the separated storm water that is being discharged into the Alewife Brook we need to be mindful that we don’t create a flooding situation with the newly separated storm water. There it’s necessary for Cambridge to construct a new outfall for the storm water and detention basin in an engineered wetland. This is currently subject of an administrative law process with hearing scheduled for June 2006.Bulk of the project cannot proceed until this contract is completed since there is no where to put the storm water. Ed Selig asked what is the area of concern. Ralph said there is concern about the siting of the engineered wetland. Nancy Hammett added that there is some concern that it is located in the Alewife reservation. Roger Frymire added that there is objection to taking of parkland as well. Nancy Hammett said that there are also different expectations of what the construction will look like. Roger said there is also a track record in the area of construction resulting in the spread of invasive plants. The cost of the recommended plan has increased by $20M. MWRA and Cambridge in discussions on cost sharing arrangement to fund this increase. Cornelia said she thought there was an agreement that Cambridge would absorb any cost increase. Ralph said that is the Authorities proposal. He added that the initial cost of $13M is now over $90M. Ralph said that this is in part due to the fact that there is a lot more CSO’s than originally thought, so that the plan has to remove lots more water.

EPA has never been comfortable with the level of control for the Charles River proposed by the MWRA; the Authority has agreed to implement additional work to improve level of CSO control in the Charles River; the estimated cost of additional work is approximately $20M. Through system optimization the goal is to reduce CSO discharges from Cottage Farm from 6 discharges/24M gallons to 2 discharges/6.5M gallons in a typical year. The EPA likes this since it approaches no discharges in a typical rain year. This forms the basis for agreement on an overall CSO control plan. The MWRA is in discussions with DOJ, EPA and DEP to finalize agreement. Ralph said he thought that there might be closure on this in the next few weeks.

Ralph mentioned that there has been a significant organizational change with the elimination of the CSO/Energy Department. This is a result of staff being transferred to Chelsea as well completion some major projects like John Carroll Water Treatment Plant and others. The engineering functions have been assigned to three departments: waterworks design, wastewater design and construction. Staff will be reassigned to wastewater design, waterworks design, and planning and operation administration. The design and construction of the projects we discussed today will move into these groups.

Cornelia Potter asked is there has been any impact for the Affordability Study that the Advisory Board sponsored. Ralph said that he thought it helped to limit scope and cost increase of some CSO projects. He said the cost increases I mentioned today while in absolute dollars is significant compared to a $780M CSO capital budget it could have been much worse. Ralph added he believed the study was effective in letting the EPA know that we were prepared to draw the line in what we were willing to do and we have drawn the line. We are closer to where we want to be rather than where the EPA wanted us to be 18 months ago. Cornelia said she is concerned that ratepayers are looking at double-digit increases in the years ahead as a result of all the borrowing that has been done to support capital spending. Nancy Hammett asked if there was any chance that debt service assistance be re-introduced at the old levels. Cornelia said that is not the case but that the Advisory Board is working very hard to get that re-instated.

Ed Bretschneider said the next WAC meeting is scheduled for February 3 at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. Andrea Rex from the MWRA will give an update on the MWRA Outfall.

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Minutes of the November 18, 2005 Meeting


The Wastewater Advisory and Water Supply Citizens Advisory Committees to the MWRA held a joint meeting at the MWRA Advisory Board. PRESENT: WAC MEMBERS: Stephen Greene, Martin Pillsbury, John Pickle, Joe Harrington, Vin Spada, Cornelia Potter and Bill Katz. WSCAC MEMBERS: Whitney Beals, Jon Beekman, John Craycroft, Paul Lauenstein, Tom Miner, Martin Pillsbury, and Martha Stevenson STAFF: Ed Bretschneider(WAC), Eileen Simonson(WSCAC), Alice Clemente(WSCAC), Alexandra Dawson(WSCAC), Lexi Dewey (WSCAC) MWRA: Pam Heidell, Mark Johnson, Lise Marx, Marian Orfeo, Stephen Estes-Smargiassi PUBLIC Larry Schafer, Lauren Thirer SH/SB, Matt Boger UCANE, Connnie Craycroft Cedar Swamp Conservation trust, Ryan Ferrara MWRA Advisory Board, Mary Griffin EOEA General Counsel, Linda Marler Hutchins DCR, Madelyn Morris DEP, Sam Mygatt Epsilon Associates, Arleen O'Donnell DEP, Eileeen Pannetier, Steve Pearlman NepRWA, Toni Hicks CLF, Margaret Van Deusen CRWA and Sandy Rabb DEP

The meeting was called to order at 10:35 A.M. It was noted that this was a joint Wastewater Advisory and Water Supply Citizens Advisory Committee meeting.

WSCAC Executive Committed nominated Whitney Beals to replace Alice Clemente as Chair who is stepping down. A brief transition was proposed. The nomination was approved.

Stephen Greene WAC, Chair, moved for approval of their October 21 minutes. The minutes were approved with no revisions.

Integrated Water Resource Management Planning: Madelyn Morris (DEP)

Madelyn said that the plan has been broadened to include wastewater, drinking water and storm water. The reason for the change is an increased recognition that water is a finite source that must be carefully managed to promote both water quality and water quantity.

Madelyn said that there are still water quality problems in the state. 60% of the waters that have been assessed are impaired. There are many sources of pollution that are still plaguing our waters. She listed them as: water treatment plant discharges and sanitary overflows. Combined sewer overflows, septic systems, storm water discharges and other non-point sources. Madelyn added that development also exacerbates water quality problems. Development activities can increase pollutant activities (household chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, etc.) EPA estimates that development generates 40 million tons of new sediment each year.

Madelyn noted that we also have water quantity problems. Although Massachusetts receives a lot of rain an average 44 inches per year. Still many of our streams and rivers are stressed. We know this because we are seeing alarming changes in the fish population. The biggest problem is the Ipswich River only 4% of the fish are the kind that you would expect in a this type of environment. One of the biggest reasons for these water problems is the high seasonal water usage. High summer water use depletes large volume of precipitation that occurs in the spring. Other causes of problems are impervious surfaces that reduce recharge of groundwater, water withdrawals close to streams, transport of wastewater out of basin, infiltration and inflow that takes clean water out of basin and dams. Madelyn added that integrated water resource planning is an essential component of planning to promote sustainable development and smart growth. She added that on the Cape most communities do a Master Plan every ten years to ascertain how they want to grow and develop. They should include what impact development will have on wastewater, drinking water and storm water.

Madelyn said that it is important to promote a °∞fix it first°± philosophy rather than expanding infrastructure into undeveloped areas. We should take advantage of existing infrastructure, many of which is aging and fix it first. That means a very big emphasis on water conservation. Also communities should look at optimizing existing sources in a manner that is most protective of the environment. Leak detection and repair, meter replacement and repair are also part of the "fix it first" philosophy. On the wastewater side first on the list is I/I removal, over 50% of the flow that goes to Deer Island is the result of I/I. Communities need to know what the capacity of their sewer system is and not just connect more and more people to the sewer system and find themselves over capacity. Since much of the infrastructure is old we need to make sure that they meet current standards by correcting hydraulic deficiencies. If a plan recommends additional wastewater or drinking water facilities, the community must assess the secondary growth impacts of those facilities and determine whether land use controls are needed to mitigate those impacts. Madelyn added that to maintain current water quality, a community might want to enact land use controls to guide growth away from environmentally sensitive areas and to restrict certain types of development if it is to protect its drinking water sources.

Madelyn said they also want communities to consider land use controls to conserve water and promote recharge by regulating land clearing and providing incentives for storm water best management practices. She added that one of the reasons a community might want to prepare a plan is to increase its chance for obtaining financing from the State Revolving Fund. One of the regulations requires that an applicant prepare an Integrated Water Resource Management Plan for projects. The intent is by solving one problem you don't create another. For example, solving a water quality problem by sewering in a stressed basin that they don't make the conditions in the river worse. Instead they should look at water conservation or reducing I/I first. Madelyn added the I/I control plan is required by NPDES permit. She noted that there are several regulatory requirements that must be met in addition to NPDES, such as MEPA, Interbasin Transfer Act and Water Management Act. She added that the Integrated Water Resource Planning could assist community's to come into compliance where there is a problem.

Madelyn stressed that good planning requires a lot of public communication. There are numerous forums for this, citizen advisory committees and technical advisory committees as well as Public Hearings and Meetings (in many cases this is a requirement).

The amount of work a community must do when assessing existing wastewater, drinking water and storm water facilities will vary. If a community main problem is wastewater than the focus of the document will primarily be wastewater. If the main problem is drinking water or storm water it will be a very different document. Madelyn said one size does not fit all. A challenge for all communities will be to assess the impact and description of anticipated growth. She added that all solutions should be cost effective.

Madelyn was asked if this document was optional or mandatory. She added that it may not be a must but it is a very effective tool. There may be places where it is required and others where it is optional. John Pickle asked if there were templates that would help people get through the process. It was acknowledged that it would be good to have an example. This is a complicated issue but we are trying to simplify as much as possible. In response to a question Madelyn said that mitigation is an important part of the process. But, the first step is to see if you can avoid new construction. Pam Heidell was asked about regional planning, Madelyn said that this was a great idea, we encourage it and it may be one way for a community to save money by working with and joining other communities in the planning process. Eileen Simonson asked if DEP felt empowered to tell a community that comes to it on wastewater issue that they need to address storm water as well. The response was that we are doing this already. Madelyn added that there are lot cases where it would make sense for the MWRA and communities to work together on wastewater and drinking water issues. Stephen Greene asked what metrics are going to be used to measure progress and how do those metrics tie back into individual, residential and business behavior. Good communication between the DEP and community as the process progresses is essential. Everyone has to be on the same page. Arleen O'Donnell said we want to make sure when this document is done that it is implementable and that people understand it. We don't want this to be a 45-year project. Before we put into regulation we want to make sure it is workable. She added we would like to see MAPC say they would like to do one for the Neponset for example or the Ipswich look at all the towns in that watershed, look at all the projections, and test the process to see how it works. In response to Stephen Greene's comment on metrics, a proposal was to look at the water balance the inflows and outflows. Stephen Estes-Smargiassi asked if each proposal is different as was suggested earlier how will they be approved? Arleen said that this is a key issue. The challenge while a focus may be wastewater or drinking water the intent is that it is an integrated plan.

An Update on the Metropolitan Water System: Marian Orfeo, Lise Marx and Mark Johnson (MWRA)

Marian Orfeo started by saying this is part of continuous series of sessions we have been having with citizen advisory committees on the MWRA Master Planning Process. She noted that we are in a multi-year process of preparing and updating the Master Plan for water and wastewater systems, today's presentation is going to focus on the Metropolitan Water System. Marian said that wastewater will follow a similar process and what you see today is how that information will be presented in the Master Plan when it is ultimately published. Lise Marx is heading up the overall Master Planning effort and is the lead planner on the waterside. Mark Johnson is Director of the Metropolitan Water System will also be presenting. Marian said what is important is that the planning team did not go off on its own. The Master Plan needs to address identify projects, prioritize them, and looking at system reliability in all its manifestations: quality perspective, operability perspective, and partnering with operations to make sure we get it right.

Lise Marx said what you heard so far is planning from the macro level we are now going to dig a little deeper. She added although what you are going to hear is the waterside, Carl Leone is leading a similar effort on the wastewater side. Lise said we are doing the process in-house and we have a tremendous amount of expertise here particularly in operations, but also engineering and finance expertise. The way we have structured the Master Planning effort is when we did outlining over a year ago we identified chapter leaders for each area of the Master Plan, Mark is the chapter leader on the Metropolitan Water System but others in the room lead other sections; Pam Heidell is chapter leader on supply and demand and Stephen Estes-Smargiassi is chapter leader on water quality. The goal is that these leaders gather the other in-house experts and facilitate moving forward on their section of the Master Plan. Lise added that the current work effort has to do with gathering data and getting it in shape for review. We are also identifying missing information. There is the analysis phase which is starting for various parts of the plan that includes looking at future needs of the existing system. Out of this come studies and projects, then comes prioritization.

Lise moved to data management. She noted that there was a water master plan done in 1993 which reflected the MWRA have been up and running for a few years and having learning a bit about the system but having a large number of emergency types of problems that had to be resolved. It's worth noting that the 1993 plan identified 3300 valves they had in the system, the number today is 4500. She noted that it's not that we've added many, but that we know the system much better today. Also, leak information has been updated and linked to GIS, so that we can look to patterns over time. Many of the record drawings for projects have been done and incorporated into the GIS system. Some of the work being done in-house is evaluating if we are meeting pressure requirements at the meters and that involves getting a lot of community maps, community information and integrating that. There is also pipeline analysis that has to be done.

Mark Johnson described the Metropolitan System has having 45 valves, 11 pump stations and 11 storage tanks, they tend to be located at the higher elevations. The storage tanks have a capacity of about 60 million gallons that people move on a daily basis. Eight tunnel shafts that transmit water to be distributed among the surface piping in the area, which is about 300 miles of pipe. The comparison is that there is about 6600 miles of pipe in the community system that is in the same metropolitan area. Within that area we manage it basically on 7 pressure zones. Mark showed diagrams of the areas. Mark said that 80% of the system is delivered by gravity. It's the other 20% that we need to get into the pumping and storage areas. Mark said when the MWRA took over the water system in 1985 there was a tremendous amount of maintenance that needed to be done. The 1993 master plan documented this work. Today we are in much better shape with regard to main line valves. These are utilized to control the flow of water on main pipe sections and to isolate reservoirs, pump stations and tanks. There are 160 control valves that automatically control valves throughout the distribution system. Mark said regarding valve performance we're approaching 90% operability for approximately 4500 valves. He said we report performance for the MWRA in the "yellow notebook". It's a monthly management indicator for water and wastewater. It reports on how we are doing, this is part of the feedback cycle on our performance.

Lise spoke to the MWRA 1993 covered storage plan. She noted that in the industry, similar systems have a 1-day maximum or more of storage. So, the recommendation was a little over 400 million gallons of covered distribution storage. Lise showed a bar chart demonstrating how the MWRA transitioned from uncovered storage to increased covered storage. Since usage has dropped the 1-day maximum storage is now in the mid-300million gallon range. Work still to be done is to look at the recommendation in the 1993 pan and re-evaluate those recommendations and look at where we still need to construct storage. Alexandra and Eileen commented on the MWA no longer having a full day of storage. Eileen said this is something WSCAC has been concerned with, we got very nervous when the system got smart instead of when it was just a gravity fed system.

Mark Johnson said in terms of asset management we need to determine where we are, confirm we are doing the right thing, and then we need to leap forward in the next phase of the master plan. In terms of asset management tanks are key. He said all of ours have been cleaned, drained, inspected or whatever needs to done to them since 1999 and 2000. AWWA types of standards every 3-5 years you should be doing essentially a full depth inspection structural, physical, complete integrity to make sure that asset is where it needs to be. Mark added that means I have taken bids for the cleaning and inspection of our tanks. Lise then spoke to rehabilitated pump stations: Gillis in Stoneham, Newton Street in Brookline, Lexington Street in Waltham, Commonwealth Avenue in Newton, Dudley Road in Newton and Chestnut Hill Emergency Station. She identified pump station planned for rehabilitation: Belmont Center in Belmont, Brattle Court in Arlington, Hyde Park in Boston, Reservoir Road in Brookline and Spring Street in Arlington. She added that pump stations have about a 50-year life but pumps have only about a 20-year life. Electronic life is also about 20 years, but technical obsolescence has a shorter life span. This makes vendor support a key issue. Consequently, future planning will have to take into consideration a less than 20-year electronic life span.

Lise noted that there is an in-house effort going on to do water pipeline prioritization analysis. They are currently looking at risk factors for replacing pipelines. It could be related to the age of the pipeline, the material of the pipeline, how many breaks or leaks are you seeing in any section of pipe, finally are there hydraulic deficiencies that could be relieved by replacement of certain pipes. Lise added that water quality in cast iron pipes is a concerned. She also noted that you have to replace valves you need to look at the pipeline in that area as well.

The other side of the equation is the consequence of the pipeline failing. So you have to look at system redundancy in that portion of the system. If you have valve problems in that area are you going to have flooding before you can get the water controlled. What is the duration and impact of service disruption in that area, for example is the disruption in the area where there is a hospital. Lise said we are looking at all these factors and coming up with a methodology that will essentially an algorithm how to prioritize the pipeline work that we have not yet done. To give a sense of the work, Lise said that to the original 284 miles of pipe in the metropolitan system, so far the MWRA has added 22 miles of new pipe, to date 63 miles have undergone rehabilitation, which is mostly cleaning and lining of pipe. Hence, there is about 200 miles of pipe that have not been touched. In our CIP we have about 70 miles of that is accounted for rehabilitation. This leaves about 130 miles of pipe where there is no rehabilitation to date. Hence, the master plan has to determine what is the right thing to do. Of those 130 miles, about 57 miles is cast iron, about 10 miles is ductile iron, 28 miles is steel and 33 miles is concrete. About half the pipe is younger than 50 years. You need to start worrying about pipe in the 51-100 year range; we have about 54 miles of pipe in this range. We have about 26 miles of pipe over 100 years of age. Lise said 37 miles of cast iron pipe has been relined, there are 104 miles that are unlined but half of that is in future CIP.

Lise concluded by stating that the master plan will be completed by summer of 2006. She noted the component of the plan: the water and wastewater master plan will be a "needs based" plan, water and wastewater projects will be prioritized, MWRA prioritization, committee will develop an overall list of priority projects and these priority projects can be scheduled for inclusion in the CIP as funding allows.

Ed Bretschneder asked if the prioritization process included regulatory required as well as non-regulatory projects. Lise said all projects would be evaluated but that final recommendation would take all factors into consideration.

Ed Bretschneider said the next WAC meeting is scheduled for December 9 at the MWRA Advisory Board. Kathy Baskin from the EOEA will discuss state wastewater policy.

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Minutes of the October 21, 2005 Meeting

The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MWRA Advisory Board. PRESENT: WAC MEMBERS: Stephen Greene, Taber Keally, Mary Adelstein, Joe Harrington, Mary Corcoran, Vin Spada, Cornelia Potter and Bill Katz. STAFF: Ed Bretschneider MWRA: Pam Heidell and Charles Button PUBLIC Larry Schafer, Lauren Thirer SH/SB, Bruce Berman SH/SB, Roger Frymire, Joe Favaloro Advisory Board, Donald Walker M-E Consultants, Michelle Cobban Barden EPA, Paul Brinkman SEA Consultants and Steve Kaiser Alewife Coalition.

Stephen Greene called the meeting to order at 10:35 A.M. After a round of introductions, he asked committee members for approval of September draft minutes. They were approved with no changes.

Ed Bretschneider mentioned that at the October MWRA BOD meeting there was discussion on the CSO holistic plan between the Authority and the regulators. It was believed that this was going well and that there was a general agreement on a path forward. Executive Director Fred Laskey was quoted as having said that recently there was a bit of a change in that the EPA wanted to have public input on the proposed variances. Joe Favaloro added that everyone’s desire is to come up with a holistic plan that includes the Charles basin, mystic basin and east Boston. He added that there has been good progress but there are still major problems with language and innuendo. Joe added that many court parties have questioned whether there is a comprehensive approach. He said DEP and EPA are backing off the agreement. Additionally, the Conservation Law Foundation is questioning the comprehensive plan. An open question is a 15-year variance for the Charles. He added that the CSO plan, as it’s currently configured, totals $872M. That exceeds recent estimates by $170M. That is money that cannot be used for other capital projects. MWRA rates will rise significantly in the next five years. Bruce Berman added that regular reviews by regulatory agencies are good things and generally improve the quality of the overall projects. He made it clear that he is concerned about downgrading of water quality standards. Bruce said that the DEP has not reviewed water quality for over six years and should do better in it’s policing of water quality standards. Stephen Greene asked if the additional $170M was corrected for inflation, Joe responded that they were the inflated dollars.

Cornelia Potter asked Michele Barden from the EPA if there was a schedule for the public hearings on the variances. Michelle said she thought that information would come from the DEP through the Environmental Monitor.

Charles Button, MWRA Deputy Chief Operating Officer, reviewed the recent events of the power outage at Deer Island. He noted that on October 15 Deer Island lost total power. This occurred operating at its maximum capacity of about 1.2 billion gallons per day during a heavy rainstorm. NStar was performing maintenance when an accident occurred injuring three workers one critically. The accident created an electrical fault resulting in instantaneous loss of power to the entire Harbor pumping system. The major impacts were that Nut Island Headworks were bypassed and flows diverted to outfalls. This was in addition to an earlier by-pass to relieve the system. The total release into Quincy Bay was about 25 million gallons. This was to prevent flooding in homes and streets. North System flows were also impacted and all CSO facilities activated. Without these actions we would have ended up with flooded basements, which would end up being released into the harbor. Charlie added that with the information we had at the time the right operational decisions were made. He reiterated it doesn’t make sense to destroy 500 homes and then put it in the harbor anyway. Mary Adelstein asked if the wastewater was chlorinated prior to discharge. Charlie said no that this was prior to treatment.

The first pumps were back on line a little over an hour after full power loss. Full restoration of pumping and disinfection at a rate of 1.2 billion gallons per day was achieved about 90 minutes later.

Water quality was marginally impacted because the heavy rains diluted the discharge and tidal flushing was very strong during the rainstorm.

Charlie said the MWRA continue to review operating procedures and staffing levels in an effort to speed up the process of resetting electrical system and starting up pumps. New wiring arrangements will allow MWRA generators to run simultaneously with Nstar power during a potential emergency. He added that that the high level of rain that resulted in overflows occurred not only within the MWRA system but community systems as well. Several MWRA communities reported SSO’s to DEP. Non-MWRA communities also reported overflows. Charlie added that I/I is a significant portion of flow to Deer Island; if communities did a better job of getting this under control this would dramatically help the MWRA when weather emergencies arise.

Wastewater Blending – Charles Button, MWRA Chief Deputy Operating Officer

Charlie said that blending involves routing wastewater flows that have only received primary treatment around the secondary (biological) treatment process. It should only occur during peak wet weather flows. The blended flows are then recombined with the fully treated wastewater before undergoing disinfection and released. Charlie stressed all discharges must comply with NPDES permit requirements. He gave a little regulatory background and referred to the 1970’s and 1980’s as being devoted to expanding and improving wastewater infrastructure, particularly with respect to treatment plants. In the mid-1980’s to 1990’s focus shifted to addressing wet weather conditions and other discharges from municipal systems. The overall goal is to reduce the frequency and volume of collection system overflows and backups.

Blending is important because it allows for better management of secondary treatment plants. The design capacity of primary sections of wastewater treatment plants is usually larger than that of secondary treatment processes. As mentioned previously high levels of I/I increase the hydraulic load on treatment plants which can exceed the capacity of components within the treatment process. Finally, blending protects the biological treatment process from longer-term upsets.

Charlie said that there are environmental advocates who say that any blending is wrong. He said that they say it is a bypass. Charlie said he doesn’t agree with that. He said he distinguishes that from putting that in a Mississippi River or Lake Erie or worse yet a small pond that people are drinking from versus putting that in the ocean when it meets secondary standards. Bruce Berman asked why would it make any difference if you drank it if it met secondary standards. Charlie said it was intuitive scientifically I don’t have the answer for that. Although he added he didn’t think it would make a difference scientifically. Charlie said it just makes sense that you wouldn’t want wastewater in your drinking water. Ed Bretschneider asked about pending EPA regulations. Charlie said that’s what triggered the interest in Congress on this issue because different regions of the country were doing it differently. Michelle Barden said she understood the need for blending at high flows, but didn’t understand why some blending at Deer Island is occurring at low flow conditions. Charlie said he didn’t understand that either. He added that we had an arrangement with DEP and EPA excepting “wet weather days” three days after the rain stops when the pipes are still full because of I/I where blending is acceptable. Charlie said we are looking at why blending occurred in dry weather conditions. Michelle said that 28 out of 29 days in February were considered dry weather days and blending occurred. Michelle, who is the permit writer for the EPA added that Congress is looking at blending during wet weather conditions not dry. She emphasized that EPA wanted to know why there was dry weather blending even if water quality standards are being met. Larry Schafer noted that blending does not mean bypassing disinfection. He added that what’s important is does the effluent meet permit each and every day. Larry said blending is not new and while it by passes secondary it is still disinfected. Roger Frymire added his voice to the discussion and basically endorsed the positions of Michelle and Bruce. There was more discussion on this issue but general agreement that blending should not be occurring on dry weather days. Although, Larry said what’s important is the flow to the plant and not if it’s raining. Charlie said one of the reasons blending occurred on dry weather days was the result of operational optimization work. If blending were stopped there would be severe operational issues at Deer Island in fact, in all likelihood Deer Island could not function. Mary Adelstein asked if there were an economic incentive to blending. Frymire remarked that it is cheaper to operate with fewer digestors.

Charlie said the goal of the MWRA in operating the Deer Island Treatment Plant (DITP) has been to optimize plant performance and maintain the secondary biomass while meeting secondary effluent permit limits and water quality standards. The primary treatment portion of DITP is designed to treat peak flows of 1.3 billion gallons per day. The secondary treatment portion of DITP, which is a biological process has a design capacity of 780 MGD and has been operated at a sustainable biological process limit of up to approximately 540 MGD. The operational plan assumes that the plant would need a secondary capacity of approximately 710 MGD to meet effluent limits during peak wet weather conditions. In the marine environment, years of monitoring, have documented that effects of the MWRA discharge are minimal, and within planning predictions at 710 MGD secondary treatment level. On average, the bacteria levels are below the detection limit. The MWRA will continue to maximize flows to abate CSO’s during wet weather and will operate at a sustainable biological process limit of up to approximately 540 MGD to reduce the risk of washing out the biomass, while continuing to meet secondary effluent permit limits.

Ed Bretschneider mentioned that the next WAC meeting was scheduled for Friday, November 18. This would be a joint meeting with WSCAC. There would be two agenda items: MWRA Master Planning and DEP Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan.

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Minutes of the September 16, 2005 Meeting

The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the John J. Carroll Water Treatment Plant in Marlborough. PRESENT: WAC MEMBERS: Stephen Greene, Taber Keally, Mary Adelstein, Joe Harrington, Ed Selig, Vin Spada and Martin Pillsbury. STAFF: Ed Bretschneider WSCAC Members: Eileen Simonson, Alice Clemente, Bill Elliot, Paul Lauenstein, John Beekman SEA Consultants and Martin Pillbury MWRA: Pam Heidell, Stephen Estes-Smargiassi, Charles Button and Dave Coppes PUBLIC Larry Schafer, Sarah Dorner MA WRRC, Jeanne Richardson Boston Water and Sewer, Martha Stevenson Mass League of Women Voters, Deborah Blumer State Representative Framingham, Constance Craycroft, CSCT and John Craycroft CSCT

This was a joint meeting of WAC and WSCAC. The primary purpose was a tour of the John J. Carroll Water Treatment Plant.

WAC and WSCAC started by having brief separate meetings to deal with administrative details. Stephen Greene (WAC) called for a motion to approve the June minutes. It was approved with several changes. Eileen Simonson had a quick meeting with WSCAC describing the issue of the MWRA allowing additional communities access to water from their system.

Dave Coppes from the MWRA gave a brief overview of the water treatment plan and western operations in general.

Dave mentioned that the John J. Carroll Water Treatment Plant is designed to meet 405 mgd maximum, the average flow is 270 mgd. The Carroll facilities have ozonation for primary disinfection and chloramination for secondary disinfection. Fluoridation is also part of the water treatment process.

Ozonation is an unstable molecule produced by applying an electrical charge to oxygen gas. It is a strong oxidizing agent and is effective against Cryptosporidium, which chlorination is not. There are also fewer disinfection by-products than with chlorine.

Dave showed a graph outlining how much it costs to operate water treatment and transmission for Western Operations and Maintenance: 49% wages and salaries, 31% chemicals, 7% Utilities, 6% Maintenance, 3% overtime and the remainder other. The FY05 actuals were $11.27 M

Water treatment includes, raising alkalinity in post treatment by addition of soda ash. Fluoride is also added in post treatment. PH is trimmed with the addition of carbon dioxide and residual disinfection is accomplished through creation of chloramines with sodium hypochlorite and aqua ammonia. Water passed through a 45MG storage tank into the transmission system.
Dave said the post start-up Western O&M budget for FY06 is $15.5M 36% wages and salaries, 27% chemicals, 21% utilities, 9% maintenance, 2% overtime are the main categories.

Dave then reviewed the maintenance operations. He said a mix of contract and in-house operators are responsible for maintenance. He mentioned that there is a shifting emphasis from new resources toward equipment maintenance. Dave added that they wanted consistency with Deer Island and Chelsea maintenance programs, including:

• Maximo
• Metrics Reporting
• Staff cross-functional training – Dave added that this has been going for some time in Western Operations

Dave discussed additional development in the maintenance area (FAMP –facilities asset maintenance program):

• Increased use of predictive maintenance tools
• Documentation of operator light maintenance – this has been going on for some time but the goal is to document so proper credit can be given

There is an initial staffing plan developed in 2003 calling for 66 total staff with a mix of technicians, supervisors and maintenance engineers. There has been extensive training, over 700 hours in multiple sessions. This is not surprising considering that for preventive maintenance there is 1080 bits of information for 5,500 pieces of equipment. The number of tasks is in excess 8,400 per year.

There are numerous post start-up challenges, such as:

• Plant optimization
• Developing appropriate technical support
• A need to re-evaluate assumptions
• A punch list for management
• Operator rounds on handheld devices.

At this point the tour started.

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Minutes of the June 3, 2005 Meeting The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MAPC in Boston. PRESENT: MEMBERS: Stephen Greene, Cornelia Potter, Taber Keally, Mary Adelstein, Bill Katz, Mary Corcoran, Joe Harrington, Ed Selig, Vin Spada and Martin Pillsbury. STAFF: Ed Bretschneider MWRA: Ralph Wallace and Pam Heidell PUBLIC: Paul Keohan, BWSC, Kevin Binder, DEP, Don Walker, Metcalf & Eddy, Inc., Larry Schafer and Steve Kaiser, Coalition for Alewife

Stephen Greene called the meeting to order at 11:30 AM. The May minutes were approved with minor changes.

Stephen mentioned that it was his understanding that the national issue with blending was with the Great Lakes and a number of rivers. It is a result of sewage systems that are antiquated and dire need of upgrade. That's where the concern is that there is untreated sewage going out into the environment and its potentially posing health risks. Stephen went onto say that we need to understand what's going on with the MWRA. We understand that there has been no violation of the permit other than the operational issue with the fact that the blending levels are higher than the permit stipulates. The performance limits of the discharge meet permit requirements. Stephen added that it's important that we don't get caught up with the politics in other parts of the country. Bill Katz asked about the May 18 Globe Op-Ed piece and what WAC's response to it. Bill said the author was dead wrong and that WAC should write a letter to the Globe with their opinion. Stephen said members might want to respond individually. He added that some of the information in the article was nonsense. You're not going to drink sewage discharged into a seawater area. Mary Adelstein asked if he specifically mentioned the MWRA in the opinion piece. Stephen said he didn't specially mention the Authority but he does mention ageing sewer systems in the northeast. Bill Katz reiterated his strong recommendation that we should respond as a committee to this article. Ed Bretschneider said he would be happy to draft a letter. Ed Selig and Mary Adelstein added their voice to Bill's recommendation. Larry Schafer said blending is not new and while it bypasses secondary it is still disinfected. Mary Corcoran and Taber Keally added that if the article is misleading we should do our best to straighten it out. Taber said we'd have to be clear how blending works and what is the long-term strategy if we want to get support from the environmental groups. Stephen added if blending were stopped there would be severe operational issues at Deer Island. Bill Katz that we should not be tentative about our response. We should object not only to what is written but to the scary graphics as well. Stephen said that we would draft a letter and submit it to the Globe in the next several days.

Ed Bretschneider said that John Vetere at a presentation at an MWRA Advisory Board meeting made it clear that Deer Island could not function without blending. He added that the plant was designed with blending as part of the standard operating procedure. It was the amount of blending that was at issue. John added that the MWRA received a 308 letter from the EPA requiring the last five years operational data. They also made a surprise visit to the facility. John said that he was supportive of unannounced visits. John made it clear that the MWRA is meeting all permit requirements regarding water quality. Taber Keally added he knew someone from the EPA who was at that surprise visit and the reason for it was dry weather blending that had occurred at Deer Island, saying that was a violation of the permit. The EPA wanted to know why there was dry weather blending even if water quality standards are being met. Larry Schafer said what°Øs important is the flow to the plant and not if it's raining.

Ed Bretschneider mentioned that he attended the May 26 WSCAC meeting. There were also a number of WAC members who attended. We advocated a joint WAC/WSCAC meeting for September at Walnut Hill. We recommended a short meeting followed by a tour. WSCAC supported the recommendation. Additionally there was discussion of a second meeting several months later focusing on Master Planning. At the meeting it was mentioned that Advisory Board was considering a legal suit against the EPA regarding the MWRA CSO Holistic approach. There is frustration by the Advisory Board that the EPA is moving too slowly on reaching resolution. Cornelia Potter said that it's an issue that has been raised and we will see where it goes. Ed Selig added that normally EPA reacts to a proposal. He asked if the Authority had made it clear to the EPA what they want to do so that they have a proposal to react to. At this point all thought it a good idea to let Ralph start his presentation and try to answer some of these questions.

Before the presentation Stephen Greene asked the committee to authorize him to sign WAC°Øs FY06 contract that goes before the MWRA BOD on June 8. The motion was unanimously supported

Update on MWRA CSO Control Program - Ralph Wallace

Ralph said that there was not complete agreement with the regulatory agencies on CSO progress he is optimistic that they are closing in on a resolution of appropriate CSO control. Ralph said there is agreement on a lot of areas already. He then gave a budget overview:

The biggest project going on right now is the Union Park pump station rehabilitation and retention facility. This is being done in cooperation with BWSC. The MWRA is funding the construction of the 2.2 million gallon storage facility and the BWSC is funding the rehabilitation and upgrade of their pump station. Currently, physical progress is 66% through April 2005. The schedule calls for substantial completion in January 2006, but delays, primarily related to site excavation will extend substantial completion date to late Spring 2006. Excavation is complete and building frame is erected. Projected FY06 cashflow is $11.7M.

Ralph noted BOS072-073 started construction in March 2005. Work is to completed in March 2007. It is located on the east side of Fort Point Channel close to the Gillette building.

BOSO19 is another big project. A $10.5 M contract was awarded in March 2005. Scheduled completion date is March 2007 that is consistent with court order timetable. Projected FY06 cashflow is $5.9M. This is close to MWRA headquarters.

Ralph than reviewed South Dorchester Bay and Stony Brook Sewer separation project.

Ralph reviewed the North Dorchester Bay/Reserved Channel Project. He said Pleasure Bay storm drainage design is at 100% with a May 2006 completion date. There were questions regarding the Authority getting involved in storm water control and the precedent it might set. Ralph said this is a unique circumstance. This agreement is a consequence of a prior decision and we believe that in the future the MWRA will not be viewed as having a responsibility for storm water control. He added that procurement of construction management services is underway with contract award scheduled for September 2005.

Ralph reviewed key program issues. He started with Alewife Brook. The cost estimate provided by the city of Cambridge has gone up. It now appears that the program will cost about $90M. The MWRA and Cambridge need to revisit a cost sharing arrangement that will allow that work to be funded. Progress has been made but there is no resolution on how the expanded program will be funded. The cost has gone up about $20M. There are wetland issues. With storm sewer separation the storm water flow to Alewife Brook has to be attenuated so that it does not exceed current peak flow. The volume of storm water that goes out to the brook during larger storms needs to be managed, particularly because this is such a small receiving water. That is the purpose of contract 12. It involves construction in the Alewife Brook reservation. The Conservation Commission of Cambridge issued an order of condition that specified reasonable requirements and limitations that did allow the work to go forward. However 12 citizens challenged that order of conditions from the city of Cambridge. They sought a superceding order of conditions from DEP. The DEP on review reaffirmed the order of condition from the city of Cambridge. However, the 12 citizens have sought an administrative hearing on the order of condition. This process can take as long as a year. This may delay project completion to 2012.

There have been discussions with the regulatory agencies about the scope of the work to be performed. The issue of the design construction schedule still has to be addressed. We are still in the process of trying to reach a "global" agreement on CSO control. Finally there are numerous technical challenges of North Dorchester Bay storage tunnel.

MWRA is negotiating with regulatory agencies on the level of CSO control and implementation schedule for four receiving waters:

Goal of negotiations is to achieve a "global" agreement on the final phases of MWRA's long-term control plan. Ralph said he thought a great deal of progress has been achieved on North Dorchester Bay/Reserved Channel. We have agreement on what we are going to do and when we are going to do it. Give and take on these projects with the regulators will delay completion of these programs 8-10 years. With Alewife and East Boston Ralph there is basic agreement on level of control proceeding to implement the recommended plan. There have been no discussions on the schedule. The problem that remains is the level of control for the Charles River. Ralph said the current plan would result in several, small untreated discharges in a typical rain year. For the EPA this is a critical issued that the Charles is not swimmable or fishable 365 days/year. The EPA wants more done by the MWRA. The storage necessary to meet EPA requirements would add about $100 -$150M to the project. This would be storage to capture flows from Cottage farm and the untreated outfall.

The MWRA proposes implementation of its current recommended plan-

Total costs going forward for these receiving waters - $380+ million. The bulk of this cost is North Dorchester Bay and Reserved Channel that come close to $300M.

Ralph noted that the late Judge Mazzone in August 2004 issued his last compliance order (192) on the Boston Harbor issued. He said that the long-term plan for North Dorchester Bay/Reserved Channel is ready to be implemented. The judge added that this complex undertaking will be complex, lengthy and costly but the result will be well worth the party's efforts and expenditures. He added that this is the last major phase in a comprehensive effort to achieve clean water in Boston Harbor if carried in a timely and efficient manner, Ralph's point that the likelihood of being able to push the timing of this project out while we negotiate a holistic CSO plan is unlikely. The new judge said that the plan for North Dorchester Bay is ready to move to the next phase. Ralph talked briefly about East Boston. He said it is partly a CSO project but it is more an interceptor project with two new interceptors that will be used 365 days a year. Ralph said the MWRA is investigating to see if some additional limited invested to achieve some improvement of CSO control in the lower Charles. Additional sewer separation in Brookline or Boston is being evaluated as well as exploring a range of system optimizations to reduce the number of discharges from Cottage Farm. The regulatory agencies are encouraged that they believe that the MWRA is moving in the right direction.

Global discussions with the regulatory agencies continue. The MWRA has the following objectives:

Ralph than reviewed current activities:

Ed Bretschneider mentioned that the next meeting is September. A joint meeting with WSCAC is being planned at Walnut Hill water treatment facility. There will be a short meeting followed by a tour.

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Minutes of the May 6, 2005 Meeting

The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MWRA Advisory Board in Boston. PRESENT: MEMBERS: Stephen Greene, Taber Keally, Mary Adelstein, Megan Lim, Bill Katz, Mary Corcoran, Joe Harrington and Martin Pillsbury. STAFF: Ed Bretschneider MWRA: Andrea Rex, Mike Mickelson, Pam Heidell and Paul Kennedy PUBLIC: Larry Schafer, Joe Favaloro, Advisory Board, Matt Boger, UCANE, Larry Schafer, Cathy Vakalopoulos and Karen Lachmayr, Harvard

Stephen Greene called the meeting to order at 11:30 AM. He then moved the April minutes, which were approved with no changes. Stephen mentioned the national discussion going on related to blending of storm water effluent bypassing secondary treatment but still managing to stay within the permit limits of the facility to deal with hydraulic loadings during storm water events.

Ed Bretschneider gave a brief review of the Deer Island tour April 9. He noted that about 50 people participated, coming from Harvard University, Museum of Science, WAC members and guests. The tour took a little over three hours and the weather was perfect. It was estimated that we covered a little over a mile. Joe said students were amazed out how such a large facility required so few people to operate. All left with a very favorable opinion of the facility. Mary Corcoran mentioned that the Friends of Boston Harbor Islands is having a walking tour of Deer Island, Friday, May 20.

Ed Bretschneider asked if there was interest to have a joint meeting with WSCAC in the fall at the MWRA’s new water facility followed by a tour. Joe Favaloro added that the Advisory Board was going to have a day- long tour on August 25 that would include the Walnut Hill Water Treatment Plant. Interested members and guests would be welcome.

Ed also noted that on May 26 WSCAC topic was proposed revisions to the state water conservation standards and that they were inviting all WAC members and other interested parties.

Andrea Rex spoke a little about the EPA’s evaluation of blending at Deer Island. She noted that the EPA contends that the MWRA has not treated as much of its flow with secondary treatment as the plant was designed to handle. This bypass is done to preserve the state of the secondary digesters. Cathy Vakalopoulos said if you look at the report, a fair amount of blending occurred on dry days. Joe Favaloro added that wet days, dry days the effluent was always within permit limitations. Joe was concerned that the regulators would “run wild with this” but all that matters are that they meet permit each and every day. Larry Schafer added that blending does not mean bypassing primary treatment or disinfection. Andrea said that EPA has given the Authority a list of questions that they would like answered. Once that happens there will be meetings between EPA and MWRA. Stephen said this is tied into the ongoing national debate. Andrea said the issue is the amount of blending that is occurring.

MWRA’s Outfall Monitoring: New Results – Andrea Rex and Mike Mickelson

Andrea starting by stating the reasons for the monitoring program, which is to answer the following concerns:

Andrea said for this session we are going to focus on the top two questions. She said that the solids have decreased by 80% since DI has operated.. Andrea said in 1997 we started the first battery of secondary treatment and in 1998 Nut Island closed and the flow was transferred. In 2001 the third and final battery of secondary was brought online. Andrea added that metals in the effluent have followed a similar pattern decreasing by 90%. She said big reductions occurred in 1991 and 1992 in large part due to the TRAC reduction and control programs that prevented metals from coming into the system. In 1997 and 1998 there was another drop as secondary treatment came online. Nitrogen discharges have been a concern since secondary treatment removes only a small amount. Andrea said there are three different kinds of nitrogen present, Ammonium, nitrite/nitrate (inorganic and dissolved in wastewater) and other nitrogen species (organic and particulate nitrogen, less easy for algae to take up). Secondary increases the relative amount of inorganic nitrogen. That is why the bulk of monitoring around the outfall is to evaluate the impact of this dissolved nitrogen on the environment. Andrea added that total chlorine residual dropped when dechlorination went into operation when the Outfall went online.

Andrea showed some maps from the USGS of the Ocean Outfall. A process of Side Scan Sonar makes the maps. The ship goes out and bounces sound waves off the ocean floor and by the amount of reflectivity they can determine if the bottom is hard or soft as well as how deep it is. That gets translated back into color. It showed the Outfall in an area that is quite rocky and surrounded by underwater drumlins. Andrea clarified that what we were looking at was the diffuser line, the last 11/2 miles. Those who went on the Deer Island tour, saw a diffuser head on exhibit above ground. She showed some pictures of the fish and plant life around the Outfall (such as algae and scallops).

Andrea returned to the first question, are fish and shellfish safe to eat? She said contaminants measured in flounder, lobster, and caged mussels are far below FDA limits except for PCBs in lobster tomalley. The Mussels placed in cages are suspended near the diffuser. They are left for 60 days before testing. This is repeated every three years. Mary Adelstein said that lobsters travel a great distance so how do you know where the contamination is coming from. Andrea acknowledged that because of this they are not the best monitoring tool. Bill Katz asked do you test lobster in other areas. Andrea said they do. Stephen Greene asked do you know where the PCBs come from. Andrea said some is from effluent some is from runoff; it is generally distributed as well.

Andrea then discussed flounder liver disease as an indicator of fish health, partly because there was a high incidence of liver disease and cancer in Boston harbor in 1980’s caused by PAH’s in the sediment. Flounder are good to evaluate sediment conditions since they lie on the bottom and can absorb contaminants through the skin. Additionally, flounder eat small bottom-dwelling animals (worms) and will take in contaminants if their food is contaminated. The liver metabolizes contaminants, causing liver disease and cancer. Andrea said since the early 1990’s there has been a decrease in flounder liver disease in Broad Sound and Deer Island Flat. In general that is the pattern that is noted elsewhere with some up and down variation. Taber Keally noted that there was some decrease in incidence before the Outfall went online. Andrea said it could just be sampling variation. She prefers to look at data to long period of time to modulate variation. Andrea said she believes most believe this is due to oil runoff that accumulates in the mud. Martin Pillsbury said he thought there was an older study said it was due to atmospheric deposition.

Andrea said that at the outfall site they have found no flounder liver cancer from 1991-2004, she than moved to the topic of flounder skin lesions. Andrea said that the marine veterinarian for the MWRA Michael Moore noted it. He is from Woods Hole Institute and does the flounder monitoring for the Authority.

In the spring of 2003 Moore observed in the first fish station that he monitors at Deer Island Flats that some flounder had an unusual ulcerated skin lesion on their blind side, the side that is in contact with the sediment. It’s called the blind side because there is no eye on that side. At that point the MWRA asked him to start counting the number of affected fish at the locations that are sampled. Up to 24% of winter flounder caught in Mass Bay and Boston Harbor had these lesions; Mary Corcoran asked how many had been before this time. Andrea said that this was a new observation that had not been previously recorded at this level of prevalence. The MWRA sponsored pathology studies in 2003, and carried out additional surveys in 2004 that were inconclusive in determining the cause of these lesions. No particular pathogen was found that might be the cause. MWRA, state and federal fisheries agencies agreed on a standardized protocol for identifying and counting prevalence of skin lesions. Federal fishery agencies cover a much broader geographical area in their monitoring than the MWRA and this was helpful in getting a picture of how widespread were these incidences.

In 2004 MWRA did more extensive studies. There was still no explanation of the cause of the skin lesions. The flounder skin lesions were found pretty much distributed throughout Mass Bay. The highest prevalence was found southeast of the outfall, not far from the old Mass Bay disposal site. Ed Bretschneider asked if there was any risk of eating flounder with these skin lesions. Andrea said that’s a common question. She said that no pathogenic organisms have been found in the ulcers. Mary Adelstein asked if there was any relationship between the liver disease and the skin ulcers found in flounders. Andrea said there was not, since the ulcerated fish did not have the liver disease. Stephen asked if there were any relationships with the lobster discolorations. Andrea said no, the challenge is we don’t know what is causing these ulcers. She added there were some locations where the prevalence was 40-60%. Andrea added that’s pretty high. Taber Keally asked if the incidence found in 2004 was higher than 2003. Andrea said it was but generally ballpark. Larry Schafer suggested that if there were any results from 2005. Andrea said there was but that the data was really incomplete.

An interesting aspect of this problem is that when we look in the fall, we find no skin lesions. Andrea said we thought maybe something was happening between late fall and spring. She said we now believe there is a seasonal pattern. For example in April they look pretty bad, by June it looks like they’re starting to heal over and by September only a small scar remains and in the winter we don’t find them at all. Bill Katz said the April occurrence in 2005 would be very important to evaluate.

Andrea summarized flounder lesion understanding:

Andrea said that skin ulcers are common in all kinds of fish but that this particular version is new as well as the prevalence and seasonality that makes us believe that this something new. Some suggestions are to better understand migration pattern of flounder and expand pathological studies. Joe Favalora asked what is the Authority doing. Andrea said there is some disagreement from scientific community what to do next. She said we are in the planning stage. Larry Schafer in addition to looking at fish you need to look at the bottom. Andrea said that is part of the evaluation process.

Andrea also spoke about basic monitoring and its necessity to determine if where been where the effects of excess organic matter would be felt and where contaminants would show up. Andrea showed pictures of typical animals living in the mud. Part of the analysis is looking for fluxes of nutrients and oxygen in and out of the sediment. This data helps link what’s going on in the sediment with the overlying water. For example sediment oxygen demand is a measure of sediment degradation. This is a measure of how much of the dissolved oxygen is used by bacteria in the sediment. A high oxygen demand takes oxygen out of the sediment and the overlying water. When that happens not very much can live there. The oxygen demand in the Boston Harbor has decreased significantly from the early 1990’s to the present. That is a result of the stopping of putting in organic matter from the sludge and treatment plant. In the Bay and Stellwagen oxygen demand has stayed constant over this time period indicating no impact from the outfall.

Andrea said that if the outfall discharges were having an effect on the benthos you would expect the same parameters at the farfield stations would decrease at the nearfield stations. You might also expect the nearfield stations closest to the outfall to show decreased diversity, decreased species richness and an increase in organic-tolerant opportunistic species. The data shows species abundance varies similarly near and far from the outfall.

Mike and Andrea showed a fascinating video clip of ROV monitoring of hard-bottom near the outfall. It showed the plant and fish life surrounding the outfall

Mike spoke about water column monitoring, which is trying to understand nutrient effects. This is about eutrophication; that is too much food too well fed. This can result in too many plants that can decay and cause a shortage of dissolved oxygen. The kinds of plants that can grow can also be bad. This process can change the food web resulting in changes in the ecosystem. Mike reviewed some of the harmful algal bloom and their effects of greatest concern are: Alexandrium, Pseudonitzchia,and Phaecystis. The first causes red tide. They can affect shellfish beds resulting in closings as a result of regulations regarding health issues. Attention is paid to what’s going in waters in New Hampshire and Maine since problems there can make there way to Massachusetts. Mike noted that water quality is measured in six regions: Harbor, Coastal, Nearfield, Offshore, Cape Cod Bay and Boundary. Many parameters are measured, such as; nutrients, chlorophyll, dissolved oxygen, various plankton, viruses and numerous others. He said it was a subset of everything that could be measured. It was a focused subset. Mike said he appreciated a letter sent from WAC (12/19/03) to DEP supporting changes in the monitoring process. He said those changes have been implemented with no loss in critical information; it was a good thing to do.

Mike showed a series of slides of MWRA staff USGS, and other scientist out on a converted lobster boat doing some of the sampling. He showed the improvised laboratories they had on board to do the analyses. Mike showed some of the sampling evaluating aesthetics at the surface in the area of the outfall. Screening for debris does this. Bacteria monitoring showed basically no difference before or after outfall start-up.

The water column is examined seasonally and the sediment is tested every three years, monitoring show that diffusers work as planned. The effluent is trapped in the summer and does not rise to the surface. This is a good thing because the heat and light of summer does not reach the high-nutrient effluent. There is no evidence of eutrophication at the outfall, nor is there an increase of chlorophyll or a decrease of dissolved oxygen.

The Merrimack River is a principal source of pollution in Mass Bay.

Ed Bretschneider mentioned that the next meeting is June 3. The topic will be CSO’s. The meeting will be held at the MAPC.

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Minutes of the April 1, 2005 Meeting

The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MAPC in Boston. PRESENT: MEMBERS:  Stephen Greene, Taber Keally, Vin Spada, Cornelia Potter, Mary Corcoran and Martin Pillsbury. STAFF: Ed Bretschneider MWRA: Carolyn Fiore, Denise Breiteneicher and Bob Kovacs PUBLIC: Larry Schafer, Matt Boger, UCANE, Philip Jasset UCANE, Paul Brinkman, SEA, and John DeLuca, Framingham Sewer Department

Stephen Greene called the meeting to order at 11:30 AM.  He then moved the February minutes, which were approved with minor changes. Stephen added that the Merrimack River clean up will cost about $500M. He noted that this is another example of tighter water quality standards that are being implemented around the state. Stephen asked if anyone was getting feedback about the reduction of spending by the MWRA to control rate increases. Taber Keally said some of the reports were unclear, it seemed like some projects were being cut while other were being postponed. Stephen added that people need to be aware of the trade offs and the news always seems to focus on the negative, rather than dealing with all the good work that has been done. Cornelia Potter said with the budget being constrained master planning is more important than ever to facilitate the prioritization process.

Ed Bretschneider said that the Deer Island Tour is set for Saturday, April 9, at 10:A.M. We are expecting about 70 people to participate; 30 from Harvard University, 30 from Museum of Science and several smaller groups. He added that the tour would be a little over two hours.

Ed also handed out hard copies of the MWRA’s 2004 CSO report. He noted that the report is also online at the MWRA web site www.mwra.com.

Controlling Odor and Corrosion in the Framingham Extension Sewer- Carolyn Fiore, Denise Breiteneicher and Bob Kovacs

Carolyn introduced Denise who is Project Manager in the Technical Support Group and Bob who is responsible for Engineering Construction. Carolyn is Director of TRAC (Toxic Reduction and Control) section of the MWRA that regulates industry and municipalities that utilize the sewer system. Carolyn said that today would be basically an overview starting with historical background.

Bob started by saying that the problem of odor control and corrosion was related to parts of the sewer system that serviced the towns of Ashland, Framingham and Natick.  The problem was discovered in Natick when a suburban lawn collapsed one day. It was over the top of the Framingham Extension Sewer. There were actually four collapses over a period of about 15 years from between 1977 and 1993. This precipitated the MWRA into action. A number of steps were taken including infrastructure rehabilitation and repair. In 1999 an odor and corrosion control study was commissioned. It identified several contributing factors: looking at industrial discharges, municipal systems as well as the MWRA system. Action was recommended for all parties involved.  Inspection of MWRA sewer pipes found deterioration from moderate to severe such as the Wellesley Extension Relief Sewer. Several inches of the concrete pipe were gone and the re-enforcing steel had corroded away. Bob said with this kind of deterioration there are concerns over collapse. This specific location has been relined and repaired. Larry asked if this particular pipe was in constant use or intermittent. Bob replied constant.

Bob then described the chemistry that causes the problem. One of the components of wastewater is a sulfate it is contributed by residential, commercial establishments and industry. Over time because of the bacteria that is in wastewater a  slime layer or bio film develops along the wetted perimeter, the area where the wastewater is exposed to the pipe. That bacteria converts the sulfates to sulfides. The conversion is effected by biological conditions such as temperature. Now the physical characteristics of the sewer line come into play. As the sewage passes down along these long interceptors, the turbulence that is created cause the sulfides in the water mix in with air space. The sulfides are converted to hydrogen sulfides (rotten egg smell) that are very corrosive to metals and in an acidic environment are converted to sulfuric acid that adheres to the concrete and corrodes it. The large pipes and long distances in Framingham cause these problems to be exacerbated. Now hydrogen sulfide is monitored in these lines. There is a program to install 13 of these probes that monitor constantly and report back their findings. That data is used for information to take action. This is a high maintenance system because of the corrosive nature of the environment. Probes have to be replaced frequently.  Bob summarized sources contributing to odor and corrosion as:

Bob said goals have been established for the program. The nose at 0.5 ppm can detect hydrogen sulfide, at a level of 20 ppm, the regulatory agencies view that as dangerous for constant contact with humans, it is a chronic level. There are levels where you should not be exposed at all; the MWRA sets that at 100 ppm. The program goals are summarized as follows:

Denise talked about the program that has been instituted. She said that there are three contributing factors to the problem, length of sewer line, industries that discharge high levels of sulfates and municipalities in actions they might take within their system. Denise said that before the MWRA took any action or set any limits, the industrial loadings of BOD at selected monitor sights ranged from 39%-47% of total loading. The sulfate loadings at the same sights averaged around 75% of the total. Based on this data a program was developed to fix the problem. We negotiated compliance schedules and amended permits for industrial users. Basically, they were told to meet these limits and tell MWRA how they were going to do it. Denise showed the limits that were established,

Parameter Limit Estimated Reduction  FES (lbs/day)  Resultant Target Conc.
BOD  2000  5,876
219-247 mg/ml
Sulfate 500 6,308 
   28-41 mg/ml

 Denise then outlined how the industries were doing in meeting their compliance dates and their compliance dates.

Denise said in some cases the cost of compliance was several million dollars. One company left the area rather than deal with these compliance issues, although, they had been thinking of doing so for some time. Carolyn said all this effort is in the category of source reduction. Paul Brinkman said until this study most believed that sulfates did not contribute to the generation of sulfur it was totally a function of BOD. Carolyn said one of the solutions to the problem was to put in bio filters that would suck the sulfate out. She added that this was one of the projects that were deferred. There are other fixes that are being looked at.

Denise said that work with municipalities put a limit of 0.3 mg/l for sulfide at discharge from their systems into the MWRA’s system. This was established for Ashland, Framingham and Natick in January 2001 and Needham and Wellesley in January 2004 (January is the month that the MWRA issues permits). Larry Schafer asked how age of the sewage affected the problem. Denise said normally this would increase the severity of the problem.

Sampling locations were developed for the municipalities. The communities are asked to sample monthly. They are asked to sample for sulfide pH and temperature. The MWRA, which also samples monthly tests for the above as well as sulfate and BOD. Compliance is enforced through Municipal permits and in 2 cases, formal Consent Agreements. 

Denise reviewed how the Authority responds to municipal violations.

Taber Keally asked why both industry and the MWRA sample every month. His point was it seems to be redundant and costly.  Carolyn said the Board of Directors is very interested in this program and wants to know how successful are we a being and are we accomplishing our goals. She said the more data we have the better off we are. There is some talk of backing off on the MWRA sampling as a cost reduction. Martin Pillsbury things all the testing is appropriate. Denise said we use to go to the Board monthly because of the strong interest but as we have demonstrated progress we now go quarterly. Cornelia Potter asked if this odor and corrosion problem is confined to Framingham. Denise said no, the Authority has been investigating other areas as well, and in Bedford there is a similar problem but different cause. She then added that the problem is in Lexington but it starts in Bedford. There are other communities on the watch list.  She added we are currently in a reactive mode, responding to problems as they arise.  We need to be more proactive.  In relation to municipalities there has been good cooperation. Denise outlined how municipalities are responding to issues as they arise.

Denise said we reviewed what we’ve doing with industry and municipals so far, now we look at what we’re doing within the MWRA.

She added a number of projects have been deferred as part of the Authority’s cost reduction effort to control rate increases.

Denise reviewed progress to date. She said BOD, sulfate and sulfide levels have decreased since the program began in 2000. The magnitude of municipal violations of the sulfide limit has decreased since the imposition of the limit. Sulfates have decreased in some areas by about 80% and BOD in some areas by 20%. Sulfide decreases in municipalities have decreased overall. Denise said clearly we are moving in the right direction.

Martin Pillsbury said regarding deferred projects it looks like they fit into two categories, biofilters for example would help reduce the problem whereas other projects like relining and rehabilitation are designed to remediate problems that have happened already but not necessarily reduce the level.  He asked would it make sense to break these apart and talk about the biofilters as a control measure that by itself is not a large part of the budget item. Maybe this way you could obtain the funding that has been deferred and give it a little more priority. Cornelia said if you are offsetting some of the cost by reduced chemical usage maybe it makes sense to look at. She added this is a case where Master Planning would be of immeasurable help in prioritization.

Stephen Greene asked as you reduce the pollutant load will other problems crop up in other parts of the system that have been masked by this issue. He asked if municipal systems are having collapses the way the MWRA system is. Paul Brinkman said similar problems are arising at the local level.  Carolyn mentioned that in discussions with Bedford they said they are having odor and corrosion problems.

Ed Bretschneider mentioned that the next meeting is May 6. The topic will be The MWRA Outfall. The meeting will be held at the MWRA Advisory Board.

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Minutes of the March 4, 2005 Meeting

The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MWRA Advisory Board in Boston. PRESENT: MEMBERS: Stephen Greene, Taber Keally, Joe Harrington, Bill Katz, Megan Lim, Cornelia Potter and John Pickle. STAFF: Ed Bretschneider MWRA: Carl Erickson PUBLIC: Larry Schafer, Roger Frymire and Joe Favaloro

Stephen Greene called the meeting to order at 11:30 AM. He then moved the February minutes, which were approved with no changes. Stephen mentioned about congressional action around the issue of blending and was wondering what the MWRA was doing. He mentioned that there was a letter circulating in Congress that wanted the EPA to ban blending. Stephen mentioned that his opinion was that as long as you are meeting the requirements of your permit, whether you are doing that through primary or secondary treatment is irrelevant. He added blending as long as you are meeting permit standards should be fine. Larry Schafer said you need a definition of what they mean by blending. Stephen added he’d follow up with Pam Heidell on MWRA’s involvement. He added that he would distribute the article he was referring to, to the committee.

Ed Bretschneider mentioned that the tour to Deer Island is set for Saturday, April 9 at 10 AM. Joe Harrington said he was planning on about 30 people from Harvard. John Pickle said he expected about the same number from the Museum of Science. Cornelia mentioned that there is a lot to take in. She recommended that the large group break up into smaller groups to make the tour more effective. It’s a good opportunity for people to see where their money is going. John Pickle said he was not only looking at this as a tour, but a great net working opportunity among Harvard, Museum of Science and the MWRA. Ed said he was a little concerned about the large number of people participating in the tour. Cornelia mentioned that last summer the Advisory Board facilitated a tour with about the same number of people. She mentioned that the group broke up into sub-groups of about 20. Ed said the tour is scheduled for about 2-21/2 hours.

Ed Bretschneider mentioned that several members had requested a meeting on the Outfall. He said that has tentatively been scheduled for the May 6 meeting.

Capital Improvement Program & Current Expense Budget Overview - Carl Erickson

Carl mentioned he has been with the Authority for about 13 years and the budget department about 4 years. He said he was initially involved with the Boston Harbor Project in the Program Management Division.

Carl started by reviewing the Capital Improvement Program (CIP). He stated in the recent past some big projects were the Boston Harbor Project and MetroWest Tunnel. Looking forward major projects in the CIP are CSO’s. Carl noted that nearly 80% of capital spending is court mandated; only 20% is discretionary. He continued that the Authority has major debt service costs from the CIP that are a significant burden to ratepayers. Carl added that budgeted debt service for fiscal year 2005 to support capital improvements already completed comprise nearly 58% of total expenses. This is further compounded by the significant reduction in Debt Service Assistance from the Commonwealth in FY2003 (calendar year 2002). Carl added that they expect to get $8.7M in debt assistance this year. The Governors budget for 2006, again, does not have any money for debt service assistance. Cornelia Potter added that prior to this reduction the Authority use to get about $50M in dept service assistance with an expectation of it increasing to $60M. While the $8.7M is appreciated it is nowhere near historical and needed amounts. Bill Katz asked the reason for the reduction. Carl responded it had to do with the fiscal situation of the Commonwealth in the calendar years 2001/2002. Carl added there were other reductions that the Authority itself took, like workforce reductions, additional use of its own reserves and a mid-year rate increase to offset the loss of debt service assistance in FY03.

Carl continued with some background material. He noted that several years back the Advisory Board had set a 10-year cap to limit capital spending. After a couple years into that CAP the BOD set a new five-year hard CAP in 2003. It set a limit of $1.135B for FY04-08. He added the Board must adopt a new five-year cap (FY09-13) before the end of the five-year period.

Carl then reviewed some of the factors that go into developing the CIP. He noted that the budget has 110 projects in it. The following is carefully followed:

• Changes to ongoing projects
• New capital requirements
• Updated project cost estimates
• Annual adjustment for inflation on awarded construction estimates
• Changes to project schedules to fulfill regulatory requirements

The net impact of all changes must comply with the CAP limits set by the BOD. Carl said inflation is a major concern in controlling these costs.

Carl then gave a summary of the proposed FY06 CIP

• Proposed spending for FY04-08 complies with the limits set by the BOD
• Eliminates $420M in planned spending for FY09-13 compared to the Final FY05 CIP. This was in part influenced by the large reduction in Debt Service Assistance
• Excludes $150m of water and wastewater needs identified through internal needs review

Carl showed a slide how refunding debt and restructuring debt have pushed out the pay out of a lot of the principal. The Authority is aware that they need to start reducing the principal. By FY10-11 the MWRA will start to turn the corner where new capital investment will be below principal repayment so that a dent can start to be made in total debt. The question is what is the right level of capital spending going forward to sustain the system. Cornelia noted that during this transition the Authority would still be paying about $500M/year in debt repayment. Joe Harrington said he is concerned that during difficult times there is a tendency to cut maintenance. Carl said the Authority is committed to adequate funding to support maintenance and that there is no drop off in funding. He added after spending billions to build Deer Island we are not going to let it degrade because of inadequate support.

Carl then reviewed FY06 and major changes from FY05 CIP. He touched on Interception and Pumping for FY04-08 is over $140M. Planned improvements included B/W relief facilities and Neponset Valley Relief Sewer. Carl noted several programs and phases that have been removed from the CIP. He noted that total spending for the Deer Island treatment Plant program is relatively unchanged. For CSO programs he noted planned improvements for North Dorchester Bay and Reserved Channel, East Boston Branch Sewer Relief Project and Community managed CSO Projects. In summary, he noted that total planned spending within FY04-08 (over $1B as presented in the Proposed FY06 CIP) complies with the limits set by BOD.

Carl concluded this part by looking ahead and asking what’s next.

Carl next reviewed the Current Expense Budget (CEB). He noted that the February 9 meeting the BOD approved transmittal of the proposed FY06 CEB to the Advisory Board for its review and comment. Carl added that the rate revenue requirement is $479M, an increase of 5.7% compared to the FY05 CEB. Carl noted that subsequent to the Board’s approval to transmit the budget, staff identified an adjustment to the charges to Chicopee Valley Aqueduct communities. This adjustment resulted in a revised rate revenue requirement for the water communities. He added that it is staff’s intention to identify alternatives to offset this adjustment before final rates are adopted in June. In total, the CEB increases by $43M from compared to the FY05 budget. FY)%. More than 75% of the increase is for capital financing costs to repay existing debt and borrows new funds for ongoing capital improvements.

As far as controlling costs, Carl noted that the proposed FY06 direct expenses of $182.5M are less than actual FY00 spending and CPI adjusted spending for FY00. If the FY00 budget grew at the nominal CPI rate, the cost today would be over $200M. Costs have been contained primarily by reductions in wages, overtime and worker’s compensation costs have help offset increases in the costs of health insurance and increased spending for maintenance and some increase for chemical/utility expenses. He noted that the there are 500 fewer positions in FY06 than peak staffing levels in FY97.

Carl stated that indirect expenses total about $38M. In terms of capital financing there is about $310M in existing debt service costs. Debt service to support new issuances is a little over $5M for FY06. Other finances like the Chelsea Lease add to the overall debt for capital finances for FY06 and bring the total to $329M. Carl reminded everyone that existing debt alone is 58% of total expenses. He added that debt service as a percentage of total MWRA budget is increasing significantly; FY1990 debt service was 36% of operating expenses, FY2000 it was 54%, and it is estimated to be 65% for FY2010. Ed Bretschneider asked how that amount of debt compares to similar agencies. Carl said he didn’t know if other similar organization had has large capital expenses as the Authority. Joe Favaloro added that municipalities consider excessive debt anything over 15% and that an article in the paper said the MBTA considered excessive debt anything over 30% and added that the Authority is double that. John Pickle noted that the MWRA’s debt has never been below 30%. Stephen Greene added that a benchmarking study would be valuable. Taber Keally said the press always compares things on a national basis so there must be some data available for comparison.

Carl said that for FY06 the Authority’s rate revenue is $479M. He added that based on proposed FY06 CEB inputs rate revenue increases for FY06 is 5.7%, increasing to 7.9% in 2007 and not declining until 2011 to 4.3%. Carl added that with the base increasing each year that even small increases result in large dollars. Cornelia added the total rate revenue goes from $479M in 2006 to$600M in 2009, a rapid rate of increase. Carl said the BOD asked for a study of what it would take to limit the rate increases to 3%. In response to a question, Carl said refinancing debt to save interest expense is good, but that restructuring debt only pushes the problem out. John Pickle asked what is the Authority doing as outreach to explain the rate increases. Carl said the Advisory Board plays a big role here, as does some of the literature the MWRA sends out with its bills. Joe Favaloro added that with all the programs putting pressure on rates, whether it mandated or discretionary, the question that should always be asked is what benefit are you getting for money spent and is it worth that investment. Too often that is missing from some of the mandated programs. Large dollars of investment result in little or no benefit.

Ed Bretschneider mentioned that the next meeting is April 1. The topic will be Framingham Extension Sewer Corrosion and Odor Control Program. The meeting will be at the MAPC.

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Minutes of the February 4, 2005 Meeting

The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MAPC in Boston. PRESENT: MEMBERS: Stephen Greene, Taber Keally, Joe Harrington, Bill Katz, Vin Spada, Cornelia Potter, Ed Selig and Martin Pillsbury . STAFF: Ed Bretschneider MWRA: John Vetere, Gerard Gallinaro, John Colbert and Pam Heidell PUBLIC: Larry Schafer and Melissa Keeley, Harvard University

Stephen Greene called the meeting to order at 11:30 AM. He then moved the January minutes, which were approved with no changes.

Stephen talked about a tour for Deer Island. Ed Bretschneider said both Joe Harrington and John Pickle expressed interest in such a tour but was wondering if it would be possible to have it on a Saturday. They would like to bring interested individuals from Harvard University and Museum of Science. John Vetere added that a Saturday tour did not present a problem, “we’re open seven days a week, 24 hours a day”. After some discussion, April appeared to be the best time. John said you give us the time we will make the arrangements. Ed agreed to coordinate among Joe Harrington, John Pickle and MWRA to coordinate tour. Other WAC members were more interested in a weekday tour sometime during the fall.

Stephen also suggested having some joint meetings with WSCAC. Ed Selig and Joe Harrington advocated for such a meeting as well. Taber Keally and Ed Selig mentioned that certain groups and communities are concerned about water leaving local communities and impacting ground water supply. They said this is a water cycle issued that involves wastewater. Ed Selig said a good joint topic could be recharge of aquifers in certain areas. Martin Pillsbury added that many communities are doing comprehensive water resources management plans. They started out being water supply issues several years’ back but now are looking at wastewater and storm water issues as well. Pam Heidell said conservation is now viewed, as more than water conservation, it is more comprehensive including I/I and other issues. Bill Katz asked if the ultimate idea is to use wastewater as drinking water. Pam replied that where you are using water for golf courses and other such uses the idea is not to use potable water. Taber Keally said in towns like Weymouth, private developers are recognizing there is not enough water to do some development because the aquifers are drained. Larry Schafer suggested that a joint sub-committee work on potential agendas. Larry Schafer, Ed Selig and Joe Harrington offered to be on such group.

Facilities Asset Management Program – John Vetere, Gerard Gallinaro, and John Colbert

John Vetere said he is always interested to come to groups interested in maintenance at Deer Island; it is something of which we are very proud. John introduced Gerry Gallinero who is the Director of Maintenance at Deer Island; he is also responsible for the engineering function of the facility as well. John Vetere also introduced John Colbert who is not only representing Deer Island but also the entire Authority because he is responsible for asset protection of the organization. John Vetere said the program they are going to talk about today is Facilities Asset Maintenance Program (FAMP).

John said the budget for the Deer Island Plant is about $40M. He said the biggest portion of the budget is wages and salaries, then utilities, then maintenance. John said maintenance makes up 19% of the overall budget. He added that’s just materials and services. John then introduced Gerry Gallinero.

Gerry said he appreciates the support he gets from WAC in supporting maintenance programs and the necessary budgets that go along with it. Gerry said FAMP started in 1997 at Deer Island. John Colbert came on board as Asset Manager in 2001.

The FY2004 maintenance budget was a little over $16M with wages and salaries 49%. Gerry added that 27% of expenditures were on materials. Half of that is spent on corrective maintenance, 11% on preventive maintenance and 30% on projects. Outside services constitute 24% of budget.

Gerry said that there are 122 technicians and supervisors. About 33,000 work orders are processed per year. About 54% of that is corrective maintenance and 34% is preventive. Gerry said that might look low but when you see what maintenance functions that operators do that number makes more sense.

Gerry then moved to their Productivity Improvement Program (PIP). In 2000 when negotiating contracts for operators and technicians we successfully negotiated a change in job descriptions to allow operators to do light maintenance like lubrications and greasing that needed to be done. Maintenance technicians are available to do more of the hard-core maintenance that needs to be done as well as project work. Larry Schafer asked what unions are at Deer Island. Gerry said there are five unions in the Authority three of those support different maintenance functions at Deer Island.

Gerry reviewed the results of operations doing light maintenance work. About 500/hours/month of preventive maintenance is done by Operations staff saving about $240K/year. Gerry said overall over 50% of maintenance work is preventative. Operators were given an upgrade to help facilitate this productivity improvement. Looking at the cost/benefit, this program results in an ROI of $3.9M over 30 years.

Gerry mentioned some specifics regarding the benefits of this cross functionality training. For example, when a mechanic had to repair a pump they always had to wait for a plumber to come along to disassemble the piping to the pump, now as part of the agreement, the mechanics actually take the pipe elbow or joint apart themselves, they don’t have to wait for a plumber. This save times as well money by not having people waiting around. Another basic example is everybody changes light bulbs instead of just electricians. Crews are now working together as teams, mechanics, plumbers, electrical, it makes work much more efficient. This program was tough going at the start but is working well now, but still with challenges. We need continue buy in from the unions.

Ed Bretschneider asked how close he thought there were to the edge with regarding resources. Gerry said we’re at the edge. He added we monitor it by tracking a variety of process functions like backlog of work orders. Acceptable backlog is 3-6 weeks, anything longer we look at alternatives like overtime, staffing, etc. Cornelia asked what is the staffing at Deer Island, John Vetere said 239 with about 7-8 vacancies. Bill Katz asked if that included the 122 staff that Gerry referred to earlier. He said it did.

John Colbert then reviewed what he called Condition Monitoring. That is monitoring equipment health to prevent catastrophic failures. The techniques to do that are vibration analysis, infrared thermography, machine alignment, ultrasonic detection and lube oil analysis. John talked about program priorities. The foundation of machinery health is lubrication. If the machines are not lubricated and aligned correctly, the other techniques will only tell us that we have lubrication and alignment problems.

John mentioned the installation of permanent condition monitoring equipment at Deer Island for a cost of about $1.5M. The equipment was installed was Bently Nevada 3500. It was put on the critical rotating equipment, raw wastewater pumps (north main and south main in Winthrop) and cryogenics facility on the centrifuges. They monitor vibration and temperature with the information fed directly into the control room. If vibration gets too high it will set off an alarm in the control room or trip the system off if the vibration gets too high. This is to protect those assets that are valued at $50M. In response to a question from Stephen Greene, John this was continuous monitoring. Ed Selig asked why you need a cryogenic facility. John said, cryogenic is pure oxygen; on top of our reactors for the biological processes that are involved in secondary treatment.

John Colbert then moved to PI&P, project identification and prioritization. This is program to identify what is the right work that should get done each year in the capital improvement program and the expense budget. John said brainstorming meeting with area teams are used to generate an initial list of over 200 projects that has to be vetted down. Factors to be considered are;

• Risk (remaining life, redundancy, obsolescence)
• Consequence (health, safety, environment)
• Improvements (cost savings, operational)

This results in total points being assigned to each capital project and helps to whittle down from 200 to about 60 projects. These go into the CIP and CEP process where the vetting process continues. This really helps identify what is the most important work that has to be completed each year.

Ed Bretschneider asked if the Struvite problem you discussed at your last visit here would be a program that would have gone through this process. John Vetere replied, absolutely. Larry Schafer asked if this was problem was fixed. John said it was a major and difficult issue. Once Struvite forms and hardens its very difficult to get rid of. Fortunately, he said we have eliminated that as a problem through chemical treatment. Cornelia Potter asked since this is an annual process and the capital budget is multi-year how does this process fit. John Colbert said we ask about all the projects, what do you need today, what do you need five years from today. Cornelia said several years back a $100M placeholder line was created for the Deer Island FAMP program. The pace of spending from the initiation of that project has slowed. Why is it slower when the funding is provided, it makes it harder to know what the needs are. Gerry said the initial spending was low because it was a new facility. Now with an aging facility we expect the pace of spending to increase. Additionally the process just described is more mature and better able to forecast needs. He believed that the spending pace would increase because of these factors.

Martin Pillsbury asked the flip side of Cornelia’s question that is; with aging equipment will the amount of money reserved for maintenance be sufficient. Gerry said he thought it would be sufficient. He added that it’s all balanced with the of the Authority and impact on rate payers, but we look long and hard at what needs to be done, when it needs to be done and who does it. John Vetere reminded the group that they had to estimate the cost of maintenance for Deer Island when it was a new facility. He added we took 1% of the value of the equipment and based the estimate on that. We had to start somewhere. John added this program is in its infancy. But it’s on the leading edge. Other companies, like Gillette, are coming to the MWRA to learn what we’re doing, because we are viewed as leading edge in this area. Martin Pillsbury asked if the Authority thought of marketing themselves has consultants in this area to generate revenue. Both John Vetere and Gerry said there had been some discussions along this line.

John Colbert reviewed their computer maintenance system, called Maximo. He noted that there are 70,000 assets in the database. It generates reports that are used monthly, that deal with,

• Staffing needs
• Annual budgeting
• Performance Monitoring

John described one of the advantages of this system is that it tracks actual hours of running of a particular piece of equipment. So that, PM is performed on time used, not just the passage of time. This results in efficient use of resources that saves money. A financial interface now has inventories linked with MAXIMO. So you now know what’s available in the warehouse at all times. This is a great budgeting tool because you can now track spending on materials, and gives historical data as well. In same ways it’s like just in time, because it allows you to order what you need only when you need it. Gerry said inventories have been reduced from about $19M to about $6M. John mentioned that Maximo would be upgrading the software in the near future to a web-based (intranet) version.

John Colbert reviewed 2004 maintenance performance metrics. Data was benchmarked against best in class.

• Emergency Maintenance is less than 1%. Best in Class is less than 5%
• Overtime is 7%. Best in Class is less than 5% of wages and salaries
• PM is at 96%. BIC is 100%
• Backlog is 6 weeks. BIC is 3-6 weeks.
• Maint. Spending/Replacement asset value 1.2% BIC is 1.0-2.0%

Cornelia asked what is the replacement value. John said he thought it was about $2.4B. Taker asked about OT. John said one of the challenges is getting that down to fewer than 5%. John Vetere said there is a balance between OT and back filling of positions and what is the most cost effective position.

In almost all categories Deer Island was operating at or near world-class facilities.

Cornelia asked about budget impacts because of weather related issues. Gerry said the snowplowing budget has gone out the window. Additionally there have been some electrical distribution system failures. This was a result of the type of snow and the wind velocity associated with it.

At this point the meeting adjourned.

Ed Bretschneider mentioned that the next meeting is March 4. The topic will be MWRA budget and its impact on rates.

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Minutes of the January 7, 2005 Meeting

The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MWRA Intermediate Pump Station in Braintree PRESENT: MEMBERS: Stephen Greene, Taber Keally, Joe Harrington, Bill Katz, Vin Spada and John Pickle . STAFF: Ed Bretschneider MWRA: Ed Carpman and Stephen Cullen Museum of Science: Trevor Schrooder, Ken McAuliffe, Zannah Marsh, Peter Ford, and Katie Roberts PUBLIC: Larry Schafer, Justin Roy SEA, David Arthur SEA, Bill Ross Northeast Engineers and Brian Antonevich M&E

Stephen Greene called the meeting to order at 11:30 AM. He then moved the December minutes, which were approved with several changes. Stephen stated that the purpose of today’s meeting was a tour of the pump station and that there would be a brief framing by MWRA staff prior to the tour starting.

Braintree Intermediate Pump Station Tour – Ed Carpman & Stephen Cullen

Ed and Stephen starting by sharing goals and background information about the Braintree-Weymouth Relief Facilities Project.

They noted that a major goal of the project was to increase system capacity. This was necessary to reduce wet weather SSO’s that frequently occurred even after relatively small storms. Another goal was to stop barging sludge from Deer Island to the Pellet Plant and transport of filtrate from Pellet Plant in lieu of discharge to Quincy sewer system. This has not started yet. They reminded us that the plant started up in December 2004.

Stephen Greene asked what is the cost benefit of having the sludge and filtrate lines between the Pellet Plant and Deer Island. They estimated savings of several million dollars a year. The real savings will come from not discharging the filtrate into the Quincy sewer system, which cost the Authority a couple of million dollars a year. In addition, there will be a savings in not having to barge sludge. Taber Keally asked about overflows. They said the major ones were in 1996. There was also a question about maintenance. The facility has an aggressive automated system to keep track of maintenance. We are gearing more to a run-to-fail process.

In terms of background the Braintree-Weymouth interceptor and pump station was built in 1933 to serve Weymouth and parts of Quincy and Braintree. The system is hydraulically overloaded during wet weather. This was recognized and relief recommended in the 1975 EMMA study. Because of other high priority projects, facility planning started in 1983 and continued through 1993. Design started in 1994 and continued through 2004. The project evolved and refined over more than twenty years from an open-cut gravity relief sewer to multi-purpose project using trenchless technologies and state-of-the-art instrumentation. The Intermediate Pump station and headworks is designed for screenings and grit removal as well as odor control. It is equipped with an emergency generator and has SCADA (supervising control and data acquisition) capability. At this point the tour started.

Because of the size of the group we broke up into groups. Ed and Stephen gave a terrific tour. There was a round of applause at the end. The pride and enthusiasm that MWRA has for the facility clearly came through. Attendees wanted to know about future tours and suggested Deer Island and Chelsea

Ed Bretschneider mentioned that the next meeting is February 4. The topic will be maintenance and is a nice follow-up to this session.

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2004
(Jul)
(Aug)

Minutes of the December 3, 2004 Meeting The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MAPC in Boston. PRESENT: MEMBERS: Cornelia Potter, Stephen Greene, Mary Adelstein, Mary Corcoran, Taber Keally, Martin Pillsbury, Bill Katz, and Ed Selig. STAFF: Ed Bretschneider MWRA: Marcis Kempe PUBLIC: Larry Schafer, Stephen Kaiser, Coalition for Alewife, Paul Brinkman, SEA, Ginger Esty, Selectwomen Framingham, Mary Pratt, Selectwomen Hopkinton

Stephen Greene called the meeting to order at 11:30 AM. He then moved the November minutes, which were approved. Stephen mentioned that he was leaving Polaroid and was moving onto new challenges. He added that he felt that someone who represented industrial interest should hold the chair. Stephen said because of his career move that if someone felt strongly about this, they should contact Ed Bretschneider with their concerns. There was mention of Roger Frymire being in the news lately for doing good environmental work. Roger is a frequent attendee at WAC meetings. Stephen and Ed gave a brief update on the follow-up to last months meeting that focused on potential collaboration between the Museum of Science and the MWRA. It was noted that John Pickle is working with the MOS staff to bring MWRA staff back for a follow-up meeting to continue to work the issue. There seems to be interest in both organizations for moving ahead, although this is not at the top of the priority list for either organization. Bill Katz asked if there were any fliers that came with water/wastewater bills that explain why rates are going up. A number of committee members commented that sometimes information is included but it generally it doesn’t explain the reason behind rate increase. Mary Adelstein added that the MWRA is relatively well run and that there are good reasons for many of their expenditures, which result in rate increases. It’s important for customers to understand this. Marcis added the only document he knows that goes to everybody is the consumer confidence report. It focus’s on water quality but gives some information on the capital programs that contribute to water quality. Stephen Greene added that there are many ways to communicate to the rate- payer. One of them may be the potential collaboration between the MWRA and MOS discussed at the November meeting. Ed Bretschneider reminded everyone that the January 7 meeting was going to be a tour of the Intermediate Pump Station for the Braintree-Weymouth Project. He also mentioned that John Pickle requested a tour of Deer Island.

MWRA Wastewater Meter Replacement Project – Marcis Kempe
Marcis gave a quick system overview outlining the 43 communities that are served by the Authority in the wastewater area. He noted that there are roughly 200 wastewater-metering sites installed mainly in sewer manholes. Marcis mentioned that these meters serve several purposes; they measure flows for rate data, measured flows are also used for operational performance (understanding the impact of wet and dry weather conditions) and finally the data is used for design purposes (new pump stations or new pipelines), to allow proper sizing. Some communities have only one meter whereas others have as many as seventeen.Over ten years ago the MWRA contracted with ADS for a Model 3500 flow meter. The meter is a set of electronics enclosed in an aluminum container that is suspended at the top of a sewer manhole. A wire is connected to a depth sensor and a velocity sensor. These measurements allow calculation of flow quantity. Staff maintenance requires entrance into the sewers to clean sensors. He said this is the worst job in the Authority. The meters are remotely monitored via telemetry. Marcis send when the meters were up and operating they operated fairly accurately. The system is getting old. The technology is outdated and is getting less and less support from ADS. Also there is deterioration of the containers and electronics because of corrosive gases such as hydrogen sulfide. Also the software that supports the system is DOS based and it is getting more difficult to support is another aging issue. Hence, it is time to replace with updated technology. Marcis added that MWRA was an unusual customer for ADS in that we did our own maintenance and data management. Most clients would have a service contract with ADS. Also benchmarking has shown that a ten-year life is typical for wastewater metering systems.

Marcis moved onto safety issues. He stated that these systems require regular entry into the manholes for routine maintenance. Some of the manholes can be three feet deep others twenty feet deep. The place where there has been the most trouble is in these sewer entries. This is where the atmosphere changes. One can be exposed to many different gases. Although the MWRA has a very good safety record in this area, there have been serious accidents in the past but none in recent years. The most frequent type of serious safety issues has been inhalation of noxious gases. Marcis briefly outlined the procurement approach for replacement meters. It included accuracy testing; technology used manufacturers responsibilities, and quality assurance and control testing. He mentioned evaluation criteria included: cost, accuracy of meters, maintenance and reliability. Many of the new vendors in this area are offshoots of ADS. Accuracy was the most important criteria in the selection process. The new meters have cellular capability, so they can give daily information and it’s possible to know about maintenance issues almost immediately, the ADS system information was retrieved weekly. Two new wastewater meters have been approve Marsh-McBirney and MGD. They are being installed and evaluated. A company called RJN is doing the installations. Out of 220 wastewater meters, 182 replacement meters have been installed with 129 accepted through December 1.

The meter acceptance rate has increased. The goal is to have all new meters installed by the end of December and formal acceptance to be complete by the end of February 2005. The project was started March 2004. The goal was to complete the project within one year. The data so far shows that on average, new meter flows are generally only a few percent different. Some have had significant differences (greater than 10%); differences appear to be randomly higher or lower indicating little bias in new meters. Marcis said there are limitations on short- term comparisons. So far, the procedure has been based on very brief periods with no adjustment for rainfall/baseflow effects; analysis so far has been done only under low flow conditions.

Ed Selig some of the data differences comparing the new meters with ADS were enormous, over 20% in some cases. Marcis said not get all excited just yet. He added we’re working in the lowest flow period of the year. This tends to exaggerate differences. Ed Bretschneider asked because of this variation could rates change significantly for some communities. Marcis said he didn’t think so. We need to collect the information over a longer period of time and compare it to historic averages. He added small difference during periods of low flow give rise to large percentages, whereas small differences during higher flow give smaller percentages. Marcis emphasized it must be remembered that the initial determination of old versus new meter flow differences is based on just a snapshot of data from around the time of the meter installation. There is a fair amount of variation in meter data on a day-to-day basis. Annual rates assessments also vary widely on a year-to-year basis due to relative flow variability’s among service area communities. The impact of the new metering system on annual rates assessments cannot be known with certainty until complete system real data is collected starting in Spring 2005. Even these data will become part of 3 years worth of actual and averaged data as part of the FY07 rates assessments (the first time the new meter will be used).Marcis said the job has not gone 100% smoothly. There have been a number of problems in the field that have impacted the project. He added things are coming together now.

The next few months are going to be real important because of the continuing analysis of how is it all coming out, what is the net effect on the communities. Marcis said if you want to be meet on this in the future he would be happy to do so. Taber Keally asked if the communities are using the new data yet. Marcis answered, no. Mary Adelstein asked if in addition to determining flows could these meters help identify I/I problems or leaks in the system. Marcis said that is being done by the current ADS system and something that Carl Leone follows.

Paul Brinkman asked if these new meters could be used for real time analysis in the future. Marcis said that they are looking at real time features for process control features. Responding to a question from Larry Schafer, Marcis said the meters are most accurate under ‘normal flow” conditions, at the extremes accuracy is not as great. He added that there is pretty good agreement between wastewater meter flows and the flows at Deer Island. Taber Keally asked about agreement between ADS meters and Deer Island, Marcis said it was somewhere between 0-10%. Stephen suggested that if the data was available on a public web site it might be a good way of communicating what’s going on. Marcis said they try to get the right information to the right people.

Mary Adelstein asked if water-metering system is very accurate how close would wastewater information be to the ideal once the new system is installed. Marcis said there are some inherent drawbacks in wastewater systems; one is there is not 100% metering in all contributing areas, we are making estimations. On the water side there is nice repeatable cycles on the wastewater side it’s a function of rainfall, blockages and other mysterious stuff, even tidal changes. Marcis said we are installing the best available technology. Staff anticipates an ongoing program of meter reviews, audit and testing of new system for those sites that significantly impact community or overall rates assessments or that raise ongoing technical or hydraulic questions. These meters will receive additional technical review and testing to confirm proper operation.Stephen Greene asked with flow based metering did this open the MWRA to legal challenges regarding billing. Cornelia asked since the new wastewater meters have a ten-year life cycle, has staff added the next replacement program to put in the capital budget. Marcis said this needed to be part of the master planning process.Marcis reviewed next steps:• Completion of a weighting model for impact assessment using before/after % changes.


• Completion of a complete flow history of each meter for comparison.
• Use of field-testing to resolve sites of concern.
• Use of a manufacturer’s representative to certify meter documentation and resolve issues.
• Continue to review results with Advisory Board.
• Review results with affected communities.

Ed Bretschneider mentioned that the next meeting is January 7. There will be a brief meeting and then a tour of the Intermediate Pump Station, part of the Braintree-Weymouth Interceptor Project.

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Minutes of the November 5, 2004 Meeting The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the Museum of Science in Boston. PRESENT: MEMBERS:  Cornelia Potter, Stephen Greene, Mary Adelstein, Mary Corcoran, John Pickle, Bill Katz, and Joe Harrington. STAFF: Ed Bretschneider MWRA: Marian Orfeo, Jonathan Yeo and Stephen Estes-Smargiassi MUSEUM OF SCIENCE: Peter Farr, Loren Stolow, Anna Lindgren-Streicher, Julie Brenninkanyo, Ericely Sloat Sherro and Carry Sheider   PUBLIC: Larry Schafer, Stephen Kaiser, Coalition for Alewife, Evan Freund, MIT, Jose L. Sanchez, Harvard School of Public Health and Mitch Heineman Stephen Greene called the meeting to order at 11:30 AM.  He then moved the October minutes, which were approved with several corrections.  Stephen gave a brief introduction explaining WAC’s interest in facilitating a process between the MWRA and Museum of Science to educate the public on the service that the MWRA provides and how rate payers money are used to support this service. After a round of introductions, Stephen gave a brief introduction to the role of WAC as an independent advisory committee to the MWRA, since there were a large number of new attendees to this meeting.Stephen noted that the maintenance presentation scheduled for today was postponed to February. Larry Schafer suggested a moment of silence for Judge Mazzone who recently passed away.

Engineering, Health and Public Expectations:The Science of Wastewater and Water – Stephen Estes-Smargiassi

Stephen started by stating that the MWRA was created in 1984 and picked up responsibility for wastewater and water infrastructure from the old MDC. The initial goal of the Authority was to end pollution in Boston Harbor. The MDC for decades was under funded for maintenance and capital. The MWRA was created as an independent authority charged with raising revenue from ratepayers. It was charged with promotion and enforcement of water conservation and planning for the future. The Authority provides wholesale water and sewer services to over 2.5 million customers in 61 communities.Stephen said the theme for today’s presentation is to discuss what the public demands from the MWRA and its ability to deliver based on changing technology. Stephen said this is an iterative process. He also said one his thesis is that regarding technology; it’s state of the art at that time or “it seemed like a good idea at the time”. He says this is important so you don’t criticize predecessors for doing what they thought was the right thing to do at the time. Stephen said he wanted to tantalize the MOS with some of their ideas and enthusiasm for communication the relationships between science, technology and engineering, and public expectations and priority setting.

The MWRA are experts in wastewater and water not communication and education. The hope is that there are some opportunities between the MWRA and MOS so that we can collaborate to take advantage of each other strengths. Stephen reviewed the history of sewers by stating that their installation in the greater Boston area starting before 1700. He said this is the case because the first complaint about someone else’s sewer was registered in that time period. The idea of sewers at that time was to get “the stuff” away from the house, not very far, but away. Almost everyone was close to the water and every stream had a pipe that ran down to the waters edge, and all the waste ran down this pipe; better than dumping waste on the street. But, waterways putrid and water polluted.  Stephen said the next big innovation was interceptors that that picked up all the waste from those individual pipes that ran into streams and transport them further away (no treatment), to the harbor where the outgoing tide would dilute the pollution. Better for public health but still a problem. The next big innovation was driven by interceptors and sewer pipes being out of capacity on heavy rain days. On dry days it was easy to capture waste and transport someplace else and if you build treatment plants you could easily bring it to such a facility. The rain days resulted in combined flow in the pipes of sewerage and rainwater. This resulted in overflows. Expectations have risen. We want clean water for swimming or fishing and people’s knowledge of consequences has risen.  

Interestingly, with the rise of plastics in the 1970’s and 80’s you could see the results of pollution has these products started to appear on the beaches. But, it’s not only gross pollution but also long-term environmental impacts that are a concern, all a part of changing expectations. How we view storm water over the years has changed. We use to think of it as rainwater that falls from the sky, clean and pure. But, it’s not quite natural or benign. Rainwater, in an urban environment, runs along the land picking up all sorts of stuff. Stephen said you’d like to keep the storm water locally, re-use it locally if possible, such as sprinkling. Some areas of the country are looking at re-use, especially in drier regions, and recharging it as ground water. Stephen added that all solutions concerning storm water are local, decisions driven by local climate, geography, development patterns and economic priorities. Stephen then talked about source reduction.  If you don’t put it in the stream you don’t have to worry about taking it out someplace else. An example is mercury from dental offices. MWRA is working with dental offices to keep it out of the sewer system. Several other examples were briefly reviewed.Stephen moved to the topic of water and its history and how changing expectations and technology influenced progress.The first public water supply in the greater Boston area was in place by 1635. Its primary function was for drinking, cooking and cleaning. It inadvertently helped control disease such as Cholera. Stephen then talked about the importance of water for fire protection. He talked about how every major city has a story about a great fire. Stephen noted that water was key for waste disposal (early toilet systems). While initially viewed as a luxury, it soon became a necessity. This created a big demand for water. He highlighted that with changing technology, less and less water is required for waste disposal, a conservation win, with no impact on people’s lifestyles, an interesting intersection between changing technology and impact on society. Stephen used this as an example of the balance between supply and demand. Availability of water encourages growth and new uses. 

Initially, build new supply to support demand. More recently, like the waste disposal issue, look to manage demand, conservation. Current focus of state policy is first source of new supply is conservation. This has been so effective that demand in 2002 was the same as it was in 1915. This is quite an achievement when you think of the increase in the number of people and jobs in the greater Boston area. Stephen moved from talking about quantity to quality of water supply. Initial goal was to supply clean water. Interestingly, use of filtration and disinfection allowed the use of poorer sources of water for supply. That resulted in the search for newer technology to remove more difficult source of pollution like hormones and pharmaceuticals. This was not required earlier because there was no social demand to do so, as the public becomes more discriminating and sophisticated pressure builds to remove these pollutants. Changing expectations especially with new techniques to measure smaller and smaller quantities of pollutants. It was mentioned that Dr. Snow in London in 1854, discovered cholera resulted from poor drinking water. People drinking from one well get sicker then others. While today no one is dying on the streets, impacts could be subtler and delayed. What is the health risk if something exists only in parts per trillion. Less is always better but more costly.  Stephen concluded this part by noting that the water we drink in Boston comes directly from the reservoir there is no reuse. In other parts of the country this is not the case.Stephen touched upon different water treatment technologies, such as gravity, carbon filters, and membranes. Disinfectants are classified as chemical based (chlorine), oxygen based (ozone) and light based (UV).  He said you “do all this stuff” and you improve public health. How do you communicate these improvements to the public?Stephen said there are two ways to think about it. One is, what we are doing is good, but new processes and technologies give us the ability to make it better. Some view it differently. If you are improving something, then what you were doing before was not adequate. The crux of public confidence is how they view it, are things good and getting better, or are they broke and need to be fixed. The iteration of expectations raised, met and then raised again is one of the challenges and opportunities we face.Stephen concluded by asking where do we go from here? Which topics are appropriate for the MOS? What do the MOS visitors and public want to know? How can MWRA and MOS staffs collaborate? There were some technical questions regarding Struvite build up in wastewater treatment plants. Larry Shafer wanted to know what created them and how do we get rid of them? Stephen said MWRA would be happy to have someone come to speak to that. Mary Adelstein was curious about dechlorination  process and what were the byproducts of chlorination. Stephen said he thought it was some innocuous inorganic salt but would have to get back to her on this. There was discussion about how to move forward. The MOS stated that it is not their position to recommend a particular approach but to let people know about different perspectives and the different ways things can be looked at. There was some discussion of joint educational programs that have happened in the recent past between the MWRA and MOS.Stephen Greene mentioned that there are other local resources to use like MIT and Harvard.John Pickle thanked Stephen for connecting the technology their social impact and how they intersect and interact with each other. John was sure that there was common ground for the MWRA and MOS to collaborate on future projects or programs.Ed Bretschneider mentioned that the next meeting is December 3 and will be at the MAPC. The topic is Wastewater Meter Update.

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Minutes of the October 1, 2004 Meeting The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MAPC in Boston. PRESENT: MEMBERS: Cornelia Potter, Stephen Greene, Taber Keally, Mary Corcoran, Martin Pillsbury, Megan Lim, Vincent Spada and Mary Adelstein. STAFF: Ed Bretschneider MWRA: Pam Heidell and Ralph Wallace PUBLIC: Larry Schafer, Stephen Kaiser, Coalition for Alewife, and Don Walker, Metcalf & Eddy.Stephen Greene called the meeting to order at 11:30 AM. He then moved the September minutes, which were approved with several corrections. Stephen mentioned on October 22, at Genzyme, a symposium on storm water control for the Charles River is being held. Ralph Wallace from the MWRA will be one of the speakers.Ed Bretschneider mentioned that WAC’s November meeting would be held at the Museum of Science. The main topic is Maintenance. There will, however, be a brief session between MWRA Staff and the Technology Forum (MOS) on possible collaboration of some future projects. If there were interest, an entire meeting would be dedicated to this topic in the near future. A telecom is scheduled for October 15 in preparation for the November meeting. Ed also mentioned that Susan Redlich offered to host a WAC meeting at University of Massachusetts. It was suggested that summer when school is not in session would be the best time to schedule a meeting there. It was also suggested we follow up on having a future meeting at one of the Braintree locations for a tour as well as a meeting.

MWRA CSO Update – Ralph Wallace (MWRA)Ralph starting by reviewing the September 1 document from DEP, extending the Alewife Brook/Upper Mystic River CSO variance for three years to September 1 2007. This allows the discharge of CSO’s under certain regulations. Ralph stated that the DEP document commented favorably on the Affordability Analysis submitted by the Authority. The DEP states that the median household income (MHI), the most influential factor in the EPA Guidance, is one indicator of capacity to afford pollution control costs. The DEP has concluded, however, that adjusting the MHI to reflect the region’s cost of living is warranted to provide a more meaningful measure of affordability.While some cities may enjoy increased affordability when incomes are adjusted for cost of living, the high cost of living in the Boston area consumes a relatively high percentage of income using the EPA methodology with this adjustment, the results more accurately support a continued finding by the department that a variance is warranted on the basis of substantial and widespread economic and social impact. Notwithstanding this finding, the DEP will evaluate the information required by the variance to determine whether there are additional cost-effective CSO controls. However, DEP is not ready to use this methodology as part of their basis for a change in water quality from Class B to Class Bcso. Cornelia Potter asked if this means that the DEP wants to do there own economic analysis. Ralph replied, he didn’t think so; they just want to get a better understanding of the analysis submitted by the MWRA, since they only received this information within the past month. Cornelia asked if the MWRA affordability analysis would be viewed in the same light by the DEP for Cottage Farm. Ralph replied, he believes that this is the case. He continued that the DEP wants Cambridge and Somerville to assess if there are other cost-effective measures for CSO control that have not be previously evaluated during this three year variance period. Stephen asked has the DEP given any suggestions about possible new control measures. Ralph said no. But, generally, they suggest ideas of system optimization, I/I control and reduction of storm water into the combined sewer system. Basically, low cost incremental improvements that could reduce CSO discharges. Ralph they also identify in their document that there is no feasible means of eliminating CSO’s and that at the end of the variance period there is a likelihood the a Class Bcso standard would be approved. The level of control within that Class Bcso has yet to be determined. This would not be a precedent; the Inner Harbor designation was changed from Class B to Class Bcso. Ralph mentioned that part of the conditions of the variance are that DEP will work with EPA, MWRA and its member communities to implement the recommendations of the MWRA I/I Task Force and MWRA’s I/I Reduction Plan to minimize the impacts of I/I flows, where possible, identify opportunities for I/I removal programs which may further mitigate CSO discharges. Ralph said that many of these items have been agreed to in other documents. Other requirements are that MWRA and the Cities of Cambridge and Somerville undertake and collaborate on infrastructure studies which target further opportunities for CSO abatement, and consider related system issues, including backups and flooding. Ralph concluded by saying obviously a decision has been delayed and that EPA and DEP are reluctant at this juncture to establish a Class Bcso designation they wish the MWRA to continue the implementation of their $74M plan at Alewife as well as allow Cambridge and Somerville to do additional work and reassess the situation in three years. The cost of the plan is increasing. It is estimated that the cost of the plan could increase $10-$15M or possibly higher. There is cost sharing with the city of Cambridge. Currently of the $74M, the Authority pays about half. Ralph said the same process is occurring on the Charles River. He said that variance document in its preface states that the DEP does not support the construction of storage at Cottage Farm, which was an alternative that was analyzed in the reassessment report. They prefer that the focus be on the same type of requirements stated in the Alewife Brook Variance, reductions in I/I, and removal of storm water in the combined system, and general system optimization. DEP also notes that improvement at Cottage Farm is somewhat contingent on Cambridge sewer separation. Ralph said the MWRA recommended the variance. The Authority thought this would allow the stony brook sewer separation be completed to understand its impact on water quality in the Charles River and also allow the Authority to implement the system optimization at Cottage Farm. Ralph said he thought the DEP is generally more satisfied than the EPA, which wants to reserve the right to achieve higher levels of control. Additionally, the way to achieve higher level of controls also has DEP and EPA in some disagreement. He said reading tea leaves, DEP more interested in investment made in community systems (Cambridge and Somerville) to improve operation to control, flooding and other problems that are unrelated to CSO control. EPA less concerned about that and more concerned about discharges into the Charles River which lend to be more in favor of storage systems which have the benefit of reducing CSO discharges but do nothing for the systemic problems the communities are having. Ralph views this as a basic philosophical difference between the two agencies. He also said he is somewhat nervous about I/I being included in these variances. This is something new that has not been included in CSO control recommendations in the past, He said we need further definition of what they mean. Martin Pillsbury added that unlike some of the other one-time infrastructure recommendations I/I is something that is never done. Fix one leak and another one pops up. Megan Lim asked if reducing I/I would significantly impact storm water. Don Walker said that problem is more a function of illegal connections than I/I. Stephen asked if Roger Frymire were here would he be happy with the effort to eliminate illegal connections. Ralph said that obviously Roger is an advocate for a higher level of control. Cornelia Potter said that for the Advisory Board recommended that for the Charles the water quality be changed to Class Bcso. After six years of variances there is enough data to support this change.North Dorchester Bay and Reserved Channel the Secretary of EOEA issued a certificate in July approving MWRA’s SFP/EIR. The certificate allowed MWRA to proceed for its recommended plan for CSO control along the South Boston Beaches and the Reserved Channel. There were several areas where MWRA should develop additional information related to the plan for diverting storm water from the BOS087 outfall to Savin Hill Cove and South Dorchester Bay. Fort Point Channel Sewer Separation, the goal is to eliminate CSO discharges in a typical year from outfalls BOS072 and BOS973. BWSC is continuing with final design, which is approximately 69% complete, and expects to commence construction by March 2005, in compliance with Schedule Six.BOS019 Storage Conduit, MWRA received the 100% design submission and construction cost estimate in July. The updated estimate, $7.2M, is significantly greater that the $2.3M estimate in the 1997, due to increases in the project’s size and complexity in order to meet CSO control goals, as well as additional security and safety features. MWRA plans to commence construction in March 2005 in compliance with Schedule Six. However, the estimated construction duration has increased from 18 months to two years, estimated to be completed in March 2007, six months later that the corresponding milestone in Schedule Six.MWRA commenced discussions with EPA and DEP in August regarding selection of a preferred plan for completing East Branch Sewer Relief project and attaining CSO control at outfalls in East Boston. MWRA expects the discussions to continue over the next few months and to lead to consensus on a preferred plan for completing the project. Then, MWRA will be able to recommend a final plan and resume design efforts that it suspended in 2002. Depending on the plan selected, as additional filing under MEPA regulations may be required.South Dorchester Bay sewer separation is intended to eliminate CSO flows to the Commercial Point and Fox Point CSO treatment facilities by the court ordered milestone of November 2008, allowing MWRA to decommission these facilities. BWSC commenced construction in April 1999. To date five separation contracts have been completed. In the last quarter, BWSC commenced another construction contract (the last major separation contract), bringing the total number on ongoing contract to four, which are at various stages of completion ranging from 1% to 56%. Overall, project work has resulted in the installation of a total of 79,468 linear feet of new storm drain, bringing the project to approximately 59% completion overall, consistent with the required level of progress referenced in Schedule Six.Stony Brook sewer separation is intended to minimize CSO discharges into BWSC’s Stony Brook Conduit, which drains to the Charles River Basin. Construction is on schedule. Ralph said the overall cost of MWRA CSO recommended plan has increased by $55M, from $645M to $701M. The bulk of the increase is due to the North Dorchester Bay/Reserved Channel Project. Stephen asked what is the increased cost in maintenance to take care of these new projects. Ralph said most of the cost is in concrete and pipe. Hence, increased maintenance cost is modest. Cornelia added that there is the Union Park Detention and Treatment Facility that will require incremental maintenance. Ralph mentioned that high level discussions going on with DEP and EPA regarding CSO’s. He feels that to date there is not a great deal of progress. He said a lot of the issues reside with the Charles River and Alewife Brook Projects. In response to a question from Larry Schafer, Ralph said the DEP and EPA are having a hard time figuring out what the end game is for CSO projects. He added this is not only a problem in Massachusetts, but nationally. They are reluctant to say you are done. Larry was concerned about the impact on ratepayers for the cost of all these projects.Ed Bretschneider mentioned that the next meeting is November 5 and will be at the Museum of Science. The topic is Maintenance. There will also be a brief discussion between MWRA Staff and MOS Staff regarding possible future collaboration.

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Minutes of the September 10, 2004 Meeting

The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the MWRA Advisory Board in Boston. PRESENT: MEMBERS: Cornelia Potter, Stephen Greene, John Pickle, Taber Keally, Mary Corcoran, Bill Katz, Ed Selig and Mary Adelstein. STAFF: Ed Bretschneider MWRA: Elizabeth Gowen, Ed Carpman, and Kevin O’Brien PUBLIC: Larry Schafer, Paul Keohan, BWSC, and Brian Antonevich, Metcalf & Eddy.Stephen Greene called the meeting to order at 11:30 AM. He then moved the June minutes, which were approved. Stephen in his updates noted the good press that the MWRA has received in the press regarding the South Boston CSO and sewer separation project.

He talked about the turmoil of having the project derailed several years back with a lot of negative press and sees the turn around in public attitude as a tribute to the MWRA and the good work they’ve done as well as the good people who work for the Authority. Stephen also noted a recent EPA report on CSO’s and SSO’s that noted that about 850-860B gallons of sanitary sewage are discharged into the waters of the U.S. But it’s down from several trillion starting back in the 1990’s. There is distinct progress being made. Stephen personalized this by relating to the dramatic reductions of CSO’s into the Charles River as an example of this progress. The article went on to say that they believe that current efforts will solve the problem, this translated into $120B over 20 years needed to be invested across the country. Cornelia noted that large investments are being made to control smaller and smaller overflows. She noted in South Boston over $300M is necessary to control about 8M gallons on an annual average. Stephen responded that this characteristic of the law of diminishing returns. Ed Bretschneider mentioned the EOEA’s Certificate regarding North Dorchester Bay and Reserved Channel, which in his opinion wasn’t that clear on the issue if the MWRA’s responsibility regarding storm water control. Cornelia noted the BOD requested that the Authority staff get in writing assurances from regulatory agencies that storm water control would not be a requirement in other community projects. Cornelia said she doesn’t think this step has been taken yet. She said unless this is clarified she is concerned about the Cottage Farm and Alewife projects and what might be expected from the Authority regarding storm water control. Ed also mentioned that the topic for the October meeting is CSO update and the November meeting Maintenance.

Braintree-Weymouth Relief Facilities Project Elizabeth Gowen and Ed Carpman (MWRA)Stephen Greene introduced Ed Carpman who is the project manager for the Braintree-Weymouth Relief Facilities Project. Ed mentioned that he has been assigned to this project since the late 1980’s. He then reviewed the project goals:Increase system capacity by 20mgd to 73 mgd. This was necessary to reduce wet weather SSO’s that frequently occurred even after relatively small storms.
Pump sludge from Deer Island to Pellet Plant in lieu of barging.
Transport filtrate from Pellet Plant in lieu of discharge to Quincy sewer system.Ed then gave some project background:

Ed then reviewed various factors that impacted the project:

Ed listed the major project components:Mill Cove Relief Siphon

North Weymouth Relief Interceptor

B-W Tunnel

Intermediate Pump Station

Fore River Siphons

Replacement Pump Station

Rehabilitation

Dramatic pictures of all these project components were shown demonstrating the magnitude and complexity of the projectEd said relief facilities start-up is scheduled for November 2004. The total projected cost of the project is a little over $213M, a major investment for the MWRA. Ed summarized as follows:Project provides hydraulic relief and transport of sludge and filtrate
Project includes trenchless technologies and state-of-the-art instrumentation
Relief facilities to be online in November 2004
Project construction to be completed by April 2007
Taber Keally asked if scope included Weymouth Naval Air Station for on-site treatment for the base. Kevin said that the on-site sewage from the base could be treated by the MWRA as long as they could get it to the system. He added that no one from the base has contacted the Authority about this issue. Stephen Greene asked what is the cost benefit of having the sludge and filtrate lines between the Pellet Plant and Deer Island. Kevin said it was somewhere between $2-4M/year. The real savings comes from not discharging the filtrate into the Quincy sewer system, which cost the Authority a couple of million dollars a year. In addition, there is a savings in not having to barge sludge.Larry Schafer asked where does the benefit show up. Elizabeth said principally along Weymouth-Fore River. She said there are no beaches along that stretch. Taber Keally asked how many overflows occurred recognizing there were three big ones in 1996. Kevin said everything has to be judged either pre or post emergency Mill Cove Siphon. Prior to this any wet weather event caused an overflow. The old siphon could not handle the daily flow. Post only significant storm events caused problems. Stephen asked what type of maintenance would this system require. Kevin said the Authority has an aggressive automated system to keep track of maintenance. We are gearing more to a run-to-fail process. Cornelia said this is a major project for the Authority and asked are there any other big ones like this waiting on the horizon. Kevin said on the wastewater side none are being planned, he mentioned the headworks off of Deer Island and how to deal with old brick sewers as issues that need to be dealt with. Ed Bretschneider suggested this implied that the Authority is moving from dealing with big projects to one of continuous improvement and maintenance as new strategies. Kevin said don’t underestimate the amount of work to rehabilitate the old brick sewers. Stephen Greene asked how do we get out the good work that the Authority is doing. Often you only read about the things that go wrong. Ed Selig it’s important customers understand what’s causing rates to rise. This is one of the reasons you have to be concerned about scope creep, like storm water control. Taber said there needs to more publicity how things have improved after implementation of many of these big programs. John Pickle said one thing that might help get the message out is the Technology Forum at the Museum of Science. They look out how technology impacts on society. One to the topics they are interested in water/wastewater issues. He suggested at an upcoming meeting we have the MWRA give a brief jargon free update on the history, current issues and future issues to members from this Technology Forum there might be the possibility to build an relationship among WAC, MWRA and this Technology group as an outreach opportunity. There was some discussion of exhibits at the Museum. Ed Bretschneider said he would coordinate this effort.At this point the meeting adjourned. Ed Bretschneider reminded everyone that the next meeting is scheduled for October 1. The presentation will be an update of the MWRA CSO Programs.

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Minutes of the June 4, 2004 Meeting The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at the Museum of Science in Boston.PRESENT: MEMBERS: Cornelia Potter, Joe Harrington, Stephen Greene, John Pickle, Taber Keally, Megan Lim, Vincent Spada, Bill Katz, Ed Selig and Mary Adelstein. STAFF: Ed Bretschneider MWRA: Ralph Wallace, Dede Vittori and Pam Heidell PUBLIC: Larry Schafer, Nancy Hammett, Mystic River Watershed Association, Don Walker, Metcalf @ Eddy, Doug Maitland, Conservation Law Foundation, Paul Keohan, BWSC, Dave Gray, EPA, Kevin Brander, DEP, Bill Walsh Rogawski, EPA and Roger Frymire. Stephen Greene called the meeting to order at 11:30 AM. He then moved the May minutes, which were approved with several changes.

CSO Affordability Analysis – Kevin Brander (DEP) & Ralph Wallace (MWRA) Kevin Brander started by stating that he has been working on CSO permits for 15 years. Kevin said he wanted to review what criteria go into levels of control, what’s feasibility, what’s not and what role does affordability play. Kevin noted that a lot of CSO policy is available online. He mentioned EPA CSO Policy April 1994 available at http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/cso/cpolicy.cfm and DEP CSO Guidance issued August 11, 1997 available at http://www.state.ma.us/dep/brp/stormwtr/files/csoguide.doc He said it all boils down to two things:

Implement Nine Minimum goals to Basically operate systems effectively to minimize discharges and o Look at range of alternatives and determine what is the highest feasible level of control
• Develop Long-Term Control Plan (LTCP) to comply with Clean Water Act and State Water Quality Standards Kevin noted that the Water Quality standards set forth receiving water classifications to establish designated uses and associated water quality criteria, based on RW uses and criteria, limits imposed on discharges through NPDES permit program. Compliance with WQS is basically states that plan must eliminate CSO discharges where elimination is determined to be feasible. Where elimination is infeasible, Permittee must implement highest feasible level of CSO control. Kevin added that there are three main factors that determine highest feasible level of CSO control: • Economic Analysis
• Prioritize protection of sensitive uses (i.e., swimming areas, water intake areas, etc.)
• Cost-effectiveness (Kevin said there are subtle differences between EPA and DEP)
• Point at which costs are overly excessive when compared to water quality benefits Kevin said he believed DEP weighed all three when evaluating affordability whereas he believed EPA relied more on economic analysis. He added that the economic assessment guidance DEP uses comes from the EPA. The information can be found on EPA website. Kevin added that the guidance establishes basic methodology for assessment, but permittees are encouraged to submit any additional documentation to present a more accurate assessment of financial impacts.

A key economic indicator for the DEP is median household income. They have this information for all the cities and towns in Massachusetts. Potential affordable wastewater rates are based on this MHI using pollution control costs as percentage of MHI:

He added that each community has its own unique story in terms of affordability based on the above analysis; the impact is more severe on some communities than others. For example New Bedford’s cost is close to 1.6% whereas Fitchburg is about 0.4%. Kevin said many communities would be undergoing double digit cost increases to support the cost of new CSO projects. Kevin added that when the cost/MHI is between 1-2%, a moderate burden, secondary factors are looked at:

He mentioned additional utility factors:


Kevin said 6 of the 24 communities are on there way to elimination CSO’s, for the other communities they look at:

• Long Term CSO Control Plan, including Economic Analysis
• Use Attainability Analysis (UAA) to justify any change to WQS or CSO Variance (used for Charles and Alewife Projects)

Ed Selig asked if water quality standards were ever changed. Kevin said yes, in 1997 Boston Inner Harbor was changed to Class Bcso which means CSO discharges will occur, but will not result in water quality violations more than 5% of the time which generally equates to 4 times/year. Ed asked if EPA bought into the change, Kevin said yes. DEP submitted a UAA that said complete CSO elimination was not feasible. Bill Walsh Rogawski from EPA said water quality standard are reviewed every three years.Ed Bretschneider asked if the 2% guideline is just for wastewater cost. Ralph Wallace said it was and that there is a similar analysis for water so that potential cost for ratepayer is 4% of MHI. Kevin said this is an important distinction that everything he discussed only applies to wastewater there is an additional cost burden on the waterside.Ralph Wallace said that this review of Affordability Analysis is in draft form and does not constitute the policy of the MWRA. He stressed that this is a preliminary finding that has not been discussed with either the DEP or EPA. Ralph said that when a recommended plan does not lead to elimination of CSO discharges, it must be demonstrated that the cost of elimination would cause “substantial and widespread economic and social impact.” Ralph reiterated what Kevin said that the primary measure used by EPA in determining substantial and widespread economic and social impact is the “municipal preliminary screener” that evaluates impact by comparing current or projected sewer charges to a community’s median household income. Ralph continued by stating that there are six additional indicators to assess socioeconomic conditions in a “secondary test” that supplements the preliminary screener.

The preliminary screener calculates average annual household sewer charges as a percent of median household income (MHI):

• Charge less than 1% of MHI = Little Impact
• Charge 1% to 2% of MHI = Mid-range Impact
• Charge greater than 2% of MHI = Large ImpactUntil the 2% threshold for a large impact is reached EPA will usually require additional investment in CSO control.

Ralph said that the MWRA filed its Long-term CSO control plan late in1997. The plan recommended investing $481 million in CSO control. It recommended the elimination of CSO discharges for critical receiving waters and limited discharged in less sensitive areas. The plan was approved by EPA/DEP in early 1998 based, in part, on determination that additional investment in CSO control beyond that recommended in the plan would cause “substantial and widespread economic and social impact.” The preliminary screener supported the EPA determination and secondary tests for Boston (MWRA’s largest community) and Chelsea (MWRA poorest community). Based on MWRA rate forecasts, by FY2005, sewer charges were projected to reach2.28% of MHI for Chelsea (large impact) and 1.65% for Boston (mid-range impact). The secondary test scores for additional socioeconomic conditions indicated that both Boston and Chelsea were in the mid-range category.Ralph continued that there have been changes in economic conditions since 1997. Since 1997, MHI in the MWRA service area (including Boston and Chelsea) has risen more than projected in EPA’s analysis. MWRA rates have also increased less than previously forecast (i.e., low interest rates have reduced the cost of debt service and staffing levels have been reduced significantly and direct costs have grown more slowly than anticipated).

Ralph said that the MWRA is facing major decisions on CSO control in South Boston, Alewife Brook, Charles River and East Boston. EPA is arguing for increased CSO spending, above levels recommended by MWRA, because sewer rates do not indicate large economic impacts, as measured by the preliminary screener. Expected level of additional investment has not been defined, but could be $300 to $500 million or more in added capital spending above the $700 million cost of the current recommend plan. Ralph said that rates are estimated to rise about 4%/year. He was asked if it was political possible to raise rates significantly for poorer communities like Chelsea. Ralph he thought there would be a political backlash.The EPA guidelines allow CSO communities to use alternative analyses and criteria appropriate to local circumstances to evaluate economic impacts. The MWRA Advisory Board and MWRA have long argued that standard application of EPA economic guidelines does not accurately reflect economic conditions in MWRA communities. MWRA retained Dr. Robert Stavins and Analysis Group to prepare a more comprehensive economic assessment.EPA’s economic impact analysis focuses on burdens from sewer charges by comparing those charges with MHI. But, along with sewer charges, other economic burdens determine the real economic impact of CSO controls. One significant additional burden that associated with the cost of basic necessities (the cost of living), which includes, but is not limited, to sewer service. So, the analysis evaluates whether unusual, broader burdens from the cost of living in the service area are consistent with those typically associated with EPA’s 2% threshold for a large economic impact. In particular, the analysis focuses on burdens from the cost of shelter.Ralph said it’s appropriate to consider broader burdens arising from the cost of living, and to focus on shelter costs, in particular, because:


Ralph next discussed the methodology for evaluating economic burdens from the cost of living. To evaluate more accurately the economic of further investments in CSO control:

So, the economic burden from shelter costs in the service area already exceeds the burden that would be associated with a 2% screener value in almost any other metropolitan areaHe then reviewed specific shelter cost burdens in Boston and Chelsea:

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Minutes of the May 7, 2004 Meeting The Wastewater Advisory Committee to the MWRA held its monthly meeting at MWRA Advisory Board in Boston. PRESENT: MEMBERS:  Cornelia Potter, Joe Harrington, Stephen Greene, Mary Corcoran, Martin Pillsbury, Bill Katz, Ed Selig and Mary Adelstein. STAFF: Ed Bretschneider MWRA: Ralph Wallace and Pam Heidell PUBLIC: Larry Schafer, Nancy Hammett, Mystic River Watershed Association, Dan Walker, Metcalf @ Eddy, Casey Brown, Harvard University and Adrien de Chaisemartin, Harvard University.Stephen Greene called the meeting to order at 11:30 AM.  He then moved the April minutes, which were approved with several changes. Stephen said that WAC should pay some attention to the lead in drinking water issue that has been in the news lately. His concern is that the MWRA may get blamed for problems that are not within their domain. The source is lead leaching in from private pipes. He fears that the MWRA could get "tapped" to solve the problem, saying that we should be vigilant about issues like this that might inappropriately end up raising rates for consumers. He likened this to his concern about the MWRA potentially becoming responsible for stormwater, since it agreed to control it in its South Boston CSO project. Larry Schafer said he had a problem with the methodology the EPA uses, which is to measure the lead content of one or two houses in the community. He added that if they pick a house that has lousy plumbing then the whole community suffers. Larry added that this is a water issue and not a wastewater issue. Stephen