May 29, 2008
- DCR - DCR will be holding a public meeting on June 4 to discuss the Storrow Drive interim repair project. That should be an opportunity to pin down when the interim recharge system is expected to be in place.
- MBTA - The MBTA has prepared a Request for Proposals for the designer for the Long Term Solution to low groundwater levels in the Back Bay Station area of the South End. They hope to have the designer under contract by the end of the summer.
- BWSC - BWSC responded rapidly to a low groundwater condition near the corner of Beacon and Dartmouth Streets. They determined that one of their manholes near the intersection of Dartmouth Street and Public Alley 419 was leaking. Repairs were completed last week.
- MTA - The MTA is working on a Notice of Project Change related to the amount of water discharged from the Central Artery and Ted Williams Tunnel to the MWRA system. They have been encouraged by MEPA to work with us on potential recharge at appropriate locations. They will look into potential recharge from low points near Chinatown, the Leather District, and the North End.
- GCOD - Compliance with GCOD standards continues to lead to more recharge systems being installed. It has also caused groundwater issues to be addressed on all projects in the area covered, with proponents offering foundation designs aimed at preventing any reductions in groundwater levels. The Board of Appeals, along with both the BRA and the Mayors Office of Neighborhood Services, continues to be completely supportive of what we are trying to accomplish. We have had a couple of cases where projects undergoing Small Project Review under Article 80 did not realize that they needed to file with BWSC prior to going to the Board of Appeals; I hope to work with the BRA to make sure that project managers advise proponents of the need to do so.
- Recharge Coordinator - Following up on the resolution adopted at the March trustees meeting, we have met with John Sullivan and Henry Luthin of BWSC along with Nancy Grilk to discuss how to implement a program aimed at coordinating recharge efforts. BGwT and BWSC will work together to provide these services, with Technical Coordinator Christian Simonelli handling much of the effort for the Trust.
- North End - Dye was discovered in an MTA pumping station near Haymarket. It was traced back to a storm drain in the exit ramp near Fulton and Cross Streets. The MTA is considering what the next step will be to eliminate the groundwater flow to the drain.
- Website - Traffic at the website has in May has continued at the relatively high level that occurred in April. We have been adding new links to recharge
- 30 North Margin Street - The BRA is trying to set up a meeting with the developer so that we can discuss our concerns and how they can best assure that the project will not have an adverse effect on groundwater levels in the North End.
- Recharge - Jim Hunt has scheduled a meeting with representatives of the Boston Public Schools on Friday to discuss the possibility of installing porous pavement in one of their parking lots at a school in the GCOD area.
- Education - I wrote a letter in support of a group that is planning a pilot school that would include a middle school level course on the science, technology, history, and civics of the groundwater issue in Boston. If the school is approved, we will be involved in development of the curriculum around groundwater.
- Green Alley - I have had discussions with the Back Bay Architectural College about a project for which they are seeking a grant to turn the ally behind their building on Newbury Street into a green alley with porous pavement. We filed a letter in support of their grant application.
- Public Meeting - I attended both a public meeting and a BRA scoping session for the new office building planned for 212-222 Stuart Street. The developer was responsive to the issues that we raised and appears to have a proposal that will meet GCOD standards.
- Comment Letters - I filed comment letters with the BRA for the projects at 30 North Margin Street and 212-222 Stuart Street. As always, they are posted on our website.
- Training Session - At their request, I conducted a training session on groundwater issues for the agents at Hammond Real Estate who work in the GCOD area. There were agents from offices in South End, Back Bay, Beacon Hill, and Charlestown. It was an excellent opportunity to get the message out, and I was able to answer many of their questions.