July 17, 2006
- Funding - The City is closing out its books from FY06. It should be clear shortly how they want to proceed with our funding for FY07 and whether it will come in one piece or be split. The funds are in the budget as adopted by the Council.
- Zoning - The first cases to be heard by the Zoning Board of Appeals under the Groundwater Conservation Overlay District were presented on July 11. There were five applications to which the zoning applied, one each in Fenway, Bay Village, and Back Bay, and two in the South End. All applicants agreed to meet the requirements; their zoning signoff will be held back pending review by BWSC of the technical adequacy of their plans. There were no efforts to install less recharge than is required under the code. We should be seeing significant recharge from this source in relatively short order.
- BWSC - The Technical Advisory Committee met with John Sullivan on June 22 to review the installation of the recharge system in the Hemenway Street alley as well as other groundwater related issues. There is still a low reading at the well at the junction of the alley and Hemenway Street; BWSC is trying to determine the cause, since they know of no infrastructure that low in the area. At the City-State Groundwater Working Group meeting on July 13, BWSC updated the committee on current projects. The contract for sewer reconstruction on Back Street has been advertised with bids due August 3. Work should begin late this year. The lining of the West Side Interceptor has begun. However, the project was interrupted when the City declared a moratorium on street closing permits for construction when the Big Dig tunnel was closed after the accident. Work will resume when permits are again allowed. The contract for video inspection of all sewers where groundwater levels are low has been awarded, and work should begin shortly. This is a tool that BWSC will use to guide them in work for years, so they have been very specific about the quality of video they are looking for.
- DCR - The Secretary of EOEA has issued his findings regarding the Environmental Notification Form submitted by DCR of the Storrow Drive Underpass project. There is a specific section on groundwater highlighting the comments from the Trust. The Environmental Impact report will be required to address the groundwater issue both during and after construction in detail, including substantial detail on the recharge system. DCR will be required to maintain groundwater monitoring during and after construction and share data with the trust.
- MBTA - The T has held several meetings about its proposal for increasing groundwater levels in the St. Charles Street area. They presented preliminary ideas to the City-State Groundwater Working Group on July 13. They plan to install two recharge wells as an interim solution that will also generate data to help them develop a long range solution. They expect to have defined their proposed solution by the fall. There will be a public meeting at the Renaissance School on July 25 at 6:00 to share the interim solution and longer range ideas with concerned stakeholders.
- MTA - The MTA is taking final quotes on the repair of the leak in their drain near Herald Street. This work should be done in the next couple of months. They are still studying the details of recharge systems to be installed during reconstruction work on the North End vent buildings for the Callahan and Sumner Tunnels. They do not yet have a time frame for the repair of a leak in a wall of the approach from I-93 to the Callahan Tunnel.
- Chandler Street - The T will be installing an additional monitoring well at the end of Chandler Street that is closer to the tracks than the well we have there. With this well, our three wells, and the two from Columbus Center, they hope to be able to better determine the cause of the drawdown in the area.
- East Boston - Using our data, the MWRA was able to pinpoint two leaks in their sewer pipes in the Porter Street area. The leaks correlate very closely with the two lowest points that we identified. They have begun in house design for an interim repair that would last until 2010. Between 2008 and 2010, MWRA will be repairing or replacing almost all of their pipes in East Boston. At that point, the pipe at Porter Street will no longer be necessary and will be filled in.
- Well Installation - We have 52 wells to go to complete our installations financed under the Environmental Bond Bill. We anticipated a mid-August completion. However, the City has instituted a moratorium on construction equipment in the street because of traffic issues caused by the closure of the Big Dig tunnel. It is unclear how long this will remain in effect and what the ultimate schedule will be. We are still hopeful of having a ceremony in September to celebrate competion of the network. Nancy Grilk is helping to get it set up.
- Website - Traffic on the website remains at high levels. We continue to get compliments on the information available and its ease of use. The new tool allowing automated generation of our maps with the ability to generate historic maps from any date should be on line within a month or two. We will also be adding a section of frequently asked questions; language is being reviewed with the Technical Advisory Committee.
- Boston Preservation Alliance - I met on Friday with Sarah Kelly, the new executive director of the Boston Preservation Alliance, to bring her up to date on some of the details involved in groundwater issues and their impact on historic preservation.
- Childrens Museum - I still expect to meet with the museum COO in the near future for further discussions about the potential for a groundwater related exhibit and potential funding.
- City Grant - We continue to work on defining the scope of project to be conducted using the EPA funds that the City should be receiving soon. Christian will be significantly involved in implementing these projects as we complete the installation of the wells.
- Press - There are new articles from the Boston Courant and the South End News posted on our website.
- Comment Letters - I filed comments on a project at Massachusetts General Hospital. It is posted on the website.
- 501(c)3 - We have received verbal approval of our 501(c)3 status from the IRS. The approval letter should be received imminently. Approval will be as of the date of our application in May 2005. The IRS will create a backdated 501(c)4 organization prior to that date. We will have no tax liability.
- Build Boston - Our proposal for a panel on groundwater at the conference has been accepted. Well be on Thursday, Nov. 16, from 5:30-7:00PM. Our panel is scheduled to include Jim Hunt, Jim Lambrechts, Peter Nichols of the Beal Companies, and Rick Shaklik of the BRA. Ill be the moderator. Im hopeful that the time will allow many locals to attend after work.