August 2, 2007
- City-State Groundwater Working Group - The Working Group met again on July 26. Attendance continues to be excellent. Details of the reports are under the agencies below.
- BWSC - Construction is complete on the sections of the Back Street sewer that were being rebuilt; lining of the section from Exeter Street to Massachusetts Avenue will be complete very shortly. They have completed video inspection of 47,000 of sewer line, with 13,000 to go; at completion of the project they will prioritize for short and long term repairs.
- DCR - Life of the Storrow Drive Tunnel will be extended at least five years after completion of about six months of repair at a cost of about $8,000,000. They are still studying whether to provide recharge to the newly installed Back Street galleries during the interim before the major construction project. The long term project will include recharge to both Back Street and Mugar Way. The Draft Environmental Impact Report will be filed on August 31.
- MBTA - Recharge wells on Cazenove, St. Charles, and Berkeley Streets have been temporarily turned off to further evaluate groundwater flow patterns. They will be back on by mid-August. There is a meeting scheduled among Steve Poulos, Jim Lambrechts, and John Sullivan on August 29 to consider final recommendations for the long term project for raising groundwater levels in the area. This will be followed by meetings with the Technical Advisory Committee to the City-State Groundwater Working Group, the project Action Team, and the public. Final presentation of the recommendation to the MBTA General Manager should take place by October.
- North End - BWSC and the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority are investigating an area of very low groundwater between Fulton Street and the Callahan Tunnel approach. Our wells in the area show nearby zones with much higher levels. All parties are working to discover the cause and extent of the depression.
- New Wells - We have installed two new wells on Beacon Street to help us define the extent of a depression between Clarendon and Berkeley Streets. We also installed a new well near the Battery Wharf project in the North End to watch for any changes in groundwater levels there. Unfortunately, we were unable to find locations where we could install new wells in the area around Fulton and Commercial Streets. However, we were able to activate a former Central Artery Project well in the alley behind Fulton Street that is helping us to better observe levels in the area.
- City Pilot Project - The City is installing a pilot Low Impact Development project in Peabody Square in Dorchester in conjunction with the rebuilding of the Ashmont MBTA Station. Included will be permeable sidewalks and other measures that will allow DPW and the Parks department to study the viability of such measures in terms of installation and maintenance. Although not in an area of concern for wood pilings, the project will be helpful in understanding what can work and the costs involved.
- Website - We set an all time record for visits to the website in July. For the last few months, they have been averaging well over 300 per day, often exceeding 400. For comparison, in 2004 visits rarely averaged 150/day and some months averaged below 100.
- Research Projects - The project at Wentworth to study alternative methods of support has gotten off to a good start; preliminary work indicates the likelihood of a feasible less expensive method of repairing the foundations of some structures. Unfortunately, our remote sensing project is not turning out so well. Although we have yet to receive a final report, neither radar nor acoustic sensing was able to adequately distinguish pilecaps even in lab testing.
- Press - There is a new article from the Boston Courant that will be posted to the site shortly.
- Comment Letters - I filed letters on the Storrow Drive underpass, Emerson Colonial Residence Hall, and 368 Congress Street projects. All have been posted to the site or will be shortly.