October 28, 2011
- City-State Groundwater Working Group - The Working Group met yesterday. In addition to reports from individual agencies as detailed below, we received a briefing from BTD on the Citys Complete Streets initiative and how it ties in to recharge possibilities.
- MBTA - The MBTAs consultant for the Tunnel Repair Project, which includes efforts to raise groundwater levels bear Back Bay Station, has been in an intensive data gathering and analysis stage. Among other efforts, they have traced and measured the flows in drain lines from the Southwest Corridor, evaluated the amount of recharge from the continuous makeup on St. Charles, Cazenove, and Berkeley Streets, developed cross-sections showing the different elevations of the trackbeds and Turnpike, and studied the nature of the fill in different areas. Next steps are expected to include installation of additional groundwater observation wells (to be coordinated with BGwT), development of a digital groundwater model, inspection of the low level elevator pits at 95 Berkeley St, a walking inspection of the Turnpike drain line in the area, and a potential television inspection of the drain line that runs to the Follen Street pumping station. The plan is to have findings in the January-February period, with a final report and recommendations by March-April. Design and construction would follow.
- BWSC - BWSC was able to identify the causes of the drawdown in the Dartmouth Street area in Back Bay. A sewer line that leads to the West Side Interceptor under Beacon Street was found to have several leaks, with particular problems in a manhole near the alley between Beacon and Marlborough Streets. Leaks in the manhole have been grouted, and the manhole will be lined next week (according to our data logger monitoring, this seems to have reduced the problem). BWSC plans to line the sewer in two sections not previously lined, one from the Beacon/Marlborough alley to the West Side Interceptor and one from the Marlborough/Commonwealth alley to the Commonwealth/Newbury alley. These lining projects are now under design and will be bid out in the winter for construction in 2012. In the North End, BWSC expects to complete a lining project near Commercial and Richmond Streets before the winter. On Blagden Street behind the main branch of the Boston Public Library, they will have to do a cut and cover rebuild of the sewer line; this should begin in the spring.
- MassDOT - MassDOT has completed the cleaning of the Turnpike drain line from the Prudential Tunnel. They are awaiting results of a video inspection. As noted above, they plan to walk the drain line with the MBTAs consultants, probably in November.
- DPW - Initial results of the new system that will let us know about planned sidewalk work are encouraging. Hopefully, this will eliminate well damage that has been a problem during past sidewalk repair projects.
- GCOD - The Board of Appeals granted one of the very rare variances to GCOD recharge requirements in a case in the Fenway where we agreed that the variance was justified. They required very clear and compelling reasons from the applicant. This effort by the Board, along with those of ISD and the BRA, has been key to the near 100% compliance with these requirements.
- Website - Our consultant has begun work on an upgrade to our interactive map that will allow it to work better with tablet computers while retaining full existing functionality for computers using a mouse. We are planning to switch to a Google Maps based system that should assure improved functionality and reduce some of the availability issues that we have occasionally had with our existing map. In the meantime, traffic to the site remains steady, with nearly 200 daily visits.
- Meetings - I had a meeting with the consultants for the planned expansion at the Winsor School to discuss their plans for compliance with GCOD recharge requirements. I met with the Chinatown Coalition, the Claremont Neighborhood Association, and the Ellis South End Neighborhood Association to discuss groundwater issues in their respective areas. I also did a lesson on the groundwater problem for the entire student body of the Learning Project Elementary School.
- Comment Letters - I filed comments on the 45 Stuart Street residential tower project. As always, these are posted on our website.