November 18, 2010
- City-State Groundwater Working Group - The Working Group met on October 28. As always, attendance was excellent and there was a really good exchange of information. Details from the agencies reporting are listed below.
- MBTA - The MBTA hopes to have an engineering team for their Tunnel Repair Project, which prominently includes the long term solution for the low groundwater levels near Back Bay Station in the South End, selected by the end of November. Investigation and design work is expected to take 6-8 months after the engineering contract is awarded.
- BWSC - BWSC has completed repairs to the leaking sewer line in Richmond Street; they have found another leak under Commercial Street that is likely contributing to low groundwater levels in that area of the North End and expect to complete repairs shortly. They have completed lining work on a section of leaking pipe under Atlantic Avenue. While the combined sewer overflow lining completed on Dartmouth Street between Back and Beacon Streets has helped raise groundwater levels along the north side of Beacon Street in that area, BWSC will have to go back to continue to investigate possible causes of low groundwater extending along Dartmouth Street south of Beacon Street. Sewer lining work in the damaged sewer along Blagdon Street behind the Boston Public Library is scheduled to take place in late November or early December. BWSC will conduct further television inspections of sewers near Albany Street and Union Park and near Fairfield and Beacon Streets to try again to determine the cause of low groundwater levels at those locations. BWSC will soon repair leaks in a sewer line on Hemenway Street near Norway Street in the Fenway. BWSC is beginning a pilot project focused on lining or replacing private sewer laterals citywide that could be beneficial in overcoming low groundwater levels in some areas.
- MWRA - MWRA has completed their replumbing of the sewer system in East Boston. The pipe along Porter Street was removed from service and filled in during September. We have seen substantial increases in the very low groundwater levels along Porter Street and Visconti Road, especially west of Breman Street.
- MassDOT - As part of a paving project in the Prudential tunnel on the Turnpike, MassDOT will clean a drain line servicing the tunnel. This will allow inspection of the drain line (which has not been cleaned out since the Turnpike extension was built in the 1960s) to see if there are leaks there that could be contributing to low groundwater levels in the Back Bay and Bay Village near the Turnpike.
- GCOD - Compliance with GCOD remains excellent. We have now seen over 200 cases go through the Board of Appeals, with only three very justified variances granted. The BRA has made sure that projects in the GCOD area that were approved prior to its adoption but require modified zoning because of project changes in light of the changed economy meet GCOD requirements.
- Research Projects - The Tufts researchers are finalizing their report from our funded research project on recharge related changes in groundwater levels. Professor Vogel expects to present his findings to the trustees at the January meeting.
- Website - Traffic to the website has continued strong. There have been many hits on our relatively new recharge tab. We continue to receive positive comments on the site.
- Meetings - I met with Councilor Arroyo to update him on the groundwater issue. I met with the proponents of projects at 368 Congress Street and 5 Channel Center Street, both in the Fort Point Channel section of South Boston, to help them better understand GCOD requirements in that area.
- Comment Letters - I filed comments on projects at 368 Congress Street, 5 Channel Center Street, and the Kensington. As always, all of the comment letters are posted on our website.