Alewife Brook Combined Sewer Overflow Control Progress Update
This notice is required by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) as an annual update on the progress of Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) control measures that are under way to improve the water quality of Alewife Brook. You are receiving this notice because your property lies within the extended, 100-year floodplain of Alewife Brook as established and currently in effect by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The water quality of Alewife Brook is often impaired due to bacteria and other pollutants from a number of sources, including cross connections between sanitary sewers and storm drains, urban stormwater runoff, and CSOs. During both wet and dry weather, the water quality of Alewife Brook can be impaired and fail to meet state bacteria standards for fishing and swimming.Portions of Cambridge and Somerville are served by combined stormwater and sanitary sewer systems common in older cities. Seven CSO outfalls along Alewife Brook can release an untreated mix of stormwater and sanitary flow during large storms when stormwater can overwhelm the capacity of the combined sewers. While these discharges may impair water quality, they provide critical relief to the sewer system when flows exceed capacity, preventing sewage backups into homes, businesses and streets.
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