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MWRA Writing Contest Winners 2004-2005
Massachusetts Water Resources Authority

First Place Grades 3-5
by Sinead O'Connor, Grade 4
Cunningham School, Milton

Lyse Stevens, teacher
Dore Korschum, principal

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I think the greatest benefit of a cleaner Boston Harbor is that it makes Boston a better place to live. A clean harbor is very important, especially since it makes the water healthier for people, plants and wildlife. It also gives the people of Boston a better quality of life.

For example, instead of sitting in an apartment on a hot summer day, they can swim at a city beach. It is a shame that before the Boston Harbor Cleanup Project began in 1985 the beaches were filthy dirty with litter, grease and more from the harbor.

My dad works for a fish company, so I think it would be awesome for the harbor to be cleaner. I think it’s important for them because if they go fishing in a dirty harbor, the bacteria kills the fish or infects the fish so they won’t be healthy to eat. If that happens, the company wouldn’t be able to sell anything because it would make people sick so they couldn’t get any money. Finally, if the company does not make money, it cannot afford to pay the workers, and my dad might lose his job. That’s important because if my dad loses his job, we might not be able to pay our taxes and other expenses, and that’s all a result of a dirty Boston Harbor.

Here is what the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (“MWRA”) is doing to make Boston Harbor cleaner and healthier. First, they had to design and build a more modern treatment system for sewage on Deer Island. This Deer Island Treatment Plant separates the liquid from the solid waste. Also, in the year 2000 they opened the world’s longest tunnel for disposing of the treated sewage. This 9.5-mile tunnel empties into the Massachusetts Bay and they can use the sludge that remains to make fertilizer. The  MWRA designed a clever system to clean up Boston Harbor.

Even though the MWRA has made a huge amount of progress, there is still work to be done. The beaches in South Boston continue to be closed to swimmers for days of the year because of all the bacteria in the water, especially after a storm. They are planning to build another tunnel near South Boston to hold the sewage water until after a storm and then the water will be pumped to Deer Island for treatment before draining into the harbor. It is important to finish this project so all types of people can use and enjoy the places around Boston Harbor. Be patient, because if they do it too fast it might not be done correctly and the Harbor could go back to how it used to be!

A clean Boston Harbor is a good reflection of the city of Boston. I think this is because tourists can enjoy many activities that are located on the waterfront. My favorite is the New England Aquarium, which I highly recommend. Having successfully cleaned the harbor gives Bostonians a proud feeling, like they just won a gold medal. The clean-up project has cost billions of dollars, but I think it was worth it!

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