MWRA Online Logo

MWRA Writing Contest Winners 2004-2005
Massachusetts Water Resources Authority

Second Place, Grades 6-8
by Julia Yu, Grade 6
Oak Hill Middle School, Newton

Russell Hunt, teacher
Hank Van Putten, principal

> Go back to MWRA.COM home
> Go back to MWRA School Programs main page
> Go to Poster Contest Winners

Previous | Home | Next
Go back | Main essay page | Next essay

Boston Harbor

Not long ago, Boston Harbor was one of the most fouled-up harbors in the country. Oil, garbage and raw sewage were dumped in large amounts into the harbor every day. After a storm, hundreds of gallons of untreated rain water would spill into the harbor. Environmentalists, wastewater workers, volunteers and activists all looked to change this.

Boston's sewage water only sustained primary treatment at the time, while the laws stated that secondary treatment was also necessary. An organization called the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority was founded in 1984, and along with many other people's efforts, MWRA contributed to the hard-earned and gratifying revitalization of Boston Harbor.

I think the largest contribution that made Boston Harbor what it is today was the implementation of secondary treatment. Secondary treatment involves the large, egg-shaped containers in which bacteria removes the organic parts of the waste. This removes floating and settleable solids, along with suspended solids. The final stage of secondary treatment is disinfection. Afterwards, the water is distributed into the ocean by large sprinklers, where it is swept away by the deep sea currents.

Overall, this stage removes around 90 percent of all waste found in untreated water. Now, Boston Harbor is thriving with marine life, safe to swim in, and a source of many fun activities. It has gone from being known as one of the dirtiest harbors in the country to one of the cleanest. The revitalization of Boston Harbor bears the most gratifying results possible: success.

back to top