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MWRA Writing Contest Winners 2004 - 2005
Massachusetts Water Resources Authority

Second Place Grades 9-12
by Kaitlyn Kerins, Grade 10
Wilmington High School

John Wood, teacher
Eric Tracy, principal

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When it comes to keeping Boston Harbor clean, I think that the most important effort made by the MWRA is keeping the interceptor projects going steadily in the Boston Harbor watershed. In my opinion, the interceptors do seem to be very helpful as large sewers receive the sewage from smaller systems in order to keep the city clean. However, since some of these interceptors are deteriorating as a result of being around for as long as a century, they can easily overflow if there is wet weather that causes sewage to back up into streets and buildings. The overflowing of these interceptors can contaminate the river valleys that they are located in. Therefore, it is very important for the MWRA to increase the capacity of the interceptor system by building, enlarging and rehabilitating interceptors and pump stations throughout the Boston Harbor watershed.

Some examples of the need for keeping up the interceptor projects can be seen through the interceptors of the Charles River Basin. The Framingham Extension Relief Sewer was not able to contain the extra volume of flow that it received during heavy storms or for serving any sewage needs that would come in the future. Therefore, it was necessary for the MWRA to have the Framingham Extension Relief Sewer project to construct a new pipeline and a new pump station.

The Wellesley Extension Sewer Replacement was also necessary for the Charles River Basin because its overflows posed a threat to the drinking water supply in Needham, one of the towns it has been serving for about seventy-five years. Now that this project is almost complete, it repaces part of this system and rehabilitates and relines the rest of it. These two interceptors demonstrate the necessity of keeping the interceptor projects going since it is because of the projects that the water in this area is sanitary.

This great necessity can also be seen through the interceptors of the Mystic River Basin. The North Metropolitan Trunk Sewer, for example, was a 100-year old brick interceptor depended upon by East Boston, Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop to carry their sewage to the Deer Island Treatment Plant. However, it was essential for the entire sewer to be patched and relined because of the deterioration of the inside of the pipe.

Therefore, these repairs were necessary to the interceptor so that there would be no leaking of the sewage into the water. The dangers of what could happen without the interceptor projects can also be seen through the Cummingsville Branch Sewer, a 100-year old sewer in Winchester because of its insufficient capacity could be the cause of overflow into Horn Pond in Woburn. It was very important that this problem be fixed by the project that includes construction of a new sewer and rehabilitation of an older one. If it were not for MWRA's interceptor projects, these interceptors would still pose a threat to the Boston Harbor watershed.

The need to keep the effort of interceptor projects up by the MWRA is also shown through the Neponset River Basin. The New Neponset Valley Relief Sewer was essential for ridding the problems caused by structural and hydraulic deficiencies, which even included sewer overflows into Fowl Meadow that threatened the water supply for Canton, Dedham and Westwood. Therefore, a new sewer and pumping system were built that will also help the MWRA deal with many people converting to sewer service from using septic systems. This project enabled the MWRA to deal with these problems without causing any danger to the water supply in this area of the Boston Harbor watershed. It has also saved the sanitary sewer water supply for this area.

The most important effort made by the MWRA in keeping Boston Harbor clean is keeping the interceptor projects going. It is extremely important for the MWRA to keep repairing and replacing some of the old, deteriorating interceptors to prevent them from overflowing. There have been dangerous overflows that have caused problems for the parts of the Boston Harbor watershed where these interceptors are. These overflows show how important it is for the interceptor projects to keep going because of the difficulties they have caused for this area.

If the MWRA did not keep up these projects, they would be letting the interceptors keep overflowing, which could contaminate drinking water, causing people to become very sick, and also killing the fish that live in some parts of the water. In my opinion, keeping up the interceptor projects is the most important effort for the MWRA to keep going in order to keep Boston Harbor and its watershed clean.

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