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May 10, 2001

Symposium Marks Boston Harbor Project’s Successful Completion

On Wednesday, May 16, 2001, the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, UMass Boston and the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority will host "The Boston Harbor Project Symposium" at the Kennedy Library.

The Symposium will celebrate the completion of the Boston Harbor Project milestones ordered in 1985 by Judge A. David Mazzone and present many key players to share their perspectives on the project’s history and accomplishments. The project has been called "one of America’s great environmental success stories."

A highlight of the program will be the presentation by Judge Mazzone, who has overseen the Boston Harbor Court Case for the last 17 years, of his papers on the case to UMass Boston to be housed at the new Environmental Science and Technology Park.

Secretary of Environmental Affairs Bob Durand will give the opening remarks, and Mayor Thomas Menino is scheduled to offer his vision for the future uses of the harbor. There will also be an appreciation for Congressman Joe Moakley, who has worked long and hard to make the Boston Harbor Project a success. Former MWRA Executive Director Doug MacDonald, now the Secretary of Transportation in Washington State, will join a panel of engineering and construction veterans of the Deer Island building program with a slide presentation of program highlights. Other panels will consider the political, scientific and societal highlights of the project.

The $3.8 billion project was substantially complete when the 9.5-mile outfall tunnel was commissioned last September. As components of the new Deer Island Wastewater Treatment Plant have come on-line, there have been corresponding improvements in the harbor’s water quality: advisories against swimming at most Boston Harbor beaches have declined, water clarity has improved markedly, contamination as monitored in the tissue of mussels from the harbor has been dropping for a decade, and marine species that inhabit the harbor have grown in numbers and diversity. Thirty islands, including MWRA’s Deer and Nut Islands, are now part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Park area created by Congress in 1996.

The event is being sponsored by Metcalf & Eddy, Inc., New England Fertilizer Company, J.F White Contracting Company, Camp Dresser & McKee, Inc., Foley Hoag & Eliot, LLP, John Hancock Financial Services, Palmer & Dodge, LLP, Battelle Memorial Institute, Parsons Brinckerhoff, and Regina Villa Associates. All proceeds will be used to begin an endowment at UMass to preserve and make available to scholars and the public the Mazzone papers and other materials related to the Boston Harbor Project and the harbor itself.