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Blue Hills Covered Storage Project
Massachusetts Water Resources Authority


blue hills new renderings

Artist's Rendering of New Pond at Blue Hills Reservoir
Larger image | PDF

Oct 05 proposed plan of Blue Hills Reservoir and Storage

Project Rendering
Larger image | PDF

"Pond Plan for Blue Hills Makes Sense"Newspaper clip art

A Quincy native's letter to
the editor, The Boston Globe
on Boston.com

(March 9, 2006)


DEP safe drinking water regulations require that distribution storage facilities be covered to protect the quality of treated drinking water.  MWRA has embarked on a system-wide program to eliminate open distribution storage reservoirs from active service and replace them with secure covered tanks.

Two 10 million-gallon buried drinking water storage tanks have been constructed in the East end of the existing Blue Hills reservoir. They serve MWRA’s Southern High water service area. Final site completion, including a new fishing pond and hiking trails was completed in 2010.


The new Blue Hills water storage tanks serve Quincy, Milton, Brookline, Roxbury, West Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, Roslindale, Mattapan and Hyde Park. The water tanks store safe drinking water for consumption and fire protection in the event of a pipeline break or other water supply emergency.


Since the events of September 11, 2001, MWRA has become more security conscious and has increased the priority of constructing this and other covered storage projects.  In November 2001, legislation was filed to accelerate the project by allowing MWRA to use the design/build process to construct this facility. It was enacted in September 2002.


The existing reservoir was constructed in 1950s and was removed from active service in 1981 due to contamination from birds and animals.  The reservoir is currently used as a non-potable emergency supply.


The design/build contract was awarded in November 2006 for a cost of $38 million including $9.5 million for site enhancements and wetlands mitigation. Construction will began in Spring 2007. The tanks were activated in 2009.


The Blue Hills Working Group was formed in 1997 to review alternatives and met periodically for 3-1/2 years to provide input to MWRA.  The Working Group includes representatives from the Department of Conservation and Recreation, Quincy, Milton, Braintree, Trailside Museum, Friends of Blue Hills, Water Supply Citizens Advisory Committee, MWRA Advisory Board, and St. Moritz Stables.


This proposed alternative was selected because the site:

  • Is at the proper elevation to supply adequate water pressure
  • Minimizes impacts to upland endangered species habitat and park land
  • Limits most of the impacts to previously disturbed land within the man-made drinking water reservoir
  • Continues the use of the site as water supply, and it provides the opportunity to repair and improve the deteriorating dam, diversify wetland habitat, and expand parks and recreation use into an area that is currently closed to public use.


MWRA has worked closely with various interested parties to include features that will mitigate environmental impacts and improve the look of the finished site (link to site plan):

  • Buried tanks and with a meadow plantings on top
  • The removal of the deteriorating dam and replacement with a new dam with grassed slopes
  • The restoration of the remaining half of the reservoir
  • The creation and enhancement of wetlands enhanced to support wildlife habitat
  • Hiking trails around and through the site
  • Expanded public access areas

This project is part of MWRA's Integrated Water Improvement Program.

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Updated August 23, 2022