Fighting Water Pollution

Boston’s waterways are more than a backdrop to the city. They’re vital to the health, economic vitality, and quality of life enjoyed by Bostonians. But these waterways are threatened by raw sewage and polluted runoff that often carries harmful bacteria, metals, oil, and phosphorus unchecked into Boston’s rivers and harbor.

CLF in Action

Fixing Boston’s broken stormwater management system was the last big unaddressed issue in the clean up and transformation of Boston Harbor. Building on CLF’s prior precedent-setting advocacy that led to the harbor’s resurgence, in 2010, CLF sued the Boston Water and Sewer Commission for violating the Clean Water Act.

Our goal was to ensure that the Commission did its job and controlled polluted runoff from its storm drain system – pollution that contributed to the water woes facing the Charles, Mystic, and Neponset rivers, Chelsea Creek, and Boston Harbor.

EPA joined our suit and, after a long negotiation, in 2012, we reached a landmark settlement in the case. The Commission committed to remove illegal hook ups to the sewer system and modernize Boston’s pollution control with the use of green infrastructure and other innovative techniques that will protect clean water in Boston.