CLF Sues Mass. Water Resources Authority

Agency failing to protect water quality in Boston Harbor

April 28, 2022 (BOSTON, MA) – Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) has filed a Clean Water Act lawsuit against the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA), the agency responsible for treating the polluted wastewater of over 5,500 hospitals, manufacturers, and other industrial facilities in Greater Boston.

In more than 200 instances, these facilities violated pollutant limits for cyanide, lead, and mercury, and MWRA failed to take the required action. The agency’s failures result in increased pollution in the wastewater discharged into Massachusetts Bay and Boston Harbor.

“MWRA plays a vital role in keeping our local waters clean and safe, but we’ve uncovered significant problems in how it responds to unsafe levels of pollution,” said Heather Govern, Vice President of Clean Air and Water at CLF. “When the agency doesn’t do its job, sewage loaded with toxic industrial pollution threatens the decades of progress we’ve made in cleaning up Boston Harbor.”

Industrial facilities must pre-treat their wastewater before pumping it to MWRA’s treatment plant on Deer Island. From Deer Island, millions of gallons of wastewater are discharged into Massachusetts Bay every day.

The facilities regularly violate limits for pollutants like mercury, cyanide, lead, copper, nickel, zinc, cadmium, chromium, silver, and acidity, and MWRA is not enforcing the pretreatment requirements designed to protect our waters from these harmful substances. Discharged wastewater that is not properly treated impairs water quality, harms local ecosystems and aquatic life, and can harm human health.

CLF experts are available for further comment.