Mass. Water Resources Authority Failing to Protect Water Quality

MWRA's Deer Island Wastewater Treatment Facility. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

February 23, 2022 (BOSTON, MA) – Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) has notified the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) of its intent to sue for Clean Water Act violations. MWRA handles all wastewater treatment for the City of Boston and the surrounding area. It is failing to enforce pretreatment standards, which can result in polluted wastewater being discharged into Massachusetts Bay and Boston Harbor.

“Boston’s coastal waters are at risk of dangerous, toxic pollution,” said Heather Govern, Vice President of Clean Air and Water at CLF. “The public spent millions to clean up Boston Harbor decades ago, and sustaining that incredible progress requires MWRA to get serious about doing its job properly.”

MWRA requires cities, towns, and industrial facilities to pre-treat wastewater before it is pumped to the agency’s facility on Deer Island. From Deer Island, the wastewater is discharged into Massachusetts Bay. However, MWRA is not enforcing the “pre-treaters’” standards and limits designed to protect our waters. Discharged wastewater that is not properly treated impairs water quality and can harm local ecosystems and aquatic life.

CLF notified MWRA of its intent to sue today, and the agency has 60 days to respond before the lawsuit is filed in federal court.

CLF experts are available for further comment.