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Preparing Metro Boston’s Water and Sewer Systems for Climate Change

Stephen Estes-Smargiassi, Director of Planning and Sustainability, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
Tuesday, June 17 @ 4:10pm


MWRA operates the regional wholesale water and sewer system for over 2.5 million people in 61 cities and towns in eastern and central Massachusetts. Water and sewer facilities span over seventy miles from central mass to the shores of Boston Harbor.

As part of successive efforts to plan effectively for the long term, MWRA has examined and responded to the potential impacts of climate change on our facilities, operations and reliability. We’ve worked cooperatively with experts from foundations, advocacy groups, federal and state environmental agencies.

MWRA’s Deer Island Wastewater Treatment Plant was designed in 1989 to account for the then projected two feet of sea level rise: the entire plant was raised up and the outfall made slightly larger to protect the facility and preserve its design capacity.

Our research findings since then include that our water supply system will likely see an increase in available reliable yield, which MWRA will be able to use to help other nearby systems during the projected more frequent drier periods. Detailed reviews of MWRA’s 30 coastal facilities indicate that 18 may potentially be affected by storm surge flooding. Short-term actions are being implemented for the most vulnerable, and longer-term modifications are being programmed into planned and anticipated rehabilitation projects for each facility.

MWRA is including the potential impacts of climate change into our emergency action plans and has already taken critical steps to ensure reliable operations.


Presentation Slides
9580 kb uploaded September 30, 2014 6:51pm