The spinning blades of Charlestown

New MWRA turbine is a hypnotic sight and sound.

> To listen, go to Their tasks may be prosaic, but their presence is anything but. I’m talking about the many public-works landmarks in our midst. Take the multicolored natural gas tank in Dorchester, in whose brush strokes some saw a silhouette of Communist leader Ho Chi Minh. Or the massive egg-shaped digesters at the Deer Island Sewage Treatment Plant. Or the pinkish-red power plant rising out of South Boston. About 18 months ago, the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority put up a fresh beacon: a massive wind turbine on the edge of Charlestown that now looms 364 feet above the industrial corridors north of downtown. The turbine, which shares land with a sewage-pumping station, generates about $400,000 a year worth of electricity. The MWRA feeds it back into the grid in exchange for a credit toward its power costs. On a windy day, the three whirling blades, each 132½ feet long, make for a hypnotic sight, their shadows dancing across the ground underneath. The sound of the blades cutting through the air suggests waves crashing on a sandy beach, but in double time. With each revolution, we take fewer of those Boston gales for granted.

WHERE DO YOU HEAR RHYTHM IN YOUR DAY? Send ideas to or via Twitter @swhelman.

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