Unfair to focus blame for Mystic River’s problems on water authority

BETH DALEY’S story gives a pass to the state and federal government for the condition of the Mystic River (“A steady flow of troubles for the long-foul Mystic,” Page A1, Feb. 18). It seems the state is off the hook because the Department of Environmental Protection has experienced severe budget cuts. At the federal level, the EPA is allowed to cook the books by utilizing a different, self-serving approach to grading water quality in the Mystic than it does for the Charles.

Who’s left to blame? The communities — and of course, the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority.

MWRA and its wastewater communities have spent over $204 million on the Mystic and plan to spend another $100 million. Mystic communities spend millions more on top of that.


The fact is that, even with these investments, the real issue is not sewage but storm runoff. Daley mentions the Dec. 27 storm, when 4 million gallons of untreated sewage and rainwater were released. These incidents are rare, occuring once a year or less, and prevent the basements and backyards of tens of thousands of homeowners from resembling staterooms on the Carnival Triumph.

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The MWRA and the communities are doing their share. Can we say the same about the federal and state governments? Washington has a responsibility not only to mandate regulations but to provide resources to meet them. Beacon Hill must remember that investments in infrastructure are more than roads, bridges, and public transportation.

Joseph Favaloro

Executive director,
MWRA Advisory Board