• Uncategorized

    Kendall power plant to reduce draw on Charles (2/2/2011)

    In some welcome news GenOn announced today that their Kendall Cogeneration plant, located just over the Longfellow Bridge, will be reducing its water  intake from the Charles River by a whopping 95% thanks to an innovative and environmentally beneficial steam exchange.  Currently the plant uses water from the Charles to cool its turbines.  The water is returned to the river at over 100F degrees.  Quoting from the article: The agreement, negotiated with the Environmental Protection Agency New England office and state regulators, calls for the GenOn Kendall Cogeneration Station to slice by 95 percent the 70 million gallons of heated water that can be pumped into the river every day.…

  • Uncategorized

    Alligator captured in Charles River (9/10/2010)

    From the “it was bound to happen” department comes today’s story in the Boston Globe about an alligator being captured in the Charles River.  Most likely this was someone’s illegal pet that got too big for comfort.  Lucky for him (or her) on being caught — an alligator would definitely not survive a Boston winter.  Click on the photo for the full story. We remind swimmers that alligators are not a regular occurrence in the Charles River.

  • Uncategorized

    A river that’s fit for swimming (5/17/2010)

    There was an interesting article in the Globe today that covered some of the past and present efforts at making the Charles a favorite swimming spot again.  Most recently we have the formation of the Charles River Water Quality Commission which “will start testing the water for bacterial counts and clarity at four potential swimming sites: Magazine beach in Cambridge; the MIT sailing pavilion; near the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade; and North Point park below the Museum of Science.” Of course it’s not all about swimming.  The Charles, after all, drains right into Boston harbor.  A clean river results in a clean harbor and surrounding beaches.  The full article…

  • Uncategorized

    Water main break bad for Charles River (5/4/2010)

    Most residents in the area are well aware of the interruption to the drinking water supply due to a major break in a 10′ pipe feeding Boston and surrounding towns.  While one might think 8 million gallons of drinking water an hour flowing into the Charles would be a good thing it is actually detrimental to the river’s ecosystem.  The CRWA sent out a nice write-up on the consequences of the break. The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority’s (MWRA) water connector pipe that began leaking Saturday morning (and then broke completely) resulted in over 8 million gallons an hour of water pouring into the Charles River.  For a time, the flow…

  • Uncategorized

    Rainstorms causes sewer discharge into Quincy Bay (3/18/2010)

    Ten inches of rain over 72 hours resulted in a sewage discharge into the Southern end of the Boston Harbor. Choice quote:  “Bruce Berman, a spokesman for the Boston-based advocacy group Save the Harbor-Save the Bay …. said “I absolutely understand why people are upset. Twenty years ago, we released 280 million gallons of largely untreated waste every day. Today, we make news when we release 15 million gallons of sewage once, during a really big storm. That’s good news.’’  The full article is available here. The Charles has also seen similar improvements.  Since 1987 the CSO discharges into the river have been reduced by over 80%.

  • Uncategorized

    NYC sewage system woes (11/23/2009)

    The New York Times has a great article today on the state of the NYC sewage system.  Many of the problems discussed are similar to what the greater Boston area faces .  These include decrepit infrastructure and rainwater being routed into the sewage system instead of absorbed into the ground. See the CRWA’s Blue Cities page on rainwater reclamation and the CRWA’s sewer separation page for information on ongoing projects to address these chronic problems. This is a great article, please take the time to read it.  The full article is available here. Some interesting excerpts: In the last three years alone, more than 9,400 of the nation’s 25,000 sewage…

  • Uncategorized

    Boston Metro reports on the status of river swimming (8/18/2009)

    There is a pretty balanced blurb in the Metro today about swimming in the river.  The article correctly points out that one of the main hurdles to the return of river swimming is adjusting the public’s perception of the river. From the article: “I’d love to jump in, but I’m not going to,” said Chrissy Hammond, 30, who was sunbathing on the Esplanade yesterday. “Everyone knows the Charles isn’t that clean.” No, Chrissy, you shouldn’t just jump in… But the river of even just a few years ago is not the river of today.  As more MWRA and similar projects come to fruition (such as the Stony Brook Sewer Separation)…

  • Uncategorized

    Boston beaches close due to water concerns (7/10/2009)

    The Globe reports today: The state Department of Conservation and Recreation is recommending that people stay out of the water at several Boston-area beaches, warning that they could get sick if they take a dip. Red flags are flying, signs are posted, and lifeguards are urging people not to swim at Tenean Beach in Dorchester, Carson Beach in South Boston, and parts of Wollaston Beach in Quincy. The probable culprit is the recent rains, which have washed animal waste, such as dog and bird droppings, into storm sewers that dump into the water, said DCR spokeswoman Wendy Fox. That can lead to the enterococcus bacteria entering the water, which can…

  • Uncategorized

    Rainfall causes cancelation of 2009 swim (6/21/2009)

    BOSTON, MA (6/21/2009) The Charles River Swimming Club, Inc. announced the cancellation of their 2009 swimming race due to rain. The race, which was supposed to have taken place on Sunday, June 21st, was to be the third of its kind. The club held successful races in 2008 and 2007. The at-capacity race had attracted 150 swimmers from around New England and was to be the largest to date. “Safety is of utmost importance to the club and the state agencies with whom we work. A dimension of our permit is a specific rainfall allowance between the time of the last water sample and the time of the race. Unfortunately…