U.S.v.Metropolitan District Commission

United States District Court, D. MassachusettsJul 2, 2001
Civil Action Nos. 85-0489-MA, 83-1614-MA (D. Mass. Jul. 2, 2001)

Civil Action Nos. 85-0489-MA, 83-1614-MA

July 2, 2001


SCHEDULE SIX COMPLIANCE ORDER NUMBER 179


Mazzone, D.J., Judge

This is the one hundred and seventy-ninth Compliance Order in this litigation. The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (the "MWRA") filed its Quarterly Compliance Report and Progress Report as of June 14, 2001. The United States has indicated that it will not be filing a response. Having reviewed the filings, I accept the MWRA's quarterly report and make the findings set forth below.

1. Schedule Six

A. Activities Not Completed

1. Somerville Marginal. Commercial Point and Fox Point CSO Facility Upgrades

As previously reported by the MWRA in its March 15, 2001 Quarterly Compliance and Progress Report, the MWRA anticipated that it would not be able to meet the March 2001 milestone for completion of construction of the Somerville Marginal, Commercial Point and Fox Point combined sewer overflow ("CSO") facility upgrades. At that time, the MWRA expected that it would be able to finish construction in May 2001. During the last three months, the MWRA reports that the contractor has been completing the architectural details, balancing the HVAC system, installing and testing electrical equipment and devices, and performing on-site loop checkout of the system controls and instrumentation programs on all three facilities.

As the MWRA also noted in its March Quarterly Compliance Report, the contractor had experienced delays at the Commercial Point and Fox Point facilities due to unexpected and uncontrollable high water levels in the outfall pipes that prevented the contractor from installing chemical diffusers, sample pumps and low-level flow instrumentation. In response, the MWRA reports that it issued a construction change order that called for the use of divers to install the equipment within the flooded outfalls. In spite of these challenges however, the MWRA reports that it was able to commence upgraded chlorination and, for the first time, dechlorination at all three facilities in March, in a manual (semi-automatic) mode. The MWRA reports that it will continue to chlorinate and dechlorinate at these facilities in a manual mode until the facilities are operating on the fully accepted automated control system.

Since March 15, the MWRA reports that the contractor's work at the Commercial Point and Fox Point facilities has been further delayed. The MWRA discovered that its design consultant had failed to include in its original design baffle plates in the outfall pipes. The steel baffle plates are designed to protect the chemical diffusers from damage. Although the fabrication and delivery of the steel baffle plates required almost eight weeks, the MWRA reports that the diving team is now in the process of installing the baffle plates, along with the other equipment noted above. The MWRA expects that this work will be completed in July, at which time the Commercial Point and Fox Point facilities, along with the Somerville Marginal facility, will be ready for acceptance testing.

At the Somerville Marginal facility, the MWRA reports that, although the contractor continues to perform equipment tests and loop checkout, construction is substantially complete. The contractor will conduct acceptance testing at the Somerville Marginal, Commercial Point and Fox Point facilities when the latter two facilities are complete in July. The MWRA says that acceptance testing will occur during three wetweather activations at the three facilities, which will be followed by the period of start-up outlined in Schedule Six.

2. Floatables Control and Outfall Closing Projects

As anticipated and previously reported by the MWRA, it was unable to meet the May 2001 milestone for the completion of construction of region-wide floatables controls and outfall closing projects. The MWRA says that, to date, it has completed all of its CSO floatables controls and outfall closing projects as recommended in its 1997 Final CSO Facilities Plan and Environmental Impact Report, with the exceptions of closing outfall MWR 010 and installing underflow baffles for floatables control at seven of the CSO regulators tributary to outfalls MWR 018, MWR 019 and MWR 020, which discharge to the lower Charles River Basin.

With respect to the installation of underflow baffles at the seven remaining CSO regulators tributary to outfalls MWR 018, MWR 019 and MWR 020, the MWRA reports that it is now recommending an alternative to floatables control that would eliminate overflows to the Charles River in a typical rainfall year. The proposed alternative involves raising overflow weir elevations at the three outfalls and modifying operational procedures at the Prison Point CSO facility. Although the MWRA has not received approval from the Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") and the Department of Environmental Protection ("DEP") on this recommendation for long-term floatables control at these locations, the MWRA reports that it has implemented the proposed modifications and will report to EPA and DEP on model predictions of their effectiveness, as well as any appropriate next steps, at the end of this month.

With respect to the closure of outfall MWR 010, the MWRA submitted its report on Re-Assessment of CSO Activation Frequency and Volume for Outfall MWR 010 to EPA and DEP in April 2001. The results of the reassessment included an updated model prediction that outfall MWR 010 does not discharge in a typical rainfall year under present system conditions. The reassessment also noted that the primary connection between a Brookline sewer and the MWRA's Charles River Valley sewer was completely blocked, although a less efficient, secondary connection was operational.

On May 31, 2001, the MWRA reports that it submitted to EPA and DEP the results of additional evaluations that were conducted to determine the size of the storm predicted to cause a CSO overflow and to assess the upstream impact of closing the outfall. According to the MWRA, the additional evaluations predicted that closure of the outfall would result in upstream flooding in areas tributary to the Brookline sewer during extreme conditions. Therefore, the MWRA reports that it is now recommending that MWR 010 not be closed as was originally recommended in the MWRA's 1997 Final CSO Facilities Plan and Environmental Impact Report.

The MWRA reports that the additional evaluations also predicted that in the twoyear storm the outfall would discharge 0.03 million gallons ("MG") of CSO and in the five-year storm the outfall would discharge 1.0 MG. However, the MWRA believes that, if Brookline optimizes its system, these overflows can be reduced or eliminated. Specifically, the MWRA notes that, if Brookline's primary 18-inch connection to the MWRA's interceptor is restored, the model predicts that the two-year storm discharge would be eliminated and the five-year storm discharge would be reduced to 0.72 MG. The MWRA, in conjunction with the Town of Brookline, plans to begin this work later this month.

The MWRA also reports that it plans to meet with EPA and DEP to discuss its recommendations for long-term floatables control at the remaining seven CSO regulators tributary to outfalls MWR 018, MWR 019 and MWR 020 and for outfall MWR 010 after it submits its report on the effectiveness of the implementation of the proposed modifications to outfalls MWR 018, MWR 019 and MWR 020 at the end of this month.

In addition to the MWRA's floatables controls and outfall closings projects, the MWRA reports that Boston Water and Sewer Commission ("BWSC") and the City of Cambridge are performing region-wide floatables control projects. According to the MWRA, BWSC has completed construction of floatables control at all planned CSO regulator locations in its sewer system, with the exception of RE057-6 and RE064-5. The MWRA says that BWSC was unable to complete construction at these two regulators due to workforce conflicts between BWSC and the Central Artery/Third Harbor Tunnel construction. BWSC expects to complete this work in August 2001.

Additionally, the MWRA reports that the City of Cambridge has not completed the installation of floatables control for its CSO outfalls. As previously reported by the MWRA, the re-evaluation of the Cambridge/Alewife Brook sewer separation project had a direct impact on the schedule for the implementation of floatables control along the Alewife Brook. According to the MWRA, the re-evaluation of the Cambridge/Alewife Brook sewer separation project, still in the MIEPA process, may result in changes to the technology employed for controlling floatables at the outfalls along Alewife Brook. The MWRA says that, if the recommended technology remains unchanged, it expects that the City of Cambridge will complete final design in 2001 and construction in 2002.

The MWRA reports further that the City of Cambridge experienced delays with the implementation of floatables control at outfalls along the Charles River because of the need to expand design efforts to correct other system deficiencies discovered in related structures and systems. The MWRA says that it expects that the City of Cambridge will complete final design in 2001 and construction in 2002 for floatables controls at these outfalls.

B. Activities Completed

1. Report on Backup Disposal Plan

The MWRA reports that, on April 11, 2001, it submitted its report on actions taken pursuant to its backup residuals disposal plan over the past six months in compliance with Schedule Six. In addition, the MWRA and the Commonwealth filed their Joint Report on the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding regarding the beneficial use of biosolids.

C. Progress Report

1. Executive Director

On May 9, 2001, the MWRA reports that its Board of Directors unammously appointed Frederick A. Laskey as the new Executive Director of the MWRA. Mr. Laskey has been Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Revenue since 1998 and has held a series of state finance and management positions since 1980. Mr. Laskey officially commenced his tenure as the MWRA's Executive Director on June 4, 2001.

2. Harbor Management

(a) Secondary Battery C

As previously reported by the MWRA, treatment plant operators reintroduced primary effluent into Secondary Battery C on March 8, 2001, and were operating Secondary Battery C at less than full capacity until the biomass necessary for secondary treatment was cultured. According to the MWRA, staff has since been able to increase flows to secondary battery C to an average of 135 MGD, equivalent to the flow handled by each of the other two secondary batteries. During this time, the MWRA reports that both Total Suspended Solids and carbonaceous BOD for Secondary Battery C have averaged near or below 20 mg/L for the entire period, which is equivalent to the performance of the other two secondary batteries.

With all three batteries on line and with Secondary Battery C fully operational, the MWRA reports that the secondary treatment system is beginning to handle 100 percent of normal plant flows consistently. The MWRA says that staff are now in the process of optimizing the secondary treatment system Full operation of Secondary Battery C also allows Operations staff the flexibility to remove other sections of secondary treatment from service in order to perform maintenance, process improvements, and outstanding warranty work without compromising permit compliance.

3. Combined Sewer Overflow Program

(a) Ouarterly CSO Progress Report

In accordance with Schedule Six, the MWRA has submitted its Quarterly CSO Progress Report on the progress of the CSO control program. The quarterly report summarizes progress made in the design and construction of all CSO projects during the last quarter and identifies issues that have affected or may affect compliance with Schedule Six. The MWRA also notes, in its quarterly report, the status of certain planning and regulatory efforts relating to state and federal approval of the MWRA's CSO control plan.

CONCLUSION

For the reasons set forth above, the parties are ordered to report to the Court as scheduled.

SO ORDERED.