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Old 12-14-2017, 05:04 PM   #61
Joel N. Weber II
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Re: Quabbin Fishing

http://www.mass.gov/eea/docs/dcr/wat...oatsealfaq.pdf claims that a motor used on a private boat for fishing in the Quabbin must have enough gas to run for five minutes during the Boat Decontamination process. Is there some reason they're trying to ban battery powered motors like those described at https://www.torqeedo.com/us/en-us ?
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Old 12-16-2017, 04:47 PM   #62
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Re: Quabbin Fishing

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Originally Posted by Joel N. Weber II View Post
http://www.mass.gov/eea/docs/dcr/wat...oatsealfaq.pdf claims that a motor used on a private boat for fishing in the Quabbin must have enough gas to run for five minutes during the Boat Decontamination process. Is there some reason they're trying to ban battery powered motors like those described at https://www.torqeedo.com/us/en-us ?
They just want your motor to run long enough to flush the water through your engine for long enough to do the decontamination. They wouldn't have any issues with you showing up with a battery powered motor, as long as it has enough juice to do the decontamination.
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Old 12-16-2017, 05:07 PM   #63
Joel N. Weber II
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Re: Quabbin Fishing

So can they come up with wording that acknowledges the possibility of a battery powered motor?

Would it be worthwhile to phase out gas motors on the Quabbin entirely in favor of battery powered motors?
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Old 12-30-2017, 03:39 PM   #64
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Re: separated storm drains

Where we have separated storm drains, are they set up to never ever send anything to Deer Island?

When there's road salt finding its way into the storm drains, it seems like trying to keep that out of the fresh water rivers might be worthwhile if there happens to be spare capacity to Deer Island.

And at the very start of rainfall when motor oil and leaves may be more likely to get mixed in with the rain water, keeping that stuff out of the rivers might again have some value.
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Old 01-02-2018, 10:43 PM   #65
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Re: separated storm drains

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Originally Posted by Joel N. Weber II View Post
Where we have separated storm drains, are they set up to never ever send anything to Deer Island?

When there's road salt finding its way into the storm drains, it seems like trying to keep that out of the fresh water rivers might be worthwhile if there happens to be spare capacity to Deer Island.

And at the very start of rainfall when motor oil and leaves may be more likely to get mixed in with the rain water, keeping that stuff out of the rivers might again have some value.
I am no expert on the sewer system configurations of Greater Boston, but speaking generally, in a separated sewer system (consisting of a sanitary sewer and a storm sewer) the flow in a storm sewer would not be sent to a sewage treatment plant before being discharged into the harbor or a river.

The old configuration relied on combined sewers, where sanitary flows were mixed with stormwater flows in the same sewer, and the combined flow sent either to a treatment plant, or discharged into the harbor without any treatment at all.

Treatment plants are not sized to treat peak stormwater flows, so there are overflow points (diversion chambers) along the length of a sewer that send a portion of the flow in a combined sewer directly into the harbor or river without treatment. Overflows occur during storm events. One inch of rain on one acre is equal to about 27,500 gallons. One can appreciate the scaling problem if that rain fell on an impervious surface and flowed directly into a combined sewer.

There are various technologies that can be used to reduce pollution from highway runoff from reaching an environmentally sensitive water body. However, these are impractical on a large scale, and would be wildly expensive. There are areas where use of road salt is prohibited because of environment concerns if runoff with the salt were to reach an environmentally sensitive water body.

Finally, the greatest concern with respect to stormwater runoff being discharged by a storm sewer into a freshwater river or lake are the nutrients (fertilizer etc) in the runoff.

http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index..._continue.html
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Old 01-03-2018, 12:50 PM   #66
Joel N. Weber II
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Re: separated storm drains

We do have some storage infrastructure in the combined sewer overflow processing in the Boston area; the Cottage Farm facility can store 1.3 million gallons according to https://magazinebeach.org/2013/10/22...eatment-plant/

There's also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_...Storage_Tunnel

If over the course of the next several decades we manage to fully separate the storm drains, it seems like there would probably be some value in continuing to use the existing storage facilities to reduce the amount of polluted water the storm drains send into rivers.
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Old 02-28-2018, 10:37 AM   #67
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Tesla batteries and water systems

https://electrek.co/2018/02/28/tesla...epayers-money/ discusses how Irvine Ranch Water District in California expects to save money by installing Tesla batteries; could MWRA save money in a similar fashion?
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Old 12-03-2018, 06:04 PM   #68
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Re: Water

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Originally Posted by tangent View Post
With the Quabbin Reservoir at 85% capacity (a ten year low at least) and with many cities and towns around Boston in much worse shape during this latest drought, I thought it a good time to discuss our water supply and delivery and when we might need to cap regional growth, import water from the North, build new reservoirs, turn to large scale desalination, or all of the above.
Globe: Heavy fall rain could cause trouble in spring

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andres Picon, Boston Globe
Parts of New England have received record and near-record levels of rainfall this fall, causing widespread flooding and traffic jams, but the more serious repercussions from one of the wettest falls on record are yet to come, according to climate scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

[...]

Weather observers at the Blue Hill Observatory in Milton recorded more rainfall this past meteorological fall than they did during any other fall since the observatory opened in 1885.

[...]

Measurements taken from groundwater observation wells show that water levels around New England were higher at the end of November than they normally would be during spring thaw, and with winter well on its way, much of that water is unlikely to evaporate until the end of spring.

Low temperatures, saturated soil, and little to no surface evaporation are among the factors that are expected to cause problems this spring, as they push the water table to unusually high levels, Boutt said.

Basement flooding and septic system failures will be among the rain-induced problems homeowners could face come springtime, not to mention chronically wet soil, mildew, and surface-level flooding.
More confirmation that New England has plenty of water and that flooding, not drought, is the more relevant climate change risk for us.
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Old 12-03-2018, 09:17 PM   #69
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Re: Water

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Originally Posted by JumboBuc View Post
Globe: Heavy fall rain could cause trouble in spring



More confirmation that New England has plenty of water and that flooding, not drought, is the more relevant climate change risk for us.
Yes, clearly there is a near-term flooding risk.

However, I feel compelled to point out that over a longer term periods of drought are in fact as much of a risk as periods flooding, and yo-yoing between the two is a very likely pattern (and the experience of the last several years is as much a confirmation of that yo-yoing as it is of flooding being "more relevant".)
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Old 12-04-2018, 08:20 AM   #70
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Re: Quabbin & MWRA Water & Sewer

Quabbin is currently at 100.2% capacity. See http://www.mwra.state.ma.us/monthly/...bbinlevels.htm
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Old 12-04-2018, 09:04 AM   #71
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Re: Quabbin & MWRA Water & Sewer

Do they do any hydroelectric with the excess? They should.
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Old 12-04-2018, 10:17 AM   #72
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Re: Water

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Originally Posted by CSTH View Post
Yes, clearly there is a near-term flooding risk.

However, I feel compelled to point out that over a longer term periods of drought are in fact as much of a risk as periods flooding, and yo-yoing between the two is a very likely pattern (and the experience of the last several years is as much a confirmation of that yo-yoing as it is of flooding being "more relevant".)
But the Quabbin is enormous, and it does a fantastic job of smoothing out the yo-yoing. When we had the worst drought in decades (?), the Quabbin remained at 80% capacity. And now after the rainiest fall on record the Quabbin is at 100% capacity. This is not a problem. If the recent yo-yoing keeps on going or even exacerbates, the Quabbin will be able to handle it. As far as fresh water is concerned the MWRA area will all be 100% fine over any foreseeable future. We are not California.

Salt water is where the risk lies for us.
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Old 12-04-2018, 10:21 AM   #73
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Re: Quabbin & MWRA Water & Sewer

That link gives numbers back to 2005 and the lowest number I see is 79.1 in Jan '17
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Old 12-04-2018, 01:49 PM   #74
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Re: Water

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Originally Posted by JumboBuc View Post
But the Quabbin is enormous, and it does a fantastic job of smoothing out the yo-yoing. When we had the worst drought in decades (?), the Quabbin remained at 80% capacity. And now after the rainiest fall on record the Quabbin is at 100% capacity. This is not a problem. If the recent yo-yoing keeps on going or even exacerbates, the Quabbin will be able to handle it. As far as fresh water is concerned the MWRA area will all be 100% fine over any foreseeable future. We are not California.

Salt water is where the risk lies for us.
Yeah agreed, at least for the MWRA district. There will continue to be periods of stress for places (the cape and north shore in particular) that are not part of it - but in the very long run there's even capacity to connect the Salem area to MWRA if necessary.

And yes in the big picture I agree that coastal & estuary flooding is the major climate change risk for NE (fwiw the Essex causeway, right around the corner from my house, flooded again last week...)
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Old 12-05-2018, 02:13 PM   #75
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Re: Quabbin & MWRA Water & Sewer

Not MWRA-focused (though it's discussed) – Scout Cambridge has an interesting take on the Cambridge water supply through the lens of coffee shops:
https://scoutcambridge.com/a-deep-di...mbridge-water/

Quote:
Cambridge’s water may be safe to drink, but its near-limit-pushing levels of chlorides and dissolved solids, its hardness, and its pH pose real problems for the coffee shops that depend on large volumes of water every day. The complicated water is a well-known issue in industry circles, but largely unheard of outside of them.
...
After more than two years, “many thousands” of dollars, and about eight different filtration systems, earlier this year Curio Coffee settled on reverse osmosis, an intense water purification system that removes essentially everything from water and then requires re-mineralization.

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Old 12-06-2018, 10:20 AM   #76
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Re: Water

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Originally Posted by CSTH View Post
Yes, clearly there is a near-term flooding risk.

However, I feel compelled to point out that over a longer term periods of drought are in fact as much of a risk as periods flooding, and yo-yoing between the two is a very likely pattern (and the experience of the last several years is as much a confirmation of that yo-yoing as it is of flooding being "more relevant".)
The MWRA has clear numbers on what is a sustainable draw from the Quabbin and the whole system. 300 million gallons per day. And we are at around 230 million gallons per day. Which at around 75% is certainly sustainable for our current demand.

And while it is true that there were a lot of leaks and wasted water that have been corrected over the years that have actually resulted in less usage while the population has gone up slightly, there is no reason to believe that that is a sustainable trend and every reason to believe that leaks will be an ongoing maintenance issue, especially as those repaired systems come up on needed maintenance.

Yes, right now the MWRA system is sustainable. What I have been warning against is complacency in the face of mathematical certainty. There is an upper limit on Boston area growth dictated by the capacity of our water system. And you never, ever want to get anywhere close to 100% draw because that lessens the systems resiliency to major disruptions.

Even getting to 90% of a "sustainable draw" from the system is risky. We are at around 75% of system safe yield. Assuming water conservation efforts are diminishing in returns then it is safest to assume there is a one to one relation between population growth and water demand from here on not counting any potential industrial uses. So if we decide to risk it that means at max a 25% population growth in MWRA communities and that does not count emergency drought assistance to non-MWRA communities.

To be conservative the MWRA communities and the state should be targeting a max limit of 15% population growth before we have to plan out major upgrades to our capacity that current taxpayers are going to be loath to pay for just to get new neighbors.
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Old 12-06-2018, 10:28 AM   #77
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Re: Water

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Originally Posted by tangent View Post
The MWRA has clear numbers on what is a sustainable draw from the Quabbin and the whole system. 300 million gallons per day. And we are at around 230 million gallons per day. Which at around 75% is certainly sustainable for our current demand.

And while it is true that there were a lot of leaks and wasted water that have been corrected over the years that have actually resulted in less usage while the population has gone up slightly, there is no reason to believe that that is a sustainable trend and every reason to believe that leaks will be an ongoing maintenance issue, especially as those repaired systems come up on needed maintenance.

Yes, right now the MWRA system is sustainable. What I have been warning against is complacency in the face of mathematical certainty. There is an upper limit on Boston area growth dictated by the capacity of our water system. And you never, ever want to get anywhere close to 100% draw because that lessens the systems resiliency to major disruptions.

Even getting to 90% of a "sustainable draw" from the system is risky. We are at around 75% of system safe yield. Assuming water conservation efforts are diminishing in returns then it is safest to assume there is a one to one relation between population growth and water demand from here on not counting any potential industrial uses. So if we decide to risk it that means at max a 25% population growth in MWRA communities and that does not count emergency drought assistance to non-MWRA communities.

To be conservative the MWRA communities and the state should be targeting a max limit of 15% population growth before we have to plan out major upgrades to our capacity that current taxpayers are going to be loath to pay for just to get new neighbors.
Just want to point out that we are nowhere close to possible water conservation levels in terms of usage. We still waste a ton of water per person. The Quabbin system could service a lot more people with some fairly modest changes in usage per capita, which have been demonstrated in many developed parts of the world.
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Old 12-06-2018, 10:34 AM   #78
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Re: Water

Quote:
Originally Posted by tangent View Post
The MWRA has clear numbers on what is a sustainable draw from the Quabbin and the whole system. 300 million gallons per day. And we are at around 230 million gallons per day. Which at around 75% is certainly sustainable for our current demand.

And while it is true that there were a lot of leaks and wasted water that have been corrected over the years that have actually resulted in less usage while the population has gone up slightly, there is no reason to believe that that is a sustainable trend and every reason to believe that leaks will be an ongoing maintenance issue, especially as those repaired systems come up on needed maintenance.

Yes, right now the MWRA system is sustainable. What I have been warning against is complacency in the face of mathematical certainty. There is an upper limit on Boston area growth dictated by the capacity of our water system. And you never, ever want to get anywhere close to 100% draw because that lessens the systems resiliency to major disruptions.

Even getting to 90% of a "sustainable draw" from the system is risky. We are at around 75% of system safe yield. Assuming water conservation efforts are diminishing in returns then it is safest to assume there is a one to one relation between population growth and water demand from here on not counting any potential industrial uses. So if we decide to risk it that means at max a 25% population growth in MWRA communities and that does not count emergency drought assistance to non-MWRA communities.

To be conservative the MWRA communities and the state should be targeting a max limit of 15% population growth before we have to plan out major upgrades to our capacity that current taxpayers are going to be loath to pay for just to get new neighbors.
The state population hasn't even grown 15% from 1990 to 2017, and that's almost 30 years. And as you say, water consumption has been falling as the population has been growing. Old houses use less water than farms, new houses use less water than old houses, and condos use less water than new houses. There is nothing here to worry about.

But even besides that, if we do grow and our infrastructure does start getting tight, the infrastructure will expand. But that is many decades away. Our water infrastructure network in 1918 probably wasn't equipped to handle our 1950 population, but by 1950 it was (hence, the Quabbin). If our 2018 water infrastructure system isn't equipped to handle our 2050 population, that's fine as long as our 2050 infrastructure is. That's how the world works.

This isn't an issue like climate change where once you reach a certain level of carbon and global temperature there's no going back. We've been expanding drinking water infrastructure to match population demands since the Roman times; we're very good at it.

We are in no way running into "the face of mathematical certainty." If Greater Boston of all places has a drinking water problem, then what major metro anywhere in the world doesn't? Of all of our infrastructure and climate problems, drinking water is pretty damn close to the very very bottom of the list.

Last edited by JumboBuc; 12-06-2018 at 10:50 AM.
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Old 12-06-2018, 11:21 AM   #79
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Re: Quabbin & MWRA Water & Sewer

Has there ever been a serious study of switching Cambridge to MWRA for water permanently? I know they have the emergency connections and they used MWRA water during the treatment plant rebuild.
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Old 12-07-2018, 10:02 AM   #80
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Re: Quabbin & MWRA Water & Sewer

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Originally Posted by 34f34f View Post
Not MWRA-focused (though it's discussed) – Scout Cambridge has an interesting take on the Cambridge water supply through the lens of coffee shops:
I wonder if that's a problem for the three breweries in Cambridge as well. Though I imagine all breweries heavily filter their water, for consistency.
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