Groundwater

In 1986, the Boston City Council established the Boston Groundwater Trust to monitor groundwater levels in areas of the city where foundations are threatened by low levels and to make recommendations to solve the problem. After a slow start, Mayor Menino revived the Trust in 1997, appointing a new board of unpaid trustees. The trustees, who are unpaid volunteers, discovered existing groundwater observation wells that had been installed on public property for various projects and incorporated them into a monitoring network. In 2002, the Legislature included $1.6 million in the Environmental Bond Bill to build out a comprehensive network.

In 2005, the City and State governments came together to sign a Memorandum of Understanding creating a City-State Groundwater Working Group that includes all of the public agencies responsible for the underground infrastructure including the state Office of Commonwealth Development, the Boston Groundwater Trust, the MBTA, Mass Turnpike Authority and Boston Water and Sewer, among others. All of these agencies have pledged to work together to understand the causes of the problem and to repair those problems for which they are responsible. The City has established a Groundwater Conservation Overlay District (GCOD) that requires people building or renovating properties in the affected area to make sure that their projects will not cause any reduction in groundwater levels and to incorporate systems that will recharge rainwater into the ground instead of sending it all down the sewer.

"The issue of groundwater depletion isn’t limited to one neighborhood or one agency," Mayor Menino said. "It is an issue that affects all of us. I want to thank everyone here for working in this partnership with the city to address this serious issue."

Press Release: Mayor Menino Announces Groundwater Overlay District and EPA Grant
Groundwater Conservation Overlay District Regulations


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