An Act Promoting Awareness for Safe Recreation in Public Waterways

Senate sponsor: Pat Jehlen
House sponsor: Denise Provost

Download bill text
Download fact sheet
Download MA CSO map
Download MA CSO statistics by region


Millions of residents live near one of the Commonwealth's many rivers. The Charles, Connecticut, Merrimac, Mystic, and other major rivers wind through our communities and are valuable recreational resources. Unfortunately, citizens presently have no way to know when man-made pollutant discharges render these rivers unsafe for boating and swimming.


Combined sewer overflow (CSO) outfall locations in Massachusetts and their annual discharge volumes. Data courtesy of the New England Center for Investigative Reporting

Map of CSO outfalls and watershed districts in the greater Boston area.

Map of CSO outfalls and watershed districts in the greater Springfield area.

Map of CSO outfalls and watershed districts in the greater Fall River area.

Map of CSO outfalls and watershed districts in the greater Lowell area.

Map of CSO outfalls and watershed districts in the greater Fitchburg area.

The Problem


A combined sewer overflow (CSO) discharging into the Mystic River.

The solution

This bill would institute a statewide sewage discharge notification system so that Massachusetts residents will know when their rivers are safe for recreation and when CSO discharges make them unsafe. This bill would institute practices already followed by some municipalities, requiring:

  1. All CSO outfall operators to install a discharge flow monitoring meter.
  2. The Department of Environmental Protection to centralize CSO discharge data on their website and provide instant email notifications and annual reports on CSO discharges to media outlets and concerned residents.
  3. That clear signage be placed at CSO outfalls and affected public access points.

Supporters

This legislation is supported by the following community organizations:

For more information, contact:
Dan Smith (daniel.smith@masenate.gov, 617-722-1578)
or Pooja Phaltankar (pooja.phaltankar@mahouse.gov, 617-722-2263)