2, Sec. 2C9
Human Activities - Ocean Discharges
Bay and Cape Cod Bay receive waste, in the form of effluent
or sludge, from a number of pipes extending from municipal wastewater
treatment plants (Figure 14) (MBP Management Committee, 1989).
The total combined flow of this material is reported to be 566
million gallons per day (MGD), with approximately 500 MGD of
that total discharged by the existing Massachusetts Water Resources
Authority (MWRA) treatment works at Deer and Nut Islands, the
plants that serve the greater Boston Area. Most industrial discharges
enter Massachusetts Bay through the municipal wastewater treatment
plants, principally the MWRA system.
MWRA is currently involved in the construction, to be completed
by 1999, of a new wastewater treatment facility on Deer Island.
The new plant will provide more effective, secondary treatment
of the wastewater, and eliminate the discharge of sludge into
coastal waters (by 1991). The discharge point, an ocean outfall,
is to be relocated from the entrance to Boston Harbor to an
area between 7.9 and 9.4 statute miles (or 12.7 and 15.1 km)
east-northeast of Deer Island (Figure 15). This location is
approximately 12.5 nautical miles (23.12 km) from the Sanctuary
extensive environmental assessment of the potential environmental
effects of the proposed outfall was undertaken by the MWRA,
with the results published in Volume V, "Effluent Outfall",
of the MWRA Secondary Treatment Facilities Plan (1988), and
appendices. An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was also
prepared by the EPA for this project. Each of these documents
concluded that a diffuser-type outfall located in the area identified
above would be environmentally acceptable.
in discharge volume have also been proposed for the South Essex
Sewer District and the Town of Plymouth, discharging into Massachusetts
Bay and Cape Cod Bay, respectively. No points source discharges
have been proposed directly within the Sanctuary.
Massachusetts Ocean Sanctuaries Act prohibits any new discharge
of wastewater into areas designated as ocean sanctuaries. (Such
areas encompass all of the Massachusetts coast except for the
area between Marshfield and Lynn). A recent amendment to the
Ocean Sanctuaries Act adds a variance procedure to allow increases
in discharge volumes from existing wastewater treatment plants
if a strict set of criteria are successfully met.