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Sewer plans

January 12 2003 letter, to be published in Belmont Citizen Herald

Save our Forest Committee is alarmed at last week's Chronicle article on the projected sewer rate hikes; and now in question, the Alewife Brook-Little River sewer separation plan which will eliminate much sewage from the Mystic River watershed. The article mentioned a local response to MWRA spokesperson, Joe Favaloro of Mass. budget and operations from Owen O'riordan, chief engineer of Cambridge, who said that the budget crunch will slow down separating the Alewife system. The 72' Clean Water Act of the U.S. E.P.A has been enforced to improve sanitation, clean streams, rivers and oceans throughout the nation. At the same time, city officials are considering whether to grant permission to Belmont developers to allow costly sewer hook ups for its unknown effluent to come into Cambridge from this bordering building in what is known by many as the Belmont "uplands". Many residents of the 3 municipalities feel the new plan is unnecessary and environmentally threatening to wetlands and the 15 acre rare silver maple forest. We question whether state-supported "Smart growth" criteria is being met in this plan with proper zoning, adequate utilities and traffic at Route 2 and the Alewife "T" vicinity.

With sewer costs skyrocketing, and heavy impacts by poorly zoned bio-technology development threatening the forest core of the Alewife Reservation, we say a clear no to our city's 'enabling' the misuse of precious open space. No also to destruction of the watershed environment. A moratorium should be placed on all agreements to facilitate further construction plans until full scrutiny is given by regulatory agency of MEPA and the environmental impact is properly assessed. Our group is preparing further watershed data and vernal pool information. We also request assessment of potential flooding and contamination impacts to the watershed. Clear cutting would bring destruction of mammal dens, bird breeding and migrating areas. The MDC plans for preservation, restoration and conservation of the Reservation would undoubtedly come into question with such impacts.

Ernie Kirwan

Ellen Mass

Mark Kirk Belmont