As in many urban watersheds, water quality in the Mystic River Watershed is impacted by stormwater runoff, aging stormwater infrastructure and sewer overflows. In addition, the Mystic River and several of its tributaries have a history of industrialization that has left behind heavy metals and other pollutants in the riverbed itself. Below is a list of some of the challenges to and impacts of water quality conditions in the Mystic River Watershed.
COMBINED SEWER OVERFLOWS (CSO's)
Have you ever wondered if it is safe to swim or boat in the Mystic River? Some days, especially after a heavy rain, a swimming or boating advisory may be issued by the local municipality.
Cyanobacteria (cyano=blue-green) are a type of algae found naturally in aquatic and terrestrial environments. Under the right conditions, cyanobacteria can grow rapidly resulting in an algal bloom. Environmental factors such as light, temperature, and nutrients contribute to bloom formation.
Mystic River communities have a disproportionate share of cumulative environmental hazards.
Are the fish contaminated? Check out the Public Health Fish Advisory to find out more about the health of fish in the Mystic River.
SANITARY SEWER OVERFLOWS (SSO's)
Sanitary sewer overflows, or SSOs, are discharges of raw sewage into surrounding water sources and communities that pose as a substantial public health risk. MyRWA addresses SSOs through data management, advocacy and outreach.
STORMWATER & RUN-OFF
Stormwater and Run-off (Non-Point Source Pollution) is a major cause of water pollution in the Mystic River and its tributaries, affecting fisheries, habitat quality, flora and fauna, and the overall beauty of the river.
The Mystic River Watershed is home to three EPA sanctioned Superfund sites, or areas of toxic waste. Learn more about Superfund sites and what is being done to clean them up here.
The Mystic River Watershed hosts many invasive species, or non-native species that negatively impact the ecosystem such as the Water Chestnut. Read more about Water Chestnuts and other invasives. Click this link for the Groundwork Somerville & Americorp Water Chestnut Removal Project details.