Pollution on the Mystic: No Longer Just An Industrial Problem

When we think of pollution, we often think of one industry dumping waste into our waterways (think The Lorax, or A Civil Action, the movie about pollution in the Aberjona River). 21st century pollution on the Mystic is more about stormwater pollution--pollution that occurs when rain or snow-melt washes pollutants into our storm drains and waterways. Every community member can do their part to address this pollution--as we all play a role in what is running directly into our rivers.

To help educate community members the In Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) convened the Mystic River Stormwater Collaborative, a group of 13 towns and cities in the watershed dedicated to the common goal of reducing stormwater pollution. The collaborative helps municipalities educate communities about stormwater pollution by disseminating MyRWA’s monthly educational messages social media and customized video PSA’s to residents. It also includes piloting stormwater educational programming with local schools.

“Most people don’t understand that rain runs directly off of our roofs, parking lots, and streets—picking up pollutants along the way—into catch basins and then into the nearest water body, untreated. For our communities that water body is the Mystic,” said Catherine Pedemonti, Stormwater Project Manager. “This work is all about ensuring that everyone knows what they can do to keep our Mystic River and other water bodies clean.”

Towns participating include Arlington, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Lexington, Medford, Reading, Revere, Somerville, Wakefield, Watertown, Winchester and Woburn. In monthly meetings staff share challenges, strategies, and best practice management practices with each other. Each month, MyRWA also prepares and sends municipalities monthly seasonal educational messages about how to prevent stormwater pollution that members can then share with residents, businesses, and developers in their community.

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“We are excited to build on over a decade of water quality sampling and coalition building through this public education effort,” said Andy Hrycyna, Watershed Scientist. “The Mystic River Watershed Association is all about turning data into action to improve our watershed.”