Watertown’s Edenfield Avenue will be the site of a “Green Street” pilot project by the Charles River Watershed Association (CWRA) which will target pollution, stormwater runoff and erosion.
The CWRA sent out the following announcement:
CRWA has received a grant of $194,648 from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to implement a “Green Street” pilot project in Watertown as part of roadway improvements in the town. This project is one of nine projects targeting water pollution from storm water runoff and erosion that the Baker Administration has recommended for more than $1.29 million in grants utilizing funds from the U.S. Environmental Protections Agency (EPA).
Charles River Watershed Association, a research, design, and advocacy environmental non-profit, will manage the pilot project to design and install green infrastructure on a residential street in Watertown. Project partners include Watertown’s Department of Public Works which will manage engineering and construction, and Watertown’s Stormwater Advisory Committee (SAC), which will help with public outreach and education.
Watertown’s Superintendent of Public Works, Gerald S Mee Jr. said “This grant provides an exciting opportunity for Watertown to install green infrastructure practices in coordination with a future roadway reconstruction project. We believe this will further the Town’s goal of integrating our street and sidewalk improvements with other infrastructure improvements. It will also serve to tie in the goals of neighborhood improvement and traffic calming that we consider during road reconstruction with storm water improvements.”
The project integrates green infrastructure components into comprehensive street improvements planned by the Town of Watertown, and will serve as a model for towns throughout greater Boston and the Charles River Watershed to incorporate green stormwater management into new public works projects.
“We are fortunate to partner with CRWA and the SAC on this demonstration project that will serve as a model throughout Watertown and the entire Charles River watershed in the future. Our concept is well suited for a demonstration project, because there are many streets in Watertown that could have a similar treatment. This project will also help the Town identify costs and benefits associated with this type of green infrastructure, which is particularly important in today’s regulatory environment,” said Watertown’s Town Engineer Matthew Shuman.
The Green Street Demonstration Project, proposed for Edenfield Avenue in Watertown, will use an approach developed by Charles River Watershed Association as part of their Blue Cities Initiative. Blue Cities restores natural hydrology to the urban environment through the use of green infrastructure that filters stormwater before allowing it to soak into the ground or discharge to the river. The Green Street in Watertown may include vegetated swales planted with native plants and stormwater tree trenches to remove pollutants from stormwater and allow the water to soak back into the ground.
“This project will serve as another CRWA demonstration incorporating green infrastructure on our city streets, ensuring polluted stormwater gets filtered and recharged into the ground rather than fouling the Charles River,” said Bob Zimmerman, CRWA’s Executive Director.
As in other urban towns in the greater Boston area, Watertown’s roads, parking lots and other impervious surfaces allow polluted rainwater to flow to the Charles River through storm drains. As rain falls on pavement, it cannot soak into the ground to replenish groundwater, flowing instead over the surface picking up pollutants and carrying them to storm drains and ultimately the Charles River. This causes high phosphorous levels in the river, contributing to toxic algal blooms and invasive weed growth. In heavy storms, runoff can also cause flooding. The proposed Green Street in Watertown will reduce pollution to the Charles River, replenish groundwater levels and help prevent Watertown neighborhoods from flooding in severe storms. The proposed designs will also enhance the quality of life in the neighborhood by adding additional trees and native plants helping cool the city and improve air quality.