From: Associated Press
Published January 31, 2005 12:00 AM

Massachusetts Water Authority Officials Investigating Boston's Big Dig Project

BOSTON — The state water authority is investigating whether the Big Dig highway project violated its permit by pumping millions of gallons of water into the regional sewer system.

The $14.6 billion Big Dig project has a permit from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority to pump out 36,000 gallons of water per month from tunnels under Boston. But MWRA records obtained by The Boston Globe show the project has been pumping out a monthly average of 2.2 million gallons.

"We are concerned because (the Big Dig) has and is continuing to discharge large volumes of ground water to us, and that is not consistent with its permit," said Carolyn Fiore, a toxic reduction manager for the MWRA.

The MWRA's investigation could result in fines for the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, the agency overseeing the project.

Doug Hanchett, spokesman for the turnpike authority, said when the authority applied for the permit, the precise amount of water from leaks that would flow into the system couldn't be calculated.


"Keep in mind, the project is not yet complete," Hanchett said. "When all the contracts are completed, seepage will indeed be negligible."

In September, a tunnel wall breach poured millions of gallons of water onto the roadway and backed up traffic for miles. The resulting investigation revealed hundreds of smaller leaks. Repairs are underway, but could take years.

Source: Associated Press

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