Monday, November 19, 2018

Mass Bay Outfall Monitoring Conference

On Tuesday, November 13 Save the Harbor/Save the Bay and the Outfall Monitoring Science Advisory Panel (OMSAP), the Public Interest Advisory Committee (PIAC), Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and MIT Sea Grant College Program hosted a conference: 2300 Days at Sea: Monitoring the Impacts of the Massachusetts Bay Outfall.  

This conference, which was chaired by Dr. Judy Pederson of MIT, brought together scientists, advocates, policy makers, academics, and citizens to review nearly 30 years of ambient monitoring at the Massachusetts Bay outfall pipe and begin to discuss what a future monitoring program should look like.

At the conference Dr. Betsy Reilly Director of Environmental Quality, Water and Wastewater at the MWRA gave an update on the 33 questions included in the original monitoring plan and the results to date. Dr. Mark Smith from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection spoke about emerging contaminants. Dr. Juliet Simpson from the MIT Sea Grant College Program spoke about climate change and the impacts on the ocean. Dr. Michael Connor, former Director of the Environmental Quality Department at the MWRA and current General Manager of the East Bay Dischargers Authority in San Fransisco, gave the keynote address at the conference on best practices in regional monitoring programs.

Conference attendees dived into each of these topics in breakout groups, discussing what questions have been asked and answered through monitoring to date, how the warmer, deeper, more stormy ocean of the future will impact what monitoring is needed, and how to address concerns regarding emerging contaminants including micro-plastics and pharmaceuticals.

In the coming weeks, OMSAP and PIAC will conduct a careful review the information we gathered on Tuesday and release a conference report with specific recommendations that will continue to ensure that the improvements to Boston Harbor do not come at the expense of Mass Bay or Cape Cod.

You can find out more about the conference at

If you would like a copy of the conference report when it is released, please email

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