r Letter From Eastie: Public Meeting about the Chelsea Creek
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Collaged view of Boston, from East Boston

Letter From Eastie

News and other items from East Boston, Massachusetts.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Public Meeting about the Chelsea Creek

A public meeting with a representative of the EPA will be will be held on Wednesday evening (April 13th) at the Neighborhood of Affordable Housing at 143 Border Street. The Boston Globe reports on the reason for the meeting:
Federal and state environmental officials are seeking public feedback on proposed new pollution discharge permits they say will make Chelsea Creek cleaner.

The draft permits are for seven petroleum storage facilities along the creek in Chelsea and Revere. The permits address the discharge of pollution in from storm water that drains through those sites.

Neil Handler, a permit writer for the US Environmental Protection Agency, said the permits are more stringent than existing ones, which are about to expire. For instance, the new permits would reduce the amount of benzene that could be discharged in storm water from 500 parts per billion to 51 parts per billion. Benzene is a cancer-causing chemical found in petroleum.

''It definitely will improve things and hopefully that addresses some of the concerns the community has about the creek," said Handler, who said the seven companies complied with the terms of the existing permits.

The EPA and the state Department of Environmental Protection are in charge of issuing water discharge permits in Massachusetts, under the federal Clean Water Act.

The agencies have extended the normal 30-day comment period on the draft permits to 60 days to give the public more opportunity to offer input, according to EPA spokeswoman Sheryl Rosner. The deadline for comments is May 12.

Chelsea Creek, also known as the Chelsea River, flows from the mouth of Mill Creek between Chelsea and Revere to Boston's inner harbor. For centuries, industries have located along the waterway, using it to ship raw materials and finished goods.

In recent years, a local citizens' organization, the Chelsea Creek Action Group, has been seeking restoration of the creek. The effort has been led by the Chelsea Green Space and Recreation Committee and by a group in East Boston organized by the nonprofit Neighborhood of Affordable Housing.

An EPA official will discuss the permits at a meeting, to be held at the office of the Neighborhood of Affordable Housing, 143 Border St., at 6:30 p.m. April 13.


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