Boston Harbor water quality

With rolling and sculling in mind, I would like to determine if being in the water in both the inner harbor (Hingham to Hull) and outer harbor (Hull to the lighthouse) is ok, health-wise. I realize the harbor has come a long way but still ponder all the local municipalities having treated water going into this great place to paddle among the islands.

I grew up in it
and still have both arms and both legs although one leg is slightly bent and I walk slower than most other people.

The biggest flounder we caught were around Moon and Spectacle Island where they used to dump the garbadge.



Best It’s Been In Decades…

– Last Updated: Jul-25-07 9:19 AM EST –

having been in Boston since '63, I can tell you the water went into rapid decline in the late 60's and 70's with raw sewage flowing around, to the point that I no longer swam and fished in the harbor. The creation of the MWRA and the cleanup is really a minor, costly-but-well-worth-it miracle. Everytime I go out and surf, paddle or fish my home waters, I am amazed and thankful for living near such a great resource.

Having said that, on really heavy rainy days, there are still areas where overflow will allow untreated run-offs to get into the water. Lynn/Swampscott and Wallaston Beach/Quincy come to mind. Unless there is a run-off, the water is clean and crystal clear. I've been surf paddling (and rolling) year round in the Boston harbor area for the past 4-5 years and have yet to get an infection of any type.



– Last Updated: Jul-25-07 9:42 AM EST –

thanks for the serious and helpful reply Sing.

Not sure what the point of LeeG is.

Not sure what the point of LeeG is.

– Last Updated: Jul-25-07 11:49 AM EST –

You are not alone friend, you are not alone...

Well, he might be asking if your concern
is based on established science or just on the notion that a lot of treated water ends up in the harbor. I sculled the Charles and was a couple of times rowing or sailing out in the harbor in the early 60s, and people didn’t seem wildly concerned then, 'cause very few were getting sick. Against this background, one wonders what the issue is today.

“Not Wildly Concerned Then…”

– Last Updated: Jul-25-07 10:34 AM EST –

because some folks just didn't know better. The Charles were rated like a D -- meaning chemicals, raw effluent, etc. Folks were advised in the later 60's and 70's to get a Hep shot when they fell in the water. Boston Harbor had raw "twinkies" and tampons floating around. Quincy Bay was once known as the "Flounder capital" of the east coast with folks coming from all over to fish. The flounder, a bottom dwelling fish, began showing open sores and mutations. Yet, folks -- mostly poor, kept fishing and eating them. They weren't "wildly concerned."

The fact is a lot of folks became concerned. The Boston Harbor clean up has been a multi-million dollar effort that continues to this day. My water bills reflect that. I hope the younger generations in Boston will be thankful for that if nothing else that we leave behind.


I didn’t post on this thread
I posted a response to Rwven on another one and this is where it showed up

me neither

– Last Updated: Jul-25-07 11:33 AM EST –

I posted that response on a thread Rvwen started on B&B and it showed up here. Never intended it for you Martin. Only found this thread because Cockney linked it in B&B

This might be my fault
did you try that WD40 on your cable connection? Apparently it speeds up your connection but your posts don’t stick where they should.

Well, a bunch of us 60s users ought to
be losing our livers to hepatitis by now. But it seems not to have happened.

haven’t touched the stuff in years
That post I deleted was to a new thread started by Rvwen in B&B,I looked and it was gone but my response showed up here. Weird

Yeah… Okay…
whatever. We cleaned things up purely for aesthetics and it’s still worth it.



– Last Updated: Jul-25-07 12:52 PM EST –

LeeG, no problem, thanks for the explanation.

how do you know
did you conduct a census?

Or are you just placing your knowledge and personal subjective findings against science?

GK never wears a PFD and has never drowned so it must be unnecessary to wear pfds…right?

Good and getting better
I live right off Wollaston beach and I go to neighborhood meetings. The City of Quincy has been doing major sewer re-construction in the area, I believe the ultimate goal is to get all the sewers between Hancock Street and the beach up to snuff. I’m not sure how it works excactly, but when it is done there should less storm run off into the Harbor. I haven’t seen the beach closed flags up on beach yet this summer. I don’t worry about the water myself.

I would never buy a plastic boat

Boston Harbor, MA?
Or Boston Harbor, Olympia WA?

Rather a lame objection.

– Last Updated: Jul-25-07 11:49 PM EST –

I have been in contact with my '65 class of oarsmen, and I get the newsletter. There have been few deaths in the class and lots of them are more active than me. There have been no warnings or mentions in the newsletter about the class being raked by chronic disease.

Before I retired, I was working cheek by jowl in a state hospital with a population including people with TB, hepatitis B and C, and AIDS. The staff weren't catching it.

Cleaning up Boston's rivers and harbor was a wonderful thing. But it appears that a lot of people exaggerate the risk of catching things while paddling. It seldom happens, even in bad circumstances.

You want to start a thread, ask people whether they can say with relative certainty that they have caught something from the water, and over how many years of paddling this has occurred. I have been rowing and paddling almost every year since 1960, and *only once* did I catch a bug, after sticking a muddied canteen in my mouth without checking it.

Oh, and against WHAT science?
You know of some epidemiological studies? There are surprisingly few.

As for PFDs, we had a big argument before your time about whether oarsmen should have to wear PFDs. Deaths of oarsmen aren’t frequent and can’t be clearly traced to lack of PFDs.

And while I almost always wear a PFD, it is mainly for the convenience of those who have to recover my body. It didn’t help in the leg entrapment that almost killed me, and it is hard for me to think of a river death in our large club where lack of a PFD was responsible. That covers 30 years of club experience.