Every spring, members of Congress request funding for specific projects in their districts during the federal budgeting process. Each Representative and Senator has a certain number of requests each cycle and we want to thank Senator Markey, Senator Warren and Representative Keating for including funding for the Rockland Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) upgrades for FY2025. 

This is an important first step toward funding this project, which includes comprehensive upgrades to the WWTP in order to come into compliance with new total phosphorus limits and reduce the number of sanitary sewer overflows. These upgrades will not simply benefit the town of Rockland but the entire watershed. The fact that three member of Congress have chosen to use one of their budget requests on a project in a relatively small town shows the importance of this project on a regional scale.    

The Rockland WWTP discharges to French’s Stream, which is a tributary that flows through Rockland and Hanover, passing through Hanson and Pembroke when it meets up with the Indian Head River, and eventually joining the North River in Norwell, Marshfield and Scituate. French’s Stream is impaired for phosphorus due to the wastewater discharges from the Rockland WWTP and does not meet Clean Water Act Standards. Multiple downstream waterbodies including Studley’s Pond, Forge Pond, Drinkwater River and the Indian Head River are also impaired for nutrients namely phosphorus again in part due to the discharges from Rockland’s WWTP.

Overflows from the Rockland WWTP have also impacted shellfish beds throughout the watershed. In January and March 2023, shellfish beds in the North and South Rivers were closed twice due to Rockland’s sewer overflows removing 20% of the days available for the public to recreationally harvest shellfish in the rivers. Then again this January, after another pattern of rainy weather, the Rockland WWTP discharged partially treated sewage into French’s Stream, which closed shellfish beds almost 15 miles downstream in the North and South Rivers.

These issues have been outstanding concerns of the NSRWA for years and we are thrilled to see that it is a priority at the state level, as well. We are grateful to Senator Markey, Senator Warren and Representative Keating for their support for this project and acknowledging that this is a regional issue, impacting multiple South Shore communities, and Rockland will not be able to solve it alone.

Source: Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan, Phase I