THE EVERETT ADVOCATE – Friday, July 5, 2019 Page 3 Mystic River makes the grade on water quality I n collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) recently issued the 2018 Water Quality Report Card for the Mystic River Watershed. The Mystic River and Mystic Lakes continue to have clean water – earning grades of A- and A in this latest report card. This is the fifth year in a row that the river and lakes have earned A-range grades. Upper Mystic Lake meets public health standards for swimming more than 95 percent of the time in dry weather, and the Mystic River meets canoeing and rowing standards more than 98 percent of the time in dry weather. “I encourage community members to go out and boat on the Mystic and Malden Rivers, and to swim at Shannon Beach at Upper Mystic Lake,” said MyRWA Executive Director Patrick Herron. “These are great public resources. We are so happy that they we can provide evidence that they are clean at a time when they are also becoming more accessible for community members with more public boat launches, canoe/kayak rentals and connected paths and parks.” There is also good news downstream with water quality improvements noted at the Island End River between Everett and Chelsea. The grade at this site has improved from an F to a C+ in three short years. However, the report did not contain all good news. Many of the smaller rivers and tributaries that lead to the lakes and to the main stem of the Mystic River continue to receive poor grades. For example, the Aberjona River in Woburn received a D+, while Alewife Brook in Cambridge got a D. Conditions at many locations are worse during and after rain events. “The pollution tracked in the report card is bacteria pollution from untreated wastewater, which gets to rivers and lakes through old and leaky infrastructure. These pathways introduce more contamination when it rains, so bacteria levels are usually higher in wet weather … [the] time to invest in our watershed’s water quality is now,” said MyRWA Watershed Scientist Andy Hrycyna. “The report card gathers the data needed to fix old problems and plan for the future.” The report card, which is issued for all major water bodies in the watershed by the EPA, uses data provided by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and MyRWA’s Baseline Water Quality Monitoring Program. To gather baseline data, MyRWA depends on a cohort of dedicated citizen scientists who take water samples at 15 locations throughout the watershed each month. On July 1 – the unofficial start to summer – taxpayers are reminded of Airbnb tax B OSTON – As thousands of vacationers across the Commonwealth travel to the Cape and Islands and other vacation hotspots across the state, a new secret tax is poised to hit many of them that booked their trip on popular websites like Airbnb. Those who pay attention to Massachusetts state politics might remember the secret Airbnb tax passed right before Christmas, during informal session, and without a recorded vote. Passing a major tax on an industry so reliant on tourist dollars may seem ill-advised, but with the leadership currently running the Statehouse, it’s a reality that many taxpayers will be forced to contend with this week. The new tax that was secretly passed could have been stopped, if only one lawmaker objected. Despite Airbnb’s protest at the time, it still passed. The new tax is so secretive that not even Airbnb lists Massachusetts under their “occupancy tax” page. “Massachusetts taxpayers will be feeling the burn this summer as new taxes hit their bank accounts when they book their summer vacations online. A quick web search found the tax is around 12 percent. 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