Gabby Queenan stands on a small lookout point by the Charles River. Behind her, a few joggers brave the cold and cars whiz by on Memorial Drive. She points out the Harvard University athletic fields across the water and the University Boathouse a few hundred yards downriver.
“This is one of the most actively used portions of the Charles River,” says Queenan, policy director of the Massachusetts Rivers Alliance, “and I think the public has a right to know what’s in their water.”
A thin layer of crusty snow covers the ground. She gently kicks it with her boot, revealing a small green plaque.
“Warning. City of Cambridge Department of Public Works. Wet Weather Sewage Discharge Outfall. CAM007,” she reads.
“I cannot imagine that a person would look at this [sign] and think, ‘Oh this must be an area where sewage is going into the river,’ ” she says.