Alewife Neighbors, Inc. > projects

Projects About Alewife Area Issues

(This page updated January 11, 2021)

IQHQ/W. R. Grace Site

The former W. R. Grace Site, now owned by IQHQ, has been found to be highly contaminated with asbestos and hydrocarbons. Alewife Neighbors has secured three consecutive one-year Technical Assistance Grants from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to follow the progress of the clean-up and provide information to the neighbors.

Follow this link >> IQHQ/W.R. Grace Site << for more information about the contamination.

Also see information at the Alewife Study Group website. The site has historical information as well as updates on the Utility Trench Excavation.

Also see the Reports section of this site for archived reports related to the Grace Site.

Alewife Land Use

The area called "Alewife," our organization's namesake, can be divided into two regions. Northern Alewife straddles the edges Cambridge, Belmont, and Arlington starting at Alewife Brook Reservation and areas immediately to the north. It is largely undeveloped, but large scale developments threaten this region. The Friends of Alewife Reservation ( has additional information about the Reservation and surrounding development.

South of Alewife Brook Reservation, continuing to Fresh Pond Reservation, is almost fully developed, or at least almost entirely paved. Although most is part of the Alewife Floodplain, the City of Cambridge has developed a proposal to rezone the area to encourage high-density, high-activity development after conducting the Concord-Alewife Study. Flooding of this area could cause contamination of the City's water supply, Fresh Pond Reservoir.

Follow this link >> South Alewife << for more information about the rezoning.

Climate Change

Flooding has always been an issue in the Alewife area. More recently, the Cambridge Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment also found the Alewife area to be particularly at risk for extreme heat as our climate changes.

A long time board member of Alewife Neighbors has been part of the city's Climate Change and Resiliency Planning Alewife Focus Group, Envision Cambridge Climate and Environment Working Group, and Climate Resilience Zoning Task Force, making sure our local experiences have been heard.

Information about the FEMA flood mapping project will be forthcoming

The Alewife area is prone to flooding, with a floodplain that extends from Alewife Brook and the Little River to commercial properties and some residences. Alewife Neighbors commissioned a hydrologist to investigate area flooding issues. Also, Alewife Neighbors tries to keep the neighbors informed of issues related to flooding in the 02140 newsletter.

The Cambridge Chronicle pubished a column on flooding on October 27, 2005: Alewife flooding a dire possibility

Additional information is also available at the Alewife Study Group website.

Also see the Reports section of this site for archived reports related to the Flooding.

Russell Field

Near the Alewife T Station lies a large, outdoor recreation area that includes:

Russell Field and Comeau Field are owned by the City of Cambridge. Unfortunately, during the excavation to place the subway lines leading to Alewife Station, contaminated soil dug from the adjacent W.R. Grace site was apparently placed on Russell Field, and soil testing revealed significant contamination on parts of the fields that has required remediation (clean-up) under state regulations. Additionally, asbestos has been found, requiring special handling of the soil under the city's Asbestos Protection Ordinance.

With the help of knowledgeable, concerned neighbors, Alewife Neighbors has been helping to monitor the remediation investigation and planning.

The city plans to upgrade the facilities of Russell Field starting in 2004. Information can be found on the city's website

Also see the Reports section of this site for archived reports related to the remediation process.

Sewer Separaton (CAM 400)

The City completely separated the sanitary sewer system from the CAM400 stormwater sewer outfall system in the 2010 Timeframe

The following are electronic copies of documents received from DPW.


Contact Alewife Neighbors, Inc., North Cambridge, Massachusetts, by email at