Odor still in the air for Bayside site

nother salvo in the battle over an odor control facility on Columbia Point took place earlier this month, in the form of a tersely worded letter from developer Corcoran Jennison Companies. The director of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority said it's nothing new.

The fight centers on a proposed facility that would filter the air from an underground water storage tunnel that would store rainwater and raw sewage. In essence, Corcoran Jennison claims the current MWRA plan would stink, and the MWRA says it won't.

Joseph J. Corcoran, president of Corcoran, fired off a letter Feb. 9 detailing a series of points in his argument, highlighting a new commitment from the company to pay $200,000 toward a redesign of the facility that would put it underground, as long as it would be reviewed by a third party like the Department of Environmental Protection.

"This addresses our contention that the MWRA's $3 million estimate to submerge the facility is much too high," wrote Corcoran. "It also responds to the contention that our engineers are wrong and the MWRA's are right."

But Fred Laskey, director of the MWRA, said the letter represents nothing new to the agency and the project is moving ahead as planned.

"We don't see the $200,000 as anything new and nothing new has happened in a while now," said Laskey. "There's talk about paying the landscaping costs and other things so it gets convoluted. It's another unfortunate communication."

To a contention in the letter that the MWRA was withholding information, Laskey said that has been rectified.

"Well within the 10 days they got their information," he said. "If a phone call would have been made we would have rushed and got it to them in a day. That was kind of a potshot that seems to keep on coming. At this point were forging ahead. We're working full guns on it."

In the next couple of weeks, Laskey said he hopes to have phase two of the project out to bid, which includes the Conley Pump Station in South Boston and a force main under East Broadway. Work could begin on that in the spring. The odor control station is due to be put out to bid when the weather turns warm, he said.