The Nature of Southwest Framingham

. . . And the houses I dreamed about buying there! As you can see from the map, I loved being near the reservoirs. Every "X" on the map is a house I fell in love with and had to have, mostly because they were on the water or were an easy walk to a reservoir area. I was perfectly happy sitting and looking at the water, or hiking the nearby trails, or birdwatching and capturing the birds on camera. I frequently saw great blue herons flying home in the evening, and I saw bitterns and swans and ducks and geese and all sorts of waterfowl. Most of the houses were way too expensive, even though they weren't large or ostentatious. Two of them were sold after being on the market for ONE DAY - and this was when the housing market was crashing hard. The good ones either went fast or were overpriced; the ones that hung around for a long time were usually uninhabited and in bad shape.

I still love the area. I'm still in love with some of the houses there. But I'm also glad I saw a sign posted on a fence near the reservoir, which made me curious enough to do some research.

Signs over the Myrtle Street Bridge warn against eating fish from the Sudbury River, which is polluted with mercury. (Joanne Rathe/ Globe Staff)

The sign ultimately led me to NYANZA.

Some people will try to tell you that Nyanza is perfectly safe now, but I agree with my daughter: capping the site is a far cry from cleaning the site. The fish are contaminated. The fish are toxic. The reservoir is pretty, but poisonous.

Nyanza is still a problem - and Nyanza is BIG. You can't see it from the street because of all the trees, but the capped site is about the size of 11 baseball fields.

I'm glad I didn't buy a house on the water, because its terrible to look at that beautiful water knowing it's hazardous to your health. But I know I'm not safe from toxic waste because I'm a couple of miles upstream from Nyanza.

There is no place in the world that is safe from the deadly chemicals we continue to pour into our environment. A lot of people can't deal with that fact, but I've come to terms with it. The world is still a beautiful and endlessly fascinating place. I hope someone in the future discovers a way to fix what we've done. Trying to understand the world around us is a step in the right direction.


  1. Wow- I had no idea about this. Thanks for sharing this story Sue- I hope they fix it someday. Do you still see lots of birds in the reservoir even though it's contaminated?

  2. There are still tons of birds in the area - and many are shore birds who are eating the fish. It doesn't seem as if contanimated fish would be healthy for the birds, in light of the fact that humans can't eat what they catch and pets are not allowed in the water.

  3. Whoa, I'm glad and sad to find out about this. :-(

  4. Try to be strong - there's more to come!


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