Study finds major problems at Northampton Wastewater Treatment P - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Study finds major problems at Northampton Wastewater Treatment Plant

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Northampton's Department of Public Works held another public meeting Wednesday night to discuss the Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan.

"During the course of the study, we found out that we have a huge inflow problem, which is rain water coming into the collection system which takes up capacity of it. It also takes up capacity of the plant," said Ned Huntley, Director of Public Works.

Other issues found at the Wastewater Treatment Plant include outdated equipment.

"The last upgrade was in 1978. So, it's over 30 years old at this point," said Huntley.

A 4 year study revealed unsettling news for the city. If the issues are not addressed, the city may face additional fines and violations. 

Tim O'Donnell talked to Western Mass News about some of his worries as a resident.

"We live in a condo complex. One unit was experiencing back up into their basement apartment," said O'Donnell. "I was interested in coming to hear what the city's plans were to continue with clean water and the proper handling of our sewage."

Others, wonder how much a project like this would cost.

"It's always good to know what's going on in your town. And this is a big issue and a costly issue to taxpayers," said Cathy Walshburg from Northampton.

Project manager David Peterson says the project will cost $80 million.

"But, really what we want to do is focus on the first 5 years. Those are the highest priorities identified. Once we do that, we really want to re-evaluate where we stand," said Peterson. 

The first five years will cost $30 million. Peterson says the team plans to apply for possible grants and loans. A final plan will be sent to DEP and MEPA for review.

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