The Westfield City Council’s Legislative and Ordinance Committee gave a favorable recommendation to making the city’s water cleaner Tuesday night.
Part of this recommendation involves a $13 million bond which would cover costs to install a filtration system for the city’s water.
The next step is to take this bond request to the city council at their next meeting, the council meets Thursday and also in a few weeks. Fran Cain, the Assistant Director of the Westfield DPW, confirmed with Western Mass News a vote will take place on the bond request on Thursday. Cain said this will be one of two votes needed to pass the bond request, adding that they could do it all in one meeting for the two votes, or it could take two meetings.
In the north end of the city, three of the four wells have been shut down due to contamination. Health concerns have mounted as a result. Some studies linking those contaminants to effects on child growth and behavior, as well as an increased risk of cancer.
But residents told Western Mass News that this recommendation is certainly encouraging, and a step in the right direction.
We spoke with one woman who has lived in the city for nearly 30 years. Recently, she was diagnosed with cancer, and while there’s no way to know if her illness can be traced back to the water, she doesn’t feel anyone should have to worry every time you turn the faucet.
“It brought it more to my attention,” Kathleen McKee, explained, “how they will clean up the water and who will be responsible, [I] want the people of Westfield to be safe and drink the water.”
In the meantime, the water department has temporary plans to keep water clean.
Cain told Western Mass News the water department is moving forward now with a temporary facility at one of the wells shut down for contamination.
Parts have been ordered and contractors are receiving a plan, they hope to get a start on that in the next three to four weeks.
The water department had a $5 million bond approved last year, but Cain says it simply isn’t enough for the filtration system.
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