New Springfield facility to help reduce sewage overflows into Connecticut River
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - The issue of sewage spilling into the Connecticut River during periods of heavy rain has been a serious concern in the greater Springfield area for years, but now, a much anticipated new pump station is officially complete.
The days leading up to Thanksgiving is a time many of us reflect on things we’re thankful for, but there’s one thing many of us take for granted: clean water.
“People expect that spicket to turn on and the water to come out,” said Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. “When you look at public health, what is the biggest thing that spreads disease? Bad water, look at third world countries.”
On Friday, Sarno and guests from surrounding cities and towns were at a ribbon cutting for the $137 million York Street pump station and Connecticut River Crossing project. Sarno told Western Mass News that Springfield has one of the cleanest water supplies in the country. However, as we saw over and over this past year, with an increase of rain comes an increase in overflow of sewage into the Connecticut River. While at the ceremony, we took our questions to Springfield Water and Sewer Commission Executive Director Josh Schimmel, who helped break down how this new system will solve some of these sewage issues.
“So, when the sewer system in this region fills up with rain, it has no place to go and spills into the Connecticut River and so, by increasing the capacity of our pump station, this new pump station will pump more of that water across the river to the treatment plan and there, it will be reducing the amount of flow that gets into the Connecticut River,” Schimmel explained.
To put the capacity of the York Street site into perspective, the old sewage plant right next door dated back to the 1940s. Schimmel said the old plant could pump about 26 to 32 million gallons a day. The new pump station almost doubles the amount of water and it can pump to about 60 million gallons a day.
As for what the community can expect to be different going forward with the completion of this new plant, Schimmel said, “Hopefully our customers and the citizens in our region won’t notice any difference other than less notifications of combined sewage overflows in the Connecticut River.”
He added that, over time, the quality of the river water will increase as less sewage gets into it and Sarno assured us they will continue to invest in our region’s water system working with surrounding communities like Holyoke, Chicopee, and beyond to protect their shared resource: the Connecticut River.
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