Connecticut River Clean-up Committee awarded $1.5-million to reduce sewer overflows


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP)– The Connecticut River Clean Up Committee (CRCC) is getting $1.5 million from MassDEP to try and eliminate combined sewer overflows, or CSOs that run into the Connecticut River when we get heavy rain.

The money will be used to fund a number of projects. The Springfield Water and Sewer Commission is getting $475,000 to help fund the York Street Pump Station and Connecticut River Crossing project.

“That’s intended to to address multiple issues with our aging waste water collection system and that includes reducing the amount of combined sewer overflows that make it into the Connecticut River during wet weather,” said Jaimye Bartak, the communications manager of the Springfield Water and Sewer Commission.

Bartak says the project is expected to reduce the CSO amount by 100 million gallons a year.

“For the past 20 years we’ve been working collectively in the region to reduce the amount of CSO discharges into the Connecticut River so it’s safe for people to use again, to go boating to go swimming so it become a focal point of the region once again,” said Jaimye Bartak.

22News got a bird’s eye view of the Connecticut River from SkyView22 on a beautiful summer day.

The grant money will also be used to fund projects in Holyoke and Chicopee that will also help reduce combined sewer overflows into the Connecticut River.

The CRCC is a regional collaborative convened and staffed by the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission since 1993 that has brought together communities in addressing combined sewer infrastructure issues.

The funding is provided by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) that was created under the state’s 2014 Environmental Bond Bill. This is the sixth year that the state has awarded money to the CRCC for regional water projects.

SkyView22 of the Connecticut River:

Recent combined sewer overflow (CSO) work supported by state funding via the CRCC includes: 

  • Holyoke’s sewer separation work on Front & Heritage Streets, Jackson Street, and funding of the development of their Long-Term Control Plan (which lays out the projects, budget, and timelines needed to reduce combined sewer overflows to EPA-mandated levels)
  • Chicopee’s design and development of construction documents for the South Fairview Sewer Separation Project
  • Springfield Water and Sewer Commission’s (SWSC) Connecticut River Crossing and York Street Pump Station project. The York Street Pump Station will receive dry weather and wet weather flow from the Connecticut River Interceptor and the local York Street and lower Main Street combined sewer catchments, increasing pumping capacity. The Connecticut River Crossings will include two 42” force mains and one 72” siphon from the new York Street Pump Station to the Springfield Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility. This entails crossing under the existing Army Corps of Engineers Flood Damage Reduction System flood wall, an active Amtrak railroad right-of-way, the Connecticut River, and a flood protection levee owned by the SWSC.
  • Support a collaboration between SWSC and United States Geological Survey (USGS) to install nitrogen sensing equipment at each of the state borders, where waters from the Connecticut River flow into Massachusetts from Vermont and then out of Massachusetts to Connecticut. This collection of water quality data at each of the borders then enables a more accurate calculation of the amount of nitrogen loading to the Connecticut River on its journey through Massachusetts.  

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