AGAWAM, Mass. (WWLP) – The Town of Agawam and waterways downstream of the Westfield River will benefit from a huge infrastructure earmark announced by Congressman Richard Neal Thursday.

Congressman Neal announced a $740,000 contribution to the town’s Main Street Sewer and Slope Stabilization project. The money will fund a major sewer relocation project to prevent discharge into the Westfield River during intense rain events.

The sewer main will be moved from the top of the embankment of the Westfield River, allowing discharge to flow into the nearby treatment plant instead of the river. That embankment then will be rebuilt to prevent erosion from affecting Main Street.

22News spoke to Agawam Mayor Bill Sapelli about what this funding means to the town, “We are in a tough spot right now with the economy. You can’t keep taxing people, they can’t keep coming up with all that money, they are hurting right now. So when we have earmarks like this it goes such a long way for our residents, taxpayers and city.”

The earmark comes directly from the Department of the Interior and Environment. It’s one of ten Congressionally Directed Spending projects submitted by Congressman Neal totaling more than $9 million in the First Congressional District of Massachusetts.

Congressman Neal added during the news conference that clean water is proven to be the best way to increase life expectancy.