Changes to Springfield water permit could increase monthly bill for customers

Hampden County

Sewage from Springfield could be making its way into the Connecticut River. The Environmental Protection Agency and MassDEP met to discuss how they can prevent that Tuesday night.

The EPA and MassDEP held a public hearing on updating Springfield water and sewers permits that set limits on what they can release into the Connecticut River.

People from as far away as Long Island shared their concerns about the amount of sewage being released into the Connecticut River from Springfield.

Diseases, parasites, worms, etc. There are all kinds of diseases you can get from swimming, or throwing a ball for your dog into the river that’s got sewage flowing in it.

In older cities like Springfield, the same pipe that collects sewage also collects stormwater, and during periods of heavy rain can become backed up.

This combination of sewage and storm water is called a combined sewage overflow and Springfield has 24 relief valves that empty contents into the Connecticut River during wet weather.

A chief with the water permits branch of the EPA said around 50 times a year these CSO’s create an unsafe level of bacteria like E-coli in the Connecticut River in Springfield.

The Springfield Water and Sewer Department said they have spent more than $100 million over the last several decades to reduce outputs of Nitrogen and untreated sewage, but major changes to the permit now could impact the cost of your water bill.

“If the nitrogen removal be required to go down a lot, that could have very high-cost implications, you know, millions,” said Jaimye Bartak, communications manager at Springfield Water and Sewer Commission. “ It took multiple generations to build the CSO systems in Springfield, and it will take several to remediate it.”

The EPA said it will be several months before a decision is made on changes to the permit.

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