Funds approved to reduce Connecticut River sewage overflow in Holyoke, Chicopee and Springfield

Hampden County

CT River Cleanup Committee secures $1.5M funding to restructure sewage, storm drain systems

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – After a record-breaking month for rainfall in July, the Connecticut River Cleanup Committee prepares for a busy construction season ahead.

The amount of rain and flooding we saw last month has brought this topic up as an important issue. The Connecticut River Cleanup Committee secured $1.5 million from the state capital plan which will help keep the Connecticut River clean.

Sewer plants have ben overwhelmed with all of the recent rainfall, which meant that untreated water got into the Connecticut River. This is a problem that has been happening for some time now all because of the combined infrastructure.

“For sewers think toilet, and for storm water think those storm drains on your street. And in old industrial cities like Holyoke, where we are today, Chicopee and Springfield and cities like them across the country, those systems are actually combined,” said Patrick Beaudry, Manager of Public Affairs at Pioneer Valley Planning Commission.

The combined sewer infrastructure is causing issues when they get overwhelmed with a high amount of water. It’s either, let them flood, or allow untreated water out into the river so that these plants don’t flood. This money from the state is one step into reducing these combined systems. When they first started, there were seven communities that needed to be remodeled, but they are now down to three: Holyoke, Chicopee and Springfield.

“By separating these systems you’re actually allowing your sewers systems and the water treatment plants of these municipalities to treat just the sewage,” said Beaudry.

The water from storm rain will flow directly into the river since it wouldn’t need to be treated. This would all together put less stress on the the treatment plants and reduce the amount of waste that is being put into the river. This is the seventh straight year of funding from the Commonwealth for work in the region. All of this money is coming from the Environmental Bond Bills.

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