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Mayor Richard Kos has called a special meeting of the Chicopee City Council on March 13th at 6:30PM to review and discuss a proposal from its Water Pollution Control Division to explore the possibility of utilizing the City of Springfield Waste Treatment facility for all of Chicopee’s waste water treatment needs.
Initially this will entail an analysis of both facilities, Springfield and Chicopee, and their collection and flow capabilities. A number of questions need to be answered in the affirmative to determine whether this option is viable.
The City of Chicopee is taking a unique and proactive approach to investigate alternatives that would continue to provide waste water treatment at a lower cost for the residents of Chicopee for the next twenty plus years and well into the future. This alternative would pump all of Chicopee’s waste water to Springfield’s Bondi Island Water Treatment Facility and scale down the Chicopee treatment plant to treat only combined sewer overflows. Springfield is presently designing a new waste water pipe and pumping facility crossing the Connecticut River. This facility may be enlarged to also pump Chicopee’s sewage to Springfield’s Bondi Island treatment facility. This option could reduce cost to Chicopee residents due to the economy of scale afforded by Springfield’s much larger capacity facility. Water conservation by both Chicopee’s and Springfield’s residents has provided additional Springfield treatment capacity, as well as reduced the amount of flows that are treated at the Chicopee facility, making the interconnection of Chicopee waste water to Springfield alternative viable for a feasibility study.
This alternative can benefit Chicopee WPC by the elimination: of sludge processing, odors, trucking, and continuous facility operation. Also an eventual reduction through attrition in workforce and avoidance of tens of millions of dollars of treatment plant upgrades that are needed at the 46 year old facility as well as potential investment of millions of dollars more to meet future environmental permit requirements are the driving force to study alternative long term treatment options. Regulatory changes over the next 20 plus years could require a substantial investment estimated to be nearly $150 million dollars.
The Springfield Water and Sewer Commission is a regional facility providing wastewater services to customers in Springfield and wholesale wastewater services to West Springfield, Wilbraham, Agawam, Ludlow, Longmeadow, and East
Longmeadow. The addition of Chicopee’s waste water may provide an expanded customer base to benefit all communities.
The feasibility of this concept is proposed to be undertaken as a joint venture, funded by both Springfield and Chicopee. Both communities are prepared to expedite a preliminary study that can be completed by July 2017 to coincide with Springfield’s new pipe crossing and pumping station design deadline. There are many hurdles that need to be cleared before a determination can be made if this option is in both communities best economic and environmental interest.