City to break ground on sewer project this month
By Katelyn Gendron
Reminder Assistant Editor
AGAWAM -- After decades of talk and failed plans, Feeding Hills will finally get sewers.
According to Department of Public Works Superintendent Anthony Sylvia, the contractor will break ground on Phase I of the Feeding Hills Sewer Extension Project by the end of the month and sewers will be functional in one year. The City Council approved a loan order of $3.7 million for the first of the six-phase project last September.
"This project is critical to the people in that area of town because of [their] failing septic systems," Mayor Susan Dawson told Reminder Publications.
According to information released by the mayor's office, Phase I "consists of gravity sewers running westerly from Shoemaker Lane along the southerly side of the Route 57 corridor to South Westfield Street and then southerly in South Westfield Street to a point just north of the former police training facility.
"In addition, the project would extend the 15-inch sewer installed by Stop and Shop through their property to Feeding Hills Center replacing the existing 10-inch line and providing capacity for the future sewers in the northwesterly portion of the Southwest Area Project. Phase I would install some 7,600 feet of sewer pipe ranging in size from 24-inches [in] diameter to 12-inches [in] diameter."
"Under the former administration it was [going to cost] $19,000 per household [for sewers]," Dawson explained. "It's imperative that people know that it's only $2,557 per household [due to a total restructure of the project]."
City Councilor Robert Rossi, chair of the council's Ad Hoc Sewer Subcommittee, noted that figure does not include the hookup to each house. He added that residents in Phase I will be required to pay a Special Benefit Assessment of $1,750 and a General Benefit Assessment of $807 and those who choose to hook up to the sewer system will pay an additional $1,600.
"If you don't want the sewer, you don't have to hook it up," Rossi said. "The hook up is an optional expense ... [but if you do decide to hook up,] when you start to flush, you start to pay."
He added that payment plans will be available for those homeowners who cannot pay the sum in full.
Rossi noted that the public is invited to attend the Sept. 29 meeting of the Ad Hoc Sewer Subcommittee where construction details will be discussed and city officials will answer questions from residents. The meeting will take place in the Agawam Middle School cafeteria at 6:30 p.m.