Sewers on their way to those with failing septic systems
By Katelyn Gendron
Reminder Assistant Editor
AGAWAM -- There's good news for homeowners in Feedings Hills battling with failing septic systems -- sewers will be on the way within 12 months.
Residents in Phase I of the six-phase Feeding Hills Sewer Extension Project will finally have sewers within one year at half the projected cost to the town. City Councilor Robert Rossi, chair of the Ad Hoc Sewer Committee, assured residents at last week's meeting that the committee is already discussing plans for Phases II and III.
"I'm ecstatic," he told Reminder Publications after the meeting. "To actually see this become a reality -- I can't believe it."
Rossi recalled that the previously proposed Sewer Extension Project in 2008 totaled upwards of $31 million and cost homeowners $19,650 each. The project has since been redesigned into six phases to be bonded out individually at a cost of $2,557 per household, not including the Special Benefit Assessment of $1,750, the General Benefit Assessment of $807 and the sewer hookup.
Phase I includes gravity sewers running west from Shoemaker Lane on the southerly side of Route 57 to South Westfield Street to a point north of the former police academy. This phase also includes replacement of the 10-inch sewer line from Stop & Shop to Feeding Hills Center with 15-inch piping.
Rossi noted that the City Council authorized a bond of $3.73 million for Phase I; however, the winning construction bid came estimated the cost to be approximately $1.8 million. "That [remaining] money will go into the next phase if not all used," he added.
City Councilor Dennis Perry, member of the Ad Hoc Sewer Committee, noted that remaining phases are projected to cost upwards of $3 million each, however, regardless of which phase a household may fall, the betterment fee are the same for all.
"The betterment fee is the same because it's not fair for one resident to pay more just because their phase [of the Sewer Extension Project] includes a costly pumping station," Perry said, adding that Phase II will include a pumping station on Pine Street and a force main to South Westfield Street.
Phase III extends sewers into Bradford Drive and Tannery Drive. Phase IV will bring the sewer system to Barbara Lane, Gina Drive, Joanne Circle and Kathy Terrace. Phase V extends sewers into Partridge Court, Pheasant Run Circle, Pheasant Run Court, Red Fox Drive, White Fox Drive and Woodcock Court. Phase VI brings the final pipeline to Karen Lynn Circle.
Feeding Hills Resident Marsha Tami said she's been following the development of the Sewer Extension Project since moving into the area 11 years ago. She explained that right now she is not one of the unfortunate homeowners with a failing septic system; however, many in her neighborhood aren't so lucky.
Tami said she'll be grateful to have the option to hook up to the town's sewer system when or if her septic system fails.
"This is a big victory for Agawam," City Councilor Donald Rheault said of finally breaking ground on the first phase. He added that many already have the benefit of the town's sewer system and it's time to extend that courtesy to all residents.
Department of Public Works Superintendent Anthony Sylvia noted that residents seeking information or updates about the progress of the Sewer Extension Project may log onto the sewer page of the town's Web site, www.agawam.ma.us