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Projects improve city's infrastructure

Date: 3/30/2011

March 30, 2011

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

CHICOPEE — Two infrastructure projects are set to add some relief to ongoing situations in two neighborhoods in the city.

The residents living near Roberts Pond on Irene Street will now see improvements to the area that should "eliminate 95 percent of the risk of the dam failing," according to Mayor Michael Bissonnette.

Residents living near the Medina Street water pollution control facility will get some relief from the odors emanating from the plant as well.

Neighbors of the water pollution plant met recently with Bissonnette to hear a presentation of the work that will be undertaken. Bissonnette spoke to Reminder Publications prior to that meeting.

The Roberts Pond property, which had been at one time used for recreation, has not been maintained for years and Bissonnette said funding from the Department of Environmental Protection will pay for the installation of a new sewer main line on Irene Street between Factory and Cyran streets. The new sewer line should prevent sewer back-ups. A new storm drain and four new catch basins will be installed at the Roberts Pond cul de sac and a new sewerline will replace the current pipe between Robert Pond Lane and Irene Street.

The former pond itself will be used to manage storm water with plants and natural pollutant removal. The existing earthen dam will be cleared of its current vegetation and then loamed and seeded with grass. Willimansett Brook will be rerouted through the dam in a flow control structure.

At the water pollution facility in Ward Three, Bissonnette explained the facility still uses the equipment installed there in 1965 to control odors. These will be removed and replaced by a modern chemical air scrubber that will clean the air coming from the sludge processing building.

One of the most odorous areas of the treatment plant, the sludge conditioning thickener tanks, will be covered and the air from that area will be sent through the scrubber system.

The project would "significantly improve the quality of life in the summer" for the nearby residents, Bissonnette said.

Water being released into the Connecticut River will also be cleaner, he added.

He explained that Chicopee received $2.08 million from the Massachusetts State Revolving Fund to finance the project at a reduced interest rate.

Bissonnette added the city has a new contract to haul away the sludge that will save $300,000 over the next fiscal year.

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