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New Holyoke facility helps solve CSO problem

The new wastewater treatment center cost $18 million to construct. Reminder Publications photo by G. Michael Dobbs
By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

HOLYOKE The Connecticut River will be cleaner thanks to the new $18 million combined sewer overflow (CSO) facility that was officially opened last week.

Mayor Michael Sullivan, Department of Public Works Superintendent William Fuqua and Tony Harding, the CEO of United Water, were among the speakers at the event.

Cities such as Holyoke, Chicopee and Springfield are under a federal mandate to correct CSOs. The older combined sewers allow an influx of rainwater to sweep sewage past current treatment facilities and into the river during a storm. The new facility addresses what Fuqua said was the largest CSO on the Connecticut River.

The plant can treat 110 million gallons of sewers overflows a day and Fuqua lamented in jest the pleasant weather.

"If it was a rainy day you could see it work," he said.

The Holyoke wastewater treat facility has been managed by Aquarion Operating Systems, which was recently purchased by United Water, a company that provides water and wastewater services to over seven million people nationally.

Harding said the new facility will not only help protect the river, but help the city reach its economic development goals. He noted that during the construction period there were no water quality violations at the Holyoke facility.

Beside the CSO facility, there have been 14 additional capital improvements to Holyoke wastewater plant including new systems for odor control system, pumping and mixing. Those improvements cost $6 million.

All of the projects were funded by the city and through a low-interest loan from the Commonwealth's revolving loan fund.