Info session planned for sewer interceptor

SOUTHWICK – The Sewer Implementation Committee (SIC) is planning a public forum next month to educate voters on the necessity of the parallel sewer interceptor.
The interceptor is a pipe that would connect Southwick’s sewer line directly to Westfield’s waste water treatment facility. Right now, the town is hooked up to one of Westfield’s pipes at the town line.  However, Westfield needs to use the pipe for its own city use. Also, per the inter-municipality agreement, Southwick must vacate that pipe and install its own.
“The City of Westfield can tell you to get your stuff out of their pipes, because it’s theirs and you are just using it,” Ron Michalsky, of Tighe and Bond, said recently.
Westfield Engineer Mark Cressotti said at the time Southwick began bringing sewers to the town it entered an agreement with Westfield to discharge a certain amount from Southwick’s pipe into Westfield’s.
“It is a pre-existing 12-inch sewer main in the area along Southwick Road from the Southwick line to Little River,” Cressotti said. “(The pipe) was underutilized at the time Southwick was looking to initiate sewers in their community.”
Cressotti said that is no longer the case and Westfield can use the pipe for its own purposes. Cressotti also said that Southwick’s expanded sewer system would be beyond the amount of discharge the communities agreed to and Southwick needs to connect directly to the sewer treatment facility.
The parallel interceptor will allow the town to expand its sewer system to Phase II, which would bring sewers to the north and west sides of North Pond and nearby areas down to Lakewood Village, Powdermill Road, Fernwood, Birchwood, Pineywood areas, the school campus, and portions of Feeding Hills Road, Hudson Drive and Gargon Terrace, Congamond Road and the area of College Highway.
“Without this, there is no Phase II project,” Selectman Russell Fox said during a recent discussion of the project.
The SIC met with the Board of Selectmen this week to discuss the project and its options for educating the public.
The $2.1 million project is being partially funded with a $621,000 grant and a $1.4 million loan from Rural Development. The remaining costs would be paid through a low interest Rural Development loan.
“It’s 2.75 percent,” noted Town Administrator Karl Stinehart.
SIC member Gerald Patria asked when Town Meeting would be held.
“I’d like to do an informational meeting two weeks prior to Town Meeting,” said Patria.
Residents must approve the loan for the project.
Selectman Chairman Arthur Pinell told Patria it would be in “early fall” and to plan a late September session.
Patria requested that the town’s Connect City system be used to alert residents of the meeting so as many people as possible could understand the need for the pipe.

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