WESTFIELD – The City Council voted Thursday night to approve seven easements through private property needed by Southwick to install a sewer interceptor line connecting that community to the city’s wastewater and sewerage treatment plant on Neck Road.
Southwick installed a sewer system along the former Northampton-New Haven railroad line, now being developed as a bicycle rail trail, but never completed the connection to the treatment plant because of the expense of two river and one highway crossing.
The town’s sewer main currently truncates at South Meadow Road where it is connected to a Westfield sewer lateral. The interceptor line would connect Southwick’s sewer system directly to Westfield’s treatment facility.
The two communities entered into an inter-municipality agreement on Oct. 5, 1998 under which Southwick must vacate that Westfield sewer line and install its own. The agreement had two triggers for the Southwick interceptor installation, the volume of sewerage generated and the needs of Westfield to use the surplus capacity in its interceptor line “loaned” to Southwick.
The inter-municipal agreement is part of the city’s expansion of the wastewater treatment plant. The state, as part of the permitting process required that the city operate the facility as a regional wastewater treatment facility, saving capacity for Southwick, which was actively engaged in designing and building a sewer system, and the town of Southampton, which to date has not acted on using its capacity.
Westfield City 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 (by Westfield) 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 exceed 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.
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.
Westfield acted Thursday night at the City Council meeting as the agent for Southwick to acquire the right of way through easements to cross private property with its sewer lateral. The easements were approved by seven separate unanimous votes of the council.
Typically, land taking votes are followed by votes to appropriate the funding for either an easement or a direct taking through eminent domain. However, Southwick is directly funding those costs in this instance.
The seven easements will cost the town $5,175, with an additional recording fee of $750, bring the cost of the easements to $5,925. The town is also responsible for the cost of the property appraisal, estimated at about $5,000.
Southwick completed Phase I of the sewer project and is now seeking resident approval for phase II, but must completed the lateral line to the treatment plan before that expansion can occur. Phase II will increase the number of homes and business tied into the sewer system.
To see video of the August 16 City Council meeting, click here.