Westfield seeks sewer project approval

WESTFIELD – The Conservation Commission initiated review Tuesday night of a sewer extension project that will connect a Sunnyside Road neighborhood to city sewers.
City Engineer Mark Cressotti presented details of the project to install 1,600 feet of sanitary sewer line to service homes on Plantation Circle and Jessie Lane.
The issue went before the Conservation Commission, for the second time, because the sewer line will cross Ashley Brook to connect to existing sewers in the Radisson Lane neighborhood.
The original developer, Ralph DePlama, has sought the board approval to connect Plantation Circle when the subdivisions were originally constructed. The issue was how the sewer line would cross the brook and associated wetland buffer, should it be installed beneath the brook or bridge over the brook.
The matter was referred to the Department of Environmental Protection for further review and the bridging approach finally endorsed, after several years and after the subdivisions were accepted as city streets.
The issue then because who would finance the sewer line extension work.
Residents of the Plantation Circle and Jessie Lane petitioned the City Council to amend the city sewer map to allow the sewer line extension. The council voted earlier this year to allow the sewer project.
Cressotti said that the city “is still working out the finances, but it will be a Department of Public Works project”, but that the design and engineering work has advanced to the point where the Conservation Commission has a cohesive project to review.
“It was permitted to go over Ashley Brook as a pipe that would need to be heated so it didn’t freeze and drop raw sewerage into the wetlands,” Cressotti said this morning. “We’re looking to do it in a more responsible manner to eliminate the potential of damage to the wetland, a more stable structure that we can maintain.”
The city is proposing to install a 20-foot wide and five-feet high culvert over the brook. An earthen berm would then be placed on top of the culvert and the sewer line buried for protection from the weather.
The city has already gone to the DEP seeking a sewer permit for the project. The project also needs an order of conditions from the Conservation Commission to mitigate environmental impact to the brook and associated wetlands during and after construction of the culvert.
The board voted to continue the public hearing to its Jane 10, 2012 session while members review the information provided by the city.

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