Pioneer Valley
Planning Commission

Eric Carle Museum, Amherst, MA
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Press Release

CONTACT: Chris Curtis, PVPC Principal Planner, 413) 781-6045, Stan Kulig, Chicopee Department of Public Works (413) 594-3566, William Fuqua, Holyoke Department of Public Works (413) 322-5645
April 30, 2008

Press Conference to Highlight Elimination of 44.4 Million Gallons of CSO Discharge with Four Connecticut River Projects

The cities of Holyoke and Chicopee, the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC), and the Connecticut River Clean-Up Committee will hold a press conference on Friday, May 2 at 1 p.m. at the Medina Street Boat Ramp in Chicopee. The press conference will highlight upcoming sewer separation projects in Holyoke and Chicopee that will help to eliminate nearly 44.4 million gallons of combined sewer overflow (CSO) that annually discharges to the Connecticut River. The CSO project announcement comes on the eve of Chicopee’s Greenfest, a celebration of community-based and regional environmental projects. 

Design of the four CSO projects is to be funded through a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the result of a federal appropriation of $1.34 million established through leadership of Representative John Olver and with the support of Representative Richard Neal and Senators Edward Kennedy and John Kerry. The two cities will provide a 45 percent match toward the federal funding they receive, bringing the total monies dedicated to project design to $2.43 million.

PVPC, in cooperation with the Connecticut River Clean-Up Committee, selected these projects based on a set of criteria and has proposed them for funding to EPA. Criteria include volume of CSO outfall eliminated/water quality improvements to the Connecticut River, project merit and feasibility, and indications of community commitment to support the project administratively and financially. The Connecticut River Clean-Up Committee is a partnership that involves representatives from Chicopee, Holyoke, Ludlow, South Hadley, Springfield, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, PVPC, and the Connecticut River Watershed Council. 

According to PVPC Chief Planner Christopher Curtis, this is the ninth year that Congressmen Olver and Neal and Senators Kerry and Kennedy have secured federal monies for the Pioneer Valley region to remedy the CSO problems along the Connecticut River. The selected projects will make significant contributions toward reducing the flow of bacteria and solids into the river and bringing communities closer to complying with the Clean Water Act and EPA Administrative Orders.

In CSOs, both stormwater and sewage flows in the same pipe. During times of heavy rainfall, the volume of these combined flows can be so great that they overwhelm wastewater facilities, bypassing treatment and overflowing directly into the Connecticut River or its tributaries. By separating storm flows from sewage flows, a wastewater facility can better treat all the sewage that comes its way, and the cleaner flows of stormwater can be directed to open areas where they can soak into soils and recharge groundwater or be filtered and detained before they enter surface waters. 

The work to clean up CSOs on the Connecticut River began in 1998. Since then, the number of active locations releasing untreated CSO discharges has been reduced from approximately 120 to 72 locations in western Massachusetts. Accounting for projects currently nearing completion, this translates into a 50 percent annual reduction in volume of untreated CSO discharge into the Connecticut River, from 1.4 billion gallons per year to 0.7 billion gallons per year. In this time, Agawam, West Springfield, and South Hadley have eliminated CSOs within their jurisdictions, and Ludlow is beginning construction on its last CSO project. Springfield, Chicopee, and Holyoke need to address approximately 72 remaining CSOs with a price tag exceeding $325 million in current dollars.

Project Information

All four projects entail design that will separate sanitary sewer flows from stormwater flows and reduce sewage overflows to the Connecticut River.

• The Jones Ferry Road project in Holyoke involves the separation of a combined sewer system that outlets into the Connecticut River just 50 feet downstream of the city-owned Jones Ferry River Access Center, an important resource that is used for public boating, fishing, and water recreation. The drainage area to be separated is bounded to the north by Saint Vincent Street, to the east by Main Street, to the south by the Main Street/Ingleside Street intersection, and to the west by Holy Family Road. The project will lead to the elimination of .9 million gallons of CSO overflow per year.

• The Upper Granby Road project in Chicopee involves the separation of approximately 25,000 linear feet of combined sewers with a drainage area of 40 acres. The separated storm drain will be directed along an abandoned railbed that will have infiltration trenches to reduce flows before discharging to an unnamed brook in the vicinity of Dale Street. The project will lead to the elimination of 11.5 million gallons of CSO overflow per year.

• The Broadway & Beauchamp Terrace project in Chicopee involves 64,500 linear feet of combined sewers with a drainage area of 420 acres. The project will be designed in two phases. Phase A involves the separation of 29,000 linear feet of combined sewers with a drainage area of 200 acres in the area of Ellerton Street, Bemis Avenue, Wheatland Avenue, Broadway (south of Beauchamp Terrace), St. James Avenue, and associated cross streets.  Phase B involves the separation of 35,500 linear feet of combined sewers with a drainage area of 220 acres in the area of Beauchamp Terrace, Waite Avenue, Frontenac Street, East Street, and associated cross streets. Combined, Phases A and B will lead to the elimination of 24 million gallons of CSO overflow per year.

• The Cecile Drive project in Chicopee involves 6,750 linear feet of combined sewers with a drainage area of 38 acres in the area of Willette Street, Cecile Drive, Jennings Street, a portion of Sheridan Street, and associated cross streets. The project will lead to the elimination of 8 million gallons of CSO overflow per year.


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