The City Council unanimously approved $8.75 million in loan orders for ongoing infrastructure improvements to the city’s sewer and stormwater systems and a feasibility study for future projects.
Robert Button, vice president of CDM, said the projects are part of the city’s continuing response to consent decrees issued in 2011 by the United States EPA and DOJ and the Mass DEP enforcing action on the city’s Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs), and Illicit Discharge Detecting and Elimination (IDDE) and Infiltration and Inflow, “water that shouldn’t be in your sewer system.”
Button led a power-point presentation at the Sept. 14 Council meeting for the comprehensive project and provided an update on the consent decree status of the various projects that are being undertaken.
“We looked at prioritizing roughly 15 areas of 35,000 feet of sewer each throughout the city so we could fix the worst of the worst first,” said Button. “Right now, we’re in the eleventh year of investigations. Each year we investigate the areas that will become construction projects the following year.”
Button said some of the multiple and major problem areas in the city were “individual properties associated with sump pumps, roof leaders, broken and cracked pipes in the city’s streets, and stormwater that is connected in the wrong locations.”
Donald Ciaramella, chief of infrastructure and public works, Robert O’Brien, chief of planning and development, and Nicholas Rystrom, city engineer, all spoke as proponents of the projects.
As has been one of her many strengths as a councillor-at-large and a protector for the city’s overall best interests, Jessica Giannino aptly summarized the proceedings for those watching at home. The Democratic nominee for state representative explained that while the total multi-million-dollar loan requests may appear overwhelming on paper, in the end the project will be cost effective and help alleviate the water system issues that have negatively affected residents over the past several years.
“I want to give people a little backstory on this,” began Giannino. “This issue came about when I first got on the council. We (the city) have been basically dealing with years and years and years and decades of neglect. So the reason why when you see these numbers come across the Council, you see $3 million, $4 million, $5 million, $6 million, it’s really hard to comprehend but the reality of it is our sewer lines, water system, and infrastructure have been neglected as far back as the `1950s. Revere has some very serious issues and we’re under Federal consent decree that we physically have to make things happen. Don Ciaramella called me about this and gave me a great overview and my response was, ‘in three words what you’re saying is, ‘it’s going to save money’ and that’s what it does.
“By voting for this tonight, what it’s doing is taking a really complicated system that our wastewater is going through this indirect channel and making it go from Point A to Point B. It’s going to be more cost- effective for the city and it’s a great opportunity with all the development that’s going in to HYM (Suffolk Downs development) to make sure that our residents in Beachmont aren’t seeing an impact on their service and water pressure.”
Ward 5 Councillor John Powers asked Button about the city’s water system in respect to HYM’s proposed development project at the Suffolk Downs property.
“Will HYM be contributing monies toward the cost of this project?”
“A lot of those details have yet to be worked out, but the expectation is that, yes, there’d be a shared cost if, in fact, this is a solution that will work.”
Ciaramella and O’Brien each received commendation from the Council for reaching out to councilors and providing an overview of the comprehensive project in advance of the meeting.
“This project will create a regional solution and probably get us out of the consent decree sooner and [lead to] some significant savings, so I’m very much in favor of it,” said Ciaramella, adding that the city will also benefit from its effectiveness during major rainstorms.