Council Wraps up ’16 with Water Fix

By Sue Ellen Woodcock

The council voted to combine two loan orders for $6.5 million having to do with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) consent decree to eliminate excess water from the sewer system and the sump pump removal program at Monday night’s meeting.

“It’s the consolidation of two loan orders and an administrative way to save on paperwork. The DEP also favors this,” said Mayor Brian Arrigo, as he stressed this was not a new loan, just a combination of two.

A discussion about the consent degree continued with Councilor George Rotondo asking questions.

City Engineer Nick Rystrom explained that about 60 percent of the city has sump pumps, which add volume to the water and sewer system. He said the combined loan orders is money to address the sump pump amnesty properties.

“We have a problem with illegal connection that we need to solve,” Arrigo said. “Right now we have to deal with it. It’s been six years. The EPA wants it done in the next few years.”

Rotondo acknowledged that Arrigo inherited this problem. “We have to continue to invest in water and sewer infrastructure,” Arrigo said.

Ward 6 Councillor Charlie Patch said he has’t seen a report with what the engineers hired by the City, Camp, Dresser, McKee and Smith (CDM) is spending on the consent degree project.

“I have asked for an audit before,” Patch said. “We need someone to tell us where the money is going.”

Arrigo said each councillor has received a binder from CDM. He added the City Engineer meets with CDM every two weeks to talk about the direction of the work. Patch pointed to concerns of similar work done in Newburyport and Malden.

“We have an antiquated water system,” said Councillor Robert Haas.

  • The council discussed the former Wonderland Dog Park. Councillor Rotondo made a motion to have the mayor request the owner of Wonderland Dog Track to demolish the building if these plans are not already in the works. Ward 5 Councillor John Powers said the estimated cost the tear it down is $4 million.”I have met with two potential developers in the past few months and they agree it should be demolished.”

Powers, who put in a similar motion months ago, said if by Jan. 15 there is no movement to demo or clean up the owners will be fined for deplorable and dangerous conditions.

  • The council voted the grant Eastern Bank a special permit to open a new office on Squire Road in the space of the former Metro PCS shop. The permit was granted pending site plan approval.

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