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Northampton to accept insurance payment for wastewater treatment plant fix

GORDON DANIELS
buildings on Market Street, buildings in center on Graves Avenue

GORDON DANIELS buildings on Market Street, buildings in center on Graves Avenue Purchase photo reprints »

The storm caused a power failure at the plant that resulted in 500,000 to 1 million gallons of untreated wastewater being dumped into the Connecticut River over a nine-hour period.

The City Council Thursday is expected to vote to accept the money and appropriate it to the Sewer Enterprise Fund. By law, and amount over $20,000 must be approved by the council and go to the department that suffered the damage.

Insurance is covering all damage aside from a $10,000 deductible.

The council meeting begins with public comment and 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Puchalski Municipal Building.

The Sept. 18 incident at the treatment plant off Hockanum Road happened when the backup generator failed after the plant lost power and the auto-dialer system that alerts plant personnel of problems also failed.

The plant’s pump “galley” in the basement filled with water, damaging all of the plant’s pump motors in the process. Those motors had to be replaced, as did other damaged equipment.

Part of the expense involved renting emergency pumps capable of handling 22 million gallons a day for a week while the regular motors were sent out of state for repairs.

In other business, the council will consider:

∎ Reappointments of Brian Adams to the Community Preservation Committee, Kevin Lake to the Conservation Commission and Sara Weinberger to the Human Rights Commission, and a new appointment of Stan Zawalick, 538 Sylvester Road, to the Agricultural Commission.

∎ A presentation by the Business Improvement District regarding sight-impaired menus.

∎ A second vote authorizing the Office of Planning and Development to spend money from a Tourism Gift Account for gateway and other signage, pavement markings, plantings and outdoor furniture and to accept gifts of personal property.

∎ A measure to allow residents Andrew Putnam, Rob Postel and other volunteers to plant shade trees on city property. The group intends to initially donate and plant six trees to help replace some of the tree canopy lost in recent years. The order would waive insurance and permit fee requirements. The trees have been approved by the Tree Committee and Board of Public Works.

∎ An order authorizing the mayor to buy a 19-foot strip of Graves Avenue from Historic Northampton. The land connects Graves with Bridge Street School. The council has twice postponed a vote.

∎ An ordinance amendment to rezone 716 Bridge Road from rural residential to urban residential B. The request is being made by Lathrop Community, which owns the property and is planning for a future expansion. Neighbors have urged the council not to approve the change until drainage issues are fixed in the area. The council has twice postponed a vote on the measure to give subcommittees a chance to weigh in.

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