Deerfield OKs borrowing for wastewater plant repair

  • South Deerfield Wastewater Treatment Facility. Recorder File Photo

Staff Writer
Published: 3/14/2019 12:11:43 AM

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Voters at Monday’s special Town Meeting opted unanimously to make an investment in their wastewater infrastructure by agreeing to appropriate up to $1 million to improve the South Deerfield treatment facility.

There was no opposition to a warrant article asking residents if they were willing to borrow short term to replace the mechanical system inside an existing secondary clarifier at the treatment facility, as the state Department of Environmental Protection has required. The work includes, but is not limited to, planning, design, bidding and construction. The town previously opted to replace a tank at the treatment plant. Monday’s vote was to allocate the money to finance the work.

Voters who stood up to speak in Deerfield Town Offices agreed there is no other option than to rectify the situation. The state Department of Environmental Protection has told Deerfield it must fix the problem, and about five months ago gave the town 90 days to do so. That deadline was eventually extended to a year. Deerfield decided to replace the clarifier – instead of rebuilding it or constructing a new one and an associated pump station.

Selectboard member Carolyn Shores Ness explained the town has $1 million in a reserve fund, but that money cannot be accessed until the fall. That is why the cash will be borrowed short term.

The lender and interest rate is not yet known because it has not gone out to bid.

The wastewater clarifier, which Public Works Superintendent Kevin Scarborough previously explained is the tank that treated water goes through before it made contact with chlorine, failed in December 2017, when electricity was temporarily disabled by brutally cold temperatures and its metal arm bent after power came back on and tried to move accumulated treated water.

John Paresky proposed an amendment to clarify the wording of the article. The motion was adopted unanimously.

Selectboard Chairman Henry “Kip” Komosa explained 75 percent of the project’s cost will be covered by the wastewater system’s users, while the remaining 25 percent will be shouldered by all town taxpayers. Ness said 883 households utilize the South Deerfield treatment facility. Police Chief John Paciorek Jr. mentioned there are 169 users of the Old Deerfield plant, which is the only other one in town.

The special Town Meeting was originally slated for Feb. 25 but the town failed to place notice in The Recorder in time to alert residents at least two weeks ahead of time, as required by bylaws.




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