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Hatfield voters OK borrowing $480,000 for wastewater upgrades

  • Hatfield Town Hall KEVIN GUTTING



Staff Writer
Thursday, December 06, 2018

HATFIELD — Voters in Hatfield have approved a $480,000 project that will reduce energy consumption at the town’s wastewater treatment facility and lower the cost of disposing sludge.

At a special Town Meeting Thursday that lasted less than 20 minutes, residents agreed, by voice vote, to authorize borrowing $480,000 as a way to preserve a $200,000 grant the town previously received from the state’s Department of Environmental Protection.

The project will convert an aerobic sludge digester to a sludge gravity thickener at the 36-year-old treatment plant and be completed by June.

DPC Engineering LLC of Longmeadow, which is handling a wastewater management plan evaluating Hatfield’s sanitary sewers, pump stations and the wastewater treatment facility, made the recommendation for the improvement.

DPC President David Prickett told Town Meeting that the spending is one element of the capital plan. More capital repairs, some which could be funded by other grants, will be needed in the next 10 to 15 years, Prickett said.

Voters also amended the fiscal year 2019 budget by adding $13,680 to the budget line for interest payments related to the borrowing for the project.

The action was taken close to the Nov. 30 grant expiration date due to a “zero-spending” requirement by the state’s Department of Revenue. That mandate was part of requirements to come into compliance with accounting procedures following ongoing financial challenges faced by the town.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.