Lowell – The City of Lowell’s Wastewater Utility has been awarded approximately $67,000 from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) Sewage Notification Assistance Grant Program. This program supports publicly owned treatment facilities and municipalities in meeting the requirements of MassDEP’s sewage notification regulation which took effect on July 6, 2022. More than 240 Massachusetts municipalities are subject to the new regulations.
MassDEP awarded $600,000 to ten municipalities: Cambridge, Chelsea, Fitchburg, Lawrence, Holyoke, Lowell, Lynn, Pittsfield, Springfield and Worcester. The $67,000 awarded to Lowell will be used to meet utilities’ new requirements to notify the public of combined sewer overflows (CSOs) into surface waters by posting signage at public access points and enhancing online information-sharing.
In addition to providing information to the public regarding overflow events, this grant money will also help raise awareness of infrastructure limitations and alert the public about which waterways to avoid during a CSO. This will benefit residents by lowering the risk of potential health hazards and water-borne illnesses.
City Manager Thomas A. Golden, Jr. states, “This award from MassDEP reinforces the City of Lowell’s commitment to public health and safety, which is a priority of this administration. With this grant, we will be able to upgrade the public notification systems. This is a huge victory for the Wastewater Utility.”
“I applaud City Manager Golden and his administration for working with the Healey-Driscoll team and MassDEP to request and receive one of only 10 municipal wastewater utilities awards,” says Mayor Sokhary Chau. “Now with the warm weather, more families are out enjoying activities along the Merrimack River. This critical funding will allow Lowell to update and make improvements to better notify the public of potential combined sewage overflows, thus protecting the overall public health of our residents.”
The announcement of the Mass DEP grant came at the perfect time, as the Wastewater Department was celebrating its first annual Wastewater Employee Appreciation Lunch, in conjunction with National Public Works Week (5/21-5/27) and a larger Department of Public Works (DPW) Appreciation Event. “This is a great opportunity for Lowell,” says Mark Young, Executive Director of Wastewater Utility. “With this grant, we will be able to post signage along the river and alert residents in a timely manner in the event of a CSO.”