Gill special town meeting: mysterious excess sewage and school security

GILL — The mysterious difference between the amount of water Riverside customers use and the amount of wastewater they pump across river to be processed in Montague continues. That and an increase in the sewer rate have resulted in a deficit in Gill’s sewer budget.

A July 8 special town meeting will address this and two other monetary articles.

The town has smoke-tested sewer lines looking for the source of the excess water making its way into the system, un-metered at the Gill end and measured with the rest as it passes into Montague, but these have failed to pinpoint a source.

Town Administrative Assistant Ray Purington said the problem goes back three or four years, and has been known for two years.

“I know it’s an issue simply because the amount that we have been pumping has been going up and commensurately the amount we pay to pump it continues to go up,” Purington said. “As far as putting my finger on the magnitude of the problem, I’m not really sure.”

Purington said he has been told that the situation as it is may be better than the cost to fix the underlying problem, but the underlying problem remains to be found.

The transfer from sewer receipts to cover the deficit won’t be set until the end of the fiscal year on Monday , but Purington said he was looking at an estimate of $5,500 to $6,000.

Also on the agenda is a request for money to purchase and install locks on the interior doors of the Gill Elementary School, allowing teachers to lock classroom doors from the inside in the event of an emergency. School district partner Montague approved a similar measure at its annual town meeting. The current estimate is $8,276, Purington said.

The final article will transfer money remaining in the building and grounds maintenance budget toward the cost of the Public Safety Complex roof replacement project approved at the annual town meeting. The sum will probably be in the range of $3,000, Purinton said.

“It’s worth doing,” Purington said. “It will reduce the amount of money we will ultimately have to borrow.”

The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in the Town Hall, 325 Main Road.

You can reach Chris Curtis at: or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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