Montague Selectboard looks to fund wastewater projects with ARPA money

  • The Water Pollution Control Facility at 34 Greenfield Road in Montague. Staff File Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 2/13/2022 3:02:25 PM
Modified: 2/13/2022 3:00:31 PM

MONTAGUE — The Selectboard reviewed Water Pollution Control Facility and Department of Public Works requests that are eligible for American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding during last week’s meeting, voting to allocate $250,000 toward one of three requests discussed.

Out of the $2.4 million in ARPA funding the town has available, the Selectboard voted to allocate $250,000 for the total cost of a wastewater collection system engineering study with the expectation that $150,000 will be made up by a state Department of Environmental Protection Asset Management Planning Grant.

Town officials also discussed the allocation of around $500,000 for a Vactor sewer truck, with the Selectboard arriving at the idea to lease the vehicle and bring the article to Town Meeting voters. Thirdly, they discussed a Water Pollution Control Facility screw pump replacement that would require around $730,000 in ARPA funding, but elected to learn more before settling on a motion.

The article request for the engineering study, submitted by Department of Public Works Director Tom Bergeron and Water Pollution Control Facility Superintendent Chelsey Little, describes the study as “a comprehensive engineering assessment of the sources of inflow and infiltration (I&I) in the Millers Falls Collection System and the most efficient means to reducing combined sewer overflow (CSO) events in the Turners Falls Collection System.”

Proposed engineering firm Wright-Pierce reported there is a high likelihood that $150,000 in state grant money would be awarded to help fund the study, but funding for direct services of an engineering consultant in the amount of $202,000 must be appropriated prior to the grant award. With the grant amount offsetting the cost, the town would be left to pay $52,000 toward an engineering consultant fee.

While the town has an existing Vactor sewer truck that officials anticipate will be usable as the town searches for a replacement, the Selectboard showed an eagerness to bring the $500,000 request to Town Meeting voters. Should the town choose to invest in a new truck, the article’s approval at Town Meeting would allow the town to enter a queue that would yield a build completion date next spring. Bergeron said he has also been eyeing a suitable truck at C.N. Wood Co. shows and has been pushing to find a price.

Although Town Administrator Steve Ellis pointed out that an outright purchase would yield the lowest net cost, Selectboard Chair Rich Kuklewicz said he would rather lease the truck, which was an idea supported by the rest of the board. The Selectboard opted to make three payments for a leased vehicle, each equal to one-fifth of the $500,000 total cost, once the next round of ARPA funding becomes available. The remaining two-fifths would be paid with town money.

“My suggestion would be to lease it,” Kuklewicz said, “but make sure the lease is structured so that we could consider paying the lease off with ARPA funds when the next allocation comes out and we have discussions in the fall.”

The Selectboard withheld a motion to appropriate ARPA funding toward replacing the Water Pollution Control Facility’s screw pumps during last week’s meeting. Regardless, town officials recognized the request’s validity.

“The screw pumps, they’re failing,” Ellis said. “They’re older.”

Ellis noted the Capital Improvements Committee is touring the facility, “specifically to see the screw pumps and have the conversation with some of the technicians about the different options and about installation.”

Reach Julian Mendoza
at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or


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