“Everytime you go up a side street, some of them don’t have signs,” said George Hollister. “So, you’re detoured somewhere else. I try to come home from the gym earlier today. I ended up down on East Main Street coming all the way up by McCarthy’s to get over to Sunnyview Avenue. A long way. A lot of wasted gas with the prices of gas.”
The federal government has mandated that cities put in new pipes so that storm water and sewage are separated. In the past, sewage would end up in the Connecticut River. It’s being done in phases over several years. Since the streets already have to be dug up, the city is taking the opportunity to also update other infrastructure if needed like 100 year old water pipes.
“We think it will be money well spent,” said Chicopee Mayor Michael Bissonnette. “The inconvenience will be worth it. And the roads, the sewers, the infrastructure will be good to go for another few decades.”
While the Environmental Protection Agency has ordered the sewage project be done by 2018, city residents have to pay for it. Bissonnette and other mayors want the deadline extended so sewer fees can be stretched out and lowered for people.
“This is costing rate payers across the country way to much money to fix this this fast,” said Bissonnette. “And we’re trying to make the point that the rate payers aren’t this separate class of citizens. These are the same people we’re asking to pay for our schools, our police and fire stations.”
A proposal to extend the deadline to 2025 will be delivered EPA later this month.