Integrated Water Resources Mgmt Plan

Integrated Water Resources Management Planning

Chicopee residents are no strangers to utility and road construction and rising water and sewer fees. In response to rising fees, the City is working on a plan to re-evaluate how revenue brought in by water, sewer, and stormwater fees is spent. The goal of the plan is to identify which infrastructure projects are the most important, while postponing less critical work to minimize future rate increases.

The City of Chicopee wants your input on how to improve our water, sewer, and stormwater systems. We need to hear from you what work still needs to be done in your neighborhood to improve drinking water, reduce street flooding and prevent sewer backups.
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Background

The city of Chicopee is developing an Integrated Water Resources Management Plan (IWRMP) to measure the success of completed Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) reduction projects, consider several means of reducing project costs, and prioritize CSO reduction projects among other projects that the City needs to complete to address government requirements or to replace aging facilities. The objective of the IWRMP is to develop a plan to complete projects that have the greatest social, economic, and environmental benefit, on a schedule that is affordable for the City.

The City has been taking decisive action to reduce and eliminate its CSOs since 2001, as well as eliminating sewer backups into homes. The City is currently implementing the plan recommended in its 2006 Final Long Term CSO Control Plan. During the construction of the new separated sanitary sewer system it was found that the City's existing drinking water, sewer, and drain systems are in need of more extensive repair and replacement than originally anticipated. The pipe replacement needs, coupled with rising construction costs, have resulted in steadily rising sewer rates in the City.

In addition to rising costs associated with stormwater and CSOs, the City is faced with the new cost of improvements to the Drinking Water Treatment Facility and distribution system, as well as to the Water Pollution Control Facility, which are anticipated in coming years to address aging equipment and stricter requirements posed by the state and federal governments.

Given that many Cities and Towns are facing demands both in renewing their aging facilities and in complying with regulations, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released its "Integrated Municipal Stormwater and Wastewater Planning Approach Framework."

The Integrated Management planning process includes the following steps:

  • Examine the City's obligations as a whole: This includes evaluating all of the City's wastewater, stormwater, and water system needs for the next 20 years.
  • Prioritize projects: The process allows for prioritizing all wastewater, stormwater, and water system projects based on public health benefits, environmental impact, and other critical parameters.
  • Analyze the City's Financial Capability: A detailed financial capability analysis is underway to evaluate current and predicted future sewer, stormwater, and water rates.
  • Develop an Implementation Plan: The final implementation plan will establish an affordable schedule for carrying out projects according to their assigned priority.