Senator Eldridge secures $6 million for Littleton Smart Sewer Project in Environmental Bond Bill

Earmark boosts state support for innovative project

BOSTON (MA) – On Thursday, July 12th, State Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton) secured a $6 million earmark for the Littleton Common Smart Sewer Project in S.2591, An Act promoting climate change adaptation, environmental and natural resource protection, and investment in recreational assets and opportunity.

“I was happy to secure this critical funding for this important environmental protection project, which will provide sustainable, clean water to Littleton residents and promote economic development,” said Senator Eldridge. “I’m proud to represent communities who are dedicated to combating the dangerous impact of climate change, and congratulate the Littleton Board of Selectmen, Littleton Town Administrator Keith Bergman and the Littleton Electric Light and Water Department for leading this effort in Littleton. The project, focused on treating water locally, and embracing alternative energy, through anaerobic digestion, to power the sewer expansion, has the potential to be a state and national model for sustainable water infrastructure.”

“The Town of Littleton is grateful to Senator Eldridge for his support for the Littleton Common Smart Sewer Project, which the Board of Selectmen has identified as our top legislative priority,” said Keith Bergman, Littleton Town Administrator. “This funding will be a great boost to a project which is a focal point for the economic development efforts in Littleton.”

The Littleton Common Smart Sewer Project will serve up to 230 properties in the Littleton Common and nearby surrounding areas. This includes business, commercial and industrial properties, but will also serve residential and municipal parcels, including public housing. The project is expected to be brought before Littleton Town Meeting in the fall of 2018 and/or the spring of 2019.

The project will include constructing a community water and energy resource center (CWERC) which will treat wastes to produce a high-quality effluent for return to the environment. The current limited project is anticipated to have total project costs on the order of $26 million, including the sewer system and a CWERC facility initially designed to treat about 150,000 gallons per day. The costs of constructing, operating and maintaining the system will be paid back through the users, via betterment assessments, connection fees and user charges. These costs will be offset by revenues from the CWERC related to the generation of energy and sale of utilities (including high quality reuse water). For the project to be initially affordable, significant funding support is needed from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The Smart Sewer approach offers many advantages over a conventional project:

  • Service to existing properties and commercial business areas that cannot thrive on septic systems.
  • Support for planned economic redevelopment focused on small businesses in the Littleton Common area, and support for the Littleton Common revitalization plan.
  • Limited collection and treatment system to serve a focused area without encouraging sprawl.
  • Advanced treatment to return high-quality effluent to recharge groundwater, preserving local water balance in the basins. Treatment will reduce nitrogen levels currently returned to the groundwater.
  • Reuse of reclaimed water will replace use of potable water – reducing peak water demand needs.
  • Local treatment of source separated organic (food) wastes and fats-oils-grease (FOG) will reduce trucking of these wastes to distant disposal sites, reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The CWERC will generate energy (thermal and electric) from the treated wastes, which will be reused locally, mitigating local energy demands.
  • The overall localized solutions and technologies applied in the Littleton Common Smart Sewer project will provide examples of an environmentally responsible method of addressing wastewater and water resource management in a small community area.

A conference committee will be established to negotiate the differences between the House and Senate Environmental bond bills, before going to Governor Baker’s desk.

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