Littleton receives $1.5 million state grant for smart sewer project

LITTLETON (MA) – The Town of Littleton was presented with a $1.5 million grant from Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash this week through the state’s MassWorks Infrastructure Program to assist with the town’s Smart Sewer project. The 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.

“This project will provide sustainable, clean water to Littleton residents and promote economic development, and I want to 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,” said State Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton). “I’m proud to represent communities who are dedicated to combating the dangerous impact of climate change, and I want to thank the Baker-Polito administration for recognizing Littleton’s great work through this MassWorks grant.”

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.

“This Littleton project will be a prototype for communities across our state and, quite frankly, our nation in the years to come,” said State Representative James Arciero (D-Westford).” I commend the citizens and town of Littleton for their foresight into a truly unique and cutting edge initiative. I look forward to working with the town of Littleton, Secretary Jay Ash, and the Governor’s office on this important environmental and economic development undertaking.”  

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.

The Littleton Common Smart Sewer Project is expected to be brought before the Littleton Town Meeting on October 29th, 2018.

“The Littleton Common smart sewer is the Littleton Board of Selectmen’s highest priority for economic development consistent with community character,” said Littleton Town Administrator Keith Bergman. “The revitalization of Littleton Common is a principal strategy in the Town’s master plan updated last year. We are grateful to the Baker-Polito Administration and our legislators, Senator Jamie Eldridge and Representative Jim Arciero, for their support of this innovative project which also addresses environmental, energy, and housing choice goals.”

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