SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

May 22, 2014

City eyes water, sewer projects

Rate increase would help fund infrastructure work

BEVERLY — Water and sewer repairs aren’t the most exciting projects, but they are usually necessary. And expensive.

Mayor Mike Cahill has asked the City Council for the authority to borrow $6.4 million for four underground infrastructure projects in different parts of the city.

The projects are designed to solve problems ranging from basement flooding in the Cove to discolored water in Beverly Farms to collapsed pipes on Cabot Street.

“We’re trying to chip away at these projects that are required to modernize the system, much of which is very old,” Cahill said.

The four requests include $2.9 million to repair the water main that feeds Beverly Farms; $1.35 million to revamp the Cove neighborhood sewer system; $1.35 million to clean and re-line sewer pipes in the Rantoul Street area; and $800,000 to upgrade a section of the water main on Standley Street.

The City Council will hold public hearings on the proposed borrowing on June 2 at City Hall.

To help pay for the projects, the city is planning to increase the combined water and sewer rate charged to residents by 21/2 percent. Finance Director Bryant Ayles said the increase would be the lowest in six years. He said money will be freed up by expiring debt the city has been paying for years for the secondary sewerage treatment plant in Salem.

Although the projects are large in scope, Public Services Director Mike Collins said much of the work can be done without digging up roads and disrupting the public.

In Beverly Farms, approximately 3 miles of water pipe will be cleaned and lined with cement. Collins said the improvements will eliminate the discolored drinking water that residents in the Farms have experienced for years, and they will also improve the flow of water for fighting fires.

A section of the water main on Standley Street will be upgraded from six to 16 inches, also improving flow to the Farms, Collins said.

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