Begrudgingly, the City Council approved a $74 million upgrade to the wastewater system, which is estimated to more than double sewer bills within the next three years.
The city has been under an administrative order form the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to lower the levels of phosphorous and aluminum in the water coming out of the plant. The project proposed by the consultants, Kleinfelder, also called for a nitrogen optimization process as well.
The open house will also include a discussion of the anticipated fourth and final round of funding for restoration projects to compensate for natural resources that were injured or lost as a result of the release of hazardous materials from the General Electric facility in Pittsfield into the Massachusetts portion of the Housatonic River watershed.
The City Council rejected a $74 million capital request to renovate the wastewater treatment center in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Shortly before 12:30 a.m. the request from Mayor Linda Tyer to borrow for upgrades to the plant fell one vote short of the supermajority needed. Councilors Christopher Connell, Melissa Mazzeo, Kevin Morandi, and Donna Todd Rivers all voted down the project.
The region's congressional delegation is pushing Environment Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt to uphold the EPA's 2016 order that contaminated material in the Housatonic River be "shipped off-site to existing licensed facilities for disposal."
U.S. Rep. Richard Neal presented the North Adams Fire Department with a $452,900 Department of Homeland Security Assistance to Firefighters Grant and a $300,000 EPA Brownfields communitywide assessment grant.
U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, D-Springfield, was on hand for the announcement of the Environmental Protection Agency funds, one of several stops he made in Berkshire County on Friday. He was at Great Barrington in the morning and North Adams later in the afternoon for $300,000 brownfields communitywide assessement grants for both communities.