A few Updates from the Fitchburg DPW 1/26/19

A few Updates from the Fitchburg DPW 1/26/19:
🚧Water Street Bridge: Design has not started. 25% design expected Jan 2020. Will be advertised in April 2021
New bridge over Boulder Drive will have 3 lanes northbound, 2 lanes southbound, bike lanes, sidewalks
🌳Rollstone Hill Rock Walk project: Approved for Student Conservation Association Crews in 2019
💦 Started researching different revenue opportunities for water department for the watershed forestland. There are several possibilities such as selling carbon offset credits or timber harvesting.
🎾CDBG reimbursement work: Continued to remove tennis courts at Goodrich Playground
💦 Shut off water at 60 Scott Road at tap (no curbstop present) following City taking possession of the property.
💦Reservoir levels as of 1/25/19: Meetinghouse=full, Mare Meadow=full, Bickford=full, Fitchburg/Ashby=full, Scott=full, Lovell=full

fitchburg dpw truck.jpg

Detention Swale on Shea St near Cathy St was FULL Tonight!

In case you were wondering what the HUGE new Detention Swale on Shea St near Cathy St looks like when full...the full swale was overflowing onto Shea St (as designed) from a huge amount of water + plugged up drain screens... our dpw was here in the rain cleaning the screens of leaves to get the water to flow through the drainage system faster. 18" Culverts out in two locations with a dedicated line out towards the Notown. Deepest point in swale is about 8ft!
Engineer Nick Erickson said before this was built there would be 2 ft of water in the road...so it is working!

Upper Common Complete Streets planned improvements 2019

Upper Common planned improvements:
It was noted that our Complete Streets Upper Common Project has been awarded to a contractor at a cost of $300k. We were given $219k as a grant, we will be supplementing this with approx $81k of CDBG grant funding.
The proposed plan has been colored here for clarity--reworked/rebuilt sidewalks and accessible access to crosswalks are in blue, the new thermoplastic crosswalks in red.
This also includes flashing pedestrian crossing signals as well as other miscellaneous work.


Trash & Recycling- Dumping in the same truck?

Regarding Trash & Recycling pickup:
In the last year, I've gotten a number of complaints about drivers dumping both trash and recycling in the same truck--at the same time.
When I went on the recycling audit, I brought this up to the WM Public Sector Solutions Rep... and discovered WM is able to look up the truck used on the route with date, location and time. I'm told the administrators take this issue seriously.
SO---if you happen to SEE trash and recycling being dumped in the SAME truck at the SAME time... let me know address and time and I would be happy to forward this to WM and confirm if it was a split body truck---or if this was an infraction of the driver.

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Oak Hill Road Bridge Closed Friday, Nov 16, 7AM to 4 PM

Oak Hill Road Bridge Closed Friday, Nov 16, 7AM to 4 PM

Repairs to the Oak Hill Road Bridge will begin Friday, Nov 16. The bridge will be closed from 7 AM to 4 PM on Friday. Additional closings are expected over the next few weeks. Details will be announced here when they become available.

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Potholes --- Damage to Vehicles

Potholes --- Damage to Vehicles--- and your rights to submit a claim to the city for reimbursement for repairs.
Have you hit a pothole in Fitchburg that has obviously caused damage to your vehicle?
You may submit a claim for property damage to the city through the Mayor's Office.
Claim form: http://www.ci.fitchburg.ma.us/DocumentCen…/…/Claims-Form-PDF
Please note: You will need to provide the proof of cost or estimate for vehicle repair a description of the issue and explanation of why you feel the city is liable.
It is suggested to photograph the damage at the area of impact--- for example a photo of a flat tire on the road where the pothole impact occurred. Photograph the pothole and pothole with context as to location in road.
Additionally, the city is generally deemed 'not liable' if the pothole was not reported to the city at all, or if city did not fix the pothole within a 'reasonable timeframe'.
The burden of proof relies on the resident.
Therefore.....Reporting potholes in a timely fashion helps the city and the residents.
Potholes can be searched for reports, and reported through the seeclickfix app here:


Fitchburg Wastewater Beginning Design of Major Sewer Infranstructure Project

Beginning on November 1st, the City’s Engineering Consultant, Weston & Sampson, will begin investigative and survey work for the City as the first step in the design progress of of Consent Decree in that the City eliminate Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) to the Nashua River. The first step will include Sewer Smoke Testing. The smoke testing is anticipated to be performed over an approximate two week period, and is expected to be completed by Friday - November 16th. “Smoke testing is a non-toxic industry-standard technique to locate problems in the sewer collection system that allow non-revenue groundwater and rain water to enter the sewer system,” said Mr. Maressa,
“Although the smoke is non-hazardous to humans, pets, or material goods, residents can still minimize the chance that smoke will enter buildings by running a few gallons of water into plumbing traps within their homes or businesses to ensure they’re filled with water. A plumbing trap that is filled with water will prevent smoke from entering homes and buildings provided that the proper plumbing is installed and functioning properly.”

💧Water Main Replacement in FitchburgMass Streets 2018

💧Water Main Replacement in FitchburgMass Streets 2018:
The following streets (in no particular order) are being done this spring/year (a continuation of last year’s project):

- Brigham Park, beginning just beyond Oak
- Beacon Street, from Atlantic to Summer
- Westminster Hill Road, from Castle to Bishop
- Park Street, from Main Street to end
- Jerry Street, from Jackson to Hardy
- Congress Place, from Congress Street to end of existing water main
- Winch Street

*The DPW Street Paving list is not out yet... but the Water, Sewer, Unitil (Gas) and DPW coordinate to ensure multiple functions addressed at the same time before streets get re-paved curb-to-curb


Fitchburg Sewer Rate increase

We voted on an increase in our Sewer Rates at the Council of a Whole Committee Meeting on Tuesday Night; Unanimous 10-0 (Green absent).
(Note map attached is Sewer lines noted in need of repair/separation-- if interested in areas contact me and I can blow up that area and post/share)
As I’ve noted in previous posts:
1. Wastewater rates are going to be increased starting June 1st--- for the average family the increase is approx. $6 per month this first year (FY19), $6 per month more in FY 20, et cetera for likely 10 more years. (Funding plan for 5 years now...)
1A: The Average Family is estimated at (3) people, usage 75 Gal/day each. Total of approx 6,975Gal/Month or 936CF/Month. 1 Cubic Foot (CF) = 7.48 Gallons
2. We need to fund +/-$100M over the next 10 years (currently we have approx.. $12M in reserve accts for funding projects)
3. Largely we need to fund projects per consent decree with EPA; violations of the clean water act with sewer overflows into River due to CSS system.
4. We have 134 miles of Gravity Sewer Lines and +/-9.2miles of CSS (Combined Sewer System) lines which need to be addressed (to reduce amount of storm water we treat).
5. The majority of Fitchburg is on Sewer Lines.
6. Estimated that 10% of Sewer lines are 'ready to fail' many broken clay pipes.... 4.7miles have a 'Fail' grade, 9.7 miles have a 'Poor' grade.... and 104.7miles have a grade 'Fair through No defects'... while 23.3miles of our Sewer still has not been graded (could be failing or no defects?)
7. We also need to upgrade the east treatment facility to improve performance and reduce nutrients per EPA.
8. The West Fitchburg plant does *not* treat wastewater anymore; but is a pumping station to the East Plant (by the airport, commissioned in 1974)
9. Some notable projects: CSS Separation of South Street, Senna Rd, Spruce Rd & Manholes FY17-FY23, an SSU (Secondary Systems Upgrade) of $22M, a Tertiary Treatment (Nutrient pollution reduction like nitrogen and phosphorus) upgrade of +/-$29M

Here were notes of my Questions and Answers from Tuesday Night:

Sewer Rates Comparison (per 100 cubic feet) 3-27-18
Leominster: in town sewer: $3.97 out of town $8.59
Gardner: $4.76
Lowell: $4.54
Billerica: $4.65 in town, $8.62 out-of-town
Athol: $6.73
Worcester: $6.92 ($7.08 2018 proposed)
Chicopee: $7.12
Fitchburg: 7.30 now ($7.88 2018 proposed up to $10.38 in 2022) (Fitchburg has a discount for the first 300 cf $6.28 to 6.79 to $8.94 in 2022)
Ayer: $7.41
Attleboro: $9.10
Barnstable: $14.96
Adams charges half their water bill for sewer

On how our rates are so much higher than surrounding communities...

1. Is there any indication of Future or Current Increases for other cities & towns or by 2022 do you anticipate Fitchburg's rates being among the highest in the State? (Answer: Difficult to answer… not answered)
2. On how our rates are so much higher than surrounding communities... We handle Westminster and Lunenburg's Wastewater as well correct? (Answer: a small portion) Are these fee rates the same across all customers of the system? (Answer: the fees are the same) Or are there different rates for other towns/cities? (Answer: The fees are the same) Are there in-town and out-of-town rates? Should there be? (Leominster and Billerica have in-town/out-of-town rates for example)
a. To lessen the utility increase burden on Fitchburg Residents, is it feasible to consider a lower in-town rate for Fitchburg users, and a Higher out-of-town rate for other users? (The low percentage of out of city usage, combined with the negotiation of intermunicipal agreements may make this more difficult and less advantageous for us than for other communities)
3. Per the EPA Consent decree from 2010 for the East Plant near Airport Rd, we still have to complete a Secondary Systems project and a Tertiary Systems Project-- to reduce Nutrient Pollution such as Nitrogen and Phosphorus.
Of these two needed Capital Project costs listed for these are $31M for a secondary systems upgrade and $29M for a Tertiary Treatment upgrade—
a. The Secondary System Upgrade bid was awarded in Jan 2017, est to begin construction Oct 2019, the total awarded contract price was $20.3M and the total estimated cost for the Teritary Treatment upgrade was $22.1M in 2012.
b. The requests for funds for the SSU are $10.7M higher requested than the bid and the request for Tertiary is $6.9M higher than the estimate --- why are these requested numbers so high? (Answer: $31M as shown was an error/oversight in the model, actual rate calculation used $22M and the $6.9M for Tertiary was added as a cushion for future increases)

4. “Being Designed for Today” As we are looking 10 years into the future, do these processes include addressing emerging contaminants such as Endocrine Disrupters, Viruses, or pathogenic Prions? If required by the EPA in the next few years, can these treatments be added without significant cost? (Answer: there is awareness of Emerging Contaminants, but no preparations or plans are being made for implementation)

5. The Wastewater fund is an Enterprise Fund, so it operates as its own ‘not-for-profit’ business within the city correct? When was the last time there was an independent audit and review of the wastewater department efficiency, expenses and suggestions for cost-cutting measures? (Answer: Not aware of an independent audit being done here or anywhere in the state--- but an audit of the entire city including the Wastewater Dept is done yearly by an outside firm, and they are guided by the city Auditor)

6. We were discussing an anaerobic treatment a couple years ago but have held off on that discussion in recent years. Was the discussion on a Fitchburg facility only or a regional anaerobic treatment facility? One that increased our economy of scale? ....for example one that handled Fitchburg, Westminster, Lunenburg, Gardner, Templeton, Ashburnham and whatever other areas the Templeton treatment facility/Gardner Sludge Landfill covers and/or whatever other customer load we could handle?
a. Distribute cost and money-saving benefits among the communities it would serve?
b. Lessen the amount of landfill space we are occupying with our sludge
c. Locate this at the West Fitchburg Pumping Facility?
(Answer: The anaerobic digestion is not ‘off the table’ it is being considered for regional use, but they are not actively planning for this at this time)

Sewer Lines Fitchburg Map 2018.jpg