Westfield DPW increase water rates

WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield Mass) – The Department of Public Works announced that water rates would be rising for residents.

Residents can expect to see a 10 percent increase starting on Jan. 1. This increase is due to the need for more work to be done on the city’s water towers and the addition of filtration systems to the wells that have had previous contamination issues.

“Right now the rates are $3.25 per 1,000 gallons, so the average annual cost for Westfield homeowners is about $375, but that includes base charges that aren’t going up,” David Billips, public works superintendent, said. “So it’s going to go up $30 a year, or about $8 a quarter.”

Billips said that each of the four water towers in the city require maintenance and repair to varying degrees.

“All of them need some work, one just needs to be painted, but it’s not as simple as painting your house,” Billips said.

The Sackett Street water tower is the one in need of repainting, but for tanks located near East Mountain Road, Provin Mountain and Northwest Road, the domes and tanks need repair due to age and exposure to the elements.

The money from the raised rates will also go to put new filtration systems at two of the city’s wells.

“We need to put treatment at wells 7 and 8 for the contamination problem in the aquifer, and which led us to issue the health advisory,” Billips said.

Billips said that the department is planning to build a treatment plant near wells 7 and 8 which will be able to treat both wells, rather than separate systems for each. The cost is estimated to be around $2 million.

According to Billips, the 10 percent increase will be able to cover the cost of all proposed improvements. Additionally, he was hopeful that the US National Guard would reimburse the city once the studies are concluded on the groundwater contamination, but there is nothing official yet.