Springfield officials are hopeful they’ll get the chance to help out of some of the city’s residents.
Springfield has submitted a grant to the state Department of Community Affairs that it wants to use to extend sewer lines to low- and moderate-income residents in the city who are on septic tanks now.
“Hopefully, we’ll be approved in August,” City Manager Brett Bennett said. “So we have a few months to wait on the process.”
The grant is a maximum of $500,000, and the city is asking for $458,209, with a local match of $25,000 to cover the tap-in fees. The grant would enhance the living conditions and eliminate potential serious health conditions, according to the city’s application proposal.
The area, near South Railroad Avenue, consists of 18 homes and around 40 residents. Two of the residents approached city council in January about doing something to help the neighborhood.
“They expressed concern over the cost of maintaining the septic systems,” Bennett said. “Some said their septic tanks were getting pumped several times a year.”
Pumping out the septic tanks cost about $225 each time, and in times of heavy rain, the septic tanks would fill with rainwater. Residents complained of sewage backup, overflow, slow drainage and toilets that would not flush.
“It was mentioned by several residents that if they expect heavy rainfall, they have to do all their showering and laundry prior to the rain,” Bennett said. “If they wait, the septic systems would be full and they would not drain.”
City representatives and neighborhood residents met Feb. 18 to discuss the issue and explore possible solutions.
“The existing situation can be alleviated by the installation of a sanitary sewer system,” Bennett said.
The grant also would cover the expense of road resurfacing, since the city would have to cut into the road to install the lines.
Should the city get the grant and proceed on the sewer lines, it also would allow for those residents outside the city limits but near those lines to tie on at some point in the future, Bennett said.
“It sounds like we are on the right track,” Mayor Jeff Northway said. “It’s a long time coming, and I’m happy to see it.”