City of Gloucester Enters Consent Decree for Improvements at Water Treatment Plant

Mayor Greg Verga announces that the City of Gloucester has entered a consent decree with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to perform facility improvements and secondary treatment updates at the City’s Water Pollution Control Facility on Essex Avenue.

This decree cements the City’s commitment to improving water quality in Gloucester, and represents the City’s largest investment in the plant since it opened in 1984. Upgrades will bring state-of-the-arttreatment processes and increase resilience at the existing facility.

The plant will operate throughout construction.

“This project is a major step toward improving our infrastructure in our community,” Mayor Verga said. “This is an incredible investment in our residents and environment. I am proud to take this project on to do the most good for the most people over the most time. This is also a major investment into economic development; these upgrades to the wastewater treatment facility will make Gloucester a more inviting and attractive location for current and future businesses.”

Under terms of the decree, the City must:

  • Submit to the EPA and DEP a formal timeline of preliminary design, permitting, construction phasing and funding authorizations by May 15, 2023;
  • Submit to the EPA and DEP final design plant for the plant by Dec. 31, 2024;
  • Finish construction by March 31, 2028.

The plant’s outflow currently is sent several miles out into Massachusetts Bay. Secondary treatment will result in improved effluent water quality, thereby providing benefits to the coastal environment.

Last fall the City received a $2 million federal appropriation to study options for plant improvements, which was secured by U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and U.S. Sen. Edward Markey.

It is believed the project could cost $100 million. The City is actively engaging with state and federal agencies to identify infrastructure funding opportunities, including the American Rescue Plan Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The City intends to use $10 million in ARPA funding for plant upgrades.

The Department of Public Works will oversee the project. Environmental Partners Group, LLC, is serving as Owner’s Project Manager.

Project updates will be provided regularly on the City’s website.

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