Dear CRWC Member,

Last night CRWC staff, board, and members joined other community members to express concerns over Holyoke’s wastewater discharge permit.  Every year Holyoke, Springfield and Chicopee, MA discharge over one billion gallons of sewage-containing overflow directly into the Connecticut River, causing significant pollution downstream of the Holyoke Dam.  CRWC members and allies raised these concerns:

§ Holyoke continues to operate 14 outfall pipes, with no numerical limits set for these discharges.  There is no overall plan or schedule for eliminating sewage discharge from these outfalls.

§ Like all discharge permits along the Connecticut in MA, this draft permit does not set nutrient limits on wastewater. Connecticut is spending lots of money to comply with nutrient limits to improve the health of Long Island Sound, which has a dead zone from nutrient overload. It’s time for MA to reduce nutrient loading, too.

§ Cleaning up the riverfront provides an opportunity for community revitalization.  Construction costs are only rising. The time to fix these problems is now.

If you did not have an opportunity to join us last night, it is not too late to make a difference.  But to do so you need to take action right now. The public comment period ends tomorrow, September 21, at midnight.  Call, e-mail, or fax the Environmental Protection Agency and MA Department of Environmental Protection.  Their contact information is below.  To read the permit, go to: http://www.epa.gov/NE/npdes/permits/draft/2007/draftma0101630permit.pdf.

Together, we can make a difference.

Chelsea Gwyther,

CRWC Executive Director

EPA CONTACT INFORMATION:

Mark Malone

Municipal Permits Branch

U.S. EPA

One Congress Street – Suite 1100

Boston, MA 02114-2023

TEL. (617) 918-1619

FAX: (617) 918-2064

email: malone.mark@epa.gov

MA DEP CONTACT INFORMATION:

Paul Hogan

MA Department of Environmental Protection

Division of Watershed Management

627 Main Street

Worcester, MA

TEL: (508) 767-2796

FAX: (508) 791-4131

paul.hogan@state.ma.us

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Chelsea Reiff Gwyther

Executive Director

Connecticut River Watershed Council

15 Bank Row, Greenfield, MA  01301

p (413) 772-2020 ext 202 — f (413) 772-2090

cgwyther@ctriver.org www.ctriver.org