Boston, MA -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), along with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Management (DEM) have awarded the City of Chicopee, Massachusetts a grant for $150,000 through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). This grant will be used to upgrade an existing spillway in order to protect a water transmission line that carries the City's water supply. The grant program requires a local match of 25% of the total project cost, thereby necessitating a contribution of $50,000 by the City of Chicopee.
MEMA Director Stephen J. McGrail emphasized the need for communities to protect their water supplies. "Both MEMA and FEMA realized the important benefits that this project will provide to the City. Protecting a City's water supply is a high priority and this grant enables Chicopee to put in place mitigation measures to prevent potential damages to this resource," said McGrail.
The City of Chicopee receives its entire water supply through a transmission line that runs through the Chicopee State Park. In the State Park, this water line runs adjacent to and under a spillway that serves the lower Chicopee Reservoir. During large storm events, the structural integrity of this water line is jeopardized when the spillway's capacity is exceeded and the floodwaters erode the soil around the line. During the June and July 1998 rainstorms, the main was in danger of being totally exposed by washouts, greatly increasing the risks of a possible rupture.
"A guarantee of adequate water supply for the purposes of drinking and fire protection is an essential resource for any community," said DEM Commissioner Peter Webber. "This project will ensure the City of Chicopee will have secure water supply for years to come."
The Water Line Protection Project will increase the capacity of the existing spillway, as well as provide an emergency overflow area to protect the water line in case the capacity may be exceeded during larger storm events. These project activities will protect the water line and prevent the risk to the City's water supply.
"This is a very vital project to the City of Chicopee and its residences," said Setti D. Warren, Regional Director of FEMA Region 1. "FEMA is working closely with MEMA to ensure that the City's drinking water will not be affected by any future storm events," added Warren.