Remember the floods of Spring 2010? Their redux continues to be a danger for low-lying properties, public health and anyone who likes clean rivers.

Last week, Aldermen found out that the important work of keeping Newton’s sewers for sewage has stalled. Despite having identified 720 illegal connections–that is, sumps and downspouts connected to sewers when they should be draining into the ground or at least a storm drain–only 14% have been removed. The Water & Sewer Utility doesn’t have enough staff to enforce faster removal. This costs everyone in Newton more, as we are charged for that water as if it were sewage.

It also represents a threat to all with lower-lying properties. In a heavy rainstorm, the extra storm water in the sewers means that sewage backs up into basements, or is dumped into rivers and streets.

Ald.s Crossley, Fuller, Salvucci, Johnson and Ciccone have a docket item to further the work of modernizing our water and sewer systems–and fixing the storm drains–with a comprehensive set of items they want updated regularly, including research on second water meters, and getting modern water meters into the remaining 191 properties without them. A full report is in the Public Facilities report on the City website.

Other important items this week:

  • Ald. Hess-Mahan docketed a residential exemption–which in effect gives folks in lower-valued properties a break on property taxes
  • The Zoning Assessment is out–detailing just how convoluted and disorganized our ordinance has become. Now the work to fix it begins
  • Riverside continues before Land Use
  • The City Clerk/Elections reorganization is before Programs & Services
  • The Newton North HS area Parking Plan continues to implementation

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