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Backed By Stimulus, Gloucester Will Improve Its Sewer System

Using millions of state and federal dollars, Gloucester is overhauling its faulty water and sewer infrastructure.

The city has been approved for $14.6 million in special low-interest loans, which are partially subsidized by the state's revolving fund. Additionally, Gloucester will receive $2 million in loan forgiveness from the federal government's stimulus package.

Aided by the funds, Gloucester is working on three projects: emergency repairs to the Babson Water Treatment Plant, sewer rehabilitation and upgrades to a waste water treatment facility on Essex Street.

Mayor Carolyn Kirk said it is important for the city to update those neglected systems. Some have not been upgraded for nearly 25 years.

"Gloucester is an old city, and we're at the leading edge of infrastructure that's failing," she said. "But we're going to see it happen more and more across the commonwealth."

Last summer, failures at the Babson plant resulted in widespread bacterial contamination. Because of the contamination, the state's Department of Environmental Protection issued a boil order on tap water for two weeks. Since then, the mayor says she has made water quality her top priority.

"Because the pipes are underground, you don't see them. That doesn't mean that they don't need some attention and some money spent on them," Kirk said.

This program aired on April 5, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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