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BELCHERTOWN — Leaky pipes and water main breaks that have been a struggle for about 550 people living at the Pine Valley Plantation Mobile Home Park in Belchertown will be resolved thanks to funding for a $6.2 million water line replacement program announced by state Sen. Jake Oliveira (D-Ludlow) and state Rep. Aaron Saunders (D-Belchertown).

“This goes to show how hard Sen. Oliveira and Rep. Saunders work for the residents of Belchertown,” said Belchertown Town Administrator Steve Williams. While the town was not involved in the funding application, Williams said he was “thankful” that the neighborhood was allowed to apply for the funding. “The residents of Pine Valley [Plantation] Mobile Home Park have struggled to identify a funding source to correct issues with their drinking water infrastructure,” he added.

Dick Kelleher, president of the Pine Valley Plantation Cooperative Corporation, said the project is “long overdue.” There is still a bidding process to undertake, so a timeline for construction is premature, but he said, “Our entire community is excited to finally begin this process.”

Four miles of existing water lines, a mix of projects and expansion from various times, will be replaced with 4-inch PVC lines. The water service to the individual lots will also be replaced.

The Pine Valley Plantation Cooperative Corp., a self-owned entity that maintains its own wells and water treatment facility, applied for funds from the Clean Water Trust State Revolving Fund for several consecutive years. In the last round of funding, the project engineers, Fuss & O’Neil, helped the corporation navigate the process and Oliveira and Saunders helped secure the funding.

The funding is part of more than $1.4 billion in low-interest-rate loans and grants from the State Revolving Fund. The Pine Valley Plantation Mobile Home Park will be receiving a loan with some grant opportunities available. The low-interest program was important Kelleher said. As an over-55 community with many residents on a fixed income, it is vital that park maintenance costs are kept low. The project is one of 168 projects funded statewide, totaling approximately $932 million for clean water construction and $503 million for drinking water construction.

“I want to thank, not only the Department of Environmental Protection and those involved in the Clean Water Trust, but also the leadership in Belchertown for their work in securing this loan for [fiscal year 2024],” said Oliveira. “With their successful application, these significant and vital funds will help to enhance our water infrastructure and safeguard public health in Belchertown, building a more sustainable and resilient future for all.”

Saunders said, “Ensuring the residents of Pine Valley have access to clean, reliable drinking water has been a priority since I took office last year. I am thrilled to know this project will be financed through the state’s Clean Water Trust and the residents of Pine Valley will no longer have to worry about their drinking water.”

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