Photograph of Representative Jim McGovern from his website

“I’m proud my office was able to help secure this important federal investment,” said Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA).

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Jim McGovern (MA-02) together withLeicester Town Administrator David Genereux, announced that the town of Leicester has received a long-awaited $100,000 grant from the United States Economic Development Administration (EDA) to conduct a feasibility study to explore increasing cooperation and coordination between seven water and sewer districts that serve residents and businesses in Leicester and North Oxford.

Currently, there are seven separate and independent semi-public water and sewer districts that serve the communities of Leicester and Oxford. The difficulty of operating this way is that each district must fund its improvements and upgrades individually, putting a huge strain on ratepayers as systems age and require expensive upgrades to ensure the delivery of safe drinking water. Only nine out of 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts currently have more than three water or sewer districts. The study is expected to provide an in-depth analysis of each district, including physical assets, financial operations, and future challenges in order to provide recommendations that will benefit the districts and their ratepayers going forward.

McGovern brought the Economic Development Administration to the table two years ago to begin discussion of federal involvement, and has advocated for the town during the application process with the EDA’s local office. The federal investment is in addition to $100,000 that has been secured by State Senator Michael O. Moore for the same study, as well as $10,287 from the Town of Leicester.

“This is fantastic news for the town of Leicester and I’m proud my office was able to help secure this important federal investment,” said Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA). “We have water infrastructure in Massachusetts that’s older than some states. Yet the reality is that municipalities just don’t have the money to bring things up-to-date. I’ve sat across the table from countless local leaders who are pinching pennies trying to bring safe, clean drinking water to their residents, and quite frankly, it shouldn’t be that way. I’m proud that this grant is going to identify improvements to help us build a more sustainable and safe water system in the years to come.”

“Resolving the issues with the drinking water and wastewater systems in Leicester should not be approached in a piecemeal fashion,” said State Senator Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury). “Instead, a full review of these utilities should be completed to unite the patchwork of services in an efficient, viable model that meets the needs of the community. This critical grant funding will complement state and local funds to help address many problems facing these districts, and to assist with responding to ratepayers’ concerns. Thank you to Congressman McGovern for his leadership in helping to support the community’s grant application.”

“This is the culmination of a thoughtful and cooperative process between the Town, the water/sewer districts, and our elected representatives at the state and federal level.  I would like to thank Congressman McGovern, Senator Michael Moore, Representative David LeBoeuf, and Debra Beavin of the EDA for their tireless efforts in helping us obtain the funding for the study,” said Leicester Town Administrator David Genereux.

The working group will now craft a request for proposals and hire a consultant to conduct the study.

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