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Around Amherst: Work begins on water main to Leverett



Staff Writer
Monday, July 19, 2021

AMHERST — A Ludlow general contractor is gearing up to begin extending a water main from Amherst to Leverett so that residents there whose wells have been contaminated by a capped landfill can get safe, clean drinking water.

Amherst Town Manager Paul Bockelman said the Department of Public Works, overseeing the project, is nearly ready to proceed with the work along East Leverett Road in Amherst and Cushman and Teawaddle Hill roads in Leverett.

The $2.3 and $2.5 million projects will be handled by Baltazar Contractors Inc. after the state Department of Environmental Protection awarded a Clean Water State Revolving Fund loan to Leverett.

Leverett’s landfill, closed in 1993 and capped in 1996, has been under a state monitoring program for 25 years. Quarterly testing of untreated water, as required by DEP, shows detectable volatile organic compounds and other contaminants, primarily iron and manganese, in the water at several houses, according to information from Leverett Town Administrator Margie McGinnis.

The project involves installing 9,500 linear feet of 12-inch main pipe.

All costs of the project, including resurfacing the roads after they are dug up to install the pipe, are to be covered by Leverett, with borrowing previously authorized by Town Meeting in 2019.

Vaccinations

Efforts to get all residents 12 and over vaccinated against COVID-19 continue Sunday when the state’s vaccine bus returns to Amherst.

People will have the opportunity to receive the single-dose Johnson & Johnson or the two-shot Pfizer regimen at three locations when the MassVax bus is back for the first time since June 27.

The bus will be at ReNew Apartments, 42 Southpoint Drive, from 9 to 11 a.m.; Colonial Village, 81 Belchertown Road, from noon to 2 p.m.; and the Spring Street parking lot in the town center from 4 to 6 p.m.

Another vaccination opportunity comes July 24 from 10 a.m. to noon at the ValleyBike station on East Hadley Road, coinciding with the regular mobile food market.

Caucuses

Democrats in Amherst and Pelham are convening for caucuses.

The Amherst Democratic Town Committee will hold a caucus via Zoom on July 22 at 7:30 p.m., and Pelham Democrats will hold theirs July 17 at 9:30 a.m., to elect delegates to this year’s state Democratic Party convention.

Amherst caucus-goers will also hear from statewide candidates, including Danielle Allen and Ben Downing, who are running for governor.

The platform convention will be held Sept. 25 at the Tsongas Center in Lowell, with an option of remote participation.

Anyone registered as a Democrat in those towns who has turned 16 by June 15 can participate and be elected as a delegate or alternate.

Youth, BIPOC, people with disabilities and LGBTQ+ individuals who are not elected as a delegate or alternate may apply to be an add-on delegate at the caucus or at www.massdems.org by Aug. 6.

To register to attend the Amherst Zoom event, go to  https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUvdO6pqj4tGtwFk98rx-i43CdFjiiDicOB.

The Pelham caucus will go live at https://umass-amherst.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJwpdOyorjgrGdz5P7wRlueZ9e8Sj609IAGP/.

New pilates and exercise studio

Balanced Birch Studio, where individualized instruction in pilates and Gyrotonic exercise will take place, is coming to the Mill District in North Amherst at 77 Cowls Road.

“We are energized to collaborate with our neighbors and set our roots in our new home,“ owner Mary Ellen Liacos said in a statement.

Signals improved

Adjustments are being made to the traffic signals at Pine, Meadow and North Pleasant streets so that north-south traffic on North Pleasant will pass through the intersection at the same time.

Previously, the new traffic lights, installed in 2020, only allowed vehicles to move from one of the four sides at a time, increasing delays, even though their purpose was to reduce backed-up traffic on Meadow Street.

Meetings

MONDAY: Design Review Board, 5 p.m., virtual via Zoom.

TUESDAY: Amherst Cultural Council, 6:30 p.m., virtual via Zoom.

WEDNESDAY: Planning Board and Community Resources Committee joint meeting, 6:30 p.m., virtual via Zoom.