Athol receives $100K grant for stormwater mapping

Athol Town Hall.

Athol Town Hall. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DOMENIC POLI

By MAX BOWEN

Athol Daily News Editor

Published: 07-07-2024 5:00 PM

ATHOL – With the help of a $106,800 grant from the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust, the town will soon have updated digital maps of its stormwater collection system.

The grant is among $75,748,203 in low-interest loans and grants for 15 communities and school districts, which the MCWT’s board of trustees approved at its June 12 meeting.

Paul Raskevitz, assistant superintendent of the Athol Department of Public Works, said the process is already underway and the digitization of the old maps should be completed within a few months. He said the completed map will be done through a Geographic Information System, a computer system that analyzes and displays geographically referenced information.

Once the mapping is done, crews will be able to easily access the information via a mobile device. Raskevitz said that the collection system is 30-50 miles long and built 100 years ago.

“A lot of the stormwater infrastructure is unknown – there are not a lot of records,” said Raskevitz. “To maintain it, you need accurate records. This will allow the people in the field to bring up the map and know what is under their feet.”

The trust, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, helps communities build or replace water infrastructure that enhances ground and surface water resources, ensures the safety of drinking water, and protects public health and by providing low-interest loans and grants to cities, towns and water utilities through the Massachusetts State Revolving Funds.

Raskevitz added that much of the system was well-known by former DPW employees, but when they retired, that institutional knowledge left with them. In addition to the maps, the system will provide accurate locations of the town’s catch basins. Raskevitz said this will come in particularly handy, as in cases of heavy snowfall, a metal detector has sometimes been needed to find them.

Max Bowen can be reached at mbowen@atholdailynews.com or 413-930-4074.

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