Lee- Today, State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield) and State Representative William “Smitty” Pignatelli (D-Lenox) announced that the Massachusetts Department of Revenue has awarded a $2,500 grant to the Town of Lee through their Underground Storage Tank Program. This grant will help Lee recoup some of the costs associated with removal of underground tanks at Sewer Pumping Station.
Senator Downing remarked, “Removing underground tanks that could potentially leak and cause contamination is responsible and necessary for environmental protection. I am pleased that the Department of Revenue maintains this fund to help cities and towns across the Commonwealth afford safe removal of these tanks. This is an expensive process and state assistance is crucial to ensure the removal is done safely and effectively.”
As part of the Lee’s overhaul of their waste water management system, three 550 gallon underground tanks providing auxiliary power to the pumping station were removed. “We are very grateful for Senator Downing and Representative Pignatelli’s help in obtaining this timely assistance,” stated Bob Nason, Town Administrator of Lee. These tanks provided emergency power to the pumping station which pumps sewage uphill to the sewage plant located on Rt. 102/Pleasant Street, Lee. Three above-ground tanks have been installed, providing 8 continuous hours of power to the pumping station in the event of a power outage.
“This is great news for Lee,” stated Pignatelli. “Anytime the state is able to step in and help local towns with important municipal projects, our entire Commonwealth benefits.”
In order to ensure better protection against cracks and leakage, older underground storage tanks should be removed and replaced with newer models as older tanks were made using untreated steel. Newer tanks have additional protective linings to help prevent untimely leakage or spills.
Since 1991, the Cities and Towns Municipal Grants Program has made grant funding available to reimburse municipalities 50 percent of costs incurred in removing and/or installing underground storage tanks. Cities and towns must first remove and/or replace a tank at their own expense, then submit a grant application with the program for reimbursement. Currently, up to $1 million is allocated to this program annually. The funding is provided by fees collected by the Petroleum Product Cleanup Fund. To date, the program has awarded nearly $9.4 million to municipalities.
Each year, the Department of Revenue sends out grant application to all 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts. The deadline for application is June 1st. For more information on the Underground Storage Tank Petroleum Product Cleanup Fund, please visit: www.mass.gov/dor.