Government officials, including Gov. Lincoln Chafee and Mayor Joseph Polisena, are expected to attend a groundbreaking ceremony tomorrow morning at 10 am for a $4 million sewer project funded by Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation.
The Central Landfill operator announced last year that it was planning to end its use of the Cranston wastewater system and switch to Narragansett Bay Commission by building the new sewer line along Central Avenue.
RIRRC is paying for the work, which will also allow some 80 homes and businesses to use the new line, Polisena explained during a recent interview at Johnston Town Hall.
"It allows the people in Central Avenue and other homes up there, including Briarcliffe Manor, to hook up to the line, which is big — we could never afford that infrastructure project right now," said Polisena. "[New customers] don't have to pay for the line going down the road, they have to pay for the hook-up going into the line."
Polisena noted that another benefit of the project is that RIRRC is paying for Central Avenue to be re-paved — though he conceded that may be a mixed blessing.
"Central Avenue is probably one of the worst roads in the town, so that's all going to be resurfaced," the mayor explained. "Now, the bad thing about that is, once it's resurfaced, I can predict a lot of accidents, because people are going to drive faster — we're going to have to have the police up there, because it's already a dangerous road to begin with."
Tie-in Cuts Cranston Off:
The new sewer line will also end RIRRC's use of the Cranston sewer system, costing the city an estimated $700,000 per year in use fees, and potentially $2.1 million in fines that the city imposed for what it claims was RIRRC's discharge of untreated sewage into the system.
Last December, the prospect of Cranston losing RIRRC as a customer became an issue as part of a dispute between Polisena and then-Cranston City Councilman Robert Pelletier.
In a letter to the editor just after Polisena filed suit against RIRRC and Broadrock Renewables over last summer's odor problems at the Landfill, Pelletier accused Polisena of ignoring the issue of what Pelletier called "illegal hook ups" to the Cranston system from businesses in Johnston.
Polisena replied by saying that Pelletier was "rationalizing for when his constituency gets an increase in their sewer bills: Blame Johnston."
Pelletier resigned from the City Council in February after city officials learned he had moved out of his ward, potentially disqualifying him from serving.