Town aims to increase wastewater resiliency
EAST GREENWICH—The town council worked Monday to establish the means by which it would implement climate resiliency upgrades for the East Greenwich Wastewater Treatment Facility. It is slated to authorize that 50 percent of the wastewater fund’s unrestricted net assets be used as matching funds for a grant received by the state to improve resiliency. The upgrades afforded by the grant would better insulate the facility against flood damage and sea-level rise, as well as ensure it maintains decent working order in the event of mild environmental changes due to climate change. Joseph Duarte, director of the town’s public works department, spoke to the initiative.
“As you know, climate change is here. It’s going to be here for a while in terms of its effects on our treatment facilities,” Duarte said. “During the 2016 elections there was a bond for green economy and a clean waterfront, and a small portion of that, $5 million, was put aside for treatment plant resiliency upgrades.”
“What we are doing is applying for that grant under the RIDEM Wastewater Facility Resiliency Fund. We’re asking for $191,305 for various improvements to the plant,” Duarte continued. “It includes things that will protect our treatment plant from any climactic changes, not permanent sea-level rise, but climactic events.”