The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded Hull a $388,375 grant to upgrade the Hull Water Pollution Control Facility, elevating critical electrical assets above the FEMA 500-year flood elevation and above recommended design flood elevations to account for future sea level rise, Town Manager Philip Lemnios announced this week.
The grant is part of FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, which provides funds to assist state and local governments, federally recognized tribes, and certain nonprofit organizations to implement long-term, all-hazards critical mitigation measures to reduce the risk of loss of life and property from future disasters.
The pollution control facility is the sole wastewater treatment facility for all Hull residents and a portion of residents in neighboring Hingham and Cohasset. Due to its coastal location, Hull is exceptionally vulnerable to damage from rising sea level and flooding associated with severe storms, particularly Nor’easters.
Hull submitted the grant application in April 2019 to seek funds for improvements to the electrical system of the pollution control facility, which is the town’s primary wastewater treatment facility. The work is intended to improve resiliency for critical equipment that powers influent and effluent pumps, water pumps, and the aeration system.
The project is scheduled to begin this spring, with completion anticipated in the fall of 2022.
Other complementary but independent upgrades are underway at the facility and, together with the mitigation grant announced by Lemnios, are expected to ensure that wastewater treatment can be re-established quickly after storm events that currently lead to loss of power and equipment when the lower floors get flooded.
“The Board of Selectmen and the Permanent Sewer Commission are very appreciative of the assistance that FEMA is offering the town,” Lemnios said. “Every grant dollar we receive is one dollar less that Hull residents will have to pay. As the town continues to pursue improvements to mitigate the effects of climate change, the assistance from our federal partners is invaluable.”
According to Lemnios, the town in recent years has been implementing numerous resiliency measures at the wastewater treatment facility. But the FEMA grant, he explained, will help to provide a significant level of protection for future extreme storm events.
“Mitigation projects like this critical infrastructure retrofit are an important part of emergency management that reduce, minimize, or eliminate potential damages to property and infrastructure from natural hazard events, and we congratulate our partners at the town of Hull for their efforts in securing this funding,” said Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Director Samantha Phillips. “MEMA will continue to work closely with the town as they complete this important resiliency project to lessen the impacts of future disasters in the community.”
The grant, funded through FEMA but administered by MEMA, includes a 25 percent funding match from the town.