There are few obstacles more irritating to a driver than roadwork. Waiting your turn for the one-lane left for vehicles, bouncing out of your seat on unpaved stretches and, if you live nearby, the sound of construction all add up to one big headache.
But when all is said and done, the new sewer line and repaved road on Central Avenue will be well worth the added four minutes to your commute.
Roads in Johnston aren’t exactly the crème de la crème. Poor infrastructure is a common complaint among residents, hence the bond referendum for $4 million in roadway improvements, so a smooth, repaved Central Avenue will be a welcome improvement to homeowners and businesses in the area. So will the opportunity to tie into sewers, another infrastructure improvement that could improve property values or, at the very least, give some peace of mind to homeowners whose septic systems are on the brink of failure.
Even better is that it’s not the town or the state footing the bill for the new and improved infrastructure; it’s the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation that will pay this time around.
RIRRC is likewise paying for the new sewer line that will be laid down Central Avenue.
This project is good news for Johnston for several reasons. First, the town doesn’t have to pay. Second, there will only be a cost to homeowners if they want to tie in to the municipal sewer line. If they’d rather stick to septic, that’s fine. Homeowners should note that this isn’t always the case when sewer lines are put down in cities and towns. In Warwick, for example, when sewers pass by your house, no matter how well your septic system has worked or how recently it was installed, you have no choice but to tie in. Moreover, Johnston residents who do want to tie in will only pay the frontage from the line to their homes, unlike most new customers who would have to pay their portion of the overall line, too. Third, the new customers to Narragansett Bay Commission mean more money coming in, which takes pressure off existing customers.
Best of all, the new sewer line is an environmental improvement for the town. While septic systems are an effective waste management alternative, when not properly maintained, they can cause contamination of surface and groundwater resources, which in turn pollutes water and ground and can lead to public health issues. According to the Long Island Sound Study, even a properly operating system discharges phosphates and nitrates and some bacteria into the groundwater. Soil and soil bacteria remove most disease-causing pathogens from wastewater, but still, sewers offer a greener alternative than septic systems.
In this economy, improving infrastructure is a slow process, but this $4 million sewer project is a big step in the right direction. It will improve roads, positively impact property values and better protect the environment, all on RIRRC’s dime.