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Easthampton Secures Grant to Revolutionize Water System with Fiber-Optic Technology

EASTHAMPTON — In a groundbreaking move to enhance its water system infrastructure, Easthampton has secured a $250,000 grant from the Municipal Fiber program. This funding will enable the city to employ advanced fiber-optic technology to monitor water quality and levels in real-time, significantly reducing the need for physical inspections and manual data collection.

The city’s initiative aims to swiftly address emergencies such as leaks and contamination, ensuring a more robust and responsive water management system. “It’s critical infrastructure,” emphasized Karin Camihort, Easthampton’s IT Director.

This recent grant marks the second state-awarded grant to Easthampton for fiber-optic advancements. Previously, the city used grant funds to interconnect all municipal buildings with a fiber-optic network, boosting efficiency and reducing internet costs. The city is also considering extending fiber connections to Southampton, enhancing shared dispatch operations.

“It’s fantastic because it allows us to build our fiber network among our different offices,” said Camihort. “We can cut costs on internet because we can purchase it for one office and distribute it.”

The new water infrastructure project is anticipated to bring substantial cost savings by enabling early detection of issues and optimizing water resource management through real-time data. This upgrade is expected to maintain consistent, high-quality water services as Easthampton grows, offering enhanced customer service, timely public health updates, and increased transparency regarding the water system’s health.

Despite the $250,000 grant, additional funding is needed to cover the project’s estimated total cost, which includes laying over 40,000 miles of new fiber and acquiring essential hardware. The city plans to seek further grants to finance the remaining $250,000 required for developing and implementing software that will communicate sensor data to the maintenance teams.

“At this point, we’re just putting the infrastructure in place,” Camihort explained. “At some point, we’ll develop software that will use sensors to communicate with the teams what’s happening in the tanks.”

The city’s application outlines an ambitious eight to ten-month timeline for the project, beginning with a three-month pole permitting process in collaboration with Verizon and Eversource. The subsequent months will focus on laying fiber-optic cables, setting up networking equipment, and conducting system tests to ensure optimal functionality.

Although Camihort acknowledged the project as a “long process,” she expressed enthusiasm about the city’s future with an expanded and secure fiber-optic network. “It creates a very secure network, and it gives us more flexibility,” she said.

Easthampton’s commitment to leveraging advanced technology for infrastructure improvements signifies a bright future for the city’s water management capabilities and overall efficiency. This initiative not only promises to elevate the quality of life for residents but also sets a precedent for innovative municipal management across the region.

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