June 12, 2020 update on Amherst Public Works Services
Changes and Reduction in Services During COVID-19 Pandemic
Amherst Public Work’s top priority is the continuation and reliable delivery of drinking water and wastewater services, and operations of the transfer station and continuation of maintenance activities throughout Town. These are all critical to daily life and the public health system. As we enter Phase 2 of the State’s reopening plan, Amherst Public Works is continuing several precautionary measures to protect the health and safety of essential Town staff as well as the public. These actions are intended to mitigate potential exposure to our employees and residents, and maintain continuity of operations, while balancing the critical public services provided to the Town.
Amherst Public Works staff will continue to complete maintenance operations throughout the Town, with the exceptions included herein. Therefore, it means that residents may observe Public Works employees completing routine maintenance to ensure continuity of services including, but not limited to, the following:
Amherst residents are reminded to follow public health protocols and maintain a safe social distance from any Public Works employee and their work location. Keep in mind that, depending on the operations they are completing at the time, Public Works employees may be wearing personal protective equipment to ensure the health and safety of the employee and the public.
In-person and Non-essential Services Suspended
The following non-essential Public Works services will continue to be suspended until further notice:
Public Works Operations
All operations related to the Public Works will continue. Customers can be assured that their drinking water is safe and can be consumed and used as normal. In order to reduce potential exposure to essential Public Works staff, business and public visitors to all Public Works facilities will be prohibited, and deliveries will be curtailed as much as possible at this time.
Public Works Emergencies
Amherst Public Work’s priority is to maintain the continuous and reliable operation of the drinking water distribution and wastewater collection systems for the general population, as well as maintain safe access of public roadways. Public Works crews will continue to respond to any Public Works emergencies that arise in the Town, including water main breaks, sewer backups, and downed trees in the roadway to name a few.
Public Works emergencies on private property will be addressed on a case-by-case basis in as far as crews are able to address them either from the street or by referring the resident to private contractors. Amherst Public Works crews will not enter privately owned homes, buildings, or facilities at this time. Emergencies that require Public Works staff to enter privately owned homes, buildings or facilities will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis..
Customer service representatives will continue to be available by telephone and email to assist residents with any Public Works questions. Residents should be prepared for possibly longer call response times, and should utilize email when possible. Public Works emergencies will be prioritized.
For inquiries or issues related to Public Works applications, repairs, inspections, maintenance, etc., residents and contractors can contact the Public Works office at 413-259-3050 x0 or email email@example.com
For Public Works emergencies during business hours (Monday through Friday, 7:00am to 3:30pm), residents can contact the Public Works office at 413-259-3050 x0. For emergencies during off-hours or if no one picks up at the Public Works office during work hours, residents can contact Amherst Dispatch at 413-259-3000.
For water and sewer billing/accounting questions, customers can contact the Town Accounting Department at 413-259-3026 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Transfer Station and COVID-19
The Town will continue to keep the Transfer Station open to the public. Transfer Station staff are not directly handling cash, therefore customers should bring cash or checks as needed. The Transfer Station will not accept Styrofoam at this time, and have a limit of 4 mattresses per customer per day. Further, the Book Shed and Take It or Leave It area have been closed until further notice.
We ask that residents minimize their time spent at the Transfer Station as follows:
Further information regarding the adjusted operations at the Transfer Station are listed on the Amherst website: https://www.amherstma.gov/civicalerts.aspx?AID=2569
Drinking Water Supply and COVID-19
According to a technical brief issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 3, 2020, COVID-19 has not been shown to be transmitted via treated drinking water. The drinking water system will remain safe and operational amid any local outbreak.
Wastewater Collection System and COVID-19
With reports of toilet paper shortages amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and with increased cleaning of many touchable surfaces, Amherst Public Works reminds customers that wipes, paper towels, facial tissue, and other materials – even those that claim to be “flushable” – are not designated to break down in the wastewater treatment process. Flushing anything but toilet paper down the toilet can cause unsanitary sewer backups in a home or neighborhood.
Public Areas and COVID-19
Many public spaces, including tennis courts and playgrounds, have been opened to the public at this time. The Town can not guarantee the cleanliness of these areas, and residents should use at their own risk. We ask that residents follow applicable safety measures such as wearing masks and proper social distancing. If a recreational area is too crowded and social distancing can not be followed, please find an alternate location to enjoy the outdoors.
Amherst COVID-19 Mitigation Efforts
The Town will continue to update residents on any further changes in services due to COVID-19. Residents can visit the Amherst website at www.amherstma.gov for the most recent updates. We strive to maintain the services that we provide but ask for understanding and cooperation as some delivery methods and availability change.
The Town does NOT provide curbside brush/woody waste pickup. This material may be brought to the Transfer Station on Belchertown Road for disposal for a fee.
Please refer to the Recycling - Solid Waste page for more information regarding the Transfer Station.