NEW BEDFORD — The City Council voted unanimously Thursday night to pass to a second reading a motion to borrow $119 million to pay for an extensive plan of sewer and drain system improvements in New Bedford.

The council is expected to take up the matter again at its May 24 meeting.

The $119 million would be used to finance the city's Long Term CSO Control and Integrated Capital Improvements Plan that would include upgrades to the city's wastewater treatment plant, repairs to flood control structures such as the Turner Pond Dam and the New Bedford Hurricane Barrier and construction of the third phase of the Coggeshall Street Sewer Separation Project, among other infrastructure improvements throughout the city.

On May 9, the City Council's Committee on Finance recommended the adoption of a loan order for the $119 million.

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City officials have previously said that New Bedford's wastewater collection system is badly in need of upgrades, as much of the system was constructed between the 1880s and 1960s.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has pressured New Bedford in recent years to upgrade its water and sewer infrastructure under the federal Clean Water Act. The city has looked to make those improvements, but a relative lack of funds and the CO-19 pandemic delayed some of the progress, Councilor at Large Linda Morad said last spring during a council hearing.

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