WVN #500: Permit for discharge near Town Building
- Dear Wayland Voter,
The town has a permit to begin work toward building a supplemental wastewater disposal site at an athletic field. Meanwhile, significant charges for improvements will begin soon for plant customers.
Also in this newsletter: Town Meeting forum, Finnerty's hearing, Earth Day and other activities.
At the April 17 meeting of the Wayland Wastewater Management District Commission (WWMDC), the two commissioners learned that the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) approved the permit for a groundwater discharge at Town Building's ball field.
Although the April 2 DEP approval letter containing the permit had been addressed to Chairman Fred Knight at Wayland Town Building, apparently he had not received it. At last week's meeting, Tighe & Bond engineering consultant Ian Catlow shared the good news with Knight and Commissioner Sam Potter. (One Commission seat remains vacant.)
Several Wayland residents had been unsuccessful in persuading the DEP to hold a public hearing to explain the proposal before issuing the permit. Tighe & Bond's unusual engineering scheme to benefit the Town Center project was never publicly discussed. Cochituate Road abutters, the Recreation Commission and other plant customers were never informed, and the Town Meeting warrant contained no information about it. At Town Meeting, under Article 3, voters nevertheless approved the transfer of $35,000 from wastewater retained earnings to pay for the design and permit application.
At last week's meeting, Commissioner Potter expressed gratitude that resident Anette Lewis noticed that language in the proposed town budget would have given the town administrator control of the WWMDC's treatment facility. That caught the commissioners by surprise, and Town Meeting voted to delete that language.
Consultant Catlow then presented his firm's proposed Scope of Work to prepare the commission's application for renewal of its 2008 federal discharge permit. Catlow recommends that the commission seek additional flow, at least 17,000 gallons per day, which in his view would not increase pollutant load to the river. He believes state and federal officials may be more amenable than in the past to considering such a request. The commissioners seem interested in applying for additional flow as long as it would not expose their customers to associated plant upgrade costs. Catlow recommended an informal meeting with agency officials before filing the application, which he said is due in early June. The Commission voted to approve Tighe & Bond's Scope of Work at a cost of $5,300.
For more than a year, the Commission has tried to address the problem of undocumented excess flow coming into the wastewater treatment plant. As part of an Infiltration and Inflow study, inspections were done again in January, but they still cannot locate the source(s) of the problem. They are trying to rule out such things as inappropriate floor drain connections, sump pumps possibly discharging into the system or a break in a line.
Catlow recommended that all sewage grinder pumps be inspected as soon as possible before seasonal high groundwater recedes. He offered to provide training to whomever the Commission offers the work. So far the commission has installed no flow meters to track flow to the plant from the Town Center project, the Wayland Commons condos and the other plant customers.
Billing and Betterment Charges
The Commission continues to work on updating its billing practices, particularly in anticipation of betterment charges kicking in on July 1, 2013 for the new treatment plant. The plant serves residential, municipal and commercial customers near the center of town. A number of plant customers concerned about cost increases attended the WWMDC's April 1 public hearing on new rates and charges.
The handout distributed at the April 1 hearing showed Twenty Wayland's betterment charge at $5,324,174, the same amount published in a February 2013 Commission chart. A different version of that spreadsheet posted on the town website now shows the largest plant user being charged less - $4,717,760 - with a note on top saying that it supersedes any other earlier table. http://www.wayland.ma.us/Pages/WaylandMA_BComm/Wastewater/FY2014-Rate Hearing/FY2014BettermentTableAdded2013Apr7WithNote.pdf
The lower charge would result in the difference being spread out over the other non-governmental plant customers. That has prompted a strong reaction from other customers who feel that Twenty Wayland has been given a huge gift of over $600,000 at their expense and without sufficient public discussion of how the commissioners assigned the new rates and charges.
How much should Twenty Wayland pay for its betterment charge? All along it has claimed rights to 45,000 gallons/day of the plant's permitted 52,000 gallons/day capacity. That's 86%. The $5,324,174 betterment charge represents an approximate 70% share of the new facility's cost. The lower betterment charge would bring the developer's payment share down to about 62%.
The issue remains unresolved.
The Commission anticipates a mailing to all customers, after seeking advice of town counsel about how to proceed with assigning betterments to properties and what legal documents will be required.
-- Linda Segal
MEETINGS AND EVENTS
PLANNING BOARD, Tues., April 23, 7:30 p.m. Public hearing, former Finnerty's property, proposed stand-alone CVS, applicant seeking reduction of parking requirement
PUBLIC FORUM TO DISCUSS 2013 TOWN MEETING Wed., April 24, 7:45 p.m.
http://www.wayland.ma.us/Pages/WaylandMA_TownNews/01AC0D61-000F8513 Residents who cannot attend can submit comments to Moderator Dennis Berry: dennisj.berry@...
"Please come, discuss, offer constructive criticism, and work with us to improve Town Meeting a vital part of Wayland's government," Berry says.
RECYCLE UNUSED DRUGS SAFELY WITH WAYLAND POLICE
Residents can drop off unused prescription medications at the Wayland Public Safety Building on Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. No questions asked.
EARTH DAY WEEKEND CELEBRATION April 26-28, wide variety of activities. For more info:
LIBRARY BOOK AND BAKE SALE, April 27-28, Wayland Town Building, Large Hearing Room. For more info:
DANFORTH HOUSING PROJECT UPDATE
The public hearing scheduled for last Thursday, April 18, at Framingham's Planning Board was continued without testimony until Monday, April 29 at 7:45 p.m. in Memorial Hall, downtown Framingham.
SPECIAL STATE PRIMARY, Tuesday, April 30, polls open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
After the primary, the special state election to fill the US Senate seat recently vacated by John Kerry is scheduled for June 25.
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Wayland Voters Network
Michael Short, Editor