Harwich Hires Firm to Handle Wastewater PR

HARWICH – Following months of consideration, selectmen in Harwich have agreed to take on an outside firm to handle public outreach for the town’s forthcoming wastewater management project.

Weston and Sampson Engineering Inc. has been tasked with handling communications with residents who may have questions or concerns as the project unfolds.

As part of their $75,000 fee, representatives of the firm will also work with town officials and project engineers to iron out details of the multi-million dollar effort.

Selectman Larry Ballantine express reservations about the firm’s ability to handle to communicate with residents.

“My concern is Weston and Sampson, while a well-recognized and highly respected firm, part of this is we wanted more communication with the community.”

Former Brewster Town Administrator Charlie Sumner will handle coordination for Weston and Sampson, a selection which received high praise from the board.

“I can’t say enough about Charlie Sumner,” said Selectman Michael MacAskill, highlighting the former administrator’s experience in the field.

Harwich officials are still in the process of making a final determination on their wastewater plans.

Consultants with CDM Smith informed selectmen last month that the town can expect to pay $300 million if they opt for their own system while a joint system with Dennis and Yarmouth would run roughly $260 million.

Either plan is well in excess of the $240 million that town officials had been expecting.

“These are 2022 cost numbers,” consultant David Young told the board, “The $240 million was based on 2016. We’re using three percent inflation, that’s how your $240 million went to $300 million.”

Young went on to say that Harwich could see substantial savings through sharing infrastructure components with Dennis and Yarmouth and illuminating the need for their own water treatment facility.

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