Harwich Sewer Expansion On Track

Photo by Christian Fischer

HARWICH – Harwich select board members recently turned their attention to wastewater management in the town as municipalities region-wide wrestle with challenges impacting water quality.

According to the latest annual report from the Association to Preserve Cape Cod analyzing data collected from ponds, lakes and estuaries across the area, the Cape Cod region has a long way to go on water quality. 

In Harwich, efforts continue to expand wastewater infrastructure, and Superintendent of the town’s Water Department Dan Pelletier said the town will mail out order-to-connect letters for phase 2 of the sewer project as part of the Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan.

Pump stations as part of the ongoing project also received inspection from the Department of Environmental Protection recently as the effort moves ahead.

To help residents, the town’s water department also created an online map, viewable here, that provides sewer rate estimates for different residences in the community. 

The orders-to-connect will also include a “welcome package,” said Pelletier, with a list of designers, contractors and a checklist of how to go about getting sewer service. 

Residents will have two years to comply with the order-to-connect. 

Pelletier said that the town is also working on other ways to help its residents financially when it comes to hooking homes up to the sewer.

“We’ve been working with the Barnstable County Septic Loan Program working to have septic loans offered at zero percent for sewer service connections,” said Pelletier.

He added that the county has since hired a financial consulting firm to help model the potential loan program.

“It isn’t in place yet, but it’s in process and I’m hoping we’re inching towards the finish line where residents who need to connect and get a loan to do their sewer service will be able to do so at zero percent.”

Residents can also expect a town educational outreach effort to ramp up over the coming months about responsible use of fertilizer—another source of water quality degradation, according to the Association. 

Town officials said that the effort towards educating the population about the dangers of overusing fertilizer is due to a lack of oversight at the state level on the issue, including a lack of effective enforcement.

As wastewater infrastructure continues to see investment regionwide, Pelletier said that the town will likely seek to collaborate with Dennis on effluent recharge and other wastewater projects.

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native currently living in Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the CapeCod.com News Center in 2019.

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