Bourne Seeking Funding for New Scenic Park Septic System

Bourne Town Hall

BUZZARDS BAY – Upgrades to Bourne’s Scenic Park could be on the horizon as the Bourne Recreation Authority is seeking upgrades to the septic system at the park.

The authority’s general manager, Barry Johnson, said the town submitted an application last week for funding from the MassWorks Infrastructure Program as the entire project is expected to cost about $7.3 million.

The MassWorks program provides funding to support housing production, economic development and job creation through strategic investments in public infrastructure to municipalities throughout the state.

The program has awarded nearly $275 million to projects throughout the state since 2015, including $1.5 toward the wastewater treatment plant currently being constructed at Queen Sewell Park.

The gray and black water will be treated at a site within the park that is outside the flood zone and away from the Cape Cod Canal and other sensitive resources areas, if the funding is secured.

According to Johnson, phase one of the project would involve construction of a treatment plant that would treat up to 48,000 gallons of wastewater daily.

Johnson also told selectmen that the idea is to upgrade the water quality within the canal and surrounding area.

The current septic system at the park dates back to the 1950’s, and has to be pumped out every year, prior to the start of camping season at a cost of $25,000 to the recreation authority.

“The Board of Recreation Authority takes very seriously the fact that the Water that is eventually going into the canal certainly needs to be of the utmost clean quality that we can possibly make it,” said Johnson.

The finished facility would enhance the town’s Local Comprehensive Plan, as well as the Cape’s 208 water quality management plan.

Selectmen James Potter was in favor of the project, however he questioned why the recreation authority was not partnering with the town on the wastewater treatment plan going in off the Route 6 and 28 Bypass Road in Buzzards Bay.  

Potter also suggested the state might be less likely to approve the recreation authority’s application due to the $1.5 million grant MassWorks gave the town just two years ago to offset the cost of the wastewater treatment facility.

Johnson admitted that a denial is a real possibility, but said that the current project is already underway.

Potter said any collaboration between the town and the recreation authority, which is independent of the town, would have to prove acceptable with the town’s board of sewer commissioners, whose membership is the same as the board of selectmen.

There have been discussions about Scenic Park connecting to the Buzzards Bay treatment plant, according to Wastewater Facility Design and Building Committee chairwoman Mary Jane Mastrangelo.

Mastrangelo did not that there is a lot of sewer infrastructure that is needed within the park.

Proposals have been discussed for expansion of the wastewater treatment facility in Wareham.

Currently an agreement with the Town of Wareham allows the Town of Bourne to send 200,000 gallons of wastewater to their facility.

An expanded plan of the Wareham facility would increase the plant’s capacity as well as the amount of wastewater Bourne can send.

Bourne Town Administrator Thomas Guerio said the recreation authority needs something done now to be in compliance with federal and state regulations.

He added that if approved by the state, the funding would allow the recreation authority to begin installing piping that will be needed for the park’s infrastructure.

All select board members voted to unanimously sign the letter of support that accompanied the authority’s application to MassWorks.

Johnson said the state typically announces who has been selected as grant recipients six to eight weeks after the submission deadline.

“We should be notified probably toward the end of October of this year and we are currently still working to advance the project by doing hydrological studies and everything else that needs to be done,” Johnson said.      

The Scenic Park campground, established in 1951 and located adjacent to the Cape Cod Canal, has 438 sites for tents, RVs, trailers, lodging, and cabins.

About Luke Leitner

Luke Leitner grew up in Watertown Massachusetts and now lives in West Yarmouth on the Cape. He has been a part of the news team in the News Center since the spring of 2019. He studied business communications at Western New England University.
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