Sandwich Residents Expected to Face Wastewater Proposal This Fall

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SANDWICH – A proposal to finance wastewater solutions will most likely go before Sandwich voters at special town meeting this fall.

Selectmen recently agreed, without a formal vote, that the town must begin taking steps to address water quality concerns.

Water quality consultant Ed Leonard discussed water issues last week at the Selectmen meeting and provided details on a current proposal.

“We’re proposing a phased implementation plan,” Leonard said.

“Three phases spread out over 60 years so that the debt would be retired for each phase before the next phase started.”

The first phase, which has an $86 million price tag, would include a treatment plant and sewer service for areas including the Forestdale School, the Public Safety Complex, South Sandwich Village, Industrial Park and Historic Village.

Funding would be generated through a 3 percent taxpayer bill surcharge. The money would be placed into a new Water Infrastructure Investment Fund which would be used to build a new plant and install sewer lines throughout the phases of the project.

The second phase of the plan would install sewer lines to properties adjacent to those in phase one and near environmentally sensitive areas, including Peters Pond and Snake Pond, primarily focused on south facing watersheds.

“Town Neck is also included in phase two,” Leonard said.

Phase three would consist of a lot of densely developed neighborhoods in the south facing embayments.

“Phase three we hope not to have to do,” Leonard said. “It’s something DEP requires – to have a contingency plan in the event that the non-traditional approaches don’t work.”

Part of the plan includes water main extensions to several neighborhoods that currently have private wells with increasing nitrate, which can cause health concerns at certain levels.

The proposal also includes stormwater best practices.

“It’s changing from swales that go straight into ponds to some kind of pretreatments to take out any of the road sand, salt, runoff and fertilizer, things like that before it goes into the pond,” Leonard said.

The sewer portion of the plan would only reach about 1,800 parcels among the 8,800 parcels in town.

“It’s fairly focused,” Leonard said.

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