Map Gives Early Hint Of How Mashpee May Be Sewered
By: Elsa H. Partan
A draft map that shows how wastewater treatment could be organized across Mashpee is complete, a landmark in the town’s effort to get nitrogen pollution under control.
The map represents years of work by several iterations of the Mashpee Sewer Commission to come up with a federally-mandated solution to the nitrogen that is overloading the town’s estuaries and bays.
At its meeting on Tuesday, the commission formalized the map, which had included a series of hand-drawn lines, and agreed to review it once again at its next meeting December 14.
The commission is still several steps away from finishing its work.
The map does not dictate what the first phase of the project will be, what kind of wastewater systems should be built, or how the town should pay for them, tasks that lie ahead. Although the commission considered each part of town, it is unlikely that every corner of Mashpee will have to install a wastewater system, commissioners said.
Progress has been rapid since September, when the commission began to organize the town into logical areas for wastewater treatment. They prioritized neighborhoods that contribute the most nitrogen to sensitive bays, considered which parcels of town land could be used for wastewater treatment plants and contemplated where the clean effluent could be discharge.
The result is a complex color-coded map that features magenta borders to corral the various neighborhoods. Some of the combined areas are small, like the development tucked up between Johns and Ashumet ponds, while others are considerably larger, like a single section that runs from Monomoscoy Island up to the neighborhoods off Red Brook Road and over to the coastline around Ockway Bay and the older sections of New Seabury. Certain neighborhoods have been left out of treatment areas, like most of Popponesset, where the groundwater flows directly into Nantucket Sound instead of one of the more sensitive estuaries.
Bull’s-eye symbols indicate possible location of new treatment plants, on properties like the back of Heritage Park, the Mashpee Transfer Station, a parcel off Back Road, and the South Mashpee Fire Substation.
Treated water discharge areas are proposed at the fire substation, down at New Seabury, Mashpee High School, the transfer station, Willowbend, a property off Back Road north of Johns Pond, and Heritage Park.
Chairman F. Thomas Fudala formalized the previously hand-drawn lines into a computer file for easy distribution and gave each commissioner a printed version.
“That looks great,” commissioner Thomas F. O’Hara said.
Areas Likely To Be Sewered
Mashpee Sewer Commission Chairman F. Thomas Fudala highlighted three significant regions of Mashpee as potential areas for wastewater treatment.
• East Mashpee: An area defined at the north end by the west side of Santuit Pond and South Sandwich Road and at its southern end by the bottom of Mashpee Neck. This region could be served by a treatment plant build adjacent to the town transfer station.
• South Mashpee: The Bright Coves and Summersea areas of New Seabury, the lower portion of Great Neck Road South, the four Seabrook subdivisions, Monomoscoy Island and Seconsett Island. These could be served by a plant located near the new fire station on Red Brook Road.
• West Mashpee: A region south of Johns Pond including John’s Pond Estates, Childs River East, Childs River West, and the neighborhoods between Algonquin Avenue and Johns Pond. These neighborhoods could be served by a plant on the high school property or on adjacent town-owned land.
“This [map] is following a track of a combination of some of the scenarios,” Mr. Fudala said, referring to the five wastewater scenarios developed by the town’s primary consultant, GHD Inc. “We show building some municipal plants and using the existing plants. Given the limitations of some of the private systems, I imagine that those will be used as they are until the end of their useful life and then taken over by the town.”
Mr. Fudala explained that before the commissioners move to the next stage of work, they will ask vendors to suggest sewage collection systems. Then the commissioners will come up with phases for the project, which will be passed on to GHD. The consultant will send data based on one or two wastewater system designs to the School for Marine Science and Technology at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. That organization will say whether the design is likely to reduce nitrogen enough to satisfy the federal limit established for each bay, the goal of the process.
Ultimately, once a plan is chosen, the town will work out financing and a management structure and start to build the chosen design. The plan will require approval by Town Meeting.
In addition reviewing the map again at the next meeting, commissioners plan to look at a website designed by GHD and a subcontractor that they hope will help communicate with the public.
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