The Falmouth Water Quality Management Committee plans to find a means to share expenses with the Town of Mashpee for a feasibility study relating to the Quashnet/Moonakis River. Members of the committee had discussed the study at a meeting with Mashpee selectman Andrew R. Gottlieb, shellfish constable Richard York and sewer commission chairman F. Thomas Fudala prior to its regular meeting on Thursday, January 15.
“The Town of Mashpee says that ‘Quashnet [River] doesn’t belong to us, we’re passing this onto you,’ ” committee member Winthrop H. Munro said. “We suggested that maybe we can share the expense.”
Committee member Matthew C. Patrick added that the Mashpee officials they met with realize that the Quashnet/Moonakis River is a system that both towns share. The Moonakis River is largely in Falmouth, he said, and the Quashnet goes all the way into Mashpee.
“They’re not arguing that point, they just didn’t want to assume all of the responsibility,” he said.
The effort is one of several that the Town of Mashpee plans to pursue prior to issuance of its final Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan (CWMP). It would involve a hydrodynamic study of the estuary to determine possible reductions in necessary sewering of the watershed, including extensive field data collection for the entire estuary.
The committee is unsure who will help contribute to the study and how much it would cost. Because plans for the study are linked with Mashpee’s pending wastewater management plan, which could be affected by a possible May 2015 Town Meeting vote regarding the creation of a combined water and sewer district, committee chairman Eric T. Turkington said that the committee will have to “wait and see” what happens in the spring.
The CWMP has been “enormously complicated,” he said, by the complex political history behind it.
“There is another sense in which it is less complicated [than Falmouth’s], in that we have 15 estuaries, only two of which have to be dealt with with other towns,” Mr. Munro said. “They have two estuaries, each of which they have two other towns they have to deal with...that’s a complication for them.”
Of the towns’ collaboration on the study, Mr. Turkington said, “I think we have the elements of a good cooperative effort and I think that the meeting was useful to that extent.”