Homeowners in the Little Pond Sewer Service Area who installed a grinder pump to connect to the sewer system are eligible for a $1,800 reimbursement from the town.
“I’m glad to see this finally come before us,” Falmouth Select Board member Douglas C. Brown said at the board’s meeting on Monday, September 28. “I know those people could use the money.”
Based on data received from 455 homeowners and three contractors, the average cost to install a grinder pump connection was about $1,800 more than a gravity connection. The board unanimously approved the reimbursements.
“If the 681 residential property owners who installed grinder pumps were reimbursed $1,800 each, the total cost to the town would be about $1.2 million dollars,” Wastewater Superintendent Amy A. Lowell said. “There are sufficient funds remaining under the article, article 28 [at the April 2014 Town Meeting], that was the funding appropriation for the Little Pond project, to cover this cost as well as the pending Bournes Pond inlet widening project.”
Those seeking a reimbursement must meet three criteria. First, they must have owned the property at the time the connection was made.
“If, for example, the property was sold after the home was connected to the sewer, it is not the current owner of that property who would be eligible for reimbursement,” Ms. Lowell said. “It would be the previous property owner who had covered the cost of the sewer connection.”
Second, the property must be a noncommercial, residential property. Finally, the property’s combined sewer connection permit must be closed out.
“This is just to ensure we are wiping the slate clean on the permitting for that project before the town reimburses property owners for the cost of connecting to the sewer,” Ms. Lowell said. “After the last presentation in December, the town sent out a set of notifications to property owners whose permits were not yet closed out, and with a lot of cooperation and assistance from the town’s electrical inspector, a large number of those have now been inspected and closed out.”
Board member Douglas H. Jones asked if those with pending permit applications had connected to the sewer system.
“When I say a permit is not closed out, I mean the property is connected to the sewer, but one or more of the inspections needed to close out the permit are not yet completed,” Ms. Lowell said, confirming these homeowners remain eligible for a reimbursement.
A one-page reimbursement application will be made available to those homeowners. They will be able to apply for reimbursement through December 31, 2021.
“I would expect a large number of the reimbursement applications to come in quickly, but this longer time frame would give people for whom the town has an out-of-date address or who still need to close out their permit, it would allow those folks time to make sure they are aware of this process, can apply for it and receive reimbursement as well,” Ms. Lowell said.
The town will work to promote the reimbursement program. Ms. Lowell said that in addition to sending a letter to homeowners in the Little Pond Sewer Service Area, she will publicize the program in the Falmouth Enterprise, on the www.falmouthmass.us website and through area neighborhood associations.
In addition to approving the reimbursement process, the select board voted that only properties connected to the sewer system prior to September 28 are eligible. Ms. Lowell said there are about 19 properties in the Little Pond Sewer Service Area that did not connect to the sewer line, most of which are vacant lots or contain uninhabitable homes with a terminated water service.
“My understand is the pump provision by the town and the partial reimbursement was intended to reduce the cost and impact to existing homeowners within the sewer service area, not for new development or redevelopment,” she said.