Mashpee Town Engineer Christopher Gallagher said at a Mashpee Sewer Commission meeting at Town Hall last Thursday, November 18, that the town will not send wastewater to Joint Base Cape Cod for treatment.
Mr. Gallagher recounted for the sewer commission a meeting between town officials and the owners of an existing wastewater treatment plant at the military base.
“The upshot of the meeting is it’s not a deal for us to go there,” Mr. Gallagher said. “What they wanted for money, we could build our own [treatment] plant.”
The cost of using the facilities at Joint Base Cape Cod would be more than the cost of the treatment plant that the town approved for construction near the Mashpee Transfer Station, he said.
With 0 percent interest loans from the State Revolving Fund as well as a 25 percent subsidy from the Cape and Islands Water Protection Fund, it would be more advantageous for the town to build their own treatment plant, Mr. Gallagher said.
“We’re getting money for 0 percent plus 25 percent off; they could never match that,” he said. “Why put money into someone else’s plant? It’s like investing in someone’s car and you can’t drive it. I think that’s kind of off-the-table.”
Sewer commissioner Meredith Harris asked, “Does this mean that we would be building a second plant near Johns Pond?”
“I would think so,” Mr. Gallagher said. “Just because you have a high density there and to get [wastewater] somewhere else would probably cost you just as much as it would to build a plant.”
The town engineer said there is large amount of town-owned land in the area north of Johns Pond where a treatment plant could be built. The treatment plant would be significantly smaller than the one slated for construction near the transfer station and would probably only treat wastewater for the area near Johns Pond and Ashumet Pond, he said.
The town could move forward with 25 percent design for the second phase of the sewer project as soon as Town Meeting next spring, Mr. Gallagher said. Those designs would offer more clarity about the costs for sewer construction of the second phase.
“I think that’s when things are going to get fleshed out on if there is going to be another plant,” he said.
Sandwich seems interested in sending wastewater to Joint Base Cape Cod for treatment, and the plant at the base only has enough capacity for one town, Mr. Gallagher said. However, he said he expects the costs will be too steep for Sandwich as well.
In addition to Mr. Gallagher, town manager Rodney C. Collins, assistant town manager Wayne E. Taylor, Mashpee Select Board member Andrew R. Gottlieb, sewer commission chairman Michael Rapacz and sewer commissioner Alfred R. Towel also attended the meeting with Joint Base Cape Cod.