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Wastewater Management Plan Could Cost $38M

Ten to 20 year plan would connect residents to town sewer line and regionalize wastewater treatment with Mansfield and Foxborough.

A plan to connect Norton residents to a town sewer line and regionalize wastewater treatment with Mansfield and Foxborough could cost about $38M.

The majority of residents are currently using individual Title 5 septic systems while a smaller group is hooked up to the municipal wastewater system. The majority of the municipal wastewater that’s collected in Norton is sent to the Mansfield Wastewater Treatment Facility, which is actually located at the intersection of Crane and Hill Street in Norton. Some are connected to the Taunton Wastewater Treatment Facility. There is also a treatment plant at Norton Middle School, which Norton High and Yelle School were recently connected to.

“The comprehensive plan is really looking at where other alternatives need to be investigated, where the title 5 systems aren’t sustainable from an environmental or economical standpoint,“ said Steve Pedersen, senior associate of Weston & Sampson Engineers, Inc.

The Mansfield treatment plant limits the capacity to 250,000 gallons per day, which isn’t consistent with the measured flow into the plant. A negotiation of a legal settlement will make sure the flow is measured when the facility is expanded, which will free up additional capacity.

Current town-owned wastewater capacity is about 296,900 gallons per day. Norton utilizes approximately 205,000 gallons per day. The problem lies within future flows and town growth.

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Current and proposed developments are factored into the capacity needs. Norton Glen uses an estimated 19,800 gallons of wastewater per day. There are also several proposed 40B complexes in town, including Turtle Crossing and Island Brook which will use an estimated 39,300 gallons per day. The proposed Waste Management trucking facility could use about 2,700 gallons per day.

The proposed plan also includes five areas of priority needs in terms of future wastewater flow. They were prioritized by soil suitability for on-site systems, proximity to natural resources, lot size and density of development, history of on-site performance and economic factors. Altogether they have an estimated wastewater flow of 191,900 gallons per day. Other future connections or extensions include Daggett Crandall Newcomb Home, L. G. Nourse Elementary School, Keith Drive and Keene Way and Route 123 to E. Main Street. These areas are estimated to produce 13,700 gallons of wastewater per day.

Wheaton College is not currently tied in with the town’s system. However, their permit is up for renewal and they are considering the change. While their current average daily flow is 80,000 gallons per day, the college has an available capacity of 120,000 gallons of wastewater per day which they would like to keep open in case of future growth.

“All the areas where they are showing the new mains being installed, all the adjacent property is included in that flow, not just the specific areas,” said Norton Water and Sewer Commission Chair Steve Wiseman. “Once the mains are installed and the infrastructure is in place, everyone along that infrastructure can connect to the sewer.”

The total projected wastewater need is 405,500 gallons per day. The recommended plan includes a projected wastewater capacity of 460,000 gallons per day.

“This isn’t just a couple of years in the making,” said Steve Pedersen, senior associate of Weston & Sampson Engineers, Inc. “This is a couple of decades worth of planning at this point. There’s a lot of history behind it.”

In the 1970s, Norton, Mansfield and Foxborough tried to build a regional sewage treatment plant on the property located next to Norton Animal Shelter and Nine Lives. Foxborough and Norton backed out of the agreement, and Mansfield took the land by eminent domain. Mansfield proceeded to build the plant, which Norton has limited use of.

The plant has since been declared undersized, and a plan to expand it is in the works. In the meantime, Norton is once again trying to hammer out an agreement with Mansfield and Foxborough for a regional plan.

The total construction cost of the needs area sewer extensions is estimated at $30.4M. Norton’s share of the expansion for the Mansfield Wastewater Treatment Facility is an additional $7.5M.

“This is very conceptual, but we need costs to look into financing options,” Pedersen said. He also added that this estimate is conservative.

The next step in this project is to examine financing options for the recommended plan.

“It comes down to fairness and affordability. If the commission wants to get this passed, they are going to have to come up with costs that work,” Pedersen said. “It’s typically a combination of taxpayer dollars and betterments that are going to get it done.”

The time frame of this project is still up in the air, as it is dependent on the Mansfield Wastewater Treatment Plant expansion and upgrade. Weston & Sampson says the plant could be finished around fiscal year 2017-18.

“The rest of the extensions really can’t be done until the plant is expanded,” said Fran Yanuskiewicz, senior vice president of the engineering company.

“Best case scenario is that it could take 10 to 12 years,” said Steven Wiseman. However, Pedersen called this a 20 year plan.

The plan will be finalized by Dec. 31. A public hearing on the project will be held after Jan. 1, 2013.

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