The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, March 19, 1999


Septic technology may cause BOH change

For over a decade, the Carlisle Board of Health has rejected plans for a new septic system that was closer than 100 feet from wetlands. Now, advanced technology, bolstered by state endorsements and new data, may force the board to reconsider this policy.

At the board's request, town consulting engineer Rob Frado reviewed data on the Scienco/FAST® (Fixed Activated Sludge Treatment) system. Such a solution is under consideration for new construction on Hillside Drive (lot 7). While Frado found the test results somewhat inconsistent, he determined that the new treatment system reduces nitrogen ground levels by 55 percent and "beats standard systems by a factor of ten."

"That might offset our proprietary and maintenance concerns," said chairman Steve Opolski referring to the board's major issues with new technology. First, adoption of a new technology may make obtaining replacement parts difficult should the supplier go out of business. Second, new systems often include frequent maintenance schedules that the board may find onerous to enforce. But since the performance on the new systems is exceptionally good, the board considered whether homeowners should have an incentive to adopt the more expensive systems.

Opolski and board member Skip Saunders discussed the possibility of reducing the 100-foot setback from wetlands as one enticement. Frado, highly knowledgeable about the technical detail and current state policy, called the current Carlisle restriction "over-over-kill." The board suggested it would consider relaxing the wetland restriction for new construction using the Scienco/FAST technology. Nonetheless, Opolski would like proponents of such proposals to include data on other effluents in addition to nitrogen, as well as any other available test and report information.

Other business

In other business, the board:

· Determined a 65 Hickory Lane addition did not require a four-bedroom deed restriction.

· Awarded a Title 5 certificate for 104 Sunset Road.

· Rejected a plan for new construction at Lot 1A Curve Street due to incomplete septic system design data.

· Approved a revised plan for 132 Woodland Road.

1999 The Carlisle Mosquito