The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, October 1, 1999


Composting toilets and field issues remain on RecCom agenda

One of the less glamorous jobs for members of the recreation commission is visiting neighboring towns to check out composting toilets. Restroom facilities may be an expensive, but necessary, addition to the new ballfields as discussed at the September 20 RecCom meeting.

RecCom has targeted both the Banta-Davis and Spalding Fields for some form of composting outhouse. RecCom director Carol Peters reported that the easiest solution is the Clivus toilet like those used in the Great Brook Farm State Park. They are low maintenance and only need to be pumped three times a year. A fan, powered by a solar panel, blows air over the sawdust-fed waste. Maintenance runs about $500 a year, mostly for weekly applications of sawdust. The problem is that a freestanding Clivus outhouse costs $22,000.

A cheaper solution would be for the town to provide shed space for the basic $4,000 Clivus unit. If the shed is large enough, it can also be used for storage and a concession stand. That's when RecCom decided to visit some neighboring facilities, starting with an impressive comfort station at the Lincoln-Sudbury High School.

Field progress

RecCom member Lorraine Stone reported that remaining areas of the Banta-Davis playing fields have been hydroseeded and "we are waiting for the soccer fencing to be installed." The recent rainfall has been a big help and the baseball, softball, and soccer fields are beginning to turn green. "It's looking pretty good," chimed in Peters.

There are still some rough edges to iron out before the rescheduled completion date of September 30. The contractor, Littleton Environmental Services, Inc. (LES), had previously requested an extension from the original July 5 deadline because of delays in getting an electrical connection to the fields to allow irrigation. LES had posted a performance bond and RecCom is withholding $78,000 to be paid upon satisfactory completion of all work.

Some problems

Member Mark Spears has some misgivings about the fields after his recent walkthrough. "There's nothing growing along the edges of the fields," observed Spears. "Doesn't he (LES) think he owes us grass there?" A 12-foot strip between the field and fence either was not seeded or the seeds washed away during Hurricane Floyd. Spears also noticed that several areas have washed out and large gullies remain to be graded and reseeded. A culvert just below the softball field appears to be improperly constructed, forcing water to flow up and over the roadway.

Spears discovered an even bigger problem. "The softball field is too small," he sadly revealed. "It is supposed to be an adult softball field with 65-foot base paths and 50 feet to the pitcher's mound, with a 55-foot arc from the mound to the back of the infield." Spears measured 60 feet between bases, a 46-foot pitcher's mound and an arc of 50 feet. This conforms to youth ballfield dimensions, although the field was specifically intended for adult softball. Unfortunately, a quick check of the original plans revealed that youth dimensions were incorrectly specified and will require a change order. "We'll have to replace nine feet of sod with clay," said Spears.

Spears was also concerned about the transition between the six-foot strip of sod on both baseball and softball infields and the seeded outfield. "The transition from sod to seed is too severe," observed Spears. "The step down in grade is dangerous. They'll have to truck in more loam to correct it." Members also decided that LES should reseed the proposed school septic system field, which has turned into a dried-out weed patch since construction began. RecCom members plan a walk-though on Sunday, October 3 at 4 p.m., after the September 30 deadline has expired.

1999 The Carlisle Mosquito