The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, April 6, 2001


Decision on Carlisle School septic system delayed again

A sense of resignation and frustration prevailed at the school building committee meeting on Wednesday, March 28. As previously reported, the Carlisle Public School spends $900/month to pump the current septic system which failed a Title V Inspection in 1996.

After five years and thousands of tax dollars spent operating a failed waste water treatment system, the school building committee had planned to bring a warrant article requesting additional funds for construction of a new septic system before the townspeople at the upcoming May 14, 2001 Town Meeting. However, after reviewing the research conducted by HKT Architects, the engineers contracted by the committee to produce a feasibility study for a new waste water treatment system, the committee reluctantly agreed that a decision would have to be delayed until the fall. This represents the latest in a long series of delays which has kept the school out of compliance and unable to move forward on the important discussion regarding a possible school expansion.

Alternatives to Banta-Davis

Brian Lynch from HKT kicked off the meeting with a report on the various alternative locations to the Banta-Davis Land. Although Banta-Davis remains the site of closest proximity to the school and with optimal soil conditions for a waste-water treatment facility, the committee had asked HKT to conduct an analysis of all other town owned parcels to determine their suitability. Last year the town lost a suit brought by abutters who objected to siting a septic system on the Banta-Davis Land.

The site needs to be at least one acre to accommodate the 15-20,000 gallon per day waste water flow, be within 8,000 feet of the school and have the appropriate sand/gravel mix. The committee, in reviewing the maps and data supplied by HKT, determined that Towle Field and Fox Hill would be the two most probable sites for the facility. Spalding Field, while close enough to the school , was deemed unfeasible because the soil there had previously failed a state percolation test.

Once the committee reviews the data from HKT Associates, the next steps would be to contact town counsel and the selectmen regarding Towle Field and Fox Hill. Attending Selectman Michael Fitzgerald urged the committee to investigate possible private lands while simultaneously researching Fox Hill and Towle Field. This the committee agreed to do, although concern was expressed that the acquisition of private lands for a waste-water treatment facility would significantly increase the cost and scale of the project. In addition, researching other possible sites not included in the HKT study would involve bringing engineers back for further analysis, again adding to the cost of this project.

No decision until fall

The committee concluded that if a suitable site could be identified both from a legal and practical standpoint, a warrant article requesting additional funds to be used for the construction of a waste water treatment facility would be brought before a Special Town Meeting in the fall. No further meetings between HKT and the committee are scheduled over the summer while the committee works with the data supplied and determines the best site for the system.

School Superintendent Davida Fox-Melanson asked Lynch how long he thought the state would allow the school to continue pumping waste water before it insists that a new system be constructed. Lynch informed the committee that typically once a system has failed a Title V inspection, a new system must be in place within two years. He suggested that although the state will probably permit the school to continue pumping for a while, at some point they will step in and insist upon compliance.

Although the warrant article will not be moved at the Spring Town Meeting, the committee plans to make a formal presentation to update townspeople on the feasibility study and the status of the project.

+YEAR+ The Carlisle Mosquito