The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, May 24, 2002


School wastewater plant design to begin Wastewater plants exempt from Rivers Protection Act

The school building committee reviewed proposals from more than a dozen firms before choosing the firms of Hoyle, Tanner Associates (HTA) and GZA Environmental to design the wastewater treatment facility needed for the Carlisle School.

HTA, which has experience with the design of airports, wastewater treatment plants and school septic systems, will design the plant.

GZA Environmental, a consulting firm, will do the hydrogeological study of the building site. The two companies have worked together on other projects.

Selectmen approve firms

The building committee recommended the engineering firms to the selectmen at their meeting on May 21. The selectmen approved the hiring of the two firms. Town administrator Madonna McKenzie said the contracts with the firms are standard, but details of insurance and liability are still being fine-tuned. The selectmen's approval is contingent on the final approval of town counsel and the town administrator. The total cost under the two contracts is not to exceed the $130,000 already authorized. This does not include the actual cost of construction of the treatment system.

The committee had originally planned to ask for construction funds at the May Town Meeting. However, school business manager and building committee member Eileen Riley says, "There are no firm costs yet for building the wastewater plant. We didn't want to ask for an amount based on an estimate, we wanted to have a bid." The building committee plans to request full construction funds for the treatment plant at a special Town Meeting this fall.

The type of wastewater treatment plant to be built will depend on the type of soil found at the proposed building site on the town-owned lower Banta-Davis land off of Bedford Road. The building committee received permission to expend funds for the wastewater facility design and permitting costs at the fall 2001 special Town Meeting. Along with designing the wastewater system, the engineering firms will file a ground water discharge permit with the state Department of Environmental Protection and prepare a Notice of Intent for the Carlisle Conservation Commission, seeking permission to build the system.

The present school septic system has been in technical failure under Title V regulations for several years and is pumped out monthly. The school building committee plans to replace the failed septic system with a new wastewater treatment facility designed to meet the needs of the existing school, a possible future expansion of the school, as well as a possible second school.

Up to 60% of the cost of the new wastewater system is eligible for reimbursement by the state School Building Assistance Bureau, according to Riley, although it could take several years for reimbursement by the state. The SBAB has already approved $700,000 to replace the current failed system. Riley said the SBAB commitment is based on work being completed in a timely manner.


The school septic system originally planned for the Banta-Davis land in 1996 was successfully challenged by abutters in a lawsuit. The Rivers Protection Act was cited in the suit because Pages Brook, a year-round stream located on Church Street, must be crossed by a sewerage pipe running from the school down to the lower Banta-Davis land. However, engineers have since advised the building committee that the school now needs a wastewater treatment facility rather than a septic system due to increased enrollments which have increased flow rates at the school.

Through discussions with engineering firms the building committee has recently learned that the wastewater treatment plant is exempt from the Rivers Protection Act regulations. This regulation exemption has been confirmed by the Carlisle Conservation Committee and the town administrator, according to Riley.

The previous plan that proposed a new septic system for the school was not exempted from the Rivers Protection Act. While the wastewater plant required is more costly than the septic system originally planned, requiring $50,000 for the hydrogeological study permitting alone, its exemption from the Rivers Protection Act is welcome news for the committee and for school and town officials.

2002 The Carlisle Mosquito