The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, October 11, 2002


Board of health offers guidance on three septic questions

At the October 2 meeting of the Carlisle Board of Health Carlisle resident Ed Sonn and engineer Joe March of Stamski and McNary started out by explaining that there have been backups in the St. Irene Rectory septic system and feel that some repairs may be necessary. Sonn explained that when the landscaping for the new church was done, they uncovered the rectory septic system. The rectory was built in the early 1960s and the board of health has no record of the design. The leaching pit is located underneath a 2x2 foot concrete conduit and would be difficult to rebuild or service.

March said he has considered three alternatives to fix the complicated system:

1. Connect the rectory up to the existing church system.

2. Expand the church system, with some new leach lines. Run a separate pipe to these new leach beds.

3. Redesign the rectory system so that it meets current standards as close as possible.

March said that the first alternative is the most appealing since it would require the least amount of work. The church system was designed for a flow of 1,980 gallons per day and cannot be increased beyond 2,000 gallons without going to a pressurized sewage treatment plant. Estimates of flow for a number of years have been made by measuring the rate of flow of the church public water system and the flow of the rectory well, excluding the water used for landscape irrigation. Sonn took flows from the church and the rectory on Sunday, the busiest day for the church. Peak flows on Sunday from the rectory are 180 gallons per day and from the church are 270 gallons per day totaling 450 gallons per day. The total of the two flows is substantially less than the 1,980 gallons for which the church system was designed.

The state Title 5 statute is fuzzy about septic systems for churches but does give the general guideline of designing for two times the peak flow measurement.

"What's the public health advantage of making them put in a second system if the flows are so minuscule?" asked board member Lisa Davis Lewis. "The [church] system would probably work better with the improved flows [from the rectory]," she added.

Board member Steve Opolski said he agreed with Davis Lewis' suggestion but added that as a condition for allowing the first option, the engineer should do an alternate repair design. Since it is a repair the board would allow some waivers.

"I think that is extremely reasonable," replied March. "Be careful what kinds of precedents you are setting because of other churches," cautioned board of health agent Linda Fantasia. Fantasia mentioned that the Unitarian church might be in need of a repair for their parsonage.

Opolski said that the state didn't like the design flow figures for the church, but the board of health had interpreted the statute the way it made sense. "We have real flow rates here," added March.

The board concluded the discussion by requesting March to produce a full plan, including a design for an alternative system for the board of health consulting engineer Rob Frado to review.

1756 Monument Street

The property at 1756 Monument Street was originally two lots which were combined into one lot in order to repair a system. The septic tank is located in Carlisle and the leach field in Concord. Concord has issued a permit to build the leach field. The Carlisle board approved the design, asking that consulting engineer Rob Frado cooperate with the Concord authorities for inspections.

94 East Meadow Lane

Engineer Dan Cetrone of Highland Builders presented drawings of a restoration to the 1982 house at 94 East Meadow Lane owned by Lee and Gordon Means. The addition to the home would bring the bedroom count up to five but the Meanses prefer to deed restrict the property to four bedrooms, rather than replace the septic system.

The board explained that the deed restriction policy would apply to this situation but would require the homeowners to also deed restrict against a kitchen disposal garbage grinder, and submit to a Title 5 inspection of the septic system every two years.

2002 The Carlisle Mosquito