Friday, January 19, 2007
BOH pressures Coventry Woods on water issues
The Board of Health (BOH) agreed to use stronger wording to convey their requirements to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) regarding conditions they want the ZBA to add to the comprehensive permit being sought by Mark O'Hagan for his proposed Coventry Woods 40B development on Concord Street.
The board spent more than three hours Tuesday night with members of several town boards, abutters, engineers and attorneys, discussing water, septic and irrigation issues pertaining to the planned 41-unit 21-acre project.
Board members repeatedly expressed their need for more data on many aspects of the proposed project, including complete ground water mounding analysis for septic system C and engineering models showing the travel of pathogens, viruses, nitrogen and other substances through the soil between septic C and the wells of abutting property owners. Groundwater mounding analysis will be required by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) during Title 5 review, members noted, so it makes sense to require this analysis now before the comprehensive permit is issued.
"Mounding analysis [could] show that it [septic C] needs to be larger," said BOH member Michael Holland. "We need to ask for this up front — pre-permit — to see if it will need to be re-designed."
Septic C, with the ___huge mound of fill that it requires, is the largest of the three septic systems proposed for the project. If it is found that it needs to be changed, it could significantly affect the design of the entire development. Furthermore, the BOH has concerns about whether this system can actually be built under Title 5.
"I think we need to say we don't think it's constructible," Holland continued. "[The analysis] could show that it might not work."
"I don't think this is what Title 5 had in mind for a septic system," added BOH member Jeff Brem.
Another unknown is how pathogens in the effluent might travel from septic C to the wells of abutters who live down-gradient from the system. While the BOH has requested the developer to install monitoring wells to detect such contamination after the septic is built, their request for engineering models on the path that pathogens might take after leaving the ___leach field is another attempt to fill in the gaps of data before a comprehensive permit is issued by the ZBA.
The board is also looking for more information on the proposed irrigation and landscaping plans to determine how much area is to be irrigated and how much water can be saved through drought-resistant plantings and rainwater collection. Health Agent Linda Fantasia said the board wants to take a closer look at the 20,000 gallons per day estimate for the project's total water use. In addition, if the irrigation plan is approved, the BOH wants to reserve the right to manage the use of irrigation on-site under certain conditions.
© 2007 The