01/11/19 -- Item Article -- Sewer is on hold for Goodridge

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StopThe40B
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2018 1:57 pm
Real Name: Greg Jackson

Re: 01/11/19 Item Article -- Sewer is on hold for Goodridge

Post by StopThe40B » Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:59 pm

Hi Ann,

Thank you for posting the link to the Jan 11 article from the Item on Jan 9 Lancaster Sewer District Commission meeting.

The text of the article is appended below for anyone having problems viewing the Item's web site.

Greg


The Item
Sewer remains on hold for Goodridge

By Ken Cleveland ITEM CORRESPONDENT
Posted Jan 11, 2019 at 3:01 AM

LANCASTER - Sewers for the Goodridge Brook Estates development remain elusive for Crescent Builders.

The Lancaster Sewer District Commission Wednesday night could make no progress, opting to confirm information with the state
Department of Environmental Protection and waiting on its attorney. while expressing concerns about the financial impact a potential solution would have for town sewer ratepayers.

Developer Iqbal Ali had reduced the number of bedrooms in the Sterling Road affordable housing project, also removing the top floors of the three apartment buildings, reducing the apartments to 20 one-bedroom units, 66 two-bedroom units and 10 three-bedroom units totaling 96 apartments with 182 bedrooms.

Ali clarified to residents that his adjusted proposal includes basement apartments. He said if fire or police officials have concerns, the buildings would have to be wider to accommodate the units.

“It depends on the grade,” he said, and how many basement apartments would work in each of the three apartment buildings.

The single-family home component now includes 56 homes, half with four bedrooms and half with three bedrooms for a total of 196 bedrooms. The bedroom count is crucial for determining the amount of sewage generated.

Using a figure of 110 gallons per day for each bedroom, the 378 bedroom total yields a need of 41,580 gallons of flow per day.

Under the consent order governing the treatment plant shared by Lancaster and Clinton, a project generating over 15,000 gallons per day must remove four times the amount of “infiltration and Inflow” (I&I), or water that gets into the sewer pipes that is treated along with the sewage, essentially adding non-sewage flow to the plant’s demands.

With Lancaster unable to reduce its I&I by that amount since commissioners have said Lancaster does not have sufficient I&I to reduce, the option is to reduce the I&I in Clinton’s pipes, thus benefiting the plant.

But sewer commissioners have expressed concerns about the financial impact of that route. Reducing Clinton’s flow has the impact of increasing Lancaster’s share of flow to the plant. That change would mean Lancaster ratepayers would pay a greater share, raising their rates.

Although it would benefit Clinton’s I&I, it would not have a significant impact on that town’s cost since the state covers Clinton’s share.

“No I&I has been identified in Lancaster,” Commissioner Jonathan Gulliver said, with an estimate that there is approximately 10,000 gallons of I&I in Lancaster’s newer pipes while Clinton’s older pipes have an estimated 2 million in I&I to be addressed.

The commission is seeking to get clarification and written verification from DEP on its verbal discussions that the only option is to reduce I&I by four times the projected increase in flow.

That solution would require a tri-party agreement including Lancaster, Clinton and the DEP.

“I personally have reservations on a tri-party agreement,” Gulliver said, noting “we are the only paying customer.”

Generating about 467,000 gallons of flow, Lancaster uses 11 percent of the plant’s capacity.

Clinton’s flow includes about 2 million of daily flow just in I&I.

With $1.6 million in costs to Lancaster, the increase to ratepayers of the shift to 14 percent of the plant’s flow would be about $150,000, Gulliver estimated.

“We can’t give you any answer tonight,” Gulliver said, addressing both Ali and residents in the town hall auditorium.

Commissioner Robert Lidstone also sought clarification on who can do what.

Elizabeth Lanza, the commission’s clerk, said the town Board of Appeals “can’t dictate what we do,” since the commission is a state-run agency. The BOA has wide authority under the state 40B rules when granting comprehensive permits for the development, and it is limited in what it can require or deny under the regulations promoting more affordable housing in the state.

Ali said the BOA is the ultimate authority, but Lanza said it was documented policy, since the sewers are a health and public safety issue.

“All the open-ended questions should be nailed down,” Lanza said.

Ali said he hadn’t seen that in other towns. Lancaster, however, is part of the sewer plant under its own district and under a consent order that governs some of its operations.

“I don’t need clarification. I’m confident in where we are,” Gulliver said.

Gulliver did raise a consideration of asking Clinton to cover the added costs.

“A question I have for Clinton,” he said, is “if we were to allow it and they agree, would Clinton cover the added cost of the connection,” which would be a permanent annual cost.

Clinton agreeing to that idea because the I&I was reduced in that town would be complicated by the fact the state covers its costs now.

“I’m focused on making sure our customers don’t have an increase,” Gulliver said.

He noted that “Clinton would be getting all the benefits and none of the impact.”

The commission will revisit the issue in a meeting on Jan. 30.

Answering questions from residents, Gulliver said the deal would require approval by Lancaster, but the commission has concerns about the added costs to ratepayers in Lancaster.

Gulliver also confirmed that a building permit would not be issued until the I&I is removed and certified, a process he estimated could take up to two years. Clinton is already reviewing I&I options so less time may be required to determine where I&I could be reduced by using that town’s pipes.


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