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Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program

New Silver Beach Press Release

Contact: Dr. Joe Costa
November 10, 1998

Buzzards Bay NEP Awards Falmouth $30,000 for New Silver Beach Wastewater Disposal Solution

Wareham -- The Buzzards Bay NEP announced that it awarded the Town of Falmouth $30,000 to help fund site evaluations and design requirements for a community wastewater system serving residents in the New Silver Beach section of the town. In September, the Town of Falmouth submitted a proposal titled "New Silver Beach Area Decentralized Collection, Treatment, and Disposal Project" which was approved for funding by an advisory committee to the Buzzards Bay NEP. The funds will help the town defray costs associated with soil and groundwater evaluations in siting and designing the wastewater disposal system. The town's expenditures for this work will provide matching funds required by the grant.

According to Dr. Joe Costa, Executive Director of the Buzzards Bay NEP, "We believe that this project addresses an important public health need, and the elimination of failing on-site wastewater disposal systems will help protect and restore water quality and shellfish resources in the Wild Harbor area." He also praised the Falmouth Board of Health "for tackling a difficult coastal wastewater disposal problem."

According to Dr. Costa many municipalities are struggling to find wastewater disposal solutions for older coastal and lakefront village communities where summer cottages, serviced by cesspools or improperly sited septic systems, have been converted to year round residences. In many instances these homes were built on undersized lots, often in areas with high groundwater or filled wetlands, which makes solving these wastewater disposal problems especially difficult. Adding to the urgency of finding a solution are new requirements for septic system upgrades upon property transfer as required under the state's Title 5 sanitary regulations. Rather than requiring expensive individual solutions for each homeowner, many municipalities are considering connecting these homes to a community-size town-maintained onsite disposal system, much like those used by condominium complexes and shopping malls.

"Last year Fairhaven was the first Buzzards Bay watershed town to build a community wastewater system" said Costa. "Several towns contacted the Buzzards Bay NEP with interest in our grant program, but apparently only Falmouth was far enough along in the process to submit an application."

Dr. Costa also indicated that the Buzzards Bay NEP will provide free technical assistance to the town in helping review preliminary designs and to assist with permitting issues to ensure the town complies with all applicable environmental regulations and is able to proceed with the project in a timely way.