Marion awards key wastewater treatment contract

Nov 6, 2019

MARION — Selectmen awarded a $6,370,198 contract for wastewater treatment plant and lagoon improvements to Methuen Construction. 

CDM Smith will provide the engineering services for the project, and the owner’s project manager will be Weston and Sampson.

The contract was the subject of much debate and concern in Marion. The town’s wastewater management plan was 20 years old and at end of its useful life, and Marion has been subject to pressure on one wastewater treatment lagoon for years, including a January 2018 lawsuit by the Buzzards Bay Coalition because the unlined lagoon was leaking sewage.

The town faced a Nov. 30, 2019 deadline to line the lagoon on its wastewater treatment facility in order to be granted an operating permit by the Environmental Protection Agency. That deadline was extended after a bid from a contractor came in more than two million dollars higher than the town anticipated.

Now, Selectmen were finally willing to award the contract.

The project will have a two week contract period before workers start interior fixes this winter. Fixes to the lagoon itself will likely start in March.

“David is comfortable with the structure in place,” said Town Administrator Jay McGrail, referencing David Willett, the Director of the Department of Public Works.

Selectmen had previously asked Representative Bill Strauss to put in a $2 million grant request for the town. They also asked him to come to a Nov. 19 meeting to further discuss the grant.

Selectman John Waterman also suggested that the Selectmen send the letter to Governor Baker and go to Boston if need be to explain the situation.

“‘Not happening’ isn’t an acceptable alternative” with this grant, Waterman explained.