Marion passes new sewer regulations

Jul 7, 2020

MARION — It’s official: the town will take steps to reduce the nitrogen runoff in its sewage after a year of study and feedback on whether to do so. 

The Board of Health adopted the new regulations at a July 7 meeting after reviewing the 21 comments it had gotten on the matter and hearing one more in the final minutes of its public hearing. 

The regulations will impact only new houses or houses that fail inspection during a sale, requiring them to put in a new nitrogen-reducing system. If they install a nitrogen-reducing system they will not have to connect to the town sewer for 20 years. 

Of the comments submitted to the board prior to the meeting, 16 supported the system, three had questions or concerns and two were against the proposed regulation. 

As briefly summarized by board member Dot Brown, the concerns were on test sites for the water quality data the board brought up, a request for a comprehensive septic management plan, a suggestion that the town also start a loan program to help pay for the systems and a question on how the bylaw would impact first-time home buyers. 

Board member John Howard said that he spoke with both of the people who were against the system. 

Brown noted that some of the homeowners with private septic systems who may one day be impacted complained about the cost, but said the town sewer system also has its costs.

“If you are on the [town] sewer system it is not a free ride,” as Marion ratepayers there pay to get on the system and then again throughout the year. 

Marion resident Barry Gaffey called to ask why the Buzzards Bay Coalition did not offer any assistance with grants, since it is concerned with the water quality in Buzzards Bay, as the board is. 

He asked if someone who had a system fail could look into fixing the leaching field, since that would be a fraction of the cost of replacing the entire system.  

The board unanimously voted to pass the regulation. It will be effective immediately.