Marion Selectmen approve sewage lagoon plan at 11th hour

Aug 1, 2018

Selectmen gave an 11th hour approval during the board's July 31, meeting to a federal and state mandated plan to deal with wastewater in the town's sewage lagoons on Benson Brook Road.

Selectmen had until Aug. 1, the day after the board's meeting, to approve a plan by CDM Smith, the town's consulting engineers for wastewater, on how to manage optimal use of the town's three outdoor sewage lagoons used to hold discharge from the town's wastewater treatment plan.

The plant handles 0.588 millions of gallons of wastewater per day, which produces an effluent that is discharged into an unnamed brook and eventually Aucoot Cove, explained CDM Smith Senior Vice president Bernadette Kolb during her 30-minute presentation before selectmen. She described the plant as having three lagoons, which were original to the facility and converted for use as a influent  equalizer  during wet weather and for sludge management when the plant was upgraded in 2005.

The town had contested its April 2017 National Pollutant chimination System, commonly referred to as NPDES,  permit provisions that required the lagoons to be closed or lined. It resolved the dispute by entering into an Administrative Order on Consent with the EPA. The administrative order requires the town to line lagoon 1 and use it to store sludge and to prepare a "Lagoon Optimization Plan" to use the lined lagoon as a primary for influent equalization, and minimize use of the other lagoons.

CDM Smith, on behalf of he town, he town submitted a scope of work on the lagoon optimization plan to the federal Environmental Agency and the Massachusetts Dept. of Environmental Protection on Dec. 28, 2017. CDM Smith submitted a plan that goes beyond the administrative consent order, including adding disk filters at the plant that will eliminate effluent diversion for routine disk filter maintenance, making piping and valving changes to allow the three lagoons to operate independently, doubling the flow rate of the pump that returns flow from the lagoons to the wastewater treatment plant, and adding a new bottom lined aeration system depth to two feet, increasing the volume available for waste water in lagoon . The current aeration system in each lagoon requires a four-foot  minimum depth to maintain aertion effectiveness.

Kolb said the Lagoon Optimization Plan will be completed by Dec. 1, 2019.

While the selectmen seemed satisfied that town had met the deadline for the consent order, two men in the audience voiced their concerns about sewage capacity at the plant and denials for sewage hookups.

"All we ever hear is' no capacity, no capacity,' ''Sherman Briggs said. "It seems like that plant has been at capacity since the day after it was built."

Complaints about lack of sewage hookups not withstanding, selectmen signed the plan. Town Administrator Paul Dawson said it would be sent out to the EPA and the state DEP the next morning.