Chatham Implements $200 Million-Plus Sewer Expansion Project

Critics of the wastewater plan have said that alternative systems could address the nutrient loading problem at a lower cost than an expanded centralized sewer system. However, the citizens advisory committee (CAC), whose job it was to review the plan that served as the template for the expansion of the sewer system to address nutrient overloading in the town?s coastal waterways, looked at the alternative and rejected them during the years-long planning process.

There are six watersheds, all located south of Route 28, where nearly 100 percent of the nitrogen must be removed from wastewater. That wastewater must be brought somewhere else and treated; the most efficient solution is the already existing centralized plan off Sam Ryder Road. Once the plant is upgraded to treat the sewage necessary to meet the total maximum daily loads set by the state, economies of scale make it economically viable to upgrade the plant further to sewer up to two-thirds of the properties in town.

One reason it may be hard for people to understand the need for such an expensive problem is that it is ?basically invisible,? Fred Jensen, Chair of the CAC said. ?You look at the water, it looks beautiful. But we know by our analysis that it is degrading. If the town?s waterways continue to degrade, the cost in the loss of property values will be significantly greater than the cost of the expanded sewer system?, he said.

The CAC was composed of citizens representing the town?s different neighborhoods and geographic areas; the members had a variety of backgrounds and skills. Jensen himself has an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering and a graduate degree in business.

For more information go to: Cape Cod Chroncle

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