By Pierre Comtois
GROTON -- A warrant article to bring a new sewer line to the Farmers Row property where the town hopes to construct a new fire station was approved by the Conservation Commission last week.
It will be at fall Town Meeting, scheduled for Oct. 15, when two measures important to the proposed fire station will be presented.
The two warrant articles include one to change the zoning from agricultural/residential to public and another to allow the property to be tied in to the existing sewer system.
At an earlier hearing, commissioners told planners that of the two options for connecting the proposed fire station with town sewer, they preferred the shorter route, from an existing pump station at the nearby public-safety building overland, to the site of the new station over another, that would have brought the line on a longer route along Farmers Row.
With the commission's preference in mind, engineer John Perry said the overland connection would cross an intervening wetland beneath the water line by use of directional drilling.
The method would cause little or no disturbance of the wetland while inserting a 6-inch pipeline 5 feet under the wetlands. At the same time, a second 2-inch pipe would be laid with fiber-optic cable inserted for future use between the public-safety building and the new fire station.
Commissioners opted to take a formal position on the sewer connection article at its meeting Oct. 9.
However, the commission voted unanimously to support three other warrant articles dealing with another sewer project for the Lost Lake neighborhood.
Meeting with Lost Lake Sewer Commission Chairman Carol Quinn, commissioners were informed about the plan to bring wastewater services to homes around Lost Lake as well as commercial properties at the Four Corners that would eventually connect with a treatment plant in Ayer.
The three articles include one that would define and establish a Lost Lake Sewer District, another that would raise $12.9 million to pay for construction of the system, and a third that would permit the town to enter an intermunicipal agreement with Ayer for use of its wastewater-treatment facilities.
Quinn told commissioners Tuesday night that the system would be paid partially by the town and partially by property owners through a betterment fee of $18,000, to be paid over many years, as well as a one-time hookup fee estimated at between $5,000 and $11,000.
Concerns raised by commissioners Tuesday night included wetlands crossings, the number of homes to be included in the district, wastewater capacity and the water quality of Lost Lake.
"I would certainly advocate for a positive recommendation for this important project," said Selectwoman Anna Eliot. "Lost Lake is a very inhabited portion of town that is just as important as others."
If approved, supporters of the plan hope to begin work on the project within a year.
Commissioners also voted to approve an Eagle Scout project by Dan Horrigan, who proposed to make improvements at Sargisson Beach to prevent further damage to the area by uncontrolled erosion.
Horrigan said his plan would consist mostly of the installation of water bars along trails leading from the road to the beach, designed to break up the flow of run-off that often turn the trails to streams in heavy rain.
Horrigan said he also intended to install some plastic pipes to help direct runoff to an existing drain, which was clogged with soil and that he would clean out. Horrigan said he would clear brush and use wood chips to firm up the slopes along the trails. Commissioners approved Horrigan's plans.