PEPPERELL — Mike Sheehan of 15 Prescott St. appeared before the Board of Public Works last week requesting a waiver of the sewer-betterment fee for his property.
Sheehan explained that to connect to the sewer line that runs in front of his property, he would have to dig up nearly 900 feet of asphalt driveway.
“The gas is on the right and the water is on the left. The only place we could put that lateral was in the middle of the driveway,” explained Sheehan.
“It’s really not possible for me to connect to it,” said Sheehan.
“Based on the cost of doing all that, it might be a little bit financially impossible,” he said.
Commissioner Greg Rice explained, “One of the problems is that we have no way of excluding you from having the right to connect to the sewer. Mass state law says we have to allow anyone who abuts the sewer in this way to connect, not just you, but anyone to whom that land is sold or transferred to forever.”
“You’d be opening Pandora’s Box,” said Chairman Lou Shattuck.
“I don’t know who’d ever connect, even if the system failed 50 years from now; somebody’s gonna look at that cost and just put a new septic in,” said Sheehan.
“From what I hear, we’ll look into the legalities of what he’s talking about, and if he has the right to ask for this,” said Commissioner Lewis Lund.
“I’m sure this isn’t the first request we’ll see,” said DPW Director Ken Kalinowski.
Shocked at the cost
In another matter before the board, George Clark, owner of 4 Mason St., questioned an $8,709 bill for sewer-inspection fees incurred during his construction of sewer infrastructure at his mobile home park.
“I was unfortunately a little shocked at the cost,” said Clark, who felt that he was charged for idle time of the inspectors.
Clark noted that a sewer inspector was on site all day on July 20 watching his crew dig the trench and lay the pipe.
“He could have come when I had everything ready to hook up and look at it — maybe an hour,” said Clark.
“We had an inspector around while we were just pounding ledge,” he said.
Although Clark was not requesting a reduced bill or refund, he did suggest that the regulations needed to be reviewed.
“I got to say guys, you need to look at these rules. I don’t see any reason why anybody doing a job similar to what we’re doing needs to pay for a town inspector to hang around,” said Clark.
“I think the laws or rules are set up for inspections the way we’ve done it. I don’t like this because it should have been billed weekly or biweekly,” said Commissioner Lund.
“Now you’ve got a whole year’s complaint — what the heck are we gonna do with that,” he said.
“We’ll take this under advisement,” said Director Kalinowski.
Sewer extension update
Kalinowski updated the board on the 2010 sewer-extension project explaining that all the laterals had been installed, but that the Brookline Street pump station would likely not be completed until the end of October. He did say that residential connections to the system could start by the beginning of November.
The Nashua Road well site construction continues with an expected completion in March. The well has been drilled down to 65 feet and National Grid has completed running the three-phase power up Nashua Road to the pump building site.
The board approved abatements for 7 Tucker St. $454.10 (water) and $1,195 (sewer), 42 Heald St. $31.50 (water), 7 Hotel Place $267.15 (sewer), 1 Fairchild Court $461.13 (water), 10 Fairchild Court $452.78 (water), and 15 Village Road $397.84 (sewer).