At the Board of Selectmen’s meeting on Nov. 19, the town manager gave an update on the Lost Lake sewer project. The town has been notified that the project has qualified for a 0 percent interest loan. The 0 percent interest rate, reduced from the 2 percent State Revolving Fund that the town previously qualified for, would reduce the betterment cost from $17,500 to $14,000 per single family household. In addition, it was reported at the meeting that members from the Board of Selectman met with a State Department of Environmental Protection representative who is an expert in lakes. He explained, as stated at fall Town Meeting, that the 1988/1989 study that the town funded is considered a valid study and does not need to be repeated since the town has taken no corrective action that would reduce the nutrient loading in the lake. This study was used as the basis for granting the 0 percent loan.
We are now, apparently, at a standstill, and we have to wonder if the town is going to abandon this project due to cost and public sentiment. The question is do we want to keep on studying the lake, or do we want to move forward with the work that must be done.
The Lost Lake Sewer Committee was established in 2008 to recommend options to the Board of Selectmen on how to solve identified problems that have been documented through the years in multiple studies beginning in the 1970s. All of these previous studies, and the most recent one, indicated that a comprehensive solution to the wastewater problem in the lakes region of Groton was needed. The majority of the houses on the lake were built on small lots and many are too close to the lake. Therefore, the ability to install Title 5 septic systems without variances is nearly impossible.
The town has spent the last four years and $750,000 working on this project. At the spring 2009, fall 2010, and fall 2011 Town Meetings, articles requesting funds for the project were presented and approved. No one requested more additional nutrient testing. Only when the project was in the final phase was the request made to move the project back to the information gathering stage.
The benefits of a public sewer project in the Lost Lake area have already been presented: the sewer will protect both personal wells and the town drinking water supply, it will reduce the nutrient loading in the lake and the watershed, and it will provide a lower cost method of meeting individual Title 5 requirements for home owners. In addition, there is the potential for further economic development at the four corners area.
We recommend that the town advance the Lost Lake Sewer project before we lose the 0 percent interest loan. In addition, we recommend that the town support the project by providing 50 percent of the funds, similar to the town center sewer project. In our view this project is inevitable and the price tag is only going to get higher. We encourage all interested residents to attend the Board of Selectman’s meeting on Monday, Dec. 3, at which time the Lost Lake sewer project will be on the agenda.
ANGELA GARGER, Redskin Trail
CAROL QUINN, Ridgewood Road