Orleans Select Board Endorses New Sewer Regulations

By: Ryan Bray

Topics: Wastewater treatment

Is it an 18th century coin? A special-edition Girl Scout cookie? No, it’s the new design for sewer and drainage covers in Orleans, setting the community apart from others with more generic covers. COURTESY PHOTO

ORLEANS – The select board voted 4-0  Sept. 22 to recommend in favor of sewer use rules and regulations, although board members pressed Tom Daley, the town’s public works director, to provide more specific information for residents preparing to connect to town sewer.

The board of water and sewer commissioners voted to adopt the rules and regulations ahead of the select board’s meeting. The rules and regulations include a fee schedule outlining what the costs will be for services, applications, inspections and penalties related to connecting properties up to sewer mains. 

“We’re basically setting fees for as much as we possibly can at this point, because people want to know,” Daley said.

Approval of the rules and regulations represent an important step in readying homeowners for sewer connection, Daley said. In the next year, he said, the health department will be sending letters to property owners in the sewer area alerting them of their need to connect to the system.

“There’s going to be a big rush on contractors and a big rush on engineers,” he said.

Select board member Andrea Reed asked if there is any flexibility in the rates should the system expand if more parts of town are brought on to town sewer. Daley said the fee schedule is a “working document” that is open to change moving forward.

“We’re a utility that’s just about to be born,” Daley said. “This is a starting point for us.”

Select board members said they would like to see more information provided to homeowners to help guide them through the process. Board member Kevin Galligan asked if a range of fees can be provided to give homeowners an idea as to how much different services will cost. For residents using grinder pumps to connect to sewer, Reed asked what those residents can expect in terms of anticipated maintenance costs.

“Whatever the answer is, we have to have something,” Select board chairman Mefford Runyon said.

Galligan also asked if homeowners should reach out to their specific contractors or engineers with questions on their connections, or if there is someone in the department of public works that has been designated to work with the public. Daley said Reggie Donahue is serving as the town’s community liaison.

“I think you know, Reggie’s been very good about getting back to people and reaching out and satisfying their concerns,” Daley said.

An article will be included on the warrant of the special town meeting seeking approval of the rules and regulations.