MASHPEE — Voters at annual town meeting Monday will decide whether to approve borrowing money to move one step closer to the construction of a wastewater treatment plant.
The town needs $2.48 million to complete the first phase of the design for the new Mashpee Water Resource Recovery Facility, which would be located adjacent to the town’s transfer station off Asher’s Path. As a debt exclusion, the article needs a two-thirdsmajority vote It also will be contingent on a ballot question at the June 23 town election.
Two other articles would help establish a municipal water infrastructure fund. One asks that an annual 2% property tax surcharge be assessed to establish the fund, and another would help offset the new surcharge with a reduction in the annual Community Preservation Act surcharge from 3% to 2%.
If approved, construction for the wastewater treatment facility could begin in April 2022 and last until April 2024. It will biologically treat raw wastewater collected primarily within the Mashpee River watershed, according to project engineer Anastasia Rudenko, of GHD Group. The facility will provide advanced wastewater treatment, including nitrogen removal through a membrane bioreactor and disinfection using an ultraviolet system.
“Once the water has undergone advanced treatment, it will be returned to the same watershed from which it was collected to groundwater through open sand beds,” Rudenko said in an email. “The overall purpose of the treatment facility is to reduce the concentration of nitrogen flow entering the Mashpee River through groundwater.”
The chemicals used in the treatment process include sodium hypochlorite (or bleach), citric acid, supplemental carbon and sodium hydroxide. Once it is treated, the water will be recharged to sand beds and groundwater at a rate of 70,000 gallons per day.
The project is part of Mashpee’s Watershed Nitrogen Management Plan, which was adopted in 2015 to clean up the town’s bodies of water, including the Mashpee River, Popponesset Bay and Waquoit Bay estuaries.
The plan includes source removal through wastewater management, direct environmental mitigation using shellfish, and land management strategies such as zoning, according to the Sewer Commission.
Since the 1970s, town officials and residents have been concerned with the Mashpee River’s condition, said F. Thomas Fudala, chairman of the Mashpee Board of Sewer Commissioners.
Fudala said the majority of Mashpee households have Title 5 septic systems that contribute to the majority of wastewater. Those septic systems located in the Mashpee River’s watershed discharge 26 milligrams to 45 milligrams per liter of nitrogen into the watershed’s groundwater. Discharge from the septic systems account for 75% to 80% of the anthropomorphic nitrogen getting into the watershed, he said.
The proposed facility will treat that same wastewater to less than 3 milligrams per liter, resulting in one-twelfth less nitrogen…