OSWPCA: Sunshine / Letter from OSWPCA's Lucas 21Oct2009

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Pavel Wilson, Chairman                        Doris Zumbroski
Elsa Payne, Vice Chairman     John F. Claffey, Jr., Alternate
George Gwizd, Secretary              Robert Hansen, Alternate
Nelson Engborg                         Don Lucas, Coordinator
Chuck Wehrly                Robbie Marshall, Info. Specialist
Dr. Robert Powitz

                  TOWN OF OLD SAYBROOK
                    302 Main Street
                 Old Saybrook, CT 06475
(860) 395-2876; FAX (860) 395-1216; WEB: www.oswpca.org

Mr. Joel Anderson                      October 21, 2009
13 George Drive
Old Saybrook, CT 06475

RE:  Your letter to Pavei Wilson of 15 October 2009
     Replacing undersized septic tanks.

Mr. Anderson,

     I am writing this letter to address some of the 
items addressed in your letter of 15 October 2009 to 
Pavel Wilson, Chairman of the Old Saybrook Water 
Pollution Control Authority (WPCA) with regard to 
undersized septic tanks.

     In your letter, you question the "decision to 
replace so called 'undersized' septic tanks" and state 
this is an "arbitrary and capricious act" which will 
cost the taxpayers a significant sum. The implication 
in the letter is that the decision to mandate the 
replacement of the tanks was an action decided upon by 
the WPCA with little regard to its impact on the 
property owners in the Wastewater Management District 

     The facts of the matter are that the requirement 
to replace septic tanks that do not meet certain 
requirements is mandated by court orders and refined 
through years of discussion and negotiation with the 
State of Connecticut Department of Environmental 
Protection (DEP), the Department of Public Health and 
the local Health Director. The result of these efforts 
was adoption by the Town of an Ordinance to address 
septic systems that, by today's standards, are 
inadequate to protect human health and the environment. 
These efforts can hardly be deemed to be arbitrary and 
capricious. The requirements set forth in the Ordinance 
with regard to septic tanks are as follows:

      - All septic tanks in the WWMD are to be two 
        compartment tanks.

      - All septic tanks are to be sized in accordance 
        with the requirements of the Technical Standards 
        of the Public Health Code (i.e., a 1,000 gallon 
        tank for a residence with up to three bedrooms; a 
        1,250 gallon tank for a four bedroom house; etc.). 
        These are the standards set by the State Health 
        Department, not the WPCA.

      - All septic tanks are to have approved outlet 
        filters installed to minimize "carryover" of 
        solids from the tank into the leaching components. 
        Approved filters are likewise listed in the 
        Technical Standards of the Public Health Code.

     These are standards that are common and nationally 
recognized as providing adequate protection to human 
health and the environment. We are sorry that you see 
it differently and we believe a challenge in court to 
the requirement to upgrade septic tanks within the WWMD 
would be unsuccessful. The WPCA has no intention of 
revising the Ordinance or challenging the court orders, 
and fully intends to comply with the agreements set 
forth by the court.

     I believe this letter provides you with a better 
understanding of how the determination was made with 
regard to the sizes and conditions of existing septic 
tanks and the subsequent actions of the WPCA to achieve 
compliance with the directives of the court and DEP. We 
hope you will cooperate with us when your property 
requires attention, likely sometime in 2012.

     Should you have any questions, please do not 
hesitate to call me.

                                   Don Lucas, PE
                                   Coordinator, WPCA
cc:  P. Wilson