Questions on Westborough’s sewer capacity to be answered in June

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Questions on Westborough’s sewer capacity to be answered in June
Drone photography shows the Westborough Wastewater Treatment Plant. (Photo/Tami White)

WESTBOROUGH – Is the town nearing capacity when it comes to wastewater? Can its system handle new development projects? Will the town need to change how it handles allocations?

According to Department of Public Works Director Chris Payant, these questions could be answered in June, when a “memo with a table” on sewer allocations will be made available.

During the Economic Development Committee (EDC) meeting on May 7, Payant said, “We’re on track” on having the report in hand.

The report is based on information collected by Town Engineer Linda Allain on sewer allocations for each commercial property in town. The information is currently with a consultant; once available, a draft will be circulated among town boards.

“It was a pretty heavy lift by a lot of people,” said Payant of preparing for the report.

The town imposed a one-year sewer moratorium in April amid concerns that the town was reaching capacity at the Westborough Wastewater Treatment Plant. The plant has a design flow of 7.68 million gallons per day (mgd) that is shared by Westborough, Shrewsbury and Hopkinton. According to the treatment plant, the average daily flow for Westborough is 2.27 mgd; for Shrewsbury, it’s 3.69 mgd; and for Hopkinton, it’s 0.32 mgd.

“We need to figure out the issue,” said Payant.

“We’re getting close to our limit with the wastewater treatment plant,” said Town Manager Kristi Williams.

According to Payant, the moratorium will allow the town to analyze the study and determine how best to determine sewer allocation for residential and commercial use.

Some town board members have criticized the moratorium, particularly how it was implemented.

“I have a tough time with this,” said EDC Chair Todd Alexander. “The Select Board should have opened this for discussion.”

Planning Board member Jon Pezzoni considered the moratorium “premature,” and asked whether the moratorium could have waited until the report was released. He also asked why the Planning Board was not included in making the decision.

Payant said that developers are not happy with the moratorium. But, he said, “They understand where we are.”

He said, “Developers considering new projects typically work through the Planning Department to discuss their potential proposals. For specific questions related to wastewater flow at a property, the developer should contact the DPW.”

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