Aug 292012

I am a resident on Lost Lake and I support the Lost Lake Sewer Project. A short history may be of interest to you. Back in the 1980s Massachusetts was flush (no pun intended) with cash for sewer projects. The Clean Water Act of 1970 or 1972 provided the states with money to help clean up the nation”s rivers and streams. It was through this program that the Nashua River received major grants for its clean-up.

At that time the Federal and State government would pay up to 90% of the cost for installing major sewer lines. At the same time there was a program that offered innovative/alternative systems to take care of smaller areas that were more difficult to sewer providing 95% reimbursement of costs. Groton was alerted to this program early on but no action was taken.

A feasibility study was finally conducted back in the early 1980s to examine these programs, but in the end voters went for sewerage in the center of town only and voted down funding any innovative/alternative program for the Lost Lake/Knops Pond area. By the time sewerage was installed in Groton the formula had changed to 50% reimbursement. These were costly, lost opportunities. In the late 1980s the State garnished most of the remaining monies to clean-up Boston Harbor!

The current plan to sewer Lost Lake/Knops Pond is well thought out and designed. The old innovative/alternative systems do not meet new standards and any upgrade of them would price them way out of the ballpark.

New septic systems which people have recently installed need some kind of waiver or break for the investment they have made. And from the meetings I have attended, I thought that this has been considered. It should be.

For those of us who have small lots and no economical way to provide a conventional Title V system, we have two choices. One way would be to have a special system designed and installed. I know of one that was installed a few years ago at a cost between 40,000 and 50,000 dollars! The second way would be to implement the Lost Lake sewerage system, a more economical way, which is currently being advocated.

There is no question that the community would benefit from this project, including the four corners. It would bring businesses to this area, bring the overall sewerage costs down, and add tax revenues to Groton. Thirty years ago the Town had an opportunity to solve this problem which was festering for years. The current economic situation in our country provides fewer opportunities for such public works projects. Now is the time to act.

When Groton finally voted for its sewerage in the center of Town, I believe 50% was paid on the tax rate by all the residents of Groton. Lost Lake/Knops Pond drains an area 14 times larger than the lake and nutrients are coming not only from homes around the lake, but also from this drainage area. The Lost Lake Sewerage plan will go a long way towards reducing this nutrient loading into the lakes and protecting wells. This is not a project for the residents of Lost Lake alone. It is a community wide program to make Groton a better place for all.

Alex Woodle