Wastewater Committee

Conway’s Wastewater Committee was charged with determining the feasibility of creating a wastewater collection and disposal system for the Conway downtown Village area, in order to:

  • Help protect the private and public wells from possible contamination
  • Encourage economic development in the Village Center.
  • Help maintain a vibrant village center

Committee Members

  • Joseph Strzegowski, Chair
  • Michele Novak
  • Marie Iken
  • vacancy

The Committee normally meets every second and fourth Wednesday, 7:00 p.m. at the Town Office.  We welcome guests and would love to have more volunteers for this very important project.

You can email the Committee via [email protected]

NEWS FROM THE COMMITTEE:

July 4, 2016 — Everyone agrees Conway needs a better way to handle wastewater from its downtown homes and businesses. Thanks to the work of Conway’s Wastewater Committee, there are now possible ways to handle that need. Now it is time for the next steps, including developing detailed plans and finding ways to pay for a new system.

The Wastewater Committee shared results of their feasibility study at the Annual Town Meeting on May 9th. The study included a review of septic systems in the downtown area and, with the help of an engineering consultant, developed detailed thoughts of how a community system might work and what the costs might be. Detailed information about the Committee’s findings and conclusions may be found on the Town’s web site, (www.townofconway.com).

The next phase in the process involves putting together a detailed engineering study and solving problems of long term development, organization and, of course, finances. Nothing will be decided until the project has a full airing in public hearings and appropriation of funds through Town Meeting votes. To proceed to the next step, the Committee is looking to obtain grants that could be used to subsidize the costs of design, development and construction. Grants and other significant financial assistance mechanisms may be available, but the extent of such support is dependent upon the economic needs of the target area.

Income Survey: Although any project of this magnitude will be very expensive, the Committee has learned that there may be several grant options or financial support programs available to the Town and/or individual residents. Availability and extent of these grants are usually income dependent. Therefore, to gain a meaningful picture and to provide information that would enable agencies to calculate financial assistance that may be available for engineering, construction and possibly resident support, the Committee has retained an independent agency to survey the target area for income information. This week, brief surveys will be sent by RCAP Solutions to residents and businesses in Conway’s downtown area asking about earned income levels. In order to gain support for the project, it is necessary that a minimum of 87% of completed surveys be returned. All individual information obtained in this survey will be kept private by the agency and nothing will be shared. The Committee urges residents to complete and return the surveys by August 1st.

The Wastewater Committee currently has four hard-working individuals but needs more help. Anyone who might be interested in this important project for Conway’s future viability is urged to volunteer by contacting Tom Hutcheson, Town Administrator in the Town Office (369-4235 or [email protected])

 

June 8, 2016 — The Committee completed its first (Feasibility) phase of the project earlier this year, reporting its results to the people attending the Annual Town Meeting in May, 2016.   The work included an assessment of existing individual septic systems and private water supplies in the Downtown village and analyzed potential health risks in this densely populated target area.  With the help of a septic engineering consultant, the White Consulting Group, the committee looked at the design and possible locations of alternative community septic systems, what they would look like in the Village, and how they would meet the specific needs in Conway.  The Committee did extensive financial modeling to analyze potential costs and to minimize them through available federal and state grants and subsidies.

To see the Full Report of the Committee, please see the REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE TO CONWAY TOWN OFFICIALS (below, including the linked slides).

The next phase of the Project is to ascertain the extent to which grants and subsidies might be available for the engineering, design and construction phases of the project.  The extent of these grants, and the loan interest rates charged, is dependent upon the income level of residents in the target area.  In this respect the Committee, with the help of an independent agency, will be sending a questionnaire to residents during the month of July, asking that they provide income information to the agency.  The only information the town will receive will be aggregate numbers and no personal information will be revealed in any way.

It is important to note that the credibility of the data requires that the response rate to the questionnaires must be 80% or greater in order for it to be accepted by the granting agencies. If you receive a questionnaire in the mail, please fill it out and return it promptly.  Without this data, it’s probable that no financial assistance would be available.

Once this information is received and the granting agencies respond, plans will be made to retain an engineering service to assist in the next steps of design and implementation.

Again, no Town money will be expended without direct appropriation via a town vote.

June 9, 2016 — Income Survey for Downtown Residents Coming Soon to help determine financial assistance available.


REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE TO CONWAY TOWN OFFICIALS — 7 June 2016

Ref: Wastewater feasibility final report May 2016

The Downtown Wastewater feasibility study committee is pleased to present the final report on the feasibility of creating a wastewater collection and sub surface disposal systems for the Conway downtown village area. The proposed systems would collect filtered effluent from the individual septic tanks located at each residence and transport the effluent to one of two sub-surface disposal systems located on either side of the South River through a low pressure/gravity piping system.

Estimated costs for each proposed system is $1,070,000 utilizing the Town owned property located on Shelburne Falls Road and a similar property off Reeds Bridge Road for the disposal system sites. These systems would operate independently and can be constructed at different times if so desired.  Some design, engineering, and bidding benefits could be realized by joint design and construction.

The committee is proceeding with a household income survey of the proposed districts and expects the results in July.  The income survey results will be used to determine the loan interest rates and grant reimbursements available through the USDA Rural Development Program.  Results of the survey will be presented at a later date.

The potential negative environmental and economic impacts of not addressing our wastewater issues could have grave future impacts on our private and public water supplies and the economic viability of our downtown village area.  We encourage you to support further development of a wastewater disposal system for the village center.

It has become apparent to the wastewater committee members that the current infrastructure needs of the town; including wastewater collection, senior housing, community solar, highway garage, public safety, municipal space, etc., will require the identification and acquisition of critical land resources to support these needs. While the topography and land use policies of our town may be the major reasons that we have maintained the town’s treasured rural character, they present unique challenges to strategically locating our infrastructure facilities.  We encourage the Selectboard to initiate steps to address the land resources needed to support our community’s infrastructure needs.

To see the full report of the Committee, click here.

Respectfully,

Wastewater Feasibility Study Committee

Joseph Strzegowski (Chair), Marie Iken, Michele Novak, Dave Chichester