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Town of Falmouth, Maine
271 Falmouth Road
Falmouth, ME 04105
(207) 781-5253

November 14 Agenda Item 3
Attachment NameAttachment SizeAttachment Date
Size: 76K
Last Updated: 2012/11/8
Size: 87K
Last Updated: 2012/10/18
POSTPONED Order to authorize the Town Manager to enter into an Administrative Consent Agreement with the owners of a certain parcel to address the owner’s non-compliance with section 18-133 of the Town Sewer Ordinance.

ACTION: Council action is anticipated.
In 2010, pursuant to an agreement negotiated with the representatives of the Falmouth on the Green (FOG) homeowners group which included a requirement that the properties within FOG must bypass and abandon septic tanks associated with the former sewer system, and as a condition of Town acceptance of the FOG sewer system, the Town Council adopted the addition of Ordinance language (Sec. 18-133) that prohibits the connection of septic tanks to the public sewer system.

The proposed action seeks relief from these Sewer Ordinance requirements for the owners at 10 Inverness Road, due to an unusually higher than normal cost of compliance and the unlikely probability that compliance would result in a significantly different outcome than non-compliance.

Specifically, the ordinance requires that the septic tank be discontinued as a measure to curtail ground water intrusion into the sewer system. The tank is located such that the stone terraces, stairway, and patio would need to be removed and replaced. Preserving these features results in expected cost approximately 10 times normal, considering the lower of estimates provided by the owner.

Due to the steep slope of the property, buildup of ground water around the tank is not possible.  Consequently, compliance with the Town’s requirements does not likely provide appreciable benefit.

In lieu of removing the tank, the proposed action would authorize the Manager to enter into an Administrative Consent Agreement with the owner to address the non-compliance.

Furthermore, this is a summary from the Wastewater Treatment Superintendent:

As originally constructed, sewer service to homes within the Falmouth Country Club consisted of individual septic tanks on each lot that discharged into a common collection system which conveyed the partially treated sewage to five pump stations serving various sections of the development. The pump stations delivered the treated waste to a large common leach field. This leach field eventually failed a number of times resulting in several attempts to rehabilitate or expand the capacity of the field.

The group representing the homeowners association approached the Town in 2002 seeking, and eventually obtaining, Council permission to extend the public sewer along Winn Road and connecting into the existing pumping system with Falmouth on the Green thus alleviating the problem of the failing leach field.
Subsequently and before the Town accepted the responsibility for the system, during periods of high ground water and extreme rain events, extraneous water draining into the Falmouth on the Green system, proved problematic and were determined to be excessive. Evaluation of the cause of the extra water eventually led consultants working for the town to determine that the individual septic tanks were the most likely major contributor.

Provisions of the eventual agreement between the Town and homeowners association, whereby the Town accepted the Falmouth on the Green system, included that the Council would amend the sewer ordinance to prohibit the septic tanks and the homeowners would remove their tanks within two years to address the extra flow. The two year window for tank removal was up about the beginning of this year. There are a few properties that have not yet removed septic tanks and the town is working with each situation to ensure future compliance.

The proposed consent agreement is recommended by staff due to the extent of the required alternations of the property in question combined with the staff’s assessment that the septic tank for this particular property is not contributing to the excess infiltration problem. To be fair to other property owners who have removed septic tanks, the owners of this property have agreed to pay a fee of $3,500. This amount is the average costs experienced by other property owners who have removed septic tanks.


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