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What was the purpose for the Facility Plan Update?

The purpose for the Facility Plan Update was to:

  • Reassess the need for sewers in the north end of Town.
  • Define the limits of the sewer needs area.
  • Provide the Town a clear priority listing of sewer projects that should be constructed.
What was the need for the Facility Plan Update?

The need for the Facility Plan Update was to:

  • Address the RI Cesspool Act of 2007 – This legislation requires that all properties within 200 feet of the shoreline and other critical resources (and larger residential & commercial properties outside that zone) MUST replace ALL Cesspools by JANUARY 1, 2014.
  • Address the results of the Stormwater II and the RIDEM TMDL Study of 2011 – In 2011, RIDEM conducted a study of Mount Hope Bay as part of their Stormwater II efforts, and found 2 outfalls along the Tiverton shoreline to be contaminated with fecal bacteria commonly associated with failed septic systems. In their report, RIDEM states that “The Town must commit to a schedule to commence the design and construction of sewers for these problem areas.”
What were the goals of the Facility Plan Update?

The goals of the Facility Plan Update were to:

  • Identify those areas that would be best served by sewers;
  • Prioritize those areas with the most critical need for sewers;
  • Conduct a preliminary design for a proposed sewer system as a basis for predicting costs.
  • Create a preliminary estimate of costs for sewer construction.
  • Create a schedule for completing all construction.
  • Identify funding sources.
  • Create a financial plan to complete all sewer projects and operate the Wastewater Department.
  • Satisfy requirements of RIDEM and EPA to insure that the Town qualifies for State Revolving Fund (SRF) and USDA funding/financing.
What were the findings/recommendations of the Facility Plan Update?

The findings/recommendations of the Facility Plan Update were as follows:

  • The need for better wastewater treatment and disposal within the north end of Town.
  • The cost to install sewers in the north end remains a less expensive option than installing and maintaining Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (OWTS).
  • Phase the implementation over a period of at least 10 years with the first phase being areas with the most critical environmental concerns, followed by other areas based on economics and need.
  • Create a Sewer District that encompasses the existing and future sewer collection areas so that only properties located within the Sewer District will be responsible for the costs to design, construct and operate the system. The study has set the limits of a proposed Sewer area.
  • District based on the feasibility of installing Sewers as opposed to continued reliance on OWTS.
  • Develop a Capital Improvement Plan and associated financial plan which results in a financially stable and self-sufficient operation.
  • Continue to research and apply for, as applicable, funding sources including grants and low interest loans in order to reduce the burden of costs on the rate payers and users of the system.
What funding has been obtained for the first year of the Sewer Construction Program?

The Tiverton Wastewater District has reviewed various opportunities for funding of the Sewer Construction Program. Based on this review, it was determined that the best funding program for the first year is the use of Rural Development grants and loans through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

USDA has committed $7,082,000 for the first year of the Sewer Construction Program. This is split between public property construction and private property construction at $4,582,000 and $2,500,000, respectively. As part of USDA’s commitment, 44 percent of the total project cost will be in the form of a grant which equals $3,119,010. The remainder of the project cost of $3,966,000 will be a USDA low interest loan amortized over 40 years.

Does the estimated project cost include any interior work?

No, all work will be located outside of any structure. A property owner may elect to modify the interior plumbing in order to have the soil pipe exit from the front of the house versus the back of the house in order to minimize disturbance and restoration of the property.

Does the estimated project cost include the cost to abandon the existing on-site system?

Yes. The abandonment of the existing on-site system will consist of the following:

  • Pump existing on-site tank and legally dispose of all contents;
  • Puncture six, three inch diameter holes in bottom of tank;
  • Demolish the top three feet of tank structure and legally dispose of all debris;
  • Backfill remaining voids with common fill; and
  • Restore area to at least pre-construction conditions.
What are the Public Construction Assessment and Private Construction Assessment for?

The Public Construction Assessment and Private Construction Assessment are used as a method for the Tiverton Wastewater District to recover 100 percent of the project costs for installing the wastewater infrastructure by equitably distributing the costs to property owners.

How is the cost of the Public Construction Assessment and Private Construction Assessment determined?

The cost of the Public Construction Assessment and Private Construction Assessment will be determined when all project costs have been determined which will be within six months of the completion of the construction. The cost will be equally divided and assessed to each “Developed” or “Buildable” property that abuts the wastewater collection system.

Are undeveloped properties included in the Public Construction Assessment calculation?

Yes, the currently undeveloped properties that can be developed have been included in the estimated Public Construction Assessment.

What are my Payment Options?

The Public Construction Assessment and Private Construction Assessment payment options are either a Lump Sum or quarterly payments, up to 40 years apportionment with committed interest.

The User Charge and Operations, Maintenance and Administrative Charge payment will be billed quarterly.

When will the four assessments/charges begin?

Assessment charges will begin upon completion of the construction when all of the project related costs are known. Quarterly billing will be sent out by the Tiverton Wastewater District for all property owners who elect not to pay-off their Public Construction Assessment and Private Construction Assessment in a lump sum. These residents will have a lien placed on their property/ies.

Is there a cost to connect into the City of Fall River’s wastewater collection and treatment system?

The City of Fall River normally requires a $550 connection fee per bedroom but the Tiverton Wastewater District negotiated this fee to $0.

What is the cost to treat the wastewater from the City of Fall River?

The City of Fall River rate is currently set at $8.19 HCF (100 cubic feet = 748 gallons).

If I have an existing on-site system, am I required to connect?

All developed properties which have a cesspool must connect.

All developed properties which have a failed on-site system must connect.

If a developed property has an existing on-site system which has been in service for less than 25 years, a connection deferment can be obtained based on the following:

  • Provide a written letter requesting a connection deferment;
  • Provide written proof when the on-site system was built; and
  • Provide a written inspection report showing that the existing on-site system has passed inspection.

During the connection deferment period, if the existing on-site system fails, the property must connect within 6 months.

When the existing on-site system reaches 25 years of age, the property must connect within 6 months.

During the connection deferment period, the property owner is required to pay a monthly fee for the Public Construction Assessment – wastewater infrastructure located in the street.

When the connection is made the property owner will be fully responsible for the full cost of the installation and will not be able to benefit from the use of funding obtained by the Tiverton Wastewater District including the Rural Development grants and loans through the United Stated Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Why do I need to connect when my system reaches 25 years of life?

Systems that are 25 years or older were designed and installed in accordance with the standards in place at that time. These standards do not meet the standards that are in place today, and therefore do not provide the required level of treatment necessary to protect the environment and health of the public.

If a property owner ties-in and elects to pay off the Public Construction Assessment and Private Construction Assessment and then sells their property, must the assessments be paid off?

The Tiverton Wastewater District will not require the remaining assessments to be paid off at the time of property transfer.

What is the alternative to the Sewer Construction Program?

Properties located outside of the Tiverton Wastewater District will fall under the Town’s Wastewater Management Ordinance. These properties will be subject to the following:

  • Inspection of all On-site Wastewater Disposal Systems;
  • Enforcement of the existing RI Cesspool Act of 2007;
  • Enforcement of all RIDEM Regulations; and
  • Replacement of failed on-site system within 12 months of failure.

All costs for the repair or replacement of the on-site system (via refinancing home equity line of credit, etc.) will be covered by the property owner. The property owner will be required to pay the full cost of the repair or replacement of the on-site system without the benefit of receiving Tiverton Wastewater District grants and loans.

All costs for the operation and maintenance of the on-site system, including costs to comply Town of Tiverton’s Wastewater Management Ordinance, will be covered by the property owner.

What will be the construction duration of the project?

Project construction is anticipated to occur over a 9 to 12 month period and includes connection of existing services for homeowners and businesses, abandonment of existing on-site systems and final paving.

Will the project cause disruption to homeowners and businesses?

This is a major project and will cause some disruption; however, every attempt will be made to keep the disruption to a minimum and accommodate homeowners and businesses in the area. The current plan for construction is to allow roadways to remain open thereby allowing access to homeowners and businesses.

Is there a possibility that, while the sewer roadwork is underway, other utilities (such as gas, communications, etc.) can be installed?

The Tiverton Wastewater District will be informing all other utilities concerning road excavation work, and will invite them to discuss their running utilities while the road is dug up.

Following completion of roadwork, the road will be paved curb to curb; in other words, the whole roadway will be paved, not patched.

Can you hire your own contractor to install the service connection on your property?

Privately hired contractors will not be allowed to do tie ins during the initial construction project.  For those homeowners who are not tying in at the time of the initial construction project, they will be responsible for hiring their own contractor at a future date when they tie in. At that time, they will be fully responsible for the cost of installation and will not have access to loan and grant funds for private property work that will be available at the time the project is undertaken.

If a designated area fails to approve, or if a property owner, within a designated area, fails to tie-in, will the DEM move to enforce existing rules and regulations?

About the RIDEM’s position on enforcement of RIDEM Rules and Regulations in the proposed sewering project around the Bay Street area: the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and Settlement Agreement (SA) for the Bay Street Area includes language requiring the Town to (1) provide DEM with a plan within 20 months of the execution of this Agreement for the comprehensive infrastructure improvements to be conducted and completed within 5 years; (2) to be in compliance with the Soil Management Plan in the recorded Environmental Land Use Restriction (ELUR) and (3) to remove and dispose any disturbed soils. It has been the Department’s understanding that “comprehensive infrastructure improvements” meant sewer installation with sewer connections by all of the impacted residents. If the contaminated soils are not addressed through a sewering project, each resident with a failed septic system will face very costly repairs with extensive soil disturbance and soil disposal costs.

About the DEM’s position regarding future enforcement:

  1. While the DEM has been lenient with residents in the past while this settlement has been worked out, the DEM will move to enforce all of our Rules and Regulations moving forward should sewers not go in or should residents not connect.
  2. Should the residents elect not to construct sewers or connect, the Department will move immediately to enforce the Rules and require any failed system be replaced.
  3. If sewers are approved, RIDEM would require any property with a failure to connect. The OWTS Rules require connection to sewers when they are readily available.

Brian M. Moore, P.E.
Chief, Groundwater and Wetlands Protection
September 8, 2014

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