Extra sewer plant capacity leaves more questions than answers

Feb 28, 2023

The Wareham sewer plant is processing 50,000 fewer gallons of water a day than it has in previous years, the Sewer Commission was told at its meeting on Thursday, Feb. 23.

The statement, from Water Pollution Control Facility Director Guy Campinha and consulting engineer Russell Kleekamp, surprised the Commission. With the plant operating dangerously close to capacity, the Commission put a moratorium on issuing permits for new sewer hookups in 2020, a moratorium that stands today.

While several members wondered whether the newly discovered additional capacity would allow the moratorium to be lifted, most of the questions involved the 50,000-gallons-a-day number. It is still unclear what that number represents and why the Commission only heard of it this week.

With more questions than answers, the Commission took no action on the moratorium.

The moratorium, which prevented homes and businesses from adding new flows to the plant, was put in place when the plant was operating at 76% capacity. 

If the plant reached 80% capacity, it would require a review by the state Department of Environmental Protection. If the Department didn’t like what it saw, it could impose much stricter oversight on the plant.