Sewer Commission candidates weigh in on challenges facing sewer system

Apr 26, 2021

James Giberti and Sandy Slavin — both incumbents for separate three-year seats on the Sewer Commission — were up first on the night’s agenda. 

Giberti is running for re-election to his non-sewer user commissioner seat, while Slavin is running for re-election to what would be her second term as a sewer user commissioner. 

In introducing herself, Slavin emphasized that “Wareham is home,” and has been home for her family for many years. She said she’d been married to Alan Slavin — a current selectman who is running for re-election and who also participated in the Candidate Night — for more than 51 years. 

Slavin also detailed her involvement in various town organizations. Among other things, she has been: a member of the Garden Club for 32 years, treasurer of the Wareham Historical Society for 15 years, treasurer of the Tobey Hospital Guild for the last five years and treasurer of the Wareham Community Gardens for five years, chair of the Conservation Commission, chair of the Open Space Committee and a member of the Affordable Housing Trust.  

Slavin identified “three critical tasks” for sewer commissioners: 

“One is develop a system that sewer charges are based on water usage. Number two is look for ways to allow the water pollution control facility to discharge treated water in excess of current discharge limits that would flow into Agawam — that might mean a surface discharge system or an outfall pipe into the canal. Without this increased discharge, Wareham cannot move forward. And third, I think a critical thing is to find funding for the anticipated failures of the existing infrastructure, i.e. sewer pipes.”

When introducing himself, Giberti said he graduated from Wareham High School and has a bachelor’s of science. He also mentioned spending years serving on town boards — including six years on the Financial Committee, 12 years on the Capital Planning Committee and six years on the Sewer Commission so far. 

Giberti emphasized that Wareham’s sewer system is “basically 50 years old,” give or take a few years for certain parts of town. 

“The infrastructure is... in difficult shape,” he said. “It needs to be addressed, which we are trying to do as best we can, as we get money to do things.” 

The commission’s priority, Giberti said, is finding ways to increase the water pollution control facility’s outflow once water is treated. 

“Right now it goes into the Agawam River, we’re limited on the amount — therefore the moratorium,” he said, before continuing on to identify potential solutions that are still in very preliminary stages. 

Giberti said the commission is exploring the possibility of groundwater discharge and also asking the Environmental Protection Agency to increase the volume of approved discharge. 

“Another option obviously is a pipeline to the [Cape Cod] Canal,” he said, noting that in his opinion that option was the best long-term solution for Wareham.

Giberti and Slavin are running unopposed on May 4. 

To see the full discussion, go to