Property Cannot Wait on Well Driller

Andrew Fisher, 655 County Road, West Wareham, was granted a variance he doesn’t really want.

            Fisher’s case came up before the Rochester Board of Health during its November 16 public meeting, at which Health Director Karen Walega told the board that Fisher had bought the house and encountered an issue with a well under the basement, after which he went before the Zoning Board of Appeals and was granted a variance.

            A well driller, she explained, would get it 100-feet away from the house so a variance would not be needed, but Walega spoke with the owner and reported to the board that the property is “under emergency conditions” requiring immediate action.

            “He doesn’t want that well there because there are issues with the well,” Walega explained. “He can’t get the 100-foot separation that he needs. The plan was to move the well, but the well drillers are backed up for a month, so he went with the variance.”

            Board of Health Chairman Dave Sousa said the property does not need to have separation on the septic system and openly wondered what the state Department of Environmental Protection would have to say about the case. Walega said she will look into it.

            Sousa suggested that while locating the septic tank in the basement makes it “a little easier to take care of,” locating it there also increases the cost.

            Walega noted that the site plan shows a 100-foot setback for the septic system. “Those wells are not close to the leaching field,” she said.

            Sousa added that there are different rules and regulations when a septic system is installed in a basement.

            Walega said nitrogen levels and other indicators tested fine.

            Neither Sousa nor Board of Health member Glenn Lawrence had any objection to granting the variance. Member Sarah Eby was unable to attend while away for a family event.

            In her Health Director’s update, Walega told the board that Town Counsel Blair Bailey was awaiting a callback from a property owner’s attorney regarding an animal issue at 167 Cushman Road.

            She also checked on Pine Street Farm and reported the facility switched its dumpsters. She described the farm as “immaculate” and will henceforth conduct monthly inspections of the property.

            The Modification Subdivision plan for Connet Woods dated September 6 was briefly discussed by the Board of Health, which concluded that the matter falls under the Planning Board’s purview. The plan, which involves a high water table and proposes three more houses instead of 10, was heard by the Planning Board only a short while after the Board of Health meeting and continued to the Planning Board’s December 13 public meeting.

            Sousa said that the house at 515 Rounseville Road is for sale and that for the town to fund cleanup of the site would require a Board of Health vote.

            “We don’t have the money to do that,” said Walega, to which Sousa agreed. “The problem is nobody wants to pay for it; I don’t blame the new person. … I can’t see us doing that.”

            “We give a hand up, not a handout,” said Lawrence.

            “Thank you got not voting to do it because we don’t have the money right now,” said Walega.

            The Gateway to Cape Cod RV campground has been dealing with an issue with the well at the site. The DEP, reported Walega, found contamination of the well and signs were put up to tell residents to boil water. She said, as of a month ago, the DEP was trying to get people to move out of the campground. Sousa noted that a broken pipe in the well was fixed last year.

            In response to the Personnel Board’s request for a step-rate increase for Administrative Assistant Lori Walsh, Walega told the Board of Health that she sat with Finance Director Suzanne Szyndlar, reviewed steps and grades and “came up with what we thought was reasonable to request.” Walega said they were waiting to hear when the matter would go before the Planning Board, as online permitting now takes up a lot of Walsh’s time. A copy of the proposal also went to Town Administrator Glenn Cannon.

            The next meeting of the Rochester Board of Health was not set upon adjournment.

Rochester Board of Health

By Mick Colageo

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