TEWKSBURY — The Tewksbury Board of Health met on Sept. 19 with a continuance of a show cause hearing for Cottage Place, located at 1147 Main St. As of the meeting, Cottage Place had not secured a sewer tie in as required by the BOH.
Cottage Place was given 120 days to complete a connection to town sewer due to tenant capacity in excess of what the existing septic system can handle. In addition, two businesses in the complex are of a use requiring sewer connection given the nature of their business and the discharge; a dentist office and a hair salon which utilize chemicals.
This material discharged into a septic system creates a groundwater contamination issue for the surrounding area and as such, the BOH ordered the hookup. No representatives from the development were present and the board moved to cap the output from the businesses if it was not handled by Sept. 30.
The firm would need to engage a pumping contractor to empty the tank frequently so that no overflow runs into the groundwater. Once the switch over to the sewer happens, the existing tank must be abandoned and crushed.
Member Charles Roux said, “this is not fair to other businesses who do the right thing,” despite assurances that it would be handled, referencing an attorney for the property who came before the board previously to say it would be done.
This work, in Roux’s estimation, should take one morning. The attorney had said the work would be done by Sept 20, however, there was no permit pulled.
Board of Health member Tony Boschetti said the first and foremost objective of the board is to “protect the community.” The board’s goodwill and town’s goodwill was “taken advantage of,” he said.
“They’ve given us lots of excuses and didn’t even have the decency to have someone show up.”
In a follow up prior to publication, the health department reported that Cottage Place had engaged a contractor and the hookup was executed on Sept. 30.
The board then moved to the grease trap regulations. Restaurants and businesses who serve food are required to have a grease trap in place to capture FOGS — fats, oils and grease — from entering the sewer system and ensure that the inside of the sewer pipes remain as clean as possible.
In addition, the town must keep FOG levels low per the Lowell Wastewater treatment plant, and is mandated by the town’s agreements. Several blockages over the years have resulted from food establishments not complying and have cost the town money. Restaurants and food establishments have had a five year window in which to make this transition, and several businesses have waited until very near the deadline to address this.
As of Dec. 31, 2019, any food establishment that is not in compliance will not have its food permit renewed. The board required outstanding establishments to appear at the meeting and discuss their status.
On behalf of Trull Brook Golf Course, Roy Trull appeared and described a multi-tank system that was going to be installed and some engineering designs that have been modified due to elevation issues with respect to the property. Trull said the expectation was to be done by the end of the year. Trull is installing a larger than needed system to support future growth plans.
Capellini’s was requested to appear but no one was present. Health Director Susan Sawyer explained that Capellini’s did receive approval from the Conservation Commission to install exterior tanks in the parking lot and expected it to be done this fall.
David French appeared on behalf of French’s. The property was sold nearly a year ago and there had been plans to tie in to the sewer as well as grease tank plans, however, since operations will not continue at that site by the end of year, the tank will not be required to be installed.
French stated that the property owner would not be doing any work to the property and that the intent of the owner is to tear down the structure. There has been no communication by the property owner with the BOH. The board expressed hope that French’s would reappear in some capacity and French did not discount that possibility.
Nina Lin and her husband appeared on behalf of Kyoto. Their tanks were installed in November of 2018 but the final pipe was not installed due to Kyoto’s plans to renovate their kitchen. There have been many delays including a requirement for installation of emergency doors, fire suppression and other water lines, including a hydrant on the property.
The owner did express frustration at not being told by the building department all of the requirements at once. However, Sawyer did explain that the owner has had five years to comply. They are trying to get their renovations done in conjunction with the connection. The consensus was that Kyoto may just have to tie in before renovations are completed.
Peregrine’s Landing, now Woodhaven, has had several management changes over the last five years and, according to Sawyer, the information about the grease trap issue with the town was never communicated. As it turns out, according to Sawyer, there were major “hiccups” along the way. Plumbing issues, test pits, a plumbing engineer, etc. were all part of the issue but town plumbing inspector Paul Ross stated that the expectation is the work will be completed on time.
Dandi Lyons needs to tie in to the sewer and agreed in writing to put in a grease trap and perform additional work. The ice cream shop still needs to go before the Conservation Commission and expects the work to be done this fall. Due to the age of their septic it is considered an “emergency.”
Mirabella’s planned to begin their installation Sept 30. Lisa’s Family Pizzeria’s system has failed and the BOH is waiting for their proposal for replacement. The system at that location had already been granted an extension based on the type of “big dipper” system that it has. Sawyer and the board thanked the many other establishments in town who had already brought their systems into compliance and recognized the cost and effort required.
The board also addressed the condition of 7 South Amos St. There is no occupant living there now, and there is work in the courts being done to reach an agreement to get a plan for remediation. This property was the subject of the Hoarders television show and there are some community members and veterans groups working to help bring things under control. There is concern over fire safety and load on the structure.
Oct. 7 is the next court date pending a plan.