TEWKSBURY — At the Oct. 17 meeting of the Tewksbury Board of Health, Chairman Raymond Barry discussed the issue of non-compliance by the trustees and management company for Cottage Place at 1147 Main St. regarding a transition to sewer and handling of the abandoned septic system.
The property has been operating on septic despite having tenants with not-allowed uses for a septic system in the building. There is a dentist office and hair salon which are not allowed to discharge chemicals which could leach into the groundwater via the septic tank.
Additionally, the capacity of the tank is not capable of handling the outflow volume from the property. The representatives for the office park once again missed a deadline set forth by the board, a chronic condition for the last five months.
Cottage Place was to provide a certified signed contract to show sign off for the final phase of the sewer tie in. The letter was due by the date of meeting. MassDEP requires this sign off, and notification was sent to Tewksbury Commons Association, the group representing the property, by the Board of Health.
While Health Director Susan Sawyer did express that an email was received from the property management company, no letter was provided, again, despite clear instructions. No representative appeared in the September or October meetings as requested. The proper abandonment of the septic system is at issue.
The board deliberated a fine and passed a motion to asses the TCA a monetary penalty of $100 per day starting Friday, Oct. 18 for each day until the Health Department receives a signed contract for the abandonment of the septic system, and additionally passed a motion that if the deadline to complete the proper abandonment is not completed by Dec. 31, 2019, the BOH shall assess an additional fine of $100 per day until the abandonment is complete.
Ron Beauregard, Healthy Communities Tobacco Coalition Coordinator, appeared before the board to discuss tobacco regulations in Tewksbury in light of the four month vaping ban enacted by the governor. Various methods were discussed to improve education about the dangers of vaping, and tobacco in general. In addition, Beauregard and the board discussed ways to prevent youth access to tobacco and vaping products which include limiting the location of shops within a certain number of feet of a school, not allowing separate entrances for smoke shops, limiting flavors sold, etc.
Examples of how other communities have approached this were presented. Representative Tram Nguyen was also in attendance. Beauregard referenced Billerica’s action which is to just limit electronic cigarettes or “vapes” to over 21 sales in a smoke shop.
There are five communities who’ve enacted such a measure and were sued, but the courts did not uphold the injunctions requested. Chairman Ray Barry discussed the three tobacco-only stores in town and that each have had violations.
Rep. Nguyen discussed a bill restricting flavored tobacco products. 149 municipalities have added flavored tobacco products as banned items according to Nguyen. She asked how the House and Senate can be more helpful to the town. She agreed that the town should not have to take on the cost of enforcement of restricting sales to those over the age of 21.
Board member Maria Zaroulis explained that one vape cartridge or pod has enough nicotine as a pack of cigarettes, and that kids are inhaling up to four cartridges per day and getting sick, calling it “nic sick” from the large quantity of nicotine in the body.
The board discussed social media campaigns and reaching out to the schools to try to raise awareness. The Tewksbury BOH actually has adopted the regulations locally, the first community to do so.
Representative Dave Robertson appeared as well to discuss the vaping ban. Robertson explained that online sales are also included in the ban, as alternative means of acquisition were raised as a concern by the board.
Next, Chairman Barry gave a live demonstration of CPR to educate board members. Barry is trying to add educational components to the meetings. CPR mannequins were donated by Tony Boschetti and Joe Mazzola to be used for educational purposes and were used during the demonstration. Barry said that people need to keep their skills sharp since one never knows when CPR help will be needed to help someone in cardiac distress.
Body art was another topic of discussion by the board. The regulations are in the process of being updated via a working group to include elements that the board can oversee such as infection control, site construction and facility sanitation.
Additionally, requirements such as a cosmetic surgeon sign off on infection control measures, education about blood borne pathogens, a potential five hour practitioner education requirement, malpractice insurance requirements, and making CPR training requirements through a live educator class, etc. will all be discussed in the update of the regulations and reviewed through the working group.
On the topic of grease tank compliance, Mirabella’s Bakery is complete, with other sites still in flux, according to Sawyer. Woodhaven is close to settling details with the DPW, Kyoto has not updated the board, and a status on Capellini’s has not been determined either. The health department continues to work with Burger King on compliance with monthly reporting, according to Sawyer.
The board mentioned Safe Halloween at TMHS on Sunday, Oct. 27 from 10 a.m. -1 p.m., and that free flu shots will be available there and at town hall.
The next meeting of the board is Nov. 21 at 6 p.m. at Town Hall.