To the editor:
To set the record straight on some of the misstatements and innuendoes of various bloggers and letter writers:
- Neither the WRWA nor the Estuaries Committee has ever supported large-scale sewer projects in Westport .
- The WRWA did support a feasibility study of a localized sewer project along Route 6, but support for such a study does not equate with or imply support for such a project.
- The draft Estuaries Report made public a year ago clearly indicated that there is a serious nitrogen problem along Bread and Cheese Brook and that much of it is probably attributable to failed wastewater treatment systems in that area.
- The former Estuaries Committee was trying to gain a better understanding of the specific areas from which the highest nitrogen loads were coming and what kinds of localized wastewater treatment facilities would be most cost-effective in solving those problems when that committee was shrunk in size and subordinated to the Water Resource Management Committee (WRMC).
- Some selectmen said that one reason for setting up the WRMC was to stop the disagreements between the Ponds Committee and the Estuaries Committee.
- The BOS solution was to create a WRMC that is now dominated by three former members of the Ponds Committee (one through unlimited participation from the audience) and has no former members of the Estuaries Committee.
- When the new Estuaries Subcommittee has tried to get the WRMC to even consider their proposals they have been ruled out of order by the chair or vice-chair of the WRMC, both of whom were on the Ponds Committee.
- The former chair of the Estuaries Committee has consistently taken the position that, while the areas where the need for upgrading wastewater treatment systems are predominantly localized around Bread and Cheese Brook and Route 6, a significant share of the cost for repairing and upgrading those systems should be borne by the whole community through assessments linked to the property tax, such as a surtax or debt exclusion, rather than imposing the whole burden on the owners of the properties where the repairs are undertaken.
- The whole community benefits from a healthy river and would suffer in many ways, including loss of property values, if the river becomes more polluted, so the whole community should share, in proportion to their property values, the cost of implementing the most cost-effective localized solutions.
- The recent town-wide survey relating to updating the Master Plan did not contain any hidden implications or agendas as to future water and wastewater systems, but rather sought to give survey responders, of which there have been many, an opportunity to express their preferences among various approaches to meeting those needs, which they have.
David C. Cole