Town Eyes Relief for Sturbridge Yogi Park
The Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort near Sturbridge, Mass., may get some help for its sometimes overworked septic system.
The Worchester Telegraph & Gazette reported that an engineering firm representatives of the town’s newly upgraded wastewater treatment plant are recommending the Route 15 Special Use District be included in Sturbridge’s comprehensive wastewater management plan and be hooked up to the town’s sewer system. The district would include the Jellystone Park located at 30 River Road.
On Oct. 1, Tracy J. Adamski, senior environmental planner and scientist at Tighe & Bond, told the Board of Selectmen they recommend the Route 15 corridor be connected to the wastewater treatment plant facility, because of “rather dense development,” as well as the potential to attract “additional economic development” in that area.
Four years ago, selectmen nixed a proposed Route 15 Special Use District hookup to the newly-upgraded, $18.4 million, 1.3 million gallons-per-day wastewater treatment plant, as well as being included in the town’s comprehensive wastewater management plan.
The Sturbridge Retirement Cooperative Corp., 1 Kelly Road, and neighboring Yogi Bear Jellystone Park are facing orders from the state Department of Environmental Protection to upgrade their septic systems because their daily flows exceed the Title 5 limit, which is 15,000 gallons per day.
Mary M. Berry, manager of the Sturbridge Retirement Cooperative Corp., has sought to connect to town sewer lines for years.
Previously, Berry said she wants a municipal tie-in to the town sewer system for 32,700 gallons per day (but she said the actual flow on most days is about 20,000 gallons), while Sean Finicane, owner of yhe Jellystone Park, has said he needs 31,500 gallons-per-day a few months a year.
“There are two large campsites in this area, as well as a mobile home facility that are all experiencing some issues with wastewater disposal,” Adamski said. “So we took another look at that area and it is actually a rather high-need area and it is also an area that is targeted for economic development. So that area rose to the top as being one that we recommend for sewer.”
Tighe & Bond’s new recommendation is a dramatic about-face to the original waste management plan, as well as complete reversal of the wishes of the board back in 2008. Dave Prickett, project manager and associate at Tighe & Bond, has earlier recommended on-site septic systems continue to be used on Route 15.
“This is a significant departure of what took place in 2008,” Thomas R. Creamer, chairman of selectmen, acknowledged. “The Route 15 decision was made by the Board of Selectmen at that particular time. And that particular Board of Selectmen did not believe that Route 15 should be in the sewer service area.”
Sturbridge has the potential of saving nearly $3.2 million on the town’s wastewater treatment plant if it gets zero-interest State Revolving Funds financing through the O’ Leary Bill program, Adamski said. Currently, Sturbridge’s loan for the wastewater treatment plant upgrade is at 2 percent, she said.
In a 5-0 vote, the selectmen endorsed Town Administrator Shaun A. Suhoski and Department of Public Works Director Gregory H. Morse to work alongside Tighe & Bond on the O’Leary Bill grant process. However, the selectmen took no formal vote on the Route 15 Special Use District being included in Sturbridge’s comprehensive wastewater management plan or being hooked up to the town sewer system.