sides in sewer pact dispute
It isn't difficult to determine who is on which
side in the dispute between Taunton
and Raynham over use of the Taunton Wastewater Treatment Plant.
you live in Raynham, you believe that the town continues as a "partner"
and can continue to send its sewer effluent to the treatment plant.
If you live
in Taunton, you are convinced that a new contract with Raynham
means that the town is a user, not a partner, and that Taunton is justified in determining its future
needs before allocating additional capacity to Raynham, which has reached
its limit of 600,000 gallons under the prior contract.
negotiations, which have been conducted privately, have yet to reach the
name-calling stage and hopefully they never will. This should not be a repeat
of the often-acrimonious disagreement between Raynham and Bridgewater over
school spending, a dispute that has left the regional school district seeing
its high school placed on probation.
A review of
history shows that Taunton
was ordered by the state in the early 1970s to build a new wastewater treatment
plant, which it did. In Raynham, the Taunton
River was being polluted
with the growth of the Route 44 commercial strip. There was similar pollution
in North Dighton where the former Mount Hope Finishing Co., as well as homes
that were built on streets around the company, had sewer disposal pipes running
directly into the river.
directed that Taunton, Raynham and North Dighton
reach an agreement sending sewage from the two towns to Taunton's new plant for treatment. The
agreement was viewed as a form of partnership. To its credit, Raynham proceeded to sewer nearly the entire town via overrides
approved by taxpayers. Taunton
now reasons that Raynham received the disposal service at a market discount,
not necessarily as a part owner of the plant.
Raynham now is
at its designated capacity at the treatment plant and wants to continue to use
the plant and the town wants to hook-up the only section that has yet be sewered. Taunton cannot
afford to accept more effluent until it has completed a master plan for sewer
service that will estimate how much capacity Taunton will need in the future. The city's
critical problem is failed septic systems in environmental sensitive areas of
Taunton hasn't stopped Raynham
from installing new mains, pending a new agreement on the treatment plant.
Raynham can lay as much pipe as it needs and then be ready to pump into Taunton's system under a
new contract, which should be ready early this summer. Taunton is sticking by a moratorium on
accepting additional effluent until it determines the city's needs. By all
standards, that seems reasonable.
ŠThe Taunton Gazette 2005