ELIZABETHTOWN - Residents of Elizabethtown will take to the polls July 15 to vote on a revised proposal to establish a public wastewater treatment system in the hamlet.
In a Jan. 25 referendum, residents had voted down a plan to establish a $9.5 million wastewater treatment system for facilities throughout most of the hamlet with a treatment plant located on Woodruff Lane.
Town supervisor Noel Merrihew said a survey of residents following that vote confirmed the location of the treatment facility - on the banks of the Boquet River and near a historic residential area - as the main factor in their decision to oppose the project.
"We're not changing the district boundaries at all from the original plan," said Merrihew. "We are changing the plant site and the engineering proposed for that plan."
The revised proposal would have the sewage pumped to a site on the property of the town-owned Cobble Hill Golf Course where it would be processed through an environmentally-friendly system of sub-surface leaching pads.
Unlike typical treatment plants, the system would require no chemicals to treat the effluent because of the natural filtering action of sand and microbial organisms.
"The beauty of this is that there is no discharge whatsoever into any stream or water body," Merrihew said.
Instead, the treated liquid effluent can be used to irrigate the golf course, and the solid sludge is pumped to reed beds that effectively transform it into topsoil.
"We use gravity as much as we can," said Merrihew, noting how sewage will generally travel downhill to Woodruff Lane where a series of lift stations will pump it to the golf course.
According to Merrihew, the public wastewater system would improve environmental stewardship while providing infrastructure essential for growth and development in Elizabethtown.
"This isn't a frivolous expenditure," he said. "This is an investment in the sustainability of the community, the school, the hospital, and our businesses."