Vol. III No. 14 7/15/2022
Stockbridge Board of Health
by Charles Kenny MD, Chair
The Board recently held a hearing to consider approving a variance regarding a Lake Drive septic system that would lie too close to a neighbor's well according to Stockbridge zoning parameters, but not EPA guidelines. The neighbor voiced no objection. The system was very high tech and would pose no health issue vis-a-vis the well or the nearby Stockbridge Bowl. Con Comm still had to weigh in regarding a nearby wetland. Since the request was unopposed and there was no Board of Health issue, the Board had no grounds to reject the variance request. Nevertheless, I think the townspeople should be thinking ahead about situations like this. First, there are quite a few very old septic systems on small plots along the lake in this neighborhood and they are eventually going to require upgrades to these larger systems, each of which can cost $75,000 or more. Second, when you consider the small size of the building lot versus the relatively large size of the septic field, and remember that no trees will be growing near or on the field, you will realize that a sizeable and increasing area immediately around the Bowl will be devoid of trees. Trees are not only important for wildlife habitat, trees modulate the watershed flow into the lake. They decrease the temperature of the water, slow down the flow rate, and decrease the total volume of stormwater traveling into the lake, all of which contribute to the general health of the watershed. Shouldn't we commit to extending the sewer system into the Lake Drive neighborhood before all the residents have made substantial investments into their own systems? There are ways to temporarily put off upgrading a septic system that residents could take advantage of if they knew they could eventually hook up to the town system.
Lilies. Photo: Blue Moon Images/Dana Goedewaagen