Sewer Division

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Littleton Sewer System Expansion Project

The Littleton Sewer System Expansion Project will bring sewer to the greater Littleton Common area in a district that encompasses more than 100 properties. Sewer will support the Town’s goal of economic development and help to protect the environment and Littleton’s water resources. Under the leadership of the Board of Water Commisioners,

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LELWD expects to complete design of the 208,000-gallons-per-day sewer system in the spring of 2022, put the project out to bid in the summer months, and start construction in the fall of 2022.

Sewer District

The sewer district initially includes 53 commercial properties and 58 residential properties. Residential properties will have an option to opt-out if their septic systems meet certain criteria. The district also includes the 40-acre parcel at 550 King Street. While not originally part of the district, the developer requested the Commissioners add the property so the mixed-use, commercial and residential development can connect to the sewer.  The addition of this property to the district provided the critical mass of customers that made the project financially feasible.

For Residential Property Owners & Tax-Exempt Groups

Residential property owners and tax-exempt organizations have the option to connect to the sewer or opt-out of the sewer district if they meet certain criteria as outlined in the enabling statute

If you are a one- or two-family residential property, or a tax-exempt entity, located within the sewer district and can produce a passing Title V examination, then you are eligible to opt out, per the statute. Title V is the state regulation on septic systems.

If a property opts out of the sewer district, it can only connect in the future by winning the approval of the Board of Water Commissioners and the Littleton Town Meeting.  State law reads:

(ii) a property owner’s decision to opt out shall be in writing and shall acknowledge that the property owner understands that by opting out of the Littleton common smart sewer division, the property shall not be able to connect to or make use of the sewer system, except by permission of the board of water commissioners and town meeting.”

How to Opt-Out

Residential property owners and tax-exempt organizations must opt-out in writing by completing the form when it becomes available and submitting documentation that the septic system passed a Title V examination within the past three years. Property owners are responsible for arranging for and paying for the test by a licensed Massachusetts Title V inspector.

Residential property owners and tax-exempt organizations must opt-out in writing by completing the form when it becomes available and submitting documentation that the septic system passed a Title V examination within the past three years. Property owners are responsible for arranging for and paying for the test by a licensed Massachusetts Title V inspector.

For Commercial Property Owners

The law requires commercial properties within the sewer district to pay the betterment fee assessed on the property and property owners have the option to connect. LELWD will be contacting each commercial property in the district with further information about the connection process.

One of the stated goals of the Littleton Sewer Expansion Project is to foster economic development.  A sewer system does this by enabling uses of commercial properties that cannot be supported by on-site septic systems.

Cost to Sewer Customers

Betterment & Connection Fees

The betterment and connection fees can only be set after the project has been bid and the total cost of construction is known.

  • Betterment fees are charged to users to pay for the construction of the sewer system.
  • The amount of the betterment fee will depend on many factors, including:
      • The number of sewer users.
      • The size of a property’s water meter, as water use correlates to anticipated sewer use.
      • The ability of LELWD to obtain state or federal funding to offset the project cost.
    • The betterment fee can be paid in one lump sum or paid off over the 30-year life of the low-interest loans borrowed by LELWD to finance construction.
    • Connection fees are the cost of installing sewer pipe from the building to the sewer main in the street.

As of spring 2022:

  • The betterment fee is estimated to be in the range of $7,309 and $21,235 per property.
Sewer Bill

Users will pay a regular sewer bill. Early project estimates are an average residential property will have a monthly sewer bill of between $100 and $150 based on residential water use.

Project Cost & Repayment of Loans

The actual cost of the project will be determined by competitive bidding for construction in late summer 2022.  The Littleton Town Meeting authorized LELWD to borrow $28.5 million for the project in October 2021.

  • The Town expects to apply for state and federal grant money that could offset the project cost by about $8.5 million.
  • After receiving grants, the town would expect to borrow about $20.5 million to be repaid by means of betterment assessments and connection fees.
  • The sewer loans will be repaid by the sewer system users:
    • 60% from the 550 King Street proposed development.
    • 20% from municipal buildings connected to the sewer.
    • 20% from other commercial and residential users.
  • LELWD plans to seek low-interest loans from the state’s Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund. The loans would be repaid over 30 years.

Construction Schedule

The system was 60% designed as of March 1, 2022.  Construction of the system was on track to begin in Fall 2022.

System Components

The system will comprise basically of sewer mains installed under streets to which buildings will connect. The mains will transport raw sewer to a water resource recovery facility at 242 King Street.  The treated effluent will then be transported by sewer main to the recharge site (essentially a large leach field) at 56 King Street.

Water Resource Recovery Facility
  • Location: 242 King Street
  • Most of the facility will be located below ground with a single building visible.
  • Traffic entering the facility will be from the driveway on King Street.
  • The facility will be outside of the wetlands buffer zone along Beaver Brook.
  • Facility will be sited along the I-495-edge of the property and as far away from Beaver Brook and the Russell Street residences as possible.

Benefits of Sewer

Lack of a sewer system in the Common is hindering economic development and contributing to groundwater pollution, which can impact our drinking water supply.

The planned 550 King Street development shows the power of a sewer system to spur economic development. This is not a “build it and they will come” scenario.  It is a “they are here and asking for it” scenario.

As a town, we have a shared priority in protecting our water supply. The Common is in the Zone II aquifer protection area for the Beaver Brook wells.  A sewer system would remove pollution from septic systems and improve the quality of our drinking water.

Sewer Use Rules & Regulations

Pursuant to provisions of Massachusetts General Law Chapter 83, Section 10, the Town of Littleton hereby establishes sewer use rules and regulations governing the use of wastewater collection system of the Town of Littleton.

Sewer Needs Assessment

LELWD has teamed with CDM Smith to conduct a Needs Assessment for the Town of Littleton as it relates to sewer.  The Sewer Needs Assessment project is the next step to develop a plan for Littleton to preserve water and land resources, and to promote smart economic growth. The Needs Assessment covers our water quality and wastewater needs, collection and treatment system technologies, alternatives solutions for various areas of need, and the siting of wastewater treatment facility.  Sections of the assessment will be posted below as they become available.