Assuming a successful June 11 vote to pursue $15 million in state and federal grants and loans for a municipal wastewater system, Waitsfield Village and Irasville property owners with the oldest wastewater systems most at risk for failure or contamination of neighboring water supplies or pollution the Mad River, will begin the process of joining the system.



Here is what that entails. To begin with, the town’s wastewater planning team has already reached out to most of those folks whose systems are most at risk and some 90% of them are interested in signing up. There are 105 priority properties with risky systems in the service area.

Those people will be asked to sign a non-binding letter of commitment agreeing to join which will help with financing and help planners determine how much capacity will be used which will help with USDA funding, according to select board member Chach Curtis, also a member of the planning team.

The next step is an easement allowing the town to dig a trench through peoples’ yard to their sewer outflow pipe where waste exits the house. The town pipes will connect directly to the outflow pipes and carry waste to the sewer main along Main Street and Route 100. That wastewater will flow into four buried tanks that will separate out the solids and the liquids will continue through underground pipes to the Munn Field.

After the trench has been dug to each property, the septic tanks are decommissioned by filling the tanks with sand. The trenching and decommissioning of the priority properties will be covered by the town. Existing leachfields on those properties can be left untouched until people may want to develop further on those parcels.


“The point of the system is to free up space. That along with new zoning regulations is going to make it possible for infill development in our villages,” Curtis explained, noting that if that development is slated on former leachfields, the soil has to be dug up and moved offsite for curing.

Each home within the service area (Waitsfield Elementary School to Fiddlers Green) will be assigned one ERU which stands for Equivalent Residential Unit and equates to 210 gallons of wastewater per day.

The system is being built to treat 89,000 gallons of wastewater per day. The solids in the four tanks will be pumped three to four times a year Curtis said. Of that 89,000 of capacity 30% is available for future development of dwelling units and commercial growth in the service area.

Curtis said the town is working on the development of a septic ordinance addressing how capacity will be allocated.

Curtis noted that the state-of-the-art technology and engineering that the system is being designed to takes advantage of improved flood resiliency in terms of depth of trenching pipes and security of the holding tanks for solids.

Current thinking has the holding tanks located at Waitsfield Elementary School, in the field by the Madsonian, in the field near the former TDBank, and at Fiddlers Green. Those locations may change, he said.

“In a flood event, the Madsonian tank would be the most vulnerable. We’ve learned that there are ways to build flood resiliency into the tank design, in particular in how the lid is physically attached to the tank to ensure it remained closed during flooding. Similarly, with the force main along Route 100, it will be reinforced with additional hardware to support the joints,” Curtis explained.