Rib breakthrough?

At the Selectmen’s meeting Wednesday, Dave Ford told the Selectmen that he is working with Wright-Pierce on an inexpensive fix for the RIB.  There were no details except to say that the lawsuit is still ongoing.

WP’s past proposals have been described as “illegal” so I wonder if this is a new idea, or just people being more receptive to the old idea.  I talked to the DES guys a few years ago while touring the RIB site, and the impression that I got was that they would be willing to discuss unorthodox solutions in the interest of making this work.

One thing that has been discussed in the past is the use of WICKs.  Essentially a WICK is a big well into which the effluent is dumped.  My understanding is that there is already a small WICK on the site.  If the problem is a layer of soils that is insufficiently permeable and causing side breakout, WICKs could potentially get the effluent through that layer to better soils beneath.  They require well filtered effluent and regular cleaning, so the operational costs are higher, but they are a relatively common and well understood technology.

Previous offers have also been described as engineering only with the town picking up the cost of the actual repairs.  The Selectmen were reluctant to ask the voters for more money, hence the lawsuit.

Now I wonder if WP is offering to pay for the actual work, and whether we will see any of the half-million we’ve spent to date on lawyers.  My guess is that the terms of any such settlement would depend on whether the motion to amend is granted.

It looks as if the combination of RIB and spray fields is keeping up with the annual demand, so even if a fix only gets us to say 300,000 gpd in the RIB, we would be in decent shape.  I expect the court will rule fairly soon on the motion to amend.

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