Board of Health December 10 meeting shorts

by Karina Coombs

The Carlisle Board of Health (BOH) met on December 10 to go over a number of administrative and discussion items and to review septic system installation problems at 36 Log Hill Road.

21-23 Bedford Road

The board briefly discussed the status of the restoration underway at 21-23 Bedford Road (see “New owners, new plans for run-down house opposite Gleason,” November 2.) Health Agent Linda Fantasia reported that soil testing would take place on December 12 and the owners and developers, Eric Adams and Angus Beasley, of Adams and Beasley, Inc., would pursue a Title V report, working with the Stamski & McNary engineering firm. According to Fantasia, the new owners need to test the existing septic system and determine capacity since there is no permit on file. A system failure would require an upgrade while a system pass would require the property owners to determine capacity in conjunction with the BOH and based on the specific development plans for the property. Fantasia noted that the developers are “still in the exploratory stages.”

Septic Loan Program

The BOH has asked Finance Director Larry Barton to request an initial installment of $100,000 from the Water Pollution Abatement Trust to be used to fund the Community Septic Loan Program (see “Article 22: Carlisle renews septic system loan program,” May 2). The account is currently without funds and the BOH wants to ensure there is financial assistance in place for residents should a need arise. BOH member Cathy Galligan will be reviewing the application criteria in advance of a BOH meeting follow-up in the next month.

Trail accessibility

The board looked at a report on trail use funded by a wellness grant from the Middlesex Community Transformation grant in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report looked at the current trail system within Carlisle to recommend certain improvements that would help promote healthy living for residents of all physical abilities and develop a criteria “for rating trails for a variety of disabilities,” according to Fantasia. She noted, “[The] BOH is interested in promoting types of development that encourage physical activities and social connectedness. Everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, not just those who are physically in good shape, and developments should encourage neighborhoods and not isolation. These are the BOH goals for this grant project.”

Rabies

The BOH will be holding a rabies clinic on March 16 at Town Hall with Dr. Tiffany Rule from Countryside Animal Hospital in Chelmsford. The clinic will run for 90 minutes and will be able to administer up to 100 vaccines for Carlisle pets and those of neighboring communities for a fee of ten dollars.

Emergency preparedness

Fantasia reported that $1,100 remained of a grant from the Department of Public Health Emergency Health Bureau. Originally $4,000, the grant helps pay for the BOH cell phone and a one-half contribution to the town’s automated phone system, Blackboard Connect. The BOH will use the remaining funds to purchase supplies for Carlisle’s emergency shelter.

Fee increase for winter septic applications

BOH member Cathy Galligan reported that there was a drop in funds from the board’s 53E revolving account since the November 26 meeting when she noted that, “the board was in good financial shape.” Galligan explained that since that meeting the board had received two large bills for engineering services that looked to bring their account to less than the $10,000 they try to keep in it at all times.

Fantasia and Administrative Assistant Bobby Lyman began looking into the issue and determined that the rise in popularity of “innovative and alternative” septic systems was putting a burden on funding simply because they required more engineering time to review and inspect. Current permit fees are based on older systems and are not keeping in line with advanced systems, Fantasia explained. Galligan, Fantasia and member Bill Risso looked at existing engineering fees and then began assessing and breaking them down. The group will continue working on this.

In the meantime, the board proposed and approved initiating a fee of $150 for every request made during the winter shut-down period retroactive to November 30 and until it ends on March 1. One hundred dollars will go directly to costs incurred by BOH consultant Rob Frado and the remaining funds will cover various administrative costs. All funds would go directly into the BOH 53E account.

36 Log Hill Road

Christopher Riddick of 36 Log Hill Road appeared before the board with septic installer and Lincoln Tree and Landscape owner, Todd Brown, to discuss recent installation problems at the property. The board noted that the tank was installed 18 feet from the wetlands rather than the 20 feet that had been required, and that the installer had graded onto a public right of way.

Brown explained that the errors were highly unusual and not reflective of his 25 years of experience and explained that 36 Log Hill Road was a “tough site” because of its wetland proximity. Brown apologized to the board for his errors and expressed concern that his license would be suspended but also questioned the need to move the tank two feet. He also explained that he believed the grading, while over the property line, was more aesthetically pleasing.

Brown informed the board that a subsequent problem arose with installation once the tank was moved and grading removed. The Oakson system froze the night before inspection and three pipes were damaged. Rather than install a new system as Oakson had encouraged, Brown had the company refurbish the damaged system. Fantasia expressed concern about the system’s long-term stability because of the damage and wanted to ensure that Oakson would validate the system in writing. Brown assured the board that he would replace the system with a new unit if problems arose at start-up and that he had provided a system guarantee to the owner. Brown also mentioned that he was fixing all errors at his own expense.

Fantasia also made sure to point out that the town requires licensed installers to be on site during an installation and that Brown was not present during the time the system was installed. Fantasia wants to tighten up this requirement to ensure Brown and other installers are following it in the future.

Veteran’s health services

Fantasia reported that at a recent monthly health agent group meeting, Dr. Dan Berlowitz from the Bedford Veteran’s Administration (VA) Medical Center discussed how best to promote veterans’ services available locally, especially for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. According to Fantasia, Bedford has one of the better-known models of veteran’s mental health services in the country. Berlowitz discribed using an intern to promote outreach with surrounding communities so that soldiers and their families could learn about and access services and benefit from new programs. ∆