Friday, January 7, 2022

Recap: Board of Health approves change to septic bylaw, will look at mask requirements and encouraging vaccinations

Quick Recap:
  • Meeting in hybrid format, board members remote, staff and some public in person at Municipal building, other public also remote
  • Public hearing on change to septic regulations to better protect current and future homeowners from system failures.
  • State regulations had changed no longer permitting tanks sizes less than 1000; clarification on the need to replace is NOT due to this change but WHEN and if the system failed. 
  • After discussion change was approved. Health Director Cathleen Liberty to work on language to better explain the change and requirements.
  • Multiple other items of regular business conducted. Vaccine clinic for youth scheduled, nurse visits and action increasing; Winter St property being readied for demolition but actual permit not yet pulled;
  • Citizen comment on the lack of a mask mandate given the rise in COVID cases will bring about a meeting to review the topic and enforcement (which is really the key issue) before the regularly scheduled Feb meeting.


As with most meetings in this pandemic period, I took my notes via Twitter while I attended the meeting via the Zoom conf bridge. 


The Twitter hashtag #BoH0105 can be found online The thread begins with 

Photos captured during the meeting can be found in one album ->

  • About to begin reporting on the Board of Health meeting, #boh0105
  • Agenda doc for meeting… #boh0105
  • Motion to accept meeting minutes as submitted, so moved, seconded, passes 3-0 via roll call #boh0105
  • Opens public hearing on septic systems, #boh0105 looking to have title 5 changes certified by structural engineer/professional rather than putting the burden on the resident, also addresses smaller tanks previously allowed and not permitted now …
  • Only for systems that have failed and require a replacement. #boh0105 clarification on when to be implemented (only if system fails)
  • If tank is too small per state regs, a failure would require replacement, a state requirement.
  • State law calls for sewer connections if available where a septic system fails or is not feasible #boh0105
  • Existing 1000 gallon tanks would be replaced with 1500 per state requirement, #boh0105 this is not a town mandate, this curbs issues for home owners and buyers for future and brings better alignment with state alignment
  • Public hearing closed, motion to accept changed language, seconded, passes 3-0 via roll call. Motion to be effective 4/1/2022, seconded, asses via roll call. #boh0105 "user friendly language" to be circulated to board 4 review before publication
  • Moving to other agenda items; #boh0105 Winter st progress noted, awaiting demo permit; work underway, asbestos removed from siding. Report reviewed
  • Nurse Alecia providing updates; over 4k cases, 56 deaths, no home kit testing part of numbers, another clinic coming 1/19 at the Senior Center. Clinic scheduled for FHA #boh0105 Town has ordered test kits for local and 1st responders use, likely through Health Dept
  • Current supply for staff and families, new epidemiologist starting new week, full time here as part of Metacomet Shared Services.
  • Next up Cleveland Ave upgrade approval from board, agent did recommend, motion, second, passes via roll call #boh0105
  • No new business; public comment - Max - why the BoH hasn't been advocating local masking? Have generally been following the State, thought of regularly, enforcement is really the issue, who would? The BoH is not prepared to do so. #boh0105
  • Perhaps review a stronger advisory on masking and encouraging  vaccine effectiveness for Feb or sooner meeting? #boh0105 work by dept has been enormous, there are limits. The board will support the Dept however possible.
  • If something isn't always enforced doesn't always mean we don't have it. Motion to adjourn, seconded, passes 3-0 via roll call #boh0105 
Board of Health Chair Bridget Sweet during the meeting
Board of Health Chair Bridget Sweet during the meeting

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