The Selectboard and the Village Wastewater Committee are working to develop a community wastewater system in the Village. Stone Environmental and the Lamoille County Planning Commission (LCPC) are assisting with the project.
The State of Vermont has awarded partial funding to help the village provide affordable, safe, and flood resilient wastewater services to residential and commercial property owners in Wolcott Village. About $2.5 million in state ARPA funding is already committed to this project.
In 2024, voters will be asked to support this important project in a bond vote.
What is the Wastewater project?
The wastewater project will provide residents and businesses in the center of Wolcott facing very limited (and very costly) options for replacing and expanding their wastewater (septic) capacity, with a long-lasting and affordable alternative. The Wastewater Committee currently meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 5:00 at the Town Offices to discuss the project.
Why does the center of Wolcott need decentralized wastewater?
Lack of wastewater treatment capacity hampers economic vitality and development in the village. Community wastewater addresses this by eliminating the need for on-site wastewater. Some ways removing septic systems from the floodplain will help Wolcott Village:
- Help Wolcott Village be more flood resilient. Homes or businesses will still have a septic tank. Instead of a leach field in your backyard by the river, everyone shares a leach field on the hill by the school. This will help ensure that wastewater does not back up in people’s homes during flooding.
- Expand how properties can be used. This lets local businesses grow and residences add another bedroom or have an accessory apartment. It also makes it easier to sell property.
- Increase property values and grow the Grand List.
How will the Wastewater Project provide affordable solutions for Wolcott Village residents?
Wolcott has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a system to serve properties in its village center with the state’s financial assistance.
- State funding will meet a majority of the costs associated with implementing the new system.
- Decentralized, soil-based wastewater solutions (as opposed to a conventional wastewater treatment plant) are cost-effective and use innovative treatment technologies.
How could adding community wastewater infrastructure benefit all of Wolcott?
Left as is, Wolcott Village will continue to struggle with vacant and underutilized commercial and residential properties that translate to lost property value and tax base. The school (current and former), store, library, and Town Offices are all located in the center of the Wolcott. The former school will be renovated for a coffee shop and a new community space. Community wastewater would allow for such reinvestment at many more properties. This can help restore vibrancy that has been lost by enabling:
- Businesses that supply local goods and services; new community gathering places; and, an improved Grand List.
- Capitalization of the village’s location as a stopping point on the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail (LVRT).
What properties will be eligible to be served by community wastewater?
The service area will include the Wolcott Store, Post Office, United Methodist Church, and several residential buildings. It also includes the former Buck’s Furniture building, which has been vacant since the retailer closed in 2014. Boundaries of the project area are not yet finalized.
This map from the preliminary engineering report depicts the service area (yellow). The project will serve 48 properties, including the Town Garage and the Town Offices. The timeframe for implementing the project depends on State permitting. Community wastewater could serve 35 residences and 13 commercial properties. Designing to enable pre-treatment in a future phase is also under consideration. The State will fund the majority of the project. Voters will be asked to support this once in a generation opportunity for Wolcott on Town Meeting, March 5, 2024.
Will having a decentralized system in Wolcott create a negative impact?
A disposal field for the decentralized wastewater system is planned to be located on the hill at the school playing fields to ensure that the leach field will be safe from flooding. This will not create a negative impact visually or change the character of the village. In Warren Village the disposal field lies beneath the school playground and adjacent field.