West Acton Sewer Information

West Acton Sewer Project (webpage)

Project Overview

The West Acton Sewer Continuation Project is a continuation of the sewer program started in 1945. Since 2002, the Town has owned and operated a public sewer system which currently serves South Acton, Kelley's Corner and the AB High School Campus. As part of the approval from the state to build the system, the Town was required to plan for future areas to continue the sewer project. West Acton was identified as a high-need, future area to connect to sewer.

An investment was made in 2002 to not only provide sewer to the existing sewer area, but to provide additional capacity for these future areas. Future areas to connect were identified in a Comprehensive Water Resource Management Plan (CWRMP) which identified areas town-wide where septic systems were potentially either environmentally or economically not viable. The report was required and approved by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection in 2006. The Town has been making progress on meeting the goals of the CWRMP since.

West Acton Sewers has been a goal of the Board of Selectmen (2014-16), a goal of the Acton 2020 Master Plan and a priority of the CWRMP. In 2017 the Board of Selectmen (now Select Board) formed the West Acton Sewer Action Advisory Committee (WASAAC) to study feasibility of sewering West Acton. Evaluating sewer feasibility and determining the next steps is a short-term goal of the Board of Selectmen in 2019.

Current Project Status [Last Updated November 5, 2019]

At the October 10, 2019 meeting the WASAAC voted on the final limits of the project area and to recommend the project to the Board of Selectmen. Letters with the draft sewer assessments (known as a sewer "betterment") have been mailed to properties in the project area and are available online here. Estimated costs for the sewer betterments are $34,000 to $39,000 per sewer betterment unit (SBU):

  • 1-single family property = 1 SBU (say $36,500 per single-family home)
  •  Multi-family buildings (1- and 2-bedroom condos/apartments) = 2/3 SBU per unit (say $24,350 per unit)
  • Commercial properties assessed by lot size (1 SBU = +/- 5,750 SF lot area)

Government-owned properties (W.Acton Fire Station, Library, etc) are not assessed betterments. General tax payers pay to connect public properties to sewer the equivalent of the cost of an on-site septic system for that property and for general project benefits such as repaving roads and police details. The draft total project cost estimate, a sample letter and information on individual properties are available on the WASAAC docushare page.

It is anticipated that the sewer project will be voted on at the December 10, 2019 Special Town Meeting

Next Steps & Timeline

WASAAC has voted to recommend the project to the Board of Selectmen and will hold a public hearing to obtain additional feedback on the project. It is anticipated that the sewer project in its entirety will be voted on at the December 10th, 2019 Special Town Meeting.

Timeline & Events:

  • Tuesdays (8:00AM to 7:30 PM). Please visit the Engineering Department during the new Town Hall hours to ask questions and learn about the project.
  • September 12th - WASAAC Committee Meeting & Public Forum at Town Hall to finalize project limits
  • September22nd - WASAAC Information at the Acton Boxborough Farmers Market: https://abfarmersmarket.org/
  • September 26th - Senior Center/Human Services Open House (30 Sudbury Road)
  • September 29th - West Acton Oktoberfest: http://www.westactonvillageworks.com/events/2018/8/31/west-acton-village-oktoberfest
  • October 10th - WASAAC Committee Meeting & Public Forum at Villageworks, 525 Mass Ave West Acton
  • October 23rd - Preliminary sewer betterments mailed to property owners in project area
  • November 14th - WASAAC Committee Meeting & Public Forum. 
  • November 18th - Board of Selectmen Meeting. Recommendation to Town Meeting.
  • December 10th Special Town Meeting - Final Design & Construction Funds vote
  • Construction - 2-3 years after approval of construction funds (2020-2023)
    • Phase 1 (June 2020 - August 2020) - Gates/Douglas sewer connection (Spruce Street and Mass Ave)
    • Phase 2 (May 2021 - November 2022) - Remainder of construction in West Acton sewer area
  • Spring 2023 - Start of sewer betterment payments

Why West Acton?

  1. Third highest ranked priority area identified by CWRMP. Septic replacements may be challenging to meet current standards:
    • "The majority of lots...due to the proximity of Middle Fort Pond Brook [are limited for] onsite wastewater systems due to wetlands and high groundwater" 
    • "..over 50% of the developed parcels [in West Acton] are classified as [limited septic] parcels. This is the second greatest percentage in the identified Needs Areas"
  2.  Sewers may provide option for new school building
  3. Sewers support local businesses and are vital for Economic Sustainability:
    • CWRMP: "[West Acton] is targeted for economic growth"
    • Acton 2020 Goals: "Consider extension of sewer in West Acton to serve [the] commercial area and high priority neighborhood identified in the [CWRMP]"
    • "..sewer is exactly the critical piece of infrastructure West Acton needs to sustain the expanding village economy. It will support the walkable and lively town center that the residents of our community say they want" - Mathias Rosenfeld, West Acton Villageworks Owner

West Acton Public Outreach