Coalition supports critical sewer project in Westport

The single most important thing our Westport members can do to help the Westport River this year is Vote YES on Question 1 at the April 9th local election.   

Question 1 requests town authorization to borrow money to expand water and sewer to properties along Route 6.  This “trunkline” will serve as the backbone for future sewer projects that will bring clean drinking water to Westport and eliminate the discharge of poorly treated wastewater to the Westport River.   

This map details the proposed “trunkline” that will serve as the backbone for future sewer projects that will bring clean drinking water to Westport and eliminate the discharge of poorly treated wastewater to the Westport River.

Sewer is the Best Solution for the Westport River 

On-site septic systems are the single biggest source of nitrogen pollution to the Westport River.  Expanding sewer to collect wastewater from homes and send it to a municipal wastewater treatment plant for treatment and disposal is by far the best environmental outcome for the River’s water quality and habitats.  Voting YES on Question 1 allows the town to take a large step towards meeting that goal and to preserve the long-term sustainability of the River.   

In 2017, the federal government established nitrogen limits for the Westport River.  In response, the town produced a thorough and thoughtful water management plan that outlined actions the town should take to reduce nitrogen pollution to the River.  The top priority identified in that plan was the expansion of sewer along Route 6 and in the north part of town.  The Coalition participated in the development of that plan as a stakeholder and supports the town’s priority to expand sewer in north Westport.  

Connecting Route 6 to Fall River’s wastewater treatment plant removes 100% of the pollution currently flowing from failed and inadequate septic systems to the groundwater and then to the river. 

Sewer is the Smart Investment for the River 

The town designed this project to spur not only a great environmental result, but also an affordable and flexible one.  For an investment of approximately $5/week for the next twenty years from each home in town, eighty percent of the Route 6 trunkline will be paid for. The remaining 20% will be paid for by the properties that will have the opportunity to connect to sewer. That 20% includes an estimated $10,000 betterment, paid now or over twenty years, for each dwelling unit along Route 6.   

This is a much smarter investment than replacing all the existing septic systems with nitrogen reducing systems.  First, nitrogen reducing septic systems are not as effective at removing pollutants as municipal wastewater treatment is.  Second, the cost to replace a septic system can reach upwards of $50,000 with annual operation and maintenance costs.  This is nearly five times more expensive than this sewer project.   

Clean Drinking Water 

The vast majority of properties in Westport include both septic and drinking water wells on the same lot.  This is true for the

A map of known and potential cesspools in Westport

 undersized and densely developed lots along Route 6.  In many cases, private drinking water wells are contaminated with harmful pollutants like PFAS and high concentrations of nitrogen.  Voting Yes on Question 1 brings much needed clean drinking water to the densest parts of Westport in order to protect public health.  

Your Vote Counts 

Your vote is extremely important.  The project was narrowly defeated about twenty years ago.  Had that project passed and

 sewer expanded at that time, it is likely that River water quality would be markedly better today.  Westport has the opportunity on April 9th to make a critical investment in the protection of the River, in public health, and in controlled economic redevelopment.   

For more information, please visit the town of Westport’s website at  

Categories: On the Bay, On the Land

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