UPDATE: 5/2/2017 On May 1, at the Bourne Annual Town Meeting, residents voted positively for an Article appropriating the expenditure of $335,000 for additional design and permitting work. The amount will also cover a contract with an Owner’s Project Manager, to be hired immediately. A 2/3 vote, or 185 “yes,” was required; the motion passed 264 to 14.

Currently, the Town Administrator is appointing the members of a wastewater treatment facility building committee. The committee will be responsible for carrying the project forward, freeing the Wastewater Advisory Committee to take on other projects.

UPDATE: 4/3/2017 On March 28, the Board of Sewer Commissioners voted unanimously to request that the Capital Outlay Committee approve a request for $335,000 to be voted at Town Meeting on May 1 to support planning, engineering design and permitting to continue moving the project forward.

Concept plan to co-locate wastewater treatment facility (left) with police station

Concept plan to co-locate wastewater treatment facility (left) with police station

UPDATE: December 2016  With the Town vote to put a new Police Station on the same Town-owned property as the proposed wastewater treatment facility, the timing has changed. In order to collaborate with the police station development, completing the treatment facility will be postponed to mid-2018, still in time to meet downtown redevelopment needs.


In considering the revitalization of Bourne’s Downtown, one critical infrastructure need is an expansion of wastewater treatment capacity. And a series of recent activities is bringing that expansion within sight.

For the last 20 years, Bourne’s Downtown has been sewered with treatment and disposal out-sourced to a neighboring town. Although two new development projects have been awarded their requested flow, it is anticipated that new capacity will be needed for longer-term development.

The Town’s Wastewater Advisory Committee has been tasked with developing a plan for meeting the need. Supported by Town funds voted almost unanimously at various Town Meetings, the Committee is moving the planning forward.

The first step was to identify a town-owned parcel, about a half-mile from Main Street, that appeared to be an ideal subsurface disposal area. A hydrogeologic study of the site was conducted by Weston & Sampson and completed in 2014. The study verified that the site could easily support subsurface disposal. The Weston & Sampson report was endorsed by the Bourne Board of Sewer Commissioners, and in summer 2015 was accepted by the MA Dept. of Environmental Protection.

Not only does the report show that the soils and groundwater flows on this parcel, north of the Route 6/28 By-pass road, meet the needs for expanded disposal capacity for at least 25 years, the parcel is also big enough to support a packaged plant with 100,000 gallons per day (gpd) capacity and two Town ball fields, a playground, and a memorial.

Drilling for the hydrogeologic study

Drilling for the hydrogeologic study

At the end of March 2015, the Board of Sewer Commissioners accepted a recommendation from the Advisory Committee to undertake a two-phase plan:

  • Near-term: Install a packaged plant with 100,000 gallons per day (gpd) capacity with subsurface disposal of treated wastewater in the previously identified adjacent area. With permitting, engineering, manufacturing and installation, the facility could be available in two years. The plan could include dividing the existing sewer system so that flow from the western end of Main Street would continue to go to Wareham, freeing up capacity for redevelopment in that part of town, while flow from the eastern end, including from a significant development project at 23 Perry Avenue, would go to the packaged plant, leading to immediate efficiency of the new facility.
  • Longer-term: Work with neighboring towns to create a regional agreement for treating wastewater and disposing¬† the treated effluent in the Cape Cod Canal. This plan has become possible only recently with the change in the state’s Ocean Sanctuaries Act to allow ocean outfall of treated wastewater. This phase could take up to ten years to implement. With a Canal outfall, Wareham’s plant could be expanded to treat five million gpd or more. Two million would more than meet the needs of all Bourne north of the Canal well into the future.

On November 10 Bourne’s Board of Selectmen endorsed a plan proposed by the Town Administrator to provide $110,000 in Town funds to begin the permitting and engineering design. Another $70,000 will be needed by mid-2016. The cost of construction is expected to be about $3 million and, assuming no interruption in the flow of funding, the treatment plant could be operating by the end of 2017, just when other development projects are being completed.

Wastewater Plan for Bourne’s Downtown March 2015

Final Hydrogeologic Report 2014

Town-owned land showing potential location of subsurface disposal areas.

2012 Wastewater Management Planning rpt
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