Protect the Partrick Wetlands
and our Community

Stop the Sewer
The Town should be protecting us

To the Editor:

In the next phase of the Town's approval process, the fate of the Partrick Wetlands is now in the hands of our Selectmen, working in their capacity as the Water Pollution Control Authority. The clustered homes must be served by a sewer and a private one has been proposed to serve just this unneeded ARS development. It is the obligation of the WPCA to make sure this sewer is reasonable for Westport and that it does not harm our communities, the wetlands or the aquifer. And this is without even weighing the entire impact of the development which the sewer would then allow.

The Department of Public works blindly supported this sewer extension in a letter to the board. This even though during the aborted conservation hearings, warnings and risks of pollution from ground disturbance and sewer failure dominated discussions. Steve Edwards, the head of the DPW, said clearly in those hearings that he didn't know which way the leachate in the ground water, from years of dumping, was moving. Then in the WPCA hearing he said that "blasting would be needed" to install the sewer. Put those two comments together and it spells disaster. How can the DPW support something as perilous as this sewer installation without full investigation? Where is the documentation of where and what this sewer will disturb? We can't rely on the Conservation Commission's decision because all the real and useful information in the second hearings were quashed on a technicality.

The problem is no studies have been undertaken by the Town. The land has been dumped on for years by the Town and the public, a 1995 P&Z memo corroborates this. Does the town really want to know what's on the land or not? Do they want to know what will be disturbed or not? Why must the public be the ones trying to protect this land and our own health? This should be the Town's job and they are just not doing it. The Town needs to do their due diligence and find out what everyone else already knows; the Partrick Wetlands should never be developed and should be left undisturbed as the oasis it has become.

The weight of this heavy decision rests on the backs of our Selectmen. Dianne Farrell, Carl Leaman and John Izzo are our elected officials who must realize they need to protect the Town, its citizens and its resources, not the interests of developers who will be gone with a profit, leaving Westport with a highly environmental hazzard and overwhelming financial liability.

Bert Aber
Partrick Wetlands Preservation Fund