EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

March 2, 2013

Failed septic system complicates life for family

NORTH ANDOVER — David and Pamela Fowler hope the end is in sight for their septic system woes.

The septic system for their home at 213 Carlton Lane failed so they have to spend thousands of dollars to install a new one. Because their home is close to wetlands, they need to obtain variances from the Board of Health as well as permission from the Conservation Commission.

The Board of Health voted Thursday night to grant the necessary variances with the condition that they obtain approval from the Conservation Commission. That panel is expected to act on their request March 13.

Luke Roy, the engineer employed by the Fowlers, told the Board of Health on Thursday night the septic system he has designed would be 52 feet from a wetland. The commission granted his request for a variance from the 100-foot setback that is usually required for septic systems.

The board also supported his request to decrease the separation between the bottom of the soil absorption system in the leaching field and the water table from 4 to 3 feet.

“How high is the water table (in that area)?” Board of Health member Larry Fixler asked.

Roy said it varies between 42 and 46 inches from the bottom of the soil absorption system.

The board asked Roy to do another test of the soil where he wants to locate the system.

Roy said the project will include the replacement of a 1,500-gallon septic tank.

While they are awaiting the approval for and construction of the new septic system, the Fowlers have to pay to have their tank pumped out, Board of Health members said.

Selectman Donald Stewart, who attended the Board of Health meeting, said the wetland in question is a relatively small area. Stewart said he painted the Fowlers’ house a couple of summers ago, shortly before he retired.

“They are very nice people,” he said.

Carlton Lane runs off from Summer Street, in an outlying part of the town. Board of Health members said the sewer system will likely not be extended to that neighborhood in the foreseeable future.

The Fowlers could not be reached for comment Friday night.

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