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Deerfield puts off sewer hook-up decision

SOUTH DEERFIELD — The Board of Selectmen would not outright oppose a sewer hookup for Bayer MaterialScience as long as it paid its share and capped its use.

Three representatives from Bayer MaterialScience, the high-performance plastics producer with a factory on the town line in Whately, met with the Board of Selectmen a second time recently to discuss its request for a hookup to the South Deerfield sewer.

The Board of Selectmen did not make an official decision, stating it would seek town counsel advice. Board Chairman Mark Gilmore did not attend.

The board indicated it would be willing to consider a sewer hookup for Bayer as long as it put a cap on its usage, monitored it, paid a higher sewer fee and compensated the town if it went over its allotted usage.

If the town grants a sewer permit to Bayer, it can’t take it away, Building Inspector Richard Calisewski stressed.

“I am not averse to your proposal. We just have to protect Deerfield and save Deerfield’s capacity for Deerfield taxpayers,” said Selectman Carolyn Shores Ness. “But on the other hand, I don’t want any businesses to not be supported.”

Bayer indicated it would agree to the proposed arrangement.

“We could put a cap on what Bayer’s usage is,” said Michael Petrin, an engineer for Bayer. “If they go over that, they pay on a sliding scale. That way, it’ll protect the town.”

The company needs to submit a formal application to the town. At its Nov. 20 meeting, the board said it aims to make a decision.

The company plans to expand to 11 acres in the Whately park abutting its existing facility.

The company is working on its design plans and intends to have its plans finished by the end of the year, Shaun Gaus, General Manager for Bayer said.

Petrin said whether the company could connect to town sewer would impact its design.

Currently, Bayer runs on septic as does the rest of the privately owned Whately Industrial Park, which abuts the Deerfield park off Route 116.

According to figures from the chief operator of the plants, Don Chappell, the South Deerfield plant is running at about half of its capacity since the Oxford pickle factory closed in 2006. The design flow of the South Deerfield plant is 850 million gallons per day.

With 100 employees at the site, Petrin estimates Bayer would use 1,500 gallons per day.

The state Department of Environmental Protection bases usage on number of occupants, which is 15 gallons per day per person, Calisewski said.

The average household uses 300 to 400 gallons per day.

Whether Bayer hooks up to South Deerfield sewer has been a controversial issue in town.

Some residents in the commercial zone along Routes 5 and 10 are not on town sewer and rely on septic.

The Deerfield Economic Industrial Development Corporation, which owns the 75-acre industrial park, recently agreed to inform the selectmen it was not in favor of allowing Bayer to hook up, citing possible future business development in town.

“If I owned a business on Routes 5 and 10, I’d be livid,” said Selectman David Wolfram. “I think we have to get a committee to look at the sewer in town and how to serve Deerfield.”

You can reach Kathleen McKiernan at:
kmckiernan@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261 ext. 268.

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