Chatham: Rabid raccoon, Stage Harbor sewer expansion

ChronicleChatham Confirms First Case Of Rabies
By Alan Pollock, Chronicle

CHATHAM — Town officials learned last week that a raccoon captured near Oyster Pond Furlong tested positive for rabies, marking the town’s first documented case of terrestrial rabies.

RacoonRaccoon rabies reached Cape Cod in 2004, nine months after state officials cut funding for a vaccination program which had kept the disease from spreading over the Cape Cod Canal. Another form of rabies, carried chiefly by bats, has been present on the Cape for years.

Around 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7, Chatham Animal Control Officer Meg McDonough was called to a home off Oyster Pond Furlong. There, alert residents noticed a raccoon inside their fenced-in dog yard, “before they let the dog out, thankfully,” McDonough said. The animal was showing classic signs of rabies, she said.

“It was drooling and having seizures, it acted blind, and it was head-pressing,” she said, noting that the animal was pushing up against a concrete foundation. Earlier, the raccoon had been chewing the end of a metal drainpipe, “and when I got there, it was stuffing leaves in its mouth.”

McDonough euthanized the animal and brought it to Pleasant Bay Animal Hospital, where the staff prepared a sample to be sent to the state’s public health laboratory in Jamaica Plain. On Wednesday evening, the lab results had confirmed the presence of the rabies virus... Read the rest of this Chronicle story here, and comment below.

Board OKs Sewer Expansion In Stage Harbor Watershed
Stage HarborBy Alan Pollock, Chronicle

CHATHAM — Taking one of the first steps toward the town’s long-term wastewater management goals, selectmen voted this week to expand the sewer system in the Stage Harbor watershed. Selectmen also voted to instruct town officials to examine a real estate transfer tax to help pay for that expansion.

On Tuesday, selectmen heard the first of four presentations by Nate Weeks of Stearns and Wheler, the town’s consultant on the comprehensive wastewater management plan. Weeks said the town has been divided into four “sewersheds,” or wastewater management areas linked to underlying watersheds, each of which is likely to use different wastewater management tools.

State officials have determined that the Stage Harbor complex, in order to return to healthy water quality levels, will have to have a nearly 100 percent nitrogen reduction. In future meetings, the board will discuss other sewersheds, including the Cockle Cove area, but Weeks said he wanted selectmen to consider this sewershed first, because the solution is most straightforward: sewering.

Weeks said that of the four main wastewater management techniques, Title V septic systems, nitrogen-removing systems, community or cluster systems, and an expanded sewer system, only the latter would remove an adequate amount of nitrogen. With improvements being sought by the town, the Chatham wastewater plant would be able to remove around 93 percent of the nitrogen, and since the plant is in a different sewershed, there would be a 100 percent reduction in nitrogen from the Stage Harbor area, Weeks said. For that reason, sewering the Stage Harbor complex is the only real choice, he said...
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