Septic tank issues delay concession stand at NSHS

Septic tank issues delay concession stand at NSHS

NORTH SMITHFIELD – Students and parents at North Smithfield schools will have to wait a little longer for a long-awaited concession stand and bathroom facility at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

The project, negotiated as part of the town’s agreement with Green Development for approval for their solar farm on Iron Mine Hill Road, has been delayed due to high levels of nitrogen in the property’s existing septic system. Kevin Morin, director of project development and engineering for the company, briefed the Town Council on the project’s status this week.

“It’s basically a biological process, having the right components,” he told members during a meeting on Tuesday.

Morin said the project began last year when he met with school Facilities Manager Alan Sepe, now-Town Council President John Beauregard and others on the site. The company filed an application with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and learned they could tie the new facility into the existing septic system at North Smithfield Middle School.

“It was very much below what it was designed for, so we thought it was a good fit,” he said.

Since then, they’ve reviewed testing going back to 2018 and learned the nitrogen levels in the system are higher than what’s allowed by the RIDEM. Morin said school representatives held another meeting a few weeks ago with Northeast Water Solution, the company that operates the system, to identify what could be causing the issue.

“The cleaners that were being used in the school were of interest to see if it was a high ammonia that could contribute to nitrogen,” he said.

While the company doesn’t know exactly what’s causing the nitrogen problem, Morin said they need to resolve it before moving forward with the next steps of the project. He said they’ve made adjustments to the treatment process and plan to review it later this month to see how it’s working.

“In terms of next steps, what we need to do is submit the testing data, get some recommendations on keeping that nitrogen where it needs to be going forward, and introduce that to DEM,” he said.

Once they have all their permits in place, Morin said he expects construction to take between 60 and 90 days.

While Morin was hopeful he’d have more information over the next month or so, Councilor Paul Vadenais cautioned the issue would not be an easy fix. Septic systems, he said, are “living, breathing things that need to be fed,” and it could take the RIDEM time to run the numbers to resolve the nitrogen issue.

“This is not a slam dunk, and it’s not an easy road, and it’s not going to happen overnight either,” he said.

He also pointed out the property is home to two public wells and said at the time the septic system was installed, there was concern about nitrates getting into neighboring wells.

Green Development agreed to construct the facility in 2019 as part of its development agreement with the town for the 38.4-megawatt solar farm. The company is also paying $7,000 per megawatt annually in tax payments for an estimated $5.4 million over the next 20 years.

Installation of the solar farm began last year and continues on the site off Iron Mine Hill Road.


What’s behind this story. Seems like someone wants to spend money and build a new septic system for a concession stand that is not needed. We could have used the money from the company to actually teach the students instead of letting them skate by with the below 70 D grade which actually stands for dumb. What will we propose next waiter service, luxury boxes, or a dome. Spend spend spend. That’s what happens when you elect state and town union employees with no experience controlling costs.

Well said ! Typical North Smithfield politics ! Champagne taste on a Red White and Blue beer budget ! SPEND ! SPEND ! SPEND !

Do you realize the purpose of the school concession stand? Its to raise money. For decades. Staffed by student volunteers it will raise hundreds of times the cost of the building. Not to mention how it ties into the economics, accounting, and business classes. Something tells me that in this instance D actually stands for "dense".

Just print it baby...print..print..print

I have a great deal of finance and accounting experience and I read the school department budget and audited financial statements and I can find no mention of concession revenues. Where are the funds, what is the money used for, what are the internal control procedures to have segregation of duties and prevent fraud, and who is overseeing the funds management and spending. This is the lessons we should be teaching not how we can hide the revenue. This also should be a lesson in public transparency. Another area that smells like the septic system.

You do need to sell concessions for there to be an income from them to audit. If you'd like to prevent fraud from a *concession stand* I'm sure the school board would love you to volunteer your "great deal of accounting and finance experience" to audit them, at no cost to the taxpayer. Or should they hire an accountant to oversee all this? Wouldn't that just be another waste of taxpayers dollars?

And you must have misconstrued my point, I apologize if I didn't make it clear enough. I shall spell it out for you and add a bonus at the end.

The actual benefit of these concessions stands, the ones at a *school*, are for educational purposes. To teach the things I mentioned above. I'm sure in whatever world you live in, 15-year-olds are embezzling those lucrative hot chocolate bucks, but here in reality they're just learning stuff.

Also, the deed is done. The legislature is signed. The concession stand is being built. If someone wanted to change that they should have attended school board and town council meetings a year ago or more.

Just let the kids sell their Northmen hoodies and their mediocre hot chocolates like they've been doing the past 40 years. It hasn't hurt anyone yet.