A true consensus on community septic systems looked for in Cornwall

The June 28 Cornwall Town Informational Meeting about a Community WasteWater System for West Cornwall triggered substantial attendance. As the chair of the West Cornwall Water/Septic Study Committee, I was reinvigorated by the lively debate.

This is a complex issue that raises many questions, and the public debate is yielding valuable clues to answers. In a recent guest commentary published by this newspaper, there were a host of issues raised but the primary concern was the writer’s reluctance to accept that a community septic system for West Cornwall had enough potential merit for the town, as a whole, to engage in cooperative funding. 

Surely this will be a topic of continued debate as we move toward an overall decision about how to address the almost unanimous belief that a solution to the septic issues facing both the river and the inhabitants of the town, if solved, will help bring a village born in the 19th century into needs-compliance with the 21st century (and beyond). 


If I remain chair, I can assure her and anyone else that we will provide ample opportunity to continue the debate as it engages all aspects of our village’s governmental agencies — Finance, Land Use, River Commission, Elderly Housing, Economic Development to name just a few.

Finally, let’s not minimize the possible effect of an economically vital West Cornwall — residential and commercial — on the town’s property values, which have not seen any increase since the 2008 recession. The correct way to recognize a contribution of that nature is by assessment to all that benefit.

The town vote on July 26 is simple in its call: Should the town spend up to $10,000 to research and apply for grant funds? Once there is clarity on funding, we will refine our search for sites and construct a far more detailed cost analysis. I hope all Cornwall stakeholders will show continued passion and compassion for our town and true interest in realistic solutions to these complex issues. And I applaud the guest commentary for the willingness to engage. At the end of the day, without a dialogue there can never be true consensus.


Todd Piker lives in Cornwall and is the chair of the West Cornwall Water/Septic Committee.