The Greater Lawrence Sanitary District was established by Chapter 750 of the Massachusetts Acts of 1968 for the purpose of building, maintaining, and operating a system of sewage collection and disposal for the City of Lawrence, and the towns of Methuen, Andover, and North Andover. The District facilities have been operational since April 1977. The Town of Salem, New Hampshire joined the Greater Lawrence Sanitary District in the 1980s through enabling legislation, Chapter 387 Acts of 1982 and written agreement.
A Commission consisting of eight members (four from the City of Lawrence, two from the City of Methuen, one each from the towns of Andover and North Andover), and a ninth non-voting member from the Town of Salem, New Hampshire oversee the District. The Executive Director is appointed by the District Commission and implements decisions made by the Commission. The District employs approximately 40 people, of whom approximately 27 are represented by employee unions
The Greater Lawrence Sanitary District was established by Chapter 750 of the Massachusetts Acts of 1968 as amended (the “Acts”), for the purpose of building, maintaining, and operating a system of sewage collection and disposal for the City of Lawrence, the towns of Methuen, Andover, and North Andover and for the Town of Salem, New Hampshire. The District facilities have been operational since April 1977.
The treatment facilities provide the District with the capability of processing up to 52 million gallons of wastewater per day. Major process components included in the treatment system are primary sedimentation, biological oxidation, secondary clarification, and treated effluent chlorination. Waste sludge solids generated during treatment are processed using sludge thickening, anaerobic digestion and centrifuge dewatering. The dewatered sludge – or “biosolids” – is then further processed in a heat drying and pelletization facility for subsequent beneficial reuse.
The facilities for treating and drying waste sludge solids are new. The construction work for these facilities was performed under two separate contracts, one using conventional methods, the other involving an innovative design/build/operate (DBO) approach. Start-up of these new facilities has been completed and all biosolids processing facilities are now on-line.
The District’s fiscal year commences July 1 and ends June 30. In November of each year the department heads of the District submit estimated expenditures for the next fiscal year to the Executive Director. The Executive Director, in turn, prepares a draft of the budget which includes the proposed expenditures, as well as estimated non-assessment income amounts, and uncommitted funds from the previous fiscal year. Total operations and maintenance expenditures, including sludge costs, less income, reimbursements and unexpended funds equals the amount that will be assessed upon the member municipalities of the District to offset maintenance and operating costs. Operations and maintenance costs are assessed based on the flow received from each community in the previous calendar year. A fixed percentage is applied to debt service and capital costs.
The District is required to stay within the spending ceilings set by Proposition 2 ½. Massachusetts law does however allow a multi-member water or sewage district (such as the District) to increase its budget over the 2 ½% annual increment utilizing a procedure that first requires a two-third vote of the District governing body and, thereafter, the approval of two-thirds of the local appropriating authorities of the member municipalities. The District has never had to request a Proposition 2 ½ override.
The Executive Director presents the draft budget to the District Board of Commissioners for approval. In order for the budget to become final, it must be approved by a majority of the District Commissioners. The budget is adopted on a basis consistent with generally accepted accounting principles except that year-end encumbrances are recognized as expenditures in the year encumbered. During the course of the fiscal year the Director is authorized to transfer funds between line items within a department. Transfers between departments and funds must be approved by a vote of the Commission.
Special meetings and subcommittee meetings are posted as needed.