Wastewater Alternative Case Study

Partridgeberry Place, Ipswich
Partridgeberry Place Site Layout.

Partridgeberry Place Site Layout

Partridgeberry Place, located in Ipswich, Massachusetts, is a small-scale low impact development (LID) that includes 20 residential units within 38 acres. Developed by The Martins Companies, it was proposed as one of the first Open-Space Residential Design Projects to be built in Ipswich, preserving 74% (28 acres) of the site as contiguous open space. The Martins Companies received a Demonstration Grant from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to show the feasibility and benefit of combining a wide range of LID principles and techniques into a single development and serve as a model for other developers and municipal officials. The project's clustered design around a traditional New England wooded commons allowed for the natural character of the parcel to be preserved with its natural rolling hills and trails integrated with the system of trails of Willowdale State Forest, which abuts the property to the north. The design was developed in collaboration with Mr. Randall Arandt, a noted expert in creative open space planning who has authored several publications on the topic.

To augment the clustered site design, a shared septic system that includes a gravity collection system, large tank, and two large leaching fields, was used.  The shared septic system facilitates smaller lot sizes while still allowing on-site recharge of wastewater.  The design flow for the entire property per Title V is 8,800 gallons per day (gpd), which is below the Massachusetts Groundwater Discharge Permit threshold of 10,000 gpd.  The system was constructed as a standard shared system utilizing a 27,000 gallon septic tank, 13,000 gallon pump chamber, and two standard Title V leaching fields.  As required by MA DEP, the Partridgeberry Place homeowners association is responsible for maintaining the approximately $125,000 – $150, 000 system.  The system is monitored by Clearwater Industries of Ipswich and checked quarterly.

Partridgeberry Place Shared Septic Facility.

Partridgeberry Place Shared Septic Facility

The Partridgeberry Place OSRD includes many LID features in addition to the shared septic system.  Other LID features of the site include:
  • compact site design, with single-family houses on lots between 8,000-12,000 square feet;
  • minimization of land disturbance;
  • Reduced impervious surfaces (50% reduction) resulting from decreased setbacks (shorter driveways) and a narrower road (18 feet versus 24 feet);
  • Grass pavers for overflow parking; and
  • Reduced lawn areas and use of native, drought-resistant vegetation for landscaping.

An enhanced stormwater management system is included onsite as well and includes the following innovative stormwater management facilities:

  • An open grass swale that drains to a central bioretention area;
  • Rain gardens on individual house lots; and
  • Infiltration of roof runoff through drywells.
Photo of homes with reduced setbacks with shorter driveways, which results in decreased imperviousness
Reduced setbacks allow for shorter driveways, which results in decreased imperviousness

USGS developed a design for monitoring site runoff from both the Partridgeberry Place LID subdivision and a nearby conventional subdivision and will install monitoring equipment during the winter and spring of 2007.  Collection of site runoff data will continue for one year.

Contact Information

For more information, contact Claire Golden, MA DEP, Northeast Regional Office (978-694-3244).