State Parks

RI DEM Misquamicut State Beach, Westerly, RI
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Misquamicut State Beach, with its seven-mile shoreline, 2,700-car parking lot and 10,000 daily visitors, is the largest and most popular beach in Rhode Island. In the late 1980s and early 1990s the beach was closed several times due to the periodic failure of the 1940s septic system and the resulting sewage that reached the beach and waters. By 1992, the system was in complete failure, the town of Westerly was suffering an annual water shortage and had inaugurated a water ban, and the cost to connect to the sewer was excessive. Misquamicut was now without enough fresh water to accommodate beachgoers and it had no place to put waste.

Bergin Lambert Architects designed a new bathhouse that incorporated Clivus composting waste treatment in lieu of a full septic or sewer system. Using Clivus toilet fixtures allows visitors to save thousands of gallons of water per day and over 1 million gallons per season. The state was able to refurbish and seal the existing septic tanks to collect and hold the liquid effluent from the composters. Greywater from sinks and showers is all that is discharged to a reduced-sized soil absorption system. All solid waste is reduced and contained inside the composters, and polluting sewage is effectively eliminated.

Since Clivus was installed in 1992, the beach has never been closed due to sewage problems, and the over-consumption of water in Westerly has been alleviated. Although the facility is seasonal, shutdown and start up is minimal and operation and maintenance costs are significantly lower than an on-site package treatment plant.

Burgin Lambert Architects,
Newport, RI