February 26, 2006
By STEVE GRANT, Courant Staff Writer
More than $200 million in new state
pollution control spending over the next two years includes money
to correct long-standing problems in Hartford caused by combined
storm and sanitary sewers.
Among Clean Water Fund projects affecting
26 cities and towns, the Metropolitan District Commission is to
receive $10.4 million over the next two years to help resolve sewage
problems in the city's Upper Albany area.
Residents in that area have for years
complained of sewer back-ups caused by overflows from the combined
storm and sanitary sewers.
"This is a very big quality-of-life
issue that we will be addressing," MDC spokesman Matt Nozzolio
Funding for combined sewer separation
projects, also approved for projects in Bridgeport and New Haven,
are 50 percent cash grants and 50 percent low-interest, long-term
The Upper Albany work is but part of
a major long-term MDC plan to eliminate sewer overflows and reduce
nitrogen emissions from treatment facilities. That plan could cost
as much as $1 billion. It is being reviewed by the state Department
of Environmental Protection and would have to be approved by the
district's eight member towns.
In announcing the funding recipients,
Gov. M. Jodi Rell called them "a real investment in Connecticut's
future." But she said the state did not have the money to fund
many other badly needed sewage treatment projects, and because of
that she was setting up a task force to develop recommendations
on how best to meet city and town pollution control needs in coming
Funding for 2006 already has been approved
by the State Bond Commission. Funding for next year still must be
acted upon by the commission, but Rell said the money requested
was in keeping with the state's bonding plans.
Other major projects to be funded include
sewage treatment plant upgrades in Stratford, Meriden, Groton and
the Housatonic plant in Milford, all intended to reduce nitrogen
emissions. Excess nitrogen has been identified as a major source
of hypoxia in Long Island Sound, a condition in which excess nitrogen
fuels algae blooms that strip the water of oxygen when the algae
eventually die and decompose. At times, vast areas of the sound
are rendered lifeless.
Among other projects, Bolton would
receive $850,000 for design work on a treatment system in the Bolton
Lakes area. Residents in Vernon and Bolton approved the project
in voting last year. The new system will pump sewage from the Bolton
Lakes area to a wastewater treatment plant in Manchester. The system
is expected to sharply improve the quality of the area's groundwater
and water quality in Middle and Lower Bolton Lakes.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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