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Pipe Line Problems Targeted

State Would Address Storm, Sewage Drains

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 said Saturday.

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 loans.

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 years.

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. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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