Letter: WPCA Minutes Tells Larger Story, Suggest Waterford Sewer Fees Unresolved

in WPCA

WPCA minutes are not always 100% inclusive, but they should be because they are important.  They are the town’s public reporting of how Old Lyme got to the point where it is today – under a state mandate to implement what has now become a $9.5 million dollar burden.  It is disappointing then to see that the CT Examiner has more detailed information about the latest formula to tax selected homeowners $9.5 million, than what’s recorded in the WPCA October 2019 minutes. 

Per WPCA minutes, it all started years ago when town leadership signed an agreement to complete a Clean Water Funds Study with the lure of receiving 55% reimbursement upon completion – about $91K.  Today we are up to $9.5 million. There has been no reimbursement. The town per referendum in 2015 agreed to spend $182K on the study.  A second referendum to spend an additional $148K failed. This town – which touted the slogan sewer avoidance for years — did not want to be in the sewer business.  By August 2015, Old Lyme’s WPCA had directed their attorney, Attorney Lord, to contact DEEP and request to be released from the DEEP contract, but it was too late. Once that agreement had been signed by First Selectwoman Reemsnyder and presented to DEEP the town was locked in and DEEP was not going to let them out (WPCA minutes 8/2015).

Today Old Lyme is under a State mandate to do something or face fines. Per WPCA minutes and financial statements, the town has spent about $700,000 in tax dollars on this, and there is more coming – repaving fees. more consulting fees, more legal fees. How much of the town will ultimately be locked into sewers?  We don’t know.  We only know the current sewer configuration is being designed with additional capacity.  We don’t know if that is intended for Roger’s Lake or White Sands or Hawks Nest or Halls Road.   We do know the WPCA minutes of 9/2014 quoted DEEP (Greci) saying ‘DEEP has no direction or plans regarding Rogers Lake at this point”, leaving that door wide open.

Thomas Gotowka’s letter (Lymeline 10/14/19) questions Gregory Stroud’s reporting on Waterford’s Selectman David Steward’s conversation with Selectwoman Reemsnyder as being politically-motivated and without merit. Stroud reported that Steward questioned the validity of an agreement between Old Lyme and Waterford for sewage passage, and that there was a recent discussion to put sewers in Rogers Lake. 

Pull up the October 13th, 2015 WPCA online in the Old Lyme WPCA archives.  There are two attached letters from Peter Green – Chairman of the Waterford Utility.  The first dated 8/29/2014, invites Old Lyme to come to the table to talk technical and financial aspects and to avoid another Point O’ Woods scenario.  The second, dated 9/28/2015, states that to date ‘no official response or communications have occurred between Waterford and Old Lyme”. 

After several hours of searching, I could not find any mention or documentation in any subsequent WPCA minutes that indicated this had been resolved. I couldn’t find proof that contradicts Selectman Steward’s statements that there is no binding agreement between Old Lyme and Waterford regarding passage.  Based on the WPCA minutes I’d say Selectman Stewart is telling the truth and Editor Stroud is reporting the truth.  

There are several more questions without answers regarding the Old Lyme sewer initiative. A 61-signature petition submitted October 8, 2019 to provide those answers, has been rejected by the WPCA and the Selectman’s office.  

For the record, I am not a politician – just a taxpayer.

Mary Daley
Old Lyme