Sewer Agreements an Obstacle for Hatchetts Hill Development

OLD LYME — Sewage capacity — how it’s shared, and who apportions it — could become an obstacle for developers of a proposed 224-unit housing development off Hatchetts Hill Road. The complex is expected to include 67 units of affordable housing under state statute 8-30g.

The 11-building complex will require a capacity of 50,000 gallons per day, said Mark Diebolt, who, with his two partners, plans to build the project on a 20.6-acre site at 49 Hatchetts Hill Road.

Currently, the town has negotiated for 300,000 gallons of sewage outflow to a treatment plant in New London each day. That capacity — which was secured for the installation of sewers in the beach communities of Old Lyme — qualifies for a 25 percent grant from the state-federal Clean Water State Revolving Fund, on the condition that the sewers not be used to support additional development.

Of the 300,000 gallons, 120,000 gallons have already been designated for the private beach associations of Miami Beach, Old Colony Beach and Old Lyme Shores. 50,000 gallons was approved for the town of Old Lyme at a Oct. 22 meeting of the New London Water Pollution Control Authority.

The remaining 130,000 gallons have been reserved partly to accommodate the potential for sewering the adjacent Hawk’s Nest Beach Association — an area that is still undergoing testing for water pollution.

Rich Prendergast, chair of the Old Lyme Water Pollution Control Authority, said the remaining capacity is also reserved for the expected decrease in system efficiency over the long term. 

“There is over time normally what they call ‘i and i,’ — inflow and infiltration,” explained Prendergast. “When it gets older, it’s not going to be as efficient as a brand new system.”

By law, Diebolt is required to work through Old Lyme’s Water Pollution Control Authority to negotiate sewer capacity for a housing development.

“Mark can investigate and, you know, get estimates from [New London] or other utilities that are willing to give them to him, but because it’s in the town of Old Lyme, the WPCA would have jurisdiction over it,” said Prendergast. 

Barry Weiner, chair of the New London WPCA, said Thursday that the agreement for adding Old Lyme to the three beach communities’ sewer contract is in the process of being finalized. 

The contract includes a one-time tie-in fee for the Town of Old Lyme of $657,049 including a $10,000 cash payment due when the agreement is signed, said Barry Weiner, chair of the New London authority. 

At an Oct. 22 meeting of New London’s authority, Weiner called the agreement “very good” and a “win-win-win” for New London.   

“I believe that this is an excellent arrangement for us. I think it’s more money in the bank and should go a long way in stabilizing our sewer rates for years to come,” said Weiner.

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