The Sound View Sewer Coalition LLC represents the majority of property owners in the Sound View/Area B neighborhood in Old Lyme that the Old Lyme WPCA has targeted for sewers. Without question we support what is best for the environment: for the Sound, for our town, and for our neighborhood. Without question, we believe sewers are NOT what’s best.
The push for sewers in Old Lyme started 24 years ago. Today, the justification for this sewer project rests on the slender possibility that there may be ground water pollution on a few private lots, based on test data that is now over 10 years old. That data does not reflect the many improvements made in the past 10 years. It does not measure the effect of new ordinances to clean up pet waste, and to pump out and inspect all septic systems every 7 years. It does not reflect the numerous septic system upgrades made by private property owners, including the use of new technology designed to negate nitrogen more effectively.
We, the homeowners, want to implement the same cost-effective solution as our neighbors in Old Saybrook and Westbrook: frequent pump-outs and inspections, upgrades of private systems where necessary, installation of engineered systems where appropriate, and above all, a focus on retaining our groundwater to protect the aquifer and allow us to retain our functional wells which have provided water to our homes for generations. Sewers will send our wastewater to New London, depleting the aquifer. We have witnessed the dire effects of groundwater depletion in other communities, including water shortages, subsidence, and sinking homes. Our public water suppliers in New London and Middlesex counties are already struggling to find new wells to satisfy their current customer base. For the past month, Connecticut Water has been trucking in water from Guilford because the Sound View aquifer is already stressed by current drought conditions. Sewers will only exacerbate this problem and lead to chronic water shortages in years to come.
There is current ground level test data which was mandated by DEEP and collected in 2018-2019, at a cost of $48,000, for the abutting Old Lyme neighborhood of Hawks Nest Beach, as this neighborhood too, was originally suspected of polluting. The Old Lyme WPCA has posted that data collection on their website, but to date has refused to obtain an expert’s analysis of the data, and also refused to accept an expert analysis that was provided to them. That data clearly shows that today there is no ground water pollution at Hawks Nest even though test data from 10 years ago, indicated there was. We in the Sound View and Area B neighborhoods, therefore request retesting of ground water in our neighborhood. Test wells are already drilled so it should be simple to retest. But the WPCA has refused to test. We strongly believe this project should not move one step forward without additional testing.
There is also current Long Island Sound test data – collected and analyzed by the State of Connecticut Health Department, from 2017 to 2021. That test data shows that during the past 5 years, Sound View Beach has tested clean with the exception of one day, and even the State cannot explain that one day since it was followed by a clean test the following day. Sound View Beach is only 125 feet wide – a mere sliver of Long Island Sound, and a large percentage of the homes there are vacant for 8 months out of the year. According to test results authored by the State of Connecticut Health Department, Old Lyme IS NOT POLLUTING LONG ISLAND SOUND.
Installing sewers in Old Lyme has morphed into a $55 million plus project, to be managed and administered by competing groups of volunteers. Most of have no formal background or education in this field. They are restaurant entrepreneurs, developers hoping to build condos, marketing reps, local politicians, etc. – influential individuals to be sure –and some have quite to lot to gain if sewers installed – but not one has the experience or formal education to manage this very expensive and complicated infrastructure, and the town does not plan to hire additional qualified staff to do so. This project is not shovel-ready on any level.
We, the property owners in Sound View/Area B continue to urge the town to consider alternatives to sewers – DEEP approved engineered systems for one. We have done our homework and we know sewers are neither cost-effective nor the best solution for this community. It’s simply the wrong thing to do – at any cost.
Sound View Sewer Coalition