After 23 Years, It’s Time to Let Beach Community Property Owners Upgrade Their Individual Septic Systems


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To the Editor:

The Sound View Sewer Coalition (SVSC) is pleased to learn that Old Lyme Shores Board of Governors is publicly supporting several of our positions that we have presented to the Old Lyme WPCA and Selectmen over the past several years.

Old Lyme Shores’ stated positions that SVSC agrees with are:

  • “This project will require tens of millions of dollars to complete the design and to construct a uniquely designed sewer system… The system will require operation and maintenance, including technical skills and expertise for the life of the Project”.

Keep in mind that there is a state statute that limits taxation for construction of sewer system beyond the value added of any property. Who will pay for this project and the maintenance then?

  • “It is also far from clear to us that the Project is even necessary. Testing of the waters of Long Island Sound offshore from our beach has failed to reveal any significant levels of pollutants of any kind”.

The SVSC would like to once again present the Old Lyme WPCA and Selectmen a copy of the graph we compiled from the past 5 years of test results, published by the State of Connecticut Health Department. There is no pollution indicated by the state authored reports.

  • “It is clear to us that $14 million of State funding is wholly inadequate, and even the $30 million figure people have been discussing may not be nearly enough.” Representative Carney understands and has expressed that “this Project is prohibitively expensive, and [is] worried about people being forced from their homes due to cost.”

SVSC agrees with Representative Carney’s statement that “this project is prohibitively expensive” and we too are worried about people being forced from their homes due to cost. Sound View/Area B is primarily a neighborhood of hard-working, blue-collar retirees who exist on fixed incomes, and like all of us, have been hit by recession, increased interest rates, and declining 401K balances. We cannot afford this project, even if the State grants $14 million. Where will our neighbors go when they can no longer stay in their homes?

  • “Putting the project on pause does not make sense to us”.

We agree. Our neighborhoods have been “on pause” since testing first started back in 2000. 23 years on pause is long enough. It’s time to let property owners upgrade their individual septic systems and make improvements where needed. This 23-year “pause” has also stifled development in the area and contributed to the blight issues.

  • “We should also collectively agree to pursue alternatives, especially new designs for septic systems”.

Exactly! SVSC has made suggestions to the Old Lyme WPCA to revisit green solutions—updated septic systems that utilize state of the art technology to minimize the potential for pollution. These systems are now acceptable to DEEP, and much more affordable than an antiquated and complex sewer system which will send our groundwater to New London. Protect our aquifer—go green!

Dennis Melluzzo
Old Lyme, CT

Melluzzo, a resident of Old Lyme, is an organizing member of the Sound View Sewer Coalition