Sewers and Septic — a Problem with a History for Halls Road in Old Lyme

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OLD LYME — As the Halls Road Improvements Committee moves ahead with drafting a master plan, wastewater infrastructure will play a key role in determining the density of any planned redevelopment. Over the last few years, the topic of wastewater treatment has been largely absent from the committee’s meetings and presentations to the public, but resurfaced recently during an April 16 Zoom meeting of the committee. “It’s sort of this chicken and egg thing that’s going on here all around because we kind of need to know how much density in terms of residential and retail and office space is

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Letter: Coronavirus a Poor Excuse to Forgo Public Participation

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Many thanks to CT Examiner regarding the Old Lyme WPCA meeting Tuesday April 14th. So glad someone was listening. We, the Old Lyme tax payers, waited patiently Tuesday evening for about 45 minutes even after the chairman accidentally disconnected the meeting line to attend an executive session.  We, the Old Lyme tax payers, wanted to know what was going on with the cost sharing agreement, with the changes to the benefit assessment calculations, with the easement agreement between Old Lyme and the private beaches.  We, the tax payers, wanted to know why a $615,000 contract was granted without going out

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Canceled Public Comment Sparks Outcry at Sewer Meeting Teleconference in Old Lyme

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OLD LYME — Local residents expressed significant consternation at the close of the Water Pollution Control Authority meeting on Tuesday night when chair Richard Prendergast announced that public comment had not been included on the agenda, a decision that he said would remain until COVID-19 mandates for social distancing had been lifted and meetings could be held in person once again.  “You notice that a lot of times we have public comment. We don’t have public comment on this agenda. We removed it. We are not required to [have it] and I’m not trying to stop people from commenting. I

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Clinton’s First Appointed Town Manager Talks Budget Planning, Sewers

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Karl Kilduff said that his first three months on the job have felt like drinking water from a firehose, but luckily as Clinton’s first appointed town manager, it’s not a process that he will have to repeat anytime soon. “In recent history there has been a lot of turnover, so by the time the selectman was up to speed on the issues they were running for re-election,” Kilduff said. According to Kilduff, the driving force behind the transition to a managerial form of government was to reduce turnover and hopefully foster a better functioning government.  In recent years Clinton has

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Connecticut Water To Complete Water Main Replacements in Old Lyme

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OLD LYME — The Connecticut Water Company will begin replacing the shallow-depth water main in Sound View Beach during the week of March 9, one of several water projects slated for the spring in Old Lyme. Preliminary construction will begin on March 10 and 11, with excavation scheduled to start on March 13 on Hartford Ave. and during the week of March 16 on Portland Ave, according to a Dan Meaney, director of public affairs and corporate communications for Connecticut Water, by phone on March 5.  The company will replace 5,000 feet of shallow-depth water main with a full-depth water

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After Study Recommends Sewering into Connecticut River, 840 Parcels Pose Quandary for Old Saybrook

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OLD SAYBROOK — According to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the town has only two options to resolve a water pollution issue dating to the 1970s: either install a water treatment and community septic system, or install sewers and a sewage treatment facility that would drain into the Connecticut River. “The final combination will mean some properties can be upgraded conventionally [with septic systems], but the majority of properties will likely funnel waste to another property in town or the river,” said Carlos Esquerra, a sanitary engineer at DEEP. “This is a tough choice for the town,

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Letter: Appraisal Estimates Don’t Add Up for Residential Owners in Sound View

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At the conclusion of the December WPCA meeting, Chairman Prendergast made the following statements recorded in WPCA minutes and CT Examiner:  His White Sands property and those of his neighbors had gone up 20 – 30% in the latest appraisal.  “Beach property values generally go up when the rest of the town goes down. When people install sewers, generally the property is worth more” he said.    I have had discussions with the town assessor and with other assessors in neighboring towns.  The professional consensus is that location, condition, and amenities drive price, and that buyers place no additional value

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Old Lyme WPCA Hires Consultant, Debates Sewer Funding and Tests

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OLD LYME — The Water Pollution Control Authority made incremental progress Tuesday night, approving a contract to hire a benefit assessment consultant, discussing a potential agreement with the three private beach communities, as well as considering an independent expert to evaluate water testing at Hawk’s Nest.  WPCA Chair Richard Prendergast said that hiring a assessement consultant will help define variables in the town’s Sound View Beach neighborhood which is slated for sewer installation, but has a wide range of commercial and residential properties. In a referendum on August 13, town voters approved a $9.5 million sewer construction bond for Sound

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Charlestown’s Virginia Lee Offers Alternative on Shoreline Development

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CHARLESTOWN, RI — Open space. Dark skies. Limited development. Good schools. Low taxes. How has Charlestown, a small coastal town packed into the crowded Eastern seaboard, blazed its own decades-long path of holding to its environmental values while also staying financially stable and attracting families to live there? And is Charlestown’s model fiscally and environmentally sustainable?   “We’re the ‘model of yes to this.’ Yes to what the people who live here want: A rural, safe, kind community with good schools, dark skies. Safe to live in, quiet and private so that you can commute to all the hecticness but you

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New London Opts to Renegotiate Regional Sewer Agreement

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NEW LONDON — At its December 19 meeting, the New London Water and Water Pollution Control Authority voted to renegotiate the 30-year-old sewage agreement with the towns of Waterford and East Lyme.  The tri-town agreement would have automatically renewed on January 10, 2021 for a ten-year period unless one or more member municipalities gave formal notice to the other parties to change or terminate the agreement.  The three towns share the use of the Thomas E. Piacenti Regional Water Pollution Control Facility in New London. The plant can process 10 millions gallons per day. New London is allocated 55 percent

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Old Lyme Board of Selectmen Talk Beavers, Sewers, Reviewing Roles of Commissions

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OLD LYME — The Board of Selectmen provided updates at their Monday meeting, on projects planned for the Sound View neighborhood, continuing struggles with beaver dam flooding around Black Hall Pond, and announced plans to review the roles of town committees Beaver flooding Several town boards — including the Open Space Commission and the Flood & Erosion Control Board — have been made aware of problems posed by beaver dams in the area around Black Hall Pond, First Selectman Tim Griswold said. The dams block water flow and cause water levels to rise, which has left one resident unable to

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WPCA Discusses a State-Mandated Revision to Old Lyme’s Sewer Ordinance and Cost Sharing

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OLD LYME — In part due to the town’s recent re-evaluation, the Water Pollution Control Authority plans to hire attorneys and consultants to determine property values in Sound View Beach as the town’s sewer project moves forward.  At Tuesday’s WPCA meeting, Douglas Wilkinson, treasurer, said next year’s budget includes $10,000 for a land use lawyer and about $15,000 for an appraisal consultant to evaluate properties, especially since the town is going through a re-evaluation this year.  In an August 13 referendum, residents voted 883 to 565 to bond $9.5 million for sewer construction in Sound View Beach and Miscellaneous Town

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Letter: How the Politics of Sewers Impacts One Old Lyme Family

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Originally the scope of the sewer project in Old Lyme — as determined by the Old Lyme Water Pollution Control Authority and DEEP — included the public beaches of Sound View, White Sands Beach and Hawks Nest. The private beaches were already marching forward.  At the October 2014 meeting of the Old Lyme WPCA, as a result of a motion raised by Mr. Prendergast, White Sands was removed from the project, citing cost. Area B (near the railroad tracks) was subsequently added. The estimated cost to sewer the three Sound View public streets – Portland Ave, Hartford Ave and Swan Ave

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Denied a Town Meeting by Petition, Officials Provide No Legal Explanation

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OLD LYME — Without a clear legal basis, the town has denied a petition for a special meeting with the Water Pollution Control Authority submitted by a group of Sound View residents. “We the residents/taxpayers of Old Lyme request a meeting with the Old Lyme WPCA, where we the people of Old Lyme will ask questions and receive answers to those questions regarding aspects of the WPCA actions to install sewers in Sound View and Area B,” stated the petition signed by 61 Sound View residents.  On August 13, voters approved a $9.5 million bond for sewer construction in Sound

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Sound View Pump Station Reviewed in Tuesday’s Zoning Hearing

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OLD LYME — The special permit application for the proposed pump station at 73 Portland Avenue proceeded fairly quickly through a Zoning Commission public hearing Tuesday. The pump station will be the “central collection and discharge point for the wastewater generated in the participating Old Lyme beach areas. The station will convey flow through approximately 16,000 feet of proposed force mains to an existing sewer manhole at 275 West Main Street in East Lyme, about 1,900 feet east of the town line at Four Mile River,” according to the special permit application prepared by Fuss & O’Neill, dated September 6

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Frank Chan Proposes New Formula for Assessing Sewers Fees in Sound View

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OLD LYME — At the October 8 Water Pollution Control Authority meeting, Vice-Chair Frank Chan proposed a new formula to calculate Equivalent Dwelling Units for the Sound View Beach that would narrow the difference between minimum and maximum assessments. “Our basic premise is every dwelling will receive [the] sewer as a benefit and larger sized dwellings with a larger capacity generate [more] wastewater and therefore will be assessed a larger amount,” he said. “The minimum to maximum ratio should be small, should be reasonable, instead of 10 to one [it] should be two or three to one.” Under new benefit

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Mystic Sewer Amnesty Yields Modest Returns

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STONINGTON — Under the town’s announced sump pump amnesty, sixty-five property owners in Mystic admitted to having a sump pump discharging into the municipal sewer system, an illegal practice. The amnesty is part of a broader effort by Stonington to address sewer capacity issues. Stonington Water Pollution Control Authority Director Douglas Nettleton sent a letter in early August to 1,400 property owners in Mystic offering amnesty from August 15 to September 30 to any violators. “If you (responded) within that time period, you would be exempt from any penalties later on down the road. If you didn’t take advantage of

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With Sewers Slated, First Demolition in Sound View Neighborhood of Old Lyme

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OLD LYME — By 5 p.m. Monday, the 1930s-era building that once housed KiddieLand and prior to that O’Connor’s Dance Hall, was a jumble of metal, wood and concrete being prodded and crunched into a pile by the jaws of an excavator.  Across Hartford Avenue, building owner Frank Noe and his wife, Lois Noe, observed the process with friends and neighbors who gathered on the sidewalk to reminisce and talk about the future, some passing around old photographs. “The structure is all down and the next move is just cleaning it up and waiting for sewers and then deciding what

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Of Note: The Matter of Contacting Property Owners Before a Vote

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On Thursday, the Old Lyme Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA) met for the first time since voters approved a plan to borrow up to $9.5 million to install sewers in the shoreline neighborhood of Sound View. About 40 people attended, many were property owners from the Sound View neighborhood and upset about being saddled with the great bulk of the cost of installing sewers. Two police officers also were on hand, and stood at the back of the room, but the meeting was entirely peaceful. WPCA chair Richard Prendergast was absent, and the Vice Chair Frank presided in his stead.

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Editorial: Strategy, Liability, and Planning for Sewers in Old Lyme

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Now that the votes are counted, and the referendum to borrow up to $9.5 million approved, I guess it’s too late for the relatively tiny neighborhood of Sound View to reconsider a strategy which, when you think about it, amounted to convincing the vast majority of residents what a fantastic deal they’d be getting by approving the plan. Whether that deal holds up remains to be seen — Sound View residents have hired a lawyer and are mounting a well-funded legal challenge — and the actual text of the resolution (you did read the full text of the resolution, didn’t

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Update: Referendum Passes 883 to 565 to Fund Sewers in Old Lyme’s Sound View

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OLD LYME — With high voter turnout at Tuesday’s referendum that included both property owners and residents, the question of whether to bond $9.5 million for sewer construction in Sound View Beach and Miscellaneous Town Area B passed 883 to 565.  The project will be partly reimbursed with a 25 percent Clean Water Funds grant, reducing the costs to approximately $7.44 million.  The vote was the culmination of years of discussion about how to handle an administrative order from the state to mitigate beach area wastewater pollution from flowing into Long Island Sound.  After the vote was counted at the

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Town Adopts Program to Monitor Septic Compliance By Old Lyme Property Owners

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OLD LYME — The Town of Old Lyme has adopted a program to monitor all residential and commercial septic systems in the municipality using software that will track whether users are complying with a town ordinance requiring a pump-out not less than once every seven years.  Scott Carmody, president of Carmody Software, Inc. in Palm Bay, Florida, was in town hall Monday and Tuesday to offer training to septic service providers and municipal staff in towns that use his software, including Brookfield, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Haddam, Old Saybrook, Westbrook as well as the Connecticut River Area Health District.  Each

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Letter: Pappalardo Weighs in On Sound View Referendum Result

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Today’s referendum vote in favor of a $9.5 mil bond for sewers creates a number of questions that must be answered. First and foremost is cost recovery: How the town expects to pay for the bond. The WPCA and our Board of Selectmen have gone on record stating that the entire bond cost will be paid by the property owners in Sound View and area B. This unprecedented method for a public works project cost recovery should be troublesome to all taxpayers. What’s to prevent other town projects to be paid only by those that are affected? Will Rogers Lake

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Old Lyme Referendum to Fund Sewers on Shoreline Passes 883 to 565

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OLD LYME — A sizable voter turnout to a midsummer referendum gave the Town of Old Lyme the needed approval, by a significant margin, to borrow up to $9.5 million to fund the planning and installation of sewers in the Sound View neighborhood and adjacent “miscellaneous area B” off Route 156. The referendum also gives the Board of Selectmen significant flexibility to negotiate and modify the planning and funding of the project moving forward. In a number of public statements First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder has pledged that the cost to the town will be repaid by property owners in Sound

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Douglas Nettleton Talks Development, Sewers and the Problem of Sump Pumps in Mystic

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STONINGTON — Private sump pump outflows into municipal sewer systems are illegal but the town is offering Mystic sewer district customers “sump pump amnesty” for a short time.  “We need to understand the breadth of the problem at this point and we have no idea how bad the problem is,” said Stonington Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA) director Douglas Nettleton, in an interview with CT Examiner staff on Wednesday. “We need people to cooperate with us. We’re going to try to help them figure out a solution.”  As part of the amnesty program, running from August 15 to Sept. 30,

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Town Meeting With Two Votes And Two Different Results Erupts in Chaos in Old Lyme

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OLD LYME — The atmosphere of a Special Town Meeting erupted into shouting and chaos Monday night after a recount on a vote concerning bridge funding took several turns that some residents said were unfair. The contested vote feeds into broader tensions in the community concerning the fairness of the upcoming sewer referendum. First on the meeting agenda was the $9.5 million sewer referendum, slated for Aug. 13, which will authorize the town to issue bonds, notes and other obligations, to finance the appropriation for Sound View Beach and Miscellaneous Town Area B. Second was the question of appropriating $328,500

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Mervin Roberts Reflects on Decades of Opposition to Sewers for Southeast Connecticut

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OLD LYME — For more than 25 years, Mervin Roberts has been urging citizens as well as local and state officials to avoid sewers along southeastern Connecticut’s rivers and shoreline.  Roberts, 97, is a former chair of Old Lyme’s Shellfish Commission, served for 10 years as a selectman and was a founding member of the Conservation Commission.  He was also a founding member of the town’s Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA), where he served for several decades. As chair of the WPCA, he wrote and published several pamphlets on septic waste treatment in Old Lyme. He previously studied water and

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Old Lyme WPCA Chair Prendergast Talks Funding and the Future of Sound View

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OLD LYME — With the August 13 referendum on funding sewers in Sound View Beach approaching, Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA) Chairman Richard Prendergast stopped by CT Examiner’s office Tuesday to clarify concerns and answer questions.  “There’s no certainty of that passing in Old Lyme, the default is to not pass. If you’re from Old Lyme you know that we don’t do things like this too often,” he said.  The referendum asks whether the town should bond $9.5 million to build sewers in Sound View Beach and Miscellaneous Area B, part of a broader arrangement, partially reimbursed by a 25

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Sound View Residents Say Old Lyme Referendum Not Last Word on Sewers

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More than 70 Old Lyme property owners, many with family ties to the Sound View neighborhood dating back three and four generations, filled the Shoreline Community Center on Hartford Avenue Sunday morning to discuss the town-wide August 13 referendum to borrow $9.5 million for sewers and to gauge support for a legal challenge.  “This is not right. This is a town infrastructure project,” said Frank Pappalardo, chair of the town’s Sound View Commission but speaking in his capacity as a resident of Swan Avenue, to summer residents and business owners who sat in folding chairs and stood along the back

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DEEP: Old Lyme Not on Clean Water Funds List, Not Under Deadline for Sewers

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OLD LYME — A state official confirmed Monday that the town is not currently on the state’s Clean Water Funds priority list to receive a 25 percent grant for the Sound View Beach sewer project, but once the town approves bond funding, the project will be eligible for 25 percent grants in the design and construction phases.  The town is also not under a deadline this summer that would result in a loss of grant funding, according to George Hicks, Supervising Sanitary Engineer of the Connecticut Department of  Energy and Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Water Protection and Land Reuse, who

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