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Westport Pulls Plug on Saugatuck Shores Sewage to Norwalk

Hour Staff Writer

Norwalk officials have short-circuited a plan to allow Westport to tie in to a portion of the city’s sewer system.

Westport officials said the town would likely pull the plug on the deal to connect to the Norwalk Treatment Plant because it would require upgrading the Norwalk sewer infrastructure.

The town was seeking the tie-in to provide sewers to the Saugatuck Shores area.

But Public Works Director Stephen Edwards said he and his staff are refining plans to bring the sewer line to the Westport Treatment Plant after receiving a number of questions and concerns from Norwalk officials. “Their position appears that they do not want us to hook in,” he said. “We would prefer to go into Norwalk but in light of their apparent position, we will have to go to our plant.”

The plan originally called for the sewer line to connect to the Norwalk plant, but Norwalk officials have been cool to the idea. Norwalk officials met with town officials several weeks ago to begin negotiations. At that time, Norwalk officials said they would forward their questions to the Westport public works staff.

Edwards said it came down to how much it would cost to hook into the Norwalk sewer system.

“Our projections of the cost were low,” he said. “They wanted a number of infrastructure improvements.”

Norwalk officials want Westport officials to take on the cost of upgrading a portion of the sewer line it would hook into and replace a number of pump stations, he said.

Edwards said Norwalk was receptive to the plan several years ago under the previous administration.

The change in stance, however, has nothing to do with the change in administration, he said, but rather the sensitivity towards sewer issues in Norwalk.

Operations Management International Inc., which operates Norwalk’s wastewater treatment plant, has taken measures to prevent washouts. Last spring, heavy rains triggered a series of washouts that landed the city a violation notice from the state Department of Environmental Protection. The Saugatuck Shores area of town needs sewers, Edwards said, and town officials intend to tweak the already existing plan to bring the lines into the Westport plant.

The added sewage, he said, may mean the treatment plant’s capacity will have to be increased from 3.3 million gallons per day in 10 years by modifying some equipment.

The Westport plant is being upgraded and Edwards said he has no intention of changing his application to increase capacity.

Some equipment may need to be replaced in 10 years, he said, and it can be changed to accommodate an increase in capacity at that time.

Town officials could opt not to install sewers in some areas that were projected to get them, Edwards said.

The Planning and Zoning Commission would have to identify the priorities of the town’s sewer plan, he said.

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