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SEWER SERVICE ISSUES
IN NEW MILFORD, CT



Photo courtesy of Rick Gottschalk


REFERENDUM OF 2/2007
In February of 2007 New Milford voters approved bonding $2.55 million for the design and engineering of an expanded sewer system. Uses for the planned new capacity include meeting economic development goals and 340,000 gallons for Route 7 properties, 103,000 gallons for properties waiting for service, and 104,000 gallons compensate for seepage infiltrating the system. Nitrogen and phosphorus removal will also be upgraded.


SEWER COMMISSION STATEMENT OF 6/2005
In June of 2005 William Johnson, Chair of the New Milford Sewer Commission, issues a press release which is reproduced below. This is an excellent summation of the current sewer situation in New Milford.

“The New The Sewer Commission has been working with the Connecticut DOT for more than five years to include sewers as part of the state highway reconstruction on Route 7.

At the present time the sewer line has already been installed in Phase 1 of the new highway north of Still River Drive. Two pump stations are nearing completion to serve this portion of the line, and service will commence later this year.

Sewers south of Still River Drive will be installed in Phase 2 as the highway is extended to the Brookfield line. Three additional small pump stations will be built to serve this portion. These sewers are expected to be completed in 2007.

As sewer service becomes available along Route 7, significant development will take place. This development, along with other forthcoming projects in the sewer service area, will quickly increase the load on our existing treatment facility.

Although the existing plant is designed for a nominal flow of one million gallons per day (GPD), other factors such as stricter standards for nitrogen removal, higher strength sewage, and significantly more septage than contemplated in the original plant design, can cause unsatisfactory results at a much lower flow.

The Sewer Commission is concerned that the flow based on these biological considerations will be limited to much less than one million GPD. A consulting engineering firm, Wright Pierce, has been engaged to study this condition using computer modeling and advises that we are very close to the biological limit at this time.

In any case, with the current peak flow exceeding 700,000 GPD and increasing growth anticipated, we are near the point where a moratorium on sewer service could be mandated. Since the time required to design and construct a plant expansion is estimated at 4-5 years, it is evident that action is needed in the near term.

The Sewer Commission has anticipated the need for a treatment plan expansion for several years. A facilities plan defining our proposed expansion has been reviewed by the DEP and an authorization to proceed is expected in the near future.

The commission previously purchased the property to the north of our plant, which will accommodate a doubling of the size of the existing facility. After a lengthy selection process the engineering firm of Camp Dresser & McKee (CDM) has been chosen to design the expansion. We now need only the funding in order to proceed.

The present estimate of the cost to design the expansion and provide plans and bidding documents is approximately $2.5 million and will require more than one year to complete. At that point a close estimate of construction cost will be possible; we presently believe that this will exceed $25 million.

The Sewer Commission expects to go before the Town Council and a town meeting in the near future to determine if the town is prepared to go forward with this project. We plan to request authorization for the total amount, since there is no point in funding just the design if the construction phase will not go forward.

The Sewer Commission believes this plant expansion should be authorized since it is a prerequisite to future long term economic development. And it should be promptly approved at this time to forestall a possible moratorium before we can provide additional capacity, and because construction costs are now rising at an unprecedented rate.”


PLANNING COMMISSION AMENDMENT
TO NEW MILFORD PLAN OF CONSERVATION
AND DEVELOPMENT DATED 11/18/2004

Growth within the sewer area and along the Route 7 corridor is expected to exceed the sewer plant’s 1 million gallon capacity within the next two to three years. In addition, New Milford’s Waste Facilities Plan map dated 2001 has identified 31 areas (14 within the sewer service area) plus all the existing business between Sunny Valley Road South and Candlewood Lake Road South as areas in need of remediation.”

Coupled with the fact that much of the Route 7 corridor is over aquifer areas, it is imperative that the sewer plant be expanded to an approximately 2 million gallon capacity as soon as possible. Increasing capacity will address the urgent present needs in addition to allowing expansion for areas adjacent to the Route 7 corridor, supplying service for projects anticipated in the near future.


COPY OF NEW MILFORD, CT 1997 PLAN OF
DEVELOPMENT TEXT CONCERNING SEWERS

The following text is drawn from the New Milford Town Plan's "Chapter V. Sewer Plan" which became effective November 17, 1997.

A. BACKGROUND
The expansion of the sanitary sewer service area in New Milford has been an evolving process wherein sewer service has expanded outward from the original sewer area (1959) in the downtown and surrounding area. As part of this expansion, the Waste Water Treatment Plant capacity was increased from its original 500,000 gallons per day to 1,000,000 gallons per day (1988).

In addition, lines were extended to the West side of the Housatonic River to serve densely developed commercial and residential areas and the high school and Pettibone School as well as north of the downtown along the Route 202 corridor (Great Brook Interceptor Sewer). These expansions were undertaken by the New Milford Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA) in accordance with the Facilities Plan approved in 1983.

The 1986 Plan of Development generally incorporated the recommendations of the 1983 Facilities Plan, with expansion of the sewer service area of the Housatonic River and north in the Route 202 area. The 1986 plan established the following priorities:

--- Infill activities and minor extension of the Housatonic River on a case by case basis.
--- Expansion west of the Housatonic River along Route 7 from the traffic circle to vicinity of Stop and Shop.
--- Extension down Pickett District Road to Lanesville.
--- Expansion north along Route 202 after the effect of generation from previous extensions, infill activity and other minor extensions on plant capacity have been analyzed.

These priorities were established with the explanation that 91% of the area proposed to be served in the 1983 Facilities Plan was zoned for one-acre single-family residential development. The priorities as proposed in the plan were intended to achieve growth management and balance land uses. The plan acknowledged the issue of sewer service is inexorably tied to growth management.

B. CURRENT SITUATION
New Milford WPCA has established a sewer area to plan and manage sewer service. The boundaries of this sewer area are shown on the Sewer Plan. This area includes the original central area (1959), as well as expansions undertaken in accordance with the 1983 Facilities Plan. Within this sewer area there are locations where sewers are committed, but yet to be built.

In addition, potential future remediation areas have been identified outside the sewer area. It should be noted that this sewer area is not an officially adopted sewer district but rather is an area used for planning purposes as described above.

Based upon an estimate prepared by the New Milford WPCA, there is potential for 950,000 gallons per day of effluent from the sewer area and potential remediation areas. This amount of effluent effectively uses the 1,000,000 gallon-per-day treatment plant capacity. Currently, approximately 600,000 gallons per day are being treated. Therefore, the potential for additional effluent is more than 50% of the amount currently being treated.

When 90% of plant capacity is reached there is a requirement to start plant expansion. The 1992 bond issue for extension of lines contained funds for plant expansion design work. Preliminary estimates indicate the maximum plant expansion on site could double capacity.

C. THE FUTURE
The statement in the 1986 Plan of Development that sewer service is inexorably tied to growth management has never been truer than it is today and for the future. The HVCEO Regional Growth Map, in the designations of various areas, relies heavily on sewer service as a growth management tool. The Growth Guide recommends sewer availability in the Regional Center, Near Central Developed and Primary Growth Areas.

This approach is intended to centralize growth in these areas to address the growth management issue highlighted in the 1986 Plan of Development. In this regard, the Land Use Plan and the Sewer Plan for New Milford recommend the sewer area be expanded to encompass the current sewer service area and the limits of the Near Central and Primary Growth Areas as shown on the Regional Growth Guide Map.

The expansion portion of this area is comprised primarily of the Route 7 corridor from the current southern limit of the sewer service area to the New Milford/Brookfield town line, including the Pickett District Road Area. The proposed sewer service area generally follows property line boundaries. However, in the area of east of Route 7, the Still River has been used as the easterly boundary. The second expansion area is in the Boardman Road Area to the Northwest of the Central Area on the east side of the Housatonic River as well as an industrial area on the west side of Route 7 in the Boardman Bridge vicinity.

Excerpt from New Milford's 1997 Plan
showing existing and proposed sewered areas

From a growth management aspect, not only is the proposed expansion consistent with the Regional Growth map, but the area also is zoned primarily for non-residential use. The expansion of sewer service into this area would support the capital investment to be made in the improvement of Route 7 between the town line and the Veterans Bridge as well as the Lanesville Connector and Grove Street improvements. The long-term tax base and employment benefits accruing to this investment will have a positive effect on New Milford’s future.

A key issue related to the expansion and ultimate cost/benefit is the need for and costs related to increased treatment plant capacity. Estimates by the WPCA clearly show capacity requirements for future growth within the existing sewered area, plus potential remediation areas and future expansion areas, ultimately will exceed the existing capacity.

Investment in additional treatment facilities as growth takes place should be considered fiscally sound since predominately non-residential development would be served. A sewer facility plan update should be undertaken to coordinate sewer planning with the Plan of Conservation and Development and to establish location and sizing for a plant expansion.


NEW MILFORD, CT SEWER SERVICE
HISTORY (UPDATED ONLY TO 1992)

In the early 1950’s, New Milford was ordered by the Connecticut Water Resources Commission to construct a municipal sewer system. In 1958, a system for sanitary wastewater collection was completed and connected to a treatment plant on West Street. This system serves the densely developed central section of New Milford, east of the Housatonic River. In 1967 an engineering study prepared by Metcalf & Eddy proposed expansion of sewer service areas north and south of the Town Center area, on the east side of the Housatonic River.

In 1968 the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection required a second study to expand the scope of the Metcalf & Eddy report to include all of New Milford, and to make provisions for a regionalized sewerage system to include the Towns of Brookfield and Washington. This 1968 report recommended sewering the developed areas in the Candlewood Lake Watershed and to provide for a connection with Brookfield.

In 1977, local funding for the proposed $11.5 million sewer expansion project was rejected at a New Milford Town Meeting. Also this year the Nestle Company, a major discharger of CT DEP permitted wastewater into the Housatonic River north of the Town Center, had initially planned to participate in the Town’s sewer expansion program, but decided to provide for its own wastewater treatment needs to avoid possible delays.

In 1980, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection ordered New Milford to prepare a new sewer facilities plan, without consideration for regional connections. The report prepared by Tighe and Bond in 1983 recommended the expansion of sewer service areas to the west side of the Housatonic River.

Engineering for the planned extension of sewer lines to serve areas to the west of the Housatonic River was completed in 1992 when the New Milford Sewer Commission released its plans for this $6.7 million expansion program. The $1.9 million Phase One would provide sewer service along Route 7 from Candlewood Lake Road North to Sunny Valley Road South.

The planned $2.9 million Phase Two would extend sewer service as far south as Lanesville Road and include a mile of sewer service along Pickett District Road. The final phase calls for the extension of sewer service into the residential areas along Sunny Valley Road near the New Milford High School, at a cost of $1.9 million.

The Sewer Commission proposed to finance this expansion program from a combination of funding sources including a $1.3 million grant from the State and State loans at a 2% interest rate. The loans would be repaid though sewer assessments on those property owners benefiting from the proposed sewer service. CT DEP is reviewing the proposed expansion plan for funding.

Also under consideration is the construction of the Great Brook Interceptor. This sewer line would begin at Elm Street in the vicinity of Great Brook and extend northward to Park Lane, follow Old Park Lane to Route 109 then to Route 202 and northward to serve an existing condominium complex. (See the figure entitled Great Brook Interceptor).

It should be noted that the Town of New Milford has no defined sewer service districts (Note: this text dates from 1992). Property not directly located on a sewer line has the potential to obtain sewer service, with the understanding that those benefiting from the service will pay for the cost of extending the sewer line and for the cost of treating collected sewage.


NEW MILFORD TREATMENT PLANT
CAPACITY (UPDATED ONLY TO 1992)

In 1958, the first municipal sanitary sewerage system serving New Milford was completed and included a sewage treatment plant on West Street south of the Town Center. This plant had a capacity of 0.5 MGD.

In 1977, a report entitled Final EIS for Wastewater Collection and Treatment Facilities, prepared for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by Anderson-Nichols & Co., recommended a new sewage treatment plant with a 4.0 MGD capacity in order to accommodate the anticipated flows from New Milford and Brookfield over the next 20 years.

This plant was to be constructed on the west side of the Housatonic River just north of its confluence with the Still River, a good spot for natural drainage, off of Pickett District Road and was to be expandable to 8.0 MGD. The existing plant located on the east side of the Housatonic River on West Street was to become a pumping station to the new plant.

In 1980, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection ordered New Milford to prepare a new sewer facilities plan, without consideration for regional connections. The resulting engineering report, prepared by Tighe & Bond, assumed New Milford would plan and implement water pollution control measures independent of nearby communities. The report recommended that the capacity of the Town’s existing sewage treatment plant be expanded to 1.0 MGD. An upgrade of the New Milford sewage treatment plant was completed in 1989, doubling the plants capacity to slightly over 1.0 MGD.

In June of 1992, anticipating the sewage flows to be generated from the areas proposed for service on the west side of the Housatonic River, as well as those possible from the Great Brook Interceptor, town voters approved the design work for an additional 1.0 MGD of sewage treatment capacity.

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