About $42 million \u2014 that\u2019s a preliminary cost estimate to renovate the sewage treatment plant on South Street, last upgraded in 1990, that handles wastewater from both sewer districts. An average of 850,000 gallons of wastewater a day travel through 9,000 feet of sewer lines to the District I sewage treatment plant on South Street, before being cleansed and released into Great Swamp. District I has six pump stations, and parts of the system date back to the early 1900s. The District II sewer system was built in 1985 \u2014 \u00a0there\u2019s 6,000 feet of pipe around the intersection of Routes 7 and 35 delivering wastewater to a plant that discharges effluent into the Norwalk River. Six people showed up at the May 3 public hearing to review plans to rebuild the District I plant, close the District II plant, and pipe that waste down to South Street for treatment. Those who spoke worried about the cost, and the new nitrogen and phosphorus standards forcing the renovation project. They wanted in. Being part of the sewer district solves septic systems problems. \u201cI pump once every two months,\u201d said Diane Gaughran of Wilton Road West. \u201cI\u2019m a stone\u2019s throw away from the sewer.\u201d Monica Brunen also has a septic system and high water table at her Wilton Road West home. \u00a0 \u201cWe get some water in the basement,\u201d she said. \u201cWe\u2019ve done everything totally possible.\u201d But the problems continue, \u201cno matter what we did trying to get it to stop leaking in.\u201d Urgency and benefits The town\u2019s two sewer district plants are aging, and need substantial improvements to meet environmental standards. \u201cAging equipment runs 24\/7 in damp, corrosive, and abrasive conditions,\u201d said the engineers from AECOM, the consulting engineers. If left as they are, both plants would be subject to \u201cdecreased reliability and increasing operating costs.\u201d The renovation would \u201cincrease energy efficiency\u201d and \u201cimprove water quality\u201d in the Great Swamp and Norwalk River, which flow into Long Island Sound. The presentation listed six advantages to piping the District II sewage to the District I plant: \u201clower capital cost; lower operating cost; lower life-cycle cost; consolidates all WWTF (wastewater treatment facilities) operations to one facility; improved water quality; allows for sale or repurposing of Route 7 WWTF property.\u201d Timeline The $42 million is a rough estimate. \u201cThere\u2019s still a lot to be determined,\u201d said Water Pollution Control Authority chairwoman Amy Siebert. \u201cWe need to do the design \u2014 plans \u2014 so we can get better figures.\u201d That cost is expected to be shared among sewer users \u2014 who\u2019d probably pay more \u2014 and general taxpayers, who use the plant only when their septic systems are pumped. But exactly how the cost burden would be distributed hasn\u2019t been figured out yet. Those numbers will have to be ready for an anticipated town referendum on the project in the fall of 2018. And the project\u2019s local cost might be reduced to about $32 million if it qualifies for state and federal grants available. To qualify for the roughly $10 million in potential grants, the project needs to be designed, put out to bid, and a contract awarded by July 2019. Worth a fight? People might not want to pay. \u201cThe biggest concern to the community that\u2019s not here today is the cost,\u201d said Gaughran, the Wilton Road West homeowner. She supports the project, but others \u2014 especially folks living outside the district \u2014 are skeptical. \u201cThere has been some buzz about this: Why pay for it? What does it mean to them?\u201d First Selectman Rudy Marconi suggested an answer. \u201cEconomic vitality of the downtown area,\u201d he said. (The dense commercial development found on Main Street and the Copps Hill area of Danbury Road is practical only with sewers.) WPCA chairwoman Siebert said the project was necessary to meet state and federal environmental standards. The town will vote on spending the money, but it has to come up with a solution. \u201cWe have these regulatory drivers,\u201d Siebert said. \u201cThe regulators can come, and you can work with them collaboratively, which we\u2019re doing.\u201d Fighting a state environmental agency backed by federal clean water standards isn\u2019t something the WPCA has considered \u2014 it would be costly, and the town would still have to upgrade the sewer plant, eventually. \u201cYou can spend a lot of time and a lot of money fighting,\u201d Siebert said. \u201cOur focus has been on human health and the environment,\u201d she added \u201cI think you\u2019re going to get a lot of \u2018nos,\u2019\u201d Gaughran said of the eventual vote. \u201cWhat\u2019s in it for them?\u201d \u201cThe treatment plant provides benefits for all of us, the downtown, but also, as someone on a septic system, my septic needs someplace to go,\u201d Siebert said.