Sewer plant renovation wins final approvals

The District I sewer plant off South Street is due for renovation. The cost is about $48 million.
The District I sewer plant off South Street is due for renovation. The cost is about $48 million.

Final zoning and wetlands approvals unfolded smoothly for plans to renovate the town’s District I sewer plant and improve treatment quality — reducing nitrogen and phosphorous released into the Norwalk River — as part of the $48 million sewer project approved by voters last fall.
It’s part of a plan designed to eventually allow wastewater treatment for District II in the Route 7 and 35 area to be piped to the District I plant on South Street, which now serves only the village area, consolidating treatment for both sewer districts into the one upgraded plant.
Both the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Inland Wetlands Board granted unanimous final votes Tuesday night, May 28, passing resolutions of approval previously drawn up following a public hearing, discussion and preliminary approval votes on May 14.
“Thank you, everyone,” said Amy Siebert, chairwoman of town’s Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA), the agency which oversee the sewer plant and operations there by the town’s contractor, Suez.
The only adjustment to the resolutions of approval concerned a condition requiring the blue barrels stored behind the plant be removed by the end of the summer. At the suggestion of Wetlands Enforcement Officer Beth Peyser “end of the summer” was substituted with a specific date date — Sept. 21, 2019.
Siebert told the commission and wetlands board members that the barrels, which had raised concerns on the site walk, weren’t an environmental concern.
“There’s nothing hazardous in them,” she said. “It’s food-grade polymer.”
At the May 14 hearing, Jon Pearson of AECOM Technical Services, the consulting firm on the project, said the project would expand the District I plant’s capacity from the current 1 million gallons a day to 1,120,000 gallons per day — allowing it to handle the addition of District II plant’s wastewater.
“The decision was made it’s more economical to combine the two facilities,” he said.
A May 17 bid opening on the plant renovation showed four bids ranging from a total of $37.6 million to $45.5 million. Earlier projections had figured the plant renovation to take in the vicinity of $32 million of the $48 million allocation.
After renovation of the South Street plant, a force-main sewer line will have to be built to deliver effluent from the District II plant, which will be decommissioned, to the upgraded District I plant.
That will be a separate application, but Pearson said the route of the pipeline is expected to be from Route 7 to Haviland Road, to Limekiln Road to Lee Road to Farmingville Road to Ligi’s Way to South Street.
The renovated plant will have an odor control system on three different aspects of the operation. The current plan has no odor control, Pearson said.
The renovations on the District I plant will be extensive.
“We’re upgrading almost every building or piece of equipment in the facility,” Pearson told the hearing.