Topic:
LEGISLATURES (GENERAL); SEWER SYSTEMS; SPECIAL DISTRICTS; MUNICIPAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS; MUNICIPALITIES;
Location:
AUTHORITIES; MUNICIPALITIES;

OLR Research Report


March 10, 2008

 

2008-R-0198

SEWER DISTRICTS AND WATER POLLUTION CONTROL AUTHORITIES

By: Kevin E. McCarthy, Principal Analyst

You asked (1) if the approval of the town's legislative body is required if a sewer district created under CGS 7-269b seeks to modify its boundaries, (2) what procedures must be followed if a water pollution control authority (WPCA) seeks to modify its boundaries and (3) whether there is any case law regarding potential conflicts between the laws governing sewer districts and those governing WPCAs. Your questions arise from the situation in Ridgefield which has two districts created under CGS 7-269b as well as a WPCA. The Office of Legislative Research is not authorized to provide legal opinions and this report should not be considered one.

SUMMARY

The approval of the town's legislative body is required if a sewer district created under CGS 7-269b seeks to modify its boundaries. The statutes do not address the procedures to be followed if a WPCA seeks to modify its service territory. It appears the WPCA's service territory is generally co-extensive with the boundaries of the municipality that created it. The WPCA can adopt and modify plans identifying areas in the municipality to be sewered; the law does not require that the plans be approved by the municipality's legislative body. We have not found any case law regarding potential conflicts between the laws governing sewer districts and those governing WPCAs.

SEWER DISTRICTS AND WPCAS

There are separate and largely independent statutory provisions regarding WPCAs created pursuant to CGS 7-246, special districts created for sewerage purposes pursuant to CGS 7-269b, and sewer districts created pursuant to CGS 7-324 et seq.

CGS 7-269 allows a town (including towns that are consolidated with cities and boroughs) to establish a special taxing district for acquiring or building a sewerage system. The town must do this by ordinance and the taxes must only by levied on properties in the district. The taxes must be based upon annual budget appropriations and estimates of revenues from special benefits assessments and use charges. The budget must be adopted in the same way as the town budget, with the taxes shown separately from the town tax levy. The town can alter the district's boundaries by ordinance.

CGS 7-246 allows municipalities to adopt ordinances to create WPCAs. For this purpose, municipalities include, in addition to towns, independent cities and boroughs, and sewer districts, among other entities. The law allows the WPCA to prepare and periodically update a water pollution control plan for the municipality. The plan must designate areas that are currently served by sewerage systems, areas where sewers are planned, and areas where sewers are to be avoided. The law does not require the plans be approved by the municipality's legislative body. On the other hand, it does not appear to preclude the ordinance establishing a WPCA from requiring such approval.

CGS 7-246, unlike CGS 7-269b, does not provide a process for a WPCA changing its boundaries. However, the WPCA of a town that contains a city or borough cannot exercise any power in the city or borough without the express consent of the city or borough (this provision does not apply when the WPCA acts to comply with a Department of Environmental Protection order). There is not a parallel provision limiting a WPCA's authority in those parts of a town served by a sewer district created pursuant to CGS 7-269b or CGS 7-324 et seq.

While not explicitly addressed in the statutes, it appears that WPCA's boundaries are generally co-extensive with those of the municipality that creates it. This is implied by the WPCA's authority to adopt a water pollution control plan for the municipality. In addition, the ordinance establishing a WPCA can designate a municipality's legislative body (except when this is a town meeting) as the authority's governing body.

KM:ts