Planning and Development Committee
JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT
AN ACT AUTHORIZING AMOUNTS IN THE CLEAN WATER FUND TO BE USED FOR PHOSPHOROUS REMOVAL.
Joint Favorable Substitute
SPONSORS OF BILL:
Planning and Development
REASONS FOR BILL:
To allow the Clean Water Fund to be made available for water pollution control projects that include phosphorous removal.
The Commissioner of DEEP, or his designee with the chief elected officials of Danbury, Waterbury, Cheshire, Southington, Meriden and Wallingford or their designees develop a state-wide strategy to reduce phosphorous loading in inland non-tidal waters in order to comply with Federal EPA standards. These standards shall include: establish a statewide response to nonpoint source pollution, develop a workable cost effective approach for municipalities, determine the best scientific methods to measure phosphorous levels and make future projections of phosphorous levels. Provide a clear guidance to municipal and regional water pollution control authorities as to what capital improvements need to be made to comply. Establish a safe harbor rule for the water pollution control authorities that make capital improvements when they rely on this guidance. The Commissioner of DEEP by January 1, 2013 as stated in section 11-4a of the general statutes is required to submit a report on the statewide strategy and recommendations which may include legislation to the committees of Planning and Development, and Environment Section 1 takes effect October 1, 2012 and section 2 on passage.
RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:
NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:
Robert Beaumont, Chairman, Wallingford Public Utilities Commission
The Town of Wallingford supports the intent of S.B. 440. Although allowing Clean Water Funds to be used for phosphorous removal it does not begin to cover the cost to municipalities. S.B. 440 fails to address concerns that there may be more workable cost effective approaches to DEEP's requirements. For the towns along the Quinnipiac which include Wallingford, Cheshire, Southington, and Meriden will require approximately $58 million.
He would appreciate lawmakers assisting in developing and implementing more workable cost effective approach to comply with EPA standards. He would also like to see lawmakers provide 100% funding for phosphorous projects and the creation of a specific set-aside within the Clean Water Fund.
Garry Brumback, Town Manager, Town of Southington
The town of Southington support S.B. 440. Although this bill does provide additional funding to remove phosphorous it does not begin to address the costs associated with DEEP's requirements of phosphorous removal.
Besides the struggling costs for compliance with the proposed limits DEEP has not clearly defined the expected improvement in water quality that would be achieved in their proposed reductions in phosphorous discharge.
Denis A. Cuevas, City of Waterbury, Water Pollution Control Dept.
The City is in support of S.B. 440. The City's Water Pollution Control Facility is the fourth largest in the State along the Naugatuck River. This facility serves Waterbury, Watertown, Wolcott, and parts of Naugatuck, Prospect, and Cheshire. It is estimated that the capital improvement cost will be $45 million and annual operation cost will be $75,000.
Bart Russell, Executive Director, Connecticut Council of Small Towns(COST)
COST supports S. B.440. This bill will provide support through the Clean Water Fund for the required removal of phosphorous. The DEEP's efforts to implement EPA's phosphorous removal requirements are onerous and will impose outrageous costs on a number of municipalities.
Denis Waz, Public Utilities Superintendant, City of Meriden
The City of Meriden supports the intent of S.B. 440, however they are concerned that the bill fails to address the underlying concerns relative to this issue. DEEP should explore other viable alternatives to compliance that will achieve EPA's objective without subjecting residents and businesses to huge increases in sewer bills. After spending an enormous amount of money upgrading the facility for reducing phosphorous removal DEEP came back and said that EPA was requiring something more. In order to comply with EPA's limits the City of Meriden will have to spend an additional $13 million.
Mark D. Boughton, Mayor, City of Danbury
The City of Danbury supports the intent of S.B. 440. The bill recognizes the staggering costs municipalities are faced with DEEP's plan to implement requirements of phosphorous removal. DEEP maintains that the phosphorous limits cause streams failing to meet their designated use classifications, however there is no scientific evidence that elevated levels of phosphorous in streams and rivers pose a direct hazard to public health.
Kathleen McNamara, Grants Administrator, City of Waterbury
The City of Waterbury is in support of S.B. 440. The cost to cities and towns across the country to upgrade plants to reduce nitrogen and phosphorous levels is huge. It will cost Waterbury $45 million to institute appropriate plant upgrades.
Leah Schmalz, Director of Legislative and Legal Affairs, Connecticut Fund For the Environment
Save the Sound program of Connecticut Fund for the Environment is in support of S.B. 440. This bill would set a minimum 30%/70% grant to loan ratio for those phosphorous projects for those selected under DEEP's priority list. These projects improve water quality, especially inland waterbodies, and create jobs. They state that excessive phosphorous impairs water quality. They believe upgrades to existing sewage treatment plants are necessary and must be funded.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:
Reported by: Judith Walter
Date: March 27, 2012