OSWPCA: Sunshine / Sewer Resolution Proposed (Giuliano) - Courant 08Mar2003

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http://articles.courant.com/2003-03-08/news/0303080010_1_septic- systems-sewer-system-town-s-water

Sewer Resolution Proposed
March 08, 2003|By CLAUDIA VAN NES; Courant Staff Writer

OLD SAYBROOK -- The town's long dispute with the state over an unwanted sewer system could end if a new bill becomes law.

The bill, introduced by state Rep. Marilyn Giuliano, R-Old Saybrook, has broad implications because it would shift power over septic solutions from the state to communities.

Towns would be allowed to set up wastewater management districts based on the septic disposal situation in each district. Towns would base solutions for each district on soil types, population density and other considerations. The bill also would allow communities, for the first time, to use new, technologically advanced septic systems as permitted in neighboring states, but not in Connecticut.

Septic systems with filtration systems that can control 90 percent or more of the nitrates that reach ground water are used in neighboring states. Conventional septic systems control only about 75 percent.

For Old Saybrook, which has been under order from the state for 14 years to solve septic problems, the legislation would allow alternative solutions.

With a successful lawsuit and careful monitoring of ground water, the town has kept the DEP from imposing a town-wide sewer system.

With the new technology, the town could fix the septic problems in its most troubling areas without a conventional community sewer system, Steve Luckett, the town's water pollution control authority coordinator, said Friday.

Luckett and the Water Pollution Control Authority have long argued to little avail for more local control and for permission to use alternative systems.

However, in a reversal, the DEP helped craft the bill with Luckett and the state Department of Health, a shift both Luckett and Giuliano applaud.

"This would not just benefit Saybrook and other shore communities, but towns everywhere in the state," Luckett said.

"It would be cost-effective and environmentally sound," Giuliano said Friday. This is the first bill introduced by Giuliano, a freshman legislator, she said. "It's a big deal. For the first time, municipalities would be empowered to solve these problems," she said.

The bill has received favorable response so far, but is far from becoming law. Giuliano said she doesn't know how long that may take.