17 March 2014
Dear Old Lyme Resident,
Over the past several years, there has been a lot of talk about wastewater management for the shoreline area of Old Lyme due to the high density of homes with small lot sizes and onsite septic systems. The purpose of this letter is to inform you about the studies that have been conducted in an effort to determine the best wastewater treatment solution for our shoreline.
Point o’ Woods (POW) installed sewers approximately 6 years ago, connecting them to the regional New London Wastewater Treatment Facility (NLWTF). Their waste is conveyed, by agreement, through the communities of East Lyme, Waterford and into New London. The POW sewers were installed after completing a study partially paid for by the Clean Water Fund (CWF) through the CT DEEP.
Both Old Lyme Shores and Old Colony Beach formed WPCAs and utilized CWF to begin their own studies on wastewater and pollution. Their studies recommended connecting to the NLWTF via the existing pipe. Conveyance Agreements will be needed with neighboring communities in order for connections to be made.
In 2012, Lombardo Associates, Inc. (LAI) completed a preliminary study focusing on alternatives for wastewater management, concluding that there could be a viable, cost effective, community solution for the Old Lyme shoreline. In response, the Board of Selectmen established a Wastewater Management Task Force (WMTF), which selected Woodard & Curran (W&C) to evaluate wastewater treatment options for the shoreline. In April 2013, Old Lyme residents approved the funds for a feasibility study to determine regional and community wastewater treatment options.
Utilizing CWF, W&C evaluated both the regional option of conveyance to the NLWTF, and community wastewater treatment options. The WMTF also wanted to consider local dispersal and/or reuse of treated wastewater. The sites examined for this purpose included the driving range behind the old Cherrystones Restaurant (for dispersal), and a local property (for reuse). The W&C study included preliminary discussions with owners of the sites, and these discussions will continue.
While the LAI report indicated that a STEP (Septic Tank Effluent Pump) or STEG (Septic Tank Effluent Gravity) system was the most viable and least expensive option for conveyance of wastewater primarily because existing septic tanks could be used to contain the solids and only the effluent (liquid) would be piped away and treated in a community system, W & C rejected it for several reasons, including costs not considered by LAI and sustainability concerns.
Where are we now? W&C has submitted their draft study to the CT DEEP and feedback is expected soon. The study recommended proceeding with a local solution — the least costly option. It includes the conveyance of both solids and effluent from the shoreline to a treatment facility (location to be determined) that will resemble a large shed or small home. Following treatment, the clean, odorless effluent will be dispersed in a sub-surface disposal site, with the possibility of some of the treated effluent being reused by sub-surface injection at a local site. The waste will be treated to a high quality standard (nearly potable) before reuse. Both dispersal and reuse keep water in town to recharge our
aquifers. And, a local wastewater treatment center may provide us with one cohesive entity that oversees our community’s wastewater and water conservation needs.
As we know, Old Lyme Shores and Old Colony Beach have consent orders from the CT DEEP to remediate pollution by installing sewers by June of 2016. Clean water, a healthy environment, and doing what is in the best interest for all the people of Old Lyme will continue to be a priority of our Town Government.
If you want more information on this important issue, you have many options:
A link to the wastewater project plan submitted to the CT DEEP by W&C can be found on the Town website www.oldlyme-ct.gov, under Current Projects.
You can contact any member of the WPCA (Donna Bednar, Frank Chan, Ernest Lorda, Andrea Lombard, Robert McCarthy, Richard Prendergast, Tom Risom, Dimitri Tolchinksi, Doug Wilkinson, Kurt Zemba) with questions.
Finally, there will be a Public Information session at the Special Town Meeting on March 24, at 7:30 PM in the Town Hall.
The Town’s Wastewater Management Project is the direct result of our Town’s efforts to work together to make decisions that keep our shoreline healthy and viable for future generations. We will continue to update our residents as this project moves forward.
Bonnie A. Reemsnyder