Formica Fighting for the Environment

February 27, 2015
Waterford First Selectman Daniel Steward and Sen. Formica testifying before the environment committee in Hartford about proposed legislation to form a treatment plan for waste water facilities in eastern Connecticut and a proposal to alert the public when a new state park is planned for their community.

Seaside Park Transparency & Eastern Connecticut Waste Water Treatment Plan

Hartford, CT – State Senator Paul M. Formica (R-East Lyme) testified before the Environment Committee in support of two bills concerning the shoreline and water facilities in eastern Connecticut. Senate Bill 215 AN ACT CONCERNING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF NEW STATE PARKS and Senate Bill 218 AN ACT REQUIRING THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION TO STUDY THE EXPANSION OF WASTEWATER DISPOSAL SYSTEMS IN EASTERN CONNECTICUT.

“The intent of the first bill senate bill 215 is to provide for notification, a public hearing and certain fiscal transparency prior to the establishment of new state parks,” said Sen. Formica. “This idea came about after the news that Seaside Park in Waterford was to become a state park.”

The property located along Shore Road off Route 213, used to be a shoreline sanatorium designed as a place of refuge for children with tuberculosis. The land is listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.

Prior to the state stepping in to say it was going to take over the property and build a park – there were plans in the making to sell the property to a private developer.

That plan included a 100-foot area of public waterfront access, a public walkway and designated public parking. The plan – approved by state environmental officials – was also to include rebuilding of seawalls and rundown buildings.

Senator Formica asked, “If the state were to assume the renovation costs of these historical buildings, what would they be? What would be helpful to the towns in the direct vicinity of any proposed park is if the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection would open the lines of communication with the neighbors and the community share any plan to establish a state park. The plan should be detailed and indicate funding sources for such a project. It would also provide for a traffic study and impact on the town roads that often border state property and are managed by the towns. In this difficult budget environment it only makes fiscal sense.”

Senator Formica testified that the idea of partnering with private entities that could buy or lease the buildings and maintain them has been one he and others have supported including Waterford, First Selectman Daniel Steward; members of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation.

The second bill, Senate Bill 218 aims to find out what the need is to expand wastewater disposal facilities and systems in eastern Connecticut. Formica suggested included in any study about needs should be the development of a master plan to identify and prioritize areas in urgent need and ways in which to ease the local burden of such systems.

“A prime example in my district is the need for the town of Bozrah to be connected to the wastewater treatment facility in Norwich. It would potentially cost the town $2 to $3 million. If Bozrah had been included in a portion of the money recently given to Norwich to upgrade its facilities the investment would have gone a long way in this rural community,” said Formica.

Bonding for the Clean Water Fund was authorized at $110 million in General Obligation Bonds and $370 million in Revenue Bonds to help municipalities fund required clean water projects.

Formica recalled, East Lyme was ordered to accommodate a beach community in Old Lyme that desperately needed sewers. The contract contemplated conveyance by East Lyme and Waterford to the New London treatment plant. “The transmission line was sized for that community only – but truthfully there were many beach communities in Old Lyme facing the same predicament. Now the communities are vying to tie in after the fact. The state loaned some of its capacity in Old Lyme to accommodate one beach community but what about the others?”

Senator Formica suggested that if Connecticut wants to continue to be a leader in providing financial support for the efforts of our cities, towns, and regional authorities to modernize and improve wastewater treatment plants and sanitary sewer systems in order to protect the quality of our rivers, streams, and Long Island Sound, as well as the health of our residents then the state needs to widen the scope of the lens. Adding, “There will be many benefits to an Eastern Connecticut Comprehensive Treatment Conveyance Plan that takes a look at the region as a whole.”