News & Notices
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 16, 2021
Gary Zrelak, email@example.com
PRESS RELEASE – STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO STS FILING
The Greater New Haven Water Pollution Control Authority (“the Authority”) is disappointed that Save the Sound (STS) is suing the Authority on the basis of a sewage spill caused by the collapse of one of our sewage collection pipes. This past July 2020, while preparing to replace a sewer main along Whitney Avenue, Hamden, a section of that pipe collapsed allowing sewage to spill into the Mill River. The line was isolated within 29 hours and sewage redirected to the system so that no additional spill could occur. State and local officials were quickly notified and informed the public in accordance with the law. Post spill monitoring of the Mill River, the confluence of the Mill and Quinnipiac Rivers and Long Island Sound showed no long term increased bacterial levels in the days following the spill.
The Authority has a robust policy of strategic and systematic operations, maintenance and improvements which are well documented since its regionalization in 2005. The service area consists of the municipalities of East Haven, New Haven, Hamden, and Woodbridge. The Authority’s service area consists of 550 miles of pipe, some dating back to the 1800’s, 30 pump stations, and a recently upgraded sewage treatment plant that collects and treats an average of 10 billion gallons of sewage annually. The Authority has many tools to manage the system such as a Capacity, Management, Operation and Maintenance (CMOM) program which has been used as a template by EPA for other Municipalities. The Authority’s complex system requires highly qualified personnel. The Authority is inspecting and constantly monitoring our system on a 24/7 basis to ensure that sewage is conveyed, treated, and discharged in accordance with both Federal and State laws.
The Authority is funded by user fees from the ratepayers with significant contributions from the State of Connecticut for capital improvements through the CTDEEP Clean Water Fund. It has maintained an excellent financial bond rating far exceeding most municipal peers.
This litigation is misguided. The GNHWPCA is a Not-for-Profit entity, the burden of addressing this lawsuit will fall on the backs of our rate payers. It can only serve to distract us from our mission of protecting public health and the environment. This lawsuit will divert our limited public funds from the maintenance and operations that are needed. “The cost of this litigation will be a burden to our ratepayers, our system users and overall system operations,” said Sidney J. Holbrook, Executive Director of the Authority. “No system is failsafe. Our record is excellent, as proven by our CMOM manual being used as a model for other municipalities, and we never want to jeopardize that by the distractions of a lawsuit.”