Local wastewater treatment seen as the cheaper option for Old Lyme

Old Lyme - Managing wastewater in town would be less expensive - both in the short and long term - than sending it to a treatment plant in New London, officials told residents at a town meeting Monday.

Water Pollution Control Authority Chairman Kurt Zemba updated residents on the status of a feasibility study commissioned by the town last year to weigh the shoreline's wastewater needs and options. The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is reviewing the draft.

The study by engineering firm Woodard & Curran, available on the town's website, identified five high-need areas for wastewater treatment along the shoreline.

The DEEP had previously ordered two of the beach associations - Old Lyme Shores and Old Colony - to connect to sewers by 2016. Environmental studies, commissioned by the communities, had shown pollution from their on-site septic systems, which rest on small lots in an area facing shallow groundwater.

A local option could bring wastewater through pipes to a local facility for treatment and to another site for disposal. The water would be treated until it was potable, and users would bear the cost of the system, according to Monday's presentation.

Some residents at the meeting questioned how the town was coordinating its plans with the beach communities and who would make the ultimate decision. Officials said the decision is in the hand of the DEEP.

"Their intention is not to move anything forward until there is one focused, concerted plan," said Zemba.

Woodard & Curran Engineer Dave Prickett said the study looked at several preliminary areas that could handle flows, but there would be other options. Zemba said the town has no purchasing agreements in place.

The Black Hall Golf Course and the back property of the former Cherrystone's driving range were two sites engineers tested for disposal or reuse.

At the special town meeting Monday, residents also approved allocating a $478,000 Small Town Economic Assistance Program grant to renovate the Hains Park Boathouse at Rogers Lake.

Residents also approved funding up to $148,500 - 80 percent of which will be reimbursed by a federal transportation grant - for the design phase of the town's plan to enhance Sound View. The plans call for installing a park area, restrooms and a bike path from Sound View down Route 156 to the Raymond E. Baldwin Bridge. In addition, residents approved $13,000 for a kiosk at the town's parking lot in Sound View.

k.drelich@theday.com

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