Old Lyme beach associations' sewer project inching forward

East Lyme — Three Old Lyme beach associations are moving forward on bringing a shared sewer system into their neighborhoods.

On Monday the Miami Beach Association, Old Lyme Shores Beach Association and Old Colony Beach Association went before the East Lyme Inland Wetland Agency to present plans to build a sewer line extending from Old Lyme into East Lyme along Route 156. Old Colony Beach Association’s Water Pollution Control Authority Chair Frank Noe, on behalf of the three associations, submitted an application to the East Lyme agency late last month, seeking permission for that part of the project.

That step is required because the sewer line will run within 100 feet of East Lyme’s Four Mile River.

The application represents the final hurdle the associations must go through with the town of East Lyme, Noe said Tuesday, after the three have signed intermunicipal agreements with East Lyme and another with New London in 2018 to send and treat sewage through those towns.

“No question about it, we are moving forward,” Noe said by phone Tuesday. “The time is now and that’s what we are doing.”

The three private beach associations must install sewer lines in their neighborhoods because the state mandated upgrades to resolve groundwater pollution. The associations' project is further along than the separate town of Old Lyme sewer overhaul planned for its Sound View neighborhood, for which voters recently authorized the town to start bonding.

In the three associations' application to the East Lyme Agency, Noe outlined that the project may begin as soon as 2020 and extend through 2022. This would include all phases of the project, including building a shared pump station on Portland Avenue in the Sound View neighborhood, as well as the force main pipe proposed along Route 156. The town and the associations are presently working out a cost-sharing agreement to pay for the estimated $5 million needed to build the pump station and force main.

At Monday’s meeting, engineer James Otis of Manchester's Fuss & O’Neill — the engineering firm contracted by the three beach associations to design the project — further clarified that the sewer line will not go through the Four Mile River or under it, but will “be built within the pavement of the bridge extending over the river.”

“The proposed sewer through East Lyme will stay within Route 156 and will not have a direct impact on the wetlands and watercourses because it will be located in the pavement in the middle of the road,” Otis said Monday to the agency. “The sewer will pass over the tops of the four 60-inch corrugated metal pipes that constitute the bridge. It will not be routed around the front of the bridge through the water and wetlands. It will not be routed under the culvert.”

Otis said the sewer line will be made of PVC piping and will be pressure treated before construction to prevent leaks or pipe bursts over the river.

“This follows standard practice,” Otis said, mentioning that Old Lyme’s Point O’Woods association completed a similar project in 2008 when it decided, after seven years of planning, to hook into East Lyme’s sewer system by running its own line along Route 156 and the Four Mile River bridge.

Unable to yet take a vote on the application Monday, the Inland Wetland Agency will continue discussing the application at next month’s meeting.

m.biekert@theday.com

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