In Bridgeport, Conn., sewage is being flushing into the city’s rivers and harbors
In Bridgeport, Conn., untreated or partially treated waste is released from bypass sites to avoid backups when heavy rain and stormwater goes into the aged sewer pipes. The sewage can then flush into the local waterways, according to a state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection map.
According to Greenwich Time, this sewage eventually ends up in Long Island Sound.
“Here we are in 2018, and we still have sewage going into our rivers and harbors,” said Denise Ruzicka, director of planning and management for DEEP’s Water Protection and Land Reuse Bureau, to Greenwich Time.
The city is now working with DEEP to obtain tens of millions of dollars in Connecticut Clean Water Fund grants and loans, according to Greenwich Time. The grants and loans would help with the $100 million worth of upgrades needed for the city’s sewer system.
According to Greenwich Time, the city and its Water Pollution Control Authority are under a order by the state to do so. However, Ruzicka said to Greenwich Time, “[it] is not punitive as much as it’s for implementation of the plan.”
The work includes separation projects and upgrades to the pump stations and the West Side treatment plant. The separation projects involve building separate drainage systems for stormwater and sewage to replace combined pipes.
Special storage tanks are also planned, according to Greenwich Time. The tanks will be used for collecting mixed sewage and storm was in areas not feasible to separate sewer and stormwater pipes.
“Particularly in urban areas, there’s a lot under ground - water, gas, sewer, electrical,” Ruzicka said to Greenwich Time.
The storage tanks are installed to temporarily hold wastewater overflows until a storm subsides. Then the contaminated water can be safely pumped to the treatment plant.
“Bridgeport’s trying to do the right thing here,” Ruzicka said to Greenwich Time.
According to Greenwich Time, this is not the first time the city has tried to address the sewage infrastructure. In 1989, Bridgeport had 179 permitted overflow sites, according to state records. The city has been gradually separating the sewage pipes from the stormwater pipes.
“This administration is committed to continuing the rebuilding of the city infrastructure for the betterment of our residents,” said Rowena White, communications director for Mayor Joe Ganim, to Greenwich Time.