Since 1929, the Metropolitan District (MDC) has managed the Hartford region's water and sewer systems developed in the 1850's. System investments have increased sewer system capacity and wastewater treatment capability, to minimize sewage impacts to area waterways. Now the MDC will expend more than $1 billion to improve the area's water quality and help protect the health and safety of citizens during storm events. The Clean Water Project formally addresses a federal consent decree and a Connecticut DEP consent order to achieve the Federal Clean Water Act goals. All projects must be completed by 2020.
The Clean Water Project includes three basic elements: (1) reduction of combined sewer overflows (CSOs) with the Hartford central sewer system, (2) elimination of sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) in the sanitary sewers of Wethersfield, West Hartford, Windsor, Rocky Hill and Newington and (3) nitrogen reductions. The District's four water pollution control facilities will have to address nitrogen removals by 2014. The existing sewage systems have more than 38 CSOs, and 8 active SSOs, which release more than 1 billion gallons of wastewater to area waterways. In fact, more than 30 miles of the Connecticut River are impacted by untreated sewage during storm events more than 50 times per year.
The Clean Water Project implements targeted projects to address the water quality impacts. These projects range from new sewer and drainage system construction to increased wastewater treatment capacity to new tunnel storage. These projects will improve localized areas of basement backups and sewage backflow onto streets, as well as eliminate any sewage overflows to area waterways during an average year. A side benefit of the sewer separation projects will be improved community infrastructure, including utilities and street upgrades.
The Metropolitan District will reconstruct our 19th Century sewer collection and treatment system to satisfy 21st Century state and federal requirements. We commit the District to continuous water quality improvements to foster community uses. We will do so with the least possible fiscal impact to ratepayers and member communities.