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Monday, January 31, 2005

Gov. Rell Expects Approval of $39 Million for Westport Sewer Upgrade

Gov. M. Jodi Rell said today she expects the state Bond Commission to approve $39 million in funding for the Westport Water Pollution Control Facility when it meets Friday.

The funds—a $29.3 million loan and a $9.7 million grant—will be used for upgrading and expanding the existing facility and for the expansion of two pump stations.

Westport’s public works director, Steve Edwards, said he was pleased that the governor is supporting the request but will hold off celebrating until it actually happens.

“I won’t be opening a bottle of champagne until it’s done. She’s a little more confident than I am,” he said, noting that bond counsel has derailed such approvals in the past.

The Representative Town Meeting (RTM) had approved $37.7 million in funding for the project at its Oct. 5 meeting. The vote was contingent on the state coming up with partial funding of $8 million for the project.

Edwards said the additional $1.3 million in the state funding package—the difference between the $37.7 million approved by the RTM and the $39 million before the Bond Commission—will go to expenses of the Department of Environmental Protection.

Westport had been pressing for state Bond Commission approval since the fall, only to watch the request fail to make it on the body’s agenda in December and then January, Edwards said.

He told the RTM in October that the plant was built in 1960 and had gone through several previous upgrades. But he said the time had come for the town to provide for its future by undertaking the needed modernization.

In her statement endorsing Westport’s request, Rell said that equipment that is decades old will be replaced and new devices will be installed to remove nitrogen before treated water is discharged into Long Island Sound.

Bringing the Westport Water Pollution Control Facility into the 21st century is vital to the health and safety of local residents and the health of one of our most precious natural resources, Long Island Sound,” she said.

“Replacing the equipment and expanding the facility will allow the town to ensure that wastewater is treated efficiently before disposal.”

The governor added that upgrading the Westport facility renews the stateӒs commitment to advanced wastewater treatment, protecting the environment and cleaning Long Island Sound.

Government must take action to preserve its valuable resources for future generations,Ӕ Rell said.

The funding before the Bond Commission includes a $29,308,869 loan and $9,718,890 in grants from the Connecticut Clean Water Fund. Monies will be used for design, construction, planning and administration.

The governor thanked State Sen. Judith Freedman of Westport for her efforts in securing the funds.

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Posted 01/31/05 at 08:44 PM  Permalink



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