$10 million in bonding for improvements to the wastewater treatment plant and facilities system in Danbury is being considered. A phosphorus removal system is needed because of mandates to improve emissions from the plant. City Council President Joe Cavo says this is going to be a large expense, the $10 million is just the tip of the iceberg. Cavo says he's heard cost estimates of $50 million to $70 million to meet the goals of the state. The mandate is for all municipalities with a wastewater treatment plant.
The plant in Danbury serves several towns, including Bethel, Brookfield, Newtown and Ridgefield. Cavo says they will have to share the burden of the cost. Some funding could come from the state.
Environmentalists say phosphorus is coming in to Lake Lillinonah from several sources, including the treatment plant, and increasing algae growth. Environmentalists say that algae removes oxygen from the water that is needed by other aquatic life.
In 2014, Danbury Public Utilities Superintendent David Day submitted testimony to the state about the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's mandates, and what funding would be available to help meet the goals. One of his main concerns was the burden on sewer ratepayers. He was concerned about a fair time frame for implementing the capital upgrades necessary to meeting the limits. Day said it would only be fair if every municipality with a waste treatment plant would be eligible for funding, not just the first three to enter into construction contracts.