With an incoming Trump administration and an Environmental Protection Agency Administrator nominee who wants to get rid of some regulations, there are questions about an expensive phosphorus reduction effort being planned in Danbury. The Waste Water Treatment Plant is due for an upgrade, but the EPA and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection are requiring the City to remove phosphorus to improve emissions from the plant.
Mayor Mark Boughton says while they're hoping the federal mandate will be nixed, the City still has to plan in the meantime. He notes that the federal government takes a long time to turn things around, so any change wouldn't happen overnight. Regardless, Boughton says the permit from the state requires that the process begins. Even if the phosphorus removal system isn't implemented, the upgrades still need to happen.
He says these types of facilities have a shelf life of about 20 years, and Danbury's is five years past that so it's time for a refurbishment. When the work is done, Boughton wants to bring in new technologies that will make it even cleaner, and cause less of an odor in the Newtown Road area.
Environmentalists say phosphorus is coming in to Lake Lillinonah from several sources, including the treatment plant, and increasing algae growth. Algae removes oxygen from the water, which is needed by other aquatic life.
The phosphorus removal and upgrade projects are expected to cost upwards of $70 million.