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Derby Voters To Decide Fate Of $31.2 Million Sewer Referendum

by STAFF | Nov 3, 2014 12:26 pm

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Posted to: Derby

Derby voters will decide Tuesday, Nov. 4 whether to give the city permission to borrow $31,240,000 for repairs and upgrades to the sanitary sewer system and the city’s sewage treatment facility.

Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Polling places in Derby are at the Irving School, 9 Garden Place, and the Bradley School, 155 David Humphreys Road.

Here is a document from the town clerk that shows you where to vote based on your street:

Where to Vote in Derby 2014

Click here for a ton of Election Day info from the Derby City/Town Clerk’s office.

The sewer question on the ballot will appear as such:

“Shall the City of Derby appropriate $31,240,000 for improvements, additions, renovations and upgrades to the City’s Water Pollution Control Facility and Sanitary Sewage System and authorize the issuance of bonds, notes and other obligations in the same amount to defray the appropriation, such obligations anticipated to be paid entirely from sanitary sewage system revenues?”

The multi-million dollar referendum has been in the planning stages for more than a year.

The city’s Water Pollution Control Authority and WPCA engineers said the repairs are desperately needed because the City of Derby has ignored taking an honest look at its sewer system needs.

They have said repeatedly that rejecting the borrowing could cost Derby more in the long run, because high-expense items such as pump stations will have to be repaired as emergencies — as opposed to steady payments over the next 30 years.

The pumping stations on the WPCA’s “to do” list are all in failure mode, according the WPCA engineers.

The $31.24 million will add $257 to the annual sewer bill for the typical single-family sewer user for the next 30 years.

A typical two-family property could see a sewer bill increase by $514.

Larger non-residential users, such as Griffin Hospital, could see a $95,000 increase.

The video below is from a public forum on the repairs held in October:

Click here for a story from October on the upcoming vote.

Click here for a story on a public hearing on the vote held in September.

Here is the explanatory text regarding the sewer referendum:

Derby Explanatory Text 2014

The projects on tap include:

$830,000 to build a new South Division Street pump station
The current pump station was built in 1966 and has never been upgraded
The steel walls are rotting away

$1,070,000 to build a new Burtville Avenue pump station
The current pump station was built in 1965 and was never upgraded
The pump station is 20 feet underground, and is a safety concern for workers because there is no “fall protection”
It floods

$7,460,000 for a new Roosevelt Drive pump station
Pumps 40 to 50 percent of all sewage flow in Derby, yet hasn’t had a significant upgrade since 1972
Built in 1966
In recent years, was cited by state environmental regulators for allowing raw sewage to flow into the Housatonic River. The WPCA, under threat of fines, put in a new “grinder.”
Steel body is rotting away

$3,780,000 for a new Roosevelt Drive forcemain
Will increase capacity from 2,000 gallons a minute to 4,000 gallons a minute by replacing a 12-inch pipe with a 16-inch pipe
City officials see this as a way to encourage the Town of Seymour, along Route 34, to connect to Derby system, which would provide revenue
WPCA engineers also said it is needed to help with possible redevelopment projects along Route 34 heading west of downtown (example — the former Derby Cellular property)
Engineers said it doesn’t make sense to upgrade the Roosevelt Drive pump station and leave an undersized forcemain in the ground

$3,660,000 to replace downtown/Route 34 sewers
Current downtown sewers are too small and limit economic development
Project will be coordinated with long-planned state Department of Transportation Route 34 widening, which makes this project a bit cheaper

$8.94 million for various upgrades at the Derby Water Pollution Control Facility (sewage treatment plant, the heart of the system)
Install modern “grit removal system:” current “grit removal system” is often a guy in waders with a long stick
Install modern electrical system, eliminating safety issues
Replace 1966 anaerobic digestion system

$5 million for upgrades to “solids handling system” at the sewage treatment plant
Current system is a mess, requires constant repairs and causing large overtime costs
Belt filter press was installed in 1980, failed and had to be repaired in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Rotary thickener is from 1972
Constant failures as well
Some parts of the solids handling system are kept together with duct tape and rusted vice grips

$500,000 in financing costs

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Comment

posted by: Kevin Henri on November 3, 2014  4:37pm

“authorize the issuance of bonds, notes and other obligations in the same amount to defray the appropriation, such obligations anticipated to be paid entirely from sanitary sewage system revenues?”

Forgive me if I sound like a dummy, but I noticed this, and similar wording on the road repair questions. How much is expected to defray the costs with the issuance of bonds, notes, etc?

“The $31.24 million will add $257 to the annual sewer bill for the typical single-family sewer user for the next 30 years…A typical two-family property could see a sewer bill increase by $514.”

With the defrayed costs, are the residents’ sewer bills still expected to increase as much?

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