Town Engineer Kurt Weiss presented several WPCA issues to the North Branford Town Council at the , including a possible sewer extension on Gail Drive, the widening of Route 139 at Valley Road and sewer connection fees.
Gail Drive Sewer Extension
There are six homes on adjacent to an existing sanitary sewer line and the town is looking into a sewer extension into that area as there have been requests for the extension dating back to the 1990s.
Weiss pointed out that this could be an opportune time to look into the project as the roads are slated to be repaired at some point in the future. He has surveyed the property owners with four responding, three in favor and one against. Weiss noted that two of those in favor have had issues with their septic systems.
The estimated cost for the extension to service the six properties is $84,000, which the town would finance and would be a lien against the property. In addition, each homeowner would be responsible for buying their own mechanical pump, which Weiss estimated to cost between $10,000 and $15,000.
The council approved Weiss’s recommendation for a public hearing on the sewer extension on Gail Drive.
Route 139 Reconstruction
The Connecticut DOT has proposed a plan to widen and at the North Branford/Branford town line, near the Valley Road intersection; however, North Branford’s sanitary sewer meter station is currently on the shoulder in that area.
“It’s where we flow into Branford–it’s basically a money meter for the town,” said Weiss. “If the road gets realigned, it’ll pave over meter station.”
Weiss noted that the meter station, which is underground, must be maintained and inspected on a weekly basis so it is “unacceptable to leave it there.” The DOT agreed and will fund the entire move as part of the realignment project.
The Town of North Branford’s responsibility in the effort is to present design plans to the DOT, which is aiming to complete design plans by the end of June. Weiss recommended using Veolia Water, which is already contracted to maintain the meter station.
Town Attorney John Gesmonde is in the process of reviewing the documents and the council tabled the issue until the Feb. 21 meeting.
Special Connection Fees
The town has been in the process of reviewing its special connection fees for sanitary sewers. Weiss presented a spreadsheet of numbers that compared North Branford’s fees to those of surrounding towns.
“Basically I found our residential costs–$12,300–were on the high side; while our commercial/industrial—$4,000 for the first five units and $2,000 per unit in excess–mimic what Branford charges,” said Weiss. “We seem to be pretty much in line with surrounding towns.”
The council reviewed the numbers, showing some concern over the cost of connection fees for businesses.
“The fee to hook up [residentially] is less than putting in a new septic system, which are $12,000 and up,” said Deputy Mayor Al Rose. “But, as a business, why would you come to a town with a sewer if you’re not a high water-using business? Every time someone comes in to town to do something with a business, they get the price for the sewer and say, ‘I’m out of here.’”
Weiss presented the option of charging by meter size, which is the fee system the Greater New Haven WPCA adopted. Weiss will continue to look into the numbers before sewer connection fees are set.