By Chelsea Los
CROMWELL — As the need to begin construction for the Eastshore and Northshore areas approaches, the Turkey Creek Regional Sewer District is working quickly to tie up loose ends. Jeff Hersha and John Julien of Jones and Henry were on hand at the regular monthly meeting Monday night, July 19, to help direct questions and offer guidance on the best way to move forward.
As soon as the engineering teams had laid out a plan for grinder pumps and maximizing gravity flow systems, the district began to collect easements. The easements allow the district to enter privately owned property to install the sewer lines, pumps, whatever is needed to make the project happen.
Although the majority of property owners have been cooperative, attorney Andrew Boxberger noted that just two properties — one of them a local golf course — have either refused easements or ignored/not received all communication attempts from TCRSD.
With Boxberger’s recommendation, the board was moving forward with starting the process to invoke eminent domain — allowing the government body to get the easement after the property value is assessed. The amount would be paid to the property owners, but essentially allows the district to move forward with no input from the property owners.
Boxberger reiterated that this was a regretful move, one the district wants to avoid. He indicated at the meeting that he was “very hopeful” that the property owners who have ignored their numerous contact attempts will reach out to the district quickly.
Boxberger provided an update on Tuesday, July 20, indicating that the golf course had made contact and was being very cooperative after learning of the need to access an easement.
The crunched timelines also led to more conversations about funding. Boxberger reported TCRSD’s project landed at 19 on the State Revolving Fund’s project list, putting them outside the range of funding. This means the district will likely pursue open-market bonds to fund the project.
He also alerted the board to some possible funding through grants like the State Water Infrastructure Fund through the SRF. Boxberger said fund awarding is based on a scoring system that the district will fall favorably within. His recommendation was to pursue $600,000 of funding to allow complete repaving of the roads that will be torn up in patches during this project. The board approved the initiative to move forward with this.
Moving on from project updates, district superintendent Timothy Woodward provided the much-anticipated updates on the July 4 flow. He reported that flows reached the peak of 1.5 million gallons on Sunday evening, and hovered around 1 million gallons over the four-day weekend of activities. As he continues to track the year’s flows, Woodward indicated he would be putting together some standard operating procedures for adjusting for these peaks and other smaller maintenance tweaks for the team.
In other district news:
- The local communities are working with a consultant to add walking trails on Hatchery Road. Woodward worked with this consultant to ensure easements are not paved over and is hopeful he will see the proposal soon.
- The district will be auctioning off 59.3 acres of land zoned for farming at 6 p.m. Aug. 9.
- The board will meet again at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 16. All monthly meetings are open to the public.