BRISTOL – State Senator Jason Welch (R-Bristol) congratulates the city of Bristol for being one of the first three communities chosen for the State Department of Energy and the Environment’s (DEEP) “First 3 Phosphorus Funding Program.”
“Being chosen as one of the state’s first 3 phosphorus communities is a big relief for Bristol taxpayers,” said Sen. Welch.
The federal and state government recently mandated that municipalities upgrade wastewater treatment plants to treat phosphorus, a mineral found in waste water that can be harmful to the environment. Bristol leaders estimated they would have to spend $17 million on an upgrade to the City’s treatment facility. Sen. Welch and other area leaders petitioned the State Department of Energy and the Environment on behalf of the city requesting the funds.
“Some financial assistance was secured under the Clean Water Fund but the price tag to pay debt on the loan and the cost of the new process to treat the water was expected to add one and a half million dollars per year to Bristol’s bills,” added Mayor Ken Cockayne.
“Without this financial assistance the City could not afford to undertake these critical projects,” added Sen. Welch.
This new funding will allow Bristol to receive $3.4 million in grants through DEEP and the Clean Water Fund. A dozen communities had applied for the program. Bristol, Southington and Meriden are the first 3 chosen to participate in the DEEP program.
Bristol had the foresight to begin reducing phosphorus in the water in 2010 in anticipation of the new regulations. This ability to take part in the “First 3 Program” will help bring phosphorus treatment online in Connecticut early and will enable residents to start realizing the environmental benefits sooner.
In a written letter from DEEP dated March 24, 2014, the city’s Department of Public Works was notified they had been selected for the state grant program. Brian Fowkes, Assistant Director of Public Works helped write the grant application, “This opportunity for additional funding assistance for this project is critical to the City’s phosphorus treatment initiative. In addition to the phosphorus project the City has also been aggressively working to reduce infiltration and inflow and upgrade aging infrastructure throughout the collection system and pumping stations.”
The ground breaking and physical construction of Bristol’s water treatment facility is scheduled to get underway this spring. The system start up is anticipated in late summer 2015, with full beneficial use during the phosphorus treatment season of 2016.
The increased grant takes reimbursement for work on phosphorous removal from the current 30% level to 50%. The remaining portion of that work, and other work on the treatment plant, is financed by the state with loans that are two percent interest for 20 years.
Construction contracts must be entered into on or before July 1, 2018 in order to receive this additional funding.