Connecticut announces $300 million for water infrastructure, state parks

June 19, 2024

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) received $300 million through the State Bond Commission that will go toward clean water projects, flood mitigation and repairs at state parks. The funding package was approved during a State Bond Commission meeting in June.

“Infrastructure is a large part of what DEEP does across Connecticut, from enhancing the user experience and preserving jewels within our State Park system to helping municipalities upgrade wastewater systems that keep Connecticut sustainable,” DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said in a press release.

The largest share of money, about $275 million, will flow to the state’s Clean Water Fund. Connecticut’s clean water fund is designed to provide financial support to municipalities in building wastewater plants and upgrading water systems. Since 1987, the fund has distributed more than $4.5 billion to 120 communities, mainly aimed at wastewater facilities.

The projects funded by the $275 million influx will be determined by the fund’s existing priority list of wastewater projects that are ready to move forward. One project is a $50 million upgrade to a pump station in New Haven. When installed, the improved pump station will help prevent raw sewage from overflowing into the West River. Additional projects set to receive funding include reducing residential wastewater backups and street flooding in North Hartford and upgrading the wastewater treatment facility in Bridgeport.

Aside from wastewater infrastructure, $30 million will flow to the state park system for much-needed repairs. Parks have surged in popularity in recent years, and Connecticut’s 110 state parks and 32 state forests need funding to keep up and improve operations. The $30 million investment is part of a larger $70 million revitalization plan that uses state and federal funds through the 2021 American Rescue Plan.

“We’ve made a historic commitment to address the backlog of needed infrastructure improvements across the State Park system. Repairs, preventive maintenance, and new construction will improve and increase access to the outdoors,” Dykes said.

The park’s funding will be distributed across 17 different projects with budgets ranging from $500,000 for replacing a bridge in Chatfield Hollow State Park to $6.5 million for statewide minor and emergency repairs. One of the larger projects is at Hammonasset Beach State Park, where $3 million will go toward a variety of improvements including repaving the main road for entry into the park, repairing picnic areas, piers, decks and campsites.

Harkness Memorial State Park is the site of two separate projects budgeted at $2 million each. Money will go toward a newly renovated building for staff offices and maintenance operations to ensure the current facility is brought up to modern building codes. The other funding at Harkness Memorial State Park will go to repairs of historic buildings including the Harkness mansion and carriage house roof.

The remaining funding allocated by the $300 million bond investment will be split between municipal green space and a flood mitigation project. For example, $3.7 million is being set aside for cities to invest in maintenance of parks and trails, as well as emergency dam repairs. The last $187,500 will go toward a flood mitigation project at Jobs Pond, where water frequently overflows and has caused damage to nearby residences.

Photo courtesy of the Connecticut Clean Water Fund

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