Norwich Public Utilities will receive $1.6 million in federal grants to support two projects utility officials called critical projects, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., announced Monday during a visit to NPU headquarters.
The funding is part of the 2023 fiscal year federal budget signed into law in December, Blumenthal said, addressing a group of NPU employees. NPU will receive $800,000 through the Environmental Protection Agency for the Poquetanuck Cove Crossing Water Interconnection to connect with the Groton water system, and a second $800,000 to reline sewer mains in the Greeneville section of Norwich.
Blumenthal and fellow U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., included the requests as part of their Congressionally Directed Spending requests.
The Poquetanuck Cove water line will connect the 1,220-foot gap between the Groton and Norwich water systems at the Preston/Ledyard border and is a joint project between Groton Utilities and NPU. The project provides an additional interconnection between the region's two largest municipal water suppliers for the movement of water during emergency situations, NPU officials said in a news release issued following the funding announcement.
The project will strengthen the water supply for Groton, Ledyard, Norwich, Montville, Waterford, New London, East Lyme, Lisbon, Franklin, and Sprague, NPU said.
It also will provide an invaluable, second access point if the Thames River crossing became compromised for any reason, the news release said.
The NPU sewer main lining is part of NPU's ongoing effort to eliminate combined sewer, industrial waste and rainwater pipes that dump untreated sewage into Norwich Harbor and the Thames River during heavy rainstorms. The Greeneville section of Norwich contains three of the 11 combined sewer overflows (CSO) in the Norwich system.
During heavy rain events, all three of the Greeneville CSOs discharge directly to the Shetucket River that converges with the Thames River in Norwich Harbor.
The liner will install a new pipe within the existing pipe, removing rainwater and groundwater from the pipe network and provide more sewage capacity in the pipe network, NPU officials said in the news release.
Greeneville has roughly 21,000 feet of sewer pipes, installed between 1886 and 1950, in desperate need of replacement or rehabilitation, NPU officials said.
NPU anticipates a reduction of six million gallons of combined discharge to the Shetucket River annually with the completion of the Greeneville sewer relining projects.
Construction on both projects is expected to begin before Memorial Day with work likely completed before the end of 2023.
"This federal investment in our communities' infrastructure is a significant step to protect our waterways," Blumenthal said in the news release. "I am thrilled to join Norwich Public Utilities to celebrate this funding that is addressing critical needs in Norwich."
NPU General Manager Chris LaRose said he was grateful to the two Connecticut senators for helping to secure the funding.
"These projects will improve public safety and water quality in our region, while modernizing and upgrading our infrastructure," LaRose said in the news release. "On behalf of our employees and the residents of Norwich, we thank Senator Blumenthal for his ongoing support of NPU."