Norwich Public Utilities breaks ground on $200 million Wastewater Treatment Plant – Five-year effort will be the largest construction project in the history of the city

NORWICH – On Wednesday, Norwich Public Utilities (NPU) formally broke ground on a five-year, $200 million project that will modernize its wastewater treatment plant during a brief event in front of the former Administrative Building of the Falls Avenue facility.

“Over the next five years, the island on which we are all standing will be transformed into a modern, efficient wastewater treatment plant that will dramatically improve water quality in the Yantic, Shetucket, and Thames Rivers,” said Chris LaRose, General Manager of NPU. “Every community between Norwich and Long Island Sound along the Thames River – Preston, Montville, Ledyard, Waterford, Groton, and New London – will benefit from this project.”

Funding for the wastewater treatment plant project will come both grant funding and low-interest loan from the State of Connecticut’s Department of Environment & Environmental Protection (DEEP).

  •  $72 million in grant funding will come through the State’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF), which is administered by DEEP. NPU has worked diligently with its state legislative delegation to secure this significant level of support.
  •  $128 million in low-interest (2%) loans from the State’s CWSRF that will be repaid by NPU’s 10,000 wastewater customers over the next 20 years.

NPU will continue to advocate for additional sources of funding from both federal and state programs to minimize the financial impact on its wastewater customers.

Funding for the CWSRF comes through the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA’s Regional Administrator for New England, Dr. David Cash, was on hand for the event.

“NPU’s new wastewater treatment plant is part of a greater transformative picture, another critical movement to revitalize infrastructure that has long passed its expiration date.” said Dr. Cash. “Thanks to the outstanding investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are focusing on righting past wrongs in historically underserved communities and breaking ground today on a monumental and pivotable project that demonstrates what it means to be Investing in America. Every person has a basic human right to clean, healthy water, and this new treatment plant is a commitment to Norwich and surrounding communities for years to come.”

NPU estimates that the construction will likely take at least five years given two major challenges.

First, the demolition of the old plant and the construction of the new plant will take place on a man-made island in the middle of Norwich and adjacent to the City’s Transportation Center. All of the new structures associated with the project will be installed on a pile system to support their full weight.

Second, throughout the construction process, NPU’s existing wastewater treatment plant must be kept operational and remain in compliance with all conditions of its permit.

NPU’s wastewater treatment plant has served the residents of Norwich for nearly 100 years. Originally constructed in the 1930s, upgrades in the 1950s and 1970s were intended to extend its useful life by approximately 25 years.