Norwich Public Utilities breaks ground on $200 million Wastewater Treatment Plant

In November, Norwich Public Utilities (NPU) formally broke ground on a five-year, $200 million project that will modernize its wastewater treatment plant. The brief groundbreaking ceremony took place 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 comes from both grant funding and a low-interest loan through the State’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF, which is administered by the State of Connecticut’s Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP). NPU has worked diligently with its state legislative delegation to secure this significant level of support.

Funding through CWSRF includes $72 million in grant funding and $128 million in low-interest (2%) loans 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.

NPU estimates that construction of the wastewater treatment plant will likely take at least five years due to 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. It was originally constructed in the 1930s, and upgrades in the 1950s and 1970s were intended to extend its useful life by approximately 25 years.