CT DEEP receives over $300 million for environmental projects – FOX61 Hartford

HARTFORD, Conn. — The state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection received more than $300 million on Friday from the State Bond Commission to fund several high priority environmental projects across Connecticut, according to a DEEP release.
DEEP said the money will be spent on upgrading state parks, completing municipal clean water projects and contributing to the effort to drain high water levels at Jobs Pond in Portland.
Of the $300-plus million approved at Friday’s meeting of the State Bond Commission, $275 will go towards providing loans to different municipalities to assist in Clean Water Fund project costs, according to DEEP. The funding supplements federal government funding to build and finance projects that strengthen the quality of water and protect public health while sustaining Connecticut’s natural resources.
An additional $30 million will help with statewide repairs, preventative maintenance and new construction at multiple state parks, state forests and wildlife management areas, according to DEEP.
A total of $3.7 million will provide grants-in-aid to municipalities and entities for greenway improvements, emergency dam repairs and park improvements.
Lastly, $187,500 will go to the Jobs Pond flood mitigation efforts. The state is working with the town of Portland to secure federal funding to install pumps to pump the surplus water out of Jobs Pond that is currently flooding homes.
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DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said in the release that the department is grateful for the critical funds approved by the State Bond Commission on Friday. She said the funding will benefit residents across the state by fueling important municipal wastewater projects and funding improvements in state parks, all while helping the residents who live along Jobs Pond.
“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,” Dykes said, in the release. “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.”
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According to the release, since the Clean Water Fund’s authorization in 1987, DEEP has awarded $4.5 billion in assistance to 120 communities, mostly to upgrade municipal wastewater infrastructure and related infrastructure needs. The funding announced on Friday will be used to provide low-interest loans to municipalities with planned and designed wastewater infrastructure upgrades.
Wastewater infrastructure requires maintenance and upgrades to replace outdated equipment, increase efficiency and reduce operational costs to enhance protection of waterways, public health and build resilience, DEEP said.
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The money will help provide the East Street wastewater pump station in New Haven with a $50 million upgrade to reduce untreated sewer water that flows into the West River. The funding will also help separate combined sewers and rehabilitate other aging sewers in North Hartford, as problem areas are identified, according to DEEP.
In Bridgeport, a comprehensive upgrade of the West Side wastewater treatment plant will be funded, reducing nitrogen and untreated sewer overflows that are discharged into Long Island Sound, DEEP said.
In Connecticut, DEEP said there are 110 state parks and 32 state forests that include 14 campgrounds, 23 designated swimming areas, thousands of miles of trails and hundreds of thousands of acres to enjoy.
DEEP also said state parks are enjoying a surge in popularity since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, as an estimated 17 million people visited the sites in 2023; that is 10 million more than in years before 2020.
The $30 million approved on Friday is part of a $70.7 million commitment by the Lamont Administration and the State Legislature to support investing in the locations, which are premier tourist destinations and benefit local economies, DEEP said.
According to DEEP, work will include drainage and paving improvements at state parks around the state, replacement of the covered bridge at Chatfield Hollow State Park, utilities upgrades and boardwalk replacement at Rocky Neck State Park and boat launch renovations at Squantz Pond State Park.
Dalton Zbierski is a digital content producer and writer at FOX61 News. He can be reached at dzbierski@FOX61.com
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