Greater New Haven WPCA Sewage Overflows – Mill River Spill

Mill River at Eli Whitney Museum

Location: Hamden and New Haven, Connecticut | Status: Active

Summary: Poorly maintained sewage collection systems can fall into a state of disrepair that can result in chronic sewage spills, impacting the health of Connecticut residents and our shared environment. Save the Sound’s investigation of the pipe segment that failed and poured 2.1 million gallons of raw sewage from the Whitney Avenue Pressure Sewer into the Mill River flowing to Long Island Sound on July 6-7, 2020 revealed that the GNHWPCA knew of corrosion in the pipe since at least 2014. While GNHWPCA has historically had few sewage spills, the Mill River spill highlighted critical gaps in the routine maintenance and inspection programs that could likely result in future pollution if not resolved. Save the Sound filed a Clean Water Act citizen suit enforcement action on February 11, 2021 to ensure that this type of sewage spill is prevented in the future through a system of improved inspection and maintenance of large sewer pipes and follow-up on pipes compromised by corrosion in the GNHWPCA’s service area.

As a result of our Clean Water Act citizen suit action, we came to a collaborative settlement agreement with GNHWPCA that will yield, among other actions, a green infrastructure project with the Eli Whitney Museum in Hamden to reduce stormwater runoff and help ensure local residents can enjoy a clean Long Island Sound. GNHWPCA has committed $200,000 toward this project and will provide for a portion of legal and expert costs incurred by Save the Sound.

Latest Step: Save the Sound and GNHWPCA reached a collaborative settlement in May 2022.

Next Step: The Eli Whitney Museum green infrastructure project is estimated to be completed in 2023. Save the Sound will continue to monitor GNHWPCA’s compliance with the Clean Water Act.

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Last Updated: November 1, 2022

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