Happy Labor Day!
Application for compensation under the Hartford Flood Compensation Program begins today, September 1, 2023. The application form, a guide to completing the application, and instructions for completing the application are available on the Office of the State Comptroller’s (OSC) website. The links below provide easy access to the documents:
According to the OSC, completed applications and supporting documentation must be submitted in one of the following ways:
- By mail: Attention: Office of the State Comptroller/Hartford Flood Compensation Program, 165 Capitol Ave., Hartford, CT 06106
- By email: HartfordFloodHelp@ct.gov
- In-person: Blue Hills Civic Association, 1229 Albany Ave, Third Floor, Suite 306, Hartford, CT 06112
STEP-BY-STEP APPLICATION AND REVIEW PROCESS
- STEP 1: Complete the application and gather supporting documentation (including proof of Hartford residency, proof of ownership of property, and all insurance documentation (including policies and claim information) – if applicable
- STEP 2: Mail or email the application WITH supporting documentation to the locations outlined above.
- STEP 3: An eligibility determination (or request for additional information) will be made within 30 days of receipt of your completed application (applications are only complete once all supporting documentation has been provided).
- Applicants who are deemed eligible must hire an estimator or contractor (approved by the program administrator) to conduct an onsite visit to verify the damages and provide an estimate verifying the cost to repair those damages.
- In some instances, a virtual inspection, photos, or video documentation of damages may be submitted instead of an onsite visit (at the discretion of the program administrator).
- All documentation, estimates, photos, and videos will be reviewed and approved, denied, or modified by the program administrator.
- STEP 4: Once an administrator’s final determination is made, payments will be mailed to approved applicants at the residential address provided on their application. Appeals of a decision by the administrator must be done in writing and sent to:
- Applicants who are deemed eligible must hire an estimator or contractor (approved by the program administrator) to conduct an onsite visit to verify the damages and provide an estimate verifying the cost to repair those damages.
Office of the State Comptroller, 165 Capitol Avenue, Hartford CT 06106.
- All appeal determinations by the Comptroller and/or its third-party administrator will be final.
SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION NEEDED
- Two (2) forms of Proof of Identity. Acceptable forms of identity are listed in the next section.
- Two (2) forms of Proof of Hartford Residency. Acceptable forms of Hartford residency are listed in the next section.
- Proof of ownership of real property. Acceptable proof of ownership is a property tax bill.
- Documentation of any insurance claim submitted and/or paid.
- Documentation showing repairs that have already been completed.
- An inspection report that is deemed eligible by the program administrator
ACCEPTED PROOF OF IDENTITY DOCUMENTATION (As proof of identity, you must present copies of two (2) forms of identification):
- US or US Territory Birth Certificate or Registration of Birth (Hospital issued and Puerto Rico issued before July 1, 2010, is not acceptable; foreign place of birth see Non-US Born)
- Unexpired US Passport or Passport Card
- Unexpired Foreign Passport
- Certificate of Naturalization (N-550 or N-570)
- Certificate of Citizenship (N-560 or N-561)
- Unexpired Permanent Resident Card (I-551)
- US Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240, DS-1350 or FS-545)
- Social Security Card
- Unexpired Connecticut-issued ID card, driver’s license, or learner’s permit
- Out-of-State US photo driver’s license £ US Territory or Canadian photo driver’s license (Unexpired)
- Out of State US or Canadian-issued photo learner’s permit
- Certified school transcript
- A baptismal certificate or similar document
- Marriage or Civil Union Certificate
- Court Order: Must contain full name and date of birth (i.e., name change, adoption, marriage, or civil union dissolution)
- Connecticut State Permit to Carry Pistols or Revolvers
- US Military ID or dependent card with photo
- Military discharge/separation papers (DD-214)
- State or Federal Employee Identification with signature and photo and/or physical description with or without date of birth
- CT Department of Correction certificate (CN101503)
- Pilot’s license (issued by the US DOT Federal Aviation Administration)
- Employment Authorization Document (I-766 or I-688B)
- Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC)
- Federally Recognized Tribal Member ID card
- DHS Trusted Traveler Cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
ACCEPTED PROOF OF HARTFORD RESIDENCY DOCUMENTATION (You must provide copies of two (2) different forms of documentation from the list below to prove Connecticut residency):
These documents must show your name and your Hartford residence address, be dated within ninety (90) days (unless stated otherwise below), and be computer generated (typed). Acceptable documents are:
- Postmarked mail
- Bill from a bank or mortgage company, utility company, credit card company, doctor, or hospital
- Bank statement showing the name and mailing address of the bank
- Pre-printed pay stub showing the name and address of your employer
- Property or excise tax bill dated within the previous 12 months
- Valid unexpired CT driver’s license, learner’s permit, or ID card with the same address
- Current valid homeowner’s, renter’s policy, or motor vehicle insurance card or policy dated within the previous 12 months
- Current valid Connecticut motor vehicle registration
- Current motor vehicle loan statement for a motor vehicle registered in your name
- Residential mortgage, lease, or rental contract signatures from all parties needed to execute the agreement and dated within the previous 12 months
- Change-of-address confirmation from the United States Postal Service showing your prior and current address (Form CNL107)
- Official school records showing enrollment
- Report card
- Completed Application
- Supporting documentation
- Inspection report (deemed eligible by the administrator)
According to a news release by the Office of the State Comptroller, on June 12, 2023, Governor Ned Lamont signed into law the 2024-2025 biennium budget, which established the Hartford Flood Compensation Program. This is a $5,000,000 pilot program overseen by the Office of the State Comptroller and the focus of this grant program is to provide financial assistance or reimbursement–for things such as repairs–to eligible owners of real property in the city of Hartford who experienced damage caused by flooding on or after January 1, 2021.
The news release continues:
On June 26, 2023, Comptroller Sean Scanlon joined public officials and advocates to formally announce the grant funding for the Hartford Flood Compensation Program.
On August 2, 2023, Comptroller Scanlon announced the appointment of Dr. Gary Rhule as the Hartford Flood Compensation Program administrator. The following week, on August 10, 2023, Comptroller Scanlon announced that the application will be available September 1, 2023. The below graphic outlines the application steps. In the meantime, if you are a Hartford resident who was impacted by flooding from January 2021 to the present, it is important that you maintain and/or compile documentation on damage and associated costs.
Please contact the Blue Hills Civic Association at (860) 560-7360 or visit 1229 Albany Avenue, Third Floor, Suite 306, Hartford, CT 06112 to request an application or if you have questions or concerns.
You may also sign up to receive updates from the Office of the State Comptroller on the Hartford Flood Compensation Program by accessing the Comptroller’s website and providing the required information on the site.
The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the US Environmental Protection Agency have recently announced the sewer backup and sewer flooding pilot project. This project focuses on sewer separation, sewer rehabilitation, and private property stormwater separation in the North End that is being conducted by Hartford’s sewer utility, the MDC. DEEP will share information on this long-term project from time to time and as progress warrants updates. Copies of the Hartford Sanitary Sewer Overflow Fact Sheet and the Sewer Backups and Flooding Update may be viewed by clicking on the following links:
- Hartford Sewer Overflow Fact Sheet_August 2023 (1)
- Hartford North End_Sewer Backups and Sewer Flooding Update_Aug2023 (2)
According to information retrieved from the HEDCO website, HEDCO and the Spanish American Merchants Association (SAMA) have partnered with the Officer of the Governor, the State of Connecticut, and the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) to provide grants of up to $30,000 to small businesses throughout the State of Connecticut.
The program will not only assist with funding but it will also connect small business applicants to the organizations’ Ecosystem of Providers. Info from HEDCO’s website is provided below:
This ecosystem will include lawyers, accountants, human resources, insurance agencies, marketing firms, and other providers to supply small businesses with the resources they need to start-up, sustain, or grow their enterprises – many resources which are too expensive or unattainable otherwise.
This program is designed for businesses seeking growth and long-term success. It will require an assessment process to identify and analyze areas of need. Experienced professionals will be available to guide participants through the process. The outcome offers valuable insights into strengths, weaknesses, growth opportunities, and strategies for overcoming challenges.
This grant program requires that your small business must:
- Go through the assessment process provided by the program
- Be a for-profit business with no more than 25 full-time and/or part-time employees.
- Be a registered business operating in Connecticut.
- Be in good standing with the Department of Revenue Services (DRS)
- Be in good standing with the Department of Labor.
- Have been conducting business for a minimum of one year.
Terms and Conditions
- Grants up to $30,000 are offered subject to the following disclaimer, “The amount you have requested may not equal the amount you are approved for.”
- Zero percent interest rate
- No application fee
- Closing fee of $500.00
- Grants do not have to be paid back to HEDCO, Inc. unless funds are used to cover ineligible expenses. The business must show documentation of expenditures in accordance with your cash flow projections.
Application and Approval Process – Submit the following documents:
Application Apply Online, (before starting the application, be sure to have the relevant documents [itemized below] ready to upload).
- Latest tax return for 1 year (business and personal) or Profit and Loss for prior year
- Year-to-date Profit and Loss Statement
- Status Letter from Department of Revenue Services How to get a Status Letter
- Status Letter from Department of Labor Request Letter of Good Standing
- Cash flow projections for 12 months Download Cash Flow Projections Sheet
- Source and Use of Funds Form Download Source and Use Form
- Statement about how these grant funds will be utilized to help grow your business.
For additional information about the program and assistance with the completion of your application call HEDCO at (860) 527-1301 or email email@example.com
The Hartford Courant reports that when Max Kothari and his wife bought the Star Hardware store their vision was to provide jobs and service to the city and its residents. However, to the Kotaris’ dismay, the last four storms that brought flooding and sewage to the neighborhood have forced them to close their doors for good to the community that they have loved and cultivated throughout the years.
Kothari said that the most recent two storms finally did the store in, as he kept acquiring inventory damages. He said that the remaining inventory will be given to Habitat for Humanity. While the store is permanently closed, the appliance and window portion remains open at the building next door and no employees will lose their employment, he said. He expressed his belief that the closing of the hardware store is a casualty of the city government choosing not to take action.
Kothari said that every time it rains, a nearby retention pond overflows into the building, which causes flooding damage within the hardware store – and which has happened to him four times.
“The mayor knows that the leaks are coming from the pond (in the back of the store), but we are not getting (help)…,” Kothari said. “It’s just put a nail in the coffin for the hardware store, as we are struggling with other things…closing the hardware store has nothing to do with our hardware community or our customers. Our customers are still coming…We believe (it was due to) lack of competency on the part of the city government.”
“It is an incompetency factor that we need to bring out…that people are just not managing our affairs with the city correctly, and then hiding behind this always (as an) environmental issue and…a weather issue…that was a conscious decision to ignore the North End and it’s very disheartening,” he said.
Mayor Luke Bronin said Monday, “I suspect that Star Hardware was suffering from the understandable challenges of competing as an independent business in an industry dominated by chains, and it’s perplexing that Mr. Kothari feels the need to make the statements that he’s made — which are neither accurate nor fair — about a city that has tried very hard to help him.
“The city has committed significant investment in the north end of Hartford, with tens of millions of dollars of additional investment in process today — including along North Main Street near Mr. Kothari‘s property, from broadband expansion, to housing, to the recent announcement of a $19 million streetscape grant for North Main,” Bronin said.
“The city has taken a direct and active role in attempting to resolve the issues of flooding near Mr. Kothari’s property, including submitting an application to the state’s Community Investment Fund to expand the retention pond adjacent to his property. That project, which would cost more than $6 million…and would primarily benefit Mr. Kothari’s property, was not selected for funding — but it has remained a priority ask for the city,” Bronin said.
Further, Bronin said, “following the severe floods in 2021, we convened multiple conversations between the Housing Authority, the MDC, and Mr. Kothari, in an attempt to broker a resolution that would help address Mr. Kothari’s issues— even though those conversations were complicated by the fact that Mr. Kothari had threatened legal action against the MDC and the Housing Authority. Ultimately, the only way to eliminate the risk of flooding on Mr. Kothari’s property is the same as it is elsewhere, and that is massive, long-term investment in upgrading an ancient storm sewer system that’s overwhelmed by the increasingly intense storms.”
Bronin also, in previously offering support to residents, has noted the sewer systems were built more than a century ago, “for the most part. It’s an ancient system” and that there is work being done to separate the sewer from the storm sewer, “so that when there’s flooding, it doesn’t back up and put sewage back into people’s basements.”
Kothari’s decision to close came less than a month after Gov. Ned Lamont and his administration in June committed $85 million in state funding from the state Clean Water Fund and related funding for a pilot program to address sewage overflows in streets and basements in North Hartford. Residents and businesses there have been chronically impacted by the long-term recurrence of flooding.
The Clean Water Fund is administered by state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and is used by the state to provide financial assistance to municipalities for projects addressing wastewater. The new money is expected to be applied to 12 projects proposed by the Metropolitan District to increase protections from sewer and stormwater-related flooding and backups in North Hartford, with the project estimated to cost $170 million in total.
Officials also have said that, coupled with the $85 million commitment, the biennial state budget that Lamont signed creates the Hartford Sewerage System Repair and Improvement Fund, a pilot grant program overseen by State Comptroller Sean Scanlon that will provide support to Hartford residents impacted by flood damage on or after Jan. 1, 2021.
Kothari said that making the decision to close the store has hit residents and his employees the most, as they have developed strong friendships with community members who have patronized the store throughout the years.
“It’s been the hardest on the employees, because they every day helped people. And suddenly those same people when they come through the other door, (and) say ‘Hey, can I just get a can of paint? Hey, can I just get this? Hey, can I get that?’ We have to now say no…,” he said.
“Even though you don’t realize it, it’s the same contractor that walks into the neighborhood that does X amount of work, this will be the same person that lives down the street. Emotionally, it’s very, very hard to absorb, after such a long history, something like this can happen,” he said.
Kothari said that while many of his employees disagreed with the decision and wanted to try to figure out a way to keep the business open, the losses kept coming one after the other with the recent storms, leaving him with no other choice.
One of his employees, Sam, has been working at the store for 25 years – opening and closing the store, said that it was very hard for him to hear the hardware store is closing, as he made many friends with community members.
“My heart was crying, because we work hard…the heartbreak. We miss friends, it’s been 25 years…we feel it bad in our heart, because we have been through every day like that…When we see the weather, we are scared,” he said.
Another employee of the hardware store, Lloyd Brown, has also worked there for 25 years and said that it is difficult to see the store close.
“To be honest, I felt really bad about that. Because I’ve been in the system with the hardware (for) so long…I have other customers that come in and feel the same way,” he said.
Now that the hardware store is closed, the workers said, residents will have to travel to other surrounding towns. as this was a primary business for many community members to get their keys made, get screws or locks for their home projects, or buy a can of paint.
Kothari said that he is truly grateful to the North End Community for supporting the store throughout the years.
“The most important thing (that) needs to (be said) about today: I cannot be more thankful to the North End community,” he said. “There are folks in our community that will leave Home Depot to buy stuff at my place. The only reason is because they cared, because they knew we cared here. We used to issue credit to contractors, just at face value, all those things the community (will) miss,” he said.
Source: Deidre Montague, Hartford Courant, July 11, 2023
According to the University of Hartford website, Madison Thibodeau ’23 explored engineering and business during her time at the University of Hartford. She majored in Architectural Design + Technology with a concentration in construction management and minored in Business Entrepreneurial Studies. She graduated in May and she is continuing her studies at UHart for an additional year to earn her master’s degree in architecture and pass her architecture registration exams to become a licensed architect. Thibodeau also studied in Thailand this summer through one of UHart’s many study-abroad programs.
Both CETA and Barney provided her with different skill sets. Thibodeau learned a lot about the field she is pursuing from CETA but learned the general business and professional skills at Barney that will prepare her for architecture and beyond. She expanded her connections through her professors and peers in Barney and expanded her perspective on career paths.
“I learned a lot about architecture while in school and had the opportunity to participate in events that reviewed my portfolio and resume for the professional field. Architecture school is project-based, which led me to make many presentations, a skill that I did not have prior to UHart … I was also able to make many connections through school to professionals in the field and connections with my peers who may also practice architecture in the future. Although I am nervous about stepping out into the real world, I am confident in my skills and open to learning opportunities that I believe will help me in my field.”
In CETA, Thibodeau was very involved in the architecture department beyond the classroom. She held a position last semester on the e-board of the American Institute of Architecture Students as graphics chair, making graphics for the club to post around the studio space, posting on social media, and assisting in planning and decorating for various events hosted by the club.
Thibodeau was also on the general board of Women in Architecture and Design, contributing to discussions on current architectural events and women’s advancement initiatives throughout campus and in the architecture department. She also served as a studio representative where she met with professors and the department chair on a monthly basis to share student feedback and facilitate a better studio environment.
In Barney, she studied entrepreneurship, where she learned how to market and advocate for herself, which boosted her confidence in the professional world, and offered a glimpse of what owning a business is like. During her undergraduate studies, Thibodeau worked for a general contractor that focused on residential building and commercial and senior living renovations. She was a project management intern focusing on day-to-day project preparation, various office tasks and maintenance, work orders, inventory, communication with subcontractors, invoices, and job site visits.
Throughout both CETA and Barney, there were several campus faculty who helped her learn and grow. Thibodeau says Associate Professor James Fuller, the architecture program director, department chair, and her advisor, was always there to support her and push her as a student to do better and feel comfortable at school.
Professor Daniel Davis, who was her first studio professor, “taught me more than just architecture. As a freshman, I was very timid and afraid to mess up, and he gave me so many life lessons that I carried with me through my years at UHart,” she added.
Professor Stephen Smith gave her opportunities in the architecture department, such as helping her find her first campus job and scholarship opportunities, and encouraged her in his studio class.
At Barney, Thibodeau took courses with Assistant Professor Aydin Oksoy for two semesters, noting that he was the most enthusiastic professor she has ever had.
Thibodeau also says that Assistant Dean Celia Lofink was a great professor who gave her an eye-opening opportunity in her Small Business Practicum course, where she was paired up with a local storage facility in Hartford to assist with a renovation project. She learned how to communicate with a real business partner while focusing on school and staying on top of her work.
“It was a tough project and a big task, but she supported me in the classroom to learn and get my work done the best I could but also helped me navigate my first real-world design project outside of my architecture classes, which was both intimidating and exciting,” Thibodeau says.
Source Credit: University of Hartford, June 30, 2023. https://www.hartford.edu/success-stories/2023/ss-barney-ceta-madison-thibodeau-23.aspx
Residents in several areas of Hartford and in CT were still dealing with previous flooding from the torrential rainstorms during the first two weeks of July when heavy rains during a tornado watch resulted in the highest-recorded rain totals in each county, ranging from 3.38 inches in Hartford County to 1.07 inches in New London County. Hartford residents shared the horrors of their flooded businesses and homes after new flooding on Sunday 7/16/2023, closed roads, and soaked basements in several counties across the State.
Many North Hartford residents have applauded the state for pledging $85 million to mitigate flooding in the streets and their basements but expressed that the pledge will not eliminate their sickening memories of sewage, massive amounts of water, and damage to their homes. The flooding issues continue and are compounded by sewers that are inadequate to handle the volume of water created by the heavy rainstorms. Other residents are hopeful that the funds will be distributed to help the residents in a timely fashion.
Five residents have shared stories of the emotional toll caused by the flooding whenever it rains and the continuous flooding in their homes and businesses, the smell of decay, and the heavy losses that they incur (many losses cannot be replaced).
Sharon Lewis, a Hartford resident and executive director of the Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice, said that since the Dec. 4 flooding, she has endured several setbacks. The biggest setback was finding out that she was not insured for sewage backups. Her house is still condemned, but she and her husband had been living in a hotel and their last day was July 3. She is currently living in temporary housing and the rent is paid by a private donor for a period of one year. Lewis has expressed her gratitude for the people who have helped her during such stressful circumstances and she remains tremendously overwhelmed. She offered that she had been hospitalized twice for issues relating to stress. According to the Hartford Courant, Lewis said:
“All of my precious antiques were destroyed and discarded. My mother’s DNA was in the basement freezer. I never got around to sending it in. Everyone who knows me knows that I’ve been a collector of rare artifacts from the African American experience post-slavery my entire life. I was so proud to own a piece of history. Gone in an instant.”
“Then to discover that I was technically homeless?… This has taken a tremendous toll on me. Never in a million years would I have thought that I’d be in a situation such as this. Seven months and one day living in limbo not being able to help myself due to the emotional toll this has taken. I have been hospitalized twice for issues relating to stress.”
Bridgette Prince, a community activist, knows the pain of grieving and mourning the loss of cherished memorabilia and tangible artifacts that can never be replaced. Prince explained that although she had lost her military items to flooding 35 years ago, the pain of the loss remains in her heart to this day and fuels her fight as a community leader and activist for issues to be resolved for all residents in the north end. Prince was born in Hartford and grew up in East Hartford where she and many of her friends aspired to be in the military and were able to make their dream a reality. Her father’s house in Hartford flooded 35 years ago and Prince lost her military uniform, paperwork, metals, and certificates from the military (all cherished memorabilia that she had stored in his home) some of which cannot be replaced.
Prince offered that according to the National Weather Service, much more rain is expected this week and there will be more flooding. Therefore leaders should be making sure that residents are protected from flooding with immediate relocation assistance and other forms of assistance. Regarding the July 4 flooding, according to the Hartford Courant, Prince said :
“People call me crying. You know the Church called me. This is how I found out about the church, North United Methodist Church called me on the 4th of July. And I was like, the irony of it, Independence Day… How do you celebrate independence when we are still looking and fighting for the government to say okay, this matters, this is beyond urgent… Leaders should be making sure residents are “independent of sewage and toxins and waste and flooding coming into your property, destroying your possessions that you worked hard for, that you inherited, that you earned.”
Prince also expressed her opinion that during the recent flood, the City should have been out there supporting all residents who needed assistance, including relocation assistance. She continued that officials who attended the recent press conference celebrating the $85 million in funding announced by Gov. Ned Lamont should have also been present to help constituents during the recent flood.
Nikeda Parkes is a homeowner who lives on Granby Street. When she purchased her home she did not know that she would be inheriting flooding issues. Parks report that during the last rainfall, water began gathering by a huge tree at the back of her home. The roots of the tree are affecting the foundation of her home which is built on a slab and has no basement. Since the recent rain, she is unable to cut her grass because of the water that has pooled by the tree and created a swamp that has taken over her entire backyard. The standing water also breeds mosquitos and other types of insects and bugs because it has not run off to the street.
Parkes said it took her by surprise that many of her neighbors on the street had been dealing with flooding issues over a long period of time. She is hopeful that things will eventually get better due to the funding that is being put in place. According to the Hartford Courant, Parkes said “They [her neighbors] have gotten so used to the empty promises, that they don’t have any hope in seeing that it’s gonna be fixed.”
Reggie Hales is a Hartford native and president of the Hartford Enterprise Zone Business Association and publisher of the Inquiring News. He no longer lives in the area, but he represents and supports local merchants in Main Street, Barbour Street, and Windsor Street areas, known as the “Enterprise Zone.” Hales pointed out that merchants and residents in these areas are exhausted because, despite the recent funding, the City knew that flooding from the severe storms was going to happen again and residents and merchants in the area are left at the mercy of Mother Nature.
Hales informed that he is advising residents and business owners that it could be time to solicit legal assistance on the matter of fixing the sewage and flooding issues because “we are low on the totem pole, these promises come every four years and at the end of the day, we continue to suffer” Hales continued that the flooding and sewage are negatively impacting merchants and their businesses in the north end, they are losing customers, and are unable to open for business as they clean up the damages for which many insurance companies do not cover the cost. He said, “Is it fair that they continue to be a victim of something that obviously is an emergency in any other community?”
Max Kothari, the business owner of Star Hardware, is closing his business due to repeated flooding. He said that the issue is primarily about an infrastructure that needs to be handled by those in power, “The people in power keep talking about infrastructure, which is true. There are infrastructure issues that need to be dealt with. The majority of the issues are controllable within their reach, but they choose not to fix it. And that is very, very disheartening…To see… younger African American, minority kids playing in the sewer water, not knowing that they’re playing in sewer water. It’s just a crime. And what’s really astounding is the people in power know about this, (but it) does not equate to a health emergency. ” His hardware store was 35 years old and he had been running it with his wife for 35 years. He also said that it was traumatic coming to work on July 4 and having to call his employees to come and clean up the flooding instead of celebrating their independence holiday with their loved ones. Kothari continued to say that he is most stunned by the lack of humanity when it comes to solving issues in the north end.
Source Credit: Deidre Montague – Hartford Courant – July 17, 2023
In a 06/26/2023 press release, Governor Ned Lamont announced that his administration has committed $85 million to repair flooding and sewage issues in North Harford. The content of the press release is copied below:
Funding Contributes to a Total $170 Million Investment to Address Flooding in the Neighborhood
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that his administration is committing $85 million in state funding from the state’s Clean Water Fund and Clean Water Fund-related funding to implement a pilot program that will address sewage overflows in streets and basements in North Hartford, where residents have been chronically impacted by the long-term recurrence of sewer overflows.
Administered by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), the Clean Water Fund is the mechanism through which the state provides financial assistance to municipalities for projects addressing wastewater needs.
The funds will be applied to 12 projects proposed by the Metropolitan District (MDC) to increase protections from sewer and stormwater-related flooding and backups in North Hartford. The projects are estimated to cost $170 million. In providing this funding, DEEP has confirmed that MDC anticipates the remaining funding for these projects will be covered within the current MDC rate structure, with no impact on current rates. Five projects are slated to begin in 2023, six projects will begin in 2024, and one project will begin in 2025.
“I am glad that we can release this significant state funding to Hartford’s North End, which has been disproportionately impacted by sewer overflows for a long time,” Governor Lamont said. “I’m grateful to DEEP, the Hartford delegation, the MDC, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the community leaders in Hartford for working together to make progress on this complex but critically important issue.”
“Legacy combined sewer systems threaten both the health of our ecosystems and the vitality of our communities,” DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said. “With the acceleration of climate change, more frequent, intense rainstorms are overwhelming sewer systems and causing street flooding, which leads ultimately to sewage backups that are devastating to residents. DEEP is committed to funding innovative pilot projects that will begin to bring relief to the North End and inform our approach to the broader Clean Water Fund program. I thank the members of the North End community for their advocacy on this issue. I look forward to continuing collaboration with community and legislative leaders and our federal partners on additional steps we can take together on climate, clean water, and environmental justice.”
The proposal for these funds includes a novel, private property infrastructure pilot that has potential financial, social, and environmental benefits by addressing privately-owned infrastructure that is connected to the public sewerage system. Of the total $170 million invested toward flood mitigation in North Hartford to date, $73 million is estimated to perform private property infrastructure improvements on over 3,500 properties, with backflow preventers and emergency sewer lateral repairs available, where needed. The Connecticut Office of the Treasurer, the Clean Water Fund manager, has worked with DEEP to secure funding for the pilot private property infrastructure improvements.
As part of its proposal, the MDC has committed to intensifying efforts to hire minority and disadvantaged business enterprises (MBE/DBE) and to work with all of its contractors to increase the use of Hartford labor for the North Hartford sewer flooding mitigation pilot project. DEEP sees significant opportunities to increase MBE/DBE and local labor for the private infrastructure work outlined in the proposal.
DEEP and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are in the process of coordinating a community forum for North End residents in July to provide information about the initiative and answer questions.
In addition to this $85 million commitment announced today, the biennial state budget that Governor Lamont signed earlier this month creates the Hartford Sewerage System Repair and Improvement Fund, a pilot grant program overseen by the Office of the State Comptroller that will provide support to Hartford residents impacted by flood damage on or after January 1, 2021. The governor will next appoint an administrator to the program, who must be a resident of Hartford with experience in environmental justice issues and insurance. Once the application process is fully developed, eligible Hartford residents will be able to request reimbursement.
EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash said, “This is great news for the North Hartford community. I applaud Connecticut’s commitment to address flooding and sewer overflow issues that have gravely impacted its residents for decades. EPA remains steadfast in its commitment to advance environmental justice by working with community members and advocates and DEEP to resolve these issues. I look forward to continuing to work together to address this pressing concern that has affected this overburdened community.”
Comptroller Sean Scanlon said, “As our cities age and our climate changes, we must improve our infrastructure to meet our rapidly-changing needs, especially in historically under-served areas. Today’s announcement is a historic step in that direction, and by overseeing this pilot program, I’m proud to help provide immediate relief to Hartford residents who have been impacted by flooding and who may have their homes impacted in the future.”
Treasurer Erick Russell said, “I’m relieved that help is on the way for North End residents and businesses, and grateful for the creative and collaborative problem-solving that led to this solution. It’s our responsibility, and in our collective best interest, to ensure that everyone in our state has access to clean water and safety from environmental dangers. This is a necessary and worthy use of the Clean Water Fund and I’m glad my office, and our talented and expert staff, could be part of identifying and securing this funding.”
Senator Richard Blumenthal said, “Flooding and sewage backup in Hartford’s North End is not only a wastewater infrastructure issue – it is an environmental justice issue and a fairness issue. Addressing this problem requires a combination of both short and long-term solutions and a continued partnership between elected officials, community members, and our state and federal agencies. I am proud to see the first step in a series of actions to provide reimbursement and repairs to North End residents and will commit action at the federal level to continue to implement improvements.”
Mayor Luke Bronin said, “This investment in the stormwater and sewer infrastructure will make a big difference for residents and businesses in North Hartford. This package includes funds to reimburse residents and small business owners who suffer damage from flooding, and it includes funding to make improvements in the ancient infrastructure that’s just not able to handle the kind of storms we routinely see today. I’m grateful to Speaker Ritter, Governor Lamont, our Hartford delegation, the MDC, and above all to the activists and residents who spoke up and made this happen.”
State Senator Doug McCrory (D-Hartford) said, “After several years of meetings with residents, businesses, and city and state officials, my colleagues and I were able to secure funding to address flooding issues in Hartford. Homeowners affected by flooding will finally get assistance to repair their property and improve their environment.”
House Speaker Matt Ritter (D-Hartford) said, “This is a major victory for residents of Hartford’s North End who have lived with flooded basements and sewage backups for years. Our goal was to get residents immediate relief as well as have a long-term plan to improve Hartford’s infrastructure. The Hartford legislative delegation was able to work with residents, advocates, DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes, and Governor Lamont to come up with significant funding.”
State Representative Minnie Gonzalez (D-Hartford) said, “Flooding is a major concern wherever it happens because of the long-term prohibitively expensive damage it could do, the negative health effects, and the lives that are turned upside-down as a result. I therefore join my colleagues in thanking Governor Lamont for his support of this important funding.”
State Representative Julio Concepcion (D-Hartford) said, “I am grateful to see we are going to make progress on addressing this quality-of-life issue that has affected so many families in the North End for some time. I thank Governor Lamont for prioritizing this funding and look forward to seeing it be put to great use for our residents.”
State Representative Maryam Khan (D-Hartford, South Windsor, Windsor) said, “I am incredibly proud to see the flooding issues in the North End get the attention it truly deserves. This result is the culmination of months of work by many parties, including DEEP, MDC, the City of Hartford, and the residents that spoke up in community meetings. I’m grateful we were able to work collaboratively and effectively to come to an agreement that invests and prioritizes in the wellbeing of residents, and shows that we are truly committed to their needs.”
State Representative James Sánchez (D-Hartford, West Hartford) said, “I’m proud to have been a part of the negotiations to help address serious flooding issues in Hartford. For years, the Blue Hills neighborhood in the city’s North End has suffered from sanitary backups and chronic flooding. I fully support these funds, which are a significant step toward finding solutions to help so many of our residents who need help. Hartford’s antiquated combined sewer and storm system is no longer able to handle today’s heavy rain events that are fueled by climate change. This funding will help assess, identify, and correct the problem of laterals to suspect homes and the infrastructure attached. I thank Governor Ned Lamont, Speaker of the House Matt Ritter, and our entire Hartford delegation for their tireless work to tackle this issue head-on.”
State Representative Joshua Hall (D-Hartford) said, “The funding is appreciated and very necessary to help north-end residents and businesses who have endured this problem for far too long. I want to thank the residents of the North End of Hartford for raising their voices to ensure equity for our community. I also want to thank Governor Lamont, Speaker Ritter, Senator McCrory, and the entire Hartford delegation for helping find a solution to this problem.”
Scott Jellison, CEO of the MDC, said, “This partnership and logic developed between the MDC, DEEP, EPA, and the City of Hartford to address sewerage overflows by removing stormwater at its source, rather than collecting the sewerage overflows at the river is the solution which will prove to be most beneficial to the community and more effective in eliminating sewerage backups into residents’ homes, businesses, and the rivers. MDC cannot solve the ever-changing severe rain events caused by climate change, however with this partnership, Harford Region can mitigate the impacts by setting the standard and acknowledging its impacts to the sewer system. MDC has committed to and will begin separation work in North Hartford by this July 2023. MDC is confident, removing stormwater first from the sewer system, rather than collecting the overflows in which it causes, will become the model and standard for other CSO communities across the country.”
Sharon Lewis, executive director of the Connecticut Coalition for Economic and Environmental Justice, said, “This funding announcement represents more than just financial support. It is a transformative leap towards environmental justice, reflecting a commitment to rectify systemic financial and environmental inequities that have plagued our community for decades and ultimately helping Hartford residents become better equipped to face the evolving impacts of climate change. However, the key to true justice is in the administration of these programs. Those impacted need not be further traumatized by the system. The administration of these funds can serve as a model of justice by upholding the principles of fairness, compassion, and efficiency. It will demonstrate a commitment to supporting those in need, fostering community resilience, and promoting a sense of trust.”
Source Credit: State of Connecticut, Gov Ned Lamont Press Release dated 06/26/2023.