City Plans Ahead Infrastructure Strategy for Charles Pointe Mapped Out

The Bridgeport News

Thursday, Oct. 5, 2006 

By: Jeff Toquinto, News Editor

A complete build out of the more than 1,000 acres of Charles Pointe may be a decade or more away, but city officials are planning to guarantee all the infrastructure needs are in place when that day occurs. Last week, City Engineer Tom Brown told the Bridgeport Sanitary Board he recently met with Charles Pointe officials about the infrastructure needs – particularly sanitary sewage – of the planned community off of Interstate 79.

Right now, only a fraction of what developers would like to see take place at Charles Pointe has occurred.

Most of the development is in the North Land Bay, according to Brown. Sewage from that area currently goes along State Route 131 and ties into the city’s sewage system. Some sewage goes into the downtown area and some goes through a line under Interstate 79. As the build out continues, Brown said that will eventually need to change.

"The folks at Charles Pointe will eventually upgrade a couple of areas in the sewer system," said Brown. "The big thing is adding a pump station along Route 131."

The concern is to put too much waste through the downtown system. Brown said the pump station will eventually allow most of the sewage from Charles Pointe to tie into a line going under I-79. The pump station location, he said, would be around Hall Valley.

"Right now, the sewage is not an issue," said Brown. "A build out, though, would be an issue because the downtown particularly does not have the capacity to handle the waste."

The I-79 line would also need to be upgraded. Brown said a large pipe would need to be installed, but that would occur a few years after the pump station was operational.

"We’re not that far into this process," said Brown. "Still, we think it’s important to plan for development at Charles Pointe and the entire northern section of the city."

Genesis Partners, responsible for the development of Charles Pointe, agrees that the planning is critical.

"Genesis Partners, places great importance on planning for the future. It is critical if we are to sustain responsible growth that future infrastructure needs be addressed and planned for. Genesis Partners can be counted on to work with the Sanitary Board and city of Bridgeport to address these issues," said Robert Stuart, director of development for Genesis Partners.

How the line will be paid for is still up for discussion. However, the sewage lines can be tapped into by all development in the area. Sanitary Board members said.

Also, the Board decided to leave things status quo as it relates to odors emanating at the city’s wastewater treatment plant. A year after receiving daily complaints during the hot months, city officials said they’ve received less than a dozen complaints the entire summer.

Those at last week’s meeting as well as previous meetings, believe part of the smell in the past was related to the city accepting waste from haulers that included grease from restaurants.

The grease produces a rancid smell. Plant operators have said the smell is even worse than the sewage that is received there.

The city has since cut back greatly on the acceptance of sludge containing grease, which may have reduced the odor. However, the cooler summer also may have had something to do with reduced odor.

Mayor Jim Christie was hesitant to recommend eliminating sludge from being accepted at the treatment plant for a period of perhaps a month to see if the smell would decrease even more. He said that completely eliminating sludge would be a hardship to businesses because they would have to pay more to have grease hauled elsewhere. Still, if push comes to shove on the issue, that may still happen.

"If I have to side with someone, I’ll side with the residents because they don’t have an out," said Christie. "If it becomes a problem (and we’d have to eliminate accepting grease), the businesses at least have an out because there are other places to take it to. You just would hate to have to make that decision."

Christie and the rest of the board did not make any decision. Instead, they will leave things as they are and address future concerns if they arise.