Bill would help Hartford residents affected by sewage backups

Published: May. 3, 2023 at 11:17 PM EDT|Updated: May. 4, 2023 at 7:13 AM EDT
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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - A new bill pushes for more oversite of the Metropolitan District Commission of Hartford after basement floods and septic overflow issues were never fixed for residents in the city’s north end.

Businesses haven’t been able to reopen, and families have been living in unsafe conditions.

The pending legislative bill, which lawmakers have called the ‘ultimate MDC cleanup bill,’ details ethical reform and will allocate funds to help affected homes and businesses.

“Not only reimburse folks that have really been devastated by the flooding but at the same time, invest in projects, improvements that will prevent this from happening over and over again,” said Sen. Derek Slap, a Democrat who represents the state’s 5th District.

The main issue, according to lawmakers and advocates, is with the MDC, the company that provides drinking water and sewer services to the Hartford area.

Mayor Luke Bronin has cited the age of the sewer system as the main problem.

“Our whole storm sewer system, and our sewer system, were built more than a century ago, for the most part. It’s an ancient system, and the work is trying to separate the sewer from the storm sewer,” said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin.

Lawmakers called on the chairman of the MDC to resign.

They said the issues have been going on for decades.

Slap said he supports the bill.

“We can do this,” Slap said. “This amendment would accomplish a lot, and it would really use state resources to say that this is an emergency, and these businesses and families need relief now.”

“The provisions of the bill are unreasonable, unnecessary, and have the potential to cause significant harm,” the MDC said in testimony back in February.

Slap said it will take some time, but some people are skeptical and said they want to see immediate action.

“It’s a great first step, but this community has been going through this for a long time and have really dealt with a lot of broken promises,” said Bridgitte Prince, community activist. “The bottom line is seeing is believing.”

Lawmakers canceled a scheduled news conference for Thursday.

However, the Greater Hartford African American Alliance said it will hold its own at the state capitol at 10:30 a.m.