WESTPORT - An overabundance of water reaching Westport's wastewater treatment plant is going to place an additional burden on town residents.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation is requiring the town to come up with a flow management plan for the facility after finding it takes in 30 percent more water than it is supposed to.
The plant is certified by the DEC to collect 135,000 gallons per day, but was found to take in an average of about 175,000 gallons per day in 2008. Supervisor Daniel Connell said the problem comes from ground water seeping into the sewage system.
"Whenever it rains, it's almost immediate," he said. "There's a huge increase in in-flows."
Connell said the town has been working to solve the problem by running several tests on the sewage system.
"It's very frustrating," said Connell. "We just can't find where it's coming from."
The two options now, Connell said, were to either ask the DEC to increase the amount of intake allowed at the plant, or find a way to cut down on the infiltration of ground water.
The DEC has ordered the study to be completed by April 30. Connell said he intends to request that deadline be extended until the end of June. He anticipates the cost of the study to run as high as $10,000.
The order comes after the DEC fined the town for the excess water earlier this year.
Originally built in the 1960s, the sewage system was given a $4.4 million upgrade last year with a new collection line on South Main Street.
"With ground water going through the system, you're treating water instead of sewage," he said.
If the town can find a way to reduce the infiltration, Connell said, it will mean the town will be able to save itself from buying extra treatment chemicals.