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Milbrook & North Mianus Sewer Extension Projects
Frequently Asked Questions

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This section has been updated, given the completion of the North Mianus project and requests from a June 17, 2004 public meeting. The questions are grouped by topic area; you may use the links below to take you to a section.

Financial and Assessment Questions

Question: When will the final project costs be known?
Answer: The Department of Public Works expects to notify the Town's Comptroller that all contract work is complete in the Fall 2004. By the Sewer Charter, the Town's Comptroller certifies project costs, which are then provided to the Condemnation Commission. Finance expects cost certification to take approximately two months to complete.

Question: How will the sewer assessments be set, and when?
Answer: Sewer assessments are the sharing of project costs by all homeowners who will be serviced and benefit by the new sewer lines. The Greenwich Condemnation Commission will establish these assessments, using the certified project costs provided by the Town Comptroller.

At this time we cannot predict the precise manner or formula that will be used by the Condemnation Commission, but there will be notification of a public hearing when the Commission has developed the assessment for each property. Property owners will be notified of this public hearing by certified mail.

Question: What has been the Town's policy on sewer assessments? Will this project be different?
Answer: Historically, through a formal process, the Board of Estimate and Taxation votes and has assessed those within a sewer extension area 100% of the total costs to install the new sewer lines. The Board of Estimate and Taxation voted to assess 100% of the project costs to the homeowners for the Milbrook and North Mianus sewer extensions. The Town has paid half of the cost of major trunk lines. However, no major trunk lines were installed in the North Mianus projects.

Question: Is road paving part of the sewer assessment?
Answer: Repaving the road is a standard expense for installing sewers, regardless of the road age. Typically, road trenches are repaired temporarily, giving time for all settlement to occur. Following this temporary trench repair, a more extensive permanent trench repair is performed. If the condition of the road is poor, a full overlay will be done in lieu of the final permanent trench repair.

In North Mianus, on Palmer Hill Road and lower Valley Road, it was necessary to provide additional material because of an existing concrete road base. The cost of the additional material and related labor was paid through the Highway Division Paving Account, and was not a cost to the sewer project.

Question: Is it too late to change the allocation of project costs?
Answer: The BET voted that 100% of the cost of the sewer extensions would be assessed to the individual benefited property owners. This decision was endorsed at the full Representative Town Meeting (RTM).

Question: How much will my sewer tax bill be once I hook up? When will I begin receiving this bill?
Answer: The Town has a separate budget for the maintenance and repair of the sewer collection and treatment system. The charges are placed on people within the sewer district as part of the special sewer mill rate. For FY 04/05, the established sewer mill rate is 0.55. Sewer taxes are billed with real estate property taxes, twice per year (January and July). Newly sewered properties added to the grand list by September of each year are placed on the October Grand List, and would then receive their first sewer tax bill in July of the following year.

    For these projects, properties will be added to the sewer benefit area tax rolls as follows:
  • First step: The final sewer extension property list and the certified project costs are provided to Condemnation Commission.
  • Second step: After the public hearing, the Condemnation Commission will file the final benefit assessments and provide the updated sewer benefit area map, property list, and the benefits to be assessed to each parcel to the Town Clerk.
  • The Town Clerk coordinates with the Tax Assessor and Collector offices to bill the benefited property owners.

Question: I have an undeveloped lot. Will it be assessed?
Answer: If you have a legal building lot, it will be assessed. During our public information sessions we recommended that property owners contact the Project Engineers to be sure we knew the lot existed. The Greenwich Condemnation Commission will determine lot assessments.

Question: I have apartments on my property. How will this affect my sewer assessment?
Answer: The Greenwich Condemnation Commission will determine the sewer assessment formulas to be applied across the project to all property types.

Question: I have an oversized lot and am considering subdividing it. How will this affect my assessment? If I have another lateral stub installed during construction, will I be assessed twice?
Answer: The Greenwich Condemnation Commission will determine the assessment formulas to be applied across the project to all properties. If you have an oversized lot, this will be considered during the assessment procedure.

Question: I am already on a sewer. Will I get assessed as part of this project?
Answer: This issue will be addressed by the Condemnation Commission during their deliberations.

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Questions About Your House Lateral

Question: Where were the lateral connections/stubs installed? How will we find them?
Answer: While the contractor was installing the sewer line in the street, he also installed a wye connection and stub from the new sewer to your property line. You will connect your lateral (a pipe running from your home) to this stub. Through the sewer connection permit process, you will be supplied with a "swing tie" sheet, which provides your lateral connection location information. Please check with the Sewer Division for more specific information on this issue.

Each of the Town's sewer installation contractors was required to provide all homeowners in their area with a wooden stake and an information card. The stake and card were provided at least 2 weeks before the sewer line was to be installed past a given property. The property owner was to place the stake in the ground at the desired location for the end point of the home's lateral. During the public information sessions and throughout the project, the Department of Public Works suggested contacting a local plumber and/or contractor or the Project Engineer to obtain advice on the lateral location. If a property owner did not place a stake at the property line, the lateral was then installed at the location shown on the contract design plans. These locations were determined by house investigations completed during the project's design phase.

Question: Where does the Town sewer lateral stub stop near my house?
Answer: The lateral stub from the main line sewer will stop approximately at your property line. If your property line is very close to the road, the lateral stub extends about 5 feet beyond the edge of the pavement to minimize road damage when you make a connection.

Question: Who do I call to get my lateral installed?
Answer: The Town is not responsible for the installation of the lateral on private property. It is the property owner's responsibility to contract with an installer. A list of contractors that have performed lateral installations within Greenwich may be obtained
here. This list is solely for your information and convenience. You may use other contractors provided they have a plumbing license and follow Town standards.

Question: How much should I expect to pay for the lateral installation?
Answer: Lateral costs are highly dependent on many variables, including the length, the amount of rock encountered, depth, and other site specific conditions. You may wish to obtain quotes from more than one contractor to ensure that the cost is fair and reasonable.

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Questions About the Connection Process

Question: My septic system works fine. Do I have to hook up to the sewer system?
Answer: The North Mianus and Milbrook sewer extension projects were initiated for several important reasons. First and foremost, the vast majority of the housing lots are relatively small amongst rock and ledge. Existing septic systems often do not work or do not meet existing state health codes in these areas. This has been long recognized and both areas were formally placed in the planned sewer area by the RTM over 15 years ago. In some cases the ground water has also been found to be contaminated as a result of the existing faulty septic systems. For these reasons, everyone within the North Mianus and Milbrook approved sewer district is expected to hook into the sewer system when it exists.

Question: How do I decommission my septic tank?
Answer: When septic tanks are abandoned, the property owner shall take steps to empty the chamber of all septage waste and then either have the chamber filled with clean sand and gravel, or crush the structure and backfill the area with clean soil. The responsibility for abandonment lies with the property owner. The homeowner must file a septic abandonment form with the Town Health Department. The Sewer Division provides this form to homeowners during the sewer connection permit process.

Question: Do I need any permits for my own lateral?
Answer: Homeowners need a permit to connect to the sewer from the Town's Sewer Division. Additional information can be found

Some homeowners will also need a wetland permit if your sewer lateral will be installed in or near wetlands on your property. If your home requires a wetlands permit, you must apply to the Town of Greenwich IWWA prior to installing the lateral to your home.

Questions on wetlands issues can be directed to:
Our Town's Inland/Wetlands office.

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If You Need a Pump-Low Pressure Sewer System

Question: Why would I need a pump for my sewer?
Answer: You may need a Town supplied pump for three reasons:

  1. If the sewer in the street is a low-pressure sewer line, you must have a pump in order to access the line.
  2. If the sewer in the street is a gravity sewer but the first floor elevation of your home is below the road elevation, it is likely that you will need to use a pump to lift the sewage up to the gravity sewer.
  3. If the sewer in the street is a gravity sewer and the first floor elevation of your home is above the road but you have water-using facilities in your basement that may be below the elevation of the sewer, you may need a pump to lift the sewage up to the gravity sewer.

Question: How do I know if I need a pump?
Answer: You will be notified by the Department of Public Works in your letter authorizing your connection to the sewer if you require a pump. All homes on low-pressure sewers will need a pump. If you have additional questions regarding pumps, please contact the Sewer Division.

Question: If I need a pump, how do I obtain it? When do I get it? Who installs it? Who pays for it?
Answer: The pump cost and a portion of its installation are part of the project costs and were assessed to all users at the completion of the project.

The Project provides all of the pumps for low-pressure sewers and homes that cannot connect to gravity sewers with a gravity lateral. During the permit process, you will be identified as requiring a pump, which will be supplied to your site by Town Sewer Division personnel, scheduled with your contractor.

The installation will consist of placing the pump unit in your yard in an excavated hole. You will be responsible for the installation and cost to:

  • Connect the lateral leaving your home to the pump and into the Town sewer.
  • Attach a power conduit and wire to the pump unit.
  • Decommission your septic tank (this is mandatory).

Please Note: The Town will cover $1,000 of the pump installation cost. This $1,000 should be deducted from homeowner's bill and the contractor will be responsible for receiving this money from the Town.

Question: What are the electrical requirements for the pump?
The grinder pump requires a 240 volt single phase power source. The manufacturer recommends a 30 amp breaker, but the unit only draws 8 amps. Clothes dryers, central air conditioning, and electric stoves all generally run on 240 volt single phase power, thus if your home has any of these appliances, then you have the basic power source for the pump.

Question: What happens if I am on a pump system and electrical power goes out?
Answer: If your home is without power, the pump unit will not work. It is important that you restrict water use until power is restored.

The unit comes complete with a 70-gallon storage tank, which will provide some storage during a power failure. Remember, in a power outage, much less water is used by a family. Washing machines and dishwashers will not work, and most people will take fewer and shorter showers in cold water.

If an extreme outage (long duration) occurs, the Town will provide assistance to the homeowners to power the pumps, or pump the accumulated sewage on an as needed basis.

Question: I will require a pump, but I often travel or am away for long periods of time. What happens when I am away?
Answer: The pump comes complete with a level sensor that activates the pump. There is also a high-level alarm sensor. The alarm can be connected to a home security system if you wish and a security company can be notified of the alarm. Obviously, when you are away the need for the pump is significantly reduced due to the lack of usage of water within the home.

Question: What maintenance is necessary with a pump?
Answer: The town will maintain the pumps with a local company. The details have yet to be finalized but it is expected that any repairs and maintenance needs will be a phone call away with a 24-hour on-call firm. The costs of this will be covered by the Town's Sewer Fund.

There are no routine maintenance requirements, and no annual oil changes or service needs.

Question: Why can't I use a pump in my septic tank?
Answer: The Town Health Department requires septic tanks to be abandoned.

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