HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — North Hartford residents who have experienced regular flooding continue to urge the state legislature for help.
“I don’t have a lot of money, and I know it’s going to run out really soon,” Sharon Lewis said. “I don’t even want to think about it.”
The Hartford resident said she has been forced to live in a hotel since December because her house was condemned when stormwater and sewage flooded the basement.
“The water was so high my oil tank was bobbing like the Titanic,” she said. “My hot water was underwater.”
Flooding is an issue thousands of north Hartford residents have been fighting for years, but they said all they’ve received are broken promises.
“I’m more traumatized by the quote, unquote ‘help,” Lewis said.
Members of the Greater Hartford African American Alliance gathered on Thursday outside the Capitol in Hartford, calling on lawmakers to pass a bill to help homeowners and hold the Metropolitan District Commission accountable.
The group said lawmakers were scheduled to stand alongside them, but canceled Wednesday night.
“The timeline continues to shift, and all we want to know is when are you going to put shovels in the ground in North Hartford,” said Cynthia Jennings, a community activist.
Connecticut House Speaker Rep. Matt Ritter (D-District 1), said he met with DEEP’s commissioner Wednesday and that there are immediate solutions to short-term projects.
“The DEEP commissioner believes she can do that without legislation,” Ritter said. “She has access to funds, grants, clean water fund programs already in statute and get those short programs up and running.”
Ritter said tens of millions of dollars must be committed to long-term projects — and DEEP, MDC leaders and Hartford city officials must collaborate to come up with answers.
“The three agencies involved in this have assured me, in three meetings in the last 10 days, there will be shovels and personnel on the ground working on residential homes this summer,” Ritter said. “If not, we will have a hearing up here in the legislature to find out why.”
The MDC released the following statement to News 8:
The MDC continues to work with our regulators at EPA and CT DEEP as well as federal, state and municipal officials on short term and long term solutions to sewer infrastructure improvements going forward as part of the next steps for the Clean Water Project, an over $1.6 billion program to mitigate sewer overflows.