Bill aimed at helping Hartford residents impacted by flooding has been stalled

MDC oversight bill stalled
Published: May. 4, 2023 at 5:38 PM EDT
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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Sewage damage and flooding have been a problem in parts of Hartford’s north end for years.

A bill aimed at helping residents affected won’t be moving forward as is.

Lawmakers are trying to figure out if they will amend the bill or find a different way to get residents help.

The assistance is desperately needed.

“It’s hard for me to even let people know I’m in this situation,” said Sharon Lewis of Hartford.

Photos show the damage left behind after thousands of gallons of sewage flooded Lewis’ home in Hartford.

“The water from the street filled up my basement. My basement became a swimming pool,” Lewis said.

That happened back in December and Lewis has been living in a hotel ever since.

The city of Hartford said her home was too dangerous to live in. The loss was uninsured.

“The stress is overwhelming. Just overwhelming,” Lewis said.

Activists say thousands of residents in the north end of Hartford have been dealing with basement floods and septic overflow issues for decades.

“It is a horrible thing to see people whose businesses shut down. They have daycares, they cannot operate them,” said Civil Rights Attorney Cynthia Jennings.

The Metropolitan District, or MDC, is the company that provides drinking water and sewage services to the Hartford area.

A bill was introduced in the legislature, calling for more oversight of the MDC and funds to help residents impacted by the flooding.

Senator Derek Slap, who co-sponsored the bill, said the MDC needs reform.

In a statement he said in part: “Without assistance, sections of Hartford, West Hartford and other towns will continue to see issues for many years to come.”

“We are continuing this crusade, this fight, because it is one Connecticut for us,” said Bridgitte Prince, Community Activist.

The MDC told Eyewitness News it’s working 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.”

Residents say the help is needed fast.

Lewis said she doesn’t know when she’ll be able to go home or what comes next for her.

A Go Fund Me page has been made for her. You can find it HERE.

Lawmakers said they are trying to figure out how to move the legislation forward, but next steps are unclear.