Critical Provisions for Hartford and East Hartford Levees Championed by Larson Signed into Law
Hartford, CT – Today Congressman John Larson (CT-01) released the following statement after the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 was signed into law, which contained a provision Larson fought to include, directing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct expedited feasibility reports on repairing the Hartford and East Hartford levee systems:
“These levee systems keep the communities of Hartford and East Hartford safe and protect critical infrastructure for the region. However, the Army Corps of Engineers has identified repairs to these aging systems that are needed to prevent the risk of a catastrophic flooding event. The signing of the 2018 federal water resources bill is a crucial step for Hartford and East Hartford to gain eligibility for federal funding to rehabilitate these levees. Extreme weather events that increase in likelihood due to climate change are more reason to take this threat seriously. I express my gratitude to Chairman Bill Shuster and Ranking Member Peter DeFazio for working with me on this issue and for their hard work on this bipartisan bill. I’d also like to thank Senator Blumenthal and Senator Murphy for championing these provisions through the Senate,” said Larson.
The Hartford and East Hartford levee systems were originally constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers after catastrophic flooding during the hurricanes of 1936 and 1938. For over 70 years, the levees have protected both of these communities from the risk of flooding, however, the Army Corps has identified serious deficiencies that will require significant repairs if these aging systems are going to hold up. On the Hartford side alone, the system protects a significant portion of the city’s grand list including prime commercial, institutional, and residential real estate. Failure of the levees would jeopardize the I-84/I-91 interchange, the state’s largest waste-water treatment plant, among other critical infrastructure for the region.
Congress traditionally takes up a WRDA bill every two years to authorize new water projects such as levees, dams, and harbors, and to provide direction to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. WRDA 2018 directs the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to expedite the completion of a feasibility report on rehabilitation of the Hartford and East Hartford levee systems. Competition of the feasibility report is a required step in the U.S. Army Corps’ project development process before a project can proceed to rehabilitation work. This is a critical step towards getting federal funding to make necessary repairs to the Hartford and East Hartford levee systems.