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Brookfield WPCA Budget Narrative – FY2023-24

It is useful to offer a narrative to accompany the budget to tell the story behind the numbers. There is much more on the activity of the WPCA at the website.

Operations Staff and Building

The Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA) has full responsibility for its own finances as a stand-alone Enterprise Fund of the Town of Brookfield. The duties for the volunteer board have increased substantially over the past several years with system growth. With the recent gain of customers, a full time Operations Manager was installed in January 2023.

In 2018 the WPCA occupied an Operations Center at 53A Commerce Road. The two-story building includes 3000 sq ft of space and a fully equipped conference room to allow for virtual & hybrid meetings. It is financed with a 25-year conventional mortgage.

Accommodating Growth

Several important sewer system improvement projects were undertaken recently. These included improvements in station electronic monitoring and the GIS system, making field service more efficient with the use of wireless smart tablets to show what is underground from any spot in Town.

The Route 133 Pump Station has undergone a significant upgrade to handle growth in the Town Center District including a larger tank to reduce pump cycling, a modern backup generator and other enhancements to accommodate more efficient pumps in the near future.

The Commission

The Commission has six volunteer members. Most have served for several years. There are currently two alternate openings on the WPCA board. The Commission Chairman has been active with the CT Counsel of Small Towns ( and the Connecticut Water Environment Association ( that has a particular focus on wastewater and waterbodies in the state. In 2022 the Brookfield WPCA Chairman worked with the CT House Majority Leader on the Wastewater and Sewage Systems Working Group of the Commission on Connecticut’s Development and Future.

As to outside services, the Authority uses engineering, accounting, billing, legal, technology and other support services as needed. The engineering work includes maintaining and upgrading the sewer layer on the Town’s Geographical Information System (GIS). The Commission attorney that has served the Brookfield WPCA for nearly 30 years retired and a new attorney is engaged. The accounting firm, Bliss Allred and Company, has served the WPCA for 8 years. The WPCA accounting system has been routinely commended by Town auditors.

Recent Initiatives

There were two Clean Water Fund (CWF) grants awarded in May 2019.

1) Facilities Plan took an extensive look at current operations and examined costs 5 and 10 years in the future to 2030. This planning study is required by State Statute. The Facilities Plan was completed spring 2020 and is available online at
2) Candlewood Lake Studies. This 2020 study examined the influence of septic discharges on the lake and the well water supply on or near the Candlewood Peninsula. The investigation captured the current situation and proposed ways to reduce E-coli, phosphorus, nitrogen and PFAS contamination. This area is undergoing further study as a subject of a 55% CWF grant from the CT DEEP. Details of the investigation can be seen online at

Two other study initiatives without grants were also recently completed.

3) Dean and Pocono Roads. This involved a study of the viability of capturing septic system outfall for ninety 1950-era homes along the Still River. This study was completed in cooperation with the Housatonic Valley Association with a specific focus on the Still River watershed to reduce E-coli and nutrient contamination. Further work is underway toward a complete design in 2023. The latest is available online at

4) Brookfield Market Area. Various approaches to installing sewer service in the have been investigated to design a value engineered system in this historical area. Permission has been granted by the State to cross over the Route 25 bridge under the pavement. This sewer extension would service only 9 properties near the Still River with challenged septic systems. Since the cost is higher than these properties can be assessed, a grant was applied for and awarded for $500,000 which roughly covers half the cost. A final design was presented to affected property owners late 2022. See

Recent Developments

Treatment Capacity

The State requirements for each town to achieve a quota of Affordable and Incentive Housing has upset the equilibrium of sewer capacity for small towns across the Connecticut. The high-density housing requires city water and sewer. Brookfield is no exception. In Brookfield, sewers were originally intended to serve commercial growth. But the recent surge of housing has consumed the treatment capacity to the point where the WPCA has had to declare a sewer moratorium that limits allowable sewer flow by lot size, effective January 1, 2022. Brookfield is working with neighboring towns to acquire more capacity, but for now available capacity is set aside for projects already approved.

The WPCA Enterprise

The WPCA Enterprise Fund accounting is fully separated from the Town and on a full accrual accounting basis. The WPCA is included as a fiscally independent business activity in the Town audit. This is different from Town accounting using government Revenue Fund rules.

Infrastructure costs must be fully funded by user rates. The Facilities Plan outlines future cash needs for upgrades. With cash on hand and no rate change, it was predicted that the capital reserve fund will be exhausted in the year 2025. The Facilities Plan projects capital needs at $3.7 million for the next 7 years. But it is not needed all at once. Consequently, a staged increase of $20 per unit per year was implemented from the beginning if FY 2022 through FY 2024 to cover the cost of capital requirements.

The other alternative to funding needed improvements would be to levy a special assessment on users. Other towns have done that, but this has never been done in Brookfield. The opinion of the Commission is that a special assessment is complicated and costly to manage.

Rate Structure

Customer sewer rates are based on a “Unit” charge to fund operations as provided for by State Statute. Each household is one unit. Commercial establishments all have a formula to determine the usage rate according to WPCA Rules and Regulations. The Commission has explored charging by water usage for commercial customers. This strategy will require commercial customers to install a water meter which is cumbersome and costly to implement. There are no plans to do so. Only a small fraction of commercial customers are on city water.

Covid-19 Impact

It remains difficult to predict and evaluate the impact of the health emergency. Overall, the wastewater flows had not decreased during the pandemic. That means costs have remained unchanged despite the economic downturn.

Planning Grant

In 2022 Brookfield obtained a $1,500,000 planning grant to set a preliminary design with engineering cost estimates to introduce a complete collection system for several communities along the Still River at Dean and Pocono Roads and on the Candlewood Peninsula and neighboring areas. The purpose is to capture wastewater with its pollutants and nutrients to arrest pollution into the waterways and community wells. Part of this 2022 study will be to determine how to handle the wastewater. One potential option is an in-town prepackaged, pre-engineered waste treatment plant. Stand-by.

Cost of Operations by Flow

For the last several years produced approximately 320,000 gallons per day (0.32MGD). Prior to last year there were few new customers to offset a loss of revenue from lost businesses, mostly in the Town Center. Business closures, temporary and permanent, put a strain on the budget with rising operations costs. For 2023 the number of units is projected to increase by 12 percent with the addition of new housing and businesses this year.

All sanitary wastewater flow is sent to the Regional Danbury Wastewater Treatment (WWTP) plant under the supervision of the CT DEEP and by an InterLocal agreement with Danbury. A revised agreement anticipated in 2022 will allow a flow from Brookfield of up to 380,000 GPD (gallons per day) down from 500,000 GPD due to new Phosphorous mitigation requirements imposed on the Danbury WWTP. The final cost and financing of the Brookfield portion is yet to be disclosed by Danbury but is anticipated at roughly $4,000,000. At this writing, it appears that the treatment plant is working better than designed which may allow an increase in the Brookfield allocation later this fiscal year. The installation of catch pans under many manhole covers resulted in a significant reduction of rainwater infiltration which allows for more wastewater treatment to use the allotted capacity.

For the WPCA to cover the Brookfield share of the Danbury plant upgrade, an additional $40 per unit per year is collected as a “Plant Charge” to generate accrue the needed funds. These funds are isolated in a separate account to partially fund the Brookfield portion of the Danbury Plant expansion now operational since April 2022.

Rate Setting

The 2023 annual rate is set at $480 per unit with the $40/year Plant Charge. Staged increases of $20 per unit per year sustain the operations as required. Brookfield rates will still be below the average CT state sewer charge. The full report is available at

Budget Summary

The operating budget in a simple form can be divided into five categories. See the table below. The Administration category includes outside legal, accounting and audit costs.

In round figures, the Brookfield WPCA has assets of $25 million. The WPCA holds $3.1 million in bonds and loans against 4 discrete sewer districts. This requires a total of $600,000 in debt service, principal and interest, funded by users in each sewer district. Funds to pay each bond note or to make upgrades within each sewer district are kept separate and restricted bank accounts as required by Resolution. User obligations are attached to land records, virtually assuring collection.

WPCA Budgeted Expenses FY 2023-2024

Cost Element

Cost in $, 000s

Percent of Total

Danbury Fees


15 %

Plant Charge



Employee Costs





14 %




Contribution to Capital


23 %




Narrative Summary

As with any utility the operation must be competent—

Also, high values for the Commission are

The WPCA Commission has given focus to its employees and continues to give this area focus—a challenge for a volunteer board. A high value is to conduct this enterprise so as to reflect positively on the WPCA and Brookfield.

Download Recent Budgets as PDF