Normally a ribbon cutting for business hookup to a sewer line wouldn’t bring out anybody, let alone state leaders and the press, but when it ends a more than eight-year odyssey and removes a potential threat to the bay, the top brass shows up.
Governor Lincoln Chafee, Warwick Mayor Scott Avedesian and state Representative Joe Trillo all congratulated Pat Norton for seeing the project through and, as Mayor Avedesian said, “Doing the right thing."
Over eight years ago, the two septic systems at the marina began to fail, forcing the marina to do pump-outs two to three times a week because there was no way to bring the septic systems up to current standards. There was also a possibility of heavy fines had there actually been an outflow into the bay.
Norton’s is one of those Warwick/East Greenwich connected businesses, located in Warwick but accessible only by going through East Greenwich.
Because of their location on the East Greenwich line, they first sought and received approval from the town to connect to the East Greenwich system.
However after failed negotiations with a neighboring property owner, Norton’s turned to Amtrak, which ultimately granted an easement so the sewer line could run under the tracks and be connected to the Warwick sewer system.
The DEM issued an executive order to the marina, telling them the problem had to be solved. Then, according to Norton, worked with them for a resolution.
Jay Manning of the DEM said part of the hookup cost was covered by a grant from the 2004 Bay and Watershed Restoration Fund, an environmental fund approved by voters on the heels of a huge fish kill in the bay.
Norton said if she hadn’t been able to complete the hookup it wouldn’t have put her out of business, but life would have been miserable.
Asked if it opened possibilities such as expansion, she declared emphatically that she doesn’t want to expand, but just take care of her customers and keep the bay waters clean.
A long time Rhode Island business, Norton’s opened in Newport in 1945 and moved to its current location in 1966.