Reader: City's water resources must be preserved

Published on Thursday, 15 December 2016 18:30
Written by

Paul E. Zagorsky

New Britain

To the Editor:

I am concerned that critical information about our valuable water resources has been withheld from the public.

In August, the Common Council approved selling Patton Brook Well (which has a 1.207 million gallons per day permitted withdrawal capacity) to Southington. The rationale: we have an over-abundance of water, we don’t utilize it and don’t need it.

Alderman Chris Polkowski, the council’s liaison to the Water Commission, speaking in support of the sale in July, stated it benefits Southington because “they are currently under a drought warning and this would help increase their water capacity.”

He didn’t say New Britain had been in a drought (Water Supply Alert) since May of 2016. The public was notified on Oct. 12, six months too late, when Mayor Stewart issued a press release.

This summer Southington put in place voluntary and, in some instances, mandatory water conservation efforts. Fred Rogers, Southington’s water director recently said it was in no hurry to go through with the possible Patton Brook purchase because it had an “ample water supply,” as it notified residents at the outset of the drought about the need to conserve. New Britain’s failure to notify the public has forced us to now buy water from the MDC for $500,000 a month.

Tilcon’s proposal to quarry protected watershed puts our water supply at further risk. In a March, 2016 Town Hall meeting, Tilcon stated that, after it was done mining in 50 years, a new reservoir would be created, holding 4.7 billion gallons of water which would increase the city’s yield by 160,000 gallons a day.

Tilcon and the city did not tell the public the water that would be lost by the destruction of the watershed which drains toward the West Canal and ultimately into Shuttle Meadow Reservoir. The amount, never to be recovered, is in the billions:, 70,000 gallons per day (after 10 years of quarrying) to 160,000 gallons per day (after 50 years).

The last information came from a Lenard Engineering, Inc. Oct. 15, 2007 Tilcon Quarry Reservoir Study commissioned by the city, which stated significant data for model input was obtained from Tilcon’s engineering consultant. In June 2016, the city contracted with LEI to do the independent environmental study on the protected watershed. How much Tilcon data will LEI rely on in doing the 2016 study?

Our water resources must be protected and preserved, not sold and destroyed.

Posted in New Britain Herald, Letters on Thursday, 15 December 2016 18:30. Updated: Thursday, 15 December 2016 18:32.