NEW BRITAIN – City officials have moved the June 26 public hearing on the environmental study of the proposed Tilcon mining expansion to Gaffney Elementary School.
The hearing on the environmental study and comments provided by the state Water Planning Council and state Council on Environmental Quality will begin at 7 p.m. The Board of Commissioners will meet at 6 p.m. During the water commission meeting, representatives from the city and Lenard Engineering are expected to present information on the project.
Tilcon is proposing mining 74 acres of protected watershed in Plainville for 40 years before turning the quarry over to the city as a “storage reservoir.” Tilcon would donate open space to New Britain, Plainville and Southington as part of the deal. The company will also pay the city mining rights – a figure that has not been disclosed.
Tilcon offered the city $15 million to mine the same property in 2007 in a proposal that died amid strong opposition.
The most recent proposal which was panned by both the WPC and the CEQ has also faced stiff opposition. The CEQ received more than 200 letters from residents and environmental advocates who oppose the plan. Environmentalists fear that a change in use for the watershed could imperil protected watersheds throughout the state.
In its comments to the city, the WPC said the mining could put the local drinking water supply at risk for decades. The watershed Tilcon wants to mine acts as tributary to Shuttle Meadow Reservoir.
City officials including Ray Esponda, the acting head of the water department said the storage reservoir was needed to protect the city water supply during times of drought.
Lisa Backus can be reached at 860-801-5066 or Lbackus@centralctcommunications.com.