Tilcon mining impact study done, but report lags

Published on Thursday, 11 January 2018 22:39
Written by LISA BACKUS


NEW BRITAIN - All of the elements of the environmental study of the proposed Tilcon mining expansion have been completed, according to a Jan. 5 filing with the state Water Planning Council.

The only component left to be done before the city, the WPC, the Council on Environmental Quality, the legislature and the public can see the study is the final written report.

The firm hired by the city, Lenard Engineering of Glastonbury, has been conducting an environmental study of the area for months.

Its original proposal for a 15-week study was rejected by the WPC and the CEQ, the state agencies that deal with water planning and environmental issues. The city can’t move forward with the plan, which includes getting it before the state legislature for a vote, until the study is completed and reviewed by both agencies.

Stewart indicated by email Thursday that the WPC would like the written report completed by its Feb. 8 meeting.

WPC Chairman John Betkoski was out of state Thursday and couldn’t be reached for comment. His staff said the WPC and CEQ would like to have the report before they finish work on the state’s water plan, which details all water sources and resources and how they should be used.

The agencies will receive the final report at the same time as the city, Stewart said.

The law that enabled the city to hire a consultant to review the environmental impact of the plan details the timeframe that state and city officials and the public have to examine the finished document before the legislature takes action.

Under the proposal, Tilcon would mine 131 acres of New Britain-owned protected watershed land off Woodford Avenue in Plainville for 40 to 50 years before returning it to New Britain as a reservoir.

The legislature must vote to approve a change of use for the land in order for Tilcon to mine the property.

Opponents are concerned that if the proposal is approved by the General Assembly, watersheds throughout the state would be imperiled.

The proposal has been contested by environmental groups and area residents, who fought a similar plan that died in 2008.

Tilcon was hoping to get the plan approved by the legislature during the 2017 session, but the WPC and CEQ shot down the proposed 15-week environmental study in favor of a year-long study that looked at wildlife and other factors in every season.

Lenard has been required to file progress updates on the study monthly with the WPC.

The most recent filing received on Jan. 5, indicates that every aspect of the study outlined by the WPC and CEQ has been “100 percent” completed, with the exception of the draft report, which is 90 percent complete, and the final version of the report, which is “50 percent” complete.

Jim Ericson, a Lenard vice presidnet, did not return a phone call seeking comment on Thursday.

The public will be allowed to view the final version of the study 15 days after the CEQ and the WPC provide comment on the report.

Lisa Backus can be reached at 860-801-5066 or Lbackus@centralctcommunications.com.

Posted in New Britain Herald, New Britain, Plainville on Thursday, 11 January 2018 22:39. Updated: Thursday, 11 January 2018 22:41.