WETHERSFIELD - The University of Connecticut (UConn) and the surrounding town of Mansfield is looking for additional water supplies, which the Metropolitan District Community (MDC) wants to provide.
Wethersfield, one of the MDC’s member towns, has been presented with the proposal for a 20-mile extension of its East Hartford pipeline to Mansfield, where the Four Corners sewer redevelopment project, which was prompted by groundwater contamination from leaking gas stations and failing septic systems, has created the need for an additional water source.
The demand has been further fueled by other development projects in the town, such as work being done at UConn’s depot campus, the UConn technology park and an assisted living community. The university anticipates needing an additional two million gallons of water per day, according to the Connecticut Mirror.
“There’s an insufficient amount of water there now and there will be even less,” said Chris Stone, an attorney for the MDC, to the Wethersfield Town Council at a meeting last Tuesday, Feb. 19.
MDC towns have 12 million gallons of water that is available, but goes unused each day, Stone said.
“We’re never going to do anything that diverts from our main mission of providing our eight member towns with a sufficient amount of water,” Stone said.
The line, once built, would be run by the MDC, with member towns paying for electricity and maintenance. The agreement, which will be with the state, is expected to last through the 30 years that it will take to repay the bond--at least--Stone said.
“What if you were getting all kinds of demand and you didn’t want to provide 30 years from now?” Councilor Jeff Kotkin asked Stone.
The agreement would likely have opt-out clauses, although walking away probably would not be easy, Stone speculated.
“Because it’s with the state, I think it would be kind of difficult to sever,” he said. “My mindset is that it would be permanent, with an out.”
The MDC would be capable of providing a maximum of five million gallons of water to Mansfield per day, Stone said. The sale of MDC water to the town has the potential to bring down service charge costs, he said.
Stone cited down trends in MDC water sales that started in the late 1980s, at 70 million gallons per day. The numbers have dipped to less than 50 million gallons per day today, he said.
“We thought that by 2012 we’d be selling over 100 million gallons of water per day,” Stone said.
The cause is not fewer customers, but much-needed water conservation efforts that have been working, according to Stone.
The proposed plan has been met with opposition, particularly from residents of Farmington, where fear that the MDC’s bid to take water from the Nepaug and Barkhamsted reservoirs, both part of the Farmington River Watershed, will deplete the Farmington River’s supply has prompted residents to attend community meetings held at UConn to air their grievances, as reported in The Hartford Courant.
The MDC still has to undergo a three- to four-month EAE review process.