Farmington residents with questions or concerns about the proposed Metropolitan District Commission water diversion project can attend a public hearing at 7 p.m. in the Human Resources Training Room at the UConn Health Center’s Munson Building, 16 Munson Road, Farmington. The public hearing will likely be the last event held in the Farmington Valley regarding the proposal before public comment on the issue closes Jan. 31.
The MDC proposal estimates that a new 20-mile pipeline could divert as much as 1.93 million gallons from the Farmington River basin each day.
Farmington Valley officials have expressed concern that the diversion would set a dangerous precedent for interbasin transfers, cause long-term water shortage issues in the Farmington Valley, and ultimately not solve the overarching issue.
“Securing additional sources of supply to meet these planned growth needs and maintaining an adequate margin of safety is essential to properly operating and managing a public water supply system,” said Thomas Callahan, UConn associate vice president.
Officials are also concerned about the process UConn has taken to determine the best options and said the process lacks transparency. Much of the discussion has centered around the Mansfield area, which would benefit from the proposal but until recently the Farmington Valley has been excluded.
The MDC held an informational meeting on the issue on Jan. 17 at the Farmington Town Hall.
The public is welcome to attend tonight's public hearing and comment on the Environmental Impact Evaluation, which lists the MDC as one of three viable options. Comments close on Jan. 31, after which comments will be responded to and a recommendation made by Milone & McBroom, who conducted the EIE. The state Office of Policy and Management will make the final decision, possibly in late spring or early summer, according to UConn Associate Vice President Tom Callahan.
The environmental impact, study and links for commenting can be found here.
Written comments should be sent to: Jason M. Coite, University of Connecticut – Office of Environmental Policy 31 LeDoyt Road, U-3055 Storrs, Connecticut 06269