Study Commissioned by City on Strip Mining Watershed Land Submitted to State

Lenard Engineering, Inc. has completed its report, done for the city administration of Republican Mayor Erin Stewart, as part of a process for the city to request that it be permitted to allow strip mining on New Britain’s protected watershed lands by the Tilcon company.

The study was presented to the state Water Planning Council and Council on Environmental Quality.

Patton Brook Well culvert near Shuttle Meadow Reservoir  (Photo taken Sunday, November 5, 2017)

The study, as shown in its executive summary, largely reflects points made by Tilcon and the Stewart administration in support of the strip mining plan. Those points include trading mining on protected watershed land in exchange for land promised for open space, delaying, though not preventing, the impact of mining operations on nearby New Britain residents and the creation of a new reservoir in the hole left after the mining is complete.

A representative of the Water Planning Council told the New Britain Progressive that the Water Planning Council and Council on Environmental Quality will review the report, “to determine the potential impact on the environment and the purity and adequacy of the existing and future public water supply and provide guidance to the New Britain Water Department on the suitability of the best management practices identified in the report for protecting the environment, the public water supply, and public health.” Within ninety days, the two councils will present their comments as a result of this review to the city of New Britain.

The city then has fifteen days to post the report and the comments from the two state councils on the city website and thirty days to hold a public hearing on the report. Residents will also be given thirty days to submit comments on the plan to the state Water Planning Council.

According to the Water Planning Council (WPC) representative, “The WPC, within 60 days after the public hearing and in consultation with CEQ, must submit to the legislature’s Environment and Public Health committees the following items: 1. the third party’s report on its environmental study, 2. the councils’ comments, 3. a summary of public comments on the report and the councils’ comments, and 4. the councils’ recommendations.”

Since the proposed mining on protected watershed land would require a special exception or change in state law, only the state legislature can decide to authorize it.

Editor’s note: The full study, which is a large, 546MB, file can be downloaded from the state Water Planning Council by clicking on this link.