Storrs water plan approved
Published: Friday, September 27, 2013
Updated: Friday, September 27, 2013 01:09
The state Office of Policy Management approved an evaluation for a plan by the University of Connecticut and town of Mansfield to bring an additional 2.2 million gallons of water per day to the area, clearing the first major obstacle for the project.
The university has spent more than five years developing an Environmental Impact Evaluation, an analysis required by the state, which identifies alternatives and potential impacts associated with the water expansion plan.
The UConn Board of Trustees endorsed Connecticut Water Company as the most viable of the three options considered in the EIE. And, after the OPM issued a memo on Sept. 16 deeming the EIE acceptable under state requirements, contract negotiations and permit seeking can begin.
Connecticut Water Company has agreed to shoulder the cost of construction for the project, which is estimated to run about $20 million. But before ground will break, contracts must be negotiated between the CWC and a series of permits must be acquired.
Maureen Westbrook, the vice president of Customer Service and Regulatory Affairs at CWC, said the most challenging of the permits to acquire will be water diversion permit issued by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
“We’ll have to hire a contractor to do the necessary data collection and put together the application,” Westbrook said. “That permit will probably be the most rigorous and time consuming.”
But Westbrook said the timeline for the project – including an 18-month construction phase that will connect the university’s water pipelines to the CWC’s via a five-mile pipeline – will be about three years.
UConn is currently the sole provider of water to both the university and Mansfield, and an expected population hike over the next few years – driven by projects such as Storrs Downtown and Next Generation UConn – has spurred town and university officials to consider water demand increases.