Tripods used to plan water pipeline
UConn will spend $20 million on 5-mile pipeline for new water supply from CT Water Company
Published: Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 10, 2013 00:10
Milone & MacBroom, a consulting firm that provides “civil engineering, planning, landscape architecture and land survey services,” is heavily involved in the new water supply possibly coming to UConn.
Students can see the yellow tripods used for land surveying during their walk to class. These tripods, which hold equipment such as theodolites, have been spotted near Mirror Lake, the Chemistry building and behind the Biology/Physics building. Civil Engineering students have been making the campus their classroom with this equipment, learning how to calculate angles and planes of land. Licensed land surveyors contracted by Milone & MacBroom have been hired to do the same. The university is in the beginning stages of implementing a new pipeline intended to add to the water supply on campus and keep it secure, plentiful, environmentally sound and predictable.
There was originally opposition to this effort. According to the Simsbury Patch, complaints were aired on Jan. 22 at the Human Resources Training Room in the UConn Health Center from 100 Mansfield citizens and public officials. There were concerns regarding the environmental impact on the Farmington River basin, the degree of necessity for additional water on the Storrs campus, the affordability of the undertaking and the lack of transparency from the university throughout the process. This negative reaction was in relation to the proposal stemming from the Metropolitan District Commission, which UConn’s board of trustees later rejected after vigorous objections from the public, including an editorial in the Hartford Courant. This proposal would have cost UConn $51 million to build a 20-mile pipeline from East Hartford to Storrs.
The university opted instead to accept the more conservative and practical plan from the Connecticut Water Company, which is planning to develop “a five-mile network” of water pipelines to the Storrs campus.
Approval for such a measure has been an ongoing process. The first step took place in 2006, with a study directed by four professors: “Long-Term Impact Analysis of the University of Connecticut’s Fenton River Water Supply Wells on the Habitat of the Fenton River.” One of the goals of the study was to “mathematically model selected water-management scenarios to optimize water withdrawals while minimizing adverse impacts on stream flow and in-stream habitat.” The findings asserted that pumping from river wells is not the most efficient or environmentally sound way to supply water to UConn.
The subsequent step was a master plan to reinvigorate UConn’s water supply. This plan was prepared for the University of Connecticut from 2004-2007 by the Milone & MacBroom company. The comprehensive report included suggestions and prices for a new system and evaluations of the current one.
The chair of the UConn Water and Wastewater Policy Advisory Committee, Thomas Callahan, was not entirely satisfied. He asked for more details regarding the inclusion of “environmental commitments,” reliance on “conservative demand projections,” and hoped the next report would “acknowledge lack of – and advocate for - watershed land protection.” Callahan also asked “these priorities be incorporated into an implementation plan with targeted completion dates and funding appropriations.”
In 2011, Milone & MacBroom laid out “The University of Connecticut Water Supply Plan.” This plan addressed the holes in its earlier version and formed the groundwork for the university to build from. The plan mentions: “Currently, the university withdraws water from eight production wells, with four production wells located at each wellfield. Seven of the eight wells are gravel packed wells, and all eight wells are constructed as high-capacity wells in stratified drift.” This is what Milone & MacBroom and the University of Connecticut wished to change.
Following the plan was the necessary Environmental Impact Evaluation, once again administered by Milone & MacBroom. In the EIE were six options for the University of Connecticut. The board of trustees ultimately chose “Interconnection with the Connecticut Water Company.” According to the Hartford Courant, this agreement would allow “two million gallons of water a day to the Storrs campus to solve its water woes.” The “five-mile network of pipes” would cost $21 million and provide water from the Tolland Resevoir.