SOUTHINGTON — Water Department officials have sent a letter to lawmakers and other state officials expressing their concerns about a proposal to expand quarrying at Tilcon could affect the town’s water supply.
The flow of the Quinnipiac River dictates how much water Southington can pump from its wells according to Thomas Murphy, president of the Board of Water Commissioners. If the river drops in flow, Southington has to release water from Crescent Lake to make up the difference or reduce the amount it pumps from the well system.
Under a deal proposed by Tilcon, the company would preserve 275 acres of company-owned land as open space in exchange for permission to quarry on land included in the Shuttle Meadow Reservoir watershed. The land Tilcon wants to quarry is in Plainville but owned by New Britain.
Southington stands to gain 79 acres of open space from the company near Crescent Lake.
The plan requires approval by the General Assembly.
Murphy wrote that quarrying would alter the watershed and could mean less runoff into Crescent Lake. That might mean the town could divert less water to the Quinnipiac during dry months and wouldn’t be permitted to pump as much from its wells.
“The use of Crescent Lake allows SWD’s well supplies to pump at full diversion registration rates in order to service the needs of its customers and is a vital resource to supply,” Murphy wrote.
He said an environmental study released late last year didn’t study the impact of proposed quarrying on water supply to Crescent Lake.
Gary Wall, Tilcon president, gave a presentation on the plan to the Southington Town Council late last month.
Wall told councilors that quarrying would take place on 72 acres, a reduction from the initial plan of 110 acres.
"It's close to a half-mile from Crescent Lake," Wall said of planned quarrying.”There would be no impact to Crescent Lake. It would enhance the open space around Crescent Lake."
The quarrying plan would require a change of state law. Representatives for Southington said they weren’t inclined to support the proposal.
John Fusco, a Republican state representative, said state watershed land should remain undisturbed.
“I think a Class I watershed should remain that way,” he said.
“I’m 100 percent against the expansion,” said State Rep. Liz Linehan, a Democrat. She said water should be available for everyone.
“I don’t believe industry should steal that right for the residents of Southington,” she said.
State Rep. Rob Sampson, a Republican, said he wasn’t inclined to support Tilcon’s plan.
“As far as I’m concerned, this is an issue affecting the Town of Southington and the local town government is going to make a decision on what is prudent for them. I’m going to take their guidance on whether this is right for them,” Sampson said.
All three representatives were carbon copied on the letter from the Southington Water Department.