MERIDEN — A city company could soon receive a permit a discharge wastewater into Harbor Brook after the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection gave its tentative approval of the application.
York Hill Trap Rock Quarry Co. is proposing to discharge stormwater runoff from its mining activities into Harbor Brook, as well as groundwater in the Quinnipiac River watershed. York Hill is a branch of the L. Suzio Cos. The applicant, Leonardo Suzio, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
In October 2011, an industrial stormwater general permit was reissued for the site and other mining operations, but mine dewatering discharges were left out of the regulations. Mining operations, including York Hill, were required to obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit, which is what the company has been tentatively approved for. The permit states that there is no anticipated increase in discharge to “high quality” water, nor is there an increase in “volume or concentration” of pollutants.
DEEP recently issued a draft permit stating that the tentative decision “will protect the waters of the state from pollution.” If approved by Commissioner Rob Klee, all wastewater would be treated so that the brook would not exceed set limitations of aluminum, lead, phosphorus and other pollutants “expected to be present in the wastewater.” It would also require “periodic monitoring to demonstrate that the discharge will not cause pollution” and that the water be treated prior to being sent into Harbor Brook.
According to the draft permit, the discharged water is considered mine dewatering, or stormwater runoff, that is created through the quarrying operation. During the process proposed by York Hill, when stormwater gathers in excavated areas, it would flow “into a series of detention basins.” The water would later flow until reaching Harbor Brook.
Flood Control Implementation Agency Chairman Phil Ashton said it is a “normal permit” that is needed because sediment could run into the brook.
“There is a risk of picking up sediment, which could, conceivably, go into the headwaters of Harbor Brook,” he said. “They need to show they are taking reasonable steps into preventing that kind of thing.”
From the York Hill property at 975 Westfield Road, the brook flows southwest through the Bilger Farm property, underneath Bee Street, and westward into Baldwin Pond. After the pond, the brook continues southwest through the city for more than three miles and into Hanover Pond before heading toward Wallingford.
The section of the brook between Hanover and Baldwin ponds is undergoing a massive flood control project to decrease the flood plain of the brook. The process includes replacing several bridges, creating two areas for flood retention and widening and deepening the channel.
Harbor Brook, according to the draft permit, is considered “impaired waters,” though the cause of impairment is listed as “unknown.” Because of that, there were no additional concerns about how the discharge may affect Harbor Brook. There are also limitations that prevent a significant rise in temperature of the brook as a result of the discharge and prohibit any type of oil sheen, floating solids or discoloration of the brook.
Ashton said he had no concerns about discharge impacting the flood control plan.
“I’d more concerned from the (sand) and runoff from the streets,” he said.
DEEP is accepting public comment on the draft permit until April 27. Written comments, according to the public notice, should be directed to Oluwatoyin Fakilede, Bureau of Materials Management and Compliance Assurance, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, 79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT 06106-5127.
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