University of Connecticut officials Tuesday (June 28) said they have no “preferred option” for possible additional water supplies and they hope an Environmental Impact Evaluation – or EIE – will determine the best course of action.
A recently completed draft water management plan estimates UConn will need an additional 340,000 gallons per day by 2030.
Future water needs include service to the Depot Campus area, a technology park in the North Campus area, Storrs Center and a planned business area along King Hill Road.
UConn and Town of Mansfield officials hosted a public meeting Tuesday as part of a public comment period, which ends July 7, leading up to the EIE.
UConn needs to conduct the EIE because the recently approved $172-million bonding package for a technology park includes funding for a water system.
UConn hopes to complete the EIE by early next year, at which point a draft will be available for public comment for 45 days.
UConn would then make a recommendation to the state Office of Policy and Management, which would make a final decision.
UConn Office of Environmental Policy Director Richard Miller said the university is “determined” to go forward with the evaluation. “We think it’s the best approach to determine these issues,” he said of potential benefits and drawbacks of each option.
UConn has also discussed partnering with Mansfield, which could need as much as 170,000 gallons per day to help bring new business to the Four Corners, the area around the RT 44/RT 195 intersection.
Coite said the town and UConn are looking for a potential option that can provide between 500,000 and 1 million gallons per day.
Coite said the EIE will examine three potential options, including an interconnection with either the Connecticut Water Co. or Windham Water Works or drilling more well fields.
Coite said the evaluation would also examine the possibility none of the options are suitable.
The possible well field sites would be in two general areas in Mansfield, with potential locations along the Willimantic River south of UConn’s existing wells and in the Mansfield Hollow area.
Coite said the evaluation will look at the potential impacts of any of the options and said each one presents potential concerns.
He said an interconnection with Connecticut Water would take water from the Connecticut River basin, even though UConn is in the Willimantic River basin. Coite said moving water across basins can be a concern.
He also said the evaluation will have to determine how an interconnection with either water company will impact surrounding water bodies, while pipelines might have to go through conservation areas.
Coite said the EIE would also have to determine if well fields would provide enough water while also making sure they did not impact surrounding water bodies.
While most evaluations look solely at environmental impacts, Coite said this one will also look at factors such as costs, necessary permits and potential schedules for any projects.
Posted June 29, 2011 as edited by HTNP.com Editor Brenda Sullivan firstname.lastname@example.org
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