Aquarion gets ok to sell 18 acres of vacant land in New Canaan

Skip, Great research. PURA casually overlooked this aspect. When you get down to it, clean water, biodiversity, scenic beauty and an involved citizenry are the key natural resources of our Town. Continuing the conservation effort to preserve this parcel cuts across party lines and is in all our interests. Like Nantucket, we should be leaders in conservation. If we can't accomplish this in New Canaan, what hope is there for the world?
Have a wonderful 4th.
Best, Chris Schipper

On Jul 2, 2016 8:19 AM, "Skip Hobbs" wrote:
Dear Cristina......... and Chris, Susan, Sue, Rob and Cam and Margaret Miner of Rivers Alliance;

PURA has ruled in favor of Aquarion, as Aquarion has made the case that it no longer needs the lands to service its water customers.  The current law only thinks about water supply for "now", although there does appear to be a 50 year plan.

Rob Mallozzi was finally able to get some documentation about the former well field from Aquarion and made copies for me.  Aquarion could not locate any maps of the aquifer ( I know they exist). The wellfield was apparently a fairly robust source of potable water for the New Canaan Water Company. 

"The Weed Street Wellfield consisted of a 12 foot diameter caison well about 30 feet deep and four 8-inch driven wells also about 30 feet deep, all in gravel..  THe driven wells are all equiped with 1.5 hp submersible pumps which discharge into the caisson well. the caisson well had a 25 hp pump and a 40 hp booster pump to the low service distribution system at rates of 338 and 350 gpm, respectfully.  The wellfield produced an average of 184 gallons/minute between 1980-1985. A 1970's court injunction limiting draw-down made use of the field impractical. - Joe Rucci told me that the owners of the Jellif Mill sued the water company for taking so much water out of the Noroton River system that the Jelliff Mill pond level fell below the mill's intake sluice. The wellfield apparently ceased operation in the 1980's and was finally abandoned last year.

There is a substantial aquifer present that could serve as a future source of water for New Canaan - for our grandchildren, when surface water becomes a valuable commodity due to global warming and local drought. Unfortunately, the current laws do not require us to think very far ahead.  PURA and Aquarion did not consider, and do not have to consider under current law, that the 18 acre parcel is in fact a recharge area for the downstream aquifer.

Regards,

Skip Hobbs
Geologist, Farmer and Conservationist


On Fri, Jul 1, 2016 at 10:05 PM, Cristina A Ross wrote:

Hi Skip,

This is devastating, it almost makes me wonder what the "PURA" commission's responsibility truly is and who's interest are they in charge of protecting.
Do you have any idea if thIs is an appealable decision?

I think we should plan to speak at the P&Z hearing, what are your thoughts?
Have a wonderful 4th of July weekend.

Regards,
Cristina



Cristina A. Ross, AIA



Aquarion gets ok to sell 18 acres of vacant land

Despite efforts from members of the New Canaan community in the recent months, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) approved the sale of two parcels of Noroton River watershed woodlands totaling 18.74 acres adjacent to Frogtown Road, Welles Lane, West Road and Indian Waters Drive, owned by the Aquarion Water Company of Connecticut, according to its June 29 decision.

"The sale of the land will not adversely affect the provision of water service to the public and is in the public interest," PURA said in its decision.

A PDF version of PURA's final decision is available here.

Aquarion's application to PURA called for about 10 acres to become a subdivision into two residential building lots. The water utility company has an agreement to sell about eight of the acres to Todd and Karen Holson for $1.5 million possibly to be used as a buffer between their Frogtown Road property and the remaining, Aquarion land.

Aquarion Director of Public Relations Peter Fazekas told the Advertiser, "The next steps for that sale would be going to [New Canaan] Planning and Zoning to get the lot line revised. That sale [to Holsons] would close by the third-quarter of this year."

For the remaining land, Fazekas said Aquarion will go to Planning and Zoning with its subdivision plans at some point in July.

For more coverage of this process, CLICK HERE.