Tennessee Gas Pipeline is planning construction through MDC property in West Hartford as well as in Bloomfield.
By Ronni Newton
Representatives from Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company LLC and Kinder Morgan will be on hand Wednesday evening in the West Hartford Town Hall Auditorium to discuss a planned project and its potential impact on the MDC property through which it will run.
The community presentation, which will be held Oct. 7, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., will be moderated by a representative from the MDC and will allow time for the public to ask questions regarding watershed and water supply safety that may be affected by the project.
The pipeline passing through West Hartford and Bloomfield, part of national energy company Kinder Morgan’s $4 billion 438-mile Northeast Energy Direct Route project, includes 14.72 miles of new pipeline to be installed in this area. (Details about the scope of the project can be found in the PDF below.)
West Hartford resident Eric Hammerling, executive director of the Connecticut Forest & Park Association, has attended any information session he can find regarding the project and said he has met with Kinder Morgan on several occasions in an attempt to learn more. His particular concern has been the impact of the project on the Metacomet Trail, which runs throughout the state and is a New England and National Scenic Trail. “We want to make sure there are ways to migitgate the disruption to recreational trail users,” he said.
Hammerling has also found that very few people are aware of the project, and his concern about the scope grew once he learned that the MDC also has reservations. “When I saw that the MDC was really concerned about it, that got my attention,” Hammerling said.
Hammerling said that the project involves digging up and replacing/widening existing pipes, and the work would bisect the Metacomet Trail (shown in blue on the illustration, pipeline is purple) in several sections. It will run through MDC property at Reservoir no. 6 (Route 44) as well as the reservoirs located on the MDC’s Farmington Avenue property.
MDC CEO Scott Jellison, in a June 26, 2015 letter to the Secretary of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), said that the project could “potentially disturb a large area (250 acres or more) on MDC property, and encompass a distance of approximately 5 miles running north-south, carving through the watersheds of MDC Reservoirs 2, 3, 5 and 6.” The property that would potentially be impacted, Jellison wrote, is highly regulated by the state Department of Public Health and protected in order to safeguard the water supply.
Jellison’s letter states that the initial environmental survey indicates “incorrectly states that the proiect area is not located within any public drinking water or aquifer protection areas.”
Jellison requested that FERC “compel Tennessee Gas/Kinder Morgan to conduct a well-advertised public meeting be held in the West Hartford area (i.e., at Town Hall) in order to present and discuss with the public the proposed project, answer questions and address public concerns” because of concern that stakeholders are not aware of the project.
West Hartford Community Services Director Mark McGovern said that town officials were notified of the meeting just last week. Because the project will be completely on MDC property and impacts utility easements, it is out of West Hartford’s jurisdiction other than any possible wetlands applications that might need to be made, McGovern said.
“Of course anything that impacts our drinking water supply is of concern,” McGovern said.
The format of the Oct. 7 meeting will be:
- Introduction and Ground Rules: MDC Moderator
- Project Overview and Timeline
- MDC Specific Information
- Construction Methodology
- Environmental Mitigation
- Public Q & A & Discussion
West Hartford Community Television will broadcast the meeting live on WHC-TV and on whctv.org.
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