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Letter to the Editor: West Hartford Residents Should be Concerned about MDC’s Niagara Deal

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[Editor’s Note: The following was intended to be read to the West Hartford Town Council at the Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, meeting, but was not submitted in time to be added to the agenda. A copy was presented to all Town Council members and shared with We-Ha.com by its author, West Hartford resident Kim Green.]

Three weeks ago, at a meditation group, I was speaking to some women from Bloomfield that had just been at their Town Council mtg. the night before. They were pretty upset about a bottling company that was trying to build a facility in their town. I had no idea what they were talking about. That’s a key point in my address to you: I had NO IDEA what they were talking about.

Niagara Bottling Company is the nation’s largest private­ label water bottler. You can buy at Costco. Niagara has struck an agreement with the town of Bloomfield and the MDC to build a 10 acre manufacturing and bottling plant. Maybe, THAT’S WHY I had not heard of this, it’s pretty much a Bloomfield issue, right? WRONG.

This is a HUGE West Hartford issue and every resident of West Hartford, and paying customer of the MDC, should be informed about what is going to happen to our most ​precious natural resource, ​our public water. The MDC has struck an agreement with Niagara Bottling Company to sell 2 million gallons of water A DAY from our reservoir, at a reduced rate, to Niagara.

At the proposed Bloomfield plant, Niagara will produce 2.6 million plastic bottles PER day on each line at their factory. With a proposed capacity, of 4 lines this would be over 10 million plastic bottles a day!

Niagara would then be able to dump 20% of the water used daily, about 360,000 gallons, right back into the MDC as waste water.

And of biggest concern: Should West Hartford and surrounding areas experience water shortages, CT law does not allow the MDC to shut off the tap to Niagara!

We, as customers, would be asked to comply with emergency conservation measures, yet Niagara would still be able to bottle and ship out of state!

My question to the council is: How have we, the West Hartford residents and paying customers of the MDC, not been informed or made aware of this Agreement? The agreement … that the MDC, a public company, will sell 2 million gallons of our water a day, to Niagara, a for profit company, at a discounted rate.

West Hartford residents are progressive and treasure the reservoir and the environment around it. If they were aware that Niagara anticipates 100 trucks a day to be trucking in 24/7 and would be polluting and congesting traffic, they would be concerned.

If residents were aware that to produce 10 million plastic bottles a day would require the handling of potentially hazardous materials, and that they would be handled and stored so close to us, they would be concerned.

If they were aware that the most recent E.coli contamination recalls involved 2 Niagara bottling plants in PA as evidenced by Sunday’s Hartford Courant, they would really be concerned.

But if West Hartford residents were aware that 2 million gallons a day of our most precious natural resource would be sold EVERY DAY for the foreseeable future, putting in jeopardy our children’s and grandchildren’s water supply, they would be outraged.

If they were aware … why were we not made aware by the MDC before this agreement was made?

I am now making West Hartford residents aware.

Bloomfield Town Council and the MDC say this is a done deal. According to BloomfieldCitizens.org, this is not a done deal.

I sure hope it isn’t.

But I want to make sure this NEVER happens again! Don’t let MDC give away water to inefficient large users. I just want our residents to know what the MDC has done.

Thank you for your time.

Kim Green
28 Northfield
West Hartford, CT 06107

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  • The only, and I mean only way this works is this deal creates lower MDC bills to people like me AND if the government can shut down the deal when there is a shortage.

  • MDC needs better oversight. DEEP is failing again in its mission. Write letters directly to Commissioner Rob Klee (remember recent Trout Brook debacle?) and the head of MDC. Shall we host a hike in at the REZ?

  • Because of “conservation”, the MDC are not making now what they projected to be making back in 2007. Residents are conserving water through legislation for low-flo showers, faucets and toilets, along with pubic awareness campaigns to conserve. The ‘reward’ for this is the MDC voting through two new ordinances. This is why I’m mad. One rewards and incentivizes high volume water use. (anything used over 1/2 million gallons a day gets you a 50¢ per ccf (748gal) discount, a reduction of 19%.
    The second ordinance discounts the waste water. If a gigantic for-profit out-of-state company is going to buy our water and sell it back to us for an exponential profit, AT LEAST HAVE THEM PAY WHAT RESIDENTS PAY!! They should be paying a premium for larger amounts of water, not less.

  • I am furious. While I am a Farmington resident, I am hooked up to MDC. I am beyond outraged. Our reservoirs in the state, as a whole, were low last summer. We’ve had a pretty dry winter as well, so it isn’t as if the reservoirs are going to refill quickly. This is not beneficial to the environment, to the State, to anything.

    I agree that they should not be paying a discounted price, they should be paying equal or more than residents. We are going to be paying more and more for our water while a for-profit company essentially gets free water to sell. NO. We can start by boycotting this water bottling company, we can ask Costco not to sell this water. And flushing that volume of waste water back through the sewers is essentially contaminating potable water, thank you.

  • This effects me as a West Hartford native, Hartford resident, and responsible citizen of the world. Count me against this deal. This is 2016, not 1980. We don’t need or want more negligent, big-business exploitation of our natural resources and consumer ignorance.

  • It is of great concern and deeply troubling that MDC, Niagara, and Bloomfield have attempted to take choices about our water, our environment away from residents.

  • I would describe me, and the residents I have spoke to about the the Niagra plant, as nothing short of awestruck that such an obvious manipulation of the political and governmental ‘system’ has happened right under our noses – to pull the right levers of power to sneak a huge polluting and extracting private company into our community and reward them with a privileged rate from the MDC to do so…amazing! Trading that for the promise of a couple dozen jobs. I am counting on our leaders to right this wrong, with the strong support of the greater hartford community. People in the know have a lot of explaining to do.

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