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Water committee formed

by Karen A. Grava - April 3, 2006

A new committee has been formed to advise the administration and the Board of Trustees on water and wastewater matters.

The UConn Water/Wastewater System Policy Advisory Committee will guide the operation and management of the water supply and wastewater treatment systems, which were developed by the University over the past century because of a lack of other providers in the Storrs area.

The new committee is timely. UConn’s transformation and increased enrollment has sparked a significant market interest in new commercial and multi-family projects near the campus.

And UConn, state and local officials and citizens want to ensure the water and wastewater systems’ ongoing ability to meet the University’s and Storrs area requirements, says Thomas Q. Callahan, interim associate vice president for operations and administration.

The systems serve the University, other state entities, including the Mansfield correctional facility, the town offices, community center, and senior center, E.O. Smith High School, the Storrs Center and King Hill Road commercial areas, and private residences.

Non-University users account for about 10 percent to 12 percent of current demand.

The committee is also being formed to provide opportunities for users and the public to discuss any aspect of current system performance and future plans, Callahan says.

UConn’s drinking water and wastewater systems are subject to regulation for adequacy, purity, environmental impact, and security.

Issues of interest and concern in recent years have included aquifer protection area delineation; the impact of well withdrawals on stream-flow and habitat in the Fenton and Willimantic rivers; and the potential for inadvertent sanitary and wastewater cross-connections.

The committee will be asked to review

  • source protection and aquifer protection activities conducted by the University and the town;
  • the performance of the systems and the plans for maintenance and improvements; requests for new connections;
  • and, before they are submitted to regulatory agencies, the annual consumer confidence report and water supply plans.

The committee will also hold at least two public meetings that will permit users and the public to comment; and will report annually to the trustees and the Mansfield Town Council.

Members of the committee include the director of facilities operations; the director of architectural and engineering services; the director of environmental policy; the associate vice president of student affairs; the budget director; the Mansfield town manager; and the chair of the Willimantic Water Commission.

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