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MDC Reports to Town Council on Projects, Dam Rehabilitation

Company is fixing 150-year-old Reservoir No. 2.

The Metropolitan District (MDC) had the floor for most of last night’s West Hartford Town Council meeting. The water supply and delivery company has many projects under way in the town.

These projects include the replacement of a water main from Trout Brook Avenue east to Whiting Lane and the construction of a new sewer pipe on Boulevard. The Boulevard work is slated to begin on Aug. 22.

However, the focus at the Town Council meeting was the dam rehabilitation at Reservoir No. 2, a 150-year-old watershed reservoir in West Hartford that needs to be restructured. Although all the dams in West Hartford need to be restored within the next 5-10 years, Reservoir No. 2 will be the first, followed by Nepaug Reservoir, explained Scott Jellison, Deputy CEO of Operations for MDC.

Jellison outlined five components of the project: Concrete work and resurfacing the Principal Spillway; the North Dike will be grubbed and re-sloped; a Main Dam Embankment will be constructed; a Breach Division Dike will be constructed; and a new auxiliary Spillway will be at South Dike.

The improvements to be made are a new angled slide gate, new gate stem buried within upstream slopes, a new gatehouse, relining of existing pipe and replacement of gate valve and construction of new concrete headwall.

Town Council members expressed concern about the lack of pedestrian access during the project, noting the “red loop” of 1.3 miles residents use for recreational activities. For safety reasons, said Jellison, there will be limited pedestrian traffic in certain areas, with some red loop detours and closings. Jellison said every effort will be made to notify residents of site access with signage and news releases and to limit the closings to intermittent closures of about 15 minutes at a time. Owners of homes  abutting the area will be notified 30 days prior to construction, he said.

There will still be at least one mile left for recreational use, added Jellison.

Actual construction will begin this fall with tree removal at the construction area. The target date for completion of construction is December 2013, dependent upon weather conditions, said Jellison.

The de-watering of the reservoir will require 30-60 days to complete. Jellison reported on a CT DEEP Fish Study demonstrating no substantial fish population at the reservoir due to its “sterile environment and no real tributaries.” Council member Denise Hall expressed concern about the displacement of wildlife, a concern to which Jellison committed to monitor.

Housing Sales Strong

Ronald Van Winkle delivered the Town Manager’s report. He indicated housing sales are strong in West Hartford, with housing prices back to levels experienced before the recession. Nevertheless, inventory remains low, he said.

Noting the high volume of cars reported parking in West Hartford Center garages, Van Winkle said, “West Hartford is becoming one of those places people want to be.”

Both Van Winkle and Mayor Scott Slifka praised the West Hartford Police Department for their initiatives in grant-writing and announced the police department received a grant from the Department of Justice for the purchase of enhanced technical communication equipment.

Slifka urged residents to continue bringing canned or other nonperishable foods to the town’s food pantry, which has seen a drop-off in donations during the summer months. He announced upcoming events such as a band performance on Aug. 24, at 7 p.m., at the Prospect Café and an outdoor Labor Day concert on Sept. 3, at 5 p.m., at Town Hall, where donations of nonperishable food items will be collected.

A resolution was approved changing the next Town Council meeting from Sept. 25 to Sept. 27.

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