Minutes of the January 25, 2012 meeting of the Council on Environmental Quality, held in the Conference Room 4-D of 79 Elm Street, Hartford.

PRESENT: Barbara Wagner (Chair), Janet Brooks, Bruce Fernandez, Karyl Lee Hall, Richard Sherman, Karl Wagener (Executive Director), Peter Hearn (Environmental Analyst).

At 9:20 AM Chair Barbara Wagner called the meeting to order, noting the presence of a quorum.

Chair Wagner asked if there were any additions or revisions to the minutes of the December 14, 2011 meeting. Brooks made a motion to accept the minutes as presented, which was seconded by Fernandez and approved unanimously.

Executive Director's Report

Wagener said the Council’s legislative recommendations had been produced in two versions (a long version and a short version) and submitted to Governor Malloy.

Wagener introduced Eric Walsh, a University of Connecticut Law School student, who is assisting on a research project regarding enforcement and compliance data.

Wagener said that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has expressed interest in conserving the site of the former Connecticut Yankee power plant in Haddam, a project that the Council heard about at the 2010 public forum in Haddam.

Wagener updated the Council on the Mattabassett Sewer Plant expansion that had been discussed at previous meetings, specifically the gap in the planning process that could allow a project to proceed even when it was inconsistent with the state Conservation and Development Policies Plan. He said he learned that the consistency review, normally done in early stages of the planning, was omitted inadvertently. He reported that one of the towns to be served by the expanded plant is Cromwell. Cromwell has not yet produced a plan for farmland preservation, which it was obligated to do as a condition of a previous state-funded project.  Wagener said that it appears that agencies have concerns about this and could withhold funding for some of the Mattabassett project until Cromwell’s farmland preservation plan is complete.

Wagener said that he had submitted the Council’s comments and request for an informational hearing regarding the renewal of the Title V air permit for the jet-fueled turbines at the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority (CRRA) South Meadow facility. He said that staff reviewed the data collected in 2010 and determined that these turbines were the most polluting of any Connecticut power plant, on an hourly basis, with regard to particulate pollution.

Wagener reported on a meeting he had with staff of CRRA and DEEP to discuss the Council’s questions regarding the proposed renewal. It appears that the technical and editorial problems of the permit discussed in the Council’s comments are real. One of the problems is a conflict between state regulations and the federally-approved State Implementation Plan (SIP); the state submitted its regulatory amendments to the USEPA for inclusion in the SIP in 2004 but the amendments were never approved by USEPA. If and when the conflict is resolved, it appears that the facility would no longer be limited to operating 168 hours per year; it would have no time limit on operation. Members reviewed the relevant sections of the draft permit, and agreed that it is not clear how the facility could legally operate without opacity monitoring equipment, now or in the future. Wagener said that DEEP staff had resolved to ask USEPA for guidance on how to proceed, as the Clean Air Act provided for such situations where there is a disagreement between state regulations and federally-approved SIPs. Members agreed that they could take no further action until they reviewed any correspondence from USEPA.

Wagener said that the public participation process would allow the Council to withdraw its request for a hearing if it determined that all of its concerns were addressed. There was considerable discussion on this point. Sherman pointed out that the Council had already asked for a hearing with the goal of achieving a modification of the permit that will lead to a phasing out of the turbines as supplemental power for peak demand. In his view, there is nothing that was learned from the informational meeting with DEEP and CRRA that should change that decision. He said that finding a solution to this problem will be a measure of DEEP’s ability to integrate environmental and energy policy.

Moving on to administrative matters, Wagener announced that the Governor has exercised his rescission authority and ordered a $2,800 reduction in the Council’s budget. He will report further at the next meeting.

He said that the Council has completed the required records retention schedules for the agency’s electronic and paper documents.

Discussion and Approval of Recommendations for Legislation

Wagener reported on a conversation he had with the Department of Public Health (DPH) regarding the Council’s recommendations that all the state’s potable water programs be consolidated. Chair Wagner asked if it would facilitate future discussions if the Council made specific recommendations as to which agency should administer those programs. Wagener responded that he expected DEEP and DPH will meet soon to discuss this. He recommended waiting until the next meeting to discuss specific recommendations. Fernandez agreed saying this is a topic that needed to be resolved between the agencies. Chair Wagner asked about the cost of the potable water program that is administered by DEEP; Hearn said the exact cost is not segregated within the DEEP budget and only estimates are available. Members agreed to postpone action on this item until February.

Review of State Agency Actions
University of Connecticut Health Center New Construction and Renovation Project, Farmington – Wagener reported that he heard from an individual who is concerned that the effect of the new construction on surface water resources is not addressed adequately in the EIE. Specifically, the citizen suggested that the receiving waters should be characterized in order to assess the impact. Wagener said that the EIE appeared to take the approach that because runoff controls are being installed where there are none now the impact on water will be positive and need not be quantified in great detail. The citizen questions how it can be established that there is an improvement if baseline water quality is not established. Wagener said it is worth following this to see how UConn responds to the citizen’s comments. Fernandez asked to be sent a copy of the response.

Siting Council Consultation Re: Telecommunications Tower in Greenwich –

Staff initially had not recommended any comments on this project, which involves the addition of a concealed telecommunications tower on top of an existing water tower. He received a call from a Greenwich resident who asked if the ancillary building that will house the back-up power generator should be subject to the restrictions that prohibit construction on water company lands. Wagener said the water company land boundaries are not easily discernable, as they are largely confidential for security reasons. Wagener said he recommended asking the Connecticut Siting Council (CSC) if this aspect of the proposal had been evaluated. The Council agreed the inquiry should be made.


Proposed CSC Rules of Practice - Wagener updated the Council on the CSC’s proposed revisions to its Rules of Practice. Its latest revision had eliminated the proposed change, which was highly controversial, that would have prohibited testimony by persons who are members of groups that are parties to the same proceeding.

Professional accountability – Brooks pointed out that there is might be a need for a mechanism to re-open an issue in cases where a professional provided information that was incorrect and thereby obtained a permit which might not otherwise have been granted. Wagener said that DEEP is considering better ways to hold licensed environmental professionals accountable. Brooks said that towns do not have a mechanism to do this. Sherman said that once a project is underway or finished it can be too late to do anything about such misfeasance or malfeasance. Members agreed that the importance of certification by independent professionals would become more important in the future and that accountability was a matter for the Council to look at.

Citizen Complaints

Update on Remediation Efforts in Haddam – Hearn reported that the Citizens for Clean Ground Water finished its report on contaminated properties and ground water resources. He passed around a pre-release copy, which members found impressive.

Hearn reported that the consultant for the Sibley Company had submitted its report to DEEP on the study it performed on the property. DEEP responded with a letter that objected to the report’s assumptions, criticized some of the methodologies as inadequate and rejected the conclusions as unsubstantiated. He said that staff from DEEP, the Attorney General and the consultant met on January 24 th to narrow the areas of disagreement prior to a January 31 meeting with the judge who is hearing the case.

He reported that the Remediation Division had sent a letter in 2011 to the Department of Transportation (DOT) requesting further study of two sites in the Tylerville section of Haddam. One is the current DOT garage. The other is a former DOT facility that was transferred to the town. At the current garage site, the major concern is the reported burying of drums with unknown contents. The DOT responded that in 1983 an inspector from the DEP visited the site one week after the reported burial and reported there were only empty drums and other scrap metal present; there was no evidence of leachate and a monitoring well showed no evidence of solvents. Based on this the DOT said there is no further need for investigation or remediation.

With regard to the former facility, Hearn noted that the DEEP letter referenced sodium and MTBE as groundwater pollutants recently found at the former DOT site. The DOT response addressed neither. The DOT rejected DEEP’s request for further study and remediation stating that it has not controlled the former location since 1999 and is not responsible for contamination there. DOT claims that the town assumed control “as is” with a statement that there are no outstanding environmental issues at the location. Further, the town performed some remediation after it took over.

Hearn said that DEEP staff reportedly is reviewing the DOT letters and considering a response.


UCONN Water Supply Study - Sherman said he had received a communication from a former member of the Mansfield Town Council who was concerned that, although UConn has expressed no preference among the water supply alternatives being investigated, the town already has requested bond funds to install the piping that would be necessary for one of the alternatives. Wagener said he will look into it. Wagener also said that the office had received communications from several parties with concerns about the project. He recommended that the Council review UConn’s response to the scoping comments that had been submitted by various parties when the EIE is prepared; members concurred.

Other Business

Wagener reported that about half of the data for the annual report had been collected and the trends show improvement in most of the indictors looked at so far.

There was some discussion of the need to further review the impact on air quality of the comprehensive energy bill adopted in 2011.

There being no further business the meeting was adjourned at 11:21 AM.