East Lyme to hold hearing tonight on weekend water use restrictions

East Lyme - A public hearing tonight will consider weekend water restrictions that would go into effect Friday but may not be needed for the entire summer.

The hearing at 7 p.m. at Town Hall will cover both the water conservation methods and the status of the new regional water interconnection project that could effectively transport water between East Lyme and New London by the end of the month.

Construction on the interconnection, which began last year, is basically complete, said First Selectman Paul Formica. The two communities are testing the system.

Three years ago, town residents approved $10.9 million to build the system to send water to New London from the fall to early spring and then draw it back during the summer from the Lake Konomoc Water Treatment Plant, New London's reservoir, through the system along Routes 85 and 161. The town typically experiences water shortages during the dry summer, when its population nearly doubles.

Under contract, the town can only draw water back during the summer after having banked the water in New London. But since construction hadn't been completed by mid-May, the town didn't have time to send and store water in New London for use over the summer.

The two municipalities have executed a memorandum of understanding to allow East Lyme to begin drawing water this summer if needed, as long as it later returns any amount used to New London.

Utility engineers will test how water flows in the new system to smooth out any issues, said Formica.

"At the same time, we're hopeful to be able to move some water, as part of the MOU, to mitigate any potential water shortfalls," he said.

Barry Weiner, chairman of New London's Water and Water Pollution Control Authority, said the system should be up and running shortly, after some minor infrastructure upgrades.

Since the July 4 holiday weekend is typically East Lyme's heaviest in terms of water consumption, the town wants to have water restrictions in place if needed, said Formica.

The town's Board of Selectmen will vote on implementing the measures during its regular meeting following the hearing.

The conservation methods, which would begin Friday, would be effective from 9 a.m. Friday through Monday at noon, until further notice. During that time, conservation methods would prohibit residents from watering lawns, washing cars and outdoor buildings and driveways, and filling or cleaning swimming pools. Restaurants also wouldn't be allowed to serve water to customers, unless requested, according to the public notice.

k.drelich@theday.com

 

IF YOU GO

Who: East Lyme Board of Selectmen

What: Public hearing on Fourth of July weekend water restrictions

When: 7 p.m. today

Where: Town Hall

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