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Proposal To Turn Rock Quarry Into Reservoir Faces Mountain Of Opposition

Activists from the group Protect Our Watersheds CT hike through part of the area where Tilcon is proposing to expand its nearby trap rock quarry. Photo by Patrick Skahill for Connecticut Public Radio

Activists from the group Protect Our Watersheds CT hike through part of the area where Tilcon is proposing to expand its nearby trap rock quarry. Photo by Patrick Skahill for Connecticut Public Radio

In Connecticut, a debate is underway about what to do with a protected stretch of watershed land between a public drinking water supply and an old stone quarry.

Tilcon, the quarry’s owner, says its mine is running out of rock. So it’s petitioning to change state law, in hopes of expanding operations into that protected land.

In exchange, when the mining’s done, the company says it will convert the site into a massive reservoir. One that could nearly double local water storage capacity.

But the politics of selling that idea could be tougher than squeezing water from a stone.

To learn more, I made my way through about 120 acres of rocky watershed. Property that bumps right up against an old trap rock quarry owned today by Tilcon.

Hiking with me was Jim Gosselin. We passed streambeds and bubbling vernal pools, all of which help filter and feed the drinking water supply at the nearby Shuttle Meadow Reservoir.

“This vernal pool, which had a couple feet of water in it after the winter runoff, connected to that one,” Gosselin said. “They’re all interconnected. It’s a part of a larger ecosystem.”

Gosselin was one of several hikers with me from the group: “Protect Our Watersheds CT.” As we hiked, the group’s leader, Paul Zagorsky, pointed out temporary markers showing where a proposed rock quarry could extend.

“So if this is a boundary line right here. This is either at risk. Or it’s going to be risk and it’ll be gone,” Zagorsky said.

Visit Connecticut Public Radio for the full story.