Bethel officials are hoping that when it comes to the proposed Eureka Lake water tank, that the third time is a charm.
Bethel recently submitted a revised plan for the water tank to Danbury's Planning Commission. It's the third time Bethel has submitted plans for a Eureka Lake water tank – the previous two proposals were rejected.
The proposed tank would be located on one acre of a 56 acre parcel of land that is owned by Bethel, but located within Danbury near Long Ridge Road, Bethel needs the tank to increase capacity and water pressure to the west side of town, which includes the Clarke Business Park and much of downtown Bethel, but Danbury residents who live near where the tank opposed the first two proposals on the grounds that the tank would mar the scenery of the area. Bethel's Director of Public Works and Town Engineer, Andrew Morosky, said he hopes the new proposal will meet with approval.
“We met with Danbury residents who are in the area of the tank, and we basically presented our ideas on what we would like to do and we wanted their feedback on what they would like to see in order to make this project fly,” he said. “Based on their feedback from the two meetings we reworked the landscaping plan and changed the grades around.”
With the current plans, only six feet of the 750,000 tank would be above the surface. The tank itself would not be visible as a fence would conceal it. Danbury is expected to hold a public hearing on the proposal by August.
“We're aware of the fact that the tank would be somewhat visible and we took as many steps as we could to conceal the tank and shroud it so that people wouldn't see a large structure growing out of the hillside,” Morosky said.
Morosky said that the tank has to be located in Danbury at Eureka Lake (which serves as a reservoir for Bethel) because one of Bethel's water treatment plants is there and the tank needs to be at the same elevation as the treatment plant so that water flow and water pressure will work properly.
“It has always been about the hydraulics as far as I was concerned,” he said. “It has never been about putting the tank in Danbury to keep it out of Bethel.”
Morosky added that Bethel's water issues on the west side of town are very real and the town needs to increase capacity and pressure.
“The tank is needed to provide Bethel water customers with a safe and reliable water supply and right now we don't have enough storage in our system. The Department of Public health is concerned about the amount of storage that Bethel has.”
Bethel First Selectman, Matthew Knickerbocker, said that the water capacity and pressure problems have hindered economic development and the water tank is “something that the town of Bethel desperately needs. The lack of water storage on the west side of town is inhibiting our economic growth.” He added, “in order to put some more business in the Clarke Business Park area we need more water.”
Although the project has been turned down twice, Knickerbocker was hopeful that the proposal would be approved this time around.
“We've worked very hard to make it acceptable to the neighbors up in Danbury from an engineering and hydrological point of view, there isn't anywhere else to put the tank,” he said. “The tank will be buried into a hillside. We're even going to put a fire hydrant right up there for the benefit of the neighbors (in Danbury). I'm hoping that the Danbury Planning Commission will look favorably on this project this time.”