November 2017
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Stephanie C. Fox

Goodreads

Why We Don’t Need Bottles, Nor Bottled Water: We Need to Protect Our Ecosystem.

By the time the political process cycles around to changing our politicians (which, unfortunately, are NOT changed as often as diapers, contrary to Mark Twain’s recommendation), Niagara Bottling will already be settled into its location in Bloomfield, Connecticut, and pumping our water.

Soon we will live in a crashed ecosystem – a beige desert instead of a verdant, beautiful, functioning one. We will have sinkholes, wildlife desperate for moisture and food, and high water use bills with severe limits on human access to this resource, along with MDC (Metropolitan District Commission) police walling the reservoirs off.

Fun times coming…unless we can shut this down at the state government level with fast-tracked legislation. We had better hurry up, or life in our towns will soon become a dystopian novel come true.

We need long-term thinkers who realize that growth is NOT good, that solvency is what we need without sacrificing ecological security, and that lazy thinking of what is easiest rather than what is best is how this happened.

So…the citizens of our town have been educating ourselves on this matter, attending various meetings, and voicing objections.

Lovely.

But that won’t help unless this entire project gets nixed before the pumping starts, and we are stuck with a newly elected mayor who doesn’t like dealing with the public, and has actually been heard to say that doing so is like having a root canal. (Cry me a river, Mayor Gamble. You bet on dealing with the public when you ran for office!)

Here is a rogues gallery – er, group portrait – of our mayor and town council:

Town of Bloomfield, Connecticut Government - Mayor Joan A. Gamble and Town Council

That’s her sitting in the front row: Mayor Joan A. Gamble, who is a retired art teacher. She has shown no inclination to conduct her own research into the consequences to the environment of pumping water out of our local reservoir, which serves 8 towns – not just hers. Neither have the guys on the town council. Instead, they allowed the corporation that is soliciting the right to locate in Bloomfield and pump water, Niagara Bottling, to do it for them, with no thought given to the fact that this corporation would skew all data provided plus its presentation in its favor as a persuasion piece.

The other people in this image are the members of the Bloomfield, Connecticut, U.S.A. Town Council.

Back row, left to right: Joe Washington; Patrick DeLorenzo; Joel Neuwirth; E. Leon Rivers; Derrick Seldon.

Front row, left to right: Joseph Merritt; Deputy Mayor Sydney Schulman; Mayor Joan A. Gamble; Wayne Hypolite.

Of the lot of them, only Mr. Hypolite has bothered to attend a gathering of citizens to listen to what they had to say.

Admirable.

But…how did he vote?

That’s what we should care about in the end.

By all accounts, the entire group of them simply voted to let Niagara Bottling in to suck up 1.8 million gallons per day of our water.

They have made this all about the money.

The MDC must upgrade century-old infrastructure, i.e. the water delivery system. No worries that we currently have lead in the pipes, nor that anyone would be so foolish as to install any in new ones. But…selling a non-renewable resource after crying that we ought to conserve it is oxymoronic.

That is exactly what is happening now.

On Wednesday evening, the MDC hosted a gathering in Hartford to listen to and dismiss citizen complaints. Questions were skirted, facts obfuscated, and the lame excuse that the MDC doesn’t have the authority to say “no” to anyone – including a bottling corporation – was made.

MDC Faces Niagara of Citizen Complaints

The website of the MDC has a history section. On it, one can read about its creation in 1929 by the Connecticut General Assembly “to provide quality potable water and sewer systems for people and businesses in the Hartford area.”

People – okay, that’s private citizens in their homes – and businesses. Businesses?! I think I’ve found a problem.

“Businesses” was meant, in 1929, stores and offices. But a company that sucks up however much water it possibly can, packages it in plastic bottles that leach bisphenol-A chemicals into the ecosystem in the process, and then sells it all over the nation?! No. Laws must be interpreted according to the intent of the legislators, and we need our current legislators to come to the rescue by writing and enacting whatever laws it takes to stop this, and in time to actually do that.

The Metropolitan District | History

(It gets worse if one reads farther down the page: water use in individual residences and businesses is measured via those evil radio frequency automated meter readers, which emit carcinogenic radiation over a range of up to 125 miles. They also cause fires. But back to the water…)

It is important to go over the cast of characters involved in this problem.

It includes the MDC Board Members: The Metropolitan District | Board Members

It includes the MDC’s Administrative Staff: The Metropolitan District | Administrative Staff

Scott W. Jellison
Chief Executive Officer

Scott W. Jellison | MDC Chief Operations Officer

John M. Zinzarella
Chief Financial Officer

R. Bartley Halloran
District Counsel

Also worthy of mention of the people on its various Bureaus and Committees: The Metropolitan District | Bureaus & Committees

Want to see its laws, such as they currently are? Look here: The Metropolitan District |Charter, Ordinances & By-Laws

At this point, I shall share a couple of documents that I found while researching my second Nae-Née novel, which deals with ecosystems collapse as brought on by human overpopulation – another matter that is at work here. We don’t need more growth! We need solvency and stability, but the MDC board is concerning itself only with the easiest possible method to fund a new water-delivery infrastructure. This method doesn’t even pay! Offering Niagara Bottling a discount to suck up the water just makes it even easier for that corporation. Yet that is what was done! Meanwhile, with it not yet in place, everyone else’s rates have gone up. Surprise, MDC: everyone else is not so stupid as to want Niagara Bottling to move in just so that their rates will go down, as the MDC Board repeatedly insisted would happen once the corporation sets up shop in Bloomfield.

EPA Emergency Response Plan Guidelines – Small and Medium Community Water Systems

Water Sector Specific Plan – Government Coordinating Council Letter

These documents were some of the ones I uncovered while researching what life would be like in Connecticut if we had a drought. The MDC has its own separate branch of police to enforce its rules and to protect its water. One officer attended the hearing on February 24, 2016, and stood around for hours in case anyone got unruly, but of course no one did. Each citizen who wished to speak simply went up the podium with her or his notes and did so. It was a chance to grill the MDC commission members, who cut off anyone who stayed longer than 3 minutes. A muted but still obnoxious klaxon horn, like the ones at sporting events, sounded 10 seconds before a citizen’s 3 minutes were even up.

The MDC is touting data from 1965 on how much surface water we would have to worth with (that is how reservoirs are recharged: via surface water from rainfall) in a drought, using 15 inches as a litmus test. It could easily be a lot worse with a bottling company in the mix, and another question kept nagging at me as this figure was cited over and over again by the MDC: why hasn’t data from the early 21st century been gathered? Haven’t 2005 and 2015 been the hottest years ever thanks to anthropogenic (human-caused) and natural climate change, which are combining to heat up the planet?!

Who are our politicians in the Connecticut General Assembly?

These are the people who might help us stop Niagara Bottling from sinking its pumps in:

Connecticut State Representative David Baram

Connecticut State Representative David Baram

Connecticut State Senator Beth Bye

Connecticut State Senator Beth Bye

This 8-minute video explains the life of a bottle and the composition of the water that goes into that bottle. It’s an absurd story.

The Story of Bottled Water – by The Story of Stuff

The Story of Bottled Water with Annie Leonard Downcycled Plastic Bottles - The Story of Bottled Water

Annie Leonard narrates The Story of Bottled Water, which discusses the downcycling of bottles. They don’t get recycled! (The Story of Stuff).

We are responsible for our own choices. We don’t have to accept this ridiculous situation.

Take Back the Tap: Bottled Water Wastes Resources and Money

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