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July 9, 2020
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Where We Will Be

Published June 03, 2020

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I am concerned about expected sea level rise and the development plan for the General’s Residence to place nine septic systems near a protected tidal wetland.

Experts agree that sea level rise could reach 20 inches by 2050. This is not a theory, but an accepted assumption backed by rigorous scientific work. The notion of the 100-year storm is passé, as we anticipate strong storms and flooding more frequently as a byproduct of climate change. A problem for Madison in the face of sea level rise is septic systems, which are vulnerable under siege of flooding and storm surge.

The Tidal Wetlands Guidance (Dec. 19) document from Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection provides guidelines for protecting our wetlands, which form a critical buffer during storm surges and flooding. The guidance tells us that development should not be permitted that would result in degradation of tidal wetlands—they must be preserved and protected. It specifically disallows extensions of water and sewer lines into tidal wetlands.

We must plan not for today, but where we will be within the very near future. Have we factored in the potential impact of nine proposed septic systems in this very vulnerable location that sits in proximity to important tidal wetlands? Has the applicant provided funding for the town to assess the potential problem that could be caused by this development as sea level inevitably rises?

If the problem is not addressed today, it will not only be a problem for the homeowners/taxpayers who are investing in expensive homes, but for the Madison community as a whole as we deal with failed septic systems and storm cleanup.

Mary Barneby
Madison