Conn. Agencies Regs. § 26-141a-4 - Variances

Current through March 4, 2022

(a) The operator of any diversion or impoundment or any person who proposes to construct a diversion or impoundment may petition the Commissioner at any time for an exemption or variance for any such structure from the minimum flow and freshet release standards of these regulations. The petition shall contain information sufficient to allow the Commissioner to give adequate consideration to the effect, in terms of the factors enumerated below, of the operation of the structure under such an exemption or variance on the stocked river or stream system in question. The Commissioner may require additional information prior to acting on such a petition. Notice of the granting of an exemption or a variance shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality or municipalities wherein the affected structure or river or stream system is located.

In determining whether to grant an exemption or variance under this section, upon receipt of a petition from the operator of an impoundment or diversion, the Commissioner shall include, but is not limited to, consideration of whether operation of the structure will:

(1) Prevent the maintenance of viable pools, channels, or other water basins, or allow their undue depletion by normal evaporation and aquifer absorption;
(2) Reduce oxygen content below minimal levels, cause stagnation, or inhibit reproductive cycles (where that potential exists);
(3) Prevent the preservation, protection and safe maintenance of the river and stream stocking program, the natural aquatic life contained in such waters (including anadromous fish), and the natural or stocked wildlife dependent upon the flow of such water, and the availability of such water for public recreational uses; or
(4) Meet the needs and requirements for public health, flood control, industry, public utilities, water supply, water quality, electric power production, public safety, agriculture, and other lawful uses of such waters.

Any such exemption or variance may be revoked, after a hearing at which the operator shall have an opportunity to present evidence in support of retention of the exemption or variance, if the Commissioner finds, upon consideration of the factors enumerated above in this section, that there exists a change in the conditions surrounding, or manner of operation of, the diversion or impoundment, sufficient to materially and adversely alter the circumstances under which such exemption or variance was granted.

(b) Upon the receipt of a petition or request for the declaration of a water supply emergency from any operator, from the chief executive officers of municipalities wherein the affected structure or the impaired stocked river or stream system is located, from the State Commissioner of Health, and Public Utilities Control Authority, or upon the receipt of any information from a recognized authority that an emergency exists or may be likely to exist in the immediate future, the Commissioner shall immediately commence departmental proceedings to determine the nature and extent of such water shortage, its causes and consequences, the likelihood of its natural amelioration or termination, and the need for the suspension or minimum flow standards with regard to particular impoundments or diversions, or within an entire region, or within the entire State. The Commissioner shall render his decision within three (3) working days of the receipt of a water supply emergency petition.

In determining whether a water supply emergency exists or is likely to exist in the immediate future, the Commissioner's considerations may include, but are not limited to, the following factors:

(1) Runoff or rainfall statistics for the watershed area for the period in question as compared with average runoff or rainfall over preceding years for comparable periods;
(2) Impoundment levels or volume of diversion as compared with levels or volumes at the same season in previous years;
(3) Peculiar or unusual demand situations or requirements to protect water quality;
(4) Peculiar or unusual water capture problems; and
(5) Unusual health, safety, power, or other crises imposing increased demands on water supplies.
(c) The Commissioner may modify the operation of minimum flow standards beyond the time at which incoming supplies, or losses, or use patterns of water return to normal, so that water supply deficits may be corrected.
(d) All declarations of water supply emergencies shall contain:
(1) The structures or stocked river or stream systems over which the operation of minimum flow standards shall be suspended;
(2) The duration of such modification, if for a definite term, or the conditions upon which the modification shall terminate if for an indefinite term; and
(3) Notice of the right of aggrieved persons to a hearing to appeal such modification, provided that such appeal, while pending, shall not enjoin the operation of such modification.
(e) All declarations of water supply emergencies shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality or municipalities wherein the emergency exists, and a certified copy shall be sent to all operators of affected impoundments and diversions, the chief executive officers of municipalities wherein the affected structure or the impaired stocked river or stream system is located, the State Commissioner of Health, and the Public Utilities Control Authority.

Notes

Conn. Agencies Regs. § 26-141a-4
Effective April 24, 1979

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