New Milford's aquifer protection regulations are going into effect, requiring businesses in the protection area to be registered with the state.

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection recommended a fee of $300 for registration to be waived by the town.

Existing businesses will be grandfathered in, but are advised to register.

New businesses would have to pass Aquifer Protection Agency standards to be allowed to go into the Level A Aquifer area. Those standards have been taken from the DEEP model.

Letters are being mailed by the town to some 4,000 businesses and affected property owners in the protection area.

A proposed change to the Aquifer Protection Ordinance would name the town's Planning Commission as the aquifer protection agency, replacing the Water Pollution Control Authority. A public hearing for resident input on the ordinance change has not yet been scheduled.

"When the Planning Commission acts as the Aquifer Protection Agency, the zoning and wetlands enforcement officers will jointly inspect businesses for regulation compliance," Mayor Pat Murphy said.

"When the permits are being applied for with the state, the enforcement officers will conduct an inspection, give their report to the Aquifer Protection Agency, and that agency will forward the report to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. The DEEP will send the business the permit," he added.

In October 2009, a Level A Aquifer map was released by the Department of Environmental Protection delineating the aquifer protection area in New Milford. The area runs, apprimately, from the north in the Boardman district, under the Housatonic River, then south along Route 7. That area became the regulatory boundary for land-use controls designed to protect active public water supply wells from contamination.

stuz@newstimes.com; 860-355-7322