Metropolitan District Commission of Connecticut

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Metropolitan District Commission of Connecticut
Public Utility
IndustryWater and Sewage
FoundedHartford, CT (1929)
Area served
Greater Hartford
Key people
William A. DiBella, Chairman

The Metropolitan District Commission of Connecticut (MDC) is a public non-profit municipal corporation chartered by the Connecticut General Assembly in 1929 to provide drinking water and sewer service to the Hartford area. The original agreement tied together the water systems of Hartford, Bloomfield, Newington, Wethersfield, and Windsor.[1] The MDC currently serves eight towns in the Hartford area. The MDC is run by a 29-member board of commissioners; 17 of which are appointed by the member towns, eight by the governor, and four by legislative leaders. The current Chairman of the MDC Board is William A. DiBella.[2]


The Nepaug Dam
Spill way of Saville Dam Barkhamsted

The MDC began acquiring land for the planned Barkhamsted Reservoir two and a half years before its charter was granted. in 1932 under Chairman Charles Goodwin the MDC was forced to slow its land acquisition as a result of the great depression.[3]

In the 21st century the MDC has faced criticism for opaque business practices and offering deep discounts to select industrial users without public consultation.[4] Regulators at PURA have suggested increased transparency and external audits in addition to the MDC's own.[5]

In 2017 the MDC began work on The South Hartford Conveyance and Storage Tunnel, the largest project in the District's history. The 18ft diameter tunnel will extend four miles at a depth of over 200ft and will carry stormwater during significant rain events, this project is the cornerstone of a larger sewer-stormwater separation project aimed at improving water quality in Wethersfield Cove, the Connecticut River, and Long Island Sound. The South Hartford Conveyance and Storage Tunnel project has an estimated budget of over $500 million.[6]


Woods of Rochambeau campsite in West Hartford, August 27, 2008
Lake Mcdonough from Tunxis Trail

The Barkhamsted Reservoir was created with the completion of the Saville Dam on the Farmington River. The Barkhamsted Reservoir has a filled volume of 36.8 billion US gallons (139,000,000 m3) and is the largest impoundment on the Farmington River system.[7] The reservoir was completed in 1940 at a cost of $10 million.[8] Filling the reservoir destroyed much of the town of Barkhamsted Hollow. Water from the Barkhamstead Reservoir is transferred by pipes to filtration stations in West Hartford and Bloomfield using only the force of gravity.[9]

The West Hartford Reservoirs are a series of five reservoirs and a number of ponds and water tanks in West Hartford, Connecticut.[10] The Revolutionary War Campsite is a historic archaeological site located on MDC land near Reservoir #6.[11]

Nepaug Reservoir[12]

Lake McDonough and Hogback Reservoir[13]


The current MDC headquarters on the corner of Main and Wells in Downtown Hartford was built in the late 1970s and has ~60,000 square feet of floor space.[14] Its brutalist facade matches the design language of neighboring buildings.

Metropolitan District Commission Police[edit]

The MDC has its own police force to enforce the law and protect its various operations. According to the MDC use of its facilities is "regulated by the Connecticut Department of Public Health (Section 24-43c of the Connecticut General Statutes) and enforced by MDC police."[15] The current Chief of Police of The MDC Police is Henry Martin.[16] In 2011 CEO Charles Sheehan stated that Metropolitan District Officers operate both in uniform and in plain clothes, and that they maintain order at the MDC's corporate headquarters in addition to the field facilities.[17]


Niagara Bottling Plant[edit]

In 2015 the MDC faced criticism over a deal with Niagara Bottling that provided the first bulk discount since the District began operating. They kept the deal secret until after it had been completed and did not offer a chancellor public comment. The Bloomfield Town Council faced criticism for not consulting or notifying the public of the bottling plant, and a significant tax abatement, until after the deal was made. There have been calls for increased transparency.[18]

In 2016 the MBD Board voted to discontinue the Niagara discount, the change was part of an effort to restore public trust after the scandal over secrecy and lack of public oversight.[19]

Chairman DiBella[edit]

In 2008 MDC Chairman William A. DiBella was ordered to pay $795,000 in restitution for his key role in a fraudulent investment scheme involving former State Treasurer Paul J. Silvester and Thayer Capital Partners. DiBella and his associates were paid kickbacks from Thayer in return for placing money from the Connecticut State Retirement and Trust Fund into their funds.[20] The scheme unbalanced the State Retirement and Trust Fund portfolio, potentially putting a huge number of State Retirement accounts at risk.[21]

DiBella was MDC Chairman at the time and there have been widespread calls for him to step down, mainly citing his SEC case, the ethics of public office, and the inherent moral corruption of his acts leading to questions about his character.[22] The Federation of Connecticut Taxpayer Organizations has added DiBella to their “Hall of Shame” of politicians who grossly betray the public's trust in addition to calling for him to be stripped of his MDC position.[23] Fellow MDC Commissioner Mark Pappa stated that “If this was a publicly traded company this conversation wouldn’t even happen because there’s no question Mr. DiBella would not be sitting here.”[24]

Discrimination Lawsuits[edit]

In 2016 the MDC paid $350,000 to settle the case Lebert Thomas v. The Metropolitan District et al. It was alleged that the MDC discriminated against Mr. Thomas on the basis of his race. A confidentiality clause was included with the settlement.[25]

In 2002 the MDC paid $1.5m to settle claims of discrimination against female and minority employees. MDC Chairman William A. DiBella claimed that the settlement was a result of ``The district wanted to get this behind them.’’[26] A jury in 2000 had awarded the plaintiff, Sharon Harper, $4.6m after finding that MDC officials had defamed her. The Officials spread rumors about Harper that were of a sexual nature and the jury found them to be on their face defamatory, this was seen as highly offensive to Harper because she was a Churchgoer with a conservative southern background. This was the third time in eight years that the MDC was found to be at fault for discriminating against minority employees.[27] Despite the communities it serves being highly diverse the Hartford Courant in 2002 classified the senior management of the MDC as "overwhelmingly white.”[28]

Board of Commissioners[edit]

As of June 4, 2018, the MDC Board of Commissioners consisted of:[29]

  • Andrew Adil
  • John Avedisian
  • Clifford Avery Buell
  • Luis Caban
  • Daniel Camilliere
  • Donald M. Currey
  • Mary Anne Charron
  • William A. DiBella (Chairman)
  • Timothy J. Fitzgerald
  • Matthew B. Galligan
  • Peter Gardow
  • Denise Hall
  • James Healy
  • Allen Hoffman
  • Jean Holloway
  • David Ionno
  • Sandra Johnson
  • Kathleen J. Kowalyshyn
  • Gary LeBeau
  • Byron Lester
  • Maureen Magnan (Vice Chairwoman)
  • Alphonse Marotta
  • Whit Osgood
  • Domenic M. Pane
  • Bhupen Patel
  • Pasquale J. Salemi
  • Michael Solomonides
  • Raymond Sweezy
  • Alvin Taylor
  • Michael Torres
  • Richard W. Vicino


  1. ^ "History". Metropolitan District of Connecticut. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  2. ^ "Board Members". MDC. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  3. ^ Murphy, Kevin. "A Valley Flooded to Slake the Capital Region's Thirst". Connecticut Historical Society. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  4. ^ Condon, Tom. "Bottling plant a wake-up call on state water". ct mirror. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  5. ^ Besthoff, Ben. "MDC Water Woes". NBC Connecticut. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  6. ^ Skahill, Patrick. "Tunneling 200 Feet Underneath Connecticut For Cleaner Water, At A Cost". WNPR. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  7. ^ Murphy, Kevin. "A Valley Flooded to Slake the Capital Region's Thirst". Connecticut Historical Society. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  8. ^ Murphy, Kevin (2010). Water for Hartford. Wesleyan University Press. pp. 234–237. ISBN 978-0-8195-7080-2.
  9. ^ McGrath, Kaitlyn. "A Look at Where MDC Gets Your Water". NBC Connecticut. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  10. ^ "West Hartford Reservoirs Map" (PDF). The Metropolitan District. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  11. ^ "Revolutionary War Campsite". National Park Service. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  12. ^ "The Nepaug Reservoir". New Hartford Historical Society. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  13. ^ "THE NEPAUG STORY (Burlington version)". The Canton Museum. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  14. ^ GOSSELIN, KENNETH R. "MDC Eyes Building For Hartford Headquarters Expansion". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  15. ^ "Reservoirs". The MDC. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  16. ^ "CHIEFS DIRECTORY". Connecticut Police Chiefs Association. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  17. ^ SHEEHAN, CHARLES. "Ct Consumer Complaint: MDC Layoffs Affecting Service". ctwatchdog.
  18. ^ Mark, Pazniokas. "Public water, private profits: A fight over MDC's tap water". CT mirror. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  19. ^ Goode, Steven. "MDC Unanimously Votes To Discontinue Discount That Would Have Benefited Niagara Bottling". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  20. ^ "Court Orders William DiBella, Former Majority Leader of the Connecticut State Senate, to Pay Over $791,000 in Connection with Fraud Relating to State Pension Fund". US Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  21. ^ Mahony, Edmund H. "DiBella A Stingy Witness: Testimony Adds Little In SEC Suit". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  22. ^ Quinion, Alison. "Letter to the Editor: Has William DiBella Become a Liability to the MDC?". Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  23. ^ "Hall of Shame". Federation of Connecticut Taxpayer Organizations. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  24. ^ Stuart, Christine. "DiBella Survives Ouster Attempt". ct news junkie. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  25. ^ "THE METROPOLITAN DISTRICT COMMISSION minutes Monday, June 6, 2016" (PDF). The MDC. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  26. ^ BUDOFF, CARRIE. "Mdc Pays $1.5 Million To Settle Suit Charged With Discriminating Against Women, Minorities". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  27. ^ Simpson, Stan. "Agency Needs To Look Within". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  28. ^ Simpson, Stan. "Mdc Chief May Be Out Sooner Than Expected". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  29. ^ "THE METROPOLITAN DISTRICT COMMISSION minutes June, 4 2018" (PDF). The MDC. Retrieved 10 July 2018.