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First Selectman Messages

Town of Canton >> Boards and Commissions >> Board of Selectmen >> First Selectman >> First Selectman Messages

6/2/2022 - 06/02/2022


Dear Residents,

David Leff 

Canton lost a beloved member of the Canton community this past weekend: David Leff, poet, historian, originator of the Collinsville Historic District, tireless promoter of the ‘working village’ now known as one of the 10 coolest towns in America. We really did lose a good one.

I always think of Dave as someone who had a bubbling pot on every burner of his stove. A book. A play. A dedication. A garden. An historic turbine that needed preserving and display. And because he was busy all the time, he accomplished a great deal. So many books! Just the right poem or historic rendering. His Walking Tours of Collinsville. His Driving Tours of Historic Canton.  Granite curbing on The Green. 

Dave wasn’t born here, but he gladly became a ‘townie.’ Buying and restoring an historic home, he began to feel the town’s magic and uncover its many mysteries. As he did, he discovered that anyone could find the same type of magic if they were willing to look for it. 

His first book, “The Last Undiscovered Place,” inspired countless readers to find the magic in their own communities. This idea inspired his efforts to restore and renew historic Collinsville, and also to introduce his many readers to the wonders of nature and our duty to preserve it.  

David Leff is gone now, but his drive and restless spirit live on. We can remember him best by looking more deeply, by sharing our discoveries with others, and by keeping a twinkle in our eye. He certainly did! No matter the project, Dave had a smile and a story for everyone. 

Hydro Power
The final step in reconstructing the hydro-power station is under way - installing “crest gates” on the dam by the Route 179 bridge. These gates will control the level of the river, which will steady the water flow through the power turbine. 

To install the gates, construction crews have lowered the river level to almost a drought level. This week, crews began to install the brackets that will hold the gates in place. Concrete and the actual gates themselves will follow in the next few weeks. 

Once the gates are in place, the river will be allowed to rise three feet above where it has been for years. This will also allow the separate fish and eel ladders to open.

About power: 
The reconstructed hydro power plant began generating electricity in December 2021 when it generated 195,066 KWh (Kilowatt hours). Since then, the plant has generated 304,835 KWh in January 2022, 368,625 KWh in February, and 470,919 KWh in March.

For several years, the Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA) has seen a troubling increase in sewage flow during rain storms. During extended periods of rainfall, the WPCA was processing nearly twice as much volume as it did during dry periods.

A study identified infiltration as the major cause. Cracked pipes, defective pipe joints and/or manhole defects were allowing groundwater into the system, reducing capacity and increasing wear and tear on equipment. The WPCA set plans in motion to reduce infiltration. 

The plan involved a small caravan of trucks in Collinsville one month ago. The work crews installed plastic liners in our sewer lines, then hardened the liners in place. This is a major improvement over the older method - which involves digging up the street, removing the old lines and installing new. It’s also effective. 

Early results show a significant reduction in infiltration, and it’s a good sign that our ongoing work will continue to bear fruit. Before work began, our sewer plant processed an average of 700,000 gallons per day. After the first phase of work was completed, the average dropped to 525,000 gallons, a reduction of nearly 25%. To be fair, not all of this reduction is the result of the work performed, but we are confident that it contributed mightily to the result.

Overall, the Canton sewer plant has a capacity of 950,000 gallons per day. By reducing infiltration, we ensure that large projects, such as the apartments at 5 Cherry Brook and the Collins Company will have the service they need.

Stay well,
Bob Bessel




Kevin Witkos
First Selectman
Phone: (860) 693-7847

Office Hours:
 click here to make an appointment

Canton Town Hall
P.O. Box 168
4 Market Street
Collinsville, CT 06022