Fuel Cell In, Bottled Water Out

Thomas MacMillan PhotoAldermen passed two items Monday night that proponents say will both save money and help the environment.

During their regular meeting, aldermen voted to approve a deal that will install a fuel cell behind City Hall and a measure that will prohibit the use of public funds to purchase bottled water.

Both measures passed unanimously.

East Rock Alderman Justin Elicker, chair of the City Services and Environmental Policy Committee, spoke on both items before voting.

On the fuel cell, Elicker said that an energy study paid for by stimulus money found that the city could find “substantial savings” by installing a fuel cell to provide City Hall’s heat, cooling, and power.

The city issued a request for proposals last year, seeking companies willing to do the deed. The UTC corporation won out and aldermen Monday approved a 10-year, $431,000 deal with the company to put in a 400kW fuel cell.

Giovanni Zinn, an environmental consultant with the Office of Sustainability, has estimated that the fuel cell will save the city up to $3.3 million over 20 years. The fuel cell will also be more energy efficient, cleaner, and use Connecticut technology. See background here and here.

On bottled water, Elicker said the move toward tap water will save money, help the environment, and be more healthy. He sipped from a metal bottle during the meeting.

Several types of plastic have been shown to leach toxic chemical into water, Elicker said. And while New Haven enjoys excellent tap water, “our kids are being taught that tap water is not safe.”

The city spends some $32,000 each year on bottled water trucked in from Worcester, Mass. See background here.

The bottled water ban passed unanimously, with abstentions from Newhallville Aldermen Charles Blango and Katrina Jones, who work for the Board of Education. Fair Haven Heights Alderwoman Maureen O’Sullivan-Best declined to vote.

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posted by: Cedarhillresident on March 8, 2011  12:32pm



posted by: ASL on March 8, 2011  1:46pm

Can someone explain the connection between the Board of Ed and a bottled water ban?

posted by: Bill Saunders on March 8, 2011  2:17pm

(don’t drink the water)

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on March 8, 2011  6:52pm

Like I said Keep drinking.

That Tap Water Is Legal but May Be Unhealthy.

Published: December 16, 2009



How about this water.


posted by: JH on March 8, 2011  7:25pm

These are two great steps forward for New Haven.  I applaud the board of aldermen for their support of these initiatives, and also for closing the police pension loophole.  Good work, all.

@ASL The bottled water resolution called for a limit to selling bottled water in schools.  The Board of Ed currently purchases and sells bottled water to our kids, sometimes instead of making tap water more available.  For my part, I abhor the idea of making kids shell out $1.50 to drink water and teaching them that bottled water is safe or preferable to tap.

posted by: john on March 8, 2011  9:35pm

@ASL—yeah, right? is this connected to coke contracts and “dasani”?

posted by: Bill Saunders on March 9, 2011  4:54am


You are so right.  Teaching kids to drink bottled water over tap is the most wrong-headed and environmentally unfriendly use of any public money. New Haven tap water is more than potable.

If it cost $1.50 for a pint (16 oz) of life giving elixir, that equates to $12/gal for a human necessity— three times the price of a gallon of gas, which we spend billions to secure with stupid wars.

I remember gas lines as a kid.
The only bottled water in the grocery was a small stash of Perrier for ‘fancy pants’, or distilled gallons on the bottom shelf to steam the homemaker’s irons.

A quick check from a possibly incredulous internet site, cites that a 150lb adult needs 10 glasses (80 oz) of water a day to be healthy. 


More expensive than a pack of some brands of cigarettes!
(available at your local neighborhood bodega!)

Pro-rated for survival, this amounts to more money than the monthly food stamp allowance for a single adult! 

New England might be smart to secede on it’s water resources alone.
What leverage if it trades greater than oil!!!

posted by: Fuel Cell BS on March 9, 2011  7:37am

CT. is literally the only state to list Fuel Cells as Green Energy worthy of grants.  They simply are not.  Different, yes.  Amazingly clean, green and cost effective, no.

The numbers connected to this money dump by Elicker et. al. are inflated.  The Alders have refused to do their due diligence on this deal and the switch over to this “new” technology will do nothing but cost more money.

I hope the Alders track the cost-benefit of this debacle as closely as they will monitor library hours.  This one is directly on their watch. 

Get ready for “unpredictable” construction overruns, “unanticipated” changes in the energy markets and “necessary upgrades” in technology to follow as the Fuel Cell becomes a money pit that the City will be on the hook for.

posted by: M Branch on March 9, 2011  12:16pm

@Bill: I agree that bottled water is a silly and wasteful extravagance, but just FYI, that claim about 80 ounces of water a day is apparently exaggerated, as is the more common admonition to drink 8 8-oz glasses of water a day. http://www.snopes.com/medical/myths/8glasses.asp

posted by: william Saunders on March 9, 2011  4:20pm

M Branch,

Don’t beat me up over two glasses of water.

ok, my revised rant…..

AS MUCH as a pack of cigarettes….....
AS MUCH as the monthly food stamp allowance

posted by: william lucas on March 10, 2011  8:49am

Ireally would like to know why people have it in for bottle water containers. Why not pick on soda containers, milk containers, squeeze bottles containing mustard and ketchup etc etc etc.