It's now a waiting game for a group of lake advocates to see if a second petition will change New Fairfield official's minds about adding herbicides to Candlewood Lake. A group calling itself “Candlewood Voices” wants a townwide vote whenever officials want to use chemicals in the lake.
According to New Fairfield's ordinances, a petition garnering more than 20 signatures from registered voters must be discussed in a special meeting of the Board of Selectmen. But that only happens if it's for a lawful purpose. The Selectmen got a legal opinion stating that having votes on using chemicals in the lake could frustrate existing state regulations and infringe on the health director's authority.
Candlewood Voices Co-founder Carolyn Rowan says a revised petition was started to overcome the legal objection.
New Fairfield scaled back its plans to only add a milfoil-killing herbicide to 10 acres at Shelter Harbor Cove. The original proposal called for adding herbicides to 60 acres and to use copper sulfate in 160 acres. That would have been an effort to treat blue-green algae.
Rowan says adding herbicides to a small portion of the lake is a dangerous precedent, noting that the company's goal is to show that the lake needs chemicals.