Draft Minutes of the October 17, 2016 Water Authority Meeting

Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority

1649 Route 12, Gales Ferry, CT

 

 

 

Present

Authority:  Chairman Monahan, Treasurer Eccard, Member Franciosi, and Member Balestracci

 

Authority Staff:  General Manager Cansler

 

Chairman Monahan called the meeting to order at approximately 5:15 p.m. 

 

Approval of Prior Minutes

On a motion of Mr. Eccard, seconded by Ms. Franciosi, the Authority approved the minutes of the September 12, 2016 Water Authority Meeting, by a vote of 4-0. 

 

Public Comment on any Item on the Agenda – None

 

Correspondence - None

 

General Manager’s Report

1.  Drought Issues - Montville

Due to the drought conditions resulting from much lower than average rainfall this summer, and increased usage from customers in the Montville Manor Subdivision, the wells serving that division were not able to keep up with their water demands in mid-August.  As a result SCWA sent out a notice restricting most outdoor water usage.  In addition SCWA staff did a leak survey, and repaired two main breaks.   As a result of the leak repairs, and water restrictions that were implemented, the usage dropped back down to winter usage levels, and so far, the wells have managed to keep up.  SCWA field staff is continuing to check the tanks daily, including weekends, to ensure water levels remain consistent.  General Manager Cansler stated that SCWA has not experienced problems related to the drought at any other SCWA divisions to date.    

 

2.  Extension of Services on Fairway Drive -Ledyard

Chairman Monahan and Mr. Cansler have met with Mayor Finkelstein, his staff, and the Ledyard WPCA several times since March to discuss water supply to potential commercial customers along a proposed extension of Fairway Drive in Ledyard Center.  This includes an Aquatic Center, planned for 2017.   SCWA hired Lenard Engineering to conduct an engineering feasibility study.  They proposed an emergency interconnection to the Ledyard system, to meet anticipated fire flow requirements for future Fairway Drive development.  

 

In August the Ledyard WPCA indicated they favored a proposal to support the new Aquatic Center from a water main running their line along Route 117 to the Aquatic Center site, approximately 700 feet.  This solution would require SCWA to purchase water from Groton Utilities, via the Ledyard WPCA, at a neutral cost for both WPCA and SCWA, for the new Aquatic Center, until such time that SCWA can provide service from our existing pump station in Ledyard Division.  

 

 

In early September, SCWA proposed a main extension from the apartments served by SCWA along Iron Street (Route 214) to the edge of the Aquatic Center property, a distance of approximately 300’.  This will keep the water service project for the Thames Aquatic entirely within the SCWA system, and not require coordination with multiple utilities.  This solution would also provide income from the Aquatic Center since we would not have to purchase water from Groton Utilities via Ledyard WPCA. 

 

In late September, Dave Holdridge, representing the landowner of all the vacant Fairway Drive lands met with Mr. Cansler and stated that they were going to pursue a well for the Aquatic Center property, until such time in the future that the Fairway Drive is developed and SCWA runs a main along the expansion.  Mr. Holdridge asked if SCWA would agree to run/monitor the well.  Mr. Cansler recommends that SCWA accept this proposal, if the Aquatic Center can get permission to drill a well.   

 

Chairman Monahan stated that he and the General Manager have both made concerted efforts to keep all parties informed regarding support for water at the new Aquatic Center.  He recommended that we continue our course of keeping everyone involved, and continuing to work together with all parties.  He stated that, if possible, SCWA should try to stay out of Ledyard politics, and concentrate on supporting new and existing customers with water service.

 

3. Transfer of Lantern Hill Division

In June 2016, PURA (Public Utility Regulatory Agency), DPH (Department of Public Health), and the CT Office of Consumer Counsel (OCC) held public hearings in Stonington and New Britain to consider the proposed transfer of the Lantern Hill Division from SCWA to Aquarion Water Company.  SCWA currently provides water to only 23 residential customers in the Lantern Hill Division.  Aquarion has a large pump station a few hundred yards from Lantern Hill, and a water main that passes within 100 feet of the current SCWA Lantern Hill distribution system.  After the hearings OCC expressed concern about Aquarion’s intent to lower the Lantern Hill customer rates to their Eastern Connecticut rate.  Aquarion has responded to OCCs concerns in August, and both Aquarion and SCWA are awaiting a decision from PURA regarding the transfer.  Mr. Cansler said that he had talked to Attorney Kepple the week before, and there was still nothing new regarding this issue.

 

4.  Water Supply Plan

Per the terms of the September 2015 Consent Agreement between SCWA, and DPH, SCWA is required to submit an updated Water Supply Plan to DPH no later than January 1, 2018.   In August, General Manager Cansler sent a Request for Proposal (RFP) to four engineering firms that are experienced with the development of Water Supply Plans in the State of Connecticut.   SCWA received bids back from two firms; Tighe & Bond, and Lenard Engineering.  Both bid packages were very similar, and demonstrated that both firms were both capable of completing a Water Supply Plan.  At the September 2016 meeting, the Authority approved a motion to have Lenard Engineering complete the updated Water Supply Plan for SCWA for a lump sum of $24,000.   Mr. Cansler mentioned that a kick-off meeting between SCWA and Lenard Engineering was scheduled for the last week in October.

 

5.  DWSRF Emergency Generator Program

The purchase of three generators was postponed from Fiscal Year 2016 because funding was diverted to the North Stonington pump station project.  DPH has requested that SCWA move forward on this project as soon as possible to keep the approved DWSRF funding, which includes a 45% subsidy grant for a new generator at the Tower-Ferry View Division, and a 25% subsidy for replacement generators at the Montville and Chesterfield Divisions.  At the September 2016 meeting the Authority approved a motion to have Lenard Engineering prepare plans, specs, and all required bid documents for each generator project, for a lump sum of $18,000.  Lenard Engineering completed the plans, specs, and bid packages on October 13, 2016.  Request for Proposals (RFP) were sent to five firms on October 14, 2016.  Bids are due to SCWA by October 26, 2016.   

 

6.  Tank Inspections

The State DPH requires that all atmospheric water storage tanks be inspected a minimum of every 10 years.  Mass Tank Inspection Services will start inspections, and cleaning, of the tanks listed below in late October.   Inspections should be completed by December 2016. 

 

                SCWA Division                   Town                                     Type and Number of Tanks

                Tower                                  Ledyard                                                1 Steel

 

                Ferry View                          Ledyard                                                1 Steel

               

                Ledyard Center                 Ledyard                                                1 Steel

 

                Montville                             Montville                             2 Reinforced Concrete

                                                                                                                1 Steel

 

                Hillcrest                                Montville                             2 Steel

 

 

7.  Trailer-mounted Mobile Pump Station Project

In preparation for the Chesterfield project, and other similar projects to follow over the next few years, SCWA intends to construct a trailer-mounted pump station that can be used to operate our regular pump stations during renovation projects, and/or emergency repairs.  At the June 2016 meeting the Authority approved the General Manager to spend up to $50,000 to construct the trailer-mounted pump station.  SCWA purchased a new 20 x 8 enclosed trailer for $6,500, and ordered a new booster pump skid package for $23,000 from FW Webb, through the State Contract.  Additional costs will include electrical panels, wiring, and piping.   The pump skid package finally arrived the first week in October, and work will begin on the new mobile pump station next week.  

 

8.  Hillcrest - Radon in Water Letter

Jensen Communities, which developed, and sells homes in the Hillcrest Division of Montville, sent a letter to SCWA in April 2016 expressing concern about radon in the drinking water of a home that was recently sold.  The primary cause for concern from radon in the water is that it may get into the air.   Although not obligated to address this issue, since radon in water is not regulated, the Authority approved a motion at the June 2016 meeting to have Lenard Engineering conduct an engineering feasibility study. Their study recommended radionuclide treatment using a bubble-up radon removal system.  Their estimate for equipment and installation costs for such a system was approximately $33,000.  The feasibility study also discussed the option of utilizing an air compressor and perforated pipe to force air into the tanks.  Lenard Engineering felt that this solution may not eliminate enough radon in the water to resolve the issue, however the General Manager plans to try the cheaper solution first and see how much radon is eliminated.  If it does not work, then SCWA will forward the more expensive solution to Jensen Communities and see if they want to pay the expenses involved. 

 

 

9.  Montville Oakdale Elementary School Water Supply

In 2015 the Authority approved supporting the Montville Oakdale Elementary School either as a primary and/or back-up water provider.  The school currently operates off of an on-site well system.  In July 2016 General Manager Cansler and SCWA Foreman Brandon Belair met with Montville Schools to discuss connection costs and requirements.  Mr. Cansler has informed Montville Schools that the Connection and System Development Fees would be around $12,000, which includes the cost of the meter.  Montville Schools will be responsible for the cost of construction/installation costs.  In September, Montville schools requested information regarding average water bills if they connect to the SCWA system.   This information was provided, and forwarded to the Montville Schools Finance committee for review and approval. 

 

10.  North Stonington – Water Line Easement

In 2014, an owner of a commercial North Stonington property, discovered that the water main on his property crosses outside of the SCWA easement.  The water main was installed by a hotel developer in 2007.  SCWA took over the water main after the hotel was constructed.   There has not been any updates over the past several months regarding any possible legal disputes resulting from the easement issue, or the proposed development of a senior housing center on the site. 

 

11.  Town of North Stonington - New Center for Emergency Services

The Town of North Stonington is constructing a new Center for Emergency Services, which includes extending SCWA’s water distribution system 1500 feet, to the new Center for Emergency Services.  SCWA continues to work with the Design/Engineer Firm, as needed, to assist with planning the main extension and Emergency Center water system, and will continue to support the project after it has been awarded. 

 

12.  DWSRF Projects

The State DPH Drinking Water Section is expected to issue a Call for Projects this fall for Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019.  Financing through the DWSRF includes a low-interest loan with the potential for subsidization to eligible projects in the form of principal forgiveness to the extent allowed by Federal and/or State law.  At the September 2016 meeting the Authority approved a motion to have Lenard Engineering prepare the DWSRF Call for Project applications for the three proposed projects, for a lump sum of $4,500 ($1,500 per project).   The three projects are:  Renovation of Tower/Ferry View Pump Station, Interconnection between Montville and Seven Oaks systems, and Expansion of the Ledyard system to include emergency interconnection with Ledyard WPCA system. 

 

13.  Regional Considerations

The Authority has been involved with, or is monitoring, various regional items, including:

a)  State Water Plan and Water Utility Coordinating Committees (WUCC):

Pursuant to Public Act 14-163, a State Water Plan for the management of water resources in the State of Connecticut is required to be presented by the State Water Planning Council (WPC), to the General Assembly by January 1, 2018.  In conjunction with State Water Plan, DPH has coordinated the activities of the three Water Utility Coordinating Committees (WUCCs).   The Eastern Connecticut WUCC officially convened in June 2016.  Future WUCC member meetings will be every second Wednesday of the month at the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments (SCCOG) Office, at 1 pm.  These meetings are open to the public.   At the August WUCC meeting General Manager Cansler volunteered to serve on the ESA (Exclusive Service Area) sub-committee.  There have been two meetings of the ESA (Exclusive Service Area) sub-committee to date, both held at the SCWA Conference room in Gales Ferry. 

b)  SCWA Interaction with the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments (SCCOG).  Chairman Monahan periodically attends the regular monthly SCCOG meetings. 

 

c)  SCCOG Regional Water Committee’s Technical Advisory Subcommittee (TAS).  SCWA staff participate on the SCCOG Regional Water Committee’s Technical Advisory Subcommittee.

 

14.  2016 Authority Meeting Schedule

(Attachment #1 – 2017 SCWA Meeting schedule)

General Manager Cansler presented a draft calendar with the proposed Authority Board, and Representative Advisory Board (RAB), meeting dates for 2017.  He proposed that the Authority continue to meet at SCWA on the second Monday of each month, unless the Monday conflicts with a holiday.  The RAB schedule will remain the same; quarterly meetings, at rotating locations within the SCWA district, on the third Thursdays of January, April, July, and October.   The calendar also shows all SCWA holidays.

 

Chairman Monahan stated that the Water Authority could approve their meeting schedule for 2017, but that the RAB should approve the 2017 RAB Meeting Schedule at their next regularly scheduled Quarterly meeting (scheduled for Oct. 20, 2016).  Mr. Eccard made a motion to approve the 2017 Regular Meeting schedule for the Authority, as presented by the General Manager.  This motion, which was seconded by Mr. Balestracci, passed by a vote of 4-0.  

 

Other Business – None 

 

Report from Chairman  - None 

 

Report from Authority Members – None 

 

Public Comment – None

 

On motion of Mr. Eccard, seconded by Ms. Franciosi, the Authority voted to adjourn the meeting at approximately 6:03 p.m. 

 

It was noted the next Authority meeting is scheduled to occur on November 14, 2016, 5:15 p.m. at

1649 Rt. 12, Gales Ferry, CT. 

 

                                                                                                                Joseph C. Cansler                                                                                                                                                                             Secretary