Draft Minutes of the January 11, 2016 Water Authority Meeting

Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority

1649 Route 12, Gales Ferry, CT

 

 

Present

Authority:  Chairman Monahan, Treasurer Eccard, Member Balestracci, Member O’Connor,

Member Franciosi, and Member Mullane.

 

Authority Staff:  General Manager Cansler

 

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

 

Approval of Prior Minutes

On motion of Mr. Eccard, seconded by Mr. Mullane, the Authority approved the minutes of the December 21, 2015 Water Authority Meeting, by a vote of 6-0. 

 

Public Comment on any Item on the Agenda – None

 

Correspondence – A copy of Mr. Andrew Ciminera’s obituary was provided to each Authority member.  Mr. Ciminera, who passed away on December 23, 2015, was a past Chairman of the Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority (SCWA).   On a motion of Mr. Mullane, seconded by Ms. Franciosi, the Authority approved a donation of $100, on behalf of SCWA, to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.  The approved donation of $100, in memory of Mr. Ciminera, was received, and acknowledged, by

St. Jude’s Hospital on January 15, 2016.  

 

General Manager Cansler also passed out a copy of the SCWA Schedule of Meetings for 2016 to each Authority member.  This schedule was sent to each municipality in Southeastern Connecticut.  

 

General Manager’s Report

 

1.  North Stonington Pump Station Replacement

On December 31, 2015, DPH did a final inspection on the new North Stonington pump station, and issued an Acknowledgement of Completion to SCWA.   Construction began in September to replace the old pump station, which was destroyed in June 2015 after one of the hydropneumatic pressure tanks ruptured.  The switchover to the new pump station occurred on December 30, 2015.  Although the new pump station is complete, and fully operational, the new emergency generator still has to be installed.  A trailer-mounted emergency generator is in use until the new generator can be installed the week of January 11, 2016.  In addition, a retaining wall on the outside of the pumphouse still has to be completed. 

 

To date, SCWA has been reimbursed a total of $385,390.75 by our insurance company for costs resulting from the rupture of the tank at North Stonington, and replacement of the pump station there.  Our expenses for this project have totaled $411,356.67 to date.  The insurance company has indicated they may cover additional claims associated with the project.  We are waiting on several final bills from various subcontractors before submitting a request for final reimbursement. 

 

 

2. Lantern Hill Division

Mr. Cansler met with Aquarion on June 10th to discuss possible alternatives to providing water to the 23 residents in Lantern Hill currently using SCWA water.   On August 10, 2015 the Authority voted unanimously to have the General Manager follow through with Aquarion on transition of the property.   On August 27, 2015 SCWA received a draft Asset Transfer Agreement between SCWA and Aquarion Water Company.  Aquarion, SCWA, and Attorney Kepple are still working various details for the transfer. 

 

3.  Chesterfield Water

SCWA has received an increasing number of calls regarding discoloration, and occasional sediment, in the water, from residents of the SCWA Chesterfield Division.  In November 2015 the storage tank was cleaned, and additional flushing hydrants were installed for the areas receiving the most complaints.  After the additional hydrants were installed, we flushed the system twice more.  This appeared to clear the water up significantly, but we have received a couple of complaints since then.  Based on sample results taken throughout the system, we believe the remaining discoloration is the result of high levels of manganese in the two pressure tanks. 

 

General Manager Cansler has asked the engineer we hired for this project, Lenard Engineering, to develop a proposal to develop plans and specifications to replace the two pressure tanks, and upgrade the entire system at Chesterfield.   They submitted a proposal of $6500 on December 21, 2015 to prepare the plans and specifications for a new booster pump skid and piping modifications at the Chesterfield Division Pump Station.  Mr. Cansler recommended the Authority authorize the General Manager to accept Lenard Engineering’s proposal.  Mr. Cansler also mentioned that we are exploring modification of the chemical treatment process in an effort to possibly sequester the manganese in the source water.  SCWA staff have been reaching out to various water purification chemical manufacturers to determine the feasibility of sequestration, and the right chemical make-up in accordance with EPA standards.  Any changes to the chemical treatment process will have to be approved by the State DPH.

 

Mr. Eccard made a motion to have the Authority accept Lenard Engineering’s proposal to prepare plans and specifications for a new booster pump skid and piping modifications, at the Chesterfield Division Pump Station, for a lump sum fee of $6500.  This motion, seconded by Mr. Mullane, was approved by a unanimous vote of all members present, 6-0.

 

4.  Cedar Ridge Pump Station Modifications

After an advertised public bidding process, the contract to modify access to the Cedar Ridge Pump Station was awarded to Coon Construction.  Access to the underground section of the pump station is currently only through a hatch on the ground floor, into a space that requires “confined space” entry equipment by certified personnel.  Start of this project has been being delayed until work is completed on the North Stonington project.

 

5.  North Stonington – Water Line Easement

In 2014, an owner of a commercial North Stonington property discovered that a water main that was installed in 2007 by a hotel developer on an adjoining property crosses outside of the SCWA easement.  SCWA took over the water main after construction of the hotel was complete.   In September 2015 an attorney for the hotel claimed that SCWA engineers were involved in the layout and construction of the misaligned water main.  Attorney Kepple, representing SCWA, has been corresponding with both the hotel attorney, and the attorney for the affected land-owner, to resolve this issue; and ensure that SCWA is absolved of any blame in the water main crossing outside of the legal easement. 

 

 

6.  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.  Mr. Mullane mentioned that Lenard Engineering had a copy of the complete North Stonington distribution system, with the new main extension.  Mr. Cansler stated he would reach out to Lenard to get a copy of the complete system.

 

7.  Montville Oakdale Elementary School Water Supply

SCWA is working with the Montville School District to provide an alternate water source to the Oakdale School’s well system.  At the May 18th, 2015 Authority Board meeting, the Authority approved supporting the Oakdale Elementary School either as a primary and/or back-up water provider.  We are told that Montville has included a budget line item in their FY16 schools budget to pay for construction of the connection to the SCWA system.

 

8.  Regional Considerations

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

  • 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.  The WPC has assembled a Steering Committee to coordinate the development of the Plan.  In conjunction with State Water Plan, DPH has coordinated the activities of the three Water Utility Coordinating Committees (WUCCs).   Mr. Cansler attended the first of several Informational meetings regarding the Eastern Management Area WUCC, which was held on September 30, 2015 at Eastern Connecticut State University.  In addition

Mr. Cansler has attended recent meetings of the WPC Advisory Group to discuss the State Water Planning.

 

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.

 

9.  New Office Space for SCWA

At the November 30, 2015 meeting, the Authority voted to accept a proposal from Gasparino Contracting (for $22,750) to fit-out the new office space for SCWA.  The new office will be located in the same building, in the space formerly occupied by the Ledyard Dairy.  The fit-out of the new space includes construction of walls for a conference room, two offices, 5 doors, floor prep and carpeting, baseboard installation, wall painting, and installation of 6 additional electrical outlets.  Gasparino began work on December 10th, and should be completed by the end of January 2016. 

 

10.  FY 2015 Draft Audit Report

General Manager Cansler mentioned that the presentation of the FY 2015 Draft SCWA Audit Report to the Representative Advisory Board (RAB) Finance Committee will be held one hour before the regular January RAB meeting on Thursday, January 21st, at the Montville Public Safety Building.   Unfortunately, due to a change in representatives at the Audit Agency SCWA used for the FY2015 audit (CohnReznick), we were not able schedule a meeting of the Representative Advisory Board (RAB) Finance Committee meeting in December or early January, as originally planned. 

 

11. One-year Performance Evaluation

At the December 21, 2015 Authority meeting, there was discussion about whether there should be a requirement for Annual Evaluations/Counseling added to the SCWA Personnel Policies Handbook.   Currently there is a mandatory 6-month probationary period for all new SCWA employees, but there is not a mandatory evaluation and/or counseling program.  Mr. Cansler checked with the previous General Manager, who stated that he had never received a formal evaluation.  Mr. Eccard recommended that for the purpose of establishing a formal paper trail to protect the Authority in the future, the employees should be formally evaluated on a regular basis.  Mr. Cansler mentioned that this would not only protect the Authority if there were problem employees, but it would also protect good employees should their positive standing with the Authority ever be in doubt.  After some discussion on this subject, Mr. Eccard made a motion that the Chairman bring the Hiring Committee back to discuss possible changes and improvements to the SCWA employee evaluation process.  This motion, seconded by Mr. Mullane, was approved by a unanimous vote of all members present, 6-0.

 

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 6:10 p.m. 

 

It was noted the next Authority meeting is scheduled to occur on February 8, 2016, 5:15 p.m. at

1649 Rt. 12, Gales Ferry, CT. 

 

                                                                                                                Joseph C. Cansler                                                                                                                                                                             Secretary