Draft Minutes Of The January 12, 2015 Meeting

Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority

1649 Route 12, Gales Ferry, CT

 

Present

Authority: Chairman Monahan, Vice-Chairman Watson, Treasurer Eccard, Member Franciosi,

Member Mullane, Member Balestracci and Member O’Connor

 

Authority Staff: General Manager Leonard

 

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. Watson, the Authority unanimously approved the minutes of the December 15, 2014 Special Meeting, as distributed, (Mr. O’Connor abstained).

 

Public Comment On Any Item On The Agenda – none

 

Correspondence

Mr. Leonard distributed copies of a January 5, 2015 letter he sent to Mr. Mullane, the First Selectman of North Stonington, notifying the Town that SCWA was exercising its “right to renew” the property lease for the North Stonington wellfield. He noted that the original lease, dated June 14, 1965, is a one-hundred year lease, segmented into twenty-five-year renewal periods; and the renewal presently being sought was the second renewal. Mr. Mullane indicated the town was interested in renewing the lease and would work with SCWA on this matter.

 

Mr. Leonard stated that other significant correspondence would be addressed during the general manager’s report segment of the meeting.

 

General Manager’s Report

Discussion highlights of the general manager’s report are as follows:

 

Item 1. Regional Considerations

The Authority has been involved with or otherwise engaged in various regional items, including:

a) Water Utility Coordinating Committees (WUCC)

The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) has announced that it has completed the realignment of the geographical boundaries of the WUCC management areas. The number of management areas has been decreased from seven (7) to three (3): Western, Central and Eastern. The Western management area will be the first to be addressed by DPH.

 

b) SCWA Interaction With SCCOG

SCWA and the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments (SCCOG) continue to interact cooperatively. To this end, Chairman Monahan periodically attends the regular monthly SCCOG meetings and the SCCOG Regional Water Committee meetings.

 

SCWA staff is participating on the SCCOG Regional Water Committee’s Technical Advisory Subcommittee (TAS). SCWA welcomes this opportunity to assist SCCOG on technical matters.

 

Item 2. DWSRF Emergency Generator Program

The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) is offering subsidized grants/loans for generator purchases through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF). SCWA has filed applications to acquire five (5) new generators through this program. SCWA has received two new generators and the $49,786.13 to fund them, through this program. The applications for the remaining three (3) generators are pending. Mr. Leonard and Mr. Cansler are planning to meet with DPH to discuss this matter.

 

Item 3. Outline Of Ongoing/Upcoming Projects

In addition to the above referenced items, SCWA is involved with various projects, as outlined below:

 

* Capital Projects

o Lantern Hill Division Pumping Evaluation/Upgrade

o Tower Division Eagle Ridge Booster Station Evaluation/Upgrade

o Cedar Ridge Division Pumphouse, Elimination of “Confined Space”. (Note: All OSHA requirements and best management safety practices are being followed pending elimination of the confined space.) Preliminary planning for this project is ongoing.

o Ledyard Division Wellfield

Preliminary stages of acquiring DPH and Authority approval for installing an alternate well.

* Long Cove Rd., Gales Ferry – Proposed Development

A developer inquired about receiving water service from SCWA for a proposed residential project. The location is well within the Town of Ledyard’s Exclusive Service Area (ESA). The developer was advised to contact the Town. A representative of the Ledyard WPCA contacted SCWA and recommended that SCWA meet with the developer to explore the potential of SCWA serving the proposed project. SCWA staff met with the developer on June 18, 2014. There is great potential that SCWA will be able to provide water for this developer. As authorized by the Authority, Lenard Engineering is assisting with developing a preliminary engineering analysis of what infrastructure would be required to serve this development and to generate a preliminary cost estimate.

 

Item 4. Town of Preston – Public Water Assistance Request

SCWA serves as the contract water service operator for the Town of Preston, operating several public water supply systems including the system at the Preston Veterans Memorial School. The Town has requested SCWA’s assistance in developing a methodology for having the school’s water system supply water to two off-site, non-municipal customers. Mr. Leonard and Mr. Congdon, Preston First Selectman, developed a methodology which, prior to implementation, would be subject to approval by the Authority and the Town. Mr. Leonard has written a preliminary draft “Addendum To The Operating & Monitoring Agreement” which has been distributed to involved Town officials and the Authority. Town officials have indicated agreement with the document. SCWA legal counsel is now reviewing the document.

 

Item 5. Town of North Stonington – STEAP Grant

The Town of North Stonington has been awarded a Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grant of $245,400, from the State of Connecticut, to extend SCWA’s water distribution system. The grant will be used to extend the water main further into the Village of North Stonington and to the proposed new fire station. The project will entail the installation of 1500 feet of water main.

 

Item 6. General Manager Position

The SCWA general manager retired from regular employment at SCWA on October 8, 2014. He remains under SCWA employ in the temporary position of Interim General Manager. This arrangement will facilitate a smooth transition between general managers. The Authority has offered the position to

Mr. Joseph Cansler of Delmar, NY, who has accepted the position. Mr. Cansler’s start date is

January 26, 2015. Mr. Leonard had a recent telephone conversation with Mr. Cansler and everything is going as planned.

 

Item 7. Montville High School Water Supply

 

Background

The June 17, 2014 edition of The Day stated that the Montville Town Council scheduled a special meeting to occur on July 18, 2014 to discuss extending the Town’s water system to the school to address a water quality problem, at an estimated cost of $6,800,000. In consultation with Chairman Monahan, Mr. Leonard sent letters, dated June 17th, to the Montville Superintendent of Schools, the Mayor and the Chairman of the Town Council; pointing out that in 2013 SCWA provided a cost estimate of $53,000, in response to the Town’s inquiry, to serve the school with the SCWA Chesterfield Division. The Town cancelled the July 18, 2014 special meeting. On July 21, 2014 a reporter from The Day contacted

Mr. Leonard and requested copies of correspondence on this matter. Copies of the above referenced June 17th letters were provided to the reporter. A news article, highlighting the two options, appeared in the July 26, 2014 edition of The Day.

 

The October 22, 2014 edition of The Day contained an advertisement regarding four informational meetings on the subject of “Montville Center Waterline Interconnection, Town of Montville”. At its November 10, 2014 meeting, the Authority expressed an interest in assisting the Town, if requested; and to communicate that to the appropriate town officials. The Authority voted unanimously to direct its general manager to write a letter to the Mayor of Montville and the Montville WPCA, indicating that: the Authority is aware of the Town’s recent interest in expanding the municipal water system; SCWA stands ready to work with the Town to serve the Montville High School, or to otherwise assist the Town; and SCWA is offering to participate in the Town’s upcoming public information meetings. Prior to the letter being sent, there was a news article, relating to the Town’s informational meeting, which contained several errors regarding SCWA’s water service. In consultation with Chairman Monahan,

Mr. Leonard deferred sending the letter until after further consideration by the Authority. The Authority discussed this matter at its December 1, 2014 meeting. It was the consensus of the Authority members present that, because of the misinformation regarding SCWA being disseminated, Mr. Leonard should attend the two remaining informational meetings; and furthermore that Mr. Leonard send letters to the Mayor of Montville and the Chairman of the Montville WPCA, stating the following:

 

Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority (SCWA) is aware of the Town of Montville’s proposal to extend the Town’s water distribution system to the Montville High School, and the attention the proposal is receiving in the local newspaper. In fact, the most recent article (November 14, 2014) erroneously stated that the “high levels of manganese” contained in the high school’s water supply was being provided by a connection to SCWA. The article also reported other questions and references to SCWA and the customers we serve.

 

Initially, SCWA had intended not to attend any of the four (4) public informational meetings the Town has scheduled to present information on its proposed water system expansion, unless the

Town invited us to do so. However, given the current level of misinformation regarding SCWA being disseminated, we now intend to attend the remaining two (2) informational meetings.

 

Also, SCWA wishes to again advise that it stands ready to work with the Town on serving the Montville High School or on any other public drinking water matters.

 

 

Current

The above referenced letters were hand delivered to the Mayor and Montville WPCA office on December 2, 2014. The Town postponed the December 5th public informational meeting to a date to-be-determined. The January 8th meeting was also cancelled. According to a news article in the

January 6, 2015 edition of The Day, the Montville WPCA will resume the informational meetings in the spring.

 

Item 8. Montville Oakdale Elementary School Water Supply

The business manager of the Town of Montville Board of Education invited Mr. Leonard to meet with her to discuss the potential of interconnecting the Oakdale Elementary School to SCWA Montville and/or Seven Oaks division. This meeting occurred on December 11, 2014. The Superintendent of Schools as well as the Director of Facilities also participated in the meeting. The Superintendent of Schools indicated he would send SCWA a letter stating the Town’s interest in exploring this matter.

 

Item 9. North Stonington – Water Line Easement

As previously reported, SCWA has been contacted by a property owner who has stated that SCWA had not obtained or filed the necessary property easements for a water main that was installed by a hotel developer in 2007. SCWA has consulted with the attorney it was represented by on this matter and with Attorney Nicholas Kepple, SCWA general counsel. On June 24, 2014, SCWA staff and Attorney Kepple met with the property owner and his attorney, as well as the attorney for the hotel developer. This matter has recently been raised again by the property owner’s attorney. SCWA continues to seek the guidance and assistance of Attorney Kepple on this matter.

 

Item 10. SCWA Foreman Position

Wayne Thompson, SCWA Foreman/Chief Operator retired on December 26, 2014. Mr. Thompson was a stellar employee during his entire 33 year tenure at SCWA. He continues to work for SCWA as a temporary, part-time employee. The open position is being simultaneously posted internally and externally, with an application closing date of January 30, 2015. The position is being advertised via water utility association websites, SCWA’s website, Monster.com and also a classified ad which was published in the January 4, 2015 edition of The Day.

 

Item 11. SCWA Office Holiday Closing

SCWA’s office closes for the following nine holidays: New Year’s Day, President’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Presently the office remains open on Martin Luther King Day. The Authority discussed the attributes of including Martin Luther King Day as a SCWA recognized holiday. On motion of Mr. Watson, seconded by

Mr. Eccard the Authority voted unanimously to add Martin Luther King Day as a SCWA holiday, beginning immediately.

 

 

 

Item 12. Meetings – Information Item

 

Report From Chairman – Chairman Monahan noted that the next Representative Advisory Board meeting is scheduled for January 15, 2015, 7:00 p.m. at the Groton Public Library.

 

Report From Authority Members -none

 

On motion of Mr. Eccard, seconded by Ms. Franciosi, the Authority adjourned at approximately

5:45 p.m.

 

It was noted the next Authority meeting is scheduled to occur on February 2, 2015, 5:15 p.m. at

1649 Rt. 12, Gales Ferry, CT.

 

 

Gregory C. Leonard

Secretary