Draft Minutes of the November 9, 2015 Water Authority Meeting

Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority

1649 Route 12, Gales Ferry, CT

 

 

Present

Authority:  Chairman Monahan, Vice-Chairman Watson, Treasurer Eccard and Member Balestracci.

 

Authority Staff:  General Manager Cansler

 

Chairman Monahan called the meeting to order at approximately 5:16 p.m. 

 

Approval of Prior Minutes

On motion of Mr. Eccard, seconded by Mr. Balestracci, the Authority approved the minutes of the October 19, 2015 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.  North Stonington Pump Station Replacement

Construction began the last week in September to replace the North Stonington Pump Station.  The concrete walls, floor slab, and underground piping is complete.  Construction of the pump station structure should be complete by mid-November.  In addition, SCWA has ordered all of the new equipment for the new pump station.  Unfortunately the primary equipment package for the station has been delayed for three weeks; expected delivery date of November 19th.  Due to this delay it will be very difficult to complete installation and testing of the equipment by the Department of Health (DPH) deadline of November 30, 2015.   General Manager Cansler stated that he was going to send a letter to Ms. Lori Mathieu, Chief of the DPH Drinking Water Section, requesting an extension to the deadline.

 

SCWA is still working with the insurance company regarding reimbursement for the cost of replacing the pump station, as well as costs related to emergency actions after the tank rupture to provide temporary water to the customers, and costs to get the temporary system installed and running.  Mr. Cansler stated that SCWA had just received three more checks for claims submitted, bringing the total insurance reimbursements up to $277,000.97.  To date, our insurance company has not reimbursed SCWA for the $110K invoice from Connecticut Water for emergency services they provided immediately after the pump station was destroyed.

 

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.  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.  Construction will include excavation, new door, and stairs, per plans and technical specifications. (Note:  All OSHA requirements and best management safety practices are being followed pending elimination of the confined space).  Start of this project has been being delayed so that all of our resources could be focused on the North Stonington project.

 

4.  Tank Inspections

The State DPH requires that all atmospheric water storage tanks be inspected a minimum of every 10 years.  SCWA has hired Mass Tanks to clean and inspect a total of one (1) concrete, and seven (7) steel tanks, at the Mohegan, Birchwood, Barrett, Robin Hill, and Chesterfield Divisions.  The first tank inspection/cleaning will be on November 10th.  This round of inspections will be complete by

December 8, 2015.  Mr. Cansler said that the start date for the inspections had been delayed, due to a delay resulting from an equipment failure. 

 

5.  Chesterfield Water

SCWA has received an increasing number of calls regarding brown water, and occasional sediment, in the water from residents of the SCWA Chesterfield Division.  We have flushed twice this year, and tried various treatment methods to resolve this issue, however, we have not been able to resolve this problem.  We have purchased additional flushing hydrants that will be installed the week of November 9th.  The tank will be cleaned on November 10th, and the lines flushed immediately after.  In addition, the Authority approved Mr. Cansler’s recommendation to hire Lenard Engineering to conduct an analysis of the system, and recommend alternatives to resolve the ongoing issues with discolored water.  Lenard is waiting on the results of the tank cleaning, and flushing with the extra hydrants, before additional analysis of the system.  

 

6.  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 construction of the hotel was complete.   The latest development regarding this easement issue involves an allegation, by the attorney for the hotel, that SCWA engineers were involved in the layout and construction of the misaligned water main.  Chairman Monahan and General Manager Cansler met with Attorney Kepple, and former-General Manager Leonard, on October 20, 2015, to discuss the background of events leading to the misaligned water main, whether there was any SCWA involvement during engineering or construction, and the SCWA response to the allegations. 

 

7.  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.  

 

 

 

 

8.  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.

 

9.  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.  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.  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.  Chairman Monahan stated that at the October meeting, the SCCOG voted to nominate Mr. Harry Watson to serve another 5-year term on the Water Authority.  Mr. Watson is currently serving in one of the two Authority positions nominated by the SCCOG, and confirmed by the Representative Advisory Board (RAB). 

 

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

 

10.  Legislation of Fluoride in Drinking Water

At the last Representative Advisory Board, on October 15, 2015, Representative Carol Russell addressed the Board regarding her concerns about fluoride in the water, and her concerns about proposed changes in legislation regulating fluoride in drinking water by the Connecticut Department of Health (DPH).   After some discussion the Board approved a motion to have General Manager Cansler address this issue with the Connecticut Water Works Association (CWWA) Legislative Affairs Committee, since he is a member that committee.  Mr. Cansler sent this issue forward for discussion by the Legislative Committee on October 28, 2015.  He stated that the Legislative Committee response was that they did not want to take this issue on in the 2016 session because it has already been discussed in a previous session.  CWWA has decided that they will supports efforts to amend state law to authorize public water systems to lower the fluoride level consistent with changes in the federal law. 

 
11.  Asset Management Plans

Per the terms of the Consent Agreement signed between SCWA and the CT Department of Public Health (DPH), on September 21, 2015, SCWA will submit an Asset Management Plan to DPH no later than

July 1, 2016.  Mr. Cansler has solicited a bid from a local Engineering firm familiar with SCWA assets.  Another firm has expressed interest in submitting a bid.

 

12.  New Office Space for SCWA

SCWA has formally been offered the old Ledyard Dairy space in the same building.  General Manager Cansler highly recommends that SCWA take advantage of this opportunity.  Our current space does not meet ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), and SCWA has to coordinate in advance to borrow conference space with another company on the first floor; conference space that is not really adequate for public meetings.  Mr. Watson made a motion to allow the General Manager to negotiate a multi-year lease that is in the best interests of SCWA.  This motion, seconded by Mr. Balestracci, was approved by a vote of 4-0.

 

13.  SCWA Financial Statements – First Quarter FY 2015

Attachment 1:   FY 2016 First Quarter Financial Statements

                                Production Report FY 2016; through First Quarter

                                Cash Position Report 11/05/15

 

General Manager Cansler pointed out that the FY 2016 first quarter financial statements, water production figures, and the November 05, 2015 Cash Position Report were attached.  He briefly discussed the highlights of each attachment. 

 

14.  2016 Authority Meeting Schedule

At the April 27, 2015 Authority meeting there was discussion of holding the Water Authority Board meetings monthly, or every four weeks, versus the current schedule of every 3 weeks.  At that April meeting the Authority decided to reopen this issue prior to establishing the Calendar Year 2016 meeting schedule.  At this (Nov 9th) meeting Mr. Cansler presented three schedules for discussion: a proposed monthly schedule (12 meetings annually); a proposed schedule with meetings every 4 weeks (14 meetings); and a proposed schedule with meetings every 3 weeks (17 meetings). 

 

Mr. Watson made a motion for the Authority to meet once a month on a regular schedule in 2016.  This motion, seconded by Mr. Balestracci, was approved by a vote of 4-0.  The Authority members present decided to defer discussion, and approval, of which days the Authority would meet until the next meeting (Nov. 30, 2105), because several Authority members were absent.  Discussion of possibly requesting a nominal increase to $75/meeting stipend was also deferred until the next meeting.

 

Other Business – None

 

Report from Chairman  - None 

 

Report from Authority Members – None

 

Public Comment – None

 

On motion of Mr. Eccard, seconded by Mr. Watson, the Authority voted to adjourn the meeting at approximately 6:00 p.m. 

 

It was noted the next Authority meeting is scheduled to occur on November 30, 2015, 5:15 p.m. at

1649 Rt. 12, Gales Ferry, CT. 

 

                                                                                                                Joseph Cansler                                                                                                                  Secretary

© 2014 SCWA

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