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Draft Minutes of the December 12, 2016 Water Authority Meeting

Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority

1649 Route 12, Gales Ferry, CT





Authority:  Chairman Monahan, Member Eccard, Member Franciosi, Member Balestracci, Member O’Connor, Member Watson, 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 a motion of Mr. Eccard, seconded by Mr. Balestracci, the Authority approved the minutes of the November 14, 2016 Water Authority Meeting, by a vote of 6-0, with one abstention (Mr. Mullane). 


Public Comment on any Item on the Agenda – None


Correspondence - None


General Manager’s Report

1.  Drought Issues - Montville

Attachment #1:                DWS Circular Letter #2016-30 – Drought Watch Announcement

General Manager referenced the attached DWS letter which states that New London and Windham counties are currently under a Drought Advisory.  The rest of Connecticut is under a Drought Watch, which is the second stage in the State’s Drought Plan.  To date the only SCWA division that has experienced problems resulting from the ongoing drought is the Montville Manor Subdivision.  This past summer, the wells serving that division were not able to keep up with water demands in mid-August.  As a result SCWA sent out a notice restricting most outdoor water usage, which is still in effect.  Mr. Cansler stated that SCWA has not experienced problems related to the drought at any other SCWA divisions.


2.  Extension of Services on Fairway Drive -Ledyard

Attachment #2:                November 22, 2016 Letter from Avena & Kepple, RE: Aquatic Center

SCWA continues to work with the Town of Ledyard and Ledyard WPCA regarding support of a proposed extension of Fairway Drive in Ledyard Center, including the proposed Thames Aquatic Center project, planned for 2017.   Although the Ledyard WPCA proposed supporting the new Aquatic Center from their water main along Route 117 to the Aquatic Center site (approx. 700 feet), SCWA favored supporting the new Aquatic Center via our main, which ends at the three apartment buildings on Iron Street (Route 214).  This main is approximately 300’ away direct line distance.  This alternative would require an easement through the adjoining property.  


Another alternative, to avoid the easement is to extend the main from behind the apartment buildings to Iron Street, and then along the street right-of-way, to the corner of the proposed Aquatic Center property.  This proposal would require an additional 150 feet of main (450’ total).   As a measure of our support for this project, SCWA has offered to absorb the cost of the additional 150 feet.

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.  SCWA has responded that we are willing to support the proposed well, if DPH and DEEP will approve drilling a new well, however our preference is to connect to the existing main.  SCWA would operate the well system through an agreement if the well is approved, and installed by the developer.  If/when the proposed Fairway Drive extension is constructed in the future, to include an extension of the water main on Fairway Drive, then SCWA would expect that the Aquatic Center to connect to the new Fairway Drive main. 


At the November Authority meeting the Board approved a motion to have the General Manager work with our attorney to draft a letter stating our desire to move the project forward with SCWA support as expeditiously as possible.  This letter (attached) was sent to the attorney representing WPCA on November 22, 2016.  Mr. Cansler stated that as of today we have not received a response to this letter.


Chairman Monahan mentioned that he had talked to Mr. Holdridge recently about our proposed alternative.  Mr. Eccard made a motion to share the attached letter with DPH so that they are aware of our alternative to the proposed well.  This motion, which was seconded by Ms. Franciosi, passed by a vote of 7-0.


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 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.  SCWA and Aquarion are awaiting a decision from PURA regarding the transfer.  Due to concerns about installing a water main in mid-winter, Aquarion installed the new main extension connecting the two systems in November.  General Manager Cansler stated that he had received word that day that PURA had approved the transfer, and that he had already been in contact with our attorney and Aquarion regarding the final paperwork between the two entities as well as the Switchover plan.   Tentative switchover date is December 28th.  Mr. Cansler mentioned that he had an onsite meeting scheduled with Aquarion on December 19th.   


4.  DWSRF Emergency Generator Program

In late October SCWA received bids for the three generator projects, which were previously approved for partial DWSRF funding (45% subsidy grant for a new generator at the Tower-Ferry View Division, and 25% subsidy grants for replacement generators at the Montville and Chesterfield Divisions).   Lenard Engineering completed the plans, specs, and bid packages.  At the November Authority meeting General Manager Cansler stated that the RFP, bids, and other required paperwork were sent to DPH on Oct 28, 2016 requesting approval and funding for the three generator projects.   Unfortunately after reviewing our bids, DPH denied our request for authorization to commence work on these projects because the three generator projects were bid together, and the total cost of the three projects combined exceeded $100,000.  Apparently the Emergency Power Generator DWSRF program is intended only to assist with purchase and installation of emergency power generator systems costing less than $100,000.  As a result SCWA will have to re-bid each generator project individually.  Lenard Engineering has offered to prepare individual bid packages for the three generator projects at no cost.  Mr. Cansler said that the new bid packages should be ready by mid-December. 

5.  Water Supply Plan

Per the terms of the September 2015 Consent Agreement with DPH, SCWA is required to submit an updated Water Supply Plan to DPH no later than January 1, 2018.   After soliciting bids from several engineering firms that are experienced with the development of Water Supply Plans in the State of Connecticut, the Authority authorized the General Manager to award the development of the updated SCWA Water Supply Plan to Lenard Engineering, based on price and experience with SCWA systems.   The General Manager and Lenard Engineering are currently developing milestones, and consolidating data that will be required for preparation of the updated Water Supply Plan.    


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 completed inspection of the following tanks on Nov. 30, 2016. 


                SCWA Division                   Town                                     Type and Number of Tanks

                Hillcrest                                Montville                                             2 Steel


                Tower                                  Ledyard                                                                1 Steel                                 


                Montville                             Montville                                             2 Concrete

                                                                                                                                1 Steel


                Ferry View                          Ledyard                                                                1 Steel


                Ledyard Center                 Ledyard                                                                1 Steel


This completes inspection of all the atmospheric tanks requiring inspection.  A total of 8 tanks were inspected in 2016, 9 tanks in 2015, and one in 2014.


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 has started construction of a trailer-mounted pump station that can be used to operate our regular pump stations during renovation projects, and/or emergency repairs.  Purchase of the equipment for this mobile pump station was approved at the June 2016 Authority meeting.   Work began on the trailer-mounted mobile pump station in mid-October, however progress has been hindered by tank inspections throughout October and November, and a series of water main leaks in Montville, Tower, and Barrett Park Divisions over the past few weeks. 


8.  Hillcrest - Radon in Water Letter

Jensen Communities, Inc., which developed, and sells homes in the Hillcrest Division of Montville, expressed concern earlier this year about radon in the drinking water of a home that was recently sold.  Although not a regulated substance, radon in water is a cause for concern if it is released into the air.  In June the Authority approved an engineering feasibility study on reducing radon in the water at Hillcrest.  The study recommended radionuclide treatment using a bubble-up radon removal system, which would cost approximately $33,000.  The feasibility study also discussed the option of utilizing an air compressor and perforated pipe to force air into the tanks.  The consulting engineer 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.  SCWA has discussed both solutions with Jensen Communities.   This project has been delayed due to the ongoing tank inspections and a number of water main repairs this fall. 

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.  At the November Authority meeting a motion was approved authorizing the General Manager to  work with the Montville Schools Finance Committee to work out an a definitive agreement for system development fees.  Mr. Cansler stated that he has worked out a cost agreement with the Montville Schools that was satisfactory for both parties.


10.  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. 


11.  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 held at 1 p.m. every second Wednesday of the month, at either the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments (SCCOG) offices in Norwich, or the Northeastern Connecticut Council of Governments (NCCOG) offices in Killingly.  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.   Mr. Cansler stated that the next Eastern Connecticut WUCC meeting is scheduled for Killingly.


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.  The last meeting, to discuss drought status/conditions in Southeastern Connecticut, was held on November 9, 2016.


12.  FY 2016 Draft Audit Report

SCWA has received the Draft Audit Report for Fiscal Year 2016.  General Manager has requested CohnReznick present the Audit to the Representative Advisory Board (RAB) Finance Committee after the next Authority meeting (January 9, 2017).  He has also requested CohnReznick present the audit to the entire RAB at the next quarterly RAB meeting scheduled for Thursday, January 19, 2017, at the Waterford Library. 




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 5:57 p.m. 


It was noted the next Authority meeting is scheduled to occur on January 9, 2017, 5:15 p.m. at

1649 Rt. 12, Gales Ferry, CT. 


                                                                                                                                                                                                           Joseph C. Cansler                                                                                                                                     Secretary


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