Draft Minutes of the December 21, 2015 Water Authority Meeting

Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority

1649 Route 12, Gales Ferry, CT

 

Present

Authority:  Chairman Monahan, Vice-Chairman Watson, 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. Balestracci, the Authority approved the minutes of the November 30, 2015 Water Authority Meeting, by a vote of 5-0, with two abstentions (Mr. Mullane and Ms. Franciosi). 

 

Public Comment on any Item on the Agenda – None

 

Correspondence – None

 

General Manager’s Report

 

1.  North Stonington Pump Station Replacement

Construction began in September to replace the North Stonington Pump Station.  The pump house building structure is substantially complete, however, a five-week delay in the delivery of the primary operating system for the pump station (the skid-mounted pump package,) has delayed completion of the pump station operating system.  This pump package finally arrived on December 3, 2015, and completion of the operating system, and all associated equipment is expected by December 22, 2015. 

 

As a result of the delayed arrival of the pump package, SCWA was not able complete installation and testing of the equipment by the Department of Health (DPH) deadline of November 30, 2015.   SCWA formally requested a 30-day extension to the completion deadline, which was granted by DPH, under the condition that we provide a weekly status update.  General Manager Cansler has been sending an update, along with project photos, every Monday.  Since equipment delays have pushed this project into the wintertime, SCWA staff has winterized the temporary system that we put in place at North Stonington after the tank rupture.  This included installing heat tape on all of the exposed pipes, valves, and the transducer.  In addition we have covered the pressure tank with insulation heat blankets. 

Mr. Cansler stated that he had terminated the subcontractor we were using to assist with installation of the pump package on December 18th, because they were not responsive, and obviously had other priorities.  We hired another subcontractor, the same day, with experience in pump installation.  The new company worked through the weekend, and completed installation on December 21st.

 

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.  This includes reimbursement for the bill from Connecticut Water for emergency water services provided after the rupture.  To date, our expenses for this project have totaled $411,356.67.  The insurance company has indicated they may cover additional claims associated with the project. 

 

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 delayed until work is completed on the North Stonington project.

 

4.  Tank Inspections

The State DPH requires that atmospheric water storage tanks be inspected a minimum of every 10 years.  SCWA has hired Mass Tanks to clean and inspect a total of eight (8) tanks at the Mohegan, Birchwood, Barrett, Robin Hill, and Chesterfield Divisions.  As of December 8, 2015, all 8 tanks have been cleaned and inspected.   Mr. Cansler stated that he intends to identify all pump stations due DPH sanitary surveys/inspections in 2016, and have the tanks at those pump stations cleaned and inspected, prior to the sanitary survey.    

 

5.  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.  We had the storage tank cleaned, and installed additional flushing hydrants for the areas receiving the most complaints.  After the additional hydrants were installed in mid-November, we flushed the system twice more.  This appeared to clear the water up significantly, but we have still received a few complaints of discoloration 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 replace the two pressure tanks, and upgrade the entire system at Chesterfield.     

 

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 Manger 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 to discuss SCWA response to the allegations.  Attorney Kepple says he has not heard anything new, as of November 23, 2015.

 

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:

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

 

10.  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.  This work should be completed by the end of January 2016. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11.  2016 Authority Meeting Schedule

Since all of the authority members were present, General Manager Cansler reminded everyone that at the last two meetings the Authority voted to meet once a month in 2016, on the second Monday of each month.  The only exception will be if the second Monday of the month is a holiday.  In 2016, the only instance of a holiday conflict is Columbus Day in October.  In this case the meeting will take place on the third Monday of October.   The time (5:15 pm), and meeting location (1649 Route 12, Gales Ferry) will remain the same.   

 

12.  FY 2015 Draft Audit Report

SCWA has received the Draft Audit Report for Fiscal Year 2015.  The General Manager had recommended having a meeting of the RAB Finance Committee after this December 21st Authority meeting, however our auditor was not available for this meeting.  Mr. Cansler is now trying to coordinate a meeting of the RAB Finance Committee after the next Authority meeting, scheduled for January 11, 2016.  Mr. Cansler also mentioned that he is still waiting on a proposal from CohnReznick for quotes to conduct the next three years audits.

 

13. One-year Performance Evaluation – At the November 30, 2015 Authority meeting, Mr. Watson asked Mr. Cansler how long he had been in the General Manager position (10 months), and if there was a requirement to evaluate the General Manager after a select period of time.  Mr. Cansler reviewed the SCWA Personnel Policies Handbook, the Description of the General Manager Duties, and his own offer letter, and has not found any specific guidance on this subject.  After some discussion, the Authority decided to discuss employee evaluations at the meeting next month.

 

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 6:20 p.m. 

 

It was noted the next Authority meeting is scheduled to occur on January 11, 2016, 5:15 p.m. at

1649 Rt. 12, Gales Ferry, CT. 

 

                                                                                                                Joseph C. Cansler                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Secretary

 

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