Draft Minutes of the January 9, 2017 Water Authority Meeting
Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority
1649 Route 12, Gales Ferry, CT
Authority: Chairman Monahan, Treasurer Eccard, Member Franciosi, Member Balestracci, Member Mullane
Authority Staff: General Manager Cansler
Chairman Monahan called the meeting to order at approximately 5:15 p.m.
Approval of Prior Minutes
Chairman Monahan requested one change to the draft December minutes. He said that his discussion with Mr. Holdridge, regarding the new Aquatic Center, had not occurred at a Ledyard Town Council meeting, as stated in the draft minutes (General Manager’s Report, paragraph 3). On a motion of Mr. Eccard, seconded by Mr. Balestracci, the Authority approved the minutes of the December 12, 2016 Water Authority Meeting, with changes requested by Chairman Monahan, by a vote of 5-0.
Public Comment on any Item on the Agenda – None
Correspondence - None
General Manager’s Report
1. Transfer of Lantern Hill Division
On December 28, 2016, SCWA officially transferred the Lantern Hill Division over to the Aquarion Water Company. The Lantern Hill pump house was in major need of repairs, estimated at around $95,000. Since the Lantern Hill station only serves 23 customers this was not economically feasible. 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. In June 2015, General Manager Cansler met with Aquarion representatives to discuss the feasibility of connecting their water main into the Lantern Hill distribution system. At SCWA’s August 8, 2015 Authority meeting, the Board had agreed to pursue the transfer of the Lantern Hill Division.
In February 2016, SCWA and Aquarion submitted an official request to the State Public Utility Regulatory Agency (PURA), and the Department of Public Health (DPH), to transfer Lantern Hill over to Aquarion. This request package included all the documents and paperwork required to explain the reasons for the transfer, and justify the need for public hearings. In June 2016, PURA held public hearings in Stonington and New Britain to consider the proposed transfer, and in early December 2016, PURA officially approved the transfer.
General Manager Cansler stated that due to concerns about installing a water main in mid-winter, Aquarion had already installed the new main extension connecting the two systems in November. On 27-28 December SCWA and Aquarion completed all required connections and flushings required to switch the water distribution system at Lantern Hill over to Aquarion water. Final meter readings were taken by SCWA on December 28th. Chairman Monahan added that he and Mr. Cansler had met with SCWA Attorney Nick Kepple, on December 21, 2016, to sign all documents required to officially transfer the Lantern Hill Division over to the Aquarion Water Company.
2. Extension of Services on Fairway Drive -Ledyard
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 SCWA has not received a response to this letter.
Chairman Monahan said that to date there still has not been a transfer of land from the Holdridge family over to the proposed developer of the Aquatic Center.
3. Drought Issues - Montville
Currently New London and Windham counties are 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 added that SCWA has not experienced problems related to the drought at any other SCWA divisions.
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. General Manager Cansler stated that due to some re-design requirements for the Tower Division generator, in an effort to reduce costs, the new bid packages will not be ready until the first week in January.
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 consolidating data that will be required for preparation of the updated Water Supply Plan.
6. 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 the fall.
7. 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. SCWA 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. A cost agreement that was satisfactory for both parties was agreed upon in December 2016. Mr. Cansler mentioned that the Budget Director for Montville Schools had requested an official invoice from SCWA that could be presented at the next Montville schools budget meeting, which he had provided.
8. 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. Mr. Mullane said the main extension project should hopefully go out to bid by the end of the month.
9. 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.
10. FY 2016 Draft Audit Report
SCWA has received the Draft Audit Report for Fiscal Year 2016. General Manager Cansler stated that a representative from the Auditing Firm, CohnReznick, will present the SCWA draft Audit to the Representative Advisory Board (RAB) Finance Committee at 6 pm, or immediately after the Authority meeting. He also mentioned that a partner from CohnReznick will present the audit to the entire RAB at the next quarterly RAB meeting scheduled for Thursday, January 19, 2017, at the Waterford Library.
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. The next Eastern Connecticut WUCC meeting is scheduled for Killingly, on Jan 11, 2017.
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.
Report from Chairman - None
Report from Authority Members – Mr. Mullane presented a letter he had received from a company that provides insurance on homeowner’s water service lines (water line from the curb stop to the house). He was curious if there were other utilities that provided this service. He also discussed reaching out to other utilities to see if there were additional services they provided for additional fees. Mr. Mullane mentioned, for instance, there are a lot of homeowners in our service area that have private wells. He wondered if SCWA could bring in additional revenue by testing the water at homes served by private wells. After some discussion the Authority agreed to put this topic as an agenda item for further discussion at the next Authority meeting.
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 February 13, 2017, 5:15 p.m. at
1649 Rt. 12, Gales Ferry, CT.
Joseph C. Cansler Secretary