Draft Minutes of the February 16, 2016 Special Meeting

Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority

1649 Route 12, Gales Ferry, CT

 

 

Present

Authority:  Chairman Monahan, 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 5:16 p.m. 

 

Approval of Prior Minutes

On motion of Mr. Eccard, seconded by Mr. O’Connor, the Authority approved the minutes of the

January 11, 2016 Water Authority Meeting, by a vote of 6-0. 

 

Public Comment on any Item on the Agenda – None

 

Correspondence – A copy of the thank-you note from Mrs. Ciminera, for the donation that SCWA made in her husband’s name to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.   Mr. Andrew Ciminera, who was a past Chairman of SCWA, passed away on December 23, 2015.   At the January 11, 2016 meeting the Authority approved a donation of $100, on behalf SCWA, to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital

 

General Manager’s Report

 

1.  North Stonington Pump Station Replacement

A final inspection was completed, and a notice of completion was issued, by DPH on December 31, 2015, for the new North Stonington pump station.  The outside retaining wall and emergency generator have also been installed.  Replacement of the North Stonington pump station began in September, after the old pump station was destroyed in June 2015, when one of the hydropneumatic pressure tanks ruptured.  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.  Including a bill received today, our expenses for this project have totaled just over $565,000.  The insurance company has indicated they may cover additional claims associated with the project.  A final request for reimbursement was submitted on February 16, 2016. 

 

2.  Chesterfield Water

At the January 11, 2016 meeting the Authority voted to authorize Lenard Engineering to prepare the plans and specifications for a new booster pump skid and piping modifications at the Chesterfield Division Pump Station, for a lump sum of $6,500.   Purpose of this project will be to try and eliminate increasing problems of discoloration in the water, resulting from high levels of manganese in the source water and in the two pressure tanks.  This past fall SCWA had the storage tank cleaned, and installed additional flushing hydrants, however this has not resolved the discoloration issue.  SCWA staff and Lenard Engineering are also reviewing the chemical treatment process as a short term solution to the discoloration problem.  Any changes to the chemical treatment process will have to be approved by the State DPH.  Mr. Cansler stated that the request for modification of the chemical treatment process had been submitted to DPH for approval. 

Mr. Eccard asked, in light of the current water crisis in Flint, Michigan, if we are certain that we are meeting all water quality standards.  Mr. Cansler said that we have a regular sampling/testing schedule which is monitored by DPH, and that all of our test results go directly to DPH.  If any of the sampling results exceed the MCL, we are notified immediately.  DPH has a strict set of protocols that we have to follow if we exceed and MCL levels.  Mr. Cansler also explained that our water, which all comes from wells, needs much less treatment than surface water, such as the Flint River.  Surface water not only requires more chlorine, which can be corrosive, but that surface water tends to be more corrosive, especially to lead and iron pipes.  Mr. Cansler also pointed out that we don’t have any iron mains, or lead service connections. 

 

3. Lantern Hill Division

Mr. Cansler met with Aquarion on June 10, 2015 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.   Our legal counsel, Attorney Kepple informed Mr. Cansler on January 20, 2016 that despite his best efforts to expedite the transfer process, it appears that SCWA will have to go through the formal utility asset transfer process with the State Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA).  This will include a public hearing with PURA at some point later this year.   Attorney Kepple’s office is preparing the formal request package to go to PURA for SCWA. 

 

4.  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.   Start of this project was being delayed until work is completed on the North Stonington project.  Coon Construction now intends to start construction at the beginning of March, though he may start earlier weather permitting.

 

5.  North Stonington – Water Line Easement

In 2014, an owner of a commercial North Stonington property discovered that a water main that was installed in 2007 by a hotel developer on an adjoining property crosses outside of the SCWA easement.  SCWA took over the water main after construction of the hotel was complete.   In September 2015 an attorney for the hotel claimed that SCWA engineers were involved in the layout and construction of the misaligned water main.  Attorney Kepple, representing SCWA, has been corresponding with both the hotel attorney, and the attorney for the affected land-owner, to resolve this issue; and ensure that SCWA is absolved of any blame in the water main crossing outside of the legal easement.  Mr. Cansler mentioned that during a recent meeting, Attorney Kepple mentioned that there was nothing new regarding this issue.

 

6.  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.  Since the last Authority meeting, Mr. Cansler has requested, and received, a copy of the complete North Stonington distribution system, with the new main extension.  Mr. Mullane mentioned that DPH had requested more paperwork for their application, and he thanked the SCWA staff and Lenard Engineering for their assistance completing the requested application paperwork.   

 

7.  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.   Mr. Eccard asked if we would be able to accommodate a hook-up to our system on short notice this year, because based on his experience, there was a good chance that the school district was waiting until the end of the budget year before committing funds. 

Mr. Cansler said our part of the project was small, and that we could easily react within a few days’ notice, if necessary.

 

Mr. Cansler mentioned that he and Dr. Monahan had attended a meeting with Mayor McDaniel of Montville, and the Chief of the Montville WPCA, Brian Lynch, to discuss Exclusive Service Areas (ESA) in Montville.   Although there was very little discussion on specific ESAs, SCWA did agree to discuss the issue in more detail in the future, with the understanding that any changes to ESAs would have to be approved by the Authority. 

 

8.  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 participate on the SCCOG Regional Water Committee’s Technical Advisory Subcommittee.

 

9.  New Office Space for SCWA

SCWA finally moved into our new offices on Wednesday, February 10, 2016.  The hold-up on completing the move to the new space was transfer of the phone lines by Frontier.  SCWA had to close our offices on the 10th to transfer the phone lines, and move the furniture and computers.  The security door was also moved from the upstairs office to the new space on the same day.  A notice was put on our website alerting our customers of our temporary shutdown that day.  In the end SCWA was only shutdown for about 5 hours, and we did not receive any complaints regarding the shutdown.

 

 

 

 

10. One-year Performance Evaluation

At the January 11, 2016 meeting, the Authority approved a motion to have the Authority Hiring Committee meet to discuss possible changes and improvements to the SCWA employee evaluation process.  Currently there is a mandatory 6-month probationary period for all new SCWA employees, but there is not a mandatory evaluation and/or counseling program.  After some discussion it was decided that the next step should be to get examples of counseling/evaluations.  Mr. Cansler agreed to reach out to our Labor Counsel for assistance.

 

Other Business – None 

 

Report from Chairman  -

Chairman Monahan stated that SCWA should host an Open House in our new SCWA offices.  He recommended inviting the members of the Representative Advisory Board (RAB), Selectmen from the Towns in the SCWA District, and other Southeastern Connecticut Council of Government (SCCOG) members.  After some discussion the Authority agreed that an evening Open House in the early spring would be best.  General Manager Cansler stated he would look at the calendars, and come up with a list of possible dates. 

 

Chairman Monahan mentioned that he and the General Manager would be meeting with the Mayor of Ledyard, and members of the Ledyard WPCA, to discuss the issue of water services for potential developers along the proposed extension of Fairway Drive in Ledyard.  Dr. Monahan mentioned that the initial date requested for the meeting would not work for SCWA.  Mr. Cansler stated that he would follow-up with the Town of Ledyard to set-up another date/time for the meeting.   

 

Report from Authority Members – None

 

Public Comment – None

 

On motion of Mr. Eccard, seconded by Mr. O’Connor, the Authority voted to adjourn the meeting at approximately 6:10 p.m. 

 

It was noted the next Authority meeting is scheduled to occur on March 14, 2016, 5:15 p.m. at

1649 Rt. 12, Gales Ferry, CT. 

 

                                                                                      Joseph C.  Cansler                                                                                                                                                    Secretary