Draft Minutes of the February 23, 2015 Water Authority Meeting

Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority

1649 Route 12, Gales Ferry, CT

 

Present Authority: Chairman Monahan, Vice-Chairman Watson, Treasurer Eccard, Member Franciosi,

Member Balestracci and Member O’Connor

 

Authority Staff: General Manager Cansler, and Assistant to the General Manager Leonard

 

Chairman Monahan called the meeting to order at approximately 5:15 p.m.

 

Approval of Prior Minutes

On motion of Mr. Watson, seconded by Mr. O’Conner, the Authority unanimously approved the minutes of the February 11, 2015 Special Meeting. (Secretary’s note: Water Authority Meeting originally scheduled for February 2, 2015 was canceled due to inclement weather and a Special Meeting was scheduled for February 11, 2015).

 

Public Comment On Any Item On The Agenda – none

 

Correspondence

Mr. Cansler stated that any significant correspondence would be addressed during the general manager’s report segment of the meeting.

 

General Manager’s Report

Mr. Cansler started his first General Manager’s report by thanking Mr. Leonard for his assistance during the transition process. Discussion highlights of the general manager’s report are as follows:

 

Item 1. Regional Considerations

The Authority has been involved with or otherwise engaged in various regional items, including:

  • Water Utility Coordinating Committees (WUCC)

The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) has announced that it has completed the realignment of the geographical boundaries of the WUCC management areas. The number of management areas has been decreased from seven (7) to three (3): Western, Central and Eastern. According to DPH, the Western management area will be the first to be addressed. The SCCOG Regional Water Committee would like for DPH to address the Eastern management area first. In that regard, SCWA submitted a letter to the SCCOG Chairman, signed by the SCWA Chairman and General Manager, offering support of SCCOG’s efforts to persuade DPH to alter the sequence of convening the WUCC in the State’s three public water supply management areas. Mr. Cansler stated that a copy of this letter was available in each member’s folder.


 

  • SCWA Interaction With SCCOG

SCWA and the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments (SCCOG) continue to interact cooperatively. Chairman Monahan and General Manager Cansler attended the last regular SCCOG meeting, held on February 18, 2015. In addition, Chairman Monahan, Mr. Cansler, and Mr. Leonard attended the last SCCOG Regional Water Committee meeting (February 11, 2015).

 

  • SCWA staff is participating on the SCCOG Regional Water Committee’s Technical Advisory Subcommittee (TAS). SCWA welcomes this opportunity to assist SCCOG on technical matters.

Mr. Cansler and Mr. Leonard attended the most recent TAS meeting (February 19, 2015).

Mr. Cansler noted that there was discussion during the past TAS meeting regarding proposed restoration/repair of the Gold Star Bridge, over the Thames between Groton and New London. Discussion centers around the idea of a future water main spanning the bridge length.

 

Item 2. DWSRF Emergency Generator Program

The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) is offering subsidized grants/loans for generator purchases through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF). SCWA has filed applications to acquire five (5) new generators through this program. SCWA recently received two new generators and the $49,786.13 to fund them, through this program. DPH has approved the eligibility of the remaining three (3) generators for participation in the program based on the following:

 

  • Two generators (Montville and Chesterfield) are each eligible for a 25% subsidy because they are considered replacement generators.


 

  • The other generator (Tower-Ferry View) is eligible for a 45% subsidy because it is considered a new generator.

 

Mr. Cansler and Mr. Leonard met with DPH on February 18, 2015 to discuss the status of the SCWA application. We are now in the process of preparing spec/procurement documents, requesting bids, and submitting bids, along with required documents to DPH to request funding.

 

Item 3. Outline of Ongoing/Upcoming Matters

In addition to the above referenced items, Mr. Cansler stated that he and Mr. Leonard were still in the transition process regarding all of the SCWA capital projects, with specific emphasis on the following projects:

  • Capital Projects

    • Lantern Hill Division Pumping Evaluation/Upgrade.

    • Tower Division Eagle Ridge Booster Station Evaluation/Upgrade

    • Cedar Ridge Division Pumphouse, Elimination of “Confined Space”. (Note: All OSHA requirements and best management safety practices are being followed pending elimination of the confined space.) Chairman Monahan requested a status of this particular project. Mr. Cansler stated that he is still familiarizing himself with all of the capital projects, and that this would be his number one priority.

    • Ledyard Division Wellfield

Preliminary stages of acquiring DPH and Authority approval for installing an alternate well.
 

  • Long Cove Rd., Gales Ferry – Proposed Development

A developer inquired about receiving water service from SCWA for a proposed residential project. The location is well within the Town of Ledyard’s Exclusive Service Area (ESA). The developer was advised to contact the Town. A representative of the Ledyard WPCA contacted SCWA and recommended that SCWA meet with the developer to explore the potential of SCWA serving the proposed project. SCWA staff met with the developer on June 18, 2014. There is great potential that SCWA will be able to provide water for this developer. As authorized by the Authority, Lenard Engineering is assisting with developing a preliminary engineering analysis of what infrastructure would be required to serve this development and to generate a preliminary cost estimate.

 

Item 4. Town of Preston – Public Water Assistance Request

SCWA serves as the contract water service operator for the Town of Preston, operating several public water supply systems including the system at the Preston Veterans Memorial School. The Town has requested SCWA’s assistance in developing a methodology for having the school’s water system supply water to two off-site, non-municipal customers. Mr. Leonard and Mr. Congdon, Preston First Selectman, developed a methodology which, prior to implementation, would be subject to approval by the Authority and the Town. Mr. Leonard has written a preliminary draft “Addendum To The Operating & Monitoring Agreement” which has been distributed to involved Town officials and the Authority. Town officials had initially indicated agreement with the document. SCWA legal counsel reviewed the document, and has found it to be acceptable. Mr. Leonard and Mr. Cansler recommended that it be approved by the Authority, which was approved at the last Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority meeting. Furthermore, the Authority authorized its general manager to sign the agreement on behalf of Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority. Town officials have been advised of the Authority’s action, and they are now conducting their final review of the document.

 

Item 5. Town of North Stonington – STEAP Grant

The Town of North Stonington has been awarded a Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grant of $245,400, from the State of Connecticut, to extend SCWA’s water distribution system. The grant will be used to extend the water main further into the Village of North Stonington and to the proposed new fire station. The project will entail the installation of 1500 feet of water main.

 

Item 6. Montville High School Water Supply

 

Background

The Town of Montville is engaged in a series of public information meetings to discuss extending the Town’s water system to the Montville High School to address a water quality problem, at an estimated cost of $6,800,000. In consultation with Chairman Monahan, Mr. Leonard sent letters, dated June 17th, to the Montville Superintendent of Schools, the Mayor and the Chairman of the Town Council; pointing out that in 2013 SCWA provided a cost estimate of $53,000, in response to the Town’s inquiry, to serve the school with the SCWA Chesterfield Division.

 

At its November 10, 2014 meeting, the Authority expressed an interest in assisting the Town, if requested; and to communicate that to the appropriate town officials. The Authority voted unanimously to direct its general manager to write a letter to the Mayor of Montville and the Montville WPCA, indicating that: the Authority is aware of the Town’s recent interest in expanding the municipal water system; SCWA stands ready to work with the Town to serve the Montville High School, or to otherwise assist the Town; and SCWA is offering to participate in the Town’s upcoming public information meetings. Prior to the letter being sent, there was a news article, relating to the Town’s informational meeting, which contained several errors regarding SCWA’s water service. In consultation with Chairman Monahan, Mr. Leonard deferred sending the letter until after further consideration by the Authority. The Authority discussed this matter at its December 1, 2014 meeting. It was the consensus of the Authority members present that, because of the misinformation regarding SCWA being disseminated, Mr. Leonard should attend the two remaining informational meetings; and furthermore that Mr. Leonard send letters to the Mayor of Montville and the Chairman of the Montville WPCA, stating the following:

 

Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority (SCWA) is aware of the Town of Montville’s proposal to extend the Town’s water distribution system to the Montville High School, and the attention the proposal is receiving in the local newspaper. In fact, the most recent article (November 14, 2014) erroneously stated that the “high levels of manganese” contained in the high school’s water supply was being provided by a connection to SCWA. The article also reported other questions and references to SCWA and the customers we serve.

 

Initially, SCWA had intended not to attend any of the four (4) public informational meetings the Town has scheduled to present information on its proposed water system expansion, unless the Town invited us to do so. However, given the current level of misinformation regarding SCWA being disseminated, we now intend to attend the remaining two (2) informational meetings.

 

Also, SCWA wishes to again advise that it stands ready to work with the Town on serving the Montville High School or on any other public drinking water matters.

 

Current

The above referenced letters were hand delivered to the Mayor and Montville WPCA office on December 2, 2014. The Town postponed the December 5th public informational meeting to a date to-be-determined. The January 8th meeting was also cancelled. According to a news article in the

January 6, 2015 edition of The Day, the Montville WPCA will resume the informational meetings in the spring.

 

Item 7. Montville Oakdale Elementary School Water Supply

The business manager of the Town of Montville Board of Education invited Mr. Leonard to meet with her to discuss the potential of interconnecting the Oakdale Elementary School to SCWA Montville and/or Seven Oaks division. This meeting occurred on December 11, 2014. The Superintendent of Schools as well as the Director of Facilities also participated in the meeting. The Superintendent of Schools indicated he would send SCWA a letter stating the Town’s interest in exploring this matter. We have not yet received the letter.

 

Item 8. North Stonington – Water Line Easement

As previously reported, SCWA has been contacted by a property owner who has stated that SCWA had not obtained or filed the necessary property easements for a water main that was installed by a hotel developer in 2007. SCWA has consulted with the attorney it was represented by on this matter and with Attorney Nicholas Kepple, SCWA general counsel. On June 24, 2014, SCWA staff and Attorney Kepple met with the property owner and his attorney, as well as the attorney for the hotel developer. This matter has recently been raised again by the property owner’s attorney. SCWA continues to seek the guidance and assistance of Attorney Kepple on this matter.

 

Item 9. SCWA Foreman Position

Wayne Thompson, SCWA Foreman/Chief Operator retired on December 26, 2014. His position was posted internally and externally, with an application closing date of January 30, 2015. A total of thirteen candidates applied for the position, and based on the applications four candidates were selected for interviews. Mr. Cansler and Mr. Leonard conducted the interviews. Based on the initial interviews, two candidates were interviewed a second time. At the conclusion of the interview process, Mr. Cansler and Mr. Leonard agreed that the best candidate for this foreman position was Brandon Belair, who works as a SCWA water works technician. Mr. Belair’s selection, and subsequent promotion, to foreman resulted in a water works technician vacancy. The position will be advertised via water utility association websites, SCWA’s website, and the local newspaper (The Day).

 

Item 10. SCWA FY 2015 Distribution, Maintenance Service Repair Expenses

At its February 11, 2015 meeting, while reviewing the FY 2015 second quarter financial statements, the Authority raised questions regarding the level of expenditures in the “Distribution, Maintenance Service” category. The following information was provided in response to the questions raised:

 

During the first two quarters of FY 2015 there were 27 water service line repairs. This compares with 42 service line repairs for all of FY 2014.

 

Item 11. Meetings – Information Item

 

Report From Chairman – Chairman Monahan asked about the status of embezzlement/larceny case. Mr. Leonard stated that he has attended each court hearing. Our Labor Counsel is not attending the hearings, but are available if we need them.

 

Report From Authority Members -none

 

Public Comment – none

 

On motion of Mr. Eccard, seconded by Ms. Franciosi, the Authority adjourned at approximately

5:50 p.m.

 

It was noted the next Authority meeting is scheduled to occur on March 16, 2015, 5:15 p.m. at

1649 Rt. 12, Gales Ferry, CT.

 

 

Joseph C. Cansler

Secretary

© 2014 SCWA

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