Draft Minutes of the March 14, 2016 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 February 15, 2016 Special Meeting, by a vote of 6-0, with one abstention (Mr. Watson). 

 

Public Comment on any Item on the Agenda – None

 

Correspondence – None   

 

General Manager’s Report

 

1.  North Stonington Pump Station Replacement

A final reimbursement check has been issued by the Insurance Company for costs associated with the rupture of the tank at North Stonington, and subsequent replacement of the pump station.  SCWA was reimbursed a total of $508, 223.93.  Our expenses for this project totaled $603,704.27.   Shortly after the last reimbursement was received, the insurance company sent a letter announcing that they would not renew our insurance policy when it expires on July 1, 2016.    We have already reached out to our insurance brokerage agent to find a new insurance company.   Mr. Mullane asked if we had reached out to CIRMA, which supports municipalities in CT regarding insurance issues.   

 

2.  Chesterfield Water

Last fall SCWA started receiving an increasing number of calls regarding discoloration of the water at the Chesterfield Division.  Water samples indicated that there were higher than normal levels of manganese in the water, though still well below allowable limits established by the EPA.  After meeting with an Engineer Consulting firm, we decided to have the storage tank cleaned, and add several flushing hydrants, in an effort to reduce manganese levels in the distribution system.  Although this did reduce the manganese levels, SCWA determined that more changes were needed to reduce manganese levels before the water goes into the distribution system. 

 

In January, the Authority voted to authorize Lenard Engineering to prepare plans and specifications for a new booster pump skid and piping modifications at the Chesterfield Division Pump Station.  SCWA staff and Lenard Engineering also consulted with a firm about modifying the chemical treatment process to isolate the manganese in the water.  The request for modification of the chemical treatment process was submitted to DPH on Feb 3, 2016, and approved on March 11th.  SCWA has installed the new chemical feed systems, and purchased the new chemicals, and will begin the new chemical process on March 15th.  In the meantime, Lenard Engineering is finalizing plans for the new booster pump skid and piping modifications at the Chesterfield Division Pump Station.     

3. Lantern Hill Division

In 2015, the Authority voted to pursue transfer of the Lantern Hill Division to Aquarion Water.  Aquarion has a water main that passes within a few feet of the sub-division.  SCWA currently provides water to only 23 residential customers in the Lantern Hill Division.   Our legal counsel, Attorney Kepple, attempted to expedite the transfer process through the State Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), however, in January we were informed that we would have to go through the formal transfer process with PURA. 

 

On February 22, 2016, General Manager Cansler and Attorney Kepple met with Aquarion to discuss the requirements for completion of the transfer.  It was agreed that the next steps are a formal request to DPH stating our intent to Transfer Assets, and completion of the Asset Transfer Agreement.  A letter was sent to the new DPH Commissioner on February 26, 2016 stating our intent to transfer all of the assets, land and source of supply of the Lantern Hill Division water system, to Aquarion Water.   The Asset Transfer Agreement was modified and approved by Attorney Kepple.  Mr. Eccard made a motion to have the Authority authorize the SCWA Authority Chairman to sign the Asset Transfer Agreement, on behalf of the Authority.  This motion, seconded by Mr. O’Connor, was approved by a unanimous vote of all members present, 7-0.

 

4.  Cedar Ridge Pump Station Modifications

Coon Construction began renovation of the Cedar Ridge Pump Station the last week in February.  The scope of work for this project is to add stairs, and a door, to the underground floor of the pump station, which is currently only accessible through a hatchway.  Coon Construction was awarded this project, after an advertised public bidding process, for a lump sum of $19,100.  The project is expected to be complete by the end of March 2016, weather permitting.

 

5.  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.  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. As of the end of February 2016, there is 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. 

 

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 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.  SCWA was informed that Montville has included a budget line item in their FY16 schools budget to pay for construction of the connection to the SCWA system.  

 

8.  Montville ESA Discussion

On February 8, 2016, Chairman Monahan and General Manager Cansler 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.  To date Montville has not requested a second meeting to discuss this issue.

 

9.  Extension of Services on Fairway Drive -Ledyard

On March 8, 2016, Chairman Monahan and General Manager Cansler attended a meeting with Mayor Finkelstein of Ledyard, and members of the Ledyard WPCA, to discuss the proposed extension of Fairway Drive.  The Town would like to extend Fairway Drive in an effort to bring in more commercial development to the Ledyard Center area.  The proposed Fairway Drive extension is in the SCWA ESA.  One business (a daycare) is already interested in expanding their facility, and there is another developer interested in constructing an Aquatic facility.   The Ledyard Mayor and WPCA want to be able to offer fire protection to potential commercial developers along Fairway Drive.  SCWA agreed to have an engineering feasibility study on expanding our operation in Ledyard to allow for future fire flow requirements.  Mr. Cansler has reached out to Lenard Engineering for an estimate on the cost of conducting the feasibility study.  

 

Several Authority members expressed concern that the Town of Ledyard may have already allowed the Daycare to encroach on the SCWA ESA.  After discussing the issue the Authority decided the best course of action would be to send a formal letter to the Town expressing our concerns about future potential encroachment in the SCWA ESA.  Mr. Eccard made a motion to have the Authority direct the General Manager to consult with Attorney Kepple, to formulate a sufficient record to protect the Authority’s interest in the Authority’s ESA in the Fairway Drive region of the Town of Ledyard.  This motion, seconded by Mr. Mullane, was approved by a unanimous vote of all members present, 7-0.

 

10.  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.

11.  Open House for new SCWA Office Space

At the last Authority meeting, Chairman Monahan suggested that we should host an Open House in our new SCWA offices.  The Authority agreed that we should invite members of the Representative Advisory Board (RAB), Selectmen from the Towns in the SCWA District, and other Southeastern Connecticut Council of Government (SCCOG) members.  The Authority agreed that an evening Open House in the spring would be best.  After reviewing the calendar, Mr. Cansler recommended several dates, and after some discussion the Authority decided that Thursday, May 19, 2016 would be a good date for the open house.  This will give SCWA enough time to send out invitations, and prepare for the Open House.

 

12. One-year Performance Evaluation

At the January 11, 2016 meeting, the Authority approved a motion to have the Authority Human Resources 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 would be to get examples of counseling/ evaluations.  Mr. Cansler has reached out to our Labor Counsel, Suisman Shapiro, for legal guidance, and sample evaluations, and they have agreed to assist SCWA with this effort.  Once Mr. Cansler receives the sample evaluations, he will send them out to the SCWA Human Resources Committee for their review and discussion.   

 

13.  SCWA Financial Statements – Second Quarter FY 2016

General Manager Cansler discussed the FY 2016 second quarter financial statements, water production figures, and the March 7, 2106 Cash Position Report with the Authority.  There was not any significant concerns or issues from the second quarter statements.

 

Other Business – None 

 

Report from Chairman  - Chairman Monahan stated that he has learned the EPA has awarded $26 million to Connecticut to improve water systems.  He believes that this would be a good opportunity for SCWA to obtain funding for much needed improvements.  Chairman Monahan suggested that we reach out the State to determine their plan for this funding.

 

Report from Authority Members – None

 

Public Comment – None

 

On motion of Mr. Eccard, seconded by Mr. Mullane, the Authority voted to adjourn the meeting at approximately 6:30 p.m. 

 

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

1649 Rt. 12, Gales Ferry, CT. 

 

                                                                          Joseph C. Cansler                                                                             Secretary

 

 

 

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