Draft Minutes of the March 20, 2017 Water Authority Meeting

Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority

1649 Route 12, Gales Ferry, CT

 

 

 

Present

Authority:  Chairman Edward Monahan, Treasurer Paul Eccard, Barbara Lee Franciosi, Peter Balestracci, Nicholas Mullane and Michael O’Connor. 

Authority Staff:  General Manager Josh Cansler

 

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

 

Approval of Prior Minutes

On a motion of Mr. Eccard, seconded by Mr. Mullane, the Authority approved the minutes of the February 13, 2017 Water Authority Meeting, by a unanimous vote of all members present. 

 

Public Comment on any Item on the Agenda – None

 

Correspondence - Mr. Cansler referenced a letter from the Ledyard Lions Club asking if SCWA was interested in posting an advertisement in the Ledyard Memorial Day Parade booklet.  Purpose of the proceeds from booklet is to support this patriotic annual event.  SCWA has supported this request in the past.  On motion of Mr. Eccard, seconded by Mr. Mullane, the Authority approved, by a unanimous vote of all members present, to place a half-page ad in the Ledyard Memorial Day booklet, at a cost of $50. 

 

General Manager’s Report

1.  Extension of Services on Fairway Drive -Ledyard

SCWA continues to work with the Town of Ledyard and Ledyard WPCA regarding support of the proposed Thames Aquatic Center project, as well as the proposed extension of Fairway Drive in Ledyard Center.   Over the past year SCWA has proposed two solutions to provide water from our closest main, which ends at the three apartment buildings on Iron Street (Route 214). 

 

Our first proposal was to extend the main approximately 300’ straight line distance to the Aquatic Center.  This alternative would require an easement through the adjoining property.  Both the proposed site of the Aquatic Center, and the adjoining property, are owned by the Holdridge family.   To avoid splitting the adjoining property in half with an easement, SCWA offered 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.

 

This past fall the landowner and developer stated they would rather install a well on the new site, and submitted a request to the State DPH and DEEP requesting permission for a new well.  Although a February 5, 2017 article in the local newspaper stated that the well had been approved, General Manager Cansler discovered in late February that DPH intended to disapprove the well application, based on the proximity of a water main to the proposed Aquatic Center site. 

Mr. Cansler stated that they had received a copy of the letter from DPH to the Aquatic Center developer, on March 10, 2017, stating that DPH would not approve the well application.  Mr. Cansler also said that the Town of Ledyard had sent a response to DPH, on March 16, 2017, asking them to reconsider the well application. 

 

As a result of the well disapproval, Mr. Cansler stated that SCWA staff were re-evaluating the options on how to best service the proposed Aquatic site.  After an analysis of the options available, he recommended installation of a main along the proposed Fairway Drive extension route.  Mr. Cansler said that although this option is about 400 feet longer, the main would already be in place when Fairway Drive is extended.  This would enable SCWA to recover the additional required funding for the Fairway Drive main extension as new customers build along the Fairway Drive extension.  Mr. Cansler stated that he and Chairman Monahan would be meeting with the Town of Ledyard on March 21st to discuss the various options.  

 

Chairman Monahan mentioned that at a recent meeting in Ledyard, he had discussed this issue with a concerned resident who had misconceptions about SCWA’s role in the delays associated with the Aquatic Center project.  He recommended we move forward with the plan that the General Manager presented.  Mr. Eccard made a motion to authorize the General Manager to present his plan to the Town of Ledyard.  This motion, seconded by Ms. Franciosi, was approved by a vote of 6-0.

  

2.  Montville Storage Tank

DPH requires that all atmospheric water storage tanks be inspected a minimum of every 10 years.  Mass Tanks inspected the Montville 50,000 gallon concrete tank in November.  SCWA received the results of the inspection in late January.   This particular tank is an open top rectangular concrete tank that is fitted with a wood-framed asphalt shingled roof.  Due to the age and condition of the roof, the report from Mass Tanks recommended immediate repairs to the roof of the Montville 50,000 gallon tank.  They are concerned that dust, debris, and possibly small animals or insects could get into the tank.  At the February 13, 2017 meeting the Authority approved the General Manager’s recommendation to repair the roof of the Montville storage tank immediately.  Mr. Cansler stated that they plan on starting the repairs in April, using mostly SCWA field crew. 

 

3.  DWSRF Emergency Generator Program

At the February meeting the Authority approved three motions accepting the lowest bids for the three generator projects, which are eligible for partial DWSRF funding.   These three bids were: 

a)  Tower Generator Systems, for a lump sum of $94,107, to complete the new generator project for the Tower Division.

b)  Tower Generator Systems, for a lump sum of $74,627, to complete the replacement generator project for the Montville Division.    

c)  Custom Electric, for a lump sum of $66,000, to complete the replacement generator project for the Chesterfield Division. 

The RFP, bids, and other required paperwork were sent to DPH on February 15, 2017 requesting approval of our Request to Commence Work, along with the applicable DWSRF funding.  DPH responded with request for more information regarding the bids, and a request for a resolution adopted by the Authority to file the application and execute the loan agreement.  Mr. Cansler reached out to our attorney, Avena and Kepple, for assistance preparing the three project resolutions. 

 

4.  DWSRF Call for Projects

The State DPH Drinking Water Section issued a call for future projects in Mid-February, with a submittal date of April 28, 2017.  Financing through the DWSRF includes a low-interest loan with the potential for subsidization for eligible projects in the form of principal forgiveness to the extent allowed by Federal and/or State law.  At the September 2016 meeting, the Authority approved a motion to have Lenard Engineering prepare the DWSRF Call for Project applications for three proposed projects, for a lump sum of $4,500 ($1,500 per project).   The three projects are:  Renovation of Tower/Ferry View Pump Station, Interconnection between Montville and Seven Oaks systems, and Expansion of the Ledyard system (to include emergency interconnection with Ledyard WPCA system).  Mr. Cansler stated that he is working with Lenard Engineering to get the concept plans and required documents ready for submission by the April 28th deadline.

 

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 meeting monthly to consolidate and review data required in the updated Water Supply Plan.

 

6.  Need for new Auditing Firm

In mid-February Mr. Cansler was informed by Mr. Joe Centofanti that our Audit Agency, CohnReznick, would longer be providing governmental/municipal auditing services.  Mr. Centofanti said that as result, he would be leaving CohnReznick, and moving to the Auditing Agency PKF O’Conner-Davies.  He said PKF O’Conner-Davies would like to provide the same professional auditing services, at the same prices, that were quoted by CohnReznick, for 2017 and 2018.  Mr. Centofanti stated that they would be sending SCWA a proposed Letter of Engagement in March.  Mr. Cansler explained that that any change to the audit firm would have to be approved by the SCWA Representative Advisory Board (RAB).  Mr. Cansler said that he was also waiting on another proposal from another ex-member of the CohnReznick team who has moved on to another firm.  Mr. Mullane said that the Town of North Stonington was using an auditor (Sandra Welwood, LLC) and that the Town was very happy with her work and her fees.  He recommended that SCWA reach out to her as well for a proposal.  Mr. Cansler stated that he would reach out to her this week.

 

7. Tower Distribution System Water Loss

During the process of gathering and preparing information for the Water Supply Plan, General Manager Cansler discovered a significant discrepancy between water produced at the Tower Division and water sold (metered).  After further research we discovered this gap has been steadily increasing over the past 10 years.  Since the meters were changed out 5 years ago, we assume that the meters are accurate.  In addition, our Foreman monitored the system over a period of a few days and verified the amount of water being produced.  After discussions with our engineer we have concluded that the Tower distribution system has a significant leak, or possibly leaks, that have not surfaced.  General Manager Cansler recommended that SCWA hire a professional Leak Detection company to search for potential the leak(s).   Mr. Eccard made a motion that the Authority approve Mr. Cansler’s recommendation to seek bids from outside Leak Detection firms.  This motion, seconded by Mr. Mullane, was approved by a vote of 6-0.

 

8.  Town of North Stonington School Upgrade Project

Over the past month SCWA has been reviewing plans submitted by the design engineers for the proposed additions and renovations to the Town of North Stonington Elementary School and Middle/High School, located on Norwich-Westerly Road.   The proposed work includes an addition to the west side of the existing Gymnatorium, and an addition to the south side of the existing Elementary School. The parking areas around the Gymnatorium, Elementary School, and the proposed additions will also be reconstructed and reconfigured.  These modifications are not expected to affect student population and associated water consumption, since it is intended that the middle/high school building on the opposite side of Route 2 will be demolished as part of this project.

 

9.  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 stated that they had met with the State Department of Transportation (DOT) regarding where the new water main would cross Route 2.  The plans call for the new water main to cross Route 2 at the intersection of Rocky Hollow Road.  Because of the numerous electrical lines under the road associated with the stoplights, DOT’s requirements to cross at the intersection are too costly.  DOT recommended crossing Route 2 approximately 90 feet to the south of the intersection.  The Town had hired Lenard Engineering to prepare a plan to cross Route 2 at a reasonable location.  SCWA is assisting the town, and Lenard Engineering, as needed.

 

10.  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, and is ongoing between standard regulatory testing/monitoring requirements, preventative maintenance, and emergency repairs of mains, wells, and pump stations. 

 

11.  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.  A cost agreement that was satisfactory for both parties was agreed upon in December 2016.  SCWA has not heard back from Montville schools regarding approval of funding by their Finance Committee.

 

12.  Drought Update

Currently New London and Windham counties are still 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 was the Montville Manor Subdivision, this past summer.   SCWA has not experienced problems any drought issues at other SCWA divisions.

 

13.  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.  WUCC member meetings are 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.   Mr. Cansler also serves on the WUCC ESA (Exclusive Service Area) sub-committee.

 

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. 

 

Other Business  -  Chairman Monahan stated that the Town of Ledyard sent out a Request for Proposal (RFP) on March 9, 2017 for operation of their water services, to include billing functions and maintenance of their distribution system.  Chairman Monahan stated that bids were due by March 28, 2017.  He said he was concerned that this short timeline did not allow time for SCWA to prepare a professional and accurate proposal.  Although some members of the Authority felt that this was a great opportunity to possibly expand our services, the Authority agreed that the timeline was too short to prepare an adequate bid.  After some discussion the Authority decided to submit a letter to the Town stating our concerns that the short period of time between bid advertisement and the bid submittal date was not adequate.  General Manager Cansler stated that he would prepare a letter for the Chairman’s signature, and have our attorney conduct a legal review of the letter.

 

Report from Chairman  - None 

 

Report from Authority Members - Member Eccard stated that Rob Schacht had reached out to him regarding Miller’s Pond in Waterford.  SCWA had considered the purchase of Miller’s Pond several years ago.  Mr. Schacht, representing the Schacht family which owns Miller’s Pond, has requested to speak to the Authority about the current status of the Pond.  Mr. Eccard made a motion that former SCWA Miller’s Pond sub-committee, which had previously consisted of Members Monahan, Eccard, and Franciosi, re-adjourn, and meet with Mr. Schacht.  This motion, seconded by Mr. Balestracci, was approved by a unanimous vote of all members present.  General Manager Cansler agreed to coordinate the date/time of the meeting with Mr. Schacht, and the sub-committee members.

 

Public Comment – None

 

On motion of Mr. Eccard, seconded by Mr. O’Connor, the Authority voted to adjourn the meeting at approximately 6:25 p.m. 

 

It was noted the next Authority meeting is scheduled to occur on April 10, 2017, 5:15 p.m. at

1649 Rt. 12, Gales Ferry, CT. 

 

                                                                                                                Joseph C. Cansler                                                                                                                  Secretary