Draft Minutes of the April 11, 2016 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 Mullane and Member Balestracci

 

Authority Staff:  General Manager Cansler

 

Authority Legal Counsel:  Attorney Nicholas Kepple

 

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

 

Executive Session; to discuss strategy regarding pending claims: 

Because the Legal Counsel for SCWA was present, Chairman Monahan requested that the Authority move discussion of Exclusive Service Areas in the Town of Ledyard to the top of the agenda, and enter into Executive Session.  Mr. Eccard made a motion, seconded by Mr. Mullane, to enter into Executive Session, pursuant to General Statute 1-200(6)(B), for the purpose of discussing strategies regarding a possible encroachment of the SCWA Exclusive Service Areas (ESA) in Ledyard.  The motion to enter into Executive Session was brought to vote, and it passed unanimously.  At approximately 5:53 p.m., the Authority concluded the Executive Session, and resumed the regular meeting.  Chairman Monahan noted that no motions or votes were made during the Executive Session. 

 

On motion of Mr. Eccard, seconded by Ms. Franciosi, the Authority voted unanimously to authorize the Chairman to sign a letter, with inclusion of reference to the Special Act that created SCWA, to the Mayor of Ledyard, addressing our ESA concerns.

 

Approval of Prior Minutes

On motion of Mr. Eccard, seconded by Mr. Balestracci, the Authority approved the minutes of the

March 14, 2016 Water Authority Meeting, by a vote of 6-0. 

 

Public Comment on any Item on the Agenda – None

 

Correspondence – Mr. Cansler stated that he had included a copy of an article by The Day newspaper, about the water in Chesterfield.  

 

General Manager’s Report

 

1.  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 approved by DPH on March 11, 2016.  The levels of manganese have dropped slightly each week since SCWA started the new treatment process on March 15th. 

 

Although the phosphate treatment has improved the color of the water, General Manger Cansler recommended that SCWA continue with the project overhaul and upgrade the Chesterfield Division Pump Station.  He stated that Lenard Engineering should have the final plans and specifications prepared by the end of April.  Mr. Cansler also stated that in preparation for this project, and other similar projects to follow over the next few years, they have requested a proposal for design and assembly of a trailer-mounted pump station that can be used to operate our regular pump stations during renovation projects, and/or emergency repairs.  Mr. Mullane suggested that we look at increasing the capacity of our trailer to handle not only all of the SCWA pump stations, but pump stations for other organizations in the area, with the goal that perhaps we can rent the mobile unit out as needed.  Mr. Watson suggested looking into grants from the State to help pay for this trailer. 

Mr. Cansler said he would follow up on both of these suggestions.

 

2. 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.  At the March 14, 2016 meeting, the Authority voted to authorize the SCWA Authority Chairman to sign the Asset Transfer Agreement, on behalf of the Authority.  A copy of the Agreement, signed by both parties, was received back that same week.  SCWA and Aquarion are currently working together to gather the required information required by PURA prior to requesting a public hearing.  Counsel for both parties are assisting with preparation of paperwork and packets for PURA.  In addition, 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.   We have not received a response to this letter.  Attorney Kepple stated that Aquarion has been very cooperative assisting us with this this transition, and although it is a burdensome process, everything was on track.

 

3.  Cedar Ridge Pump Station Modifications

The scope of work for this renovation project was to add stairs, and a door, to the underground floor of the pump station, which was previously only accessible through a hatchway.  Renovation of the Cedar Ridge Pump Station started the last week in February, and was completed the first week in April 2016. 

 

4.  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 the hotel was constructed.   The last development regarding this easement issue involved 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, corresponded 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 for the water main crossing outside of the legal easement. As of the end of March 2016, there is nothing new regarding this issue. 

 

5.  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. 

 

6.  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 18, 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.  

 

7.  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.

 

8.  Asset Management Plans

Per the terms of the September 2015 Consent Agreement signed between SCWA, and the CT Department of Public Health (DPH), SCWA will submit an Asset Management Plan to DPH no later than July 1, 2016.  At the November 30, 2015 meeting the Authority accepted a bid from Lenard Engineering to prepare the Asset Management Plan for a lump sum of $12,500.  SCWA and Lenard Engineering have completed the first two phases of the Asset Management Plan, which includes a detailed inventory of all equipment and assets, and a condition assessment.  The next step is prioritization of asset capital expenditures.  This should be completed by the end of April 2016.

 

9.  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.  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 has attended recent meetings of the WPC Advisory Group to discuss the State Water Planning.  Mr. Cansler stated that the Request for Proposal for firms interested in completing the State Water Plan had been delayed, and was currently out to bid.

 

b)  SCWA Interaction with the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments (SCCOG).  On April 4, 2016 Chairman Monahan and Mr. Cansler attended a meeting of the SCCOG Water/Wastewater Advisory Committee.  During this meeting they learned that the three state WUCCs would be done simultaneously, rather than sequentially from West to East.

 

c)  SCCOG Regional Water Committee’s Technical Advisory Subcommittee (TAS).  SCWA staff participate on the SCCOG Regional Water Committee’s Technical Advisory Subcommittee.

 

10.  Open House for new SCWA Office Space

At the March 2016 meeting, the Authority agreed to hold an Open House for the new SCWA office space on Thursday, May 19, 2016.  Invitees will include members of the Representative Advisory Board (RAB), Selectmen from the Towns in the SCWA District, and other Southeastern Connecticut Council of Government (SCCOG) members.  A question was asked about a time for the Open House.  Mr. Cansler recommended 4-6 pm.  He also stated he would look into refreshments and cake for the Open House.   

 

11. One-year Performance Evaluation

At the January 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.  Mr. Cansler reached out to our Labor Counsel, Suisman Shapiro, for legal guidance, and sample evaluations.  On April 8th he forwarded the sample evaluation and legal guidance from Suisman Shapiro to the Human Resources Committee members, along with a couple of other evaluations from his previous experience.  The Human Resources Committee decided to meet after the next Authority meeting, on May 9th, to review and discuss the guidance and evaluations.    

 

12.  FY 2017 SCWA Budget

Mr. Cansler met with Mr. Andy Potochney on March 30, 2016 to discuss the SCWA FY 2017 budget.  SCWA will send 3rd quarter Financials to Mr. Potochney by mid-April, and he will meet with Mr. Cansler again on May 12th to go over the first draft of the budget.  The Authority Finance Committee will meet at 10 am on May 25, 2016 at the SCWA offices.  The Authority will vote on the FY17 Budget at the June 13, 2016 Authority meeting.  

 

Other Business – None 

 

Report from Chairman  - None

 

Report from Authority Members – None

 

Public Comment – None

 

On motion of Mr. Eccard, seconded by Ms. Franciosi, the Authority voted to adjourn the meeting at approximately 6:38 p.m. 

 

It was noted the next Authority meeting is scheduled to occur on May 9, 2016, 5:15 p.m. at

1649 Rt. 12, Gales Ferry, CT. 

 

                                                                               Joseph C. Cansler                                                                                Secretary