Minutes of the April 21, 2016 Meeting of the
Representative Advisory Board to the
Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority
Groton Senior Center
102 Newtown Rd, Groton, CT 06340
1. Call to Order and Roll Call
Chairman Allen called the meeting to order at approximately 7:00 p.m.
Representative Advisory Board: (RAB) Members: Carol Russell, East Lyme; Thomas Seidel, Franklin; Marian Galbraith and Martin Artale Jr., Groton (City); Mary Lou Smith, Groton (Town); Timothy Norris, Ledyard; Anthony Siragusa, Montville; Barry Weiner, New London; Jerry Morales, Preston; James Fogarty and George Jackson, Salem; Chairman Dennison Allen, Sprague; Michael Adair; Stonington Borough; Jim Thevenet, Voluntown.
Authority Members: Chairman Edward Monahan, Harry Watson, Paul Eccard, Nick Mullane.
Authority Staff: General Manager Josh Cansler
2. Public Comment - None.
3. Approval of Prior Minutes – Vote Required
On motion of Mr. Siragusa, seconded by Mr. Norris, the minutes of the January 21, 2016 meeting were unanimously approved, as distributed.
4. Report By The Authority Chairman
Dr. Monahan presented the Authority report, with highlights as follows:
I. Operational Activities
A. Chesterfield Water
In response to complaints by some residents in the Chesterfield Division in Montville about discolored water, SCWA has implemented a series of projects to resolve the issue. The occasional discoloration is the result of higher than normal levels of manganese in the water, though still well below allowable limits established by the EPA. In addition to installing additional flushing hydrants to clean the water mains more effectively, we have had the storage tank cleaned, and started two new projects to reduce the likelihood of high concentrations of manganese in the future.
The first of these projects was to modify the chemical treatment process by adding phosphate to isolate the manganese in the water. The request for modification of the chemical treatment process was approved by DPH in March, and we immediately began adding phosphate the following week. The levels of manganese have dropped slightly each week since. The second project will be to upgrade the Chesterfield Pump Station by replacing the pressure tank with a new booster pump skid package, and replacing most of the piping in the pump station. Final plans and specifications should be completed in April, with construction planned for this summer.
B. Transfer of Lantern Hill Division to Aquarion
In 2015, the Authority voted to pursue transfer of the Lantern Hill Division to Aquarion Water. Aquarion has a large pump station a few hundred yards from Lantern Hill, and a water main that passes within 100 feet of the current SCWA Lantern Hill distribution system. SCWA currently provides water to only 23 residential customers in the Lantern Hill Division. In February of this year, SCWA sent a letter to the State DPH Commissioner stating our intent to transfer all of the assets of the Lantern Hill Division water system to Aquarion Water. In March both parties signed an Asset Transfer Agreement, and last week SCWA and Aquarion submitted a formal application to PURA requesting a hearing regarding the Asset Transfer. Also last week, a letter was sent to the First Selectman of Stonington stating our intent to transfer the Lantern Hill Division to Aquarion. Dr. Monahan stated that the State requirements for transfer of a system with 23 customers is the same as for a system with 23,000 customers.
C. Exclusive Service Areas in Ledyard
On March 8, 2016, Chairman Monahan and General Manager Cansler attended a meeting with Mayor Finkelstein of Ledyard, the Chairman of the Ledyard WPCA, and one other member of the Ledyard Town Council, 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. During this meeting it was revealed that a new daycare facility is within the SCWA ESA buffer zone, and is currently being provided water from an apparently undocumented line from the Ledyard WPCA mains on Route 117. There is also a developer interested in constructing an Aquatic facility within the SCWA ESA. The Ledyard Mayor and WPCA indicated they would like to offer fire protection to potential future 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.
In response to the encroachment of the daycare facility within the ESA buffer, the Authority, after consulting legal counsel, sent a formal letter to the Mayor of Ledyard, on April 12, 2016, expressing our concerns about future potential encroachment in the SCWA ESA, and seeking information as to the extent and nature of the existing encroachment. A copy of this letter is attached (Attachment 1)
II. Planning Activities
A. 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. Last fall the Authority accepted a bid from Lenard Engineering to prepare the Asset Management Plan. 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. Ms. Russell asked if the State was requiring all utilities to replace their tanks. Mr. Cansler stated that currently the State was not requiring utilities to replace their tanks, but that they were encouraging all utilities to develop a plan for eventual replacement.
B. 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). Through his participation on the Advisory Group to the Connecticut Water Planning Council (WPC), our General Manager has been monitoring the development of the State Water Plan, and the Eastern Connecticut WUCC.
C. SCWA Interaction with SCCOG
SCWA and the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments (SCCOG) continue to interact cooperatively. 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. Chairman Monahan also routinely attends the regular monthly SCCOG meeting, often being called upon to provide a report on SCWA activities.
III. Administrative Activities
A. Open House for New SCWA Office Space
On Thursday, May 19, 2016, from 4 - 6 pm, SCWA will host an Open House at our new offices, which are located on the first floor of the same building where SCWA occupied second floor offices from 1985 until this year (1649 Route 12, Gales Ferry). Invitees to the Open House will include members of the Representative Advisory Board (RAB), selectmen and mayors from the municipalities in the SCWA District, and other Southeastern Connecticut Council of Government (SCCOG) members. All invitees are invited to stop by, even if only for a few minutes, and see the new office space. The reasons for this move were that our old offices were not easily accessible to the public, did not meet ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements, and were in need of significant upgrades. The SCWA address and phone numbers have remained the same.
5. Report by the Chairman of the Representative Advisory Board – Chairman Allen stated that he had nothing to add to the report and discussions from the meeting.
6. Discussion on Fluoride Issue
Ms. Russell handed out a packet of information to everyone present. The information packet included several articles and reports on the impacts of fluoride in water. Ms. Russell stated that she had been working with State Senator Formica to add an amendment to the fluoride legislation currently being reviewed by the State Senate. The purpose of her amendment would be to require the State to convene a panel of impartial experts to explore, and discuss, the impact of adding fluoride to drinking water.
Chairman Allen stated that since the State House had approved the pending legislation the previous week, he felt that there was no need to discuss this issue further. Ms. Russell stated that since it was an agenda item, and the State Senate and Governor had not approved the pending legislation yet, there was still the possibility that changes could be made to the legislation. She discussed history of fluoride studies to date, and changes that had occurred worldwide as a result.
Mr. Weiner said that based on discussions, and information provided, at previous RAB meetings the representatives were well informed on the subject of fluoride in the water. The question he had was what did Ms. Russell want from the SCWA RAB regarding this issue? Mr. Norris stated that he had done extensive research this subject as well, and that the U.S. had originally started adding fluoride because proper healthcare was not always available through the country at one time. After much discussion back/forth involving most representatives present, Dr. Monahan stated that the RAB had the power to send this issue to the SCWA Water Authority for further review.
Mr. Thevenet made a motion for the Representative Advisory Board to have the Water Authority evaluate the subject, and report back to the RAB with a recommendation on what direction the RAB should proceed regarding of Fluoride in drinking water. After more discussion, the motion was seconded by Mr. Weiner, and brought to a vote. The motion passed with 13 in favor, and one opposed.
7. Representative Advisory Board Member Reports - None
8. New Business - none
On motion of Mr. Jackson, seconded by Mr. Norris, the meeting adjourned at approximately
Josh Cansler, Secretary
Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority