Draft Minutes of the May 9, 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

 

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. Watson, the Authority approved the minutes of the

April 11, 2016 Water Authority Meeting, by a vote of 6-0. 

 

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, and Mr. Cansler recommended that we support this event again.   On motion of Mr. Eccard, seconded by Mr. Mullane, the Authority approved placing a half-page ad, at a cost of $50, in the Parade booklet. 

 

Mr. Cansler provided copies of two articles from The Day newspaper regarding Fluoride legislation, and the Ledyard Daycare.  Both articles are relevant to items in the General Manager’s Report.  Mr. Cansler also included an article from The Day about the Ledyard WPCA raising their water rates 10 percent. 

 

General Manager’s Report

 

1.  Chesterfield Water

Last fall, SCWA began a series of projects to address occasional discoloration of the water at the Chesterfield Division.  Water samples indicated that there were higher than normal levels of manganese in the water, although still well below allowable limits established by the EPA.  After cleaning the storage tank, and adding more flushing hydrants produced positive results, we decided that additional changes were needed to reduce manganese levels before the water goes into the distribution system. 

 

After gaining approval from the DPH in March 2016, SCWA began adding phosphate to the water to isolate manganese in the water.  Since we started adding phosphate the levels of manganese have dropped slightly each week since.   SCWA also intends to upgrade the Chesterfield Pump Station this year by replacing the pressure tank with a new booster pump skid package, and replacing most of the piping in the pump station. In preparation for this project, and other similar projects to follow over the next few years, SCWA has 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. Cansler stated that we are still on track to start this project this summer, though we are still waiting on an estimate for the cost of constructing the trailer-mounted pump station.

 

2. Lantern Hill Division

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 in April SCWA and Aquarion submitted a formal application to PURA requesting a hearing regarding the Asset Transfer.  Also in April, a letter was sent to the First Selectman of Stonington stating our intent to transfer the Lantern Hill Division to Aquarion. 

 

3.  Hillcrest - Radon in Water Letter

Jensen Communities, which developed, and sells homes in the Hillcrest Division of Montville, sent a letter to SCWA in April 2016 expressing concern about radon in the drinking water of a home that was recently sold.  The primary cause for concern from radon in the water is that it may get into the air.  Currently, the EPA and State of Connecticut do not regulate radon in water, however they do provide guidelines.   The CT DPH has established a guidance level of 5,000 pCi/L for radon in water, based on an average of two tests, over different seasons.  Although not obligated to address this issue, since radon in water is not regulated, General Manager Cansler, recommended that the Authority request an engineering feasibility study to analyze possible methods of reducing radon in the water, before water goes into distribution.  Mr. Eccard made a motion authorizing the General Manager to request an engineering study to determine the feasibility, and estimated costs, of engineering alternatives to reduce the radon in the water at Hillcrest Division.  This motion, seconded by Mr. Mullane, was approved by a unanimous vote of all members present.

 

4.  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, the Chairman and one other member of the Ledyard Town Council, and the Chairman 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.  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 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.   As of May 9, 2016, SCWA has not received a response to our letter.  Mr. Cansler mentioned the there was an article in The Day newspaper regarding this issue following the last Authority meeting in April.

 

 

 

5.  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.

 

6.  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.   On April 26, 2016, SCWA received a request for water service for this address.  The proposed development is for a 4-story, 100 unit, senior housing center.  Mr. Cansler noted that there had been some discussion regarding hook-up fees between our legal counsel, and legal counsel for the landowner, and that he would check with our counsel regarding this issue.

 

7.  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 mentioned that the Town had received comments back from DPH with some questions regarding water main pressure, and the correct formula for calculating leakage.   

 

8.  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.  

 

9.  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.  Mr. Cansler mentioned that we are still on track to meet the DPH deadline.

 

10.  Legislation of Fluoride in Drinking Water

At the last Representative Advisory Board (RAB) meeting, on April 21, 2016, the RAB approved a motion to have the Water Authority review materials regarding several studies on the impact of fluoride in water.  Per the motion, the Authority will make a recommendation at the July 2016 RAB meeting regarding the SCWA’s future support of Representative Carol Russell’s initiative to have the State of Connecticut convene an Expert Panel to study/discuss the impact of adding fluoride to the drinking water in the state. 

 

Prior to discussion, General Manager Cansler pointed out that CT Governor Malloy had recently signed legislation adopting new federal guidelines for fluoridation levels applicable to all utilities and companies in Connecticut that fluoridate water.  SCWA does not add fluoride to water at any of our systems.   Chairman Monahan affirmed that it is within the rights of the RAB to delegate additional review by the Authority before moving forward.  Mr. Watson stated that he had done some additional research on this subject, and that although Ms. Russell’s concerns about fluoride in the water might be legitimate, he felt that this was not a subject that SCWA should be addressing since we don’t add fluoride, and we are not subject matter experts on this topic.  His views were shared by other members of the Authority.  Mr. Eccard made a recommendation that the Authority prepare a statement for the RAB stating SCWA’s position on a study regarding the impact of adding fluoride to drinking water.  Chairman Monahan asked Mr. Eccard if he would be willing to write the statement, to which Mr. Eccard agreed. 

 

11.  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).   Mr. Cansler has attended recent meetings of the WPC Advisory Group to discuss the State Water Planning and the WUCCs. 

 

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.

 

12.  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, located on the first floor of the same building as the old SCWA offices.  General Manager Cansler stated that invitations have been sent to all 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.

 

13. One-year Performance Evaluation

At the January 2016 meeting, the Authority approved a motion to have the Authority’s Human Resources Committee meet to discuss possible changes and improvements to the SCWA employee evaluation process.  In April, General Manager Cansler provided legal guidance, and sample evaluations he received from our Labor Counsel, Suisman Shapiro to the Human Resources Committee members, along with a couple of other evaluations from his previous experience.  The Human Resources Committee met after this May 9th Authority meeting to review and discuss the guidance and evaluations.    

 

14.  FY 2017 SCWA Budget

General Manager Cansler met with Mr. Andy Potochney in March to begin the FY2017 budget process, and they will meet again on May 12th to go over the first draft of the budget.  The Authority’s Finance Committee will meet at 10 am on May 25, 2016 at the SCWA offices, with the goal of having the Authority vote on the FY17 Budget at the June 13, 2016 Authority meeting.  

 

15.  SCWA Financial Statements – Third Quarter FY 2016

General Manager Cansler discussed the FY 2016 third quarter financial statements and figures, and the April 26, 2016 Cash Position Report with the Authority.  There was not any significant concerns or issues from the third quarter statements.

 

Other Business – None 

 

Report from Chairman  - None

 

Report from Authority Members

A question was asked by Mr. Mullane regarding his appointment to the Authority, which is one of two SCCOG appointments to the Authority.  His term expires on September 18, 2016.  Mr. Cansler stated that he will prepare a letter, to be signed by the Chairman of the SCWA Representative Advisory Board (RAB), requesting that the SCCOG provide the names of three nominees from municipalities in the SCWA District, for consideration by the RAB.

 

Public Comment – None

 

On motion of Mr. Eccard, seconded by Ms. Franciosi, the Authority voted to adjourn the meeting at approximately 6:07 p.m. 

 

It was noted the next Authority meeting is scheduled to occur on June 13, 2016, 5:15 p.m. at

1649 Rt. 12, Gales Ferry, CT. 

 

                                                                                                                Joseph C. Cansler                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Secretary