Draft Minutes of the July 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 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 a motion of Mr. Eccard, seconded by Mr. Balestracci, the Authority approved the minutes of the

June 13, 2016 Water Authority Meeting, by a unanimous vote of all members present. 

 

Public Comment on any Item on the Agenda – None

 

Correspondence - None

 

1.  Draft FY 2017 SCWA Budget

At the last meeting (June 13, 2016), the Water Authority approved the FY 2017 SCWA budget.  One of the major concerns for 2017 was the cost of a new insurance policy.  The old policy was set to expire June 30, 2016.  The insurance broker SCWA used for many years was sold to another company earlier this year.  After several months of working with the new insurance broker, SCWA was informed on June 17th that there were not any underwriters willing to insure SCWA, because of the large claim for North Stonington last year.  At the same time, CIRMA, which sets up insurance policies for municipalities, came back with an offer just over $100,000, with a stipulation that SCWA replace all of the hydropneumatic pressure tanks immediately.  The next day SCWA hired a new broker, who recommended shopping each policy separately.  After a lot of work by our new insurance broker (Bouvier Insurance), and Lisa Harraka (SCWA Office Manager), we were able to not only to get a new policy in place before July 1st, but at a much lower cost than anticipated.  Our new policy will be $55,000, versus $41,500 in paid for insurance in 2016.   

 

Mr. Watson made a motion to purchase a gift certificate and flowers for Ms. Harraka as a token of appreciation for her outstanding work not only getting a new insurance policy in place by the end of June, but also in saving the Authority thousands of dollars in the process.  He recommended that the General Manager select the gift certificate and flowers at a cost he thought was reasonable.  Mr. Cansler stated that he would keep it under $100.  This motion, which was seconded by Mr. Balestracci, passed by a unanimous vote of all members present. 

 

 

 

 

2. Transfer of Lantern Hill Division

(Attachment 1:  Revised Time Schedule for Docket # 16-04-22, dated 07/01/2016)

On June 23, 2016, PURA (Public Utility Regulatory Agency), and DPH (Department of Public Health), held a Public Comment Hearing in Stonington, CT, for members of the public to discuss the proposed transfer of the Lantern Hill Division from SCWA to Aquarion Water Company.  SCWA currently provides water to only 23 residential customers in the Lantern Hill Division.  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.  There were no comments from the public. 

 

On June 24, 2016, representatives from PURA, DPH, and Aquarion conducted an on-site inspection of the facilities, equipment, and customer base at the Lantern Hill Division.  On June 29th, PURA and DPH held a Hearing in New Britain regarding the proposed transfer.  Several staff from PURA, DPH, and OCC (Officer of Consumer Affairs) questioned SCWA General Manager Cansler and representatives of SCWA for approximately 90 minutes.   At the request of SCWA and Aquarion, the PURA and DPH Hearing Officers agreed to move the timeline up for the transfer.  

 

3.  Trailer-mounted Mobile Pump Station Project

In preparation for the Chesterfield project, and other similar projects to follow over the next few years, SCWA intends to construct a trailer-mounted pump station that can be used to operate our regular pump stations during renovation projects, and/or emergency repairs.  At the last meeting the Authority approved the General Manager to spend up to $50,000 to construct the trailer-mounted pump station.  SCWA purchased a new 20 x 8 enclosed trailer for $6500, and ordered a new booster pump skid package for $23,000 from FW Webb, through the State Contract.  The pump package takes about 2-3 months for assembly and delivery.  Additional costs will include electrical panels, wiring, and piping. 

 

4.  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, the Authority approved a motion at the June 11, 2016 Authority meeting to have Lenard Engineering conduct an engineering feasibility study, to analyze possible methods of reducing radon in the water, before water goes into distribution, for a total cost of $2,800.  

 

5.  Extension of Services on Fairway Drive -Ledyard

In March, and again in June 2016, Chairman Monahan and Mr. Cansler met with Mayor Finkelstein and members of the Ledyard staff and WPCA to discuss water supply to potential commercial customers along a proposed extension of Fairway Drive in Ledyard Center.  This includes an Aquatic Center, planned for 2017.  SCWA hired Lenard Engineering to conduct an engineering feasibility study.  They proposed an emergency interconnection to the Ledyard system, to meet anticipated fire flow requirements.  At the June 11, 2016 meeting, the Authority approved a proposal to purchase water from Groton Utilities, via the Ledyard WPCA, at a neutral cost for both WPCA and SCWA, for the new Aquatic Center, until such time that SCWA can provide service from our existing pump station in Ledyard Division.  Chairman Monahan mentioned that this topic has been discussed at the last few Ledyard Town Hall meetings, which he has attended.

 

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.   General Manager Cansler said that Montville schools has reached out to SCWA again, requesting an estimate for their costs to hook in to the SCWA Montville system. 

Mr. Cansler provided an estimate, to include the System Development Fee and Connection fee.

  

7.  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.  SCWA has stated that we can most likely provide adequate water capacity and pressure to the new facility, but we need engineering specifics to confirm.  Mr. Mullane mentioned that there are several other proposed projects in North Stonington, including one similar to the senior housing center project.  He stated that one or more of these proposed projects could lead to additional customers for SCWA. 

 

8.  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 water main expansion was being held up by the State, which was questioning whether the water main to the fairgrounds met the conditions of the STEAP grant which had been awarded to the Town for this project. 

 

9.  Asset Management Plans/Water Supply Plan

Per the terms of the September 2015 Consent Agreement signed between SCWA, and the CT Department of Public Health (DPH), SCWA was required to submit an Asset Management Plan to DPH no later than July 1, 2016, and an updated Water Supply Plan by January 1, 2018.  General Manger Cansler stated that the completed Asset Management Plan had been submitted to DPH by July 1st, as required.  He said the next step is award of a contract to an Engineer Consulting Firm to prepare an updated Water Supply Plan.   Mr. Cansler intends to reach out to at least three engineer consulting firms for quotes.

 

10.  Consumer Confidence Reports

General Manager Cansler stated that in June, SCWA distributed Consumer Confidence Reports, also referred to as “Annual Quality Reports”, to each of our approximately 2800 customers.  Because of the nature of SCWA’s water service operations, seventeen distinct reports were prepared and distributed.  These reports were researched, written, and copied completely in-house.  As in the past, processing the reports for mailing, via the U.S. Postal service, was carried out by Community Enterprises, SCWA’s co-tenant at 1649 Rt. 12, Gales Ferry. 

 

 

 

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).   The Eastern Connecticut WUCC officially convened on June 17, 2016, and elected tri-chairs (Bob Congdon-Town of Preston, Mark Decker-Norwich Utilities, and Patrick Bernardo-Putnam Water) to lead the Eastern WUCC over the next two years. 

 

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.

 

12. 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 the May 9 and June 13 Authority meetings to discuss the guidance and evaluations.   Mr. Cansler stated that based on discussions from the last two Committee meetings he had made modifications to the draft appraisal form, which would be discussed at the Human Resources Committee meeting, immediately following the Water Authority meeting.  

 

Other Business – None 

 

Report from Chairman  - Chairman Monahan discussed WUCC process and the potential impacts to SCWA if we were not actively involved.  He mentioned a change to the bylaws regarding unnoticed workshops that he had recommended, prior to the passage of the Eastern WUCC bylaws. 

 

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 6:10 p.m. 

 

It was noted the next Authority meeting is scheduled to occur on August 8, 2016, 5:15 p.m. at

1649 Rt. 12, Gales Ferry, CT. 

 

                                                  Joseph C.                                                                                                                                           Cansler                                                                                                                               Secretary