Minutes of the July 16, 2015 Meeting of the
Representative Advisory Board to the
Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority
Groton Public Library
52 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; Timothy Norris, Ledyard; John Geary and Anthony Siragusa, Montville; Barry Weiner, New London; Michael Macina, North Stonington, James Fogarty and George Jackson, Salem; Chairman Dennison Allen and Jack Malone, Sprague; Kristen Widham, Waterford.
Authority Members: Chairman Edward Monahan, Vice-Chairman Harry Watson, Barbara Lee Franciosi, Peter Balestracci, Michael O’Connor, 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. Fogarty, the minutes of the April 16, 2015 meeting were unanimously approved, as distributed.
4. Report By The Authority Chairman
Dr. Monahan presented the Authority report, with highlights as follows:
North Stonington Tank Failure
On June 23, 2015, one of the hydropneumatic pressure tanks at the NST pumphouse exploded, resulting in the almost complete destruction of the pumphouse, and all associated equipment and mains. By
9:00 pm the same day SCWA staff, with contracted support, was able get water pressure back to normal in the distribution system by having water trucked in and pumped directly into the distribution system. The next day SCWA started preparing a more permanent solution, which was to bring in another hydropneumatic tank, connect the wells to this tank and then run water straight into the distribution main. On June 24th Lenard Engineering began designing a new pumphouse and facilities. An adjustor from the insurance company also visited the site on June 24th.
Ms. Widham asked if we knew what had caused the tank to rupture. Dr. Monahan explained that we are not certain, but that based on the inspections, it did not appear that the tank had been over-pressurized. General Manager Cansler said that the tank inspector had not been able to determine a definitive cause, but had stated that the approved design weld of the tanks from the timeframe the tank was constructed was not as significant as the weld design on newer tanks.
Mr. Mullane discussed support to and from the Town of North Stonington during this event and commended the SCWA staff for their efforts during this crisis. Mr. Mullane also recommended that SCWA build, or purchase, a temporary pump station platform similar to that used by Connecticut Water to support SCWA and North Stonington during this event. He stated that the state DPH also supported this idea, and was looking into grants and/or loans to support.
SCWA bid to provide Water Services for the Town of Ledyard
SCWA submitted a bid on July 15, 2015, to provide meter reading, customer notices, and water billing/collection services, for Town of Ledyard WPCA’s customers. This bid was in response to a Request for Proposal (RFP), dated June 15, 2015, published by the Town of Ledyard. A previous RFP, in 2010, had included these services in a larger RFP package that also included repair and maintenance of the Ledyard water distribution system. Dr. Monahan stated that we were hoping to at least have an opportunity to present our proposal to the Ledyard Town Board.
Town of North Stonington – New Center for Emergency Services
The Town of North Stonington received a grant of $245,400 from the State to extend SCWA’s water distribution system 1500 feet to the new Center for Emergency Services. SCWA has been working with the Design/Engineer Firm to assist with planning the main extension and Emergency Center water system. As a result of the project to rebuild the pumphouse at North Stonington, engineers for SCWA and the Town are now re-looking at the fire flow capacities within the system.
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. After analysis of the usage logs at the Oakdale School it was determined that there is enough capacity to support the school from the SCWA’s Montville District. At the May 18th, 2015 Authority Board meeting, the Authority approved supporting the Oakdale Elementary School either as a primary and/or back-up water provider.
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 to the General Assembly by January 1, 2018. To support and inform the development of the State Water Plan, the WPC has assembled a Steering Committee comprised of members representing academia, government, water utilities, environmental organizations, business and industry and others. In conjunction with State Water Plan, DPH is currently soliciting proposals for firms to assist with the three (3) Water Utility Coordinating Committees (WUCCs). The sequence of convening each WUCC would be with the Western water supply management area first, followed by the Central, and then Eastern management area WUCC last.
SCWA Interaction with SCCOG
SCWA and the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments (SCCOG) continue to interact cooperatively. To this end, Chairman Monahan routinely attends the regular monthly SCCOG meetings and frequently the SCCOG Regional Water Committee meetings as well. SCWA’s General Manager is participating on the SCCOG Regional Water Committee’s Technical Advisory Subcommittee (TAS). SCWA welcomes this opportunity to assist SCCOG on technical matters.
Water Planning Council – Advisory Group
SCWA’s General Manager continues to serve as a member of the Advisory Group to the Connecticut Water Planning Council (WPC). The WPC consists of a member from each of the following state agencies: Office of the Policy & Management, Department of Public Health, Public Utility Regulatory Authority, and Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. The mandate to develop a comprehensive state water plan by 2018 heightens the significance of the WPC’s role in water supply planning.
Connecticut Water Works Association (CWWA) – Legislative Affairs Committee
SCWA’s General Manager continues to serve as a member of the CWWA Legislative Affairs Committee, which addresses proposed state/local legislation affecting CWWA members in an effort to achieve effective policies that assure reliable high-quality water to protect public health.
Election of Officers
In June, the Authority elected Harry Watson as Vice-Chairman, Paul Eccard as Treasurer, Josh Cansler as Secretary. Dr. Monahan stated that he continues his term as Chairman.
Representative Board Member Appointments
Representative Advisory Board Members are appointed for two year terms, and all terms expire at the end of each odd numbered year. All of the Representative Advisory Board Members will need to be appointed/re-appointed this year by the municipalities that fall in the SCWA District. SCWA is preparing letters for the Representative Advisory Board Chairman to sign, requesting two appointments from each supporting SCWA municipality. Dr. Monahan mentioned that although the member terms are set to expire this fall, the members continue to serve until they are re-appointed, or someone else is appointed.
Fiscal Year 2016 Budget
The Authority, on May 18, 2015, adopted an operating budget of $1,479,200 for fiscal year 2016, up from the $1,427,254 of last year. This amounts to an approximate 3.5% increase. This increase is due to projected higher expenses for several items, (e.g. maintenance of distribution mains, testing and analysis, and electrical costs). This budget includes a proposed 5% increase in water rates, service charges, capital charges and connection charges, with the projected implementation date of November 1, 2015. This proposed increase is subject to a public hearing and further Authority consideration. The Representative Advisory Board (RAB) “Rate Review Procedure” dictates a 90 day review process.
FY15 Independent Audit
The auditing firm of CohnReznick (New London office) will conduct the FY 14 audit starting the first week of August. Their fee of $14,250 was approved during the last Representative Advisory Board meeting in April. Based on the guidance received during the last Advisory Board meeting SCWA has requested quotes for the next three years from CohnReznick. We have not received their quotes back yet.
Electronic Billing and Payment
As of May 29th, 2015 SCWA is now accepting credit/debit card payments. Customers can now pay online, in person, or by phone. Bills that were sent out the first week in June included a notification that this option is now available. The SCWA Website has been upgraded and now includes a “Pay Bill Online” tab. Two questions came-up regarding whether SCWA would have the option of going to paperless billing, and if it was possible to bill pay directly from a bank through our website. Mr. Cansler stated that both of those concepts are being worked and SCWA hopes to offer those services in the future.
Consumer Confidence Reports
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, eighteen (18) distinct reports must be prepared and distributed. These reports were researched, written, and copied completely in-house. 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. Community Enterprises employs people with disabilities to do this work, which was conducted under the guidance of their job coaches. Community Enterprises charges very reasonable fees for this work; 100% of which goes directly to the people doing the work. This has not only proven to be a very cost effective method for SCWA’s bulk mailings, but also gives SCWA the chance to provide a much needed opportunity for this special group within our community.
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. Representative Advisory Board Member Reports - None
7. New Business - Ms. Widham brought up the issue of fluoridating the water and cited recent studies promoting fluoridation of water. SCWA does not treat with fluoride, however fluoride does occur naturally in about 1/3 of our systems. The State DPH requires that any system serving over 20,000 customers must have a fluoride content of between .8 and 1.2 mg/l. Chairman Allen stated that we would continue to meet the state guidelines for fluoridation.
On motion of Mr. Weiner, seconded by Ms. Widham, the meeting adjourned at approximately
Josh Cansler, Secretary
Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority