Draft Minutes of the August 8, 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. O’Connor, the Authority approved the minutes of the July 11, 2016 Water Authority Meeting, by a vote of 7-0. 

 

Public Comment on any Item on the Agenda – None

 

Correspondence – Mr. Cansler stated that he had included a copy of a press release from the State Department of Health regarding a Drought Advisory that had been issued as a result of extremely low rainfall this year.  Mr. Cansler stated that although we were monitoring several of our sites very closely, so far all of our wells were still operating as expected.

 

General Manager’s Report

1. Transfer of Lantern Hill Division

In June 2016, PURA (Public Utility Regulatory Agency), DPH (Department of Public Health), and the CT Office of Consumer Counsel (OCC) held public hearings in Stonington on June 23rd, and at PURA in New Britain on June 29th, to consider 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 at either hearing.  At the request of SCWA and Aquarion, the Hearing Officers agreed to move the timeline up for the transfer, possibly as soon as the end of August 2016.

 

General Manager Cansler stated that after the hearings in June, OCC expressed concern about Aquarion’s intent to lower the Lantern Hill customer rates to their Eastern Connecticut rate.  OCC is concerned that Aquarion has not properly accounted for all the transfer costs, and that their other customers may have to pick up of some of the costs of adding the Lantern Hill subdivision to Aquarion’s Eastern Connecticut inventory.  SCWA Legal Counsel has discussed this issue with Aquarion Legal Counsel.  Aquarion is working with OCC and PURA to resolve this concern.  Mr. Cansler said that he had talked to Attorney Kepple the week before, and there was still nothing new regarding this issue.

 

 

2.  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 June 2016 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 $6,500, 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. 

 

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, 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.  

 

Mr. Cansler said that we had just received the feasibility study from Lenard Engineering.  Their recommendation, if we want to ensure that all radon is eliminated, is to install radionuclide treatment using a bubble-up radon removal system.  Their estimate for equipment and installation costs for such a system was approximately $33,000.  The feasibility study also discussed the option of utilizing an air compressor and perforated pipe to force air into the tanks.  Lenard Engineering felt that this solution may not eliminate enough radon in the water to resolve the issue.  Mr. Cansler recommended that since the EPA did not regulate radon in the water that SCWA should try the cheaper air compressor/

perforated pipe solution first, and see how much radon it eliminated.  If the first solution did not eliminate the radon problem, Jensen Communities should pay for the $33,000 cost of a commercial bubble-up radon removal system if they felt it was necessary. 

 

4.  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. 

 

Mr. Cansler mentioned that our attorney, Nick Kepple, had received a call from the Ledyard WPCA attorney asking us about SCWA’s position on supporting the Aquatic Center.  Attorney Kepple explained that the Authority had approved the proposal to supply water via the Ledyard WPCA (as outlined in the paragraph above).  Chairman Monahan stated that he had also provided updates regarding the SCWA position at several Ledyard Town Council meetings.

 

5.  Montville Oakdale Elementary School Water Supply

SCWA is working with the Montville School District to provide an alternate water source to the Montville Oakdale Elementary School, which currently operates off of a well system.  In 2015 the Authority approved supporting the Oakdale Elementary School either as a primary and/or back-up water provider.  In June 2016 Montville Schools indicated they are interested in SCWA serving as their primary water provider, and in July General Manager Cansler and SCWA Foreman Brandon Belair met with the Director of Facilities for the Montville Schools to discuss connection costs and requirements.  Mr. Cansler has informed Montville Schools that the Connection and System Development Fees would be around $12,000, which includes the cost of the meter.  Montville Schools will be responsible for the cost of construction/installation costs.   Mr. Cansler stated that he had offered Montville Schools the option of paying the System Development fee in 12 monthly installments if they connected to our system this year.

 

6.  Lincoln Park Elderly Housing – Level II Assessment

Lab reports from the July routine monthly water samples collected at the Lincoln Park Elderly Housing indicated a presence of total coliform in their well system.  The Lincoln Park Elderly Housing in Preston operates their own ground water treatment system, but they have contracted with SCWA to conduct and process their required water samples.  This was the second positive report for total coliform this year; e-coli results have remained negative.  Based on new DPH guidelines, which went into effect on April 1st of this year, a second total coliform positive sample triggers a Level II assessment, which has to be conducted by someone who has been certified as a Level II Assessor by DPH.  The Level II Assessment was conducted on August 8th and the external Level II Assessor’s recommendation was that SCWA continue to operate as usual, and increase monitoring of the system.  Mr. Cansler added that the August samplings for Total Coliform were negative.  The Level II Assessment was sent to DPH for their review.  The costs of the Level II assessment, and any potential costs resulting from recommendations, will be charged to Lincoln Park Elderly Housing.

 

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.   There has not been any updates over the past several months regarding any possible legal disputes resulting from the easement issue, or the proposed development of a senior housing center on the site. 

 

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 back on track after being approved by the State, which had questioned 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.  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 the 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.  Future WUCC member meetings will be every second Wednesday of the month at the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments (SCCOG) Office, at 1 pm.  These meetings are open to the public.   Mr. Cansler mentioned that the next WUCC meeting was on Wednesday, August 10th, and that he would be attending.   Chairman Monahan mentioned that he would not be able to make this meeting.

 

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.

 

10. 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 past few Authority meetings to discuss the guidance and evaluations.  After reviewing the final draft of the proposed Performance Appraisal Form, a recommendation was made to add an executive summary of the employee appraisal as part of the signatures and comments block.  Mr. O’Connor made a motion for the Authority to approve the draft SCWA Employee Appraisal Form, with the recommended modifications (executive summary of appraisal).  This motion, seconded by

Mr. Eccard, passed by a vote of 7-0. 

 

11. Re-appointment of SCWA Authority Member – Nicholas Mullane

At the July 2016 Representative Advisory Board (RAB) meeting, Mr. Mullane was unanimously reappointed to the Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority, for another five year term, starting September 19, 2016.  Mr. Mullane was nominated by the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments (SCCOG) to fill this position.  His position is one of the two SCCOG nominated positions on the Water Authority.

 

Other Business – None 

 

Report from Chairman  - None 

 

Report from Authority Members - None

 

Public Comment – None

 

On motion of Mr. Eccard, seconded by Mr. Mullane, the Authority voted to adjourn the meeting at approximately 6:05 p.m. 

 

It was noted the next Authority meeting is scheduled to occur on September 12, 2016, 5:15 p.m. at

1649 Rt. 12, Gales Ferry, CT. 

 

                                                                                                                Joseph C. Cansler                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Secretary