Draft Minutes of the September 12, 2016 Water Authority Meeting

Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority

1649 Route 12, Gales Ferry, CT

 

 

 

Present

Authority:  Chairman Monahan, Treasurer Eccard, Member O’Connor, Member Franciosi, and

Member Mullane

 

Authority Staff:  General Manager Cansler

 

Chairman Monahan called the meeting to order at approximately 5:16 p.m. 

 

Approval of Prior Minutes

On a motion of Mr. Eccard, seconded by Mr. O’Connor, the Authority approved the minutes of the August 8, 2016 Water Authority Meeting, by a vote of 5-0. 

 

Public Comment on any Item on the Agenda – None

 

Correspondence - None

 

General Manager’s Report

1.  Drought Issues - Montville

Due to the drought conditions resulting from much lower than average rainfall this summer, and increased usage from customers in the Montville Manor Subdivision, the wells serving that division were not able to keep up with their water demands in mid-August.  As a result SCWA sent out a notice of Mandatory Water Use Restrictions.  The notice specifically restricted most outdoor water usage to include use of sprinkler systems, washing of cars, washing off driveways, and filling of pools.  SCWA hauled water for two days from the 7 Oaks Division to top off the tanks at Montville.  In addition we did a leak survey, and have repaired two main breaks.   As a result of the leak repairs, and water restrictions that were implemented, the usage dropped back down to winter usage levels, and so far, the wells have managed to keep up.  SCWA field staff is checking the tanks daily, including weekends, to ensure water levels remain consistent. 

 

General Manager Cansler stated that we have not experienced problems related to the drought at any other SCWA divisions to date, although usage at most areas has been much higher than usual.  The Hillcrest Division has purchased more water than usual through the interconnection with Montville.  

 

2. 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 and New Britain to consider the proposed transfer 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. 

After the hearings 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 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.

 

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 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.  Additional costs will include electrical panels, wiring, and piping.   Mr. Cansler said that we are still waiting on delivery of the pump package. 

 

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.   Chairman Monahan has provided updates regarding the SCWA position at several Ledyard Town Council meetings throughout the summer.

 

In August, SCWA received a letter from an attorney representing the Ledyard WPCA.  The letter indicated that SCWA was holding up progress regarding planning of the proposed Aquatic Center.  Our (SCWA) attorney responded immediately stating that SCWA had requested specific information in a letter to the Ledyard Town and WPCA in April 2016, and that SCWA was still waiting on the requested information.  

 

In response to our attorney’s letter, the Ledyard WPCA requested a meeting with SCWA on September 1, 2016, which Chairman Monahan and General Manager Cansler attended.  The primary purpose of the meeting was to discuss how to best support the proposed Aquatic Center with water.  SCWA stated that we would support if possible, but could not commit to anything until we received requested information, to include a copy of the proposed design, and estimate, for the proposed water main from Route 117. 

 

Mr. Cansler stated that SCWA still has not received the proposed design.  He recommended another alternative, which was to run a main from the apartments served by SCWA along Iron Street (Rt 214) to the edge of the Aquatic Center property.  This will keep the water service project for the Thames Aquatic entirely within the SCWA system, and not require coordination with multiple utilities.  This solution would also provide income from the Aquatic Center since we would not be purchasing water from Groton Utilities via Ledyard WPCA. 

 

Mr. Cansler stated that he was working on a cost estimate for the system development and connection fees.   Chairman Monahan said that perhaps expansion costs with the Ledyard Center should be shared by all Ledyard residents based on the precedent the Town had set when they passed along all previous water expansion costs to the entire town, even though previous expansions had only benefited select areas in the town. 

 

Based on the uncertainty of the Fairway Drive expansion the authority felt that the General Manager’s recommendation should be pursued.  Mr. Eccard made a motion for the Authority to authorize the General Manager and Chairman to formally respond to the Ledyard WPCA regarding our proposed solution for supporting the Aquatic Center project, and to continue working with the Town and WPCA regarding support of the Aquatic Center project, and the proposed Fairway Drive expansion project.  This motion, seconded by Mr. Mullane, passed by a vote of 5-0. 

 

5.  Water Supply Plan

Per the terms of the September 2015 Consent Agreement between SCWA, and DPH, SCWA is required to submit an updated Water Supply Plan to DPH no later than January 1, 2018.   General Manager Cansler stated that in August he sent a Request for Proposal (RFP) to four engineering firms that are experienced with the development of Water Supply Plans in the State of Connecticut.   The RFP specifically stated that selection of the firm to complete the Water Supply Plan will be based on the following:

 

  • Lump Sum Cost for completion of Water Supply Plan.

  • Competence of the engineering firm to perform the required services, as indicated by the technical training, education and experience of the firm’s personnel who would be assigned to perform the services.

  • Technical approach to completion of the Water Supply Plan, and ability in terms of workload and availability of qualified personnel to perform the required consulting services competently and expeditiously.

  • Compliance with instructions based on firm’s submission.

               

Mr. Cansler stated that bids had been sent out the week before, on September 8, 2016, and that he had received bids from two of the four firms.  One firm had declined to bid, and another had not responded at all.  The bids received were from Tighe & Bond, for a lump sum of $89,423, and Lenard Engineering for a lump sum of $24,000.  Mr. Cansler emphasized that cost was only one of several factors that should be taken into consideration in selection of the firm to complete the updated Water Supply Plan.  He stated that he had reviewed both bid packages and was impressed with both packages.  He said he felt that Tighe & Bond’s presentation was better, and they had more experience with Water Supply Plans, but that he felt both firms were more than capable of producing quality products.  The Authority acknowledged that cost should not be the driving factor in selection of a firm, but noted that in this case it was difficult to ignore the significant lump sum price difference, given that both firms presented bids that were very similar regarding capabilities and experience. 

 

After some discussion regarding both applications Mr. Eccard made a motion to authorize the General Manager to award a contract to Lenard Engineering to complete the updated SCWA Water Supply Plan for a lump sum of $24,000.  This motion, seconded by Mr. Mullane, passed by a vote of 5-0. 

 

6.  DWSRF Emergency Generator Program

The purchase of these three generators was postponed from Fiscal Year 2016 because funding was diverted to the North Stonington pump station project.  DPH has requested that SCWA move forward on this project as soon as possible to keep the approved DWSRF funding, which includes a 45% subsidy grant for a new generator at the Tower-Ferry View Division, and a 25% subsidy for replacement generators at the Montville and Chesterfield Divisions.  Mr. Cansler requested a proposal from Lenard Engineering to evaluate our generator needs at all three stations, prepare plans and specs for each, and prepare all bid documents.  Lenard Engineering submitted a lump sum proposal of $18,000 on September 2, 2016 to prepare the design/spec bid packages for all three generator systems.  Based on a recommendation from the General Manager, Mr. Eccard made a motion to accept Lenard’s lump sum proposal of $18,000 to prepare the design/spec bid packages for the three generator systems at Tower-Ferry View, Montville, and Chesterfield Divisions.  This motion, which was seconded by Ms. Franciosi, passed by a vote of 5-0.  

 

7.  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 2016 Authority meeting to have Lenard Engineering conduct an engineering feasibility study. Their study recommended 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, however the General Manager plans to try the cheaper solution first and see how much radon is eliminated.  If it does not work, then SCWA will forward the more expensive solution to Jensen Communities and see if they want to pay the expenses involved. 

 

8.  Montville Oakdale Elementary School Water Supply

In 2015 the Authority approved supporting the Montville Oakdale Elementary School either as a primary and/or back-up water provider.  The school currently operates off of an on-site well system.  In July 2016 General Manager Cansler and SCWA Foreman Brandon Belair met with 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.   Montville schools has sent these costs to their finance committee for review and approval.  Mr. Cansler stated that as of September 1st the Montville Schools had still not reached a decision regarding connection to SCWA.

 

9.  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.  Mr. Cansler said that he had talked to Attorney Kepple the week before, and there was still nothing new regarding this issue.

 

10.  Town of North Stonington School Upgrade Project

In August, engineers for a school upgrade construction project in North Stonington reached out to SCWA requesting information regarding flows and volume at the SCWA system that supports North Stonington.  Apparently as part of the project the North Stonington schools will be upgrading all of their facilities to include sprinkler systems.  General Manager Cansler provided the requested information.

 

11.  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. 

 

12.  Tank Inspections

The State DPH requires that all atmospheric water storage tanks be inspected a minimum of every 10 years.  In 2015 SCWA had 10 tanks cleaned and inspected.  SCWA has requested estimates from Mass Tanks for cleaning and inspection of nine tanks this year, to include the following tanks:

 

                SCWA Division                   Town                                     Type and Number of Tanks

                Tower/Ferry View           Ledyard                                                2 Steel

 

                Ledyard Center                 Ledyard                                                1 Steel

 

                Montville                             Montville                             2 Reinforced Concrete

                                                                                                                1 Steel

 

                Hillcrest                                Montville                             2 Steel

 

                Seven Oaks                        Montville                             1 Reinforced Concrete

 

General Manager Cansler said that the total cost would be around $28,000, and that the inspections would start in early October.

13.  DWSRF Projects

The State DPH Drinking Water Section is expected to issue a Call for Projects this fall for Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019.  Financing through the DWSRF includes a low-interest loan with the potential for subsidization to eligible projects in the form of principal forgiveness to the extent allowed by Federal and/or State law.  Mr. Cansler requested a proposal from Lenard Engineering to prepare DWSRF application packages, to include required preliminary designs and specs, for the following three projects:  Renovation of Tower/Ferry View Pump Station, Interconnection between Montville and Seven Oaks systems, and Expansion of the Ledyard system to include emergency interconnection with Ledyard WPCA system.  Lenard Engineering submitted a lump sum proposal of $4,500 ($1,500 per project) to prepare the DWSRF Call for Project applications for the three requested projects.  Based on a recommendation from the General Manager, Mr. Eccard made a motion to accept Lenard’s proposal to prepare the DWSRF Call for Project applications for the three requested projects for a lump sum proposal of $4,500 ($1,500 per project).  This motion, which was seconded by Mr. Mullane, passed by a vote of 5-0.  

 

14.  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 in June 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.   General Manager Cansler stated that at the August WUCC meeting, he had volunteered to serve on the ESA (Exclusive Service Area) sub-committee.  The first meeting of this sub-committee was held on August 31, 2016.

 

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.

 

Other Business – None 

 

Report from Chairman  - None 

 

Report from Authority Members – Mr. Mullane stated that he will provide a copy of a report that is due out soon on the subject of water to support future economic development along the I-95 corridor in North Stonington. 

 

Public Comment – None

 

On motion of Mr. Eccard, seconded by Ms. Franciosi, the Authority voted to adjourn the meeting at approximately 6:35 p.m. 

 

It was noted the next Authority meeting is scheduled to occur on October 17, 2016, 5:15 p.m. at

1649 Rt. 12, Gales Ferry, CT. 

 

                                                                                                                Joseph C. Cansler                                                                                                                                                                             Secretary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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