Draft Minutes of the November 30, 2015 Water Authority Meeting

Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority

1649 Route 12, Gales Ferry, CT

 

 

Present

Authority:  Chairman Monahan, Vice-Chairman Watson, Treasurer Eccard, Member Balestracci and Member O’Conner.

 

Authority Staff:  General Manager Cansler

 

Chairman Monahan called the meeting to order at approximately 5:15 p.m. 

 

Approval of Prior Minutes

On motion of Mr. Eccard, seconded by Mr. Watson, the Authority approved the minutes of the November 9, 2015 Water Authority Meeting, by a vote of 4-0, with one abstention (Mr. O’Conner). 

 

Public Comment on any Item on the Agenda – None

 

Correspondence – None

 

General Manager’s Report

 

1.  North Stonington Pump Station Replacement

Construction began in September to replace the North Stonington Pump Station.  The pump house building structure is substantially complete, and most of the pump station equipment has been ordered and delivered.  The one exception is the skid-mounted triplex pump package system, which is the primary operating system for the pump station.  This package was ordered on September 14th, and was originally scheduled for delivery on October 30th.  It has now been delayed twice; the new delivery date is December 3, 2015.   We estimate it will take about 21 days after the package arrives to install the interior piping, make the necessary electrical connections, disinfect, sample, startup and test the new pump package.  As a result of this delay, we will not be able to complete installation and testing of the equipment by the Department of Health (DPH) deadline of November 30, 2015.   General Manager Cansler has prepared a letter to Lori Mathieu, Chief of the DPH Drinking Water Section, requesting an extension to the deadline.  DPH requires the letter be signed by the SCWA Chairman. 

 

On November 9th, SCWA received three more checks, from our insurance company, for claims submitted.  This brings the total insurance reimbursements to date up to $277,000.97.  The insurance company has indicated that they will not reimburse SCWA for the $110K invoice from Connecticut Water until after we pay the invoice, and receive a copy of the cashed check back.  The invoice from Connecticut Water was for emergency services they provided immediately after the pump station was destroyed.  We paid the invoice on November 10th.   Mr. O’Conner asked how much had been expended at North Stonington since the pump station was destroyed.  Mr. Cansler stated that approximately $203K had been expended so far, not including the bill for $110K to Connecticut Water, and that we were anticipating approximately another $200K in invoices.  Mr. Cansler stated that he estimated the total expenses to be around $500K, and total reimbursements to be around $400.  Mr. Cansler said that the SCWA FY2016 Capital Budget would have to cover the remaining $100K, but in the end SCWA would have a new pump station at North Stonington.

 

2. Lantern Hill Division

Mr. Cansler met with Aquarion on June 10th to discuss possible alternatives to providing water to the 23 residents in Lantern Hill currently using SCWA water.   On August 10, 2015 the Authority voted unanimously to have the General Manager follow through with Aquarion on transition of the property.   On August 27, 2015 SCWA received a draft Asset Transfer Agreement between SCWA and Aquarion Water Company.  Aquarion, SCWA, and Attorney Kepple are still working various details for the transfer. 

 

3.  Cedar Ridge Pump Station Modifications

After an advertised public bidding process, the contract to modify access to the Cedar Ridge Pump Station was awarded to Coon Construction.  Access to the underground section of the pump station is currently only through a hatch on the ground floor, into a space that requires “confined space” entry equipment by certified personnel.  Construction will include excavation, new door, and stairs, per plans and technical specifications. (Note:  All OSHA requirements and best management safety practices are being followed pending elimination of the confined space).  Start of this project has been being delayed so that all of our resources could be focused on the North Stonington project.

 

4.  Tank Inspections

The State DPH requires that atmospheric water storage tanks be inspected a minimum of every 10 years.  SCWA has hired Mass Tanks to clean and inspect a total of eight (8) tanks; at the Mohegan, Birchwood, Barrett, Robin Hill, and Chesterfield Divisions.  The first two tanks were cleaned and inspected on November 10th.  Mr. Cansler stated that this round of inspections should be completed by Dec 8, 2015.  He said that the start date for the inspections had been delayed, due to a delay resulting from an equipment failure. 

 

5.  Chesterfield Water

SCWA has received an increasing number of calls regarding brown water, and occasional sediment, in the water from residents of the SCWA Chesterfield Division.  We have flushed twice this year, and tried various treatment methods to resolve this issue, however, we had not been able to resolve this problem.  After meeting with Jim Ericson, of Lenard Engineering, we decided the first approach to resolving this problem would be to have the tank cleaned, and purchase additional flushing hydrants for the areas receiving the most complaints.  The tank was cleaned on November 10th, the additional hydrants were installed on November 13-16th, and we flushed the system on November 18th and 19th.  Based on the color of the water that was flushed out of the new flushing hydrants, and the fact that the customer complaints have stopped, Mr. Cansler said he had hoped that this problem was resolved, however, just before this meeting SCWA did receive another complaint about discolored water.   

 

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 construction of the hotel was complete.   The latest development regarding this easement issue involves an allegation, by the attorney for the hotel, that SCWA engineers were involved in the layout and construction of the misaligned water main.  Chairman Monahan and General Manger Cansler met with Attorney Kepple, and former-General Manager Leonard, on October 20, 2015 to discuss the background of events leading to the misaligned water main, whether there was any SCWA involvement during engineering or construction, and to discuss SCWA response to the allegations.  Attorney Kepple says he has not heard anything new, as of November 23, 2015.

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.  

 

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’s well system.  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.  We are told 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 Consent Agreement signed between SCWA, and the CT Department of Public Health (DPH), on September 21, 2015, SCWA will submit an Asset Management Plan to DPH no later than July 1, 2016.  In October, General Manager Cansler solicited bids from two Engineering Firms familiar with SCWA systems to develop and complete an Asset Management Plan for SCWA.  As of November 25, 2015, we have only received one proposal; from Lenard Engineering, for a lump sum fee of $12,500.  Mr. Cansler recommends the Authority accepts this proposal and authorizes the General Manager to award the preparation of the SCWA to Lenard Engineering for $12,500.   Mr. Eccard made a motion to have the Authority accept the proposal from Lenard Engineering to prepare the SCWA Asset Management Plan for $12,500.  This motion, seconded by Mr. O’Conner, was approved by a unanimous vote of all members present, 5-0.

 

10.  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.  The WPC has assembled a Steering Committee to coordinate the development of the Plan.  In conjunction with State Water Plan, DPH has coordinated the activities of the three Water Utility Coordinating Committees (WUCCs).   Mr. Cansler attended the first of several Informational meetings regarding the Eastern Management Area WUCC, which was held on September 30, 2015 at Eastern Connecticut State University.  In addition Mr. Cansler has attended recent meetings of the WPC Advisory Group to discuss the State Water Planning.

 

b)  SCWA Interaction with the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments (SCCOG).  Chairman Monahan periodically attends the regular monthly SCCOG meetings.   Chairman Monahan added that we have received a letter from the SCCOG nominating Harry Watson for reappointment to the Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority.  

 

c)  SCCOG Regional Water Committee’s Technical Advisory Subcommittee (TAS).  SCWA staff has been participating on the SCCOG Regional Water Committee’s Technical Advisory Subcommittee (TAS).

 

 

11.  New Office Space for SCWA

At the November 9, 2015 meeting, the Authority voted to allow the General Manager to negotiate a multi-year lease for the available office space that used to be the Ledyard Dairy.  This space is in the same building currently occupied by SCWA, and will require only minor fit-out to serve as office space.  The new space will provide easier access for customers, and meets the ADA requirements. 

 

General Manager Cansler has requested a proposal for renovations to include: construction of walls for a conference room, two offices, 5 doors, prep floor and install carpeting, install baseboards, install 6 additional electrical outlets, and paint all walls, doors and baseboards.  SCWA has received a quote from Gasparino Contracting for $22,750.  Mr. Cansler recommends the Authority authorize the General Manager to accept this proposal, and award the requested renovation work for new office space for SCWA to Gasparino Contracting for $22,750.   Mr. Watson made a motion to have the Authority accept the proposal from Gasparino Contracting to fit-out the new SCWA office space for $22,750.  This motion, seconded by Mr. Eccard, was approved by a unanimous vote of all members present, 5-0.

 

12.  2016 Authority Meeting Schedule

At the November 9, 2015 meeting, the Authority members present voted to meet once a month in 2016, but deferred discussion of which days the Authority would meet until the Nov. 30th meeting.  After some discussion about the best days to meet, Mr. Watson made a motion to hold the Authority meetings on the second Monday of the month, unless the second Monday of the month is a holiday (Columbus Day in October is the only instance of a holiday conflict in 2016).  The time (5:15 pm), and meeting location (1649 Route 12, Ledyard) will remain the same.  This motion, seconded by Mr. Balestracci, was approved by a unanimous vote of all members present, 5-0. 

 

13.  FY 2015 Draft Audit Report

SCWA has received the Draft Audit Report for Fiscal Year 2015.  The General Manager recommended having a meeting of the RAB Finance Committee after the next Authority meeting, which is scheduled for Monday, December 21, 2015.  Mr. Cansler will coordinate the meeting.

 

Other Business – Mr. Watson asked Mr. Cansler how long he had been in the General Manager position (10 months), and if there was a requirement to evaluate the General Manager after a select period of time.  Mr. Cansler stated he was unaware of any such requirement, but that he would review the Authority by-laws, and his hiring agreement, for any such requirement.

 

Report from Chairman  - None 

 

Report from Authority Members – None

 

Public Comment – None

 

On motion of Mr. Eccard, seconded by Mr. Watson, the Authority voted to adjourn the meeting at approximately 5:50 p.m. 

 

It was noted the next Authority meeting is scheduled to occur on December 21, 2015, 5:15 p.m. at

1649 Rt. 12, Gales Ferry, CT. 

 

                                                                                                                Joseph C. Cansler                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Secretary