WPCA Regular Meeting Minutes 8 March 2016
Present: Regular Members‐ Chairman Richard Prendergast, Frank Chan, Andrea Lombard, Dimitri Tolchinski, Robert McCarthy, Sal Cancelliere; alternate Joe Carpentino
Approximately 20 members of the public were also in attendance, including Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal. First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder arrived at approximately 9pm.
Town Sanitarian John Sieviec also attended the meeting.
Absent: Vice Chair Donna Bednar, Treasurer Doug Wilkinson, Ernest Lorda; Alternate Steve Cinami Call to Order
Chairman Richard Prendergast called the meeting to order at 7:30pm.
He noted the absence of several members and appointed alternate Joe Carpentino as a voting member for the meeting.
Approval of the Minutes – February 9, 2016
Motion made by Sal Cancelliere, seconded by Joe Carpentino, to approve the minutes of 9 February, 2016. Motion passed.
Budget Update and Expenses
In Treasurer Doug Wilkinson’s absence, Chairman Prendergast provided a budget overview: $89,300 is the annual budget. $21,994 has been expended, leaving a balance of $67,305.
A $197 invoice from Jacobson & Associates has been received and will be passed on to Treasurer Wilkinson for review. Additional invoices are anticipated from Jacobson and from Attorney Andrew Lord.
Meeting with DEEP
Chairman Prendergast met with the DEEP to discuss progress on the Administrative Order. He will ask the DEEP for written confirmation that town is in compliance with that order.
He discussed options with the DEEP and confirmed that the DEEP will permit additional testing to be performed in Hawks Nest Beach. The DEEP wants to see a plan for the additional testing.
Discussions with Attorney, Woodard & Curran, and Town Engineer Dave Prickett
Chairman Prendergast would like the WPCA to develop a framework of options and then seek input from their professional consultants. He believes the WPCA must be aligned with the Boards of Selectmen and Finance if any option is to proceed successfully.
As discussed in January, he feels strongly that the rationale for the WPCA’s recommendations must be documented, and that any recommendation must have the support of residents as well as the Boards of Selectmen and Finance.
First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder provided Chairman Prendergast with an 83 page report from the Board of Finance’s consulting attorney. She also sent the report to WPCA Attorney Andrew Lord.
Chairman Prendergast was able to read some of it, including the summary. He believes the main recommendation is to appoint a Task Force to oversee the WPCA project.
Andrea Lombard expressed concern that none of the WPCA members had seen the report. Chairman Prendergast asked Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal (in audience) to comment. Selectwoman Nosal confirmed that the report had not yet been discussed by either the Board of Selectmen or the Board of Finance.
Dimitri Tolchinski said the WPCA members should have had a chance to discuss the report before Attorney Lord was asked to review it. Chairman Prendergast said the report was not submitted to the WPCA and it was the First Selectwoman, not he, who had sent it to the WPCA Attorney. He will send the report to WPCA members.
Chairman Prendergast summarized letters and emails received, welcoming comments and questions from members.
He read aloud a letter from First Selectwoman Reemsnyder in which she cited the statutory requirements and obligations of the Town’s Health Director. She and others received a number of emails which questioned the role of and statements made by Health Director Dr. Sikand. She asked members of the public to be respectful as the process continues. The letter is attached to these minutes.
He also read a letter from Doug Whalen of the Old Colony Beach Association which described the steps leading to OCBA’s decision to form its own WPCA and vote to implement a sewer system. He said independent testing showed that OCB septic systems were contaminating the groundwater. Old Colony Beach, Old Lyme Shores and Miami Beach associations now have a regional WPCA and they want to move forward with sewer implementation. The letter is attached to these minutes
Frank Chan asked if the beach associations are now behind schedule. Chairman Prendergast asked members if it seemed appropriate to meet with the other WPCAs. Sal Cancelliere agreed, adding it is not the intent of the WPCA to delay the beach association’s project.
Correspondence in opposition to sewers in Hawks Nest Beach was received from Lisa Clark, West End Dr., and Steven Ross, Sandalwood Dr.
Correspondence in support of sewers in Sound View was received from Susan Peters, Swan Avenue, and the Scanlons, Swan Avenue. An editorial was published in The Day on January 26.
In addition, Chairman Prendergast received a series of questions from Sandy Garvin Cameron of Hawks Nest beach. He will share the questions with WPCA members. He suggested this may be a good time to update the FAQs (frequently asked questions) on the Town website. Frank Chan volunteered to work with Donna Bednar on an update for the next meeting.
Discussion on researching options to finalize the wastewater plan
Chairman Prendergast distributed an options overview he developed evaluating options facing the WPCA.
He listed the options as:
- Doing nothing
- Moving forward as planned with Sound View and Hawks Nest
- Moving forward with Sound View and conducting additional testing in Hawks Nest
He had suggested at the January meeting that the WPCA evaluate each option so that their decision making process will be clear.
He does not believe doing nothing is a valid option and members agreed.
He suggested that option 2 (including both Sound View and Hawks Nest) could include only those areas under Town jurisdiction. The three beach associations would construct their own systems and connect to a main trunk line. Chairman Prendergast said he has been told that the State and neighboring towns prefer inter‐municipal agreements, not multiple agreements with different entities. The DEEP has also indicated they’d like to see one coordinated plan.
Town costs would be bonded and repaid through benefit assessment.
One risk presented by option 2 is the threat of lawsuits on behalf of Hawks Nest Beach property owners. Another significant risk could result from the benefit assessment process. If project costs exceed the determined benefit, the Town could be liable for the additional costs.
Chairman Prendergast said they would hire an assessor to develop a sampling plan for the benefit assessment. Dimitri Tolchinski noted the three beach associations have already started the benefit assessment process and could be of assistance.
Option 3 (moving forward with Sound View and conducting additional testing at Hawks Nest) might delay lawsuits, Chairman Prendergast said. Andrea Lombard said the Town could potentially be sued for not sewering. Clean Water funding may not be available for Option 3, which would raise the project costs.
Members noted that with option 2, lawsuits could force additional testing. Option 3 would avoid the lawsuits and do the testing.
Andrea Lombard believes the WPCA has an obligation to make their best, non‐political, decision based on information they currently have. Frank Chan commented that option 2 would do the most good for the most people in the shortest time period. Chairman Prendergast hopes members will not vote to obligate the Town to a sewer project that won’t be supported. Rob McCarthy agreed with Frank Chan, and added that separating Sound View from Hawks Nest would allow them to move forward.
A motion was made by Dimitri Tolchinski, seconded by Sal Cancelliere, to temporarily remove Hawks Nest beach from our project to the Phase Two, and support forming a joint shared system with Old Colony Beach, Old Lyme Shores and Miami Beach Associations, which are already under the State of Connecticut DEEP order to provide the design and installation of the central sewer system discharging to the New London sewer treatment plan, and ask these beach communities to include in their design and installation as the Phase One, the Sound View Beach Association main line and the street branches.
Several members commented that the motion was too complicated. Joe Carpentino moved to table. Rob McCarthy asked to continue discussing option 3. Andrea Lombard asked about the timeline. She said according to the DEEP, Hawks Nest is in the worst shape. The WPCA needs to consider the facts and not wait for someone to get sick. She feels strongly that members need Attorney Lord and their engineers at their meeting to provide counsel.
Chairman Prendergast asked Selectwoman Nosal to comment. She said it has become very apparent that we have to find compromise and additional compromise may be needed as the project continues.
Sal Cancelliere said the sewer project had driven a wedge into the beach community. Although Old Colony Beach performed significant testing, he felt that the DEEP had simply pointed a finger at Hawks Nest Beach. He supports option 3 as the most viable.
Joe Carpentino added that with option 3, the worst outcome is acquiring new tangible data on whether or not Hawks Nest beach needs sewers.
Chairman Prendergast said it is premature to vote on an option when there is still missing information on the options overview. Dimitri Tolchinski countered that there are 900 houses ready to move forward and the WPCA is holding them up because of one beach.
Chairman Prendergast said the new Town Budget is being developed, and the Boards of Selectmen and Finance need some idea of potential project costs by mid‐March. Andrea Lombard suggested they review the options with the goal of providing that information.
Members identified potential costs associated with option 2 (moving forward with both Sound View and Hawks Nest) as editing/finalizing the plan and the EIE, researching benefit assessments, pump station location options, and potential lawsuits. Option 3 (moving forward with Sound View and conducting additional testing at Hawks Nest) would include option 2 costs plus the costs of additional testing.
Chairman Prendergast will request realistic estimates from Attorney Lord and WPCA engineers
Dave Prickett and/or Woodard and Curran, and will provide those estimates to the Board of Selectmen and Finance.
Andrea Lombard requested that WPCA members receive copies of all correspondence from Attorney Lord. She said members need to know about all discussions and outcomes.
Chairman Prendergast agreed that members should be able to consider options 2 and 3 with their estimated costs, and also vote on the options at the next meeting. He asked members to work on filling in the blanks on the option overview for the next meeting.
Public Comment – Limited time per speaker
Chairman Prendergast opened the meeting to the public, asking speakers to state both name and address.
Paul Pace, Center Beach, raised questions about the WPCA report in the Annual Report. He asked why the WPCA follows a policy of sewer avoidance and why those sewer avoidance policies are deemed effective in the majority of the Town. Noting that water flows north to south, he said that septic problems in other areas of Old Lyme may be adversely impacting Hawks Nest. He suggested increasing the Town’s septic pump‐out requirement from 7 years to 4 years as a solution to problems.
Frank Noe, Hartford and Swan Avenues, said he supports the motion that was tabled. He urged the WPCA to move forward, saying the three beach associations will be moving ahead with or without them.
Chairman Prendergast thanked people for their comments, referring them to the Town website and to Sanitarian John Sieviec for additional information. He said the WPCA wants to make an educated decision on the sewer options.
Motion was made by Frank Chan to adjourn at 9:37pm. Submitted by
Catherine Frank 3/9/16
TOWN OF OLD LYME
March 8, 2016
Chairman Rich Prendergast WPCA
OFFICE OF THE SELECTMEN
52 Lyme Street
Old Lyme, CT 06371 www.oldlyme-ct.gov Tel. (860) 434- 1605
Fax (860) 434- 1400
Please read this letter to the members of the WPCA at the meeting on March 8, 2016 and make it part of the record:
This past week, there were emails that were sent to me, the Chair of WPCA and our Health Director,Dr. Vijay
Sikand.The emails questioned Dr. Sikand's statement
of January, 2016 pointing out that he believes there is a public health risk in the beach areas, and the Town has an obligation to address this. Unfortunately, the message in the emails deteriorated to cynical and sarcastic staternents about our Health Director.
Because of this, I would like to point out the role of our Health Director, keeping in mind that towns vary in how their department works. A LL towns are required to have a Health Director, or to be part of a Health District.The Town of Old Lyme
could potentially join one of two health districts - the Ledge Light Health District (East Lyme, Groton,Ledyard,Waterford, & New London) to our east, or the CT River Area
Health District (Old Saybrook, Clinton & Deep River) to our west. In look ing at the possibility in the past, it did not seem to be a good fit for Old Lyme to join either District, nor do Ibelieve this community has an appetite for joining a Health District. The Town of
Old Lyme has an agreement with Dr. Sikand to serve as our Health Director on a part time basis, and his agent is the Sanitarian. Over the years,Dr.
Sikand has addressed many crisis or potential cris is by posting information on the website or wo rking together with the schools or town on issues, including a mold issue at the Center Schooland Ebola, Bird Flu,etc. Ipersonally have conferred with him on issues that concerned me, and he has been receptive and responsive at all times. The Sanitarian is obligated to report to the Health Director on any issues of concern, and together they address them.
Prior to December of 2015, Dr. Sikand was not notified of any concerns with groundwater, and when he attended a meeting in December, 2015 where concerns were brought to his attention,he addressed them in keeping with requirements of state statute. This resulted in his letter of January,
Subsequent to that meeting, he agreed to meet with the new Chair of WPCA, Rich Prendergast, and me to discuss the substance of his letter and what actions would satisfy his direction.The discussion to be had tonight by the WPCA on the options for meeting the requirements of the Administrative Order
issued by the DEEP is in part a result of that discussion. Both Rich Prendergast and Ifound Dr. Sikand to be objective,supportive, attentive to our questions and concerns, and cooperative. He has committed to working together with us in addressing the concerns AND meeting the order requirements.
Iwould ask that the general public please be patient and respectful while the WPCA continues to diligently do the work they are obligated to do for the good of all the residents in town. Questions are certainly encouraged, but please refrain from sarcasm and accusations.
Thank you all for your hard work and my apologies for missing tonights meeting.
Bonnie A. Reemsnyder First Selectwoman
CC: Dr. Vijay Sikand, Health Director
To Old Lyme WPCA Commission:
Back in 2008 Old Colony Beach (OCBCA) worked in conjunction with the Town of Old Lyme Health Official, Ron Rose, to identify troubled septic systems in the area. Ron Rose explained that he was aware of many systems that were not performing properly due to the existing size of our properties and wanted to try and fix (as he put it) a serious problem. The Town of Old Lyme Health Official explained that he would not be able to approve a new septic system that would comply with all of the State of
CT Health Department guidelines but stated he could approve an alternative system even though they would not be within the State regulations. In2010 OCBCA Board of Governors was informed to have ''NO SWIMMING" signs ready for the summer season
in case the Health Department received high readings from the test wells located throughout the Old Colony Beach complex; in fact, we were provided signs by the Town of Old Lyme Health Department. After that noti£.cation , OCBCA received many close calls in the way of phone calls from the Health Department notifying us of possible beach closings after various rain storms. At that time the OCBCA Board of Governors made the decision to have our ground water reviewed by a professional firm to find out what was really happening to our ground water and environment. The results were clear that the septic systems in OCBCA were contaminating the ground water and the problem would only get worse over the years. OCBCA residents made it clear that they wanted to clean-up our beach community and stop the pollution that was being sent into Long Island Sound. The OCBCA community committed to fund a sewer project that would make our community a better and safer place to live.
OCBCA established our own Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA) and directed that authority to follow-up on the clean-up efforts our residents demanded.
As Chairman of Old Colony Beach, I am asking the Town of Old Lyme WPCA to do the right thing and support our program which has been in the
works for over 7-years. We are not asking Old Lyme for financial support or a free handout but we would like you to support our program which upon completion, will clean-up our community and Long Island Sound. OCBCA, Old Lyme Shores and Miami Beach have
formed a regional WPCA and are under orders from the State of CT DEEP to provide the design & installation of a central sewer system that will discharge to the New London sewer treatment plant. OCBCA & Old Lyme Shores consent orders require us to have our system completed in 2016 and our team of professional are ready to move this project forward.
The sewer project that Point of Woods completed over 7-years ago improved the quality oflife for the residents of Point of Woods and improved the environment. Our project is similar to the Point of Woods project and will have the same positive effects on the environment within our community.
ty to do the right thing for our community and our children.
---- ias Whalen Chairman, OCBCA
NOTICE: Messages to or from the Town of Old Lyme domain are subject to the Freedom of Information statutes and regulations.