WPCA Regular Meeting Minutes
14 June 2016
Present: Regular Members- Chairman Richard Prendergast, Vice Chair Donna Bednar, Treasurer Doug Wilkinson, Dimitri Tolchinski, Sal Cancelliere, Robert McCarthy, Frank Chan; Alternate Joe Carpentino.
First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, Selectman Skip Sibley, and Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal were in the audience. Engineer Jay Sheehan of Woodard & Curran was also in the audience.
Approximately 40 members of the public were also in attendance.
Absent, excused: Andrea Lombard, Ernest Lorda, alternate Steve Cinami
Call to Order
Chairman Richard Prendergast called the meeting to order at 7:30pm.
He appointed alternate Joe Carpentino as a voting member for the meeting.
Approval of the Minutes – April 12, 2016
No corrections. Motion made by Sal Cancelliere, seconded by Doug Wilkinson, to approve the minutes of 10 May 2016. Motion passed.
Meeting with DEEP on Groundwater Testing
Chairman Prendergast reported on a meeting he attended with the DEEP to determine the scope of groundwater testing to be conducted at Hawks Nest. A decision was made to have the testing conducted by a scientific lab, under the supervision of Woodard & Curran, who are qualified to either conduct or manage testing.
The DEEP recommended a 30 day testing program in order to determine both the scope of testing and location(s) for additional test wells. There are seven existing wells that need to be reconditioned.
WPCA members asked about the timing of the testing and how data standards will be determined. Jay Sheehan of Woodard & Curran explained that data loggers placed on existing wells can provide information that will help to pinpoint the optimal location of additional wells.
The DEEP reminded Chairman Prendergast that the project timeline needs to be updated.
Meeting with Private Beach Association WPCAs
Chairman Prendergast reported on a meeting with representatives of the private beach association WPCAs. Both the Town and the associations have used EDU (equivalent dwelling unit) measurements in order to estimate volume. Members discussed the need for a common denominator or standard algorithm so that all are using the same EDU formula. The EDU measurements will be used initially to determine cost per user, and there is the possibility of using meters for future cost determination.
The private WPCAs and Town WPCA agreed that they need an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) to assist them in working together as the project goes forward.
Discussions with Attorney and Woodard & Curran
Attorney Lord has been working on the SOW (Scope of Work), timeline, and FAQs. Woodard & Curran has been working on adjustments to the SOW in preparation for tonight’s meeting.
Budget Update and Expenses
Treasurer Wilkinson said the only recent expenses were legal and clerk fees. Ample funds remain for the balance of the year.
New invoices acceptance
No new invoices have been received.
Chairman Prendergast said Laura Parent had sent correspondence to the WPCA, Board of Finance, Health Director, Sanitarian, First Selectwoman and Ethics Commission, in which she suggested that some WPCA members have conflicts of interest, among other issues. The chair of the Ethics Commission responded to her that they failed to find a specific charge of an ethics violation in her letter.
Waste Water Facilities Plan
Scope amendment to finalize plan
Engineer Jay Sheehan, Woodard & Curran, reviewed the proposed SOW with the WPCA.
Chairman Prendergast noted that changes are required to both the draft wastewater management plan and the EIE (environmental impact evaluation). He will be looking for motions to approve the SOW and to approve the cost. It is the First Selectwoman, not the WPCA, who would sign the SOW. Members requested clarifications on several items in the SOW, including a reference to continued monitoring at White Sand Beach, and the possibility of additional cost.
Jay Sheehan explained that monitoring at White Sand Beach is conducted by the Town Health Dept. and is not related to the additional testing to be conducted at Hawks Nest Beach.
Dimitri Tolchinski asked that assumptions included in the SOW be excluded. Assumption #1 reads that if cost increase is likely, Woodard & Curran will obtain town approval before proceeding. He does not believe there should be any additional cost. Other members said they believe the assumption protects
the Town if the DEEP asks Woodard & Curran to perform additional work for the plan.
Mr. Tolchinski said he was worried about the cost to Sound View homeowners. He listed the payments already made to Woodard & Curran on the project ($184,000, $56,000, $148,000) and asked if Sound View residents will be charged for the past costs as well as future ones. Donna Bednar suggested that his comments, while deserving discussion, were not germane to the agenda item.
Mr. Tolchinski said the engineers hired by the private beaches had completed their final plans without any additional charges to the beaches. Rob McCarthy said the plan Woodard & Curran has been asked to amend is vastly different from the original plan. Chairman Prendergast relayed his own engineering firm’s practice of charging clients for work not included in an original proposal or scope.
Chairman Prendergast said if Mr. Tolchinski was suggesting the WPCA hire Fuss & O’Neill instead of Woodard & Curran to complete the Town project, he will oppose it.
At that point, a motion was made by Doug Wilkinson, seconded by Sal Cancelliere, to approve the Scope of Work as written. Members asked additional questions about how data from the additional testing would be handled as well as the role Woodard & Curran would play in public meetings. Jay Sheehan said additional test data will be appended to the report as a supplement. The report would not have to be further amended to include it. The cost of the supplement will be included in the cost of the testing program. He also clarified that, while Woodard & Curran will offer support to the WPCA for public meetings, the WPCA will be responsible for providing materials for those meetings.
Members voted on the motion with 7 in favor and 1 (Mr. Tolchinski) opposed.
The cost of the work detailed in the SOW will be $24,948.00
A motion was made by Donna Bednar, seconded by Rob McCarthy to approve the cost. Treasurer Wilkinson asked if the cost should come from the WPCA operating budget or from a project budget.
First Selectwoman Reemsnyder said the question can be discussed at the next Task Force (First Selectwoman, Board of Finance chair, WPCA chair and WPCA treasurer)meeting. Selectman Sibley said determining eligibility for clean water funding should help determine if a cost is an operating or project expense. Treasurer Wilkinson said it is important to approve the SOW cost during the current fiscal year. Jay Sheehan said no work will commence until the SOW is signed by the First Selectwoman.
Rob McCarthy asked about the basis for billing. Attendance at 3 meetings is included in the SOW. Will the cost be lower if Woodard & Curran only attend one meeting? Jay Sheehan agreed that the cost can be better defined. Members voted on the motion with 7 in favor and 1 (Mr. Tolchinski) opposed.
Additional testing and evaluation of Hawk’s Nest area: Discussion and Actions
No additional information is available tonight. Chairman Prendergast hopes to have more details on the DEEP’s proposed 30 day testing soon. A sub-committee was formed to put together an SOW on the additional testing. Rob McCarthy, Donna Bednar, and Joe Carpentino agreed to serve. Jay Sheehan was asked to put the SOW together.
Revision of timeline to DEEP to maintain Clean Water Funds
Attorney Lord is drafting a revised timeline. Chairman Prendergast reminded members that the timeline does not obligate the WPCA.
Schedule a public session Q&A
Sal Cancelliere asked if the DEEP will be present at public information sessions. Chairman Prendergast said Carlos Esquerra of the DEEP is willing to attend. No dates were set.
Request for Septic Pumping Extension: 62 Breen Avenue
A request for septic pumping extension was received for 62 Breen Avenue. A new septic tank was installed in 2007 and cleaned in 2009. Pump out is due this summer and the extension was requested until December 2018, when sewer system installation is anticipated.
Based on his familiarity with the property, Dimitri Tolchinski favored granting an extension. Members wanted to be consistent with their past decisions on requests for extension. Prior requests were denied unless the extension was for a period of months only. Doug Wilkinson suggested providing information on how a septic system works and how best to maintain it. Joe Carpentino would like to include the information in the WPCA’s FAQs.
A motion was made by Sal Cancelliere, seconded by Doug Wilkinson to deny the request.
Members voted on the motion with 7 in favor and 1 (Mr. Tolchinski) opposed.
Dave Mitchell, 64 Columbus, thinks Hawks Nest is being held to too high a standard of proof. He doesn’t want Hawks Nest to be left behind when the Clean Water Funding train leaves.
Liz Atwood, 61 Columbus, read the 2014 Wastewater Management Plan and questions why Hawks Nest is not included in the current plan. She mentioned protecting the bird sanctuaries in the area .
Carol Mitchell, 64 Columbus, believes it will be less costly if Hawks Nest Beach is included in the plan now. She wants safe drinking water and a beautiful beach for all.
Elain Glasky, 63 Columbus, said the conditions at Miami Beach (a private beach association planning for sewers) are the same on her side of the street. She said we all want clean water and a safe beach.
Sandy Garvin, Hawks Nest Beach, said the public perception is that Hawks Nest Beach has a problem although it was never properly tested. She believes that is why the DEEP agreed to additional testing. She would like to see the Health Director’s statement corrected because it was based on incomplete information.
Nancy Birge, 3 Hemlock Circle, attended a meeting in December 2015 and found it horrific that the WPCA did not know that not all beach areas are connected to Connecticut Water. She asked that public information sessions be scheduled before September.
Sandra Mitchell, 66 Columbus, would like to leave a legacy for her children and grandchildren of clean water to drink and swim in. She asked: if the 50 homes owned by one family were owned by 50 others,
would a different decision have been made about Hawks Nest Beach?
Resident, 65 Columbus asked if there is an opportunity to participate in the plan as a private citizen.
James Birge, 3 Hemlock Circle, asked that the following questions be included in the information sessions and/or FAQs:
When will testing be performed and what kind of testing will be done?
How much money was wasted for the 14 years of testing under Jacobson?
Who is going to pay for road repair when the roads are opened for sewer pipes? Will the cost be borne by Sound View only, or by all taxpayers?
How long will the additional testing continue?
Can the WPCA website be brought up to date?
Nancy Birge, 3 Hemlock Circle, said when she first attended meetings, she was alone, but “we are all in the same bathtub and we want it to be filled with clean water.”
Chairman Prendergast said we all want to do what is best for the Town. He will look into possibilities
for participation by individual homeowners although he believes that would be complicated.
Donna Bednar said some preliminary work has been done on the WPCA website and further work will be done over the summer.
Doug Wilkinson clarified that that the WPCA has not removed Hawks Nest Beach from the project, it has just delayed including all, some, or no Hawks Nest properties in the plan until it receives definitive scientific data that supports a decision.
Motion was made by Doug Wilkinson, seconded by Donna Bednar to adjourn at 9:26pm.
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