UTILITIES COMMISSION MEETING
JULY 5, 2016
Mayor Cerino called the meeting to order at 7:31 p.m. In attendance were Council members Liz Gross, Linda Kuiper, Samuel T. Shoge and Mauritz Stetson, Bob Sipes, Utilities Director, Jennifer Mulligan, Town Clerk, and guests.
Mayor Cerino asked if there were any additions or corrections to the Utilities Commission meeting minutes of June 6, 2016. Mr. Stetson moved to approve the minutes as presented, was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that operating funds on hand is $939,403.40 and an additional $513,000.00 was set aside in capital funds for a total of $1,452,403.40.
Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to pay the bills. Ms. Gross moved to pay the bills as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Stetson and carried unanimously.
Mr. Sipes stated that he received the letter from MDE regarding the PCE investigation. He said MDE wants to use Town property as the location for monitoring wells as part of the investigation to determine if PCE is migrating off site from the former Park Cleaners. He said that he thought MDE wanted to find out which way the PCE is moving so they can determine water ground flow direction.
Mr. Sipes stated that he thought the PCE investigation was secondary to determining groundwater flow and it was no coincidence that it was being done. He said currently groundwater flow is from the Hospital towards the Water Plant to the River, but if a groundwater flow shows different direction (even slightly) the maps can be redrawn for the entire area.
Mr. Sipes stated that he did not think the Town should stand in the way of the investigation and to give MDE complete and full access as the Town should cooperate with an investigation regarding any contamination. Mr. Stetson stated that he thought MDE also asked the County for approval on their land as well.
Mr. Sipes stated that indications are that PCE is not traveling off the original site in any large qualities. He said that it was important to realize that there is a difference between PCE and MTBE and petroleum. He said PCE is heavier than water and would end up at the bottom of the aquifer moving with the contour of the aquifer.
Mr. Sipes stated that if the ground flow pattern was to be reestablished he would be concerned and said that he would want to hire a geologist for an expert opinion as to the behavior of PCE in groundwater as opposed to MTBE or petroleum. Mr. Sipes stated that PCE has shown in the wells for approximately 25 years but never reached an action level.
Mr. Sipes stated that PCE is a dry-cleaning chemical and was not aware of it being used for any other purpose. He said that there was an investigation 25 years ago and the source of the PCE was determined. When excavations took place to remove the underground storage tanks at the former Bennett’s II location, (now 7-Eleven), MDE reported there were elevated levels of PCE and told the Town that they were responsible for notification of the existence of PCE. Mr. Sipes stated that the Town sent a letter back explaining that it was MDE’s responsibility to make notifications. He said that this was another instance where MDE failed the residents in protecting groundwater sources.
Mayor Cerino stated that the Town’s legal counsel was being asked if MDE should be given approvals to dig as their pattern has been to fine the Town. Mr. Sipes stated that he was told by MDE in a phone call that this was only to determine PCE movement and MDE was not looking for enforcement action due to the fact that there was already a responsible party. He said that the Town has never used PCE so it would be difficult to make Chestertown the responsible party.
Mr. Sipes stated that it was his understanding the MDE was going to reopen the MTBE investigations but he has not received any information to date. He said that would be handled by the Oil Control Program, which was separate from the program handling PCE case.
Mr. Sipes stated that a duplex pump at the Washington Park pump station had a broken pipe and excavation outside of the pump station was done to install a new pipe through the wall and that fixed the problem.
Mr. Sipes stated that new backup controls were being installed at the Radcliffe Pump Station. He said that it has been operating on floats and the floats are unreliable due to the amount of trash at the pump station. Transducers will be installed tomorrow which will more accurately give the levels.
Mr. Shoge asked if a new water tower would be required if the proposed annexation was approved. Mr. Sipes stated that he met with the engineer on the project and to achieve the best flows to the annexed area, their water mains should come in off of Rt. 213 and Scheeler Road feeding from two directions at once. He said it was not so much a question of needing a water tower as it was the size of mains they should install to insure good fire flows and pressures. He said another water tower would not increase pressure but would provide another direction for water to flow and would not be a bad idea if the Town built another mile out in the future.
Mr. Sipes stated that according to plumbing code, a backflow preventer should be installed in all buildings where a sewer fixture was not higher than the outside manhole by at least 24”. He said the backflow preventer would make sure that if there was an overflow at the manhole the sewer would not back up into the building’s lower level. He said that there were some illegal connections and connections such as floor drains in basements where backups occur and property owners should check to see if a backflow preventer is installed.
Mr. Dan Menefee of the Kent Guardian asked Mr. Sipes to explain his support, or lack thereof, of the Agreement between the Hospital and the Town. Mr. Sipes stated that there were things in the Agreement that he liked and things he did not, noting that he was concerned that the Agreement could put the Town in a worse situation than if they had no Agreement at all. He said that he did not agree with the “rebuttable presumption” clause in 5b of the Agreement.
There being no further business, Mr. Stetson moved to close the meeting at 7:49 p.m. was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Chris Cerino
Town Clerk Mayor