UTILITIES COMMISSION MEETING
FEBRUARY 17, 2015
Mayor Cerino called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were Council members Liz Gross, Linda Kuiper, Samuel T. Shoge and Mauritz Stetson, Robert Sipes, Utilities Manager, Jennifer Mulligan, Town Clerk, and guests.
Mayor Cerino asked if there were any additions or corrections to the Utilities Commission meeting minutes of January 20, 2015. Mr. Stetson moved to approve the minutes as presented, was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that cash on hand and in banks was $923,055.76 and there was $223,400.00 set aside in capital funds.
Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to pay the bills. Mr. Stetson moved to pay the bills as submitted, was seconded by Ms. Kuiper and carried unanimously.
Mr. Sipes stated that due to the cold snap there have been about ten (10) calls regarding frozen pipes. He said that the Utilities Department will help as much as they can if a problem arises and asked that residents check their houses and neighboring seasonal houses for problems as after the pipes burst it is an expensive fix.
Mr. Sipes stated that there was a Grease Trap Ordinance which took effect in January 2015. He said that the Town was dealing with residual grease issues on Scheeler Road from PNC Bank to the side entrance of Kent Plaza Shopping Center.
Mr. Sipes stated that there was a large bill for phosphate, noting that the shipment should last about ten (10) months.
Mr. Sipes stated that the Town was in receipt of the report for the Pilot Study Test performed on the ground water contamination at the Chester River Hospital. He said that copies were given to the Kent County News and it was available to anyone who was interested in reading it.
Mr. Sipes stated that he and Mr. Ingersoll met with the attorney and the geologist hired by the Town to discuss the report this past Friday. He said the report described 18,000% improvement in removal by cherry-picking the numbers. The best sample of the hydrocarbons was chosen and used for an entire week long period and used as their success number. The lowest historical number was also used for comparison.
Mr. Sipes stated that it was apparent that what the Town was told was going to happen was not all that took place during the test. He said that the Town was made aware that 5-gallons of IveySol™ would be added to 275-gallons of water and added to the well. He said that in reality, sometimes 10-gallons of IveySol™ was added, but the Town was never notified. Also, this was supposed to be a 3 to 4 day process that turned into a week long process. Mr. Sipes stated that he did not know if approval was granted by MDE in order to change the protocol outlined for the pilot study.
Mr. Sipes stated that the report read that the pilot study was performed to see if IveySol™ was effective and to see if the “push/pull” method was effective. Mr. Sipes stated that his understanding was that the push/pull method would be used to see if the IveySol™ was effective and that he was told the push/pull method was the best way to deliver IveySol™ into the wells.
Mr. Sipes stated that the report is calling the pilot study a “success” for both IveySol™ and the push/pull method. He said that the report also says that the test exceeded all expectations, even though they told Mr. Sipes that they had no expectations before the pilot test took place.
Mr. Sipes stated that the report states several times that “nearly non-existent product” was left in the ground. Mr. Sipes stated that the product shows up on every test. He said that in the future the hospital did not want to test for gasoline range organics, but that was what the detects were including, benzenes and xylenes, noting that these were things that the Town was required to test for in the provision of water under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Mr. Sipes stated that the proposed plan, which was submitted with the pilot study report, was to use the monitoring and recovery wells at the Hospital by injecting the monitoring wells using the push/pull method. He said that this does not clean the site; it cleans the soils surrounding the monitoring wells, which was not representative of the ground water.
Mr. Sipes stated that he was worried that the overall goal of the Hospital consultant was to get clear results of samples for 12-months and then be free to walk away from the monitoring wells as per MDE standards; not site clean-up or protection of the Town’s drinking water.
Mayor Cerino asked what next steps should be taken by the Town. Mr. Sipes stated that he agreed with the Hospital that it would be good to close out the site, but only in a complete site clean-up scenario. He said that he thought the process used for the pilot study was good for cleaning individual wells and immediately adjacent surrounding soils, but was not a total site clean-up and that he thought the findings of the study were misleading.
Mr. Sipes stated that if the Hospital was interested in a total site clean-up, the first thing they would have in hand was a site characterization plan, which was what MDE normally required on a clean-up site. Monitoring well clean-up would only leave areas that could no longer be tested because they were comprised by artificially changing the sample sites by injecting IveySol™.
Ms. Gross suggested holding back monitoring wells from the process. Mr. Shoge suggested new monitoring wells altogether. Mr. Sipes stated that the Town needed to be able to gauge around the monitoring wells and he did not want to eliminate the wells in the most heavily contaminated areas.
Mr. Sipes stated that he was working with the geologist and attorney on a list of 6 to 10 items to address with the Hospital pilot study. He said that he was nervous because what he thought worked and what the Hospital consultant says worked (in terms of the IveySol™ injections) were very different. He said their version of “clean-up” is not what he considers to be clean-up of the site.
Mr. Sipes stated that he was still waiting to hear from MDE for their interpretation of the report, as it was still under review. He noted that the Hospital was under a Consent Order for clean-up of the site.
Ms. Gross stated that she would like to see statistical analysis of the lab results. Mr. Sipes stated that he has not seen the lab results yet.
Mr. Sipes stated that there was a fundamental disagreement about how much oil was in the ground. He said estimates at the time of the spill were 150,000-gallons and the Hospital consultants have claimed to have cleaned 87,000-gallons. The EPA says that a pump and treat system does an excellent job if they remove even 50% of contamination in the ground, so he thought there could be in excess of 50,000-gallons of oil in the ground.
Mr. Sipes stated that if the Hospital had 2 additional months of clear results in the past, they would have walked away from monitoring in April. He said, however, that 4” of oil showed up in a monitoring well making the Hospital start the pump and treat system again.
There being no further business, Mr. Stetson moved to adjourn the meeting at 7:55 p.m., was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Chris Cerino
Town Clerk Mayor