UTILITIES COMMISSION MEETING
JANUARY 19, 2016
Mayor Cerino called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were Council members 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 December 21, 2015. Mr. Stetson moved to approve the minutes as presented, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that operating funds on hand is $637,178.19 and an additional $495,400.00 set aside in capital funds for a total of $1,132,578.19.
Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to pay the bills. Mr. Stetson moved to pay the bills as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Mr. Sipes stated that he has been working to relocate a sewer line from Queen Street to Water Street by the Wilmer Park. He said that he called Mr. Bill Joiner for help in finishing the line as there was only 5” of fall from the end of Queen Street to Water Street and required a laser level, which Mr. Joiner had available. He said that the Town could expect the bill.
Mr. Sipes stated that there were three water (3) leaks since the weather turned cold on Cannon Street, Kent Street and High Street.
Mr. Sipes stated that the vacant position in the Utilities Department has not been filled to date. He said that he may readvertise, but if there was anyone interested they should call Town Hall or stop in and fill out an application.
Mr. Sipes stated that he did not see in the Hospital report where Well #20 was injected with Ivey Sol but it was approved for use as an injection/extraction well.
Mr. Sipes stated that the injection was done on Well #41 but the extraction pump froze and no extraction took place. He said that MDE was notified and did not seem to have a problem with the Ivey Sol injection remaining in the well.
Mr. Sipes stated that the Town was told that two (2) to three (3) times the amount of injection would be extracted from each well. He said that there were 4,860 gallons injected into the wells but only 2,813 gallons were extracted. He said that he did not understand why there was no concern expressed from MDE about those numbers.
Mr. Sipes stated that since the beginning of this exercise, there has been no measurable amount of oil extracted at the site, although there have been oil detections. Mr. Sipes stated that this was not an effort to clean the site, but an effort to clean the soils around the monitoring wells.
Mayor Cerino stated that he thought Mr. Sipes’ concern was that MDE would think that there was no oil in the ground to recover. He said that his concern was the site would be prematurely closed out and there would still be oil in the ground that had not been recovered.
Mr. Sipes stated that there was an EPA paper called “The Behavior of Hydrocarbons in the Sub-Surface” which said that, “In a pump and treat system if 50% of the oil that was in the ground was removed it was an outstanding job”. Mr. Sipes stated that if that was true in this case, there was still 87,000 gallons of oil remaining in the ground at the Hospital, which could be absorbed in soils or in pockets underground.
Mr. Shoge stated that MDE claimed that Ivey-Sol was biodegradable and asked Mr. Sipes his thoughts on that claim. Mr. Sipes stated that he was told Ivey-Sol was 98% biodegradable in 30 days. He said the testing after extraction showed 250 parts per million and a month later there were readings of 100 parts per million, which was not 98%. He said that according to the reports that Ivey Sol could be detected even at 3 months. He said after that point, he was not certain if it had biodegraded or if it had just traveled away from the wells.
Mr. Sipes stated that the decisions were being left to Mr. Dane Bauer, who was working for the Hospital, but is a former Director at MDE.
Mr. Sipes stated that he would like to write a letter to MDE stating his objections to the plan that is in use. The Council agreed. Mr. Sipes stated that he would draft the letter and have Mr. Ingersoll review it before it was mailed.
Mr. Sipes stated that he did not believe that this site was being handled with enough prudence and he thought it was due to the fact that the site was owned by a State agency.
Mayor Cerino stated that he was pushing for a consent agreement with MDE and met with Secretary Grumbles regarding it. In the absence of action, he said that he felt compelled to pursue other efforts to protect Chestertown from contaminants related to this spill. He said that he met with our State Delegation and discussed the possibility of a Local Courtesy Bill which would provide for financial assurances in a worst case scenario. Mayor Cerino stated that he drafted a follow up letter for the Delegation with some proposed language for the Bill and read it into the record (copies attached).
Mr. Sipes stated that he did not know what would happen if a fuel oil spill had an alcohol based surfactant introduced to it. He said that this mixture is not in the drinking water and if it shows up at any level, it did not belong there. He said anything that interferes with the Town producing the same quality of water in the future as they have done in the past is a concern. He said that nobody has a right to introduce contaminants to Chestertown’s water supply.
There being no further business, Mr. Stetson moved to adjourn the meeting at 7:57 p.m., was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Chris Cerino
Town Clerk Mayor