UTILITIES COMMISSION MEETING
AUGUST 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, 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 July 20, 2015. 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 was $684,072.87 and there was $495,400.00 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 Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Ms. Gross asked why there was substantially more money in capital funds this month. Mr. Sipes stated that Washington College paid water and sewer hookup fees for the new dorm at the College. Mr. Shoge asked if the academic building was reflected in that figure. Mr. Sipes stated that the new academic building would likely only have fees for the sprinklers as the EDUs from the old building remain and the fixture count was less for this phase of the new construction. He said that the allocations would be revisited with the next building constructed at the old school board site.
Mr. Sipes stated that one generator has been installed and was working. He said that he was having the second generator installed now.
Mr. Sipes stated that repairs to the clarifiers were performed and they were running again, noting that there was no impact on the quality of the effluent from the plant.
Mr. Sipes stated that the Town was asking for financial reassurance from the Hospital before they proceeded with the IveySol© injections. He said that the attorney has been in contact with the Hospital and MDE and was having limited success. Mr. Sipes stated that MDE intended to give the Hospital Notice to Proceed and the Town would only be given a 5 day warning when that happened. He said he still did not have a level of comfort with the action plan and there were things that could go wrong. He suggested that the Mayor and Council give thought to how they want to proceed to prevent from the Hospital moving forward with their plans for remediation. He said that getting an injunction was not an “attractive” thing to consider, but the time was probably now to give it some thought.
Ms. Gross asked if there was a reply from the July 27th letter to Secretary Grumbles. Mr. Sipes stated that Mr. Forlini had a conversation with Secretary Grumbles but was not sure that it was an official conversation as he had not seen a written response to date. He said that he thought MDE wanted to provide some sort of vehicle for financial assurances but that it would likely only cover a portion of impact to the Town if something went wrong.
Mr. Sipes stated that generally when there is cases of groundwater contamination, MDE made those responsible for the contamination do everything necessary to protect the drinking water supply. Mr. Sipes stated that the EPA website leads one to believe that there is precedent for the regulatory body (MDE) to enforce an entity to set aside funds for potential damages and that was what the Town wanted, a bond or surety in place.
Mr. Sipes stated that if the release sends contaminants into the well field, the Town has the responsibility of notifying the residents, even at a low level.
Mr. Shoge asked if there was any type of filtration system that could be installed on the Town’s wells or would new well sites be required. Mr. Sipes stated that each well would have to have an activated carbon filtration system installed, similar to coal, and it absorbs VOCs and petroleum products and filter it out of the water. Carbon filters cost in excess of $150,000.00 per well (the Town had six (6)). The carbon absorbed each month would require a company to remove it, install new filters, and then burn off what carbon was on the filters. He said that the long-term costs of an operation such as this would certainly impact costs for water and sewer in Town.
Mayor Cerino stated that he did not think the Town could seek an injunction until the approval was given to move forward. Mr. Sipes stated that he was not asking for an injunction at this time, but said it was time to give it thought. Ms. Gross stated that it might be time to meet with the attorney to discuss the options. The Council agreed.
Mr. Sipes stated that the University of Maryland knew the site conditions when the Hospital was purchased and immediately began the procedures for closing the site out with MDE. He said that there were relationships between State agencies and that State agencies typically do not have confrontational relationships with one another.
Ms. Gross asked why Delmarva Power had not hooked up the solar array at the Wastewater Treatment Plant. Mr. Sipes stated that he understood that an application was sent to Delmarva Power through Solar City to switch in and the Town was waiting on that response.
Mr. Sipes stated that night work would take place beginning September 14th on Washington Avenue to run utility lines for the new academic building. He said that SHA had the work scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. and would last 7 to 10 days. Mr. Sipes stated that the noisy part of the work (jackhammering, etc.) would take place between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. Mr. Sipes said he was not sure why the work was schedule to take so long, but said that he would be there when the tap was made as he wanted to see the depth and the wear on the existing mains.
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