UTILITIES COMMISSION MEETING
FEBRUARY 7, 2022
Mayor Foster called the virtual meeting to order at 6:33 p.m. In attendance were Council members Tim O’Brien, Tom Herz, Jose Medrano and Meghan Efland, Bob Sipes (Utilities Manager), W. S. Ingersoll (Town Manager), Jennifer Mulligan (Town Clerk) and guests.
Mayor Foster asked if there were any additions or corrections to the Utilities Commission meeting minutes of January 4, 2022. Mr. Herz moved to approve the minutes of the Utilities Commission minutes of January 4, 2022, as submitted, was seconded by Ms. Efland and carried unanimously.
Mayor Foster stated that funds on hand was $2,458,559.71 with $1,201,923.68 set aside for capital projects.
Mayor Foster asked for a motion to pay the bills. Ms. Efland moved to pay bills as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Herz and carried unanimously.
Mr. Sipes stated that the chemscan unit at the Wastewater Treatment Plant had issues and he was having a challenging time getting a response from the company they use for repairs.
Mr. Sipes stated that the at the Radcliffe pump station the bearings went bad, but they were replaced today. He said that there is a bearing noise from one of the motors and the motor will be replaced, with one pump down for only a few hours.
Mr. Sipes stated that they hired one new person for the Utilities Department.
Mr. Sipes stated that he has received some calls from neighbors of several new irrigation wells in the Acquia aquifer proposed for agricultural use on an Airy Hill Road farm. He said that MDE received the application in January and a capacity study would be performed on the aquifer that would monitor other residential wells to see what the impact would be. He said that he did not expect any impact on Chestertown’s in town wells. He said that part of MDEs study was to ensure that any impacts to wells were mitigated or the wells would have to go even deeper. Mr. Sipes stated that a public hearing will not take place before March, and he will be advertised for 30 days beforehand in the Kent County News. He said that MDE will notify him personally and he intends to see that the impacts on the lagoon and surrounding properties are manageable.
Mr. Sipes stated that he did not mind fielding the calls, but he did not want to represent people outside of Town limits, although he said that he will collaborate with those homeowners if their wells would be impacted.
Mr. Sipes stated that he spoke with John Anthony, the lead geologist at MDE, who told him that he has received more negative feedback on the project than he usually does anywhere else. Mr. Sipes said that he was not responding negatively, he just wanted to know how Chestertown and county neighbors would be impacted and if this would change the direction of the aquifer.
Mr. Sipes stated that MDE’s number was 410-537-3590 if anyone had questions regarding the project.
Ms. Efland asked Mr. Sipes to go over his analysis on the situations that were reported by others during recent fires in town. Mr. Sipes stated that hydrants are flow tested and the standard is knowing how many gallons per minute were available at 20 psi. He said about 4,000 gallons of water are available per minute from any hydrant and the pressure allows for firefighting flow. He said that he was asked for more pressure from the Fire Department during the fires as some people lost approximately 25 psi of pressure. He said that it is most important to provide the quantity of water and not necessarily the pressure as that is what the fire trucks produce with their pumping systems. He said that he did what he could to maintain pressure throughout the event.
There being no further business, Ms. Efland moved to adjourn the meeting at 6:53 p.m., was seconded by Mr. O’Brien and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by: Jennifer Mulligan David Foster
Town Clerk Mayor