UTILITIES COMMISSION MEETING
JULY 20, 2015
Mayor Cerino called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were Council members Liz Gross, Linda Kuiper and Samuel T. Shoge, 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 15, 2015. Ms. Gross moved to approve the minutes as presented, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that cash on hand and in banks was $871,517.11 and there was $239,400.00 set aside in capital funds.
Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to pay the bills. Mr. Shoge moved to pay the bills as submitted, was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.
Mr. Sipes stated that he previously informed the Council they would see increases in costs of equipment maintenance and repairs at the lagoon as it ages. In the past month alone, there was a variable frequency drive (VFD) fail for the return activated sledge pumps, two (2) arms on the clarifiers had broken, new UV bulbs were ordered, and two (2) PLC power supplies had to be replaced.
Mr. Sipes stated that the solar panels at the lagoon were installed and that Solar City was waiting for Delmarva Power’s final approvals to get the system running.
Mr. Sipes stated that there was now an active telephone line at the lagoon.
Mr. Sipes stated that the Utilities Department bought a new pick-up truck for $25,000.00, noting that he had budgeted $30,000.00. A second truck would be purchased in this fiscal year.
Mayor Cerino stated that the Mayor and Council met for a public meeting with the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) on Tuesday, July 14, 2015 to discuss the oil spill at the Hospital site. A pump and treat system has been in place since 1987 and approximately 83,000 to 85,000 gallons of oil has been recovered to date. MDE and the Hospital are of the belief that the pump and treat system has run its course and the vast majority of the spill site is bound up in the soil and no longer mobile. The proposal that the Hospital submitted to MDE involves injecting IveySol© surfactant into the wells on site, freeing up the oil, and that the pump and treat system will recover more of the remaining oils.
Mayor Cerino stated that the Hospital performed a pilot test a year ago with the injection of IveySol© into several wells, and MDE indicated that the tests showed promise. MDE was prepared to move forward with an approval for a broader use of IveySol© on site, with the pump and treat system running at all times during the process.
Mayor Cerino stated that Mr. Sipes believes this may clean the areas in and immediately adjacent to the wells, but will leave contaminants between the wells. Concerns were raised regarding the Town’s desire for long-term monitoring of the site during and after the injections occur and if product escapes during the process how it would affect the shallow wells that are 1,000 feet down gradient from the site. Mayor Cerino said that the Town requested and will continue to request financial assurances from the Hospital and MDE in the form of a bond for funds to replace Town wells or to correct for damages caused to the wells by any failures of the recovery effort.
Mr. Sipes stated that he thought the injection of the IveySol© was more dangerous than the Town was being told, because he there was no example of where this type of injection has been done in such close proximity to a drinking water source. Mr. Sipes stated that the closest comparison he could find was in Connecticut for soil contamination of a garage with the closest drinking water 2 miles away. He said that there were many unknowns to this process and unknowns to the subsurface, including how the water flows, what direction it flows, and how fast it flows. Mr. Sipes stated that a site characterization was requested of MDE for specific details but never received. He said that this was not site clean-up; it was well clean-up. Mr. Sipes stated that he did not believe that more than a 4 foot radius would be cleaned around the wells, amounting to 1 to 2% of the entire site. Mr. Sipes stated that this would clean the soils around and also provide false readings of cleaned water.
Mr. Sipes stated that a monitoring well is a place to collect representative samples of what the groundwater is like. He said if the wells are cleaned but the area is not, it is not representative of the area.
Mr. Sipes stated that the Town was getting VOC samples of the wells and having them analyzed. If something shows up in the drinking water, he promised that he would know it almost immediately and would advise the residents. The water supply at this time had nothing in it that was harmful and there was a report on the website and available in Town Hall if anyone wanted to read it or see exactly what was in the drinking water.
Mr. Shoge asked how much it would cost for the Town to install a Town monitoring well on site. Mr. Sipes stated that the Town would need permission, but a neighbor to the Hospital might allow a monitoring well on their property. He said that he posed the question to the Hospital of the Town sampling the wells after they were closed out and the answer was no.
Mr. Sipes stated that wells could be dug in the street but he did not want interference from asphalt runoff. He said the more protected a well was provided better results of representative samples, which in this case would be having it positioned slightly above grade. Mr. Sipes stated that there was a right-of-way where Well #8 was located, but it pumped a lot of water (80 gallons a minute), instead of the 1 to 2 gallons that a monitoring well would pull. He said it had not been regularly tested since going dormant after the spill. Mr. Sipes stated that he could call some well-drillers for estimates of well installation costs, and said that ultimately a geologist would have to decide the best location for a well.
Mayor Cerino stated that MDE indicated that the implementation of the IveySol© injections would be 3 to 6 months and monitoring of the wells for about a year or so afterwards to analyze the success rate of the test. MDE would then reanalyze the site, if the tests indicated that future remediation was warranted.
Mr. Sipes stated that he asked MDE that if detects were uncovered in areas where there had not been detects before the injections, what procedures would be in place to stop the product from moving? MDE told him that monitoring wells would be converted to recovery wells. He said that he did not think it was that simple or quick to convert a monitoring well to a recovery well and said that he did not believe that the safeguards being put in place were adequate. Mr. Sipes stated that he thought if MDE’s intention was actually to clean the site, there were better ways to go about it.
Mr. Sipes stated that in 1998 the Hospital indicated that they were not collecting any oil from the site and then they rehabbed the wells and installed new pumps and immediately began collecting 1,000 gallons of oil a month. He said that this procedure might be tried again first, noting that he thought the focus was not on collecting oil but to close the site. Mr. Sipes stated that his focus was to make sure that the drinking water was safe.
There being no further business, Ms. Gross moved to adjourn the meeting at 7:45 p.m., was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Chris Cerino
Town Clerk Mayor