UTILITIES COMMISSION MEETING
NOVEMBER 16, 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 October 19, 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 $1,067,947.95 and there was $495,400.00 set aside in capital funds.
Mr. Sipes stated that the Hospital finished injections in Priority Zone I and the Hospital was now moving into Priority Zone II. He learned that the amount of chemical being injected into the ground was doubled during Priority I zone testing, leaving twice as much chance for it to move and putting twice as much chemical in the ground. Mr. Sipes stated that there was no legitimate purpose expressed for doubling the solution other than they wanted to see what happened. Mr. Sipes stated that he understood that the request to double the solution was submitted to and approved through an email to MDE. Mr. Sipes stated that he found out about the change in the weekly update from the Hospital.
Mr. Sipes stated that he asked a specific question at the meeting with MDE when they came to Town Hall as to whether or not there would be field tests or lab tests during the injections. Mr. Sipes stated that Mr. Tablada answered that there would be lab tests, but in fact no lab tests have been scheduled, nor will lab testing be scheduled for surfactant until all of the injections and extractions are over. Mr. Sipes stated that the danger in that was that the Town would not have any idea if surfactant moves past the injection wells to wells on Brown Street or Campus Avenue because it would not register on field testing unless it ran over 50-parts per million. Therefore, he would not know if there is movement. Mr. Sipes stated that he called MDE and made a complaint and was told that this was MDE’s interpretation of the Hospital’s Action Plan and that was how it was going to be done. He said the Hospital says that they do what MDE tells them to do.
Mr. Sipes stated that if the Council wanted to take a form of action other than waiting for the consent order, they could look into a Local Courtesy Bill which could be submitted to the State with the Kent County Commissioners as the local sponsor. Mr. Sipes stated that getting a Bill passed would mean that the State would cover the costs if anything was to get in to the Town wellfields from the Hospital spill. Mr. Sipes stated that he hoped this would be an unnecessary Bill but if it was in place there was no argument as to who was going to cover damages.
Mr. Stetson asked if the surfactant could cause problems if it reached the groundwater. Mr. Sipes stated that the solution was in place to dissolve the oil and make it readily available for removal, which meant that the oil and surfactant mixed in with the water and moved much faster than oil by itself. He said when the solution moved so would the oil that was mixed with it. Mr. Sipes stated that if the well was not tested deep enough, it will not be detected because the solution can get into established underground channels called preferential pathways. He said that if the solution gets into a preferential pathway there was no way to tell how far or fast it would move.
Mayor Cerino stated that he thought Mr. Sipes should take a closer look at Local Courtesy Bills, noting that he thought MDE was more comfortable than Chestertown when it came to the Ivey-Sol injections. He said that assurances were needed from someone that they would cover the costs in the event of catastrophic damages to the Town and its public water supply system.
Mr. Sipes stated that with the approval of the Council he would research Local Courtesy Bill. The Council agreed. Mr. Sipes stated that if a Bill was passed it would relieve financial stress from the Town. Mr. Stetson noted that if the Bill was passed, the taxpayers would be paying for the Hospital spill.
Mr. Sipes stated that there was a sinkhole by Water Street and Cannon Street that was dug up last week. The ground under the sinkhole was dry with no cavities. He said that over the years additional compaction could have taken place causing the sinkhole.
Mr. Sipes reported that the 6” terra cotta sewer line that connects the end of South Queen Street to the end of South Water Street has been smoke tests and needs to be replaced. The line is located between a vacant lot and a dilapidated house that is being removed. The new line will facilitate the redevelopment of both adjacent properties.
Mr. Sipes stated that he was going to conduct interviews for the open position in the Utilities Department later in the week.
Mr. Sipes stated that the Mayor and Council would notice in the Funds on Hand that the CD amount has changed, noting that the corrected figure was accurate.
Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to pay the bills. Ms. Gross moved to pay the bills as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
There being no further business, Mr. Stetson moved to adjourn the meeting at 7:52 p.m., was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Chris Cerino
Town Clerk Mayor