Meeting Minutes : Water & Sewer Commission

February 15, 2011


Water and Sewer Commission Members Present – Allen Hitchcock, John Lapre, Bob Harnish, and Helen McKinlay. Absent:  Hope Rantanen.  Others present:  Dorothy Parkinson, John Haverstock, and Kelly Giard – Recording Secretary.

Allen Hitchcock, Chairman, called the meeting to order at 6:30 PM.



The minutes from the January 25, 2011 meeting were not signed and will be edited to include minor revisions regarding comments from Ms. Parkinson.  These minutes will be reviewed and signed at a future meeting.


Town Managers Report:

J. Haverstock reported on the following items:

  • The automated control devices at the Florence Pump Station have been received, and will be installed within the next few days.
  • The application for a temporary operating permit to a more permanent permit has been submitted and is waiting for approval.
  • Interim financing has been secured and payments to Bohn Associates and Daniels’ Construction will be sent soon.


Public Comment:

Ms. Parkinson inquired about the membership of the Steering Committee that is working with the Proctor water issues.  A. Hitchcock explained that this is a group of individual residents that are affected and no Water & Sewer Commission members are on this committee.  The members of the Commission may be meeting with the Steering Committee in the future.


Ms. Parkinson inquired how many gallons per minute are being allowed by OMYA.  J. Haverstock indicated that there is no limit.  J. Haverstock indicated that the officials at OMYA contact Bruce Babcock in the event that they will be requiring more water, e.g. during unusually dry summer months.  Ms. Parkinson inquired how much water will flow through the OMYA pipes at any given time.  J. Lapre explained that there are many factors that determine the amount of water that flows through the pipe to the facility.  There was discussion that the Florence Pump Station is a back-up system and the controls will be installed to turn on when the water levels are low enough to warrant activation of the back-up system.


Ms. Parkinson expressed concern that the usage indicated at the January meeting was 75 gallons per day, and that the Pittsford residents are using less than 50 gallons per day.  J. Haverstock explained that Mr. Youngstrom indicated that Pittsford is possibly using less water than anticipated.  A. Hitchcock explained that the billing and metering information will be more accurate as the metering data increases.  He explained that over 60% of the water that left the reservoir was not accounted for in the past and that this will change with the meters now in place. J. Haverstock indicated that some concerns have been expressed by some residents who have slight leaks amounting to a substantial loss of water over time.


A. Hitchcock explained that the Town is being responsive to all concerns expressed by customers.  J. Haverstock indicated that there have been letters sent to some residents about possible leaks.  There was discussion to possibly tying the sewer usage to the water usage in the future so that all sewer users are billed fairly and equitably and that all taxpayers are not paying for the deficit in the annual sewer budget.



Update on Project Status:

J. Haverstock indicated that the automated controls will be installed soon at the Florence Pump Station.


Discussion of Metering & Billing:

J. Haverstock explained that there were a number of complaints received following the last billing cycle.  The complaints that were received were investigated and resolved.

J. Haverstock explained that there will be information included in the Newsletter, as well as on the website with regard to the billing calculations.

There was discussion as to the possible “cap” of a water bill. J. Haverstock noted that there would be no incentive for residents to conserve water if there was a “cap” placed on the “higher users”.

J. Haverstock indicated that Linda Drummond had looked at individual bills, prior to the mailing, and brought some of the “higher users” to the attention of the metering company for review.

J. Haverstock indicated that the metering company may be offering a service to towns to assist them with future metering processes.  The cost will be forwarded at a future meeting for consideration.  This service may also include more training to staff.



Update on Project Status:

Mike Smith reported that Daniels’ Construction is a couple of weeks behind in the project, due to weather and equipment issues.  M. Smith indicated that there have been some issues with the concrete coming from Carrara because they use fly ash, and it is taking longer to cure, therefore, some of the testing can not occur until the cure is at 75% strength.  M. Smith reported that the last test was returned on the 15th and looked “good”. A. Hitchcock inquired if the fly ash weakened the concrete.  Mr. Smith explained that it only slows the curing process.

Mr. Smith indicated that the first aerobic digester has been taken off-line, the walls are cored, the piping is in, and the pumps will be delivered in the next few days for installation.


Mr. Smith indicated that Bob Berardo has made several requests.  The first is an overhead light, with an electrical outlet over the first chamber.  The budget price is roughly $2000.  The second is a tool shed to be located near the operating building.  Bob Berardo is looking into these prices.  J. Haverstock recommended holding off on this until the Water Department offices in the sludge bagger room are completed.  There was discussion that this could be purchased at any time.    The third request concerns the solids infiltration into the new chlorine contact tank.  Mr. Smith explained that a simplex pump station has been discussed and the solids can be washed back into the digesters.  There was a request for piping modifications to avoid any violation possibilities.


Mr. Smith indicated that on initial inspection of the project, it was believed that the floor of the tank was level, however, there was grout used in the original construction.  Mr. Smith recommended a change order to remove this grout, which would involve a day’s work done by two employees (roughly $1,000).  The recommendation to remove the grout is to avoid any build-up of solids in the bottom of the tank.  There was discussion as to the security of the tank, in the event that the grout is removed.  Mr. Smith indicated that there is a 3’ base to the concrete work.


Ms. Parkinson inquired about the guarantee to the work being performed.  Mr. Smith indicated that there is a one year contractors’ guarantee, and  professional liability insurance carried by Engineers for the design component of the project.  There is a warranty on the equipment from the manufacturer.  Ms. Parkinson inquired if the Town employees could save the Town money by installing the requested stairs.  Mr. Smith explained that there is a liability involved. Therefore, it would be better for the contractor to install the stairs.


Mr. Smith will contact the State with regard to the $4,200 pump station change and ask for a change order to demolish the grout in the bottom of the existing contact chamber.  The stairs, pumping system, and the tool shed will be deferred until more is known about project costs and finances.  Mr. Smith indicated that the additional light will be priced out and the price will be submitted for approval.


Update on Project # 2 (Sewer Lines/Pump Station) Status:

Mr. Smith indicated that the drawings are ready to be reviewed and approved.  Mr. Smith indicated that the electrical design for the Elm Street pump station is also needed.


Mr. Smith indicated that J. Haverstock indicated that there is a possible sidewalk project pending for the Arch Street area to Lothrop School.  Mr. Smith indicated that there are engineers within his firm that could design the project and there is a possibility that the sidewalk project could be coordinated with the sewer project.  The engineers would work closely with VTRANS on this project.  J. Haverstock indicated that the Select Board has discussed this project and there are grant funds awarded to Pittsford and that some of the Pittsford responsibility portion can be paid “in kind”, e.g. labor.  Mr. Smith indicated that the price included on the grant fund application is sufficient, however, the engineering price looks high.  There will be an engineer on-site for the sewer project. Therefore, the same engineer may be sufficient to over-see both projects.  Mr. Smith recommended that the pricing be sought soon to give bidders a fair amount of time to work on pricing to drive the sewer project toward completion.  There was discussion that the same contractor should do the sewer project, as well as the sidewalk to maintain lower costs.  Mr. Smith will work on a formal proposal for the sidewalk project and will submit before February 18, 2011.


Mr. Smith explained that the permits and bid advertisements are hopefully going to the public in early April with a project schedule from May until approximately November.  Mr. Smith recommended that the trench patches remain as is until the construction season 2012 so the trench lines will settle through the frost season.  The recommendation is dependant on the funding agencies.


Review of ANR Position Regarding Penalty Funds:

J. Haverstock indicated that a response was received from the Agency of Natural Resources and was included in the packets for review.  Ethan Swift will be meeting with J. Haverstock with regard to potentially funding stream erosion projects.


Water and Sewer:

None stated at this time.


A letter is included in the packets from Rep. Shaw and the Proctor Steering Committee for review.

Ms. Parkinson inquired if there was any conclusion as to how much water OMYA West uses.  J. Haverstock indicated that a new meter was installed.

Executive Session

None stated at this time.


The Commission adjourned at 8:33 PM.

The next meeting will be held on March 15, 2011.

Respectfully Submitted



Kelly Giard, Recording Secretary


Allen Hitchcock, Chair



John Lapre, Vice Chair



Hope Rantanen



Helen McKinlay



Bob Harnish