Meeting Minutes : Water & Sewer Commission



June 21, 2011


Water and Sewer Commission Members Present – Allen Hitchcock, John Lapre, Hope Rantanen, Bob Harnish and Helen McKinlay.  Others present:  Dave Pearson, Dorothy Parkinson, and John Haverstock.


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



The minutes from the May 17, 2011 meeting were signed, with no corrections.


Town Managers Report:

J. Haverstock had no report other than agenda items for discussion.


Public Comment:

D. Parkinson inquired if there was an update on the level of the reservoir to activate the Florence Pump Station.  J. Haverstock indicated that Bruce Babcock reports that the Plains Road reservoir would need to drop below 14 feet to activate the Florence Pump Station.  At the level below 14 feet, the alarms will sound and alert those on the call list, so the operator on call is aware of the issue.




Update on Project Status:

J. Haverstock reported on the following:

  • There was a meeting between Carl Crawford, Dave Markowski and J. Haverstock with regard to the pricing on the Route 7 service work.  Markowski Excavating will be recalculating the costs and will be in communication with Otter Creek Engineering.  J. Lapre inquired if there were any special VTRANS requirements for this work.  J. Haverstock indicated that there have been no known VTRANS objections or concerns.  J. Haverstock reported that there are 11 or 12 services involved in this work.  Otter Creek Engineering indicated that there will be a very small amount of funds remaining for the Oxbow Road line replacement project.  A list of the Route 7 services involved was included in the packets for review.
  • There have been three water meter ball valve failures, causing water to go into basements.  The Lothrop School, The Pittsford Commons, and Mitchell T’s were the basements involved.  There will be some plumber bills and a carpet at Mitchell T’s that will need replacing.  Rod Dubois has been notified, as well as the valve manufacturer.  The belief is that this is possibly due to brittleness caused by the new “no-lead” reguirement.  There will be a determination of how many of these valves were used throughout town and there is a possibility that the valves will need to be replaced in the future.  J. Haverstock indicated that he was not sure if the valves EJ Prescott Co. will need to be replaced.  J. Lapre inquired if the issues were related to the larger users and the larger diameter pipe being utilized.  A. Hitchcock expressed concern that the residents should be contacted, to minimize any possible issues or expenses.  J. Haverstock indicated that the school and the Commons incurred plumbing costs due to the timing of the incidents (being on the weekend).   J. Lapre indicated that maybe an extended warranty could come from MBS, and that the Town should try to avoid a panic throughout the system.  J. Haverstock indicated that the discussions have been cooperative.
  • There was recently a meter reading for the 6-month billing.  There were a few that had technical issues and have been read manually.  There is one meter that needs to be read and there is difficulty contacting the homeowner.  J. Haverstock indicated that these meters have had various issues and most of these issues have been resolved.  J. Lapre inquired if there was a way that the Commission could discuss the billing cycle.  H. McKinlay indicated that the billing had traditionally been January 1 through June 30 and July 1 through December 31.  J. Haverstock explained that the billing was done this way because of the time that the meters were installed and read initially.  J. Haverstock indicated that there is a notice being included in the billing explain that the dates will be moved back toward the original dates.
  • A. Hitchcock indicated that it would be helpful if there was a listing of issues by project included in the packets so the Commissioners could follow the progress of the various projects.  J. Haverstock will work on this type of information.
  • J. Haverstock reported that Route 7 erosion was discussed at the meeting with Markowski.  Dave Markowski indicated that Tom Roberts from AOT explained that fill could be included to cover the roots on Route 7.  J. Haverstock indicated that he will communicate the continued concerns of the Town to Otter Creek Engineering.
  • Dave Markowski, Carl Crawford and J. Haverstock met with Ed Butler at his property on the corner of Route 7 and Pine Woods Road.  Mr. Butler explained his concerns about his lawn restoration and Markowski will remove 4 inches of the topsoil and resoil and reseed the property.  Mr. Butler agreed to the time frame of mid-August through mid-September, as proposed by Markowski Excavating.


Discussion of Fire District:

David Pearson was present to discuss Pittsford Fire District #1.  Mr. Pearson inquired if the town would consider placing Fire District #1 on the town water supply, and if so, under what conditions.


Mr. Pearson indicated that there are 24 single-family connections and one vacant lot available for future connection in the Fire District.  Mr. Pearson indicated that there are only 4 residences that have meters currently.  Mr. Pearson indicated that the connection would come in at the area of the Red Barn Apartments, which would connect in the area of the current well head.


Mr. Pearson inquired if the Town would be interested in the current equipment that is in place.

Mr. Pearson indicated that there is a current “foot traffic only” right of way in the area of the Red Barn Apartments and a right of way would need to be in place for the under ground water lines.


A. Hitchcock inquired why the interest in connecting to the Town water.  Mr. Pearson indicated that the costs have risen and there have been a number of issues recently.  A. Hitchcock indicated that an engineering study would be needed to determine what is involved in this connection.  J. Haverstock indicated that Bruce Babcock should be consulted concerning this project.  A. Hitchcock proposed that the Fire District be responsible for the cost of the engineering study.  Mr. Pearson indicated that this would need to be discussed with the members of the district.


H. Rantanen inquired where these homes were located.  Mr. Pearson explained the area as being from the Mobil Station to the country club, including Orchard Hill.


There was discussion that this project is contingent on the obtaining of a right of way for the water line and the engineering study.


D. Parkinson inquired if these residences would be without water in the event that the Proctor water service was discontinued.  Mr. Pearson indicated that this has no involvement with Proctor.


Discussion of Filling Swimming Pool Policy:

J. Haverstock indicated that there have been some customers inquiring about the filling of swimming pools.  J. Haverstock gave a background of the policy that was discussed at the previous meeting.  J. Haverstock indicated that the fire department sees training value in the filling of a pumper truck and then emptying the truck into firefighters’ swimming pools.  J. Haverstock indicated that this practice would not involve the Water Superintendent’s time.  J. Haverstock indicated that the Fire Department filling the swimming pools would be a consistent fee, which would be $30 per 1,500 gallon load.


H. Rantanen inquired where the water was being drawn from to fill the trucks.  H. McKinlay indicated that she was informed that the water was coming from the 3” line at the Fire House that is not metered and questioned why the water was not metered at the Fire Station.  There was discussion and agreement that the water should be metered to track the usage.  H. McKinlay inquired what would happen in the event that someone outside of the water district is looking for the pool filling service.  The general consensus was that the service should be available to any one and the fees should be the same.  J. Lapre indicated that the fees should be consistent, whether a firefighter or private resident.


A. Hitchcock agreed that the fees should remain as stated, however, if the fire department fills the pool, the fees for Bruce Babcock would be waived.

D. Parkinson asked for clarification of the timing of the adoption of the fee schedule.  J. Haverstock indicated that there were time constraints and the Commission members were contacted individually for the agreement on a policy.  J. Haverstock read the proposed policy of filling of swimming pools.

A. Hitchcock requested that the complete policy be forwarded to the Commission members prior to the next meeting.


Discussion of Water Bill Abatements:

J. Haverstock indicated that two requests have been received for water bill abatements.  J. Haverstock indicated that Eugene Patch had requested an abatement due to the fact that a water valve had not been re-opened, following work in the neighborhood.  There was information in the packets for review.


J. Haverstock indicated that a request was received from a resident on Depot Hill Road due to the fact that there was a break in the neighborhood’s line and the resident was out of water for several days.


The abatement requests were deferred to Executive Session.


D. Parkinson indicated that she had had brown water in September and October, with one additional day with no water service due to a water break, and there was no abatement received for these days.  The possibility of an abatement for Ms. Parkinson was also deferred to Executive Session.



Update on Project Status:

Mike Smith reported, via e-mail, the following highlights on Phase I:

  • The Wastewater Treatment Facility project, including change orders, is nearly complete.  The digester covers are on order.
  • Bob Berardo reported that the effluent meter is difficult to read and the recorder in the main building reads different digits causing cross-checking difficulty.
  • Algae is growing/collecting in the new chlorine contact chamber.
  • The flash mixer usage is being discussed with Bob.
  • The overall financial summary was attached and reviewed.
  • There is still 80% of the total budget bond ($1.583 million) available for Phase 2.
  • Phase 2 is currently out to bid. Weston & Sampson is in the process of developing a construction cost estimate.  A copy will be forwarded when complete.  The Plains Road portion is not included in the base bid, however, it is eligible for the grant funding.  Also not included in the base bid is the Arch Street culvert work.  The Arch Street culvert work is not eligible for grant funding.
  • The engineering services construction agreement will be submitted to the town and Rural Development upon completion.


The pre-bid meeting is scheduled for July 5, 2011 at 9:00 AM at the Wastewater Treatment Facility.  All commissioners were invited to attend the pre-bid meeting for Phase II of the Sewer project.  J. Haverstock indicated that Mike Smith has asked if there were any specific contractors that the Commissioners would like contacted for inclusion in the bid process.

A. Hitchcock inquired about the practicality of the replacement of only the failing portion of the Arch Street culvert, rather than simply replacing the entire culvert.  There was discussion concerning this topic and the Select Board has discussed this topic as well at a previous meeting.  Mike Smith indicated that there is approximately a 30-day lead-time in the obtaining a culvert for the Arch Street project.  J. Lapre inquired if there was any grant funding available for the culvert replacement.  J. Haverstock explained that the State has rejected a grant fund application for the culvert’s replacement.


B. Harnish inquired what sections were concrete.  J. Haverstock indicated that the south end of the culvert is concrete.


J. Haverstock indicated that the bid opening would be held on July 20, 2011.  The Water & Sewer Commission has postponed the July 19, 2011 regular meeting to July 26, 2011 to review the bid information that is received.


Discussion with the Monmouth Ski Club:

J. Haverstock reported that he has had discussions with the ski club, which is currently being assessed with 1 water ERU and 4 sewer ERU.   This was deferred to Executive Session.


Vermont Warns Membership:

J. Haverstock explained the program as being a “mutual aid” type of membership, under which help available in times need throughout the State.  Currently, there are informed agreements in place with current neighboring towns.  J. Haverstock indicated that this membership would also provide eligibility for FEMA funding.  Bruce Babcock agrees with joining the organization.  A. Hitchcock inquired if any membership fees were involved.  J. Haverstock stated that there were none.


Motion by H. McKinlay and seconded by H. Rantanen to join the Vermont Warn group.  Motion passed unanimously 5 – 0.



J. Haverstock reports that Stantec is nearly complete with its updated design of utility work north of Plains Road cost estimates are expected soon.


Executive Session:

Motion by H. Rantanen and seconded by H. McKinlay to enter into Executive Session for the purpose of discussing legal and contractual matters.


The Water and Sewer Commission entered into Executive Session at 7:53 PM.  J. Haverstock was invited to stay.  The Water and Sewer Commission came out of Executive Session at 8:07 PM, with the following action taken.


J. Haverstock was instructed to communicate with Mr. Patch that the Town failed to provide water service and the $37.50 base allotment change would be waived. However, the bond payment is still required.

J. Haverstock was instructed to communicate with the resident on Depot Hill Road that the Town does its best to provide water service to the customers,  but that no monetary adjustment will be allowed to residents that do not receive the service that they are accustomed to.  D. Parkinson inquired if there would be any compensation to a resident who had a large amount of time that the service was not available.  J. Lapre indicated that such situations would be addressed on a case-by-case basis.


A. Hitchcock indicated that the situation that Ms. Parkinson experienced was treated the same as the resident on Depot Hill Road, and no compensation will be allowed.


The Town Manager was instructed to contact the Monmouth Ski Club to advise that the number of Sewer ERU’s would be decreased from 4 to 2, based on a comparison of the water & sewer usage of other comparable users.



The Commission adjourned at 8:13 PM.

The next meeting will be held on July 26, 2011.

Respectfully Submitted


Kelly Giard, Recording Secretary                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  _________________________________

Allen Hitchcock, Chair


                                                                        John Lapre, Vice Chair


                                                                        Hope Rantanen


                                                            Helen McKinlay


Bob Harnish