Meeting Minutes : Water & Sewer Commission



July 26, 2011

Water and Sewer Commission Members Present – Allen Hitchcock, John Lapre, Hope Rantanen, and Helen McKinlay.  Absent:  Bob Harnish.   Others present:  Bob Berardo, Mike Smith, Tom Carrara, 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 June 21, 2011 meeting were signed, with minor grammatical corrections.


Town Managers Report:

J. Haverstock indicated that he has had communications with a resident from Depot Hill that recently had a water abatement considered in Executive Session.  The resident indicated that he may possibly attend a future meeting of the Commission.


There has been no follow-up communications from Michael Leehy with regard to a letter that was sent.


The water utility bills have been sent to the users and there have been fewer calls with concern to the size of bills and confusion about the rates.


A. Hitchcock inquired if there has been any further communication with Rick Curtis with regard to the meters on the property.  J. Haverstock indicated that he had returned his call but had not yet spoken with him.  A. Hitchcock explained that there are two meters and the business usage is averaging 126,000 gallons of water, and the only water that is used is to wash cars.  J. Lapre recommended that Mr. Curtis record daily readings and usages.


J. Lapre recommended that water conserving ideas be published in the next Newsletter.


Public Comment:

D. Parkinson indicated that there were 16.5 million gallons of water billed this last cycle, and inquired who reads the meters.  J. Haverstock indicated that Chris Goodrich from EJ Prescott read the meters together with Bruce Babcock and Shawn Hendee, who are training.


D. Parkinson discussed the billings related to Omya’s water usage and inquired if OMYA meters were read remotely.  Ms. Parkinson presented a couple of OMYA bills, stating that there was some confusion as to the amount of water that was used and billed for Omya West.    J. Haverstock will research the matter.



Discussion/Adoption of Swimming Pool-Filling Policy

There is information in the packets for review and this topic was tabled for review at a future meeting.



Update on Project Status – Phase I:

Mike Smith reported that Phase I of the project at the Wastewater Treatment Facility came in well below expected bid cost, which allowed additional items to be completed.  Some of the additional items done included a light over the tank, walkways, additional piping for truck loadings, and the potable water supply.  The overall end result is that Phase I will end approximately $5,000 over budget.

Mr. Smith indicated that there are some issues that have arisen due to the changes at the facility.  The issues include algae growing in the larger contact chamber and Mr. Smith is working with Bob Berardo on this issue.  The algae growth is common in Vermont and Mr. Smith indicated that he has spoken with other facilities and the State and is looking for helpful information from these contacts.


Mr. Smith indicated that the flash mixer was installed in the old chlorine contact chamber.  Mr. Smith explained the process and how the solids are extracted from the water before treatment.  Mr. Smith explained that the rapid mix tank keeps the solids in suspension and that Bob Berardo learned that not using the mixer during high flow times allows additional solids to be retained within the structure.  The hope is that the mixer will be allowed to be left on when the I & I repairs have occurred.  A. Hitchcock inquired if there is a potential for regulatory issues at the facility.  Mr. Smith indicated that the tests are done on the effluent that is leaving the facility.  Bob Berardo indicated that the State tests for e-coli.  Mr. Smith explained that when the solids are remaining in the plant, less chlorine is being used.  J. Lapre inquired if this was the reason that the algae is growing.  Mr. Smith indicated that it is not believed to be the issue.  Mr. Smith explained that cleaning is the only answer to eliminating the algae.  A. Hitchcock recommended to keep the algae issue on the agenda for future review and discussion.  Bob Berardo explained that 67,180 gallons of sludge has been decanted and fewer chemicals are now being utilized in the treatment process.


Tom Carrara inquired about the amount of money that has been spent on Phase I of the project.  Mr. Smith indicated that the estimate was for $450,000, including the cost of the digester covers.  The bid received of $409,000, plus the pump changes, electrical work, water, and engineering, totaling $505,000.


Ms. Parkinson inquired about the timeframe of collecting the 67,000 gallons of sludge.  Bob Berardo explained that this has been collected from July 1 through July 26 and that less water content is being hauled within the sludge.

Mr. Smith indicated that he had communication with the contractor to discuss the possibility of not installing the digester covers to save money on the project and apply the funds elsewhere.  Mr. Smith has concluded that it is too late to abandon the idea because the supplies have been purchased. There was discussion concerning the use of the covers and the benefits involved.


Mr. Smith indicated that there have been some issues with the effluent flow meter that was installed outside the building.  Mr. Smith indicated that he has setup a spreadsheet to help with the readings and Bob Berardo indicated that the readings from the two flow meters had an approximately 3.4% variance.


Tom Carrara inquired if there are still flow spikes, as have occurred in the past.  A. Hitchcock indicated that many of the spikes have diminished, and the hope is that with the completion of Phase II, the spikes may be further reduced.


Bob Berardo indicated that there are improvements with the treatment process as a result of the facility upgrades and the filling of the trucks now is much cleaner and reliable.


Tom Carrara inquired what the rate increase was to the users.  J. Haverstock indicated that there has been no increase yet reflecting sewer project work and the current rate of $300 covers a 6-month period.  There was discussion that the sewer rate may be adjusted to reflect the water usage.


Status Update on Phase II of the Project:

Mr. Smith explained that the bids were opened on July 20, 2011.  The bids included the gravity feed line from Kamuda’s to the junction by the Wastewater Treatment Facility, new sewer lines on Pleasant Street to straighten the lines to improve the flow, to correct the depth of the lines on Mechanic Street as the line is too small and shallow, replace the pump station on Elm Street, Insitu rehabilitation on the Plains Road line to prevent root intrusion, 1200’ of pipe on Arch street of ductile iron 8” pipe on Arch Street where the water project ended, and road reclamation.  The anticipated costs were $1.295 million.  Belden Construction bid $1.399 million; Markowski Excavating bid $1.45 million; and Willey Earthmoving bid $1.559 million.  The bids did not include the Arch Street culvert, which was solicited as a potential change order.  Belden Construction priced the culvert at $102,000; Markowski Excavating priced the culvert at $72.000; and Willey Earthmoving priced the culvert at $79,000.  Mr. Smith indicated that his anticipated price for the culvert was $105,000.  There was discussion that the culvert project should be completed by the same contactor as the Phase II portion so there would be a reliable warranty in place.  Mr. Smith indicated that he has contacted Belden Construction regarding the culvert bid price and the price was adjusted to $87,000 (a $15,000 reduction).  Mr. Smith recommended that the culvert project be included in the sewer project.  The culvert pricing is not eligible for the Rural Development funding, therefore it would require Select Board approval.  Mr. Smith explained the type of culvert that would be used in the project.


J. Lapre inquired if any structural engineering tests have been done at the culvert site.  J. Haverstock indicated that there have been hydraulic tests and Mr. Smith indicated that the culvert was visually inspected and reviewed.


The budget for the project was discussed at great length.  A bidders qualification form was requested from Belden Construction and was reviewed.  Mr. Smith also indicated that he spoke with other municipalities and received positive feedback regarding Belden Construction.


The contract meeting is scheduled for August 4, 2011.  Mr. Smith indicated that he has asked Bob Berardo, Bruce Babcock and Shawn Hendee to attend to discuss any issues relating dissatisfaction with Belden’s work on past projects.


Mr. Smith presented the project summary for discussion.  Rural Development requires monthly reports as to project status and accounts payable.  Mr. Smith indicated that there is currently $1.358 million available from the initial fund allotment from Rural Development.  The lowest bid that was received was $1.399 million.  The project would be running a deficit of approximately $209,000, if constructed as submitted to bidders.  Mr. Smith presented a proposal of ways to cut portions of the project to bring the amounts more in line and not run a large deficit.  There was much discussion with each of the areas of potential cuts.


Mr. Smith indicated that the manholes and the culvert require the most lead time.  Mr. Smith indicated that it would make sense to issue the Notice of Award to Belden Construction so bonds and culvert can be ordered.  The scope of the project can be changed at any time with a Change Order.  A. Hitchcock recommended that this topic be reviewed at the Select Board meeting on August 3, 2011.  Mr. Smith was invited to attend the Select Board meeting to discuss the Arch Street culvert.


Mr. Smith was asked to review the bids and price out the possible “cuts” and report back to the Water & Sewer Commission.  The decision was to hold an Emergency Meeting of the Water & Sewer Commission on July 27, 2011 at 6:30 PM.  Mr. Smith indicated that he would e-mail the written information for review and would be available to attend via conference call.



J. Haverstock reports that the utility replacement cost for the Route 7 upgrade on the north end of Town (Plains Road northward) is $294,000 and recommended that this topic be discussed with the Select Board.


J. Haverstock reported that he has been in communication with Mark Youngstrom with regard to the request recently received from Fire District #1.  The decision was to wait for Mr. Youngstrom to review the Fire District’s proposal and, if the Fire District funds a feasibility study, to await its results.


Executive Session:

None necessary at this time.



The Commission adjourned at 8:40 PM.

An emergency meeting of the Commission will be held on July 27, 2011 at 6:30 p.m.

The next regular meeting will be held on August 16, 2011.

Respectfully Submitted

Kelly Giard, Recording Secretary                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           _________________________________

Allen Hitchcock, Chair


 John Lapre, Vice Chair


Hope Rantanen


 Helen McKinlay


Bob Harnish