Town of Pittsford, Vermont

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November 18, 2008


Water and Sewer Commission Members Present: Hope Rantanen, Allen Hitchcock, John Lapre, and Helen McKinlay. Absent:  David Markowski, Chair. Others Present: John Haverstock, Carl Crawford (Otter Creek Engineering), Mark Youngstrom (Otter Creek Engineering), Jim Morale (OMYA), Tom Hooker (6:47PM), Mike Warfle (7:27 PM) and Kelly Giard, Recording Secretary.


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



The minutes of the October 21, 2008 meeting were signed with no corrections.


Town Manager's Report

J. Haverstock reported the following:


  • Bob Berardo has expressed some concerns regarding high flows through the Depot Hill pump station.  Bruce Babcock and Bob Berardo both looked at the situation at the cover at the Transfer Station and found some grease accumulation.  Some of this could have been attributed to the high saturation of ground water.  A. Hitchcock inquired what the time during the month was.  J. Haverstock reported that this occurred in early November and not necessarily in conjunction with huge storms.  A. Hitchcock stated that there are usually high numbers at that pump station.  Bruce Babcock indicated that there could have been some "false positive" readings.  A. Hitchcock stated that this has happened "at random" in the past.
  • Mike Smith at Weston and Sampson suggested (via Wastewater Management Division) that the TV imaging be postponed until the spring.  An e-mail communication was included in the packets.
  • Vermont League of Cities and Towns sent information regarding a Stimulus package that may be coming to the State to assist with water projects.  Similar information was also received from Mark Youngstrom.  This information was also included in the packets.
  • J. Haverstock reported that he has added to the Water Superintendent's list of duties the semi-annual flushing of the Plains Road sewer line.  This is the line that was discussed at the October 21, 2008 meeting and had caused some back-up issues.
  • A copy of the water study was forwarded to OMYA for their review.

A. Hitchcock inquired why there is a tie between the chlorine treatment tank and infiltration.  The State will require that the design be such that the capacity of the plant is handled effectively.  J. Lapre stated that the I & I study results may show that there would be no "quick and easy fix."  There was discussion regarding this situation.  J. Haverstock reported that he would be in contact with Mike Smith regarding this situation.


Public Comment


None at this time.



Water Study Recommendations:  J. Haverstock reported that the Select Board's initial thoughts about prioritization of recommendations in the water Study have been summarized, and sent to Mark Youngstrom. 


Mark Youngstrom presented a handout that included 3 major items that were recommended:  the interconnection of the Pittsford and Florence systems,  (Pittsford has an excellent source, but no backup water source.  Florence has an ample water source but inadequate water storage; distribution improvements (including Mobil station to Rowe apartments, fire protection improvements, loop water mains); and the installation of new water meters system-wide.  The metering system is not accounting for the entire usage of water - some suggestions would be that the water is being used and not billed or that the water could be going into the ground, but, the question is where it is going into the ground.  A. Hitchcock stated that the current pricing system is not fair and it is difficult to figure the water usages. 


Mr. Youngstrom stated that the recommended project is $4.4 million.  Pittsford is eligible for Rural Development grant funds.  This grant is based on rates being $400 - $600 per family.  The State also has a Drinking Water fund loan that is available.  Both of these options are based on household income is for the community.  Mr. Youngstrom recommended an income survey for the water users.  There was discussion as to how this would be conducted and that the survey would be anonymous.


Mr. Youngstrom stated that Congress is proposing stimulus packages that would possibly bring $20 - $30 million into the state of Vermont for water projects.  Projects must be ready to go to construction within 120 days of passage of the bill. The Vermont League of Cities and Towns has sent a questionnaire to see what towns have projects pending. 


Mr. Youngstrom stated that Rural Development is looking at funding projects in total rather than piecemeal. The projects are rated on public need, with examples of public health and fire protection.  Projects of interest would be Florence water storage and pressure available during fire fighting exercises and a less urgent project such as metering could be incorporated into a larger project.


Mr. Youngstrom recommended moving forward with the project as soon as possible using a 0% loan from the State for initial engineering because construction is in a "slump" and costs are lower.  Mr. Youngstrom suggested moving forward with the income survey as a piece to the financing section.  The final step would be to conduct a bond vote.  These suggestions would be beneficial in the event of an Economic Stimulus Package coming to the State from the Federal Government. 


A. Hitchcock inquired if this was a process that would be completed prior to Town Meeting.  Mr. Youngstrom stated that design would be "tough" due to the fact that the lines would need to be "flown" for mapping purposes, and this would need to be done soon due to winter snowfall.  This mapping could be done with authorization.  There was discussion regarding the Stimulus Package requirements.  There would be no large costs if the grant money should not be available.  Various prioritized portions of the recommended upgrade could be completed in the event that there is no available funding.


J. Haverstock inquired what role an engineer would play in the assembling of the funding alternatives.  Mr. Youngstrom stated that the engineers complete the "package" for their clients due to the fact that the engineers are familiar with the requirements of the State and are available to assist in this process.  Mr. Youngstrom stated that an aerial mapping company should be contacted to work on the mapping prior to the snow falling.  Mr. Youngstrom stated that the mapping and design can begin with an agreement to do so at any time.


Tom Hooker, on behalf of the Fire Department, stated that there is an issue with the hydrant system.  There is a color coding system in place, the blue top indicates that the hydrant has excellent flow and is attached to a large main; the yellow top indicates that the hydrant is on a smaller main and should be used with caution; and the red top indicates that the hydrant does not have adequate supply and should be used by an extremely experienced pump operator to prevent water heaters being drained.


The firefighters have learned through training how to operate the tanks and hydrants at the same time.  There is a good line from the storage tank to Route 7 and is a 10" line and on the Furnace Road to Route 7 is a good line.  The hydrants in Florence are not adequate and some are turned backwards to prevent any error.  A. Hitchcock inquired if the proposed Interconnect would help resolve this issue in Florence.  Mr. Hooker indicated that there would be an improvement.  Mr. Youngstrom explained that there would be a negative pressure drawn at a hydrant in the event of a fire.  A. Hitchcock indicated that the Selectboard has discussed the possibility of the charges for the water system being divided equally between the entire town as the benefits are spread throughout the town for fire protection.


J. Haverstock indicated that OMYA has received a copy of the water Study and the interconnect has been discussed at a recent "stakeholder" meeting at OMYA.  Mr. Youngstrom explained that the interconnect would be a gravity fed system and not dependant on a well.  A. Hitchcock inquired if there would be a pump change in Florence.  Mr. Youngstrom explained that there would be a pressure reducer installed at the Florence well site and the feed would be the same.    The controls would be all housed at the Florence well site.


There was discussion regarding the water meter project.  A. Hitchcock stated that there are a large number of meters that are not functioning properly.  J. Lapre inquired what the current rates charged.  Currently, Pittsford users are paying $75 twice a year and Florence users are paying $100 twice a year.  There is an increase to the "flat rate users" in Pittsford to $80 twice per year and Florence to $110 twice per year.  The users who have working and accurate meters, pay based on usage.   


Motion by H. Rantanen and seconded by H. McKinlay to move ahead with retaining Otter Creek Engineering to do the engineering in support of its recommendations.  Passed unanimously (4 to 0).


A. Hitchcock indicated that the proposal recommended a "User's Meeting" to keep the community informed as to the whole approach and the projects.  A. Hitchcock recommended a presentation explaining the project and the funding of the project as well as the allocation being divided between the Pittsford and Florence residents as the entire community would benefit.  J. Haverstock indicated that he will be in contact with Mr. Youngstrom to work on ways to educate the public.


Wastewater Treatment

Sludge Handling and Chlorine Contact:  J. Haverstock reported that DuBois & King and Weston & Sampson submitted proposals for the project as Otter Creek Engineering found it necessary to remove themselves from the project.  The proposals were included within the packets.  Carl Crawford from Otter Creek Engineering was present to discuss the project and stated that any comments were not necessarily his personal opinion.  Mr. Crawford reviewed the proposals with the Water and Sewer Commission.  The proposals were compared and some items were included in each that may have not been included in the other. 


J. Haverstock reported that he has asked Bruce Babcock and Bob Berardo to review the proposals.  Mr. Babcock and Mr. Berardo stated that A-1 hauls at a lower price than would Casella Waste Management.  There was discussion regarding the inclusion of the operator in the design process.  J. Haverstock reported that the disposal costs were a large concern. 


A. Hitchcock inquired about the design of the containment area as the State required a contained area.  Mr. Crawford indicated that Weston and Sampson included this in the proposal and DuBois & King stated that they would research the option. 


J. Lapre inquired if the record drawings have been reviewed.  Mr. Crawford indicated that the data is easier if the engineer surveys the property themselves as to not rely entirely on another survey.  There was discussion as to the reasoning of this process. 


Carl Crawford, Mark Youngstrom, and Tom Hooker exited at 7:23 PM.

J. Lapre stated that Weston & Sampson (Mike Smith) was familiar with the system and was familiar with the records survey.  A. Hitchcock explained the history and agreed with J. Lapre.


Motion by J. Lapre and seconded by H. Rantanen to retain Weston & Sampson for the Sludge Handling and Chlorine Contact Chamber project.  Passed unanimously. 


Ventilation:  Ground Up Engineering submitted a proposal that was included in the packets for the relocation of the ventilation in the chemical room and the structure around the blower units.  J. Haverstock explained the differences between the proposals as there were 2 "versions" submitted. 


A. Hitchcock inquired if Bob Berardo was familiar with the proposal.  J. Haverstock indicated that Mr. Berardo was aware and Mr. Berardo and Jack Shedd inquired if there could be an extension of the proposed blower shelter to protect the strainer unit.  A. Hitchcock expressed concern about access for maintenance.  A. Hitchcock asked if Bob Berardo could provide input regarding this concern.  J. Haverstock inquired if Ground Up Engineering should be asked to (a) proceed with ventilation work and (b) revise the alternative proposals for a blower shelter.  The members of the Commission instructed J. Haverstock to proceed with this approach. 


Delinquencies Policy:  J. Haverstock indicated that the policy was reviewed by H. McKinlay and Linda Drummond and the relevant statutes were included for compliance. Although the members present were agreeable to implementation, J. Haverstock's recommendation that the policy be tabled until the December meeting for all members to review was approved.


Discharge Report  - October, 2008:  The report for October 2008 was reviewed.  A. Hitchcock inquired if there was any more dye discharge detected in the system.  J. Haverstock reported that upon research of the Depot Hill situation, Bruce Babcock and Bob Berardo discovered syringes in the system at the manhole cover near the transfer station.  J. Haverstock will include information in the next newsletter that this is not acceptable in the system.  Mike Warfle stated that the Constables are also finding the syringes along the roadsides.  Mr. Warfle stated that Lothrop was charged over $700 for the disposal of the sharps objects.  The nearest disposal company is in Massachusetts and the hospital also uses this company for disposal of their sharps objects, therefore, the hospital is not a resource for disposal.    


Water & Sewer

The fiscal year 2009 budget status report was reviewed. 


Other Business


None at this time.


Executive Session


The Water & Sewer Commission entered into Executive Session at 7:45 PM for the purpose of Contracts and Personnel.  J. Haverstock was invited to stay for Executive Session


There was no action coming out of Executive Session at 7:53 PM. 




The meeting was adjourned at 7:53 PM. 


The next meeting will be held on December 16, 2008.


Respectfully Submitted


Kelly Giard, Recording Secretary                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     


David Markowski, Chair - ABSENT

Allen Hitchcock, Vice Chair

Hope Rantanen

Helen McKinlay

John Lapre

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