By:Â Maria Moore
All the members of the WPCA were present at their meeting yesterday evening, giving them a quorum and the ability to hold a meeting. Â This has not been the case for the two meetings held in January when, lacking a quorum, the WPCA members continued their work in unofficial workshops. Â With no new members having been appointed to fill vacancies, the WPCA is the one Board in town which needs every member present at meetings to have a quorum. Â Also at the meeting, in addition to all the WPCA members, was Dan Jerram, First Selectman who sat at the table with the Board members; Denton Butler, member of the Building Oversight Committee for the wastewater treatment plant, and David Childs, Chairman of the Economic Development Commission both sat in the public seating area around the perimeter of the conference room.
At yesterday’s meeting, Thursday, February 4, there were two distinct parts to the proceedings: the first dealt with items brought to the Board by the public, and the second dealt with ongoing WPCA matters, such as the ordinance update; for the complete agenda of this meeting, see the end of this report.
Members of the public to appear before the WPCA were:
Item # 3:Â Tim Bobroske ~ Re: Canterbury Village
Tim Bobroske came before the WPCA to present his case on his having connected the two new buildings at Canterbury Village to the water line without having first obtained the approval of the WPCA. Â Tim, the owner of the elderly housing complex on the corner of Reservoir Road (Route 219) and Black Bridge Road, had expanded the complex by adding one freestanding building at each end of the property, with each building Â containing two luxury apartments. While the construction was ongoing during this past summer and fall, the subject of water connections to the two new units had been mentioned several times at WPCA meetings. Â During those occasions Board members had been puzzled that Tim had not broached the matter with their Board. Â Finally, with the buildings nearing completion, the WPCA had asked Ray Adamaitis, Connecticut Water Representative, to go over to Canterbury Village and see what was happening with regard to connecting water service to the new buildings. Â Tim’s appearance before the WPCA was a result of Ray’s visit to the senior housing complex and his report back to the the Board members on the water connections that Tim had made to the two new buildings.
Tim started his presentation by saying that he disagreed with Ray. Â He had built the units and connected each new unit to the existing unit closest to it. Â He had gone to the building officials in town and had obtained a certificate of occupancy which gave him one year to resolve the issue of water. Â Tim also informed everyone present a the meeting, including the First Selectman, Dan Jerram, of the fact that he has paid over $179,000 dollars in taxes to the town of New Hartford (since the senior housing complex had been built in town 8 years prior).
“8 years ago I was young and was intimidated. Â I refuse to be intimidated now.” Â Tim said, and then he explained that when he had first built the complex he was told by the WPCA that he had to put in a loop to service his buildings off the main water line in the road (Route 219 in front of the buildings), and then he’d had to put in individual lines to each one of the units (unclear whether he was referring to each unit or each building). Â The whole had cost him $50,000. He compared this to his other senior complexes in other towns: in Plainville he has 5 units on 1 line, and in Thomaston he has 22 units on 1 line.
For his two new units, Tim said he’d gone through New Hartford regulations which say he had to comply with state regulations, and that is what he did: he’d hired a licensed plumber to do the work and it was up to code. Â He showed a piece of the vinyl piping that had been used for his connection:Â ASTM D876/877. Â He said he’d spoken with his attorney, and with John Tye, the state’s Building Inspector who had told him that he didn’t need to have the separate lines. Â Tim added that he pays for all the water used at Canterbury Village and that if he were ever “to go to condo” (rather than the rental of each of the units) he would put in his own water line at his own expense.
WPCA members asked how long ago the new units had been built and they were told that the temporary certificate of occupancy had been given two months ago (at another point, it was said in November). Â Ray was then asked: “What doesn’t he comply with?”
Ray said that years ago, when Tim had first come to the WPCA, he had been told there needed to be a single service for each single premise. Â His original building had 20 units in it. Â At that time it had been determined that if they had tapped 20 times into the main water line at the front of Tim’s property on Route 219 it would have weakened the road. The WPCA had asked Tim to put in the loop, which connects to the main line on Route 219 in only two places, and then to run an individual line to each of the premises off the loop . Â ”In 2001, he got the Board’s approval of how to do it.” Ray reminded the WPCA members.
On his visit to Canterbury Village Ray had found that to get water to the new units they had tapped into the water line in the basement of the existing building, ran a sleeve underground with the vinyl pipe inside it to the new building and so were able to provide running water to the new buildings. Â The pipe that had been used was approved forÂ inside use, Ray added, and outside piping is up to the WPCA.
Ray then went over several of the provisions in the WPCA’s Rules and Regulations that apply to the two new buildings at the Canterbury Village. Â One of those provisions states: “A single service may not supply more than a single residence.” Â Dave Rosengren, WPCA member, asked about River Run and he was told that it was grandfathered in since the condos had been there before 1998, when CT Water had put the rules and regulations together for the WPCA. Asked about the type of piping that had been used for the new buildings, Ray said that it was not an approved pipe: the WPCA requires 160 psi, and Tim had used 100 psi.
A question about the Waring building came up and WPCA members agreed that was an existing situation at that building, where there was only one meter for the whole building. Â The DPUC (State of CT Department of Public Utility Control ) had agreed that they could submeter in that situation (run meters off the main meter).
Coming back to the situation at Canterbury Village, Board members were told that Tim had mentioned several times that he wasn’t coming in (before that Board). Â Asked about the meters at Canterbury Village, Ray said there were 20 separate meters, and now there were 3 units on one meter for each of the new buildings.
“Why would you go ahead and do it without coming to see us? Â You went through all that expense.” Â Tim was asked. Â ”I did it for the cost.” Â He answered. Â ”You took a gamble.” Dave Rosengren, who is an attorney, responded, adding: “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.” Â Tim came back by saying he was basing himself on his past experience with that Board. Â He said he had researched the matter before making the connections. Â ”But you didn’t read our regulations.” Â A Board member was heard to comment. Â ”You can turn it off.” Â Tim said to the Board. Â ”No, you can’t turn the water off!” Ray corrected. “There are people living there, he’s the landlord. Â You can’t turn it off.” Â Tim said he’d be willing to change the pipe, and again it was stated that the certificate of occupancy gave him one year to address the water situation.
Bill Michaud, Â WPCA member, said: “Out of fairness to everyone else, we have rules and regulations for a reason. Someone wants a less expensive way to do it, it’s not a good enough reason. Â Otherwise why have rules?” Â Again it was stated that no attempt had been made to get approval from the Board. Â ”If he’s allowed to do this, how do we know what’s going on anywhere?” another member of the Board commented.
Bill Michaud ended by saying: “I would make him put in the separate lines.” Â ”He has a temporary certificate of occupancy. Â He has one year.” Ken Krohner said. Â ”Where did he get that certificate of occupancy? Â By what authority?” Dave Rosengren asked. Â Bob Krzys also wanted to know: “He had people ready to move in? Â When did that become effective?” Â ”In November.” Ken responded. Â “I was called and I gave him one year…Â I felt it was important.”
Ken wanted to table the matter to give time to discuss it Â ”I want to take it up at the next meeting.” Bob Krzys said. Dave Rosengren made the motion to table it to the next meeting, and the motion was passed. Â As Tim gathered his materials to leave the conference room, Ken asked him to stop in and see him at Portobello’s. Â ”You’re the ice guy, right?” Tim clarified, referring to Ken’s Birch Lane Ice company behind the Portobello’s Restaurant location. Â Tim then asked the First Selectman if he could see him for a minute, and Dan Jerram joined Tim in the hallway. Â Tim’s voice could be heard for at least 10 minutes in the hallway as the Board went on discuss St. John’s Episcopal Church’s application to build a walkway along the side of their church which might impact the water line running alongside it.
Item #4: St. John’s Episcopal Church ~ Easement
Attorney Philip Walker and Diane Hayes, the Treasurer of St. John’s, had come to the Board to continue the process necessary to have the right easements in place for the church to be able to build a covered walkway along the side of the church which would give access to a structure in the back of the church. Â This plan leaves the memorial garden on the other side of the church untouched. Â The St. John’s representatives were also accompanied by Mary Ann Gunning who owns the Chapin Park Bed and Breakfast property next to the church. Â There is an existing 15′ easement for a water line that runs from the Pine Meadow well through the old railroad bed across the church’s property and to the water line on Church Street.
The modified easement which the church had previously submitted to the WPCA was reviewed by the town’s attorney who commented that there were several more steps to be taken, including bringing the matter to Planning and Zoning. Â The church’s attorney said that the only change in the language of the original easement was that, in the event that the town needs to work on the water line, the town will repair the grounds of the church but the church will be responsible for constructing the walkway. Â Diane Hayes clarified that the walkway encroaches by about 2 feet into the easement but it would not be directly over the pipe. Â In order to have enough room available for the heavy equipment to effect repairs, the church is also obtaining a 10-foot easement from Mary Ann Gunning, who had brought a copy of her easement to the meeting.
Dave Rosengren said that he wants specific language in the easement about the walkway, otherwise the town would be responsible for repairing it. Â He also wants language to be included about no plantings being allowed on the easement otherwise they are there at the owner’s risk.
Dave said both easements need to be reviewed to ensure that combined they give a 25-foot right of way; to look at the indemnity, especially to see that the Board shouldn’t have to indemnify property owners in case of an emergency; and to give the Board protection and restricts to what it normally does in the case of plantings. Â The Board will be sending both documents to the town attorney to review the points Dave raised.
Item #6: CT Water Update
Connection to MDC: Among the items that were discussed during the CT Water update by Ray Adamaitis was the matter of the MDC recurring bill of Â $109.85 per month for a waterline that couldÂ provide the town with emergency access to supplies of water from the MDC; see ourÂ August 11 report on the WPCA meeting when this matter was first brought to the Board’s attention.
Bob Krzys told the Board members that Mark Worsman, the New Hartford Fire Department Chief, had said that he’d like the connection activated. Â Ken Krohner said that the MDC had sent them a bill and that he hadn’t paid it. Â ”You’re making a unilateral decision which goes against the Board.” Bob responded, referring to the fact that the Board had decided to continue making the payments until they had received Mark’s input and could make a final decision on whether or not to abandon the line.
Ray Adamaitis said that CT Water had paid the MDC bill and that his company had made the decision not to try to get the money back. Â Ray said it had been a conscious decision on his company’s part to retain the connection. Â ”If you lose that connection, it may be very expensive to try to reconnect to it again.” Ray told the Board. Â ”When you paid it, you (CT Water) assumed the cost?” Bob asked Ray, to which Ray responded: “Yes.”
Bob again stated that the Fire Chief wants to make the connection live. Â Ken told the Board that the MDC had sent a new bill that very same day and that he would pay it. Â The Board will continue working on this item.
Fire Hydrant Replacement: Ray reported that CT Water was “gettting through” repairing the fire hydrants that were found to be in need of repairs when they had been tested Â at the time the lines had been flushed this past fall. Â However, one hydrant in front of 70 Cottage Street needs to be replaced at a cost of $6,000, Ray informed the Board members. Â Asked if it was a safety hazard, Ray responded that there was another hydrant down the street but that he’d put it on the list of things to do right away. Â The Board members approved replacing the hydrant.
Brook Street/Main Street Sewer Line Update: Ken informed the Board that the sewer lines on Brook Street and Main Street had been camaraed and the Building Oversight Committee was now waiting for the report and then the BOC would make a recommendation to the Board of Selectmen. Â ”And to the WPCA.” Â A member of that Board added.
Sewer District Map: The Board members voiced their concern that the sewer district map they currently had was not sufficiently detailed for them to adopt officially. Â Bob told the Board members that Karl Nilsen, Planning and Zoning Officer, wants to do a workshop with them on this item. Â Bill Michaud, who is a civil engineer, also expressed his doubts about the map and said they needed the advice of Karl and Chip (Roraback, the town attorney). Â Board members agreed to follow up on this item.
Board members also updated each other on their work on the following items:
- Ordinances ~ Mary Beth Greenwood: Inspections of grease traps was discussed andÂ Â Ray Adamaitis was asked to identify which locations on a list should be inspected;
- RFP (Request for Proposal) for Sewer/Water Operations ~ Bill Michaud: The RFP was sent to the town attorney and to Vic Kray, the consultant to the WPCA. Â Ray asked whether the town required the kind of RFP that was been considered which was 28 pages long, and whether they wanted to have a single operator, or whether they should leave it open for two companies to partner together to provide the water and sewer operations. Â Ray also questioned why the town was looking to hire an operator so soon. Â He didn’t seem to think it was necessary to have the operator there right away just to be trained by the companies who provided the equipment. Â In Ray’s opinion, the operators know how to run a plant, and each one has their own way of doing it. “It’s nice, but it’s not necessary!” Â Bill agreed with Ray. Â After more discussion about various aspects of the contract, the Board members said they would get a timetable from the town attorney and then they would schedule a special meeting to approve the RFP so that it could be issued quickly.
For the official, complete minutes of this meeting when they become available, please visit theÂ Minutes and Agendas section of the town’s municipal website.
Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA)
Thursday, February 4, 2010
2.) Opportunity for Public Comment
3.) Tim Bobroske – re: Canterbury Village
4.) Easement – St John’s Church
5.) John Chudzik – sewer plant operations update
6.) Ray Adamaitis – CT Water (water and sewer connections) update
7.) Brook Street/Main Street Sewer Line update
8.) Sewer District Map – vote for approval
9.) Sewer Assessment Lien on property
10.) Ordinance Update
11.) Completion and Approval of RFP – sewer/water operations
12.) Rules and Regulations Update
13.) Any Other Business to Come Before this Authority