The Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA) met in March to continue working on the many fronts their Board is engaged on. With the town’s new waste water treatment plant now in service, the WPCA is responsible for the operation of that plant as well as the infrastructures that deliver waste to the plant and also deliver clean water to the its users. Add to this the financial oversight of both the waste and clean water systems and the pressing need to add more users to share the burden of paying for more than 70% of the cost of the new plant, and it is easy to see why this is the most hard-working Board bar none.
Following is the video of the WPCA’s March 1 meeting. Below the video is a summary of some of the discussion that took place during this meeting.
Summary Of Meeting
The first item on the agenda was the report of Water Planet, the operators of the town’s wastewater treatment plant (3 mins. 40 secs. in video). At the end of that report WPCA member Bill Michaud took the opportunity to say how well things were going with Water Planet, that the flow of information was better than it had been in the past and that the company was doing an excellent job.
WPCA Learns Of Waste And Clean Water Task Force Set Up By Selectmen
Chairman Bob Krzys then updated his fellow Board members on a meeting that the Board of Selectmen was looking to set up for March 15 (12 mins. 40 secs. in video). Bob passed out a document, ‘New Hartford’s Clean and Waste Water Future,’ which had been considered by the selectmen at their meeting. Based on that document the selectmen had agreed to convene a task force to consider the future of the town’s clean and waste water operations; the task force was to be made up of two members of the Building Oversight Committee (BOC), two former selectpersons, two members of the WPCA and the First Selectman. Bob said that he had told the First Selectman that he would bring the matter to the WPCA at their meeting for their input and to see who would participate on the task force, and he was informed that the selectmen had already picked who the WPCA representatives were going to be – Bob Krzys and Steve Hanright. Bob said he was free on the evening of the 15th and would go at least to the first meeting. “This is all I know about it – it’s a two-pager,” Bob said, referring to the document from the Board of Selectmen that he had just distributed to the WPCA members.
Looking at the list of issues on the two-page document, Bill Michaud said that the list was one that concentrated on the symptoms, not the causes of the issues they were having. He said the issues were the same as those that other systems in New England were facing. “The reason we haven’t fixed all these things is because we have a very small user base, a lot of fixed costs and we’re really doing the best we can to get ahead of this.” Bill said. A general discussion ensued, with Dave Rosengren commenting that 400 users couldn’t support the whole infrastructure and that it should be approached as a community issue. “The community ought to be involved in supporting the infrastructure through the general tax base,” he said. Regarding a possible sale of the water and/or waste systems, Bill Michaud commented that their Board is one that is focused on fiscal sustainability but also weighs in the interests of the community. “This is a much different Board than a Board that would sit on a utility whose main interest was in making sure that its shareholders were making a good return on their investment… That’s a loss of control in the future of the downtown of New Hartford.”
Bob said that he and Steve Hanright would attend the meeting and report back to the WPCA Board members.
More will be added to this summary as time permits; please view the video to watch the meeting.