BERNARDS TOWNSHIP SEWERAGE AUTHORITY

MINUTES OF THE OPERATING MEETING

JULY 28, 2009

                                                         

Chairwoman Pavlini called the meeting of the Bernards Township Sewerage Authority to order at 6:02 p.m. on July 28, 2009 in the Conference Room of the Municipal Building, Collyer Lane, Basking Ridge, New Jersey.

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:       Ms. Boquist; Mr. Carpenter; Mr. Malay; Ms. Pavlini

 

MEMBERS ABSENT:         Ms. Gaziano

 

STAFF PRESENT:                Mr. Peter Messina, Administrator; Mr. Glen Plesnarski, BTSA Collections Supervisor; Mr. John Belardo, Esq., BTSA Attorney; Mr. Nicholas Valese, Hatch Mott MacDonald

 

OTHERS PRESENT:           

 

OPEN PUBLIC MEETING STATEMENT

Chairwoman Pavlini read the following statement: “Adequate notice of this meeting was posted on the bulletin board in the Municipal Building, One Collyer Lane, Basking Ridge, New Jersey; e-mailed to the Bernardsville News, Bernardsville, and faxed to the Courier News, Bridgewater, New Jersey, and was filed with the Township Clerk, all on December 22, 2008.  Any motion to go into closed session will be deemed to include a motion that the matters discussed at such closed session will be disclosed to the public when such matters are finally determined and there is no further reason to prohibit the public disclosure of information relating to such matters.”

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

a.                   June 23, 2009 – Regular Meeting Minutes

Motioned by Mr. Carpenter, seconded by Ms. Boquist to Approve the Regular Meeting Minutes dated June 23, 2009.

 

ROLL CALL

Aye:    Ms. Boquist; Mr. Carpenter; Ms. Pavlini

Nay:

Abstain:  Mr. Malay

Motion Carried

 

b.                  June 23, 2009 – Closed Session Meeting Minutes

Authority members agreed to revisit these minutes during the August BTSA meeting.

 

CORRESPONDENCE
  1. Letter from Warren Township Sewerage Authority

Mr. Messina advised Authority members of a letter that he received from legal counsel on behalf of the Warren Township Sewerage Authority (WTSA).  WTSA has capacity at its Stage V Facility in excess of that which is required, thus the WTSA would like to enter into an agreement under which capacity would be made available to properties within Bernards Township.

 

  1. BTSA Response to WTSA Letter

Mr. Messina advised Authority members that he forwarded a letter to WTSA’s legal counsel stating that the BTSA is not interested in allowing the WTSA to provide sewer service to properties within Bernards Township.  Mr. Belardo confirmed for Mr. Carpenter that the WTSA would have no legal recourse to take control of BTSA land for this purpose.

 

  1. Flow Report 2Q – Hatch Mott MacDonald

Mr. Messina explained that according to HMM’s 2nd quarter wastewater flow estimates, the BTSA is currently within normal limitations, below 2.5 mgd.  However, when projecting future additions, the demand could reach an estimated 2.7 mgd, thus the BTSA must remain conservative about accepting new connections.

 

PUBLIC COMMENT

None.

 

Mr. Malay asked Mr. Messina if the residents of Juniper Way have recently voiced any concerns about the area.  Mr. Messina advised that there have been no recent complaints, but that they have all agreed to revisit the issue in September.  Ms. Boquist asked about an artist rendering for the landscaping of the area.  Mr. Messina stated that he believes a rendering would be a waste of time and money because the end product will likely not be an exact match.  Authority members agreed that since an artist rendering was promised at the last meeting with area residents, it should be provided.  Mr. Messina stated that the artist rendering would be completed before September.

 

ACTION/DISCUSSION ITEMS

  1. Discussion – Consultants for Solar Initiative at STP

Mr. Messina stated that he and Mr. McArthur are enthusiastic about the prospect of the Solar Farm initiative in Bernards Township.  He reiterated that he was inspired by the Solar Farm installed by the Morristown Sewerage Authority, which illustrates the energy used and saved by residents.  Mr. Messina, Mr. Bowlby, and Mr. McArthur visited the Morristown plant to gain information about potentially implementing a Solar Farm in Bernards Township.

 

Mr. Messina recommended utilizing Metro Energy Solutions, the firm responsible for the 4.2 million dollar Solar Farm in Morristown, to conduct a feasibility study for the project.  Mr. Messina recommended using approximately five million dollars from the BTSA budget reserves.  He estimated that the BTSA would recoup roughly $600,000 over a period of eight years in energy saving and credits as a result of the project.  Mr. Messina confirmed for Mr. Carpenter that approximately 35% of electrical usage would be recouped.  Mr. Messina also estimated receiving an additional $480,000 in credits.  The credits, which would be treated as income, are variable over time.

 

 

Ms. Pavlini questioned whether or not the expense of the project should be funded by the BTSA surplus or via financing. Mr. Messina stated that the financial reward would be lessened due to the cost of repaying the financing.  Mr. Malay recommended using the surplus funds.  Mr. Messina confirmed that there are currently 20 million dollars in surplus.  Mr. Carpenter questioned whether or not it is responsible management to continue to amass such a surplus and not utilize it.  Mr. Messina reminded Authority members that the surplus was grown, in part, to prepare for the potentially costly phosphorous issue, which the Authority has been able to address through the less costly pilot study.  Ms. Boquist stated that the BTSA should be initiating programs that will benefit current residents, as opposed to those in the future. 

 

Mr. Messina stated that the solar farm could be functional by next year.  Mr. Carpenter and Mr. Plesnarski questioned how much maintenance would be involved with the project.  Mr. Messina stated that the rain cleans the solar panels naturally, however a maintenance management firm could be retained to address issues that are typically already covered by the warranty.  Mr. Malay wondered whether or not many of the parts used in the system would likely need to be updated within the next 25 years. Mr. Messina stated that he has found that the panels have a 25 year life and the electrical components over 15 years. 

 

  1. Resolution # 0934 – Solar Consultant

Motioned by Mr. Carpenter, seconded by Mr. Malay to Approve the Resolution # 0934,

Authorizing the contract for extraordinary unspecifiable services for solar consulting services be awarded to Metro Energy Solutions for a term from July 28, 2009 through July 27, 2010, at a fee not to exceed $5,100.

 

ROLL CALL

Aye:    Ms. Boquist; Mr. Carpenter; Mr. Malay; Ms. Pavlini

Nay:   

Abstain: 

Motion Carried

 

  1. Discussion – CO #1 – DeMaio – SCADA Project

Mr. Messina explained that Sky Morehouse, P.E., recommended a change order in the amount of $16,855.00, 2.2% of the total contract price, in support of the SCADA project.  Mr. Messina further stated that the additional expenses all represent unforeseeable electrical issues that arose once the project was underway.  According to Mr. Morehouse, the improvements addressed within the change order would ultimately improve the functionality of the system, thus he strongly recommends making them. 

 

  1. Resolution # 0935 – CO #1 – DeMaio – SCADA Project

Motioned by Mr. Carpenter, seconded by Mr. Malay to Approve the Resolution # 0935, Authorizing that the contract for construction services for the SCADA project awarded to DeMaio Electrical Company, Inc. on April 21, 2008, via resolution # 0821, be amended in the amount of $16,855, thereby revising the original contract price from $763,500 to $780,355.

 

ROLL CALL

Aye:    Mr. Carpenter; Mr. Malay; Ms. Pavlini

Nay:    Ms. Boquist

Abstain:

Motion Carried

 

  1. Discussion – User Fee for 2010

Mr. Messina explained that he and Mr. McArthur are in the process of preparing the 2010 BTSA budget.  The user fee is a component of the budget.  In response to Ms. Boquist’s earlier request to consider a fee reduction for senior citizens, Mr. Belardo explained the classification process as it relates to a reduction/abatement of sewage fees.  The state statute on the issue defines a senior citizen as anyone:  1. Age 65 or older; 2. Under the age of 65 and permanently disabled per Federal SSI standards; 3. Disabled under any Federal law administered by the Department of Veteran Affairs if the disability is 60% or more; 4. Has a total income not in excess of $10,000 per year inclusive of Federal Social Security, pension, disability, or retirement program.

 

Mr. Malay questioned what type of tax credit Peggy Warren, Tax Collector, gives senior citizens.  Mr. Messina confirmed that in the tax category, senior citizens receive a $250 flat fee reduction, however for those seniors who are considered “super-poor”, their taxes are frozen.  Mr. Belardo reminded Authority members that tax laws might be different than sewage authority laws. 

 

Ms. Boquist stated that if the statute states that seniors may receive permanent fee abatement, then it is simply a policy decision.  She reminded Authority members that seniors have contributed into the system all of their lives and that the State gives seniors breaks in other areas.  She expressed frustration that most of the money in the town benefits children, and not seniors, who cause less of a strain on the sewage system.  She recommended that some of the money in surplus go back to the seniors, who have contributed to it the longest.  In addition to providing financial assistance to seniors, a reduction or abatement could also dissuade people from leaving the area.  Ms. Boquist would like to reward the current residents before implementing initiatives toward saving in the future.

 

Mr. Carpenter opposed a fee reduction or abatement exclusively for seniors.  Although he expressed concern for those in financial distress, he stated that he does not feel that the Sewage Authority should be used as a means of enacting “social justice”.  Additionally, when creating the budget, all potential expenses must be accounted for first, and then the user fees should be based on what is needed to cover those expenses.  Mr. Carpenter would like to see everyone treated equally and give everyone “cost-effective” services while still operating as efficiently as possible.

 

Mr. Malay stated that he is in favor of a universal fee reduction if the budget analysis provides for it.  He reminded Authority members that seniors are not the only people who are struggling financially.  He did, however, express support of a reduction for those who the state considers to be “in-need”.  Mr. Messina expressed concern about how to find and classify people as such.  He noted that seniors, in general, would need to be sought out in order to implement a reduction.  He also questioned how many seniors might be outside of the sewer service area. 

 

Mr. Malay recommended revisiting the issue of moving toward a usage-based fee schedule at some point in the future.

 

  1. Consulting Engineer’s Report

Mr. Valese referred to his Consulting Engineer’s report and informed the Authority that:

  • Sanitary Sewer Video Inspections 2008/2009 – During July, there was not additional significant rainfall to conduct the rainfall induced infiltration/inflow investigations.  The status of the 2008 and 2009 work is as follows:  The status of work completed to date under the 2008 video inspection project included approximately 18,994 lf of the sanitary sewers and approximately 183,950 gpd of I/I has been identified.  This represents approximately 74% of the 25,532 lf of sewers to be inspected for the 2008 project.  Note that approximately 6,500 lf of sewer has not been inspected to date under the 2008 project.  HMM has conducted approximately 1,549 lf (approximately 10%) of video inspections under the 2009 video inspection work and identified approximately 37,520 gpd I/I entering the sanitary sewer system from pipe defects, a manhole leak, and one private building service connection (PBSC).  Note that approximately 6,500 lf of sewer has not been inspected to date under the 2008 project.  This consists of approximately 3,000 lf of sewer that can be inspected in Galloping Hill and Lyons Road/Newell Drive areas.  Approximately 2,500 lf of sewer cannot be inspected due to right of way access requiring an easement machine (track vehicle) with video equipment arrangement.  Approximately 1,000 lf of work in the right of way between Old Coach Road to Canterbury Road should be able to be inspected since the BTSA has cleared an upstream blockage.  A report on findings for the 2008 project will be prepared when the Galloping Hill and Lyons Road/Newell Drive work is completed.  HMM will continue to track weather conditions and conduct video inspection work when the wet weather conditions are satisfactory for identifying sources of I/I.
  • FST Building Leak Repairs and Lagoon Valve Chamber Design – HMM has obtained and reviewed available record plan information, conducted an in-house kickoff meeting and has scheduled a site visit at the plant for Friday, July 24th to obtain field data for the proposed valve chamber.

·        Phosphorous Pilot Study – The pilot study was started during the first week of June.  The alum dosage is presently approximately 200 gpd and to date the ph has been satisfactory and the addition of other chemicals has not been necessary.  Based on recent data the phosphorous levels are slightly higher that 0.76 mg/l and the dosage of alum will need to be increased.  The amount of additional sludge produced with the process is not known at this time and will be evaluated at the end of the pilot trials.

·        Final NJPDES General Permit – The status of the NJPDES Permit remains the same as previously reported.  HMM identified two major issues with the Final NJPDES Permit for the plant.  The first was the imposing of a more stringent Chronic Toxicity Limit, which HMM objected to in the November 7, 2008 comments on the Draft Permit.  The second issue was the imposition of Nitrate Limits and compliance schedule in the permit.  As requested, HMM had submitted to the NJDEP on January 20, 2009 an Adjudicatory Hearing and Stay Request for the NJDEP’s consideration of the above items.  The BTSA received a letter from the NJDEP dated February 5, 2009 denying the Stay of these issues, citing no immediate financial or enforcement liability due to the time limit for compliance. 

 

 

  1. Discussion – NJDEP Phosphorous Limit

Mr. Messina and Mr. Belardo advised Authority members of a recent court decision on the appeal of the Passaic River Basin TMDL for phosphorous, which creates the possibility that seasonal (summer season only) limits on phosphorous may eventually be adopted.  The case has been remanded to an Administrative Law Judge for further scientific fact-finding.  Mr. Messina assured Authority members that the pilot study remains beneficial.

 

Mr. Messina will keep Authority members advised of the status of this litigation.

 

OPERATOR’S REPORT – JULY 2009 (reporting on June 2009 activities)

Mr. Plesnarski informed the Authority of the following:

  • BTSA crews jetted 7 roads (Autumn Drive, Dawn Drive, Keats Road, Old Coach Road easement, Paddock Court, Thackeray Drive, and Wolf Lane). 
  • BTSA crews TV’d Old Coach Roach easement.
  • BTSA crews jetted storm drain by 30 Tanglewood Lane for DPW.
  • Landscaping for Administration Building was completed.
  • BTSA crews passed bioassay with > 100%.
  • BTSA crews checked 9 Everson Place for slow draining line (manholes and cleanouts were clear).
  • BTSA crews checked 105 Bernard Drive for blockage (cleanout cap damaged and stick down cleanout; Removed stick and repaired two cleanout caps).
  • BTSA crews replaced carbon for odor control at Juniper Way.
  • Jamestown Road phone line conduit was extended and DSL line was installed.
  • FIOS line was installed at East Oak Street. 
  • BTSA crews inspected grease traps.
  • Plant power was shut down for one hour to examine main bus and remove current transformers.
  • BTSA crews started alum feed.
  • BTSA crews performed plant and station oil changes.
  • BTSA crews installed new Grundfoss hypo pump.
  • BTSA crews altered wiring to latch in Rebel Hill power fail alarm.
  • BTSA crews exercised plant and portable generators. 
  • BTSA crews conducted Open House.
  • BTSA crews continue to meet permit parameters without any problems.
  • BTSA crews completed fire extinguisher, lighting, and safety shower checks.
  • BTSA crews attended monthly JIF safety meeting at Hanover.
  • BTSA crews were lost time accident free for 172 days.

 

Mr. Plesnarski provided updates on the following projects:

Valley Road Pump Station:  Test pits dug and force main located.

 

SCADA System – DeMaio Electric/Morehouse Engineering:  Inlet control center completed.

 

I&I:  Obtaining pricing for four leak repairs in the Rebel Hill area.

 

Madisonville Road Pump Station:  Waiting for T&M comments on design.

 

Emergency Generator:  Waiting for the installation of the generator.

 

Transformer Install:  Waiting for the installation of the generator.

 

Belt Filter Pressformer Install:  Design meeting held with T&M and Komline.

 

Motioned by Mr. Malay, seconded by Ms. Boquist to approve the Operator’s Report – July 2009 (reporting on June 2009 activities).

ROLL CALL

Aye:    Ms. Boquist; Mr. Carpenter; Mr. Malay; Ms. Pavlini

Nay:

Abstain:

Motion Carried
 
BILLS

Motioned by Ms. Boquist, seconded by Mr. Malay to approve the Operating Bills as follows:

a.         Accounts Payable Current        -  $ 213,483.79

b.         Accounts Payable Reserve        -  $ 306,703.46 

c.         Payroll Current             -  $   75,401.10

d.         Payroll Reserves                       -  $         -0- 

e.         Total Operating                        -  $ 595,588.35 

f.          Developers Escrow                  -  $   17,528.48   

            GRAND TOTAL                     -  $ 613,116.83

 

ROLL CALL

Aye:    Ms. Boquist; Mr. Carpenter; Mr. Malay; Ms. Pavlini

Nay:   

Abstain:

Motion Carried

 

ADJOURNMENT

Motioned by Mr. Carpenter, seconded by Mr. Malay to adjourn at 7:12 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

Shaun Lockett