2008-04-24 / Front Page

Water and sewer rules reviewed

By Sam Bari

During a special workshop Monday night, the Town Council went over the rules and regulations of the Board of Water and Sewer Commissioners with Steve Goslee, the Public Works director.

Town Administrator Bruce Keiser reminded the council that no decisions could be made because the meeting was a workshop and an agenda had not been posted. Council President Julio Di- Giando agreed and said he didn't think it was a good idea to come to conclusions on any issues with council members Barbara Szepatowski and William Kelly absent.

Copies of the present rules and regulations were distributed to the council. Goslee highlighted suggested deletions, revisions, and additions to various definitions, rules, and services that he felt were in need of review. The council briefly discussed each item that Goslee indicated. After the discussion, DiGiando instructed the council to take the rules home and give thought to the their decisions before making the rules and regulations an agenda item for a council vote.

The items in question included: definition of a kitchen in any living unit; location and types of valves and meters; new Department of Health backflow regulations, grease trap requirements, and maintenance responsibilities; definition of well depth requirements; a section on water conservation regulations, including car and house washing and irrigation during dry periods; required low water consumption washers; and the use of sub-meters.

During the regular meeting of the Town Council sitting as the Board of Water and Sewer Commissioners, Town Planner Lisa Bryer presented an overview of the Rolling Agenda budget for the "Best Land Use Plan for School Grounds and Neighborhood."

Bryer said the budget for the entire project was approximately $3,000,000. "We have $251,000 promised from the state Department of Transportation, although the funds have yet to be allocated," she said. She also suggested that some money might come from the town budget for the school grounds.

DiGiando asked if the school was going to return the $168,000 in excess funds to the town. Bryer said that School Committee Vice Chairwoman Julie Kallfelz said they have every intention of returning the excess as long as the budget is not cut and they do not need the money. Bryer also suggested that if the money is returned to the town, the school grounds would be a good use for it.

Councilman Robert Sutton supported the idea in its entirety for use of the excess funds. Di- Giando and councilman Michael White agreed. DiGiando said the matter would be an agenda item for the April 28 meeting of the council.

In an unrelated matter, while giving the public works project update, Director Goslee referred to a response letter from DOT Director Michael P. Lewis concerning the pump station at Route 138 and Tashtassuc Road. The pumps have not been working for some time and the water that should be pumped into a sediment pond before draining into Narragansett Bay could be seeping into the town water reservoir during major rain events when the water table is high.

The letter said, "We express regret for the delay in responding to your letter dated March 20, 2007, as we recognize the significance of the storm water pump station in your community. As you are likely aware, the Department has continually had to make repairs and modifications to the pump station since its original construction in 1992. Due to the compounding amount of issues which were affecting this asset, the Department decided in 2007 that the best course of action would be to re-design the pump system."

The letter went on to say that the DOT anticipated the project to go out for bid in September of 2008, but it did not indicate when the project would be completed. The director did, however, say that the maintenance division would continue to perform "routine repairs to the existing pump system to ensure that water levels remain low in an effort to prevent storm water from being discharged towards the public water supply."

In the wastewater treatment plant section of his report, Goslee indicated that the permitted flow for the monthly average at the treatment plant is 730,000 gallons per day and that presently the flow is averaging 300,000 gallons per day, indicating a dry period.

In other business, Goslee presented a revised drawing of the water treatment facility trails that proposed moving the parking lot to an area just north of its present location. The water treatment plant will be fenced in and locked for security reasons. The trail from the new parking area will go along the north side of the enclosed water treatment plant, around the back and continue as it did before. The osprey observation platform can be located within easy access of the parking area.

The councilors agreed that the plan would work, and voted 3-0 for approval.

In a separate matter, the council postponed the discussion of the town owned wood pile pier at East Ferry until the April 28 meeting because Bill Munger, whose company leases the marina from the town was not available.

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