Council approves amendments to water rules and regulations
The Town Council unanimously approved the proposed draft of amendments to the Rules and Regulations of Water Commissioners at Monday's meeting.
The approval however, was not without opposition and lengthy discussion. William Munger, president of Conanicut Marine, and leaseholder of the town marina at East Ferry, and Clem Napolitano, a principal of Jamestown Boatyard, opposed the wording of Amendment 6, Section 7. The amendment imposes water restrictions to conserve water during the summer months when water levels are low. The restrictions include prohibiting boat washing, which affects all marinas and boatyards from the end of June to the end of October.
Munger and Napolitano are in the business of repairing and servicing boats. After repairs are com- plete, boats are often dirty, and part of their service is to return every boat to its owner after it has been washed and cleaned.
They contend that their cleaning equipment is extremely efficient and that they do not use as much water as restaurants, which are not being penalized.
Napolitano said, "I need the water to stay in business. If I have to pay extra for it, I'll do so. But don't leave me without water." Munger shared his sentiments.
Public Works Director Steve Goslee said that he had concerns about the town not having adequate potable water if a pump broke and couldn't be repaired, or some other disaster occurred that was beyond the town's control. Councilman Robert Sutton supported Goslee's position on the matter.
Council members Barbara Szepatowski and William Kelly sympathized with the boatyards and suggested that the new water tower was supposed to give the town the needed reserve in case of emergencies.
Goslee argued that although the town had water, it would not have the ability to treat adequate amounts during peak periods until the new water treatment plant is up and running, which wouldn't be until later this year.
Several people, including Jack Brittain, president of Jack's Electric, spoke in favor of not penalizing the marinas. Brittain suggested selling water to businesses if at all possible to lighten the burden of exorbitant water bills to subscribers if usage is low.
After lengthy discussion between the council and concerned parties, the matter was solved with two motions. The first motion passed the regulations as submitted with a unanimous 5-0 vote. The second motion called for a meeting of the council sitting as the Water and Sewer Board prior to June 30 to discuss Amendment 6, Section 7.
The discussion will be an agenda item at the June 23 Town Council meeting. The Council will be asked to vote on relaxing the restrictions covered in Amendment 6, Section 7 until they are needed. To impose the restrictions, the town must advertise the restrictions one week in advance of the date of implementation. The motion also passed 5-0.
Public Works report
In other sewer and water business, Goslee reported that wells JR-1 and JR-3 are back in service. The wells alternate and pump 50 gallons per minute. They run when the treatment plant is running to maintain consistent water chemistry at the plant.
Goslee also reported that the discharge from the Rhode Island Department of Transportation pump station has been sampled. His report said that the town is waiting for test results which should be returned in about three weeks.
The water treatment plant operated at 99-percent efficiency this month for turbidity removal. The report also said that the progress on the new water treatment plant is on schedule.
A notice of violation for the installation of an unauthorized float at Conanicut Marina was sent to proprietor William Munger from the Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC). The float is used seasonally to assist in the launching and hauling of boats at the beginning and end of the season.
Councilman Robert Sutton made a motion to authorize the town administrator to apply for a seasonal permit for use of the float. The motion passed with a vote of 4-0 in the absence of council woman Barbara Szepatowski, who was excused to attend another meeting.