Home Meeting Minutes MAY 23, 2022
MAY 23, 2022 PDF Print E-mail
Meeting Minutes - Meeting Minutes

Present

Chairman Jerome Theobald; Vice-Chairman John Haggarty; Treasurer John Feik; Secretary James LaPoint; Assistant Secretary George Firmstone; Dan Guinther, Plant Superintendent; Tammy Jensen, Administration; Solicitor Anthony Magnotta; Mary Peters, Engineer

 

Absent

Assistant Treasurer James Brennan

 

Visitors

Jim Hart

 

Pledge of Allegiance

 

Motion

On a motion made by John Haggarty and seconded by John Feik the Board approved the April 25, 2022, meeting minutes as presented.

Motion carried.

Roll Call

Mr. Firmstone, Yes                              Mr. Feik, Yes                                       Mr. LaPoint, Yes

Mr. Haggarty, Yes                               Mr. Theobald, Yes                               Mr. Brennan, Absent

 

Solicitor’s Report

  1. Gunuskey License Agreement.  There is no change from previous reports in that we are still waiting for the railroad’s consent to the right-of-way.
  2. Northeast Infrastructure, LLC/Cherry Ridge Realty, Inc. There is no change in status from last month.  We advised Attorney Bugaj that the as built maps were inconsistent with project maps that we currently have and that a more detailed map and deed of dedication needs to be prepared and forwarded to the Authority for review.
  3. White Mills Project.   I have been advised by the Office Administrator that the Grant for Mary Irwin has been approved and that she will soon be making connection to the system.
  4. EPA.  The Central Wayne Regional Authority has received an Administrative Order on Consent and Consent Agreement pertaining to Docket No. CWA-03-2022-0091DN, a proceeding under Section 309(g) of the Clean Water Act.  The highlights of the Consent Agreement and Administrative Order on Consent are as follows:

 

  1. The Authority, although not admitting liability agrees to pay a fine of $50,000.00 for the DMR Violations and the Violations respecting corrosion of pipes and peeling of paint on SBR Reactor.  In addition, the Authority agrees to undertake engineering studies, namely:
    1. An engineering study regarding peeling and corrosion of the SBR Tanks.
    2. An engineering study regarding copper and zinc permit effluent limit exceedances and sources of metals (cooper and zinc) in the WWTP effluent.
    3. After review of the Engineering Study’s by EPA a corrective action plan should be submitted by the Authority within ninety (90) days advising as to how all effluent exceedances will be completed within twelve (12) months of the Administrative Consent Order.
    4. Within a one hundred eighty (180) days of the effective date of this Order, CWRA will submit to EPA a Preventative Maintenance Plan (PMP) detailing maintenance requirements for the items listed and corrective action to be taken.  This paragraph appears to be geared toward the peeling paint at the headworks, and alleged corrosion as well as the SBR liner paint that is peeling.
    5. If there are additional Violations, they may be dealt with separately. If CWRA does not correct all violations within two (2) years additional sanctions will be issued.  I would advise the Board as follows:
      1. Entech Engineering prepared a TRE tracking and source document of the Authority in October of 2015.  The Authority hired Kleinfelder to perform a Metals, Toxics Reduction Evaluation Study which was completed in June of 2020 and submitted to PADEP.
      2. The Kleinfelder Study and lab testing cost the Authority in excess of $100,000 and the Study concluded that the maximum reported effluent concentration for each metal was less than fifty percent (50%) of the newly calculated site-specific waste load allocations.  Therefore, in accordance with PADEP Guidance, effluent limits for cooper, lead and zinc are not necessary for CWRA’s discharge.
      3. Despite those studies being performed PADEP and EPA have never commented on the Kleinfelder Study.  To the contrary, CWRA’s NPDES Permit which was supposed to be renewed in 2019 remains outstanding pursuant to administrative provisions of DEP.  I suspect that if we made inquiries of DEP that the reason the permit is outstanding will be related to Covid-19, however, it is becoming more readily apparent that the real reason is because of the TRE Study that has not been completely reviewed by the regulatory agencies.
      4. Based upon the above, the Authority will continue to incur substantial expenses for additional engineering studies. The studies may or may not be necessary based upon prior studies conducted by the Authority and on remedies to reduce metals (cooper, lead and zinc), which our own Engineer (Kleinfelder) indicates are not necessary to be reduced because they are less than fifty percent (50%) of the WLA. Obviously, combating a Clean Streams Violation will require incurring additional fees for legal services from an Environmental Law Firm together with additional expert witness services by professional Engineers and perhaps others.
      5. The $50,000 Administrative Fine is apparently only the beginning based upon the way that this document is crafted.  The document requires us to provide DMR’s for January 2021 to the present, which I am sure will also indicate that there are metal violations since it is almost impossible for the plant to meet the current permitted metals limits.  As such, I believe the Board of Directors has the following courses of action:
        1. Pay the fine, sign the Agreement, and abide by the additional requirements for additional studies and additional maintenance.
        2. Do not sign the Agreement, meet with EPA to tailor a new agreement, and get a commitment from EPA and DEP to review the study performed so that we can attend to put the metals issue to rest once and for all; or
        3. Do not sign the Agreement, tell EPA to charge us if they need to and immediately retain an Environmental Law Firm to defend the Clean Streams Complaint.
        4. In reviewing these options, the Board should weigh the following factors:
          1. Pursuant to 33 U.S.C. § 1319(d), a civil penalty not to exceed $25,000 per day for each violation may be imposed with each day being treated as a separate violation.
          2. A knowing violation of a permit condition or limitation or a knowing introduction into the sewer system of a pollutant is punishable criminally by a fine of not less than $5,000 nor more than $50,000 per day a violation or by imprisonment for not more than three (3) years or by both.
          3. The cost of defending any Clean Streams Action before the United States District Court   will likely exceed the cost of the $50,000 penalty being administratively assessed by EPA.
          4. The entry into the Consent Order under Section 1319(d) will provide a basis for future fines, in that the section provides: Determining a Civil Penalty. The Court shall consider any history of such violations by the party.
          5. Finally, this decision should not be a hasty one.  Based upon my review of the Consent Agreement and Final Order, I would recommend to the Authority that a further meeting be scheduled between Counsel, the Engineers, the Authority Plant Operator and Chairman.  I believe that we need to get a clear commitment from EPA Region III and Pennsylvania DEP that the study that was submitted in June of 2020 will be reviewed and either accepted or rejected. Until such time, I would argue that we should not be fined for DMR Violations.  Further, additional negotiations will probably lead us to conclude what is in the best interest of the Authority, and whether it is necessary to proceed further with political pressure to be placed upon PADEP and perhaps the EPA.
          6. Based upon the fact that the Central Wayne Regional Authority’s operations are relatively new compared to most sites that would be inspected, it appears the EPA inspectors were grasping at straws when there are other plants in Northeast PA which are in much more disrepair than CWRA.  One of the items listed in the statutory authority and jurisdiction for the Administrative Order on Consent is that there is a Public Notice by placing the amount of the penalty on the EPA website.  The EPA website currently has two (2) Public Notices; one is a proposed penalty of $15,000 against the Borough of Fleetwood under Section 309(g) of the Clean Water Act for Permit Violations.  The other public notice is a proposed penalty of $27,500 against Redhill Utility, LLC for violation of Section 301 of the Clean Water Act.  Section 301 of the Clean Water Act requires any facility discharging into the waters of the United States to have an NPDES Permit.  This facility discharged without a permit, had effluent exceedances and reporting violations and failed to operate and maintain the facility properly.
          7. H. Based upon the two most recent penalties Fleetwood, $15,000 and Redhill Utility, LLC in Virginia for $27,500 it appears the $50,000 being sought is excessive.

 

Correspondence was received from GSP Management Co. for Sunrise Terrace Mobile Home Park regarding Act 43 of 2021. A discussion was held. Solicitor Magnotta will correspond with the Board’s denial to their request. Sunrise Terrace is serviced by two water meters and the statute requires that the units are served by a single water meter. The statute also requires that the owner of the multiple residential units request an adjustment. GSP Management Company does not own all of the residential units.

Engineer’s Report

  1. 1) CRESTMONT SEWER MAIN PROJECT
  2. USDA Funding
    1. Owner-Engineer’s Agreement Revisions - Approved
    2. Owner-Engineer’s Agreement – Amendment 1 - $23,000 – Approved
    3. Design
      1. Bidding - Contingent on RUS Review (In Progress)

(1)  Environmental Review

(a)    PHMC – Cleared

(b)   Tribe – Submitted May 6, 2022

  1. Permits
    1. PennDOT Permit – Issued
    2. NPDES Stormwater – Submitted

(1)  Under DEP Technical Review

  1. Borough Road Opening Permit - Issued

 

  1. 2) Church street sewer main replacement
  2. Bids due June 1, 2022
    1. 3) CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROJECTs (PENNVEST)
    2. SBR Rehabilitation Project
      1. Preliminary Calendar Invites sent to DEP/PennVEST for Inspections
      2. 4) EPA – notice of violation
      3. Administrative Order on Consent
      4. Consent Agreement/Final Order
        1. 5) toxic reduction evaluation study
        2. Kleinfelder TRE Final Report Submitted to DEP (June 29, 2020) – No Response to Date

Mary was told that the original reviewer for the Authority’s TRE report sent to PA DEP has retired. Senator Casey and Congressman Cartwright may be contacted regarding the EPA situation. The Authority will be requesting a meeting with EPA.

 

Plant and Collection System Report

  • The monthly discharge monitoring and plant reports were reviewed. 
  • The grease trap inspection report was reviewed.
  • A proposal from CB Excavating was reviewed to install a 12” sluice pipe at the Kernwood Pump station.
  • The WWTP has been operating very well.
  • Work continues for manhole coating on the collection system.
  • Draining of the decant tank will begin next week weather permitting.
  • The control panel for the alum tanks will be repaired.
  • Dan met with Kroff Chemical to discuss a two-week trial of their product to help reduce metals in the wastewater.  

 

Motion

On a motion made by James LaPoint and seconded by George Firmstone the Board approved a proposal from CB Excavating in the amount of $1700.00 for labor and machine with additional costs for the 12” sluice pipe at current price during construction at the Kernwood Pump station.  Motion carried.

Roll Call

Mr. Feik, Yes                                       Mr. LaPoint, Yes                                  Mr. Haggarty, Yes

Mr. Theobald, Yes                               Mr. Brennan, Absent                           Mr. Firmstone, Yes

 

Administration Report

  • The monthly invoices and financial reports were reviewed.
  • 81 delinquent sewer rent letters have been sent this month totaling $22,423.97.
  • Four Municipal Liens totaling $1,714.73 will be filed with the Wayne County Prothonotary.
  • One water termination is scheduled on May 26th and three on June 30th.
  • Three Sheriff Sales are scheduled through June 1st.
  • Two properties are included in the July 29th Wayne County Judicial Sale.
  • Several customers have applied and are receiving grant funds through the LIHWAP program for past due water and sewer accounts. Authority customers have received $6,907.85 in grant funds.
  • Two sewer connection permits were issued.
  • An AED unit has been purchased and will be installed in the Boardroom.
  • A new kitchen countertop, sink and faucet will be purchased for the lab/office building.

 

 

Motion

On a motion made by James LaPoint and seconded by John Feik the Board approved payment of the monthly invoices as presented.  Motion carried.

Roll Call

Mr. LaPoint, Yes                                  Mr. Haggarty, Yes                               Mr. Theobald, Yes

Mr. Brennan, Absent                           Mr. Firmstone, Yes                              Mr. Feik, Yes

 

 

The meeting was adjourned at 7:24 p.m.

 

The next Board meeting is scheduled for June 27, 2022.

 

 

 

James LaPoint, Secretary

 
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