WATER RESOURCES ADVISORY BOARD-WASTE WATER MANAGEMENT PLANNING COMMITTEE
MINUTES OF JOINT MEETING OF 1/9/06
Eastham police station, 3 pm.
Present were Chair Weiss, Co-Chair Whitmore, members Sandler, Williams, Boelitz, Nugent, Sullivan and Bayne, Health Agent Crowley, Assistant Agent Skidmore, Orleans Waste Water Management Steering Committee and Board of Health member Gussie McKusick, Orleans BOS member John Hinckley, Orleans Board of Water Commissioners member Ken McKusick, and Orleans Water Department Superintendent, Lou Briganti.
The minutes of the 12/19/05 meeting were approved with one amendment.
The Orleans guests explained they were present to urge Eastham to consider regionalizing the water supply and to consider working more extensively with Orleans on the nitrogen reduction planning for Nauset Estuary.
G. McKusick, speaking for joint waste water management planning, pointed out that the two towns share natural resources. She explained that it was the poor water quality in the upper reaches of its bays and saline ponds that made Orleans realize waste water management was needed. The Massachusetts Estuary Project Technical Report for the Nauset Estuary, based on sampling done jointly by the two towns, is scheduled to be released by DEP in the fall of 2006. It will stipulate maximum nitrogen loading in Nauset Estuary. In determining the requirements for the concomitant nitrogen reduction, the DEP looks at the current load in the estuary and then evaluates land use patterns in its watershed to determine what reduction must be made to effect the required maximum level.
She explained that DEP is agreeing to allow the work in each town to be phased, watershed by watershed. McKusick asked whether Eastham could allocate some money for consultants to do an evaluation for Eastham’s portion of Nauset Estuary. She suggested 20 hours worth of time might be adequate.
Weiss asked what management factors might result in the necessary reductions. She responded that some tools might be sewering, neighborhood treatment systems, and package treatment plants.
Superintendent Briganti addressed the issue of the hydrological impact of lens to lens water transfer. USGS did the modeling for this study by determining the steady state of the 2004 drawdown of the Orleans groundwater table, and then determining the impact of two volumes of water withdrawal for transfer, .4 million gpd and .9 million gpd. Transferring .4 million gpd showed no negative impact on the Orleans lens to the year 2020. Orleans currently uses 1 million gpd on average. The cost to extend the 12” Orleans main five miles from the rotary (where it currently serves several Eastham homes) to Cable Rd. is estimated to be $2,750,000. Orleans users currently pay a minimum of $42 twice per year.
Ken McKusick commented that no determination has been made regarding the effect on the Eastham lens or of the ecological impact on either town’s environment. He also stated that he had discussed attending the Eastham meeting with his fellow commissioners individually; they, while noting that several issues needed more study, approved both his visit and his offer to begin discussions with Eastham concerning such a transfer. He observed that less than 5% of possible Orleans users choose not to hook up. The Orleans water is treated for iron and manganese, is chlorinated, and shows no hydrocarbons. There are currently seven wells, six of which are in the water protection district.
Crowley explained the genesis and purpose of the recently signed contract for use of the regional water planning grant made by the County. Gussie McKusick asked who will act as the mover of action regarding that contract. Crowley responded the CCC will act as the project manager. Weiss commented that the WRAB-WWMPC is an advisory group, with the BOS retaining all decision making power.
Ken McKusick recommended that the WRAB-WWMPC review the documents which define its role relative to the BOS.
Hinckley stated that the majority of the Orleans BOS support the discussion with Eastham because they recognize the potential environmental and financial benefits.
Ken McKusick will report to the Orleans Board of Water Commissioners that while Eastham is immediately concerned with a contamination problem in North Eastham, for which it is planning a limited local water supply, the water boards are proceeding to explore regional water planning for town wide water and take the potential offer of Orleans water seriously.
Weiss reiterated that if the 2006 spring Town Meeting approves the limited municipal well, it will, in effect, be approving the first phase of long term planning for a town wide water system. He noted that the annual well water quality testing results are showing a steady increase in nitrogen.
Briganti announced a tour of the Orleans water facility on Thursday 1/12 at 2 pm.; Mike Quink of DEP will be there. Weiss, Whitmore, Crowley and Bayne will attend.
The joint boards will meet with the Wellfleet Water Commissioners on 3/16 at 7 pm at the Wellfleet Senior Citizens Center at 715 Old Kings Highway, and agreed that the agenda suggested by Wellfleet is appropriate.
The joint boards will meet on second Mondays in 2006; the next two meetings will occur on 2/13 and 3/13.
Crowley reported that she had submitted a well pumping application to DEP; the site chosen is one on town land. Environmental Partners will work on the possibilities for the use of the well at the Regional High School as well.
Williams moved that the WRAB-WWMPC meet with Vanderhoef to urge Eastham find money to hire a consultant to support the Nauset Estuary nitrogen reduction planning. The group supported the motion unanimously.
Lem Skidmore circulated his findings on the 2005 water testing results, which show a substantial increase in nitrogen. Skidmore will compare year end data for 2005 with year end for preceding years.
Boelitz again expressed concern that voluntary testing results in too low a return rate, and asked that the group meet with the Board of Health to determine what issues prevent them from approving mandatory testing, and what issues they have about privacy. Whitmore commented that privacy should not be an issue, as Mass. law now requires well testing before a sale, and the records are public property.
Weiss reminded members of the tasks assigned at the Dec. meeting for discussion at the Feb. meeting. The tasks are keyed to the amended task list sent with the draft Dec. minutes.
Submitted by Sandy Bayne, Clerk