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League of Women Voters

Water and Sewer Commission Meeting - December 6, 2022 - OBSERVER REPORT




Water and Sewer Commission -December 6, 2022

LWVM Observer – Steven Levy


Staff present: Amy McHugh, Superintendent and Dianne Rodgers, Office Manager

Commissioners present: Chairman, F. Carlton Siegel, Members: Thomas Carroll and Barton Hyte.


November 1, 2022, minutes were reviewed and tabled.

Superintendent's water report, Contract 174, Water System Improvements, involves cleaning and lining a water pipe on Humphrey Street. The pipe is 6,599 feet long. It is a replacement of the water main on Calthrope Road and Crown Way. The pipe was installed under the street in 1899.   The Cleaning and Lining projects involve scraping and lining the pipe interior. The final payment of $101,741 was made to N. Granse and Sons, Inc.  This project was funded by a 10 year zero interest loan from the Mass Water Resource Authority’s Community support Local Water System Assistance Program.

Superintendent's water report: Pleasant, Village and Vine streets water main and intersection improvement project. The intersection is Village Street, Pleasant Street and Vine Street. It is a Mass DOT (Massachusetts Department of Transportation road reconstruction project and is fully funded by the MassDot TIP (Transportation Improvement Program).  The Water and Sewer Commission added Water main replacement work to this project.  The water main replacement work is funded from the Town of Marblehead’s Water Construction Articles. MassDOT has certified that work valued at $550,207 of water main work was done. MassDOT has also requested that $292,855, estimate #3, be paid. The piping part of this project included adding more water shut offs. The group discussed the traffic flow in the intersection. It seems to have improved.

Superintendent's sewer report, Contract 183, Green Street Pump Station Rehabilitation, has been signed.

Superintendent's sewer report, Contract 184, Pump Station Service Replacement. This contract consists of Traffic Boxes to house electrical meters and automatic transfer switches at various stations. Five bids were submitted ranging from $182,281 to $277,000. Haley Ward, a consulting firm, has said the lowest bidder, Dagle Electric Construction, has the resources and qualifications needed.  The Notice of Award was approved.

Administrative update. The retroactive pay due union employees per the Union Contract 2021-2022 was reviewed.

Four new vehicles have been ordered under the state contract. Prices have increased from original quotes obtained last January. We will probably get four new vehicles. Two vehicles for water and two vehicles for sewer. One F150 Ford Lightning (Electric) is part of this order.

MWRA Report: Our share of MWRA (Massachusetts Water Rescource Authority) water has increased compared to last year. Due to COVID, Boston used less water so our percentage of the whole went up in 2019 and percentages have not followed historic trends since. MWRA pipes our water from the Quabbin Reservoir to Marblehead. Marblehead has over 100 miles of pipe in town. Marblehead’s Lead and Copper Testing program was increased from 15 homes to 20 homes. All results were well below allowable limits set by the Mass Department of Environmental Protection.

SESD, South Essex Sewerage District, Report: Our sewage is processed by SESD in Salem. SESD is next to the power plant in Salem. A project for rehabilitation of concrete in some areas  exposed directly to wastewater was reviewed.

Request for Abatement, 44 Washington Street. There was a water leak due to frozen pipes at 44 Washington Street After investigation it was agreed that none of the water went into the sewer system. Normally, we pay for water and sewage treatment at the same time. When there is a broken water pipe and it can be proven that all the water went directly into the ground, a homeowner can request an abatement on the sewer charge. The water must be paid since it passed through the meter and was consumed.  The board approved an abatement to the homeowner for the $17,650 sewer charge. But, the home owner will have to pay the $13,696 water bill. (Next time I go away overnight, especially during the winter, I will turn off the water!)

Request for SAR (Service Accounts Receivable) review, 116 Front Street. Homeowner got a bill for broken water meter. Homeowner has temperature data to show temperature did not go below freezing. But the meter is damaged and looks like it was frozen. Decision postponed to next meeting after report from manufacturer or representative.

Sewer Department openings posted: Mechanic Pipefitter 1, Mechanic Pipefitter 2. Station Mechanic Pipefitter 2.

Next Water and Sewer Commission meeting will be at 7 P.M., Tuesday January 3rd.