Wastewater Subcommittee Meeting Minutes 4.7.22



April 7, 2022

Members Present:  Andy Curtis, Steve McClafferty, Matt Bykowski, Dan Harvey, Cynthia Browning, Andrew Rodriguez, Jamie Paustian

Members Absent:  

Also Present: Nick Zaiac, Lynette Claudon (VT Village Wastewater Program)

Call to Order at 7:00 PM by Chairperson Harvey

The meeting began with the approval of the minutes of the previous meeting. Motion Member Browning, Seconded Member McClafferty. Unanimous (Member Bykowski arrived just after this vote).

The next item on the agenda was a presentation by Lynette Claudon, entitled Case Studies in
Community Wastewater Disposal Systems. (Slides for which are available in full by contacting the Town Administrator, but were not circulated prior to the meeting)

The presentation began by her showing a map of the towns with water, wastewater, and neither infrastructure, noting 167 towns have neither, and 52 towns are like Arlington with only water at this time. She noted that wastewater solutions in VT are typically decentralized and soil based, as there are strict limits on how much wastewater can be directly discharged into VT water bodies due primarily to the phosphorus load associated with such discharge. She noted that the Battenkill watershed is not subject to such rules, but getting permissions for new direct flows remains challenging due to the strict regulation and management of different types of byproduct loads all mattering.

She moved on to present examples from the towns of Warren, Waitsfield, and Rochester. Warren was notable because its land-based system was placed beneath recreational fields. Waitsfield did a loan program for smaller systems led by individual sponsors. Rochester’s project rebuilt an old system that was failing. Member Browning raised questions with regard to funding specifics for these.

She then discussed the town of Grafton, which rejected a wastewater solution and instead mandated periodic septic pumping to limit the load on the ground in the area, but they continue to struggle with redevelopment of small lots in its legacy downtown.

She then shared data on annualized costs of installing and running small wastewater systems. She explained the reasoning behind why towns make investments in wastewater solutions for their villages, including protecting the environment, safeguarding public health, and facilitating development or redevelopment.

She then moved on to note the some common threads for success of wastewater projects. These included a strong wastewater committee, well-planned vision, enough administrative capacity to shepherd a project through a long process, outside funding availability, and a focus on keeping rates affordable (1% or so of average local household income).

She gave two final examples of town projects. Westford, which was a more complex project that involved multiple steps over 10+ years. Montgomery is an example of one where the project was deemed worthwhile but too expensive, but where the area was eligible for USDA Rural Development funding.

She finally noted the two types of funding, loans for engineering, and the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund for construction.

Then the group shifted to Q&A. Member McClafferty asked if there was model guidance on the process of applying for engineering funding. Town Administrator Zaiac noted that this is in-hand and will be on the agenda for next meeting.

At this point, there were repeated storm-related power failures. Member Browning promptly left the meeting. With no other business pending (all planned afterward was discussed as part of Lynette’s presentation), there was a motion to adjourn by Member McClafferty, seconded by Member Curtis. With a unanimous vote of those still present, the meeting was adjourned.

Next Meeting 4/21

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