Wastewater Subcommittee Minutes 1.13.22



January 13, 2022

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

Members Absent:  None

Also Present: Nick Zaiac

Call to Order at 7:00 PM by member Harvey

New Business

Appointment of Chairperson: Mr. Bykowski nominates member McClafferty based on his training in management. Member McClafferty noted his preference to not serve as chairperson. Member Harvey offered to serve as chair due to his experience with meeting procedure. Motion by Member Heins, seconded by Member Browning to appoint Member Harvey as chairperson. Agreed unanimously with no abstentions or further discussion.

Open meetings: Town Administrator Zaiac briefed the group on open meetings law, with particular focus on ensuring with compliance with rules regarding email communication.

Initial Discussion: Member Heins led off the discussion by noting the 2008 study completed for the town remains largely valid, and that it would serve as a valuable piece in a later proposal. Member Rodriguez noted that with the amount of federal money requiring engineering, time is of the essence to get pre-planning done. He made the point that zooming out and thinking comprehensively would make for a more politically palatable final proposal. Member Curtis echoed this, noting that a centralized solution may be inappropriate given the multiple (4) watersheds in town complicating infrastructure. Member Bykowski suggested a need for a mission statement and suggested a July 1 tentative deadline. Member Browning noted that the outlet constraint seems to be the current binding factor on proposals. Member Heins agreed, pointing out that land application in a decentralized system may be more politically palatable by limiting how much effluent the Battenkill is expected to handle. Member Rodriguez agreed that a one land based system could handle a given neighborhood, adding the example of a recent project in Cambridge, NY.

Member Bykowski read a proposal for the group’s mission statement: “To develop a scope of a study by May 31,2022 for a comprehensive solution to manage wastewater for homes and businesses at minimum to the Urban Village areas of the Town of Arlington.” Member Rodriguez approved of this proposal, both for its content and the timeline that would give appropriate time for engineering review. Member Heins endorsed the mission statement. Member Browing argued that it mat be better if it were less specific, and raised the issue of connection fees. The Town Administrator noted that such a mission statement makes clear the town is taking the matter seriously and decentralized proposals would open the door to new housing options due to state accessory dwelling unit preemption, addressing the state’s housing crisis. Member Bykowski suggested adding language about the project being “socially and  environmentally conscious” to the statement. Member Browing and others noted it may not be needed. The mission statement was agreed as drafted and re-read for the record. Motion Member Harvey, Second Member Browning. Unanimous, 7-0

Timeline of the committee: Member Browning related that a good next step would be for everyone to think on the most pressing areas in need of wastewater infrastructure and on varied conceptual options on the table. Member Harvey noted the timeline from the previous Water Department acquisition committee, suggesting language about “direct vs indirect users” instead of users vs nonusers. Member Heins related his preference for a proposal of broad scope, which would likely require biweekly meetings. Members broadly agreed on a biweekly meeting timeline with the deadline agreed in the mission statement. The Town Administrator noted some potential meeting dates, the next one being 2/3. That date was generally agreed for the next meeting. Member Harvey and the Town Administrator will meet and set a tentative meeting schedule in the coming week. The Town Administrator will reach out to the state to learn about discharge limits on the Battenkill. Members agreed to think conceptually about the problem and come prepared to discussed potential needs and solutions at the next meeting.

Motion to adjourn Member. Bykowski, Seconded Member Browning

Meeting adjourned 8:23

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