Wastewater Subcommittee Minutes 3.3.22



March 3, 2022

Members Present:  Andy Curtis, Steve McClafferty, Matt Bykowski, Dan Harvey, Cynthia Browning

Members Absent:  Andrew Rodriguez

Also Present: Nick Zaiac

Call to Order at 7:00 PM by Chairperson Harvey

Approval of the Minutes: Motion by Member McClafferty, Second Member Bykowski. Approved unanimously by the members present.

Old Business

Discussion #3: The Town Administrator framed the topic of the evening as ranking the areas defined in the previous meeting. Member Bykowski asked what criteria the group would use to conduct this ranking, suggesting “lowest barrier to entry” and “most benefit”. Member McClafferty sought to clarify these as “Lowest cost” and “most need”, which the group agreed would be appropriate. The group requested that a table be created to conduct this ranking and be displayed on the screen.

Member Browning kicked off the discussion of specific rankings, noting that East Arlington would rank first for her due to the existence of the previous study that is generally understood to remain accurate enough to convince the group of the feasibility of a ground-based solution at “Site 5”. This was broadly agreed, calling its costs “medium” and need “high”.

Moving to area 2, the group broadly agreed that the cost to entry was “low” due to the existing plant, and need “high” due to poor soils uphill.

After discussion had begun, it became clear to the group that “Cost” was an incomplete measure and, led by Member McClafferty, a third criteria was proposed, “Feasibility”. Feasibility was initially documented as “low, medium, high” as the other criteria. The criteria was added and included for Area 1 as “medium”, and area 2 as “good”.

Turning to area 3, Member Browning asked Member Curtis about the quality of soil in the area for septic systems. The group agreed that due to non-poor quality soil, need would be “medium” The group broadly agreed that the cost would be “high” and feasibility “low” due to lack of suitable land in the area and the state highway.

The discussion turned to the next area, Area 4, the southern portion of Route 7A. The area was agreed to be high need due to poor soils in the area as noted by Member Curtis. The cost was decided to be medium due to proximity to potential surface water outlets and limited right of way problems beyond Route 7A itself. Feasibility was likewise deemed to be medium due to complications of the ROW and lack of obvious sites for infrastructure.

Moving to Area 5, the group acknowledged that it had similar complications to Area 4, but with more geographic constraints including in particular the need to run pipe across railroad right of way. This led them to universally agree costs would be “high”. Need was also deemed “High” due to both the area covering the historic village center and the area with small lots and poor soils centered on Munn Terrace. Like Area 4, feasibility was deemed “medium” due to land constraints, but frontage on the Battenkill would make a plant releasing into surface waters more viable, avoiding a “low” ranking.

Finally, the group discussed Area 6, between the Roaring Branch and the Battenkill. Here, the cost to entry was universally deemed low due to stream frontage, existing municipal property, and lower existing density. Need was deemed “medium”, on Member Curtis’ advise that soils there are relatively higher quality than elsewhere. Feasibility was deemed “high” due to the limited ROW constraints, presence of existing municipal property near the center of the area, and multiple potential points for an outlet to surface waters.

The group moved to aggregation of the rankings and transition into a firm list. Member Bykowski and Member McClafferty asked about relative weights. Member Browning suggested, and it was broadly agreed, that “Need” should be the largest weight, with the other two categories of equal weight constituting the rest. The group agreed, led by Member Harvey, that need would be 50%, and cost and feasibility 25% each.

Prior to finalization, the group agreed, led by Member Browning, to reword the Feasibility rankings to “poor, fair, good” for future clarity

The final ranking is reproduced below for the record.

 Cost to Entry (25%)Need (50%)Feasibility (25%)Aggregate
1 East ArlingtonMediumHighFair1
2 Buck Hill/SchoolLowHighGood2
3 Water Streets/313WHighMediumPoor6
4 7A SouthMediumHighFair4
5 7A NorthHighHighFair3
6 Candllight/ North ArlingtonLowMediumGood5

With the rankings complete, the Town Administrator asked if there are any questions for state wastewater officials that have come out of this discussion. He noted that questions should focus on no more than the top 4 priorities due to limited medium-term municipal bonding capacity. Member Browning noted that they should be asked about whether further improvements to the nature of existing outflows would allow for a greater volume of potential outflows into surface waters.

Member Bykowski questioned what the goal for the next meeting would be. TA Zaiac recommended that the topic be considering responses by the state to the committee’s questions, and discuss capacity constraints with the Chief Operator of the Water Department attending.

Motion to adjourn Member Bykowski, Seconded Member Browning

Meeting adjourned 7:56 pm

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