Friday, September 18, 2009

Cavendish Update 9/18/09 SB/H20/Bridge/News/Green

This issue of the Cavendish Update is made possible by the Cavendish Community and Conservation Association (CCCA), a non-profit membership organization that is dedicated to the conservation of land and natural resources and to the preservation of historic sites within the context of sustainable economic growth. FMI: PO Box 605, Cavendish VT 05142 or 802-226-7736

The 9/18/09 Cavendish Update Contains
1. Sept. 14 Select Board Meeting
A. Helipad Project
B. Water Filtration
C. Sidewalk Project
D. Depot Street Bridge report from Vtrans
2. Cavendish Related News
3. Weekly Green from Sustainable Cavendish

1. Select Board (SB) Meeting 9/14
A. Helipad Project
In the fall of 2008, the SB voted 3 to 2 against a helipad being built on the Cavendish property of David Coutu. This decision was based on a report from the Planning Commission, as well as a public hearing. The town’s approval was being sought as part of the Vermont Agency of Transportation’s permitting process.

At the July SB meeting, Mark Hall, the attorney for David Coutu, said the SB’s position was blocking his client’s ability to obtain a permit to establish a helipad. It was his belief that the SB was not in a position to make such a decision as there is no zoning in Cavendish, the Planning Commission had no power and the “Town Plan” was not legally relevant to this situation.

This was not a public hearing, even though various members of the audience expressed their viewpoints. At this meeting the SB voted to consult with the town’s attorney on this matter. More information about this meeting is available in the July 17 Cavendish Update archived at

Rich Svec, town manager, provided a copy of a letter from the town’s counsel about the legal authority of the SB. Legal counsel wrote that the SB does have the legal authority to make a decision on this matter. The SB voted not to revisit the issue and so the 3 to 2 vote against the project still stands.

B. Water Filtration
The new filtration system for Cavendish Municipal water, became operational in mid May of this year. At that time, residents were told that with each passing week, the water should become clearer, particularly after the flushing. The normal spring flushing was being postponed until the new system was fully operational.

At the June 8 SB meeting, the Board was informed that the new filtration system was starting to show water quality improvement in many areas of town, which was largely due to the reduction of iron in the water. It was anticipated that the iron levels would reduce quickly. The manganese (Mn) was projected to take 7-8 weeks for significant reduction. At that time there had been a 20% reduction down to 1.7 mg/L. People were reporting a significant increase in air in the lines.

At the July SB meeting, Svec stated that the Mn levels have plateaud at 1.4 mg/L-1.6 mg/L, which is significantly above the FDA standard of 0.05 mg/L. However, he said this was to be expected and that in the next four weeks there should be a significant decline in Mn. The iron levels had reduced to less than 1mg/L and contributed significantly to water quality appearance. Svec explained that the additional air was needed to grow the media used for the filtration process and would not be needed once the filtration system was in full production. The major flushing was being postponed again, in order to make sure the system was working well.

In August, Svec reported to the SB that the Mn levels had still not fallen and that the flushing was being postponed yet again.

At this past Monday’s SB meeting, Svec again reported no change in the Mn levels. It was acknowledged that all dates for projected clearing of the Mn in the water had come and gone and that clearly something wasn’t working correctly.

When asked if he was getting anxious about the lack of reduction in Mn, Svec said that he was. He explained that they are now testing the media used in the filtration process to see if that could be part of the problem. He also mentioned that he would be visiting the manufacturer of the filtration system, Infilco Degremont (ID) in Canada this week.

Since the company is in Quebec, there have been language barriers between the technical support staff and the Cavendish water department. Svec has brought this to the company’s attention.

Various members of the SB reported hearing from neighbors who were having problems with the water, including the return to “town brown” and issues with excess air. These problems appear to be centered in homes at the end of lines.

Selectmen Peter Gregg requested that a flushing not be postponed. As the owner of the Golden Stage Inn, and at the end of the line, his water quality, while initially improving, is almost back to its initial staining and discoloration. He reported that he could draw a glass of clear water and minutes later the water would be brown. Gregg believes that part of the problem was because the flushing has been postponed for so long.

Gregg asked that flushing take place in time for those in the hospitality industry to have clear water for the foliage season and Columbus weekend In addition, he recommended that ID be charged for the additional flushing that will be needed once the filtration system is working properly.

Svec recognized the need for flushing, but was hesitant on setting a date, saying sometime in October. He would like to see an ample supply of good quality water to replace what’s being flushed. Svec said that would try to schedule the flush to accommodate the hospitality industry.

Svec believes that they will be able to get the system to work and that this biologic system is much better than the other options-e.g. green sand filtration-as it reduces the chemicals that need to be added to the water and does not result in waste, which could be significant.

In the mean time, the Mn levels hover around 1.7 mg/L. The Health Advisory issued by the Vermont Department of Health remains in effect until levels are brought down to standard. The Health Advisory issued October 2006 states the following: “The Cavendish Public Water System has concentrations of manganese which exceed the Environmental Protection Agency and Vermont Department of Health lifetime Health Advisories of 0.3 mg/L. In 2005 and 2006, the levels of manganese in the Cavendish system were 2.5 mg/L and 2.1 mg/L, respectively.

Manganese is an essential element. However, most of the manganese needed on a daily basis comes from the food we eat. Long-term consumption of high concentrations of manganese in drinking water may cause adverse neurological health effects. Children and people with liver disease are more susceptible to the health effects of manganese. If you have specific health concerns, consult your doctor.”

C. Sidewalk Project
The sidewalk project is being expanded on Depot Street. It will now go to Pie Alley, close to Crows Corner Bakery. This is being done to improve drainage. Survey issues have arisen, but the project continues to move forward with the hope that it will be completed in October. As the junction of Depot and Main has been dug up, the SB voted to replace a 50-year-old water valve. This should help with drainage issues in front of Six Loose Ladies. The replacement will be taking place from about midnight to 2 am, as the water for many areas in Proctorsville will need to be shut off. Svec said he would get a notice out to all those who would be effected.

D. Depot Street Bridge
On August 18, the Vermont Agency of Transportation sent a letter to the town manager and Select Board about the condition of the Cavendish Bridge # 58, the Depot Street Bridge in Proctorsville. The letter states, “During a recent inspection, the following problems were noted which are in need attention: T-beams # 2 and # 3 in span #2 are heavily deteriorated with weakening of the supporting seat area. There is a hole in the deck located next to the beam near the pier. This is a full depth hole spanned only by pavement. T-beams #2 and #3 in span #2 along with the seating area and deck concrete above have significant section loss and need to be repaired an/or replaced in order to continue carrying traffic at the town highway legal load limit. Based on these findings/conditions, we recommend that upstream side of the bridge be properly sign, barricaded, and closed to traffic until such time that appropriate repairs and/or replacement is made… This structure is owned by the town and as such is the responsibility of the town. ….It is in the best interest of the municipality to post or sign the bridges in accordance with these recommendations. A failure to warn motorists of potential bridge hazards may result in tort liability claims.”

The SB has 60 days, from the posting of the letter, to respond regarding which recommendation they will follow: properly barricade, control, and close the upstream half of the bridge to traffic based on the state’s recommendation; will properly repair and/or replace deteriorated t-beams and associated supporting seating area; will properly repair hole in deck near the pier.

The SB is viewing their options and will make their decision at a special meeting on Sept. 21. There was discussion about replacing the bridge with a new bridge that is smaller than the existing one. It was also suggested that the bridge could be replaced with a covered bridge, similar to one that existed on this site. A covered bridge could have an additional effect in that it could also serve as a “traffic calming” effect. As noted in many SB meetings, this street receives a lot of traffic that exceeds the speed limit. Because of the number of children in the area, there has been considerable discussion about what could be done to reduce the speed of trucks and cars.

2. Cavendish Related News
Black River Good Neighbor and LPCTV are interested in the Ludlow Armory Barn

Movie Extras Needed in Southern Part of the State

Unhappy over Switch from Unicel to AT&T

VT DMV recalling 4,000 enhanced licenses

3. Weekly Green from Sustainable Cavendish
An Online Tool to Rate Cell phone Radiation: The environmental Working Group now has a website
where you can determine the radio frequency radiation levels of your cell phone. Several Samsung phones made the list of ten lowest-emitting phones, while various Motorola and BlackBerry models, made by Research In Motion, dominate the list of ten high emitters. Cellphones do emit what is known as non-ionizing radiation, a far less intense form of energy than the ionizing sort associated with radioactive materials, X-ray tubes and the like. But researchers, consumer advocates and the wireless industry remain divided over the safety of cellphones, and the new site represents the latest volley in a lengthy debate over the impacts of prolonged exposure.

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