WG1: October 20, 2010 Minutes

Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Water Infrastructure Finance Commission
Working Group One

Current Water Infrastructure Needs and Long Term Challenges
Approved minutes: October 20, 2010 at 1 pm

In a meeting duly posted, Working Group One (Current Water Infrastructure Needs and Long Term Challenges) convened at approximately one pm at the Forbes Municipal Building in Westborough Ma.

Members Attending:  Rep Dykema, David Terry, Phil Jasset, Ned Bartlett, Bill Callahan, Becky Smith

Also attending:  Jennifer Pederson; Sally Schnitzer, Brendan Jarboe

Representative Dykema, Chair, brought the meeting to order over sandwiches, following the full Commission hearing at the Westborough Municipal Building.

The Minutes of the September 16, 2010 meeting of Working Group One were approved without change.

Rep Dykema noted that one question she would like to ask the WPAT is what it would cost the state to go to zero percent on its loans, as has been suggested by a number of people testifying at the hearings.  Would it lead to fewer loans?

Rep. Dykema and Ned Bartlett reported that at last week’s Group Three Working Group meeting, it was suggested that Group One pull together a mini panel to discuss the costs differences in estimates for stormwater compliance.

After some discussion, it was agreed that Group One would meet next on November 9 at 11 am until 12:30 at the State House. The focus of the meeting will be storm water costs.  Ned Bartlett will invite someone from NAIOP, Becky Smith will invite Kate Bowditch from Charles River Watershed Association, and the Rep will invite someone from EPA.

Bill Callahan passed out the executive summary of the Pennsylvania Report “Creating a Sustainable solution for Pennsylvania” which is the report of Pennsylvania’s Sustainable Water Infrastructure Task Force, created  in 2008 to provide recommendations on financing strategies for water and sewer infrastructure.  He recommended that Commission members read the full report if they have not already done so.

Dave Terry noted that New Hampshire is also engaged in a similar endeavor.  He was not sure about the timing of the report release.

Rep Dykema passed out a draft outline of the portions of the report that this Working Group will complete, and asked for suggestions and edits.

Among some of the items mentioned to add to the outline were:

  • the cost/benefit of I &I in sewer pipes, and the cost of unaccounted for water in the delivery of fresh water.  Jennifer Pederson and David Terry noted that   MWRA keeps statistics on unaccounted for water, and DEP does an annual statistical report on unaccounted for water in the drinking water data base that each system reports to annually.
  • Fire safety/water pressure
  • Flooding costs
  • Regulatory drivers of costs
  • A section on possible recommendations

Rep Dykema will amend the outline as suggested by the Working Group, and send a copy to Working Group Members.

The Working Group also discussed the issue of primacy in NPDES permits, which has come up at the full Commission meetings before.  Which working group will be looking at this?  Does the fact that EPA issues NPDES permits for Massachusetts make it more difficult for us to make wise infrastructure investments?  It might be valuable to have Rep Dykema and Senator Eldridge meet with Roger Jansen from the EPA to discuss the history of this issue.

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