By Chelsea Los
CROMWELL — In what is quickly becoming standard operating procedure, the Turkey Creek Regional Sewer District board held April’s monthly meeting via Zoom video conferencing. The digital meeting was held Monday, April 20, and kicked off promptly at 7 p.m.
As usual, board members were invited to provide updates first with time allotted at the end for public members to make comments and questions for two minutes each, as long as the question had not been previously addressed.
TCRSD approved claims and minutes from the month of March, and discussed a more permanent repair on a continuously bandaged leaking roof to the tune of $3,500 in steel roofing. District Superintendent Timothy Woodward also provided updates on happenings around the plant — new pump installation that helps reduce flow through two different clarifier tanks, annual generator maintenance, routine inspections, and the rehab of a bad panel completed by Middlebury Electric that prevented a $10,000 replacement expenditure.
As the district opened the meeting to public comments and concerns, two voices proceeded to question the district’s evidence of a need for sewer. Ron and Andrea Koepke talked over each other and board members while expressing their frustration with the possibility of the project. “We’re gonna get stuck with a big bill because you’re ramming it down our throat,” said Ron. Andrea and Ron asked how the district could show data that backed up the info septic tanks are failing; Jeff Hersha of Jones and Henry and Andrew Boxberger of Carson LLP tried to shed light on the district’s stance, although the question had been addressed numerous times prior.
“The district, as Jeff said, is mandated to provide septic relief — it is the state’s desire to provide septic relief — and it is within their prevue to do that,” said Boxberger. “We understand that you don’t want it,” he continued, creating an analogy between people expressing as a majority a lack of desire for ambulance services, explaining there is a still a mandate for them to provide that service. Hersha reiterated the district does not conduct water testing, but goes off common industry standards of useful life of septic tank systems.
Andrea continued to express frustration about what she feels is a lack of justification saying, “Again you have not shown any justification that 70 percent are failing.”
“I’m telling you our justification,” retorted Boxberger.
“You’re way out in left field, again,” replied Ron.
In the end, both sides expressed their opinions and had to end in disagreement. The board reiterated when final cost and feasibility analysis studies are complete, a public meeting will be held in-person for people to voice their concerns and have questions answered. All parties agreed digital conferencing would not be a good format for that meeting. However, the board will continue to hold monthly meetings on schedule using Zoom pending any changes to the COVID-19 safety measures.