Tap Dancing

Questions on sewer board decision to place tap at waste transfer station, hard water

 


The Saratoga Water and Sewer Joint Powers Board (sewer board) met Wednesday after a month without a regular meeting to dispense with accumulated business.

The sewer board debated whether or not it had the authority to grant permission for a tap for the waste transfer station that is under construction. Board member Russ Waldner said the ordinance made it unclear to him whether the sewer board could unilaterally approve a tap without the involvement of the town council, since the transfer station is outside town limits.

Waldner took issue with the board deciding to place the tap because town ordinances say that approval of a tap outside town limits requires a discussion of annexation of the property into the town, Waldner said. Waldner said he was not sure the sewer board had the authority to discuss annexation.

Waldner said he was not opposed in any way to the transfer station being given a tap, but he wanted to make sure that the law was being followed carefully.

“If this ever gets privatized in 20 years, they’re going to be in the same position as Happy Tails,” Waldner said, speaking about a protracted conflict with the sewer board Happy Tails dog boarding and grooming on the north end of town has been engaged in since the spring.


That conflict is about the ownership of a sewer line that runs under HWY 130 that is prone to clogging up. Neither Russ nor Pam Waldner, the owners of Happy Tails, were willing to accept ownership of the line, and neither was the sewer board.

Ultimately, the sewer board members decided to consult the town’s attorney before proceeding to ensure that the town ordinances were being followed and that any tap installed for the transfer station would be legal.

During the comments from the public portion of the meeting, Saratoga resident Hank Jewell addressed the board about scale that he said ruined his water heater. Jewell brought with him two buckets full of precipitate, one from several months ago and another more recent. The more recent bucket of sediment contained much more than the older sample.

Members of the board told Jewell that the sediment is from hard water, and though Saratoga’s water is hard, it is safe to drink and is not “extremely hard.” director of public works Jon Winter said the problem Jewell was having comes when the water is heated, since heat causes the minerals in the water to precipitate out.

Several Board members suggested the installation of water softeners, saying the cost of installing industrial-size softeners or micron-scale filters at the water treatment plant were both too cost-prohibitive for a town the size of Saratoga.

The sewer board went on to discuss other business before going into executive session. Executive session is not open to the public, and is used to discuss non-public information such as litigation or personnel issues. The board invited Winter into the session.

The next regular meeting of the sewer board is scheduled for 6 p.m., Nov. 9 at Saratoga Town Hall.

 

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