TOWN OF CHARLESTOWN
                           4540 South County Trail
                            Charlestown, RI 02813

                                  Minutes of Special Meeting
                                  Wednesday, July 20, 2011


      By Commission Chair, Ms. Elizabeth Carpentieri at 6:03 pm.


      Present: Commission Chair, Ms. Elizabeth Carpentieri, Commission Vice Chair, Mr. Peter Ogle,
      Commissioner Mr. Robert Frost, Commissioner Ms. Elizabeth Richardson, Commissioner Ms.
      Barbara Lutzel, Wastewater Manager Mr. Matthew Dowling, Wastewater Recording Secretary
      Ms. Bonnie Langlois and Not Present: Commissioner Mr. Richard Newton. Members of the
      public present: Mr. Bob Endter, Mr. Tim Staisunas, Mr. Bill Dowdell, Mr. Eugene Spring, Mr.
      Ernie Panciera, RIDEM, Mr. John Zwarg, RIDEM.


     Correction to the minutes of WMC Special Meeting July 13, 2011, Ms. Langlois not here last
     meeting, take her name out, Ms. Richardson not here last meeting to approve the minutes, take her
     name out,. Mr. Frost made a motion to approve the minutes of July 13, 2011, as corrected. Mr.
     Ogle second the motion to approve the minutes. VOTE: Ms. Carpentieri – approve, Mr. Frost –
     approve, Mr. Ogle – approve, Ms. Lutzel – approve, Ms. Richardson – approve. The motion passed
     with five (5) concurring votes.


      (a) Stakeholders discussion of ordinance revision items pertaining to RIDEM Rule 39

          Commission would like to hear comments from present stakeholders. Ms. Carpentieri stated
          “We are here to listen, we hope we can keep everything calm tonight”. Ms. Richardson made
          a motion to have all email, written comments, and verbal comments by stakeholders entered
          into the public record. Mr. Ogle seconded the motion. VOTE: Ms. Carpentieri – approve,
          Mr. Frost – approve, Mr. Ogle – approve, Ms. Lutzel – approve, Ms. Richardson – approve.
          The motion passed with five (5) concurring votes.

          Mr. Eugene Spring: I reviewed this document earlier today and I have a major opposition to
          section 10. Several issues - the Town does not get involved in our licensing, our professional
          licensing is done through the state. We have to make our decisions based on a multitude of
          DEM approved systems so there is a wide latitude of types of systems that we have to take
          into account when we do a design, the Town of Charlestown does not have a professional
          engineer on record or a licensed DEM professional on record to do another review. I feel it
          adds another layer of bureaucracy prior to our approval, It also raises another issue, let’s
          assume the ordinance goes the way it is, we submit a prior plan to the town, if they approve it,
          we send it up to the state, if it is disapproved it has to go through a re-approval process and
          change the entire design based on the state, you wind up going back through another loop,
          back to the town, back to the state, it adds a long, long burden on the owner and ourselves as

design professionals, it also adds an additional cost to the home owner, as you know they are
already burdened with some high technology, alternative technology systems, they are very
costly, it adds another layer of work for your wastewater management office, which is already
burdened with, and by our Dem design and license to follow our DEM regulations, it also
has a clause in those regulations that we abide by the town ordinance, so I feel as though it is
an unnecessary item to have and it is not going to work with us design professionals, and I
have just outlined some of what I just spoke of in a short, section that I will submit to the

Ms. Carpentieri: Thank you. This is a memo submitted by Eugene Spring. Anyone else?

Mr. Bill Dowdell: I run a local engineering company in Charlestown. One of the biggest
problems I have with the proposed ordinance is the duplication of regulations, I see what you
are attempting to do but I think it’s going to add at least a month in the approval process. You
have three right now, if you have a coastal application, you have 3 layers of bureaucracy,
DEM, the town and then CRMC, what you are doing is you are adding a fourth layer to that
bureaucracy. I would estimate a typical application, if you have CRMC involved it takes a
minimum of three months to get a permit. By adding a Town permit, prior to a DEM permit,
minimum 4 months, you now have three people looking at the same septic system and
everybody is going to have a different opinion as to what the best leaching is on that lot. My
biggest fear here is that we have to charge for our time so you’re going to add $100 that the
town is asking for on an application and then you’re going to add professional fees so
probably a minimum of $300 - $500 with professional going back and forth to the town.
Second major problem I have is the ordinance today has conflicts with the state regulations,
your septic tank sizing doesn’t conform with the state, you’re restrictive, which the town has
a right to do, but it is not consistent. All these pre-treatment people, Advantex, FAST, etc. all
recommend a given size for their system to work correctly and the town over-sizes that, you
can get a state permit and the only way it is caught is when the building official goes to grant
the building permit and he will scratch it right out on the permitted plans saying a bigger tank
is required, you can make some of these de-nitrification systems too big for the flow coming
in and it is not going to work correctly. Those are the two problems I have.

Ms. Carpenieri: Thank you.

Mr. Stasiunas: Advanced Wastewater Technology. Copy of Holding Tank Policy, OWTS
Rule 28, RIDEM, submitted, a copy of Timothy Stasuinas: Charlestown Ordinance Review
submitted to the commission.

Please see attached for Mr. Stasuinas’ written comments

Further comments from Wastewater Management Commission, Stakeholders, and RIDEM
representatives as follows:

Ms. Carpentieri: So, what you are saying here is that if they put in the SSAT, and then they
end up adding a bedroom or doing the renovations that they do, that they would probably have
to upgrade to a de-nite at that time instead of keeping the SSAT as the rules are written right
now, is that correct?

Mr. Stasuinas: If they were providing an alteration to the structure, regardless of whether they
were increasing flow, they would be required to upgrade, even if they had an SSAT they
would be required to upgrade to a denite.

Ms. Carpentieri: Thank you.

Ms. Carpentieri: CRMC, their jurisdiction is where?

Mr. Stasuinas: It’s the SAMP area which is essentially everything south of Route 1; Zones 1
and 2 and portions of Zone 3, some which extend north here on Route 2 and then die back to
within a ½ mile, maybe mile, north of Route 1.

Ms. Carpentieri: Ok, so it’s not just Zone 1, it’s Zone 1, Zone 2 and part of Zone 3.

Mr. Staisunas: Yes

Mr. Stasuinas: Rule 37.7.2 is to establish a Technical Review Committee, and before I go on
to that paragraph I’m going to tell you, for the record, I’m going to make clear, what was
stated at the June 16th meeting, at the Town Council meeting, by your representative,
publically, that the TRC just takes too long, they can’t be depended on, they drag their feet,
blah, blah, blah, I’m going to tell you again, as a member of the Technical Review
Committee going on 17 years, our function is very critical to the RIDEM experimental in
alternative technology program, there are professionals that sit on that board, we do not
lollygag, more times than not, if an application is held up, it’s because the applicant is failing
to live up to his part of the application, so we see the applications very quickly, 30, 60, 90
days. The TRC looks at the information, reviews it, if it is sufficient they go back, the DEM
representative goes back, and asks for further info to substantiate some of their claims, maybe
their application is missing something, or something of that nature. We’ve waited months,
sometimes over a year, for responses from applicants. So, it’s not the case that we drag our
feet, everyone who sits on the TRC is very committed to that post and we feel that we are
doing a service, not only to help DEM but to the community at large. So just so everybody
knows that the TRC is not a haphazard function of the DEM.

Just for the record, I spoke at the Planning/WMC meeting some two or two plus years ago and
I brought up several points, most of which were ignored, but one of the things I brought up
was I recommended this financial fix to the wastewater problems, not necessarily trying to do
your own nitrogen reduction within your own township. So, if that was started a couple years
ago rather than wasting time on this ordinance, you probably would have had that money in
place for people to help them.

Mr. Stasuinas: Many of these alternative systems that were installed prior to O & M
requirements should be required to have current agreements. These O & M agreements have
slipped through the cracks, need to be addressed, so there is a lot of stuff for Matt to do.

Ms. Richardson: What is O & M requirement?

Mr. Stasuinas: Operation and maintenance, so all systems that are approved need an
Operations and Maintenance agreement for the life of the system.

Mr. Frost: You mean an enforcement of that Tim, are you referring, they need them to start

Mr. Stasuisas: They need them to start with and then they need someone to enforce it, and I
mean, in my opinion, that’s a full time plus job for Matt right there, just keeping up with all
these O and M agreements, making sure people have them, making sure they don’t drop them
making it easier on the RIDEM system to report them, to make the data base easier to follow,
we find it very cumbersome the way you have to report it now.

Ms. Carpentieri: When you apply over to Block Island, Block Island has their little areas that
they have to put all their different systems, could you explain how they do that when you have
to bring in a repair or a new system to their attention first because they have to…

Mr. Stasuinas: What I will tell you is, Block Island is a little different remember that was
started long before DEM had Rule 39 so this was my guess is it’s probably been 8 years or so.

Block Island was trying to make sure they got nitrogen reduction in the area that needed
nitrogen reduction, conventional systems in the area that was suitable for conventional
systems, and maybe a third option in an area that needed nitrogen reducing or maybe
pathogen reduction. So they had areas set up T1, T2, T3, but basically that was set up long
before DEM was even involved in any of these de-nitrification requirements so as I said at the
last meeting, you guys are way ahead of the curve, DEM is already regulating all these things,
all you are doing is adding a substantial burden onto a property owner, onto wastewater
professionals, onto your wastewater professional, you’re not necessarily helping the cause and
you may not be saving them any money, which was arguably your first statement, was to save
people money.

Mr. Stasuinas: One other comment I want to make, it is my understanding that the town has a
set number of systems they can install under this scenario that they are proposing, is that

Mr. Ogle: I don’t think there is, the Town certainly hasn’t said there is a set number of…

Mr. Stasuinas: DEM said there is a set number of systems that you have to install and test.

Mr. Ogle: At this point, we know we would have to test a certain number, a number yet to be

Mr. Stasuinas: So, we don’t know all the details yet.

Ms. Carpentieri: This was just a stakeholders meeting to get together for comments,
especially on a technical review here, so, that’s why we needed a couple of comments as well
as questions. Thank you.

Mr. Stasuinas: I understand, Liz. My only comment was, essentially, I’m puzzled by how you
try to pass something or how the commission tries to pass something, not you in particular,
when all the details aren’t up for public scrutiny, kinda reminds me of the health care bill, you
had to pass it before you knew what was in it.

Ernie Panciera: Responding to Tim, my understanding of this process, it would be nice if we
were all on the same page, I think, you folks drafted this ordinance and then when this
ordinance is in place, the next step is for us, DEM and the Town, to draft a Memo of
Understanding and implementation which will lay out how many systems have to be sampled,
where they have to be sampled, and details thereof. This is the first step toward implementing
this whole process.

Ms. Carpentieri: Ernie, could I ask one question. Do we have to put this ordinance through
first before the Memo of Understanding?

Ms. Richardson: Approved by the Town Council?

Ernie Panciera: John? I believe it is necessary.

John Zwarg: The way the rule is written, that we are working under here, the ordinance has to
be in place first but that’s kinda why we’re here also because it is our intent not to have you
guys go forward with an ordinance that we then wouldn’t support through this…

Ms. Carpentieri: Right I didn’t want to put the cart before the horse, in that respect, I
understand what the Memo of Understanding, I just didn’t want to put an ordinance into effect
and then DEM takes six months to a year to approve it and these gentlemen are trying to
design on an ordinance that DEM hasn’t even had a Memo of Understanding. Because from
what I understand if the ordinance is put through, it‘s there, it’s law, so these gentlemen here

are designing on law while DEM is trying to make up their mind, that’s where I’m having the

Ernie Panciera: The whole point of this is you guys are coming up with an alternative to our
rule and we’re not going to be able to implement that alternative unless we have a formal
Memorandum of Understanding, which would be contingent upon you having an ordinance
that can effectively implement that understanding, that policy that achieves the level of de-
nitrification that’s equivalent to or better than what we have. Maybe this is more of a legal

John Zwarg: I understand where you are coming from there is a little chicken or the egg
scenario here. The intent is to have us, DEM and you guys, be on the same page with the
ordinance so that you can pass it and we can then quickly execute the MOU without all of a
sudden there being new surprises.

Ms. Carpentieri: Thank you.

Mr. Stasuinas: One more comment, please. So, this is a big chicken and egg, not a little
chicken and the egg because you’re asking the residents of the Town of Charlestown to accept
an ordinance that they don’t really know what’s in it. You are, effect, you are.

Ernie Panciera: We were prepared for a work session here. To the extent that you want to
allow a discussion on this, the Memo of Understanding is to, part of that is to, is the testing
component is probably the most critical part.

John Zwarg: There have been a number of comments concerning Rule 37 alternative and
experimental technology approval process and the way we propose to address those concerns
was through this MOU and having the town monitor and test some number of systems that go
in through this ordinance so that we know whether or not they are in fact performing.

Mr. Stasuinas: And so I guess what I’m saying is it seems to me from a legal perspective,
there should be a MOU first outlining the framework that the DEM expects the town to
achieve. If the town can’t achieve that framework then the ordinance doesn’t go forward.

Ernie Panciera: The framework is in the rules but the town has to come up with a plan that is
equal to or better than our requirements. That is what we are hammering out here, is what
that plan is, and that’s part of the ordinance.

Mr. Stasuinas: Understand, they were going to be passing this ordinance June 15 th, a month
ago, they would have passed this ordinance as written and it would have been done, a done
deal. If you couldn’t use a psnd, back then, a month ago, you couldn’t use a psnd in zone 1
or 2, you couldn’t do an alteration, you couldn’t do construction, end of story.

Ernie Panciera: I don’t know what you had planned but if you were to pass and accept the
final ordinance, the one that we had comments and concerns with, probably wouldn’t have
been the best approach because we would have come back and said, we don’t like this part of
it, go back and change it, so we have to work very closely together before anything even
passes or takes effect at some point….

Ms. Carpentieri: It’s very difficult to retract once you have it in there, you know, we have to
go out to notice, and public hearing, and whatever, t to retract something, it takes months.

Ernie Panciera: So the idea is, we should have as many work sessions as is necessary
between the town, the state, stakeholders, which I thought this was a stakeholders
meeting/discussion to work all these things out… we’re all on the same page and we all
understand where we are going.

         Ms. Richardson: Who signs the Memorandum of Understanding?

         Ernie Panciera: Your town manager, your town council president, I don’t know, for us it
         would be our director.

         Mr. Stasuinas: So, just so you know, we are clear, this ordinance was going to be passed by
         the Town Council on June 15th and this has been substantially watered down because of
         concerns and the reason why we are here tonight is because I stood up June 15 th and a couple
         of other people, and said listen, this just doesn’t make sense, there were no stakeholder
         meetings, granted, the workshops are open to the public but there was no notification, like you
         guys have ListServe and stuff, there was none of that, everybody was caught with their pants
         down, so to speak. Information, in my opinion was withheld, it wasn’t brought forward to the
         council, I think the presentation was not up to snuff, let’s say, you know, so this is so you
         understand where the stakeholders are coming from.

         Ms. Carpentieri: What we do have, as you stated here tonight, this is a stakeholders work
         session, what would you like to add to all this on this, we’ve had all these comments, as you
         can see, URI has had comments, CRMC has had the comments, we have stakeholders here,
         we have the design engineers, we have an installer…

         Ernie Panciera: John will type up some comments that we will submit to you tomorrow or
         later this week, we have some questions that we thought we could discuss.

         Please see the attached list of comments submitted by RIDEM.

5.   PUBLIC COMMENTS – No public comments.

6.   ADJOURNMENT – Motion to adjourn made by Ms. Carpentieri, seconded by Ms. Richardson.
     Meeting adjourned at 7:17 pm.

DEM Comments on 7-15-11 draft Amendments to Charlestown Chapter 10 Wastewater
                              October 5, 2012

General comments:

-Put a date or a number on the draft language so it’s easier to tell them apart.

-The new language “The use of PSND or similar soil treatment area is preferred where
technically feasible,” raises several questions.
       --The phrase “similar soil treatment area” is not defined but presumably any
       alternative to a PSND would have to have demonstrated similar N removal
       -- The new language significantly weakens the ordinance by changing what was a
       requirement where technically feasible to a preference. How would the
       Commission enforce this preference? Recommend using the previous language:
       “…RIDEM Approved Denitrifying OWTS utilizing a PSND soil treatment area
       where technically feasible.”
       -- Also, “technically feasible” should be defined in some way. DEM suggests
       “technically feasible” be interpreted as in compliance with the OWTS Rules and
       the standards therein.
       -- In the requirements for Zone 2, Items 2,3 and 4: this language “The use of a
       PSND or similar soil treatment area is preferred where technically feasible” is a
       stand alone sentence, which may be confusing since it only modifies that last
       option in the previous sentence (i.e., the DEM denite system). Recommend using
       previous language.

-A larger question is who (presumably the Wastewater Commission?) decides whether or
not a PSND is technically feasible.

- There are situations in which the applicant can theoretically choose between either a
conventional system with SSAT/LPP or a full denitrification system. This should not be
a choice but rather should be determined by site conditions. The ordinance can use
“technically feasible” language and state the conditions under which an SSAT/LPP
system would be feasible. For example, the ordinance could establish thresholds such as
an 80’ setback to a well or a groundwater table of 24” from existing grade that, if not met,
would disqualify a site from using SSAT/LPP. If the SSAT/LPP option was not feasible,
a denitrification system would be required.


1-Approved Denitrifying OWTS: Suggest rephrase as shown:

Approved Denitrifying OWTS: Means an OWTS approved by RIDEM that utilizes
nitrogen reducing technology and is designed to remove 50% or more nitrogen as

compared to conventional OWTS and meeting an effluent concentration of less than
or equal to 19 mg/l.

If this deletion is made then the definition for “nitrogen reducing technology” is not
needed. The Approved Denitrifying OWTS definition here is the same as the OWTS
nitrogen reducing technology definition.

2- Suggest delete definition for “Nitrogen Reducing Technology” consistent with above.

3- Conventional OWTS: Suggest rephrase as shown:

Conventional OWTS: Means any OWTS that utilizes a septic tank for the purposes
of retaining septage solids, distribution box and leachfield or soil treatment area and
does not include one or more advanced treatment processes.

All OWTS, both conventional and A/E or Denitrifying, include a septic tank, some sort
of distribution system, and a soil treatment area.

4- Septic System Aeration Technology (SSAT): Suggest rephrase as shown:

Septic System Aeration Technology (SSAT): Means a technology that aerates
wastewater effluent and removes a minimum of 30% Total N by the end of the
wastewater treatment stream. A list of Charlestown and RIDEM approved SSAT’s
approved for use in Charlestown pursuant to an MOU with RIDEM is maintained
by the Charlestown Wastewater Office.

As originally proposed, the SSAT definition would not be sufficient to exclude
technologies that cannot achieve the N reduction goal of 30%. The suggested addition
clarifies this and also clarifies the fact that any technology used under this ordinance may
only be used in Charlestown, subject to the terms of this ordinance and the MOU, and is
not approved by DEM for general use.

5- Substandard OWTS: By definition an OWTS includes all components (tank, d-box,
leachfield, etc.) so this definition should either be limited to just tanks or should be
modified to include criteria for substandard leachfields.

Miscelaneous Regulations:

1- Suggest rephrase section (9)(d) as shown:

In addition to all other requirements set forth in this ordinance, the following
requirements shall be implemented for all relevant RIDEM OWTS applications for
Repair and as specified as follows:

The items in the rest of the ordinance cover requirements for New Building Construction
and Alterations as well as repairs.

2- Zone 1, Item 1, and throughout: Suggest change “Target effluent nitrogen
concentration” to be more specific and incorporate “Total N concentration.” Also, DEM
notes that the phrase “end of the waste treatment stream” should be defined in the
sampling contract between the Town and URI.

3- Zone 1, Item 4: The language in this item is different from Item 4 in Zones 2 and 3.
To be clear, does this mean that if an applicant cannot install an SSAT system to renovate
a hydraulic failure then they would be required to install a denitrification system?

4- Zone 3, Item 2: Suggest rephrase as shown:

All cesspools maymust be replaced with conventional OWTS with SSAT.

Also, suggest inserting language clarifying that a denitrification system must be installed
if site constraints preclude the use of a conventional leachfield.

5- Zone 3, Item 3: Suggest rephrase as shown:

Failed conventional OWTS maymust be repaired with either a conventional OWTS
with SSAT or a RIDEM Approved Denitrifying OWTS.
The ordinance should be clear that a failed system must be repaired but there is an option
on which type of system to use. As written, it implies that a repair is optional.

6- Zone 3, Item 5: This item does not require anything above and beyond the OWTS
Rules so it is not needed in the ordinance.

7- Item (10)(a):
       - 4th paragraph: Suggest use of a different term than “Charlestown OWTS
       Permit” because it may be confused with State approvals. Suggest something like
       “Charlestown Chapter 210 Approval” or equivalent.
       -5th paragraph: Rather than state “Applications that are denied…” suggest instead
       “applications that are not approved.” When a repair application isn’t approved, it
       is sent back for modification until it is approvable. This is different than an
       application for NBC or ALT that may be ultimately denied after the appeal
       process is exhausted. Delete the last sentence that begins “If the application…”
       and replace with “If the OWTS design is changed as a result of the DEM review
       process, applicant must re-apply to the Wastewater Management Commission.”
       -The ordinance should also specifically state that the applicant may not begin any
       construction activity for the OWTS until all State approvals have been granted.


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