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PRESENT:    Donna McCarthy Culbert - Director of Health, Dr. Robert Grossman, Chairman; Board Members:  Joan Crick, Herb Rosenthal.  Dr. Draper, Medical Advisor




Green Ridge Subdivision Water System

Ms. Culbert presented the BOH members with an overview of the Green Ridge subdivision located in both Newtown and Brookfield.  Ms. Culbert stated that the subdivision consists of approximately 228 homes, five of them in Newtown, the remainder in Brookfield.  Ms. Culbert added that the subdivision was built in the late 1960’s, has a community water system and, at one time, had a community oil system.  

Ms. Culbert informed the Board members that only in the past decade have radionucleides been required testing in water systems  and as a result, uranium was detected in the Green Ridge subdivision water system.  Ms. Culbert explained that the Green Ridge subdivision water system has not been a well maintained water system over the years.  Ms. Culbert stated that there are Newtown residents in this subdivision whose water exceeds the maximum contaminate level of uranium - which is 30 micrograms per liter.  Ms. Culbert stated that the Newtown Health District also learned that there is also one well in this water system that has high levels of hydrocarbons from oil, quite possibly contaminated by the former community oil system.  

Ms. Culbert stated that the Green Ridge Tax District forfeited their water system, and through a   procedure that the Town of Newtown and the Newtown Health District is not completely privy to, the DPH looked at different water companies to assume responsibility for its maintenance and control.  Ms. Culbert explained that the DPH chose United Water Company to undertake this endeavor because they had a water system in the area, as well as resources and staff to undertake such a project.  

Ms. Culbert stressed that the area of concern for the Town of Newtown is that United Water wants to extend the water main from Newtown to Brookfield to help remedy and service the Green Ridge Subdivision water system.  Ms. Culbert discussed the Town of Newtown’s concern regarding the extension of the water line from Newtown into Brookfield and the unknown of what happens to the water system thereafter.  Ms. Culbert stated that the Town of Newtown is concerned that the exclusive area may continue to be compromised and the Town of Newtown would have no recourse.

Newtown District Department of Health
Board of Health Meeting – December 29, 2010
Page 2

Ms. Culbert reminded the BOH members that Newtown has been a good steward of its water supply resources for decades and has invested the time, staff, materials, policies, regulations and money in this regard.  Ms. Culbert reiterated that this is a legitimate concern for the Town should the water pipeline be extended out of Newtown.  

Joan Crick asked Ms. Culbert if Kevin Moran was still with United Water.  Ms. Culbert replied that he is a consultant for them now and not an employee. Ms. Culbert stated that this has been a hot topic for the Town of Newtown and Brookfield.  Ms. Culbert further stated that there is a continuing joint hearing scheduled between the Department of Public Utilities and the Department of Public Health and that she will be in attendance.    

Dr. Draper added that if Newtown were to extend its water line, the Town would also inherit additional problems.  Dr. Draper complimented Brookfield’s First Selectman, Bill Davidson, stating that he has done a remarkable job of initiating responsibility for the first time for the Town of Brookfield and introducing the potential of extending an existing water supply line from the Town of Brookfield to the Green Ridge Subdivision.  

Ms. Crick asked how Newtown has been involved in this process.  Ms. Culbert stated that the Borough and First Selectman, Pat Llodra, have dug their heels in and want to do everything they can to protect the Town of Newtown’s interests.  Ms. Culbert added that the last hearing on  December 15, 2010, was held in Brookfield and included representatives from the DPUC and DPH and explored, in great detail, the option of on-site treatment, among other thoughts and ideas.  

Mr. Rosenthal added that during his tenure as First Selectman, the Town of Newtown utilized on-site treatment at the Middlegate School when uranium levels in that water system were above the acceptable levels.   Mr. Rosenthal noted that the system worked, and that although it required maintenance, it was a viable system.  Mr. Rosenthal concluded that the parents in that school system were not very happy with the solution and ultimately the public water line was extended to serve the school.   

Ms. Culbert stated that across the street from the Green Ridge Subdivision is the Whisconier Village Condominium Association that has an approved on-site treatment system for uranium.  Ms. Culbert was unsure if this system has been built.  Ms. Culbert added that long-term use of such a system is not recommended because of the radionucleide waste it generates.  Ms. Culbert stated that it could be viable in the short-term until a long-term comprehensive solution for the area is identified and incorporated.  

Newtown District Department of Health
Board of Health Meeting – December 29, 2010
Page 3

Dr. Draper explained that Newtown’s water supply may become one of its greatest resources -  50 -100 years from now.  It is Dr. Draper’s opinion that what is demonstrated now is the Town’s lack of control over its water supply and dependence on United Water, which is owned by an international conglomerate, who in turn would be in a position as to how Newtown would develop.   Dr. Draper added that United Water can negotiate with whomever they like, putting the Town of Newtown in a vulnerable position.

Mr. Rosenthal agreed with Dr. Draper and shared his experience with the Bridgeport Hydraulic Company’s holdings that were sold to a British company during his tenure.  Mr. Rosenthal noted that there were many meetings and experts in attendance.  Mr. Rosenthal added that the major concern was that a foreign company would be in control of a large US water company.  Mr. Rosenthal informed the BOH members that presently in Connecticut, the United Water Company, Kelda - a French company and another British company, now control a large part of our water supply.  Dr. Draper agreed stating they were a powerful monopoly and that Newtown should know about United Water Company’s intentions.  Dr. Draper added that the Town of Newtown should be able to re-examine its  position and seek to control our own water supply.  

Ms. Crick asked about Taunton Lake and whether or not that was a private water company at one time.  Mr. Rosenthal replied yes – Newtown Water Company.  Dr. Draper added that it was built for fire protection back in 1880, it was sold to New Milford and then they sold it to someone else.  Ms. Crick stated that her father was a Superintendent of the water company and that it was a local responsibility.  

Ms. Culbert learned that there is a Water Utility Coordinator Committee that consists of representatives from all of the water companies in the HVCEO region as well as Southbury and a few other towns.  Ms. Culbert informed the BOH members that she has attended some of these  meetings  and that Kevin Moran was a co-chair of WUCC.  Ms. Culbert was surprised to learn that these meeting did not include any Land Use Agencies or Municipal CEO’s.  

Ms. Culbert stated that these meetings have evolved in time because for the longest time the water companies were dealing with smaller systems that were contained within one town or one area and never crossed jurisdictions.  Ms. Culbert added that as the WUCC expands more people have an interest in seeing what happens.  Ms. Culbert noted that technically the Town of Newtown is a water company owner, so they have a vote at the table.  The WUCC talked about having either a CEO or a Director of Health, someone outside of the water company jurisdiction, attend these meetings, who would have a vote for whenever they are making decisions about exclusive service area, policy, etc.   

Newtown District Department of Health
Board of Health Meeting – December 29, 2010
Page 4

Mr. Rosenthal explained to the BOH members that when Newtown took over the Fairfield Hills Campus, it assumed the water company.  Mr. Rosenthal stated that Dave Grogins, the town attorney, went before the WUCC.  Kevin Moran was in charge of the WUCC at that time and wanted to keep the Fairfield Hills water system in their exclusive service area.  Mr. Rosenthal stated that this was a contentious situation.  Dr. Draper asked if we owned this water system.  Mr. Rosenthal replied yes, adding that the Town of Newtown wanted to add the property off of Commerce Road to this water system and the WUCC said no, they did not want to give it up.  

Ms. Culbert discussed the Emergency interconnection, if the Town of Newtown’s system went down, and vice versa, and the positive part of being able to assist one another in a time of need.  Ms. Culbert concluded that at some point, she was not sure when, United Water was arbitrarily assigned the Newtown water system and may feel proprietary.  

H1N1 Flu

Ms. Culbert explained to the BOH members that when the incidence of H1N1 Flu was reviewed in After-Action reports,  the area of communication was of key importance and concern.  

Ms. Culbert noted that the biggest issue was and is getting information to people.  Ms. Culbert informed the Board that before the vaccine became available, the NHD office was overwhelmed with calls.  Ms. Culbert stated that it became really clear how much people want information.   Ms. Culbert acknowledged that while recorded messages are good, a live person is preferred because residents feel that they have unique questions with regard to the general information that is given.  Ms. Culbert stated that the NHD staff did an excellent job responding to this need.  Ms. Culbert added that the town website, the Town of Newtown Code Red system and the school blast e-mail systems were utilized for informational purposes regarding the availability of H1N1 flu shot vaccine, eligibility and clinic schedules

Tickborne Disease Committee

Ms. Culbert turned this topic over to Dr. Grossman.  Dr. Grossman informed the BOH members that the Tickborne Disease Committee has been meeting for a year and a quarter.  Dr. Grossman stated that the committee has interviewed many people with different opinions.  Dr. Grossman added that some participants feel that the deer are the main culprit, while others don’t think that the deer have that much of a role and further that there are some who feel that it is the smaller creatures, the mice and rodents that transmit the disease.  

Dr. Grossman explained that it seems that where studies have been appropriately done, in areas where deer are isolated on islands or peninsulas, the tick population has decreased and the incidence of Lyme Disease has decreased.
Newtown District Department of Health
Board of Health Meeting – December 29, 1010
Page 5

Dr. Grossman explained to the Board members that it is believed that the Town of Newtown has roughly 70 deer per square mile.  Dr. Grossman stated that data has shown that if you can get the number of deer down to 10-12 deer per square mile, there would be a definite lowering of the incidence of ticks and Lyme  Disease.  

Dr. Grossman stated that the committee interviewed a sharpshooter, Mr. DiNicola.  Mr. DiNicola informed the committee that his group of sharpshooters can rapidly reduce the population of deer, however, it comes at a great cost - $500,000 or more.

Mr. Rosenthal added that at that level of cost you could actually treat the deer to kill the ticks.  Mr. Rosenthal stated that he had gotten a price of a few hundred thousand dollars some years ago.  Dr. Grossman stated that using 4-poster bait stations is against the law.  

Dr. Grossman added that there is a large group of people in town who are opposed to killing deer.  Dr. Grossman noted that the committee has received many letters from residents and a large portion of those letters and concerns are from local school children.  

Dr. Grossman anticipates that the committee will conclude their findings and will present them to the Board of Selectmen.  Dr. Grossman noted that it will be up to the Board of Selectmen to make any decisions.  

There was some discussion among the Board members to try to include several local towns in this area of concern as well as a few congressmen who could offer assistance in trying to legislate actions and measures that can be taken legally.   

Heart Health

Ms. Culbert advised the Board members that Heart Health issues remain an on-going concern for the NHD, including cardiovascular diseases.  

Fall Prevention

Ms. Culbert informed the board that The Newtown Health District was able to utilize two grants to do fall prevention for seniors.  Ms. Culbert explained that the NHD participated in a Rural Health Grant and worked with Pomperaug Health District  to bring this program to the seniors at the  Bridgewater and  Roxbury Senior Centers.  Ms. Culbert stated that another block grant was utilized and presented to seniors at the Newtown Senior Citizen Center.  

Newtown District Department of Health
Board of Health Meeting – December 29, 1010
Page 6

Ms. Culbert added that what is important about the grant programs is being able to sustain them after the grant money runs out.  Marilyn Place, Director of the Newtown Senior Center, has sustained this effort by contracting the services of Dee Calvey , a Tai Chi instructor, upon conclusion of the fall prevention program.  Mr. Rosenthal asked what Tai Chi was.  Ms. Culbert explained that it is an exercise technique used for core strengthening and balance.   

Ms. Culbert stated that in conjunction with the Tai Chi instruction, a local pharmacist, Rich Gubbiotti, from the Newtown Drug Center, gave a talk on prescription drug medication and their risk factor for falls.  Dr. Joseph Young, a local eye doctor, also did vision screening.  Ms. Culbert noted that they are willing to continue to work with the senior population and enjoy doing so.  Ms. Culbert stated she would like to see this remain as an annual program.  

There was some discussion among the BOH members concerning falls and their aftermath and the effect they can have on one’s health.  Mr. Rosenthal shared with the members that he is on the President’s Advisory Council for Masonicare and that they have many presentations on Fall Prevention at their facility.  Mr. Rosenthal stated that Masonicare would like to get more active in the community.   

Eichler’s Cove

Ms. Culbert informed the BOH members that the District was very involved in water testing at Eichler’s Cove this summer.  There were fluctuating bacteria counts throughout the swimming and boating season.  The District will remain diligent in monitoring the area.    

Farmer’s Market

Ms. Culbert informed the Board members that the Farmer’s Market that was in Sandy Hook was relocated to the Fairfield Hills Campus this past summer.  Ms. Culbert stated that there were some issues regarding the intent of the market this summer that became more of a Land Use issue.  Ms. Culbert stated that it was decided that a review of the Farmer’s Market between George Benson, Land Use Director and the Newtown Health District should take place before the next season of the Farmer’s Market.  Ms. Culbert added that it is the duty of the NHD to regulate food safety, but we do not determine what grounds the Farmer’s Market operates under.

Bridgewater and Roxbury Playgrounds

Ms. Culbert stated that there were some issues this past year at the playgrounds at the elementary schools in Bridgewater and Roxbury concerning arsenic in the pressure treated wood.  Ms. Culbert explained that the playgrounds were old and had not been well maintained.  In both towns, the playgrounds have been dismantled and new structures are proposed to be built.
Newtown District Department of Health
Board of Health Meeting Minutes – December 29, 2010
Page 7

Ms. Culbert stated that the NHD had a couple of positives cases of rabies this past year. Rosenthal asked what we were generally finding.  Ms. Culbert answered positive raccoons.  Ms. Culbert stated that the District would try harder to get information out to the public this year. Ms. Culbert added that emphasis on the need to use gloves when handling their pets after an altercation with wildlife, i.e., raccoons, skunks, etc. , will be of importance as well as the  isolation of the family pet.  All necessary precautionary measures that need to be taken will be reviewed and shared with the public.

Health Fair

The Newtown Health Fair was held in September this year.  It was well attended and the weather was favorable.  

Prevention Council

Ms. Culbert stated that the Newtown Prevention Council was awarded another 5 year, $125,000 per year grant – A Drug Free Community grant.  Ms. Culbert explained that it has a two-fold focus.  One is to strengthen the coalition, making sure the people who are involved understand the things that they can do and how they can more actively participate and the other includes different programs the Prevention Council can implement to reduce drug and alcohol use.  

Ms. Culbert stated that the Prevention Council will focus more on environmental strategies.  Ms. Culbert added that they include where the access is, where kids go, etc.  If we can give kids good things to do after school, it is an important timeframe and age group to focus on.  

Ms. Culbert informed the Board that every two years the Prevention Council administers a survey in the high school and middle school which helps them to identify problem areas and issues of concern.   

Community Conversation

There is going to be a Community Conversation January 22, 2011.  Not sure if it will be at the Reed School or the High School.  A Community Conversation is a community event funded by the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund.  It is held to engage citizens in a community about a specific issue.  

The goals of the CC are to give an opportunity to speak openly; bring together diverse groups to share thoughts and opinions; help find common ground; help identify concerns and questions; generate new approaches to tough local issues; and develop options to move forward to action.  This CC is about Cultivating Character:  Newtown’s core character attributes:  perseverance, citizenship, caring, trustworthiness, respect and responsibility.
Newtown District Department of Health
Board of Health Meeting – December 29, 2010
Page 8

Regional Planning

Ms. Culbert informed the Board members that The Newtown Health District continues to do regional planning with the HVCEO Public Health Emergency Planning Committee.  Ms. Culbert explained that this includes the regional health directors in the HVCEO group.  There is also on-going work with the Region 5 emergency planning committee.  Ms. Culbert stated that she is the Chair of both of these committees.

Ms. Culbert noted that the Region 5 ESF8 and includes health departments, hospitals, EMS, public health and emergency services.  Mr. Rosenthal added that this was the fifth congressional district.    

Annual Report

Ms. Culbert distributed copies of the Annual Report for the Newtown Health District.

Meeting Minutes

Dr. Grossman asked if there were any comments on the January 20, 2010 meeting minutes.  Hearing none, Dr. Grossman asked for a motion to accept the meeting minutes.  Joan Crick made a motion to accept the meeting minutes.  All were in favor.  Motion approved.


Ms. Culbert distributed copies of the current budget and the proposed budget for 2011-2012.

Ms. Culbert explained that the front page is the summary and the back page is the detail.  Ms. Culbert stated that with direction from above, she has done everything she can to keep the budget flat.  Ms. Culbert stated that she will be taking advantage of more grant opportunities as they come along.  Ms. Culbert added that the down side to grant monies is that you never know when they are going to run out and in turn have to petition the towns for supplemental money.  

Ms. Culbert explained that there were some grant monies now to offset some operating costs and offered the following explanations.

Newtown District Department of Health
Board of Health Meeting – December 29, 2010
Page 9

Ms. Culbert stated that there was some fund balance available.  Ms. Culbert informed the Board members that part of the District’s public health emergency preparedness grants that it gets from the State Health Department allow her to account for her time that she spends on the grants.  Ms. Culbert stated that it is her salary time that she bills to the grants.  Ms. Culbert added that she does not get paid more for it, but that the district recoups that money and that it helps build a reserve between $20-$25,000 a year for the last couple of years.  Ms. Culbert stated that she is building this into the budget to try and keep the budget flat.

Ms. Culbert has asked other Health Districts where they get their grants.  Ms. Crick asked who applies for the grants.  Ms. Culbert replied that she did.  Ms. Culbert added that she wanted to find other ways to get money into the NHD.  Ms. Culbert noted that our revenues are down as well as our state per capita funding.  Ms. Culbert stated that the big ticket items are salaries and health insurance.  

Ms. Culbert explained that she and Dr. Grossman will be meeting with Finance Director,  Bob Tait, and First Selectman, Pat Llodra, to do a preliminary review of the budget before its presentation to the Board of Selectmen.

Joan Crick made a motion to accept the proposed budget as presented.   All were in favor.  Motion approved.

Having no further business, Dr. Grossman made a motion to adjourn the meeting.  Motion was seconded by Joan Crick.  Meeting adjourned.  

Submitted by,

Maureen C. Schaedler
Administrative Assistant