Kozlark replaces Marconi on water pollution agency

Selectwoman Maureen Kozlark will take over as the Board of Selectmen's representative to the WPCA.

Selectwoman Maureen Kozlark will take over as the Board of Selectmen's representative to the WPCA.

Macklin Reid / Hearst Connecticut Media

Stepping up to reduce First Selectman Rudy Marconi’s workload a bit, Selectwoman Maureen Kozlark will be representing the Board of Selectmen on the town’s Water Pollution Control Authority, the agency overseeing a $48 million renovation of the town’s sewage treatment facilities.

“Are we on time and on budget on the plant?” Selectman Bob Hebert asked at the board’s May 6 meeting.

“So far, so good,” said Amy Siebert, chairwoman of the Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA). “We’re still early, but so far, so good.”

She added, “We’ll see what supply-chain issues may or may not do to us.”

The selectmen reappointed four longstanding members of the WPCA — Siebert, Ronald Hill, Kevin Briody and Gary Zwacki — in addition to naming Kozlark as their representative to the agency.

“I’m going to withdraw my name for reappointment,” Marconi said.”Maureen has generously — and I mean generously — come forward.”

Board representation

Kozlark offered some history.

“It was about six or eight years ago the Board of Selectmen felt we wanted to have representation on WPCA, and Rudy generously stepped forward and took on more ... and has been attending all the meetings,” she said.

Kozlark said that when she saw Marconi’s name on this list for reappointmnet, she recalled that he’d occasionally asked if any other selectmen were interested in taking the board’s seat on the WPCA.

Kozlark didn’t mention that Marconi is recovering from a battle with COVID-19, the disease cause by the coronavirus, but it seemed to be part of her thinking.

“The reason I stepped forward is to alleviate the list of to-dos our first selectman has right now,” Kozlark said.

“This is something we can alleviate, and take it off his plate and put it on mine.”

Kozlark said she was familiar with the WPCA, and would report back to the board on its workings.

“I’ve attended meetings. It’s a great group,” she said.

“What will I do? I’ll attend meetings,” she said. “...I hope to bring more information on regular basis so you all are aware what’s going on.”

“I can’t wait to make a motion here,” said Selectman Hebert.

Regulation rollback?

Selectwoman Barbara Manners had a question for Siebert.

“Have the rollback of environmental regulations in the last three years impacted the requirements at sewer plant in terms of wastewater discharge? And have they made it easier or more difficult to comply?

“We’ve had no rollback in our permit requirements,” Siebert said.”The changes I’ve seen to the Clean Water Act are very recent and they’ve not affected us.”

Selectman Sean Connelly paid tribute to WPCA members’ endurance through largely negative public reaction to the price hikes needed to pay for the plant upgrade.

“I thank you all for staying through a very tough time,” he said, “and your commitment to seeing a new plant built.”

After the vote to reappoint the four continuing board members and add Kozlark, Marconi expressed his appreciation.

“Thank you, thank you,” he said. ”You know where I am.”

Siebert assured the board that Kozlark would be welcome.

“We’ll make sure she has a great experience,” she said.

Don’t flush wipes!

And the WPCA chairwoman added a request to the general public:

“Remember not to flush wipes and all sorts of things,” she said.”We’ve had some issues in the plant with our pump station. So, please, only number one and number two!”

“No masks!” echoed Selectwoman Manners. “No wipes!”