Town of Halifax, Vermont
November 17, 2014


Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 12 noon in the Town Office. Selectboard members Lewis Sumner, Edee Edwards, and Earl Holtz were present, as were Brad Rafus, Joe Tamburrino, Peter Murphy (Sandri, by phone) and Robbin Gabriel.

Changes and/or Additions to Agenda

No alterations were made to the agenda.

New Business

Discussion with Peter Murphy, Sandri LLC
While the Board waited for Peter Murphy to join them for a phone conference, Edee Edwards, who was not in town for the two previous meetings addressing highway department fuel contamination concerns, quickly reviewed questions still in need of answers regarding fuel color, algae contamination, treatment and tank pump and clean options, and possible independent testing of the fuel.

Peter Murphy joined the meeting by speaker phone and outlined the course Sandri planned to take to resolve the situation. Murphy said Sandri would pump water from the base of the fuel tank at the town garage, add five gallons of K-100 diesel biocide and water absorbent treatment, and have the town engage an electrician to disconnect the hard-wired fuel pump so Sandri’s technician can check the positioning of the pump in relation to the bottom of the tank. Brad Rafus asked who would bear the cost of hiring the electrician. Earl Holtz asked whether the technician could see the bottom of the tank through the top ports, but Murphy said that the tank would have to be almost empty for that to be possible. As the town will have an electrician doing other work at the garage site in the near future it was agreed that the disconnect could be done at that time and—with 24 hours notice—Sandri’s representative would come examine the pump position.

There are no specifications for diesel color, Murphy continued, although generally the color should range from amber to light brown. Rafus, who had brought in a collection of fuel samples for viewing, said his last sample was very dark; it looked like purple Gatorade. Murphy said he would bring a sample from his facility tank for comparison. Earl Holtz said the half-dozen samples Rafus had provided varied in color from light yellow to dark brownish-purple.

Rafus asked how many vendors Sandri purchased from. Two, Murphy responded–the Albany, NY, terminal, and Roberts mobile terminal in Springfield, MA. Sandri does not monitor fuel quality; they check daily for contaminants and water. Rafus said he was attempting to understand the reason for the color variations in deliveries, and Murphy explained that although Sandri’s fuel always comes from one of the two aformentioned sources, those vendors may buy from ten different suppliers. He said he would investigate what type of quality checks the terminals might do at time of purchase.

Edwards recommended following the path described by Murphy, and then continuing to monitor the town’s fuel supply after the current situation has been satisfactorily resolved. Holtz asked when Sandri would pump the town’s tank and Murphy said the company’s representatives would be at the garage Tuesday morning to do the job. Sumner verified that the Sandri crew would be in Halifax by 9:00 a.m. Tuesday, and remarked after the call ended that he thought Murphy’s response was better today than it had been previously. Edwards stressed the importance of openness and honesty with vendors when difficulties such as this are encountered. Sumner said Murphy had told the Board earlier Sandri would pump the tank, but that never happened. “We’ve been talking to them for a month,” said Rafus. After some further discussion, Sumner said he would be present at the town garage during the clean-out process in the morning, and Rafus said he would also be there.

Repair of One-Ton Truck
Rafus told the Board the one-ton was losing antifreeze within the motor and diagnostics indicate the head gasket is blown. This is a lengthy and costly repair job, he said. Cost estimate is $5,000, or as much as $7,000 if the head is cracked. Edwards advised postponing the repair until Keith Stone has time to do it. The new truck is scheduled to arrive next week, Rafus will be out for awhile, and Stone is still working to prepare equipment for winter. Rafus also mentioned that repairs and maintenance on the 2006 Sterling dump truck is becoming cost prohibitive, as parts are increasingly difficult to find and very expensive when available. This will be on a future agenda for discussion and will be incorporated into the yearly budget planning.


The meeting was adjourned at 12:48 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Robbin Gabriel
Selectboard Secretary