April 2018

A regular meeting of the Board of The Plum Creek Municipal Authority was held on April 17, 2018 at the Plum Creek Municipal Authority Business Office Building, South Manheim Township, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania.

Board members present at the meeting were Jim Ridderhoff, Dennis Scharadin, Matt Gruber, and Jerry Weiss. Tom Nagle was absent. Others in attendance were Dave Bright (SSM Engineering), Joe Zerbe (PCMA Attorney), Keenan Engle (PCMA Operations Manager – Select Environmental), Nancy Wesner (PCMA Office), Joe Clemas (PCMA Field), and property owners who signed the attendance sheet: Jim Corkins, Richard Hardy, David Tyson, Joe Haggerty, and Michael Perricci.

Jim Ridderhoff called the meeting to order at 6:01 p.m. He welcomed Corby Lewis, who was appointed by Wayne Township to take Dennis Scharadin's place on the PCMA Board.

The minutes for the February, 2018 meeting were accepted by motion of Matt Gruber, seconded by Jerry Weiss, carried by all. A March, 2018 meeting was not held due to the expectation of bad weather.

The Treasurer's reports for February, 2018 and March, 2018 were reviewed and accepted by motion of Matt Gruber, seconded by Corby Lewis, carried by all.

Keenan gave the manager’s report. In water operations, he reported:

  • Normal operations continue. There were no violations to report for the period.
  • All wells are operational. Two wells are currently online, and the wells are being rotated to avoid overflowing the water storage tanks.
  • The Booster Station is at 13.0 psi, with 15.0 being full.
  • All pumps at the Booster Station are operational and are rotating on a monthly basis.
  • Leak repairs were started on April 4th with five leaks detected in the PCMA water system. Also, five curb boxes and one post hydrant were repaired. Four leaks were detected on customer service lines, and all customers were notified to have the leaks repaired.
  • Carl McGrady was hired full-time as a pump truck driver/pumper.
In sewage operations, Keenan reported that:
  • Normal operations continue. No violations to report for this period.
  • Approximately 32 septic pumps are in the backlog. Both pump trucks are operational.
  • Both pickup trucks are operational but the Ranger pickup truck will be going in the shop for recall repairs.
In engineering matters, Dave Bright said routine matters were taken care of, and setting up a meeting with the PA DEP regarding future sewage operations at the PCMA was being organized. Other than that, there was nothing to report.

In legal matters, Joe Zerbe said he also was working on setting up a meeting with the DEP from his end, and routine matters were handled. Other than that, there was nothing to report.

The future of PCMA sewage operations in Lake Wynonah was discussed. Since the last meeting in February, a meeting is being organized with the PA DEP that will include PCMA Board members, Dave Bright (SSM Engineering), Joe Zerbe (PCMA Attorney), and representatives from both Wayne and South Manheim Townships. Although no official vote was taken by the PCMA Board, the general consensus of the members is that, of all the options provided by the Analysis Study performed by Spotts, Stevens, and McCoy, the one most feasible was to have private haulers take over the pumping requirements of the PCMA's Sewage Management Program. After reviewing the analysis, both Wayne and South Manheim Townships indicated agreement with that option. The DEP required Township approval of a course of action before it would meet with all parties involved. As soon as all parties can agree on a date, a meeting will take place with the PA DEP to discuss the future of sewage operations at the PCMA.

Jim Corkins, LWPOA Board member, said the LWPOA wanted to submit its own suggestions for a solution to the sewage issues in Lake Wynonah and wanted to set up a meeting with the PCMA Board. Jim Ridderhoff said the LWPOA Board was welcome to present their suggestions at the PCMA's meetings, but Jim Corkins wanted a private meeting to take place.

Joe Haggerty said a number of questions had been submitted to the PCMA Board which have yet to be answered. Jen told him that Tom Nagle answered some of the questions he had knowledge about but that he had taken ill and could not continue. However, most of the questions the LWPOA had on the list were already answered on the full version of SSM's Sewage Facilities Alternatives Analysis which is posted on the PCMA's website, and it is available to everyone.

Jim Corkins said the LWPOA put its own options together. He said he has zero idea what the PCMA's options are. Jim Ridderhoff reiterated that all the sewage alternative options are listed in the study posted on the PCMA website and are explained at length.

Dave Tyson said the PCMA stated that the PA DEP approved the plan to go to outside haulers. Joe Zerbe said nothing was approved by DEP. Joe said that the PCMA wanted to meet with the DEP to make sure that, if the PCMA went in the direction of going to outside haulers, the DEP wouldn't disapprove. He said the PCMA didn't want to put money and effort into going down a path that the DEP wouldn't approve of. He said we need to find out ahead of time which options were viable from the DEP's point of view.

Jim Corkins said there were plenty of options available to keep the sewage operations going at the PCMA but he would not offer any suggestions. He said the PCMA didn't want to share what they had with the LWPOA and he didn't want to hear about reading the Sewage Analysis that is available on the website; he wasn't interested. He said he asked Representative Tobash to force the PCMA to meet with the LWPOA. He said the PCMA has no support from the LWPOA and from the community who has been the bread and butter of the PCMA for 50 years. Jim Ridderhoff said the PCMA is not here to make money; it is a not-for-profit organization that needs to pay the bills. Additional comments made by Jim Corkins were not recorded because of the unacceptable language he used.

Jim Corkins said he talked to Pat Caulfield from the Schuylkill County Municipal Authority and he said Pat indicated that the SCMA was interested in taking over PCMA sewage operations.

Jen said that was a 180-degree turn-around from what Pat told her before, in that the SCMA was definitely not interested in taking on the sewage operations at the PCMA. She said she would contact Pat and ask him about it. Jim Corkins then said he did not talk to Pat directly but a colleague of his did. Jen said she would follow up with Pat to see if he did indicate the SCMA's willingness to take over the PCMA's sewage operations.

Dave Tyson asked again about the questions submitted by the LWPOA. Joe Zerbe explained again that the intention was to answer them but the answers were not completed because the person addressing them fell ill and the project was not passed on.

Jim Corkins told the Board that going to outside haulers would be too expensive for the holding tank customers and it wasn't acceptable to him. Jim Ridderhoff said the holding tank people are paying very reduced rates for their pumpings, and the PCMA can't continue with that pricing. Jim Ridderhoff said the rates will be greatly increased in the future, and possibly as much as four times as much as they are now. Joe Zerbe said the holding tank rates will go up considerably whether the PCMA continues with sewage operations or if operations it goes to private/outside haulers. Either way, the holding tank people will be paying a lot more.

The argument regarding the future of sewage operations continued for some time with no positive outcome. Dave Tyson asked about the PCMA's decision to use outside haulers and Joe Zerbe again explained that no official decision had been made to pursue Option C of the Sewage Analysis Study because a vote hadn't been taken at a public meeting. He further went on to say that the PCMA asked the PA DEP for some input to help make a decision. The DEP said they would do that but they needed assurance that the Townships had a mindset similar to that of the PCMA Board. He said that an official decision has yet to be made. Joe said the PCMA Board members have talked about it and the general consensus is to go with Option C of the Analysis (turning sewage pumping over to private haulers) but a formal decision has not been made. Joe added that the way things are currently being handled as to making a decision about sewage operations is what the DEP requires to have a meeting.

Joe Zerbe told Jim Corkins that, if he has a great proposal, even though his assumptions may not be right, to put it down in writing and submit it to the PCMA.

Jim Corkins said the PCMA should want him on its side otherwise it'll cause more heartaches than anything else. He told the PCMA that it doesn't want to be fighting with him. He said he will oppose the PCMA's decisions and threatened to drag things out for a long, long time.

There being no further business, Jerry Weiss motioned for adjournment, Matt Gruber seconded the motion, carried by all. Jim Ridderhoff adjourned the meeting at 7:25 p.m.

Meeting minutes were taken, prepared, and submitted by Jennifer Hoy.

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