September 2016

A regular meeting of the Board of the Plum Creek Municipal Authority was held on September 20, 2016 at the Plum Creek Municipal Authority Business Office Building, South Manheim Township, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania.

Board members present at the meeting were Jim Ridderhoff, Tom Nagle, Dennis Scharadin, and Matt Gruber. Also in attendance were Dave Bright (PCMA Engineer), Joe Zerbe (PCMA Attorney), Jeff Crawford (PCMA Operations Manager, Select Environmental), and property owner Adam Truitt.

Jim Ridderhoff called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m.

The minutes of the prior meeting held in August, 2016 were reviewed and accepted by motion of Tom Nagle, seconded by Matt Gruber, and carried by all.

The Treasurer's report for August, 2016 was reviewed and accepted by motion of Matt Gruber, seconded by Dennis Scharadin, carried by all.

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

In sewage operations, Jeff reported that:
  • Normal operations continue.
  • Axiom completed the drum filter shaft repair at the sewage treatment plant. The spray blower repair quote became an emergency repair due to the pump hose failure and the flooded pump/motor. The sewage plant was down again for about 8 days resulting in the need for 4 individual holding tank loads to be hauled to Pine Grove because of low storage capacity. The rebuilt spray motor/pump was installed at roughly $4,800.
  • The repair at the sewage treatment plant required a 24-hour filter bypass. Composite and grab samples were collected and DEP was notified. No negative results posted. One monthly fecal coliform grab sample is being retested this Thursday.
  • The new used pump truck is currently out of service due to failure of the vacuum pump. It went out of service two weeks ago due to a ReGen failure/repair. It’s scheduled with Axiom for repair. The Mack pump truck is also having sporadic ReGen issues.
  • Met with SSM personnel and PCMA Board Member for discussion and a tour in regard to the treatment plant storage tanks, as well as various current and future upgrades.
  • The small Ford pickup is scheduled for a safety recall the first week of October.
Jeff also said he was waiting for quotes from contractors to take down two trees at the booster station.

Matt said, with there being at least four issues with the new Mack pumper truck since it was purchased a few years ago, he was wondering if there’s something we’re missing with maintenance. He said he knows the pumps are used hard, and there’s a lot of pumping uphill, but maybe there’s something more we can be doing in a preventative manner. He added that it could very well be that the problems are common to all pump trucks, whether new or used, but he thought it might bear thinking more about. As far as the newly purchased used pumper (the Blue Star), nobody will probably be able to find out much about whether there were prior problems because it was a repo and the seller most likely doesn’t know anything about the history.

Jim welcomed a visitor who attended the meeting and opened the floor to Mr. Truitt. Jeff explained why Mr. Truitt was there and told the Board that, when Mr. Truitt purchased his Lake Wynonah home at the end of June, 2016, the PCMA went out to turn the water on for him at the curb stop, and it was mentioned to Mr. Truitt that it sounded like there may be a leak on his line, but the PCMA had to come back out with the geophones to listen to the activity in the water line to make sure. However, the issue was overlooked, and nobody got back to check the line for a leak. As it turned out, there actually was a leak on the line and, because there was a pit meter at the property, the water that leaked out registered as usage on Mr. Truitt’s meter, putting up his water bill considerably. He felt that he was partially responsible for the water that ran through the meter because he also forgot about it, but he asked the Board for consideration on the PCMA’s end of things for not following up by getting back to see if there really was a leak on the line. When Mr. Truitt remembered the possible leak, he contacted the Authority right away. The PCMA went out to check and determined there was a leak and, when Mr. Truitt learned about it, he had it repaired immediately. He also told the Board that some of the overage that accumulated would belong to him, and said he used approximately 10,000 gallons of water a month where he lived previously. Taking into consideration the amount of overage that Mr. Truitt believed would be from his own water use, the Board agreed that consideration was warranted, and issued a $300 credit to be posted to his water account.

In engineering matters, Dave Bright said it was good that Dave Bonkovich found a large leak because, in looking at the monthly well pumping records, the average for the month was the highest in more than two years. Jeff said he’d still like Dave Bonkovich to come back to see if he could find more leaks because the storage tanks will drop rapidly when each well is taken offline for 5 to 7 days for the Aqua Freed treatment.

Dave said the water usage in the system was pretty constant from March through June at around 270,000 gallons per day. But then usage increased in July and August.

Dave also said that he’s still waiting to hear from the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) about the application for the groundwater withdrawal allocation. In reference to the wells and the Aqua Freed treatments, Dave said that Scott Mundell (SSM Group) had a couple comments in that he didn’t feel that it’s really necessary to use the Aqua Freed process on Well #6 because it’s a relatively low producer, and he didn’t feel the increase yield the Authority will see from using the process will justify the cost of doing it. Scott’s other comment was that he felt the follow-up Aqua Guard treatment should be started a little bit sooner than proposed to see how effective it is, at least for the first time around. In light of that, Jim said the well treatments could be put on a three-year rotation rather than a four-year rotation if Well #6 was eliminated from the schedule. Tom added that the plan could be adjusted to do Wells 3 and 8 this year, and do Well 1 next year, and then start the Aqua Guard treatments the following year.

The work is commencing with the application for a grant for money to replace the large sewage holding tanks at the treatment plant, as well as other major repairs needed with the PCMA’s water and sewage systems. Dave said any costs incurred before the grant is awarded would be ineligible for financing, so it would benefit the Authority to wait to address some areas of repair if it wasn’t absolutely necessary to do them for roughly six months. Dave said the application was due to be submitted at the end of October, and he thought the decisions to award grants were made in February. Tom said the Aqua Freed treatments that are needed would most likely be excluded because they needed to be done sooner rather than later.

Jeff told the Board that he felt the Booster Station should be evaluated for repair and maintenance because he noticed mold in the building. He said it’s not that bad right now, but it’ll keep getting worse. Dave said he would be in touch with Jeff to arrange inspection of the Booster Station building to see what issues need to be addressed.

In legal matters, Joe Zerbe said routine matters were addressed, and the delinquent account/lien policy reviewed at prior meetings was finalized.

The Severance Pay Policy part of the PCMA’s employee manual was changed and reworded, and it was submitted to the Board for approval. Upon motion by Tom Nagle, seconded by Matt Gruber, and carried by all, the new Severance Pay Policy was approved and adopted, to replace the current Severance Pay Policy in the PCMA Employee Manual.

An issue arose concerning a water line replacement by a customer because he was told he had a leak on his water line and there wasn’t one. The customer said the contractor who replaced the line said there was no leak but, when the PCMA contacted the contractor for verification, the contractor was noncommittal and wouldn’t get involved. The customer said he got benefit of the repair because he had a plastic line and it was replaced with copper, so he asked if the Authority would pay for half of it. After discussing the matter further, the Board agreed to pay half the cost of the repair.

There being no further business, Dennis Scharadin motioned for adjournment, Matt Gruber seconded the motion, carried by all. The meeting was adjourned by Jim Ridderhoff at 7:05 pm.

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

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