October 2016

A regular meeting of the Board of the Plum Creek Municipal Authority was held on October 18, 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 Jerry Weiss. Also in attendance were Dave Bright (PCMA Engineer), Joe Zerbe (PCMA Attorney), Jeff Crawford (PCMA Operations Manager, Select Environmental), and property owners: David Mengel and Mary & Joseph Jacob.

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

The minutes of the prior meeting held in September, 2016 were reviewed and accepted by motion of Dennis Scharadin, seconded by Tom Nagle, and carried by all.

The Treasurer's report for September, 2016 was reviewed and accepted by motion of Dennis Scharadin, seconded by Tom Nagle, carried by all.

Jim welcomed the visitors who attended the meeting and opened the floor to Mr. Jacobs. He said he and his wife were new owners and settled on their home three weeks ago. He said the septic tank had been pumped and inspected by the former owner 5 months earlier, and he was concerned because the septic tank had water in it and he was under the impression that the house had been vacant for two years. He also said some sand mound ports were broken and said the wires were just hanging in the dosing tank. He brought the situation to the attention of the Authority prior to the meeting, and it was decided that another pump and inspection would be performed, which it was. His concern was that it may not have been done properly 5 months earlier and was worried about overflow and pollution. Jeff said the history of the meter reading was checked and there was water used during the time Mr. Jacobs thought it was vacant, so somebody had been using water. Jen checked the records and said 12,000 gallons of water was used since the pump was performed. Jim said the septic tank is supposed to have water in it; if it didnít it would indicate the tank is leaking. The septic inspection report indicated that everything was marked as being ok with the system 5 months earlier. Mr. Jacobs brought pictures of the interior of the dosing tank and the Board reviewed them. Jim asked about the wires in the tank because they looked like theyíd been cut. Mr. Jacobs said he cut them to try to figure out how they were connected. Because issues often come up with septic pumps soon after they were inspected (floats and baffles falling off, pump failures, etc.), the Board felt that there was no way to tell for certain what the tank looked like 5 months earlier. For example, a Board memberís dosing tank pump broke in half just days after it was pumped and inspected last year. After more discussion, the Board decided to have the pumpers take pictures of the tanks during the pumpings in order to have a visual record to compare to the written reports of the inspections. Mr. Jacobs said he thought that was a good idea, as did others in attendance.

Mr. Mengle said the water filters heís using in his home filtering system are rated to last for 5,000 gallons or 3 months. He said since the hydrant was flushed near his home in July, he got 3,900 gallons of usage out of his water filter and then from July to August it was working as it should at around 5,000 gallons before it had to be changed. But now he said he only gets 2,470 gallons of water running through the filter before it had to be changed. The last one only lasted for 2,210 gallons. He said he hasnít been to a couple of meetings since the Board talked about cleaning the wells to try to increase production and clean up the dirty water problems, and was wondering what was happening in that area. He also asked if the PCMA was going to flush the whole system this year.

Jeff said that well pumps were pulled and cleaned, but the fouling in the well itself is still there and it will require well rehab and treatment to remove it. He said Wells #3 and 8 were scheduled for rehab using the AquaFreed treatment. After that process has been completed, a system flush will try to be worked in before the weather gets too cold, but thatís dependent on having enough water supply to do it after the well rehab is complete.

Jim added that there has been a large number of leaks over the past month, and thatís added to the problem. And there has been an issue with the wells having more iron and manganese than usual, probably due to buildup, and that has affected the quantity of water that the wells pump. Thereís water in the wells, but the fouling of the pumps and lines has inhibited the output of water that can be pumped. Jim said the water capacity situation got worse since Mr. Mengle was able to attend a meeting, and now all effort has been put into increasing the pumping capacity of the wells, which will result in restoration of the levels of water in the storage tanks.

Dave Bright said the change in the sequestering agent being used for the iron and manganese, and the dosage being used, is effectively treating the water coming out of the wells but, because itís different, it may be having a different initial effect in the distribution system in that it could be loosening sediment in the lines which will need to be flushed out.

Jeff gave the managerís report. In water operations he reported:

In sewage operations, Jeff reported that:
  • Normal operations continue.
  • Due to the sewage treatment plant being down, 2 loads of sludge from the plant and 2 loads from holding tanks were hauled to Pine Grove.
  • The Blue Star pump truck is currently out of service due to the vacuum pump failure. A new pump replacement was approved and repairs are expected to start the week of October 24th. Also, the Blue Mack pump truck is in the shop for possible pump failure; there is loss of oil pressure on lower RPMs.
  • Axiom was onsite October 18th for an electrical outlet and blower panel repair at the sewage treatment plant.
  • The small Ford pickup was taken to Sands Ford in Pottsville for a safety recall involving the air bags.
Where water was concerned, Jeff said that the average daily flow was even higher than last month. Dave Bright asked when the system repairs were completed, and asked when Dave Bonkovich completed his leak survey. Jeff said that Dan Smaglinski came in rather than Dave Bonkovich because Dave B. was pulled away for emergency leak detection at another system. The system repairs were completed October 5th and Dan completed leak detection around the same time.

Jeff said another large tree was added to the removal list at the Booster Station. It was discovered that the third tree had a dead inner part and itís positioned right over the Booster Station. He got two quotes from local contractors to remove the trees. The two quotes were similar in cost but one of the contractorís work didnít include cleanup afterward. In light of that, Jeff recommended using the contractor who will clean up afterward. The Board agreed and told Jeff to have Schuylkill Tree and Landscaping do the work.

In regard to pump failures on the sewage pump trucks, Matt Gruber, at the September meeting, asked about the maintenance being performed on the trucks. Jeff said he got a second opinion from a repair person who rebuilds the pumps who seemed knowledgeable about how the pumps worked. The repair person said that the vacuum pumps that are on the pump trucks are under a lot of heavy strain and if any bit of grit gets into the pump, itís going to wear the veins of the pump out quickly. He went on to say that if youíre just doing a pump or two a day, the pump may last four or five years, and maybe longer. But the PCMAís is being used harder than two pumps a day. The repair person said, maintenance wise, one thing that can be done is to periodically replace the veins in the pump. The cost of that could be $1,200 and, at once or twice a year, Jeff wasnít sure if it would work out any different, cost wise, if the veins were replaced or if the pump was replaced if it failed after a period of time. Jeff said he checked with Mickey to see how he operates the trucks every day and, with the way Mickey said he checks the oil and fluids, and how he runs the trucks, Jeff said he didnít see anything out of the ordinary.

Jeff said when the pump was checked on the newly purchased used pump truck, it was discovered that the veins were completely deteriorated. The pump on the truck failed after only two pumps, and the veins wouldnít have deteriorated after only two pumps unless they were worn out prior to that. Jeff said the truckís pump was in that condition when the PCMA purchased it and, because it was bought used, there was no way to have known it and thereís nothing much that can be done about it except to repair it. Also, the Mack pump is in the repair shop due to a pump failure too and because it needs inspection and new tires.

In engineering matters, Dave Bright said the grant application was just about ready for submission, and it was for Well #1 rehabilitation, replacing the equalization tanks at the sewage treatment plant, miscellaneous electrical repairs at the sewage treatment plant, and structural repairs at the Booster Station. The grant amount being asked for is $497,000. There were other things to be addressed on the repair ďwish listĒ but the grant request canít exceed $500,000. Daveís firm, SSM, prepared a resolution to be signed by the Board as part of the grant submission. Upon motion by Jerry Weiss, seconded by Dennis Scharadin, and carried by all, the Board adopted an official resolution appointing officers to execute all documents and agreements between the PCMA and the Commonwealth Financing Authority to facilitate and assist in obtaining the requested grant for $497,000. The resolution was signed and Dave took the document with him to make it part of the grant application paperwork. The Board also signed the letter of intent to apply for the Commonwealth Financing Authorityís PA Small Water and Sewer Grant. Dave said the grant paperwork will be submitted by the end of the month.

In legal matters, Joe Zerbe said routine matters were addressed, along with reviewing documents for the grant application. There wasnít anything during the last month that required legal attention.

There being no further business, Dennis Scharadin motioned for adjournment, Jerry Weiss seconded the motion, carried by all. The meeting was adjourned by Jim Ridderhoff at 7:30 pm.

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

Water Rates  |  Sewage Rates  |  Sewage Management Plan  |  Water Quality Reports  |  Water Conservation Policy
Home  |  Water Rules and Regulations  |  Announcements  |  Links and Related Info.  |  New Office Construction
Email  |  PCMA Meeting Dates  |  Meeting Minutes  |  History of the PCMA

© 2016 Plum Creek Municipal Authority