MEETING MINUTES OF THE
PLUM CREEK MUNICIPAL AUTHORITY
October 2019

A regular meeting of the Board of The Plum Creek Municipal Authority was held on October 15, 2019, at the Plum Creek Municipal Authority Business Office Building, South Manheim Township, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania.

Board members present at the meeting were Jim Ridderhoff, Jerry Weiss, and Ryan Achenbach. Also, in attendance was Joe Zerbe (PCMA Attorney), Carl McGrady (PCMA Employee), and property owners – Joe Haggerty and Ron Larsen.

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

The minutes for the September 2019 meeting were accepted by motion of Jerry Weiss, seconded by Ryan Achenbach, carried by all.

The Treasurer's report for September 2019 was reviewed and accepted by motion of Jerry Weiss, seconded by Ryan Achenbach, carried by all.

David Smith (SES) gave a written manager’s report to the Board prior to the meeting:

  • Copies of the following information has been submitted by SES to PA DEP on the authority’s behalf and are viewable via PA DEP website via the eDMR.
    • Discharge monitoring report and Discharge monitoring report supplemental report
  • There have been no water system violations and no wastewater system violations during this time.
  • The Ford Ranger is at Moyer’s getting repaired and inspected.
  • The Mack Pump Truck was just inspected and is back in service.
  • The Western Star Pump Truck is being scheduled to go for repair. The truck lacks power and the motor is intermittently stopping for short periods.
  • A system wide flushing of the water system is scheduled for the week of October 21, 2019.
In water operations, David reported that:
  • Normal operations continue.
  • Well# 3 located near D Dock is producing air in the water being pumped and appears cloudy. The water does totally clear up in about 30 seconds and I am only using this well during periods of high-water demand.
  • The other three wells are operational and being rotated. Currently running two wells at approximately 130 gpm.
  • A water service line was hit by a contractor on 2462 Papoose which was repaired along with a water main break at 2641 Wynonah Drive. The leak on Lone Star was dug up but not found.
  • Booster Station is at 13.3 PSI, as of October 10, 2019. (14.2 PSI=full).
  • Booster Station: All pumps operational and rotating on monthly basis.
In sewage operations, David reported that:
  • Normal operations continue.
  • Plant ran well for September 2019.
  • Approximately 10 septic pumps are in the backlog.
Jim Ridderhoff said David Smith (SES) should mention the situation with Well 3 to the engineer Dave Bright (SSM) to see if he recommends doing anything. Jim said it generally happens after a leak repair that sometimes air gets into the system. Dave (SES) said he doesn’t necessarily agree with it in this situation because he used the well last month for a total of five days and it starts pulling air right away. When he first started here, we were using Well 3 pretty much and the water was clear. Dave said then there was a period where we were running a lot and he noticed it started getting cloudy and he shut it off and he let it go for awhile and then he turned it back on and it was cloudy again. Dave said he just wanted to bring it to everyone’s attention that the water, in his opinion, is a little cloudier.

Ryan Achenbach said it came on social media today that there was a sudden chemical taste by one of the residents. It wasn’t corroborated by anybody else. Ryan asked Dave Smith (SES) if there was an explanation. Dave said we do add chlorine to the water per DEP. Dave said in the summertime you have to run more chlorine because you have a lot of capacity here. So, chlorine over time especially, when the water is warm, it dissipates. If you put a glass of water out and leave it sit until the next day, there won’t be any chlorine in there. So, the same thing is happening in your system – so in the summertime you have to add a little more chlorine and about two weeks ago it was lowered.

Ryan Achenbach asked Dave Smith (SES) about the water testing. Dave said it all depends but for chlorine we test daily. You have three test sites and we test the well - each well is considered an entry point. There was a period in there where a pipe was installed, they wanted to make sure the chlorine we are testing has 20 minutes contact time and that is the entry point sample. Then there is three other sample points that are taken. The same three testing sites are used all the time and they are directly out of our infrastructure.

Jim Ridderhoff asked Dave Smith (SES) what is our policy, as operators, in this situation – a lady calls up and says there is too much chlorine in my water, and it tastes funny. She calls the office; the office calls over to the plant and talks to one of the guys and gives them the report. Dave said, as the water treatment plant operator, he feels his obligation is to make sure we meet the requirements and do not have a chlorine violation. The customer should be contacted, and we should talk to them. Dave said there are two portable testing units that can be used to go out to the customer and check the chlorine.

Joe Haggerty asked at what point would a customer taste the chlorine. Dave Smith (SES) said you can taste it even with the low chlorine. What you are tasting is when you are producing chloramines - one of the things, that we push for, when we are running the water treatment plant is break point chlorination. Chlorine is not only affected by the bacteria it is also affected by everything in the water. So, you have your free chlorine and you have your total chlorine. Now, in the water system we check for free chlorine that is what the state is looking for. They are looking for the amount of chlorine that is readily available to disinfect (to kill all the bacteria) your total chlorine should be a lot higher than that. So, your free chlorine could be .5 but if your total chlorine is 2 - in the middle you have chloramines - and that is what you are smelling. The State mandates levels for chlorine.

In engineering matters, Jim Ridderhoff talked to Jamie Lorah (SSM), and Jamie said they had nothing new to report. Jim said the engineers (SSM) are finished with the Act 537, with all the revisions we have given to them, and they have emailed and mailed it to the Townships. So, the Townships have the Act 537 revisions and they are digesting it at this time. When the Township’s approve it the next step to that is it goes out for Public Comment.

In legal matters, Joe Zerbe said he reviewed Jamie Lorah’s (SSM) revisions to the Act 537 Plan and gave his blessing to send it to the Townships. That was all he had to report.

Ron Larsen said the secretary at Wayne Township said they did not receive their copy of the Act 537 Plan. Joe Zerbe asked Nancy to follow up with both Township’s on Wednesday to see if they received their copies.

Joe Haggerty asked if the Board knows how much it is going to cost and what is involved to close the plant down? Jim Ridderhoff said we have not pursued that question yet but believes it will be a significant number, without anybody checking anything, I am thinking it will be at least $100,000. Joe said he would agree with that and expects it to be a big number. Jim said we have not had any estimates on that. Joe said he was in the steel business and sometimes the cost of closing plants down were so expensive that sometimes it would actually drive the decision that you really didn’t want to shut it down because the marginal cost to keep the plant running was really insignificant because the remediation was so extreme.

Ryan Achenbach said his response to that would be as he is looking at budget numbers the sewage side is running in the red. So, we are already at an operating deficit and that gets reflected back on the membership. Therefore, closure to end that continuous stream of a deficit is probably something that would be recouped just in not having loses anymore.

Ron Larsen said on opening it up to outside haulers – we control the roads – so we have a say who is going to pump and haul. Ryan Achenbach said Lake Wynonah will make the decision for whether we want a bunch of companies or a couple at a preferred rate. Jim Ridderhoff said you decide but if we are not here to do it someone has to pump.

Carl McGrady (PCMA Employee) said whoever decides to take over the pumping operation he would like the Board to suggest him for a job because he knows the lake. Ryan Achenbach said that is a great point and thinks Carl should come to one of the Lake Wynonah Board Meetings. So, that when consideration comes in regarding will Lake Wynonah (itself) choose a few companies as opposed to opening it up to everybody, maybe that becomes more of a possibility that they can vote on, since they control what companies will be in.

Joe Haggerty asked is there anything more the Board can tell him about the water system take over by Schuylkill County Municipal Authority (SCMA) are those discussions moving along? Jim Ridderhoff said the discussions with SCMA are in a holding position because they won’t discuss anything till the plant is not in operation.

There being no further business, Jerry Weiss motioned for adjournment, Ryan Achenbach seconded the motion, carried by all. Jim Ridderhoff adjourned the meeting at 6:41 p.m.

Meeting minutes were taken, prepared, and submitted by Nancy Wesner.

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