November 2015

A regular meeting of the Board of The Plum Creek Municipal Authority was held on November 17, 2015 at the Plum Creek Municipal Authority Business Office Building, South Manheim Township, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania.

Board members present at the meeting were Tom Nagle, Jim Ridderhoff, Jerry Weiss, Dennis Scharadin, and Matt Gruber. Also in attendance was Joe Zerbe (PCMA Attorney), Dave Bright (SSM Engineering), Mary Radcliffe (PCMA Operations Manager), Mickey Sinitsky (PCMA Pump Truck Driver), and L/B Water representative Mark Nuscher.

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

The minutes of the prior meeting held in October, 2015 were reviewed and accepted by motion of Dennis Scharadin, seconded by Matt Gruber, carried by all.

The Treasurer's report for October, 2015 was reviewed and accepted by motion of Matt Gruber, seconded by Dennis Scharadin, carried by all.

Mary reviewed her written report relating to managerial matters (submitted to the Board at the meeting) which addressed water and sewage operations. In water matters, she reported that:

In sewage matters, Mary reported that:
  • Met with several vendors in regard to influent valve and controller repair and installation. Proposals are in the process of being submitted.
  • The full-sized pickup truck was inspected and returned to operation.
  • Met with a representative in regard to installation of a muffin monster or something similar to collect debris at the pump station to prevent clogging of the lines and influent valve at the sewage treatment plant.
  • Set up a temporary decant pump to de-water the sludge in the holding tank at the sewage treatment plant. The current decant pump which was designed for the plant doesnít work and hasnít been in service for a number of years.
Mary told the Board that she hadnít yet received the results of the iron and manganese testing. She also said that two curb stops are scheduled to be repaired, and a regular hydrant is on the list to be replaced along with the other system repairs being performed.

Tom asked if the muffin monster-type device will remove silt and grit from the sewage in addition to rags. Mary said she didnít know of anything on the market that would remove grit. Tom asked where the grit goes now, and Mickey said it usually settles in the corner of the tank, or somewhere thatís not affected by the air moving it around. Tom asked if the grit that settles is removed occasionally and Mickey said itís supposed to be. Mickey said there are companies that will come with a truck to siphon the grit out when itís needed, and itís hauled away. Tom asked about the decanter, and Mary said she has a temporary pump in the tank right now thatís half full. She said all the parts are there for the decanter thatís already installed but she doesnít know why it doesnít work. Mary said an electrician should probably take a look at it to see whatís wrong with it. Tom told Mary to have it checked out.

Mark Nuscher, L/B Water representative presented the radio read technology available for meter reading. He showed the Board the equipment available for radio reads for reading meters and explained the process. He said the meters that are currently in use would have to be updated in order to use the new technology and said thereís no doubt that the setup and updating the equipment needed would be quite expensive but he said maybe the PCMA would like to start the process and set it up piecemeal. Each house would need an additional piece of equipment added to the meter which currently costs $125. Another unit needed would cost in excess of $7,000, and there would be other costs as well such as software costs, radio read units, and annual support fees.

In engineering matters, Dave Bright said he had nothing to report that hadnít been already addressed. He said he couldnít give any recommendations about the iron and manganese issues because the test results hadnít been received yet. But he did say SSM recently hired a person with 25 yearsí worth of experience that could look over the sewage operations for the PCMA and maybe make some recommendations to help with some of the problems at the plant. The Board said that would be a good idea, and told Dave to have his guy set up a time to meet up with Mary to go over the sewage plant operations.

Matt said he looked at the problem with the water flooding problems at the dump station, and said heíd dig a swale to divert the water when it runs through that area. Tom said the water runs under the door, across the floor, and into the storage tank when it rains hard.

In legal matters, Joe Zerbe said he addressed routine matters such as filing & satisfying liens. He reviewed a bill for $395 submitted to the PCMA by a contractor to fix a driveway in Lake Wynonah that was damaged during flushing. Joe said the bill had to be submitted to the homeowner, agreed to by the homeowner, and then submitted to the PCMA for reimbursement. A motion was made by Matt Gruber to pay the homeowner $395 to fix his driveway upon receipt of the homeownerís bill that the work was done; the motion was seconded by Dennis Scharadin, and carried by all. Mary was instructed to contact the homeowner and tell him what he needed to do to be reimbursed for the damage to his driveway.

Tom gave a report on plant updates that were reported by an SSM structural engineer who examined the sewage treatment plant. He itemized each project by short-term, mid-term, and long-term, and categorized them into which could be done in-house and which need to be contracted. He said he did the best he could with what needed to be done in order for the projects to be included in the yearly budgets for 2016, 2017, and 2018. Jim said he looked over Tomís report and included the estimated project costs in the budget for 2016, and asked how the projects were to be addressed. Tom said the list will be given to Mary for her to arrange to have the projects addressed, and to make sure theyíre completed.

Tom also did a rate study based on current income and upcoming expenses, and came up with proposed rate increases for 2016 and 2017. He recommended a $5 increase in the base-rate fee for water each quarter with nochange to the overage fee of $6. Also, based on his study, Tom recommended a $5 increase in the rates for a septic pump, holding tank pump, and tank test.

Upon motion by Tom Nagle, seconded by Dennis Scharadin, and carried by all, the following rate increases in water and sewage will go into effect on April 1, 2016:

  • Water rates will be $120 per quarter, up from $115, which covers 9,000 gallons of water used. Additional usage charges will be $6 per 1,000 gallons of water used over the base-rate allowance of 9,000 gallons (no change in usage charges).
  • The cost of a holding tank pump will be $155, up from $150.
  • The cost of a holding tank test will be $105, up from $100.
  • The cost of a septic pump will be $255, up from $250.
  • All additional charges relating to distance and elevation, etc. for pumping holding tanks and septic tanks will remain the same.
Jim submitted the preliminary budget for 2016 based on projected projects and actual income and expenses through October, 2015. Jim asked that all the Board members look over it and submit and suggestions for changes to Jen or to him before the next meeting so they can be incorporated into the final draft for 2016.

The topic of tires for the pump truck came up because of the expense for the year. Jim said that 10 new tires had to be replaced on the new Mack pump truck. Mickey said the tires wear fast on the truck because of all the twists and turns in the lake and that wears down the tires quickly. He also said that the tires that were put on wonít last as long as the original tires that were on, and said he was told the original tires werenít being made any more. Mickey also said that there are places that will come right to the facility and change the tires without having to take the truck anywhere. Matt said recaps are being used because the tires are going to wear fast no matter what they are and recaps are less expensive. Mickey said the recaps will work except for the steering tires, and Matt agreed. Mickey said the first set of recaps that are bought will be the most expensive but, after that, it will be considerably less.

The PCMAís Emergency Response Plan was updated and submitted to the Board for approval. The current Emergency Response Plan needed to be updated to replace outdated information, and also because Mike Stewart was retiring at the end of November, 2015. Upon motion by Tom Nagle, seconded by Dennis Scharadin, and carried by all, the Board approved and adopted the updated Emergency Response Plan.

There being no further business, Jim Ridderhoff motioned for adjournment, Jerry Weiss seconded the motion, carried by all. The meeting was adjourned by Jim Ridderhoff at 7:45 pm.

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

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