November 2016

A regular meeting of the Board of the Plum Creek Municipal Authority was held on November 15, 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, Matt Gruber, and Jerry Weiss. Also in attendance were Dave Bright (PCMA Engineer), Joe Zerbe (PCMA Attorney), and Jeff Crawford (PCMA Operations Manager, Select Environmental).

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

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

The Treasurer's report for October, 2016 was reviewed and accepted by motion of Matt Gruber, seconded by Tom Nagle, carried by all.

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

In sewage operations, Jeff reported that:
  • Normal operations continue.
  • The coolant hose on the Blue Star pump truck ruptured and was recently repaired. Also, an oil change was performed, filters were replaced, and various maintenance repairs were made. In regard to the new vacuum pump installation on the Blue Western Star, it appears that the pump that was installed may not be capable of completing some of the more difficult pumps, mainly due to lift restrictions and the manufacturer's recommended RPM operations. A meeting with an Axiom representative is scheduled for onsite testing and further evaluation.
  • Axiom completed the electrical outlet repairs at the sewage treatment plant.
  • During routine maintenance on all the blowers at the sewage treatment plant, it was discovered that black lithium grease had been used to lubricate them. However, only clay-based grease is to be used. Nobody admitted to using the wrong grease, but it is thought to have been accidental. As suggested by an Axiom technician, the equipment will be disassembled to clean out the old grease and repack it with the correct grease.
  • The big pickup truck and the Western Star pump truck is due for inspection the end of November.
Where water production was concerned, Jeff said that the average daily flow was a little below average compared to last month.

The sampling point for Well #1 had to be corrected because it wasn't in the right area. Dave Bright was notified for his insight. Dave said the sampling procedure they were following, based on previous methods, seemed odd to Jeff and Dave Bright said, after reviewing the situation, the samples were not being collected from the right point. He said the Authority went through the permitting process some years earlier to verify that sufficient chlorine detection was obtained in the water before it got to the first customer, and a sketch that showed the piping at each well was submitted with the application. But it wasn't entirely clear where the actual sample was being collected and the PA DEP didn't see the discrepancy. Samples were being collected in the building itself but it should have been collected from a tap downstream. A faucet used to be there, according the system piping diagrams, but it was changed. A solution was discussed, and Josh Krammes from the Pottsville PA DEP said no new permitting would be required.

Jeff elaborated on the issue with the vacuum pump on the Western Star pump truck. The representative from Axiom stated that the manufacturer said running the pump past the recommended RPMs to the point that it causes something to happen with the pump will void the warranty. Mickey told Jeff that he can't operate the truck at an RPM that low for a lot of tanks because it's too low to pull the sewage out. Jeff requested that a manufacturer representative make an on-site visit to discuss the situation further.

Matt asked Jeff if a bigger pump could have been installed on the Blue Star pump truck, but Jeff said he wasn't sure. He said he would find out more from the representative from Axiom. He said the situation, along with other numerous problems that occurred previously makes it extremely hard to keep up with the requirements of the PCMA's Sewage Management Program.

In engineering matters, Dave Bright said DRBC Well Withdrawal application is still being reviewed, and he hasn't heard anything about it since it was submitted. The grant application was completed and submitted on October 24, 2016.

In legal matters, Joe Zerbe said routine matters were addressed, along with reviewing the Right-to-Know laws. Jen received a request from a research company in Florida for information and she wasn't sure about the legality of divulging one of the things the company was asking for, so Joe looked into it.

Jim was working on a Budget for 2017, and he gave it to Jen to type up and get to all the Board members for the January, 2017 Board meeting.

The Board discussed upcoming expenses concerning the wells and other projects that were being planned for water and sewage improvements. Based on upcoming expenses and necessary improvements, the Board also talked about water and sewage rates for the upcoming year. Upon motion by Jerry Weiss, seconded by Matt Gruber, and carried by all, the Board voted on the following rate increases to go into effect April 1, 2017:

  • Quarterly Base-Rate Fee for Water - $125.00, up from $120.00
  • Water Over-Base Usage - $7.00 per 1,000 gallons over 9,000 gallons per quarter, up from $6.00
  • Septic Tank Pumps/Inspections - $265.00, up from $255.00
  • Holding Tank Pumps - $160.00, up from $155.00
  • Holding Tank Tests - $110.00, up from $105.00
  • Additional Sewage Charges:
    1. $50.00 per hour additional in excess of 2 hours, up from $35.00
    2. $50.00 for every additional length of pump hose needed if the distance from the tank to the pumping location is over 50 feet, up from $35.00
    3. $50.00 for every 10 feet of elevation over the first 10 feet, up from $35.00
    4. Pumps performed on weekends, holidays, and after regular working hours are charged double. (No Change)
    5. $50.00 additional if a septic tank has a lid inside the riser that must be removed and replaced in order to pump the tank. (No Change)
Also, upon motion by Matt Gruber, seconded by Jerry Weiss, and carried by all, the Board ruled that holding tank or septic tank pumps called in at or after 3:00 p.m. on weekdays will be charged double if the pumping can't wait until the next business day, effective April 1, 2017.

The December 20, 2016 Meeting of the Board was canceled.

There being no further business, Matt Gruber motioned for adjournment, Jerry Weiss seconded the motion, carried by all. The meeting was adjourned by Jim Ridderhoff at 7:20 pm.

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

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