December 2017

A regular meeting of the Board of The Plum Creek Municipal Authority was held on December 19, 2017 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, Dennis Scharadin, and Matt Gruber. Jerry Weiss was absent. Also in attendance was Dave Bright (SSM Engineering), Joe Zerbe (PCMA Attorney), Keenan Engle (PCMA Operations Manager – Select Environmental), Nancy Wesner (PCMA Office), Mickey Sinitsky (PCMA Employee); and property owners who signed the sign-in sheet: Jean Schreiber & George, Joe Haggarty, David Tyson, Paul Purcell, and Rick Alspach.

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

The minutes for the November, 2017 meeting were accepted by motion of Dennis Scharadin, seconded by Tom Nagle, and carried by all.

The Treasurer's report for November, 2017 was reviewed and accepted by motion of Dennis Scharadin, seconded by Matt Gruber, carried by all.

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

  • Normal operations continue. There was one violation this period. On November 15th, a chlorine level of 0.38 was recorded at Well #1 which was 0.02 lower than DEP's low limit of 0.40. Keenan said he didn't know about the low-limit requirement so, although the chlorine level was corrected right away, he didn't report the reading. When the violation was discovered, the situation was reported to DEP, and it resulted in a Teir-2 violation against the PCMA. The physical correction was made right away; it was the record keeping that caused the violation. A notice was posted on the website, but the entire situation was resolved prior.
  • All wells are operational. Two wells are currently online, and the wells are being rotated to avoid overflowing the water storage tanks.
  • All pumps are operational at the Booster Station. Pumps are operating on a rotating basis. The Booster Station is at 12.0 psi; full is 15.0 psi.
  • The Klenphos representative received lab results for the water samples taken, and he has been sent follow-up sampling from the PCMA. Proper calculations for monitoring the Klenphos is expected for monitoring daily usage. A zinc test kit was also ordered to measure zinc in the water distribution system, which can be used to measure the Klenphos.
  • A flow meter for Well #8 was purchased from Exeter Supply, and it was installed by PCMA maintenance.
In sewage operations, Keenan reported that:
  • Normal operations continue.
  • Approximately 6 septic pumps are in the backlog. Both pump trucks are operational.
  • Both pickup trucks are operational.
  • Rick Seiler patched two of the three holes on the large storage tanks. The final hole will be repaired as soon as possible.
  • Hlavaty Plumbing & Heating will be addressing the work needed on the boiler at the sewage treatment plant to bring it up to code for certification.
Jim Ridderhoff asked Keenan why the chlorine level dropped in the system, and Keenan said he didn't know. He added that the chlorine pump might have become air bound at some point. He said the new auto prime heads installed on the chlorine pumps should prevent it from happening in the future.

In engineering matters, Dave Bright said routine matters were taken care of, and he reviewed the Sewage Alternative Analysis summary for Jen. The summary is being made available on the website, and handouts were available at the meeting.

In legal matters, Joe Zerbe said he had nothing to report except routine matters.

The updated Emergency Response Plan was submitted to the Board for review and approval. A number of changes were made based on new chlorine levels, Township Supervisor changes, and changes in PCMA management. The updated Emergency Response Plan was approved and accepted upon motion by Tom Nagle, seconded by Dennis Scharadin, and carried by all.

The Board discussed the Sewage Study Summary that was made available to the public at the meeting. It's also available on the PCMA website. Jen said an insert will be included with the January billing to let the customers know that the Study Summary is available and where to find it on the website. She said the public will also be informed that no decision had been made as to what may happen with the sewage operations. Jen said she put an email link at the bottom of the web page for feedback and input regarding the sewage study.

Tom said the PA DEP was contacted for input about the sewage issues because 90% of any decision that's made requires DEP approval. He said there was no point in spending a lot of resources pursuing a solution path if the DEP wouldn't approve that path. He said if the PCMA could get input from the PA DEP it would be easier to discuss the different options.

Joe Haggerty asked some questions about items in the study, but Dave Bright suggested that questions be submitted in writing in order for everyone to be sure about what is being asked. Dave said questions submitted in writing would also help to answer questions more accurately. Jen said that was the purpose of asking for email feedback and comments on the sewage study website page.

Rick Alspach asked about where the septic sewage is hauled to from the tanks in the development. Dave Bright said all the septage from the residents' tanks are hauled back to the PCMA's sewage treatment plant for processing. Dave said the septic tank waste is diluted by the water that's hauled in from the holding tanks. He said the PCMA's treatment plant wasn't designed to process all septic tank waste. Rick asked why the holding tank people are being encouraged to convert over to septics if the plant can't handle all septic waste. Dave said the holding tank waste was only necessary if the treatment plant remained in operation, which may not be the case. Dave added that in order to keep the sewage treatment plant in operation, either the sewer rates would have to be raised to reflect the true cost of processing the waste, or water revenues would have to continually be raised to subsidize the sewage operations. He said on one hand the holding tanks help to process the septic tank waste, but water revenues wouldn't be needed to subsidize the sewage if the sewage plant was taken out of operation.

A question was asked if septic could be hauled to the Auburn plant, meaning the Schuylkill County Municipal Authority (SCMA) plant, rather than the Schuylkill Haven plant if the PCMA's sewage plant was removed from service. Jim said the SCMA plant isn't currently able to accept sewage from outside haulers. Dave said the SCMA is in the process of making modifications to accept septage from outside haulers but it's not ready yet. Jim said the basic problems regarding transporting sewage from the community septic and holding tanks to a facility other than the PCMA's treatment plant are that the PCMA would need at least another truck and another employee to do it because of the time involved. Currently, loads are hauled a short distance back to the PCMA's plant which results in very little transport time. There would also be a big increase in maintaining the pump trucks due to the all the hills and turns on the roads. Mickey said the best way to haul to Auburn would be to go through Landingville and down Route 61 to avoid all the hills.

The Board discussed water and sewage rates for the year 2018. Upon motion by Dennis Scharadin, seconded by Matt Gruber, and carried by all, the Board voted on the following rates to go into effect April 1, 2018:

  • Quarterly Base-Rate Fee for Water – No change at $125.00, and Water Over-Base Usage remains at $7.00 per 1,000 gallons over 9,000 gallons per quarter.
  • Septic Tank Pumps/Inspections - $280.00, up from $265.00
  • Holding Tank Pumps - $190.00, up from $160.00
  • Holding Tank Tests – No change at $110.00
  • No Changes in the Additional Sewage Charges:
    1. $50.00 per hour additional in excess of 2 hours
    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
    3. $50.00 for every 10 feet of elevation over the first 10 feet
    4. Pumps performed on weekends, holidays, and after regular working hours will be charged double.
    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
There being no further business, Matt Gruber motioned for adjournment, Dennis Scharadin seconded the motion, carried by all. Jim Ridderhoff adjourned the meeting at 6:50 p.m.

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

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