March 2005

A regular meeting of the Board of The Lake Wynonah Municipal Authority was held on March 15, 2005 at the Lake Wynonah Municipal Authority Business Office Building, South Manheim Township, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania.

Board members present at the meeting were Jim Ridderhoff, Tom Nagle, and Dennis Scharadin. Also in attendance were Dave Bright (LWMA Engineer), Mike Stewart (Applied Water Management), LWMA attorney Joe Zerbe, and Tom Zenker (South Manheim Township Supervisor).

The meeting was called to order by Jim Ridderhoff at 6:00 p.m.

Joe Zerbe was moved to the top of the agenda because he was not feeling well and would be leaving after his report to the Board. He said he was closing on the sale of lot 2118 Running Deer Drive the next day and he needed Board member signatures to proceed. He also said he filed two municipal liens.

At the previous meeting, Jim Ridderhoff had asked Joe Zerbe to look at a section of the revised Municipal Authorities Act that dealt with passing rules and fines for sewer and water lines located on an owner's property. Generally, Joe said the revision deals partly with adopting regulations for collecting fines and penalties for septic tank issues, but he said if the LWMA did it, he believed it would be the first to do so. He also suggested that if the LWMA wanted to pursue anything along those lines, he advised working with both Wayne and South Manheim Townships to do it. He also noted that the LWMA is one of the few authorities that deal with on-lot septic systems. The revision was written from a central sewage collection perspective. Jim Ridderhoff and Tom Nagle said the Authority didn't want to pursue anything from that angle; it just wants to assume responsibility for the maintenance of the septic systems, which it already does. Joe said that the revision states that the Authority can refer violators to prosecution which is not included in the Authority's regulations.

Joe Zerbe was also asked if a committee could be set up for hiring a person to work for the Authority if the opportunity presented itself between meetings. The confirmation of the hiring could then be addressed at the next open meeting of the Board. Joe said that could be done and that a hiring committee could be appointed. He also mentioned that the Authority did not have to advertise for employees.

The minutes of the prior meeting were reviewed and accepted by motion of Dennis Scharadin, seconded by Tom Nagle, carried by all with the following correction: the first sentence in paragraph 4 of page 3 should be amended to read "... Losch Wireless Internet ..." rather than "... Loch Wireless Internet ..."

The Treasurer's reports for January and February 2005 were reviewed and accepted by motion of Dennis Scharadin, seconded by Tom Nagle, carried by all. It was noted that there is an additional summary page included in the report that combined both sewage and water monies to make it easier to see at a glance the total funds available for use by the Authority.

Jen told the Board that she had talked to Ed Ebling, one of the auditors for the Authority, about keeping sewage and water monies separate as was talked about at the last meeting. She said that Ed said all funds could be released for general use by the Authority upon motion any time the LWMA wanted to do so and that a separate accounting of the funds would not be needed. Ed also told Jen that expenses did not have to be kept separate unless the LWMA wanted to keep them separate. He did suggest, however, that if all expenses were combined that the new format take place at the beginning of a new year. Ed also said that the Authority might want to keep some expenses separate and combine the rest. Jim said the expense categories would be looked over and a decision would be made as to what items, if any, would be separated to coincide with the budget for the new year.

Upon motion by Tom Nagle, all funds in all accounts held by the LWMA were released for general use, seconded by Dennis Scharadin, carried by all.

Mike Stewart reviewed his written report relating to managerial matters (submitted to the Board prior to the meeting) which addressed water and sewage operations. He said the main problem since the last meeting has been water system leaks. In water matters, he reported that:

In sewage matters: Dennis asked Mike if there were more leaks than before. Mike said there have been more leaks in the past two years due to weather patterns. He said that last year there was freezing cold weather and the frost line went deeper causing lines to freeze. Then in the Spring it rained constantly and got everything soaking wet and that makes the ground shift. He said there were a lot less leaks in drier years that didn't have those weather patterns. Mike said he'd looked at all the factors and those were the main reasons we had more leaks recently. Dennis asked if there's weakening in the lines that may be causing the increase in leaks due to the fact that we had severely cold weather. Mike said there are always a lot of small leaks that gradually get bigger but because of the way the soil is with all the rocks, the ground heaves up and rocks puncture the lines when it settles again. He said if the weather changes back to normal patterns we'll see a lot less leaks. Also, during the Summer some of the plastic service lines in high-risk areas will be renewed.

Dave Bright asked the Board if they wanted to discuss the distribution line separation in conjunction with a possible water pressure reduction program. Dave suggested that the Board would want to know a bit more about what is involved before proceeding with that project. Jim said he felt that the project was probably going to be very complicated, involved, and expensive and he didn't think the LWMA should enter into it lightly. Jim said he looked at the map of the water system at length. Dennis asked what the approximate cost would be for a pressure reduction project. Dave said he couldn't give a good estimate because, although it's not a terribly complex project, the question of how the system would be divided up to supply every customer with satisfactory service would affect the cost. He also pointed out that people already in low-pressure zones and hydrant flow for firefighting were also issues.

Dave discussed various options for separating the system and he also said something would be needed to get the water from the wells over the separation points. The best he said he could give do with giving an approximate cost, because of all the variables that may be involved, would be $750,000 as a starting point. But Dave said it may not cost that much. Tom Nagle said he believed it would cost more. Dave said if the Authority wanted to consider the project, the thing that should happen next is for Joe Chicora, all available Board members, and Mike Stewart get together with him to discuss the issues involved. Tom Nagle said another issue to consider would be the impact it would have on public relations.

Dennis asked the maximum numbers of homes the LWMA could supply with water with its existing wells. Mike said the LWMA could supply water to every lot in Lake Wynonah even if all lots had homes. Tom Nagle asked Mike if there was any way to tell if the leaks in the water system occurred due to ground movement and rocks pushing into the lines or because of pressure in the lines. Mike said the leaks that occur from pressure are usually found where couplings pop loose on the lines. Others are from weather patterns as he said before, but he said the ground itself with all the rocks and stone is the main problem. Jim asked if it was the size of the rock that caused the problem. Tom said the sharpness and irregularity probably had a lot to do with it. Mike said it would be either a large heavy rock crushing the lines or small sharp rocks that puncture the lines during ground movement. Dennis asked if there is a problem with not maintaining constant pressure throughout the system. Dave said he's not aware of the DEP being concerned with high pressure in a system, but the area you can have problems with DEP is if you don't maintain a minimum pressure. The Board decided to table the pressure reduction project until all Board members could be involved to make a decision.

A motion to appoint a hiring committee to hire personnel as needed between meetings, with the committee to consist of at least three people chosen by the Treasurer of the Board, was made by Tom Nagle, seconded by Dennis Scharadin, and carried by all. Jim Ridderhoff, Treasurer of the Board, then appointed himself, Tom Nagle, Walter Jaros, and Jen Hoy as the people on the hiring committee for the present.

Tom Zenker told the Board that he submitted his petition for Township Supervisor for another term. The LWMA Board and personnel present told Tom that they were happy to hear that he decided to run for office again.

There being no further business, Dennis Scharadin motioned for adjournment, Tom Nagle seconded the motion, carried by all. The meeting was adjourned by Jim Ridderhoff at 7:06 p.m.

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

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