MEETING MINUTES OF THE
LAKE WYNONAH MUNICIPAL AUTHORITY
A regular meeting of the Board of The Lake Wynonah Municipal Authority was held on May 20, 2003 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, Walter Jaros, and Dennis Scharadin. Also in attendance were Dave Bright (LWMA Engineer), Mike Stewart (American Water Service), Tom Zenker (South Manheim Township Supervisor), LWMA attorney Joe Zerbe, Kelly Klamfoth (LWMA employee), Bill Tyler (LWPOA Security) and property owners John Rees, Kathy Harting, and Ron Svenson.
The meeting was called to order by Jim Ridderhoff at 6:04 p.m.
The minutes of the prior meeting were reviewed and accepted by motion of Walter Jaros, seconded by Tom Nagle, carried by all with the following correction: "Walter asked why Dave Bright was called in for leak detection …" in paragraph 6 should have been stated as "Walter asked why Dave Bonkovich was called in for leak detection …".
The Treasurer's reports for March and April 2003 were reviewed and accepted by motion of Tom Nagle, 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. The written report is attached to the office copy of these minutes. He added that the old pump truck needs a minor welding repair which will be addressed within a day or two. Walter noted that he had talked to Dave Bonkovich who suggested starting replacement of some of the water lines. Mike spoke to Dave Bonkovich in more depth and explained that the North side of the lake, where a majority of the leaks traditionally occur, would be a good area to start replacing a number of lines per year. Also, in the areas where there are very steep slopes on non-buildable lots an alternative for replacing the entire service line would be to dig down to the main and install a corporation stop and turn it off when needed. If a curb stop was needed in the future, one could be installed. Installing a corporation stop would cost a fraction of the money that replacing all service lines would require. Mike said that the LWMA's unaccounted-for water is in the 60% range. He said that small leaks are hard to find, even for Dave Bonkovich, and usually the small leaks can only be detected when they become big leaks.
Walter said that Dave Bonkovich told him that other communities have cut their water use considerably by replacing water lines in trouble areas. Mike said that some of the other communities gave homeowners the option of replacing their own water lines at the same time since the hole was already dug to pull lines for community replacement. Mike said the people who may want to take advantage of the opportunity to replace the service lines on their properties in Lake Wynonah would be those property owners who have plastic lines. But he added that he wasn't certain how many people would actually take advantage of the option if it was offered. Dave Bright asked Walter if he was talking about replacement of main water lines or LWMA service lines, and Walter said service lines only. Jim Ridderhoff asked if the replacement would have any effect on the pressure in the water system and Mike said it should have little or no effect, and that the only effect it should have is on water production.
Jim asked Mike to prepare a summary for the next Board meeting as to what the process of replacing lines would entail and include a rough idea as to cost and a time frame. Mike said that the cost would be very variable depending on dig time, etc. and said it would be difficult to say how many service lines could be replaced for any particular dollar amount. Jim asked Mike to give the Board as much information as he could.
Dennis asked Mike if the recent fire in Lake Wynonah had any cause for the increased leaks in that same area, and Mike told him that he felt that the fire was the direct cause of the increase in leaks due to water hammering, although that can't be proven 100%. Also, all leaks had been repaired almost immediately prior to the fire, and a considerable amount of new leaks surfaced immediately after the fire. Mike went on to explain that a phone call was made to the plant requesting that additional pumps be turned on to increase the pressure. But when Mike went to the site, he said that one of the firefighters told him that there was a problem with one of the fire hydrants that prevented the firefighters from getting any water for over a minute. Mike said that was physically impossible because there are no pumps that pump water to the fire hydrant, so it couldn't run out of water. He said that the LWMA has 1.55 million gallons of water flowing by gravity from every direction. Mike said the reason they couldn't get any water from the hydrant for over a minute was because a fitting came loose (or broke apart) and the hydrant had to be shut down for that length of time while the fitting was reconnected, after which the hydrant was turned back on.
Mike said another rumor that surfaced was that another hydrant had so much mud in it that it clogged up the fire truck. Mike said that a leak had just been repaired in that area a few days before and the hydrant next to it was flushed thoroughly at full velocity and the hydrants in that area never have any considerable dirt in them except a small amount of rust. Mike said he felt the problem was just a lack of communication between the different fire companies because it's impossible for a hydrant to not have water for over a minute unless it was shut off. Mike said he had a call in to the Summit Station fire chief to discuss a cooperative effort to prevent another occurrence from happening but he hasn't connected with him yet. Mike also said that because a lot of rumors were circulating regarding inadequate water supply for fighting fires, he wrote an article for the Civic Association newsletter to address the concern. Dave Bright said that it is recommended that all firefighters should be careful to open and close valves to prevent problems, and especially with the Lake Wynonah water system due to the already high water pressure.
Walter asked if the article in the Civic newsletter was effective in putting the rumors to rest. Mike said he felt that the news article was successful, but he recommended possibly putting a similar article in the What's New and perhaps include an article in the LWMA's next water billing statements in July. Kathy Harting asked Mike if he talked with the firefighters about how much water pressure they need to fight a fire and Mike said he left a message for one of the firefighters but he hadn't gotten a reply yet. Kathy said the firefighters couldn't get enough pressure with 600 feet of hose. Kelly said that the firefighters positioned where the line went down to the pump truck couldn't see the firefighters at the top of the hill at the hydrant, and when the hose popped off up there, the hydrant was closed for a minute as they reconnected the hose and coupling. Kathy said that a few things happened before that, and she added that a lot of the firefighters were upset with the letter that was published in the Civic Association newsletter. She said that everybody needs to work together and that the firefighters realize that, but a lot of feelings were hurt because they felt that fingers were being pointed at the them when they were doing everything possible to put the fire out. Kathy stressed the importance of sitting down and talking about how to prevent future misunderstandings, and suggested that the firefighters may need instruction as to working with the hydrants in Lake Wynonah. The Board agreed that cooperative effort between all concerned was needed.
Ron Svenson gave his version of what happened at the fire. He said he was the second person to arrive at the fire and he stayed there until all the fire departments got there. He said when the one fire company first pulled up to the hydrant at the top of the hill and ran the 5" line off and connected it, he helped connect at the bottom. He said they didn't get any water and a call was made to the firefighters at the top of the hill to ask where the water was and the firefighters at the top of the hill said the hydrant was on and they weren't getting any water. Ron said he stood there and watched the water come down the line for quite a while before the line fully expanded and gave them the water pressure needed. Then the fitting popped off the hydrant. He said they then shut the hydrant down and connected it again. Mike said the hydrants in that area are the old style hydrants and are very hard to open. Mike said the firefighters might have opened the hydrant until it felt stiff and assumed it was open all the way, but it may not have been, and Ron agreed that's what might have happened.
Jim Ridderhoff asked Mike to make a point of contacting the people involved with firefighting to discuss the problems to try to resolve them. Ron Svenson suggested Mike call Jim Reed because he was the first fire officer on site and he was the person doing the directing back and forth on the two-way radios. Ron said Jim Reed would know better what was going on because he was right there, even before the trucks arrived. Kathy Harting suggested that Mike also talk to Jim about firefighters possibly being taught the operation of the fire hydrants and Mike agreed. He said that the LWMA has about 150 fire hydrants and at least half of them were the old style that have no reservoirs for lubrication. He added that although all the hydrants were operable, many of the old style hydrants are stiff and harder to open. Ron said that the bottom line is that nobody wants to alienate the fire companies, and all agreed.
Jim also asked Mike to develop a report by the next meeting or two as to what hydrants have recently been replaced, and which hydrants are old and in need of some kind of documentation as to how each work. Jim also asked Mike to make a list of the hydrants that are hardest to use and to work out an estimate as to replacement cost.
Dave Bright commented that, based on Mike's report, water production was down. He asked the Board, in light of the high water pressure situation (which contributes to leaks developing), if it wanted to take another look at separation of the distribution system in different areas. Dave asked if a plan was available to indicate where leaks have been repaired in the last five years. Mike said he has a list of all of them. Dave said it might be interesting to map out the leak locations to see where they've been occurring. Mike said that he plotted out the leaks a year or two ago, but had not done so recently. Mike said he would update it.
In legal matters, Joe Zerbe brought the Board up to date on the Shaner litigation and said that the Shaner's attorney had started a deposition on Mike, but he had not completed it after about two hours. He said the deposition was scheduled to be completed in June. He also reported on his review of the TowerLink video. He said the company represents itself as being able to get you hooked up with a cell power company who pays rentals to host their towers. In exchange for TowerLink's services, 1/3 of the rent would go to them. Joe asked if a cell company was interested, or if the LWMA was solicited. Tom said The LWMA was solicited. Joe said, in his experience, tower companies come directly to you if there's a need for a new tower location. Essentially, TowerLink is a middleman. He also felt TowerLink's price was pretty steep and he was skeptical that TowerLink could deliver something that could come into play through direct means.
Joe also told the board about a property being sold in the bankruptcy court. Because a considerable amount of money is owed to the Authority, Joe told Jen to submit the entire amount for collection upon sale and if any questions arose, they would be dealt with at that time. He also noted that three adjoining properties were scheduled to be sold at an upcoming judicial tax sale by the county, and he explained the difference between an upset sale and a judicial tax sale. He suggested letting the properties go to sale without protest to get the properties back on the tax roles. This could result in the properties perhaps being purchased by an interested party which, in turn, would generate income for the Authority. The monies owed are currently not collectable.
Tom Nagle submitted and reviewed an updated, final cost summary for the new office building which, for all intent and purposes, is finished. The report is attached to the office copy of these minutes, and will be displayed on the bulletin board in the foyer of the LWMA office. Jim Ridderhoff presented a plaque to Tom with thanks from the LWMA Board for the countless hours he spent designing and planning the new office building, organizing the bid packages, and overseeing the entire construction from start to finish. Tom said that Mike, Kelly, Bruce, and Jen contributed to the project also, but Kelly said that Tom spent the most significant amount of time on the building overseeing every detail of the construction. Jen added that Tom was at the site nearly every day making sure that instructions were followed according to the plan. Walter asked if the security/burglar alarm was in place. Tom said it soon would be.
Jim thanked the audience for their attendance, contributions, and suggestions
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 7:19 p.m.
Meeting minutes were taken, prepared, and submitted by Jennifer Hoy.