July 2003

A regular meeting of the Board of The Lake Wynonah Municipal Authority was held on July 15, 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, and Walter Jaros. Also in attendance were Dave Bright (LWMA Engineer), Mike Stewart (American Water Service), LWMA attorney Joe Zerbe, Kelly Klamfoth (LWMA employee), and property owners John Rees & Ron Nolder.

The meeting was called to order by Jim Ridderhoff at 6:09 p.m.

The minutes of the prior meeting were reviewed and accepted by motion of Walter Jaros, seconded by Tom Nagle, carried by all.

The Treasurer's reports for May and June 2003 were reviewed and accepted by motion of Tom Nagle, seconded by Walter Jaros, 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 he would be trying to find a compacter through government surplus to loan out to Paul Harrington to compact the soil where leak repairs are done. Mike said that if he couldn't secure a compacter through government surplus, he would rent one. Compacting the soil after water/leak repairs were completed was one of the things the LWPOA asked the LWMA to do to help restore the area to its previous condition.

Mike said that there has been problems with the contactor at Well #6 for a couple of years and was recently replaced by Dave Meyers due to complete failure. He said there should be no problems with it anymore, at least for a long time.

Mike said that the clutch was adjusted on the new Mack pump truck and that would be the last time it could be adjusted. A replacement clutch is needed. Walter asked how much a new clutch would cost and Mike said he wasn't sure, but it's something that has to be done. Walter agreed.

Dave Bright said he had nothing to report. He had a couple questions but Mike answered them prior to the meeting.

In legal matters, Joe Zerbe brought the Board up to date on the Shaner litigation and said that Mike's deposition in the Shaner litigation had been completed. Joe spoke with the lawyer who represented the Shaners and questioned what his goal was with the situation, and also asked why the Shaners wouldn't allow the LWMA to pump and inspect the their tank as per regulations. Joe told him that something could be worked out to satisfy the requirements and get the Shaners' water restored. Joe said that the Shaners' attorney wanted the LWMA to reconnect the water and then they would negotiate a solution. Joe told him not to expect that to happen. He added that more depositions might be asked for by the Shaners' attorney, possibly including Board members, but he hasn't pursued that avenue as yet and Joe didn't push him regarding it. Joe also reported on a bankruptcy action of which he would file a proof of claim. He also satisfied a few liens.

Jim Ridderhoff asked Mike if he talked to someone at the Summit Station Fire co. and Mike said a meeting had been set up at the fire co. Mike, Tom Nagle, and Ron Svenson attended along with Jason Ulsh (sp) and several people from the fire company. The president of the fire company was there also. A number of issues was discussed including operation of some of the fire hydrants. On the day following the meeting, Mike and Kelly went out and checked the hydrants that were mentioned. Mike said he had a number of questions after checking the hydrants, so he contacted the president of the fire company. He and Kelly met with him to discuss some of the questions. Ultimately, all hostilities were smoothed over and a cooperative effort emerged. Mike said there were a few things the fire company asked if the LWMA could do. One request was to install quick-release couplings on the hydrants, but Mike said they were very expensive. Tom added that they could be easily removed and stolen. Mike said they also asked for "Fire Hydrant" signs to be placed at each hydrant on the right-of-way, but that's generally something that municipalities or communities would do, not the water authority.

Mowing around the fire hydrants was brought up also, but Mike said that LWMA personnel had no time to do it. Tom said that maybe Mike could talk to LWPOA maintenance about trimming around them and that most likely some of the things blocking the hydrants were bushes that property owners planted and it would cause problems and complaints if anyone tried to trim them. Dave Bright said that cooperation of the property owners was needed and that they should understand that it's to their benefit to keep the hydrants cleared. Tom said that Ron Svenson composed an article that appears in the What's New on a continuous basis encouraging property owners to "adopt a hydrant."

Painting and color-coding the hydrants according to flow rates was also discussed and Mike said it would be relatively easy to do. Jim asked if they discussed the firefighters practicing on the LWMA hydrants, and Mike said they did and that he further offered to give them a fire hydrant to practice on but they didn't want one. Mike said that he told them that they could come in and practice on the hydrants but, unless there was an emergency, they needed to call the LWMA prior to arbitrarily opening up hydrants due to creating dirty water if the opening rotation was done incorrectly.

The Board discussed marking the hydrants to make them more visible at night. Tom said he'd driven around the development at night and found that many hydrants were very hard to see, even when he knew where some of them were. Some of the solutions talked about were fluorescent triangular flags on the pole markers, reflectors imbedded in the street in front of each hydrant (which would have to be approved by the LWPOA), or reflective sand mixed in with the paint markings on the street. Mike said flags could easily be put on the pole markers as LWMA personnel flush hydrants.

Walter asked if it was feasible to hire someone to trim around the hydrants and Mike said that would pretty much be a full-time job. There are about 150 hydrants to maintain and the grass grows fast. Tom said that Ron Svenson was going to talk to LWPOA maintenance about mowing around the hydrants because they routinely pass by them to mow other areas. Kelly said it hasn't yet been done. Dave Bright added that fire protection was not the Authority's primary reason for being. Drinking water is its main objective and most municipalities assist the water supplier in areas that benefit the entire community.

Ron Nolder was recognized by the Board. He questioned the necessity of a septic pumping and inspection having to be performed every three years in homes with a two-person occupancy. He said he could understand the need for the frequency for homes with a large number of residents, but didn't see the reasoning for a three-year requirement for single- or two-person households. Because Tom Nagle was an integral part of the writing and development of the Sewage Management Program, he explained how the program and the pumping frequency was developed.

Tom explained that the DEP (DER at the time) had disallowed any new home construction at one point due to sewage concerns. The DEP was concerned that the sewage on-lot and holding tank systems could be polluting the drinking water, ground water, and the lakes. The thing that concerned the DEP the most was the density of the systems. Most lots in Lake Wynonah are approximately 1/3 of an acre; a lot of outlying areas require two to five acres of land to sustain a septic system. There needed to be some type of protective system in effect or the DEP would look to central sewage to solve the problem of future water contamination. The LWMA then discussed central sewage as a solution to the development's sewage concerns and a study was performed to evaluate feasibility. At that time, a study indicated that anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 per property owner would have to be assessed to build a central sewage system, along with a monthly maintenance fee in the area of $150 per property owner. It was determined that it was not feasible to implement central sewage. One of the biggest problems with building a central sewage system is that it would have to be run to the lowest part of the development, and that meant numerous pumping stations located at strategic points. For the system to work properly, one of the main lines would have to be installed at the edge of the lake and a malfunction in any line constructed near the lake would result in definite sewage pollution in the lake itself.

As an alternative to central sewage, Tom investigated other municipalities that were toying with the idea of sewage management plans. He gathered as much information as he could from a variety of sources and wrote a proposed solution of pumping and inspecting sewage systems on a predefined frequency. At the time, DEP recommended that a septic system be cleaned out and inspected once every three to five years regardless of the number of occupants in the home. The three-year plan was decided upon because it was all-inclusive - it covered the requirements for larger family homes as well as those with fewer occupants. Tom then wrote the LWMA's Sewage Management Program that was reviewed in detail by the DEP and both Wayne and South Manheim Townships. The program was adopted by the LWMA and both townships, and was then incorporated into both townships' Act 537 Plans, making the program "the law of the land," per say. As long as the LWMA can prove through its records that the Sewage Management Program requirements are met, and as long as a program of extensive water testing is adhered to, the LWMA will not have to implement central sewage. One very important point that the DEP wanted included in the program was that the LWMA would be the only entity responsible for the pumpings and inspections of the systems because of the absolute necessity of single-party record keeping and accountability. Tom added that the LWMA's Sewage Management Program was so well received that it is being used as a prototype for other communities in the state as a reference to develop their own sewage management plans. Walter added that Lake Wynonah's lake is one of the cleanest in the state and the LWMA is doing its part to keep it that way. Jim also explained that there was a system of compliance in effect and if compliance isn't met, the LWMA must resort to other means to assure compliance. Ron Nolder thanked Tom for his explanation and said it was more than adequate.

Walter asked Mike if he'd investigated a plan of water pipe replacement on a periodic basis, especially in areas where a high number of leaks occur. Mike said the Board would have to discuss how much money could be allocated each year for replacement of piping and a plan could be scheduled. Tom said a plan could be developed a bit later in the year and Jim said he could start apportioning funds for the replacements and work the costs into the Budget.

There being no further business, Tom Nagle motioned for adjournment, Walter Jaros seconded the motion, carried by all. The meeting was adjourned by Jim Ridderhoff at 7:04 p.m.

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

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