July 2007

A regular meeting of the Board of The Lake Wynonah Municipal Authority was held on July 17, 2007 at the Lake Wynonah Municipal Authority Business Office Building, South Manheim Township, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania.

Board members present at the meeting were Jim Ridderhoff, Joe Chicora, Walter Jaros, Tom Nagle, and Dennis Scharadin. Also in attendance were Dave Bright (SSM Engineer), Mike Stewart (American Water Service), LWMA attorney Joe Zerbe, Kelly Klamfoth (LWMA personnel), and property owners Lucinda Nagle & Tom Stone.

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

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

The Treasurer's reports for May and June 2007 were reviewed and accepted by motion of Dennis Scharadin, seconded by Joe Chicora, 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. In water matters, he reported that:

In sewage matters: Mike added that the LWPOA’s swimming pool is currently the biggest user of water. He said he started keeping a log of the water use at the pool when the demand became much higher. Mike said he talked to the POA’s maintenance personnel a number of times and stressed how important it is to keep the water use down for the pool so we didn’t have to go to mandatory water rationing, but the usage continued to get substantially worse. He said he only checked the pool usage every couple of days in early summer, but he’s now checking it daily.

Mike submitted a log of the pool usage, and Joe Chicora said he said it looked like the usage averaged out to between 10,000 and 12,000 gallons a day. Mike said the pool use is much lower over the weekends. Kelly said he thinks a lot of the problem might stem from some of the staff not knowing where the water level is supposed to be up inside the drains where the water flows out. He said it’s a bit deceiving because it looks like the pool needs more water, but it’s actually running out through the drains the whole time it’s running in. Also, too much water may be being used to “shock” the water when fecal matter is found in the pool. Jim Ridderhoff asked where the water runs to from the drains. Joe said it runs down the road and into the lake. Kelly said he doesn’t know if there’s a set policy for the pool staff to refer to when maintaining the pool. Dennis Scharadin asked who oversees pool maintenance. Kelly said the pool operator, Brandon Bayer, is in charge of overseeing pool maintenance. Kelly suggested contacting other public pools to see what the procedures are for shocking and filling the pools.

Jim Ridderhoff said, as he sees it, the LWMA is supplying water for the pool at no cost, and the pool’s maintenance personnel is using the pool’s water supply at their own discretion with no controls. Jim asked for suggestions as to how to solve the problem. Mike said the LWMA could shut the meter off at the meter pit, turn it on during the daytime, and set a maximum usage. If water is required for special needs after that, the LWMA could supply a little extra water and balance it out. Jim did a calculation for 17 days in the month of July, and it totaled 129,000 gallons used for the pool. The entire month of June only required 176,000 gallons usage. Joe suggested that Mike meet with Sue Ohlinger and the manager of the pool to stress the importance of keeping the pool usage at a reasonable level. Tom Nagle suggested that getting information from other pool maintenance people should be done first to see if the usage at the LWPOA’s pool is actually unreasonable. Tom said he would contact the appropriate people at other pools in the area, and compile a report to distribute to both the LWMA and the LWPOA. Jim said the assumption has been made that there’s misuse at the pool and there may not be, so the Board members said it would be best to wait for the report. The Board then agreed that, after Tom gets the required information and distributes the findings, a maximum usage amount will then be set if misuse is found.

Mike said a water rationing plan would be needed if the storage tank continues to drop. He said the most effective measure would be to ban lawn watering. He said if the storage tank drops too low, all the customers on Papoose Drive will experience extremely low water pressure. Jim asked how full the water tank was at this time. Mike said the level is at approximately 68% and dropping. Jim asked if pumping was at maximum capacity. Mike said we’re pumping as much as we can, and Well #1 is already starting to pump air into the system. He said he could increase the pumping at Well #1 a very small amount but it would pump a tremendous amount of air into the water at even a very small increase.

After much discussion, the Board decided that some mandatory restrictions would have to go into effect immediately. Dave Bright said the PA DEP, at one time, required a water rationing plan. Jen pulled out the LWMA’s Drought Contingency Plan which includes a water conservation policy. Referring to the LWMA’s Water Management Plan, Jen said that the combined water storage tank levels have to fall below 60% of capacity to enter a Stage 2 Water Watch for the LWMA to implement notifying major water users to request voluntary water use reduction, prohibit use of water for vehicle washing and operation of ornamental fountains, and all other non-essential water use. Joe Zerbe suggested, for the immediate purpose, that the Board change the Stage 2 Water Watch from 60% to 70%. Upon motion by Joe Chicora, seconded by Dennis Scharadin, and carried by all, the requirements to implement a Stage 2 Water Watch was changed from 60% water storage tank level to 70% water storage tank level, and that actions available may be put into effect if a Stage 2 Water Watch is experienced; the Stage 2 Water Watch actions will include notifying major water users to request voluntary water use reduction, prohibit use of water for vehicle washing and operation of ornamental fountains, prohibit lawn watering and landscaping, and prohibit all other non-essential water use.

Upon motion by Joe Chicora, seconded by Walter Jaros, and carried by all, a decision was made to implement a Stage 2 Water Watch of the Drought Contingency Plan immediately. The notification will be submitted to the Pottsville Republican for publication and the new community newspaper. Also, Sue Ohlinger would be asked if the Wentworth Group could initiate a call-out message to alert the community that water restrictions are in effect.

Dave Bright said that the DEP hasn’t issued the permit yet because the hydrogeologist has a backlog of hundreds of things to address. He’s dealing with the backload based on how many permit applications are nearing the PA DEP’s 180-day money-back guarantee, and the Authority’s application is second or third closest in line to reaching the 180-day date. The DEP made a policy a few years ago to refund a permit application fee if a submitted application wasn’t reviewed in 180 days. In this case, the permit fee was $750. The 180 days for the Authority expires on or about August 6th. Joe Chicora asked if it couldn’t be reviewed more quickly if the DEP was made aware that the Authority is in an emergency situation. Mike said he spoke directly with DEP contact, Ernest Madichie [spelling], two months ago and, even though he wouldn’t commit to putting the LWMA’s application ahead of everybody else, he did say he would try to get an emergency permit because of the water situation. However, Mr. Madichie was transferred to another department and Mike hasn’t been able to reach him. Dennis asked if Mike could try to make contact with him to tell him that the situation has worsened. Mike said he’d left a message for him the day before but he hadn’t received a reply. Dave said the technical people at DEP completed their review and he heard that they had no comments about the application. Dave said his firm has done all they could do to move the process along. Jim asked Dave if the well could be put into service by Labor Day if the application was approved immediately. Dave said it could not.

Dave said he submitted preliminary documents of the design plans for the new well. Joe Chicora said he would look over them thoroughly. Joe added that the POA had some issues with the fencing for the building at the well. He said that, as an alternative option, the Board might want to think about limiting the fence to just around the well head, and maybe installing an alarm system that has to be monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week in lieu of a barbed-wired fence around the whole site. Joe said it would have to be monitored by a security company, with alarms on the doors and windows, and motion detectors inside. Mike said he talked to the property owner across from the well site, and his biggest issue was the barbed-wire fence. Joe said that using an alarm system versus a fence, and designing the building to fit into the surrounding neighborhood, should solve the issue.

Property owner, Tom Stone, asked to be heard by the Board. He passed along several concerns discussed at the most recent meeting of the LWPOA Board, of which he’s a member. He said some of the issues his Board talked about dealt with the size of the building, and chemical transportation and storage. He said buildings of the size being planned for the well site are not allowed in Lake Wynonah. Mr. Stone also said it was stated at the LWPOA’s meeting that the purpose of the building was to store chemicals and equipment. He said it was also stated at the LWPOA meeting that the reason the LWMA wanted to store chemicals in the new well building was because the LWMA has no placarded vehicles to transport chemicals on state roads (Berne Drive). If that was true, he said, he wanted to know what logical sense there was in driving chemicals around Lake Wynonah, where children and families lived, without placarded vehicles. He said the comment was also made at the LWPOA meeting as to how well the site would be maintained because none of the well sites are maintained. He said the weeds were four feet high at Well #2 and the fence was rusted. He also said there were asphalt shingles on the side of the building which is not allowed in Lake Wynonah. He said those were the concerns the LWPOA Board has. After stating all the comments made by his Board, he then said, as a property owner, he wanted the LWMA Board to reconsider the size of the building and to build it at the sewage treatment plant property instead of at the well site. He said he lived near the site, and wanted to voice his opinions.

Joe Chicora and Walter both said they lived very close to the site. Kelly said the well site building isn’t going to be any bigger than the one the LWPOA stores chemicals in at the pool. Kelly said chemicals are needed to be put in the water at the well anyway, and there has to be some chemicals in the building regardless. Tom Stone said that Mike Stewart stated at the LWPOA meeting that the building required a fence around it, and there was no fence at the building near B-Dock. Joe Chicora told him that was the reason he suggested an alarm system instead of fencing. Tom Stone said the LWPOA Board still has an issue with the size of the building and where it will be located. Mike told him that chemicals for sewage and water cannot be stored together, and they couldn’t be transported from the plant to well sites. He also said the proposed well building is the same type and size of buildings found all over the development, it’s the most popular type being built by property owners right now, and the LWMA is designing it to look aesthetically pleasing to the surrounding area.

Joe Chicora asked Tom Stone if he’d rather see a trimmed, well-designed larger building at the well site or a 10’ by 10’ shack. Tom Stone said he preferred a shack. Kelly said he would have thought the LWPOA Board would have been more concerned with the security and safety of the well, which the larger building would provide. Kelly added that there’s been previous vandalism at other well sites and the LWMA had to protect the water supply. Tom Stone said the LWMA should protect the well head but not the building. Kelly asked if Tom meant the LWMA should fence the well head but not the building. Tom didn’t reply. Mike said the LWMA has had a lot of trouble with vandalism and that, even if the LWMA would decide to fence part of the area, it may have to later fence the entire area if there’s vandalism like that experienced at the booster station. Mike also said there’s been vandalism at the other well houses that included windows broken out three times over the past year and a half at Well #1, and people have climbed over the fence at Well #3 numerous times. He told Mr. Stone that his prior comment about the fencing at other wells being torn down is due to people continually climbing over the fences.

Mr. Stone had mentioned earlier in the conversation that the property owner next to the well site has a problem with the proposed driveway for the well site being close to his. Joe said that shouldn’t be an issue because there are a lot of homes in the development where the driveways are side-by-side. Mr. Stone agreed that the driveway has to be where it’s feasible to put it. Jim Ridderhoff emphasized that the size and scope of the building being built at the well site is no larger than the scope of the LWMA’s operation. He added that there are almost 1,200 homes in the development, and it requires more space to service 1,200 homes than 800 homes which was approximately six years ago. Jim said if the LWPOA is saying the LWMA is not allowed to build something for the space that is needed, then the entire community will suffer. He said the LWMA is designing the building to be economically operational for the Authority.

Mr. Stone brought up the chemical storage again and said that they should be stored at the sewage treatment plant. Tom Nagle said the chemicals are used at the wells. He told Mr. Stone that storing all of the chemicals at the sewage treatment plant would mean hauling them from the plant all the way into, and all around, the development to place them where they need to be rather than putting them where they belong in the first place. He asked Mr. Stone if he didn’t think that would be increasing the risk of whatever the LWPOA Board is concerned with. Mr. Stone didn’t answer. Mike said that the LWMA currently has four wells, and the combined total of all the chlorine at all four wells, and the sewage treatment plant, is less than what the LWPOA has at one spot at the pool. Tom Stone then asked why the LWMA needs a large building at the well site if it doesn’t have that many chemicals. Tom Nagle said the LWMA needs space to work in. Mr. Stone then asked why the LWMA doesn’t then have bigger buildings at the other well sites. Tom Nagle said that the LWMA should have bigger buildings at the other well sites, it’s just that they were not originally built big enough and that’s part of the problem – it’s very hard to work on equipment at those wells. Mike Stewart added that the equipment used for well treatment may not be kept with the sewage equipment and chemicals.

Jim Ridderhoff said, in the interest of time, the conversation regarding the well building had to be concluded. He told Mr. Stone that he hoped that the LWPOA Board understands the importance of the operations of the Authority, and the need for space to perform its operations.

In legal affairs, Joe Zerbe said routine legal matters had been taken care of, along with some Worker’s Comp. issues that will be handled by SWIF, the Authority’s worker’s comp. insurance carrier. Joe asked Jen if the SWIF attorney contacted her to tell her what he records he needed, and whether or not anyone from the Authority was required to attend any hearings. Jen said she was contacted, and she submitted all the paperwork SWIF needed. She also said the attorney told her that nobody from the Authority had to be present at any hearings. Joe said one other thing that had to be addressed was the tax bill received for the new well property. He talked to the assessment office, and he said that authorities now have to apply for tax exemption; in the past authorities were automatically exempt. Joe said he and someone from the Authority will have to attend a hearing regarding it. Joe prepared an application for exempt status that he needed a Board member to sign to execute and file it. The Authority will have to pay the taxes for this year. Upon motion by Joe Chicora, seconded by Dennis Scharadin, carried by all, the Board approved the signing and filing of the application.

Dave Bright said, assuming that the PA DEP issues the permit without any comments, the project can be put out to bid. Joe Chicora said he felt that windows should be added to the well building design. Dennis agreed. Jim said the windows could also have shutters. Dennis asked what type of siding was to be used for the building, and if the roof would be insulated. Joe said it would be metal siding with insulation under the roof. Joe said he’d like a couple more days to look over the design to see if he had any comments about it.

Upon motion by Dennis Scharadin, seconded by Walter Jaros, carried by all, the Board authorized advertising for bids when the permit from DEP was received, subject to making changes to the contract. Mike asked Joe if the lock on the building could be a Primus lock to match the keys to the other buildings, and wanted to know if the Authority wants to supply the Primus lock itself. Joe said that construction locks would be used in order for the contractors to gain access, and the Authority could change them when construction is finished.

Jim asked if there has been any positive response regarding the septic violations submitted to Wayne Bowen. Mike said there hasn’t been any paperwork from Wayne, but Mike said he spoke with him two to three weeks ago. Wayne said he had a lot of the PIRs done but he has to prepare them to be submitted to the LWMA.

There being no further business, Tom Nagle motioned for adjournment, Dennis Scharadin seconded the motion, carried by all. The meeting was adjourned by Jim Ridderhoff at 7:40 p.m.

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

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