November 2003

A regular meeting of the Board of The Lake Wynonah Municipal Authority was held on November 18, 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, Dennis Scharadin, and Joe Chicora. Also in attendance were Mike Stewart (American Water Service), LWMA attorney Joe Zerbe, Kelly Klamfoth (LWMA employee), and Dave Bright (LWMA Engineer).

The meeting was called to order by Jim Ridderhoff at 6:01 p.m.

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

The Treasurer's reports for September and October 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 noted that the flow meters at each well were calibrated by CY Meter Service. Well #3 was rehabilitated and Well #6 will be treated for capacity in the near future. The new drop box was installed by the gate at the plant and business office for customers to drive up and drop off payments after hours. Mike also said that both pump trucks are fully operational and both have been inspected or are in the process of being inspected. The pump on the new Mack was replaced; a repair was attempted but it was unsuccessful. Jim asked how long the pumps last and Mike told him five to seven years. After the office building was completed, spring water broke through the surface of the paving near the entrance and an underdrain was installed to correct the problem. A new inlet controller at the sewage treatment plant was installed and LRM was called in to program it. The old controller will be repaired so that a spare is available in case of future failure.

Dave Bright said that the Act 339 program appears to have been eliminated. A 50% payment might be restored but after that it would be gone completely after this year. He asked Mike if a Vulnerability Assessment was started which is due the end of June 2004. A Vulnerability Assessment is an analysis of how the water system might be vulnerable to terrorist activity. He said that the PA Rural Water Association is trying to develop a template for authorities to follow to complete the assessment during a training session held by the PRWA. Also, Dave said there has been some changes to the monitoring of disinfection byproducts starting in 2004. He said it's not entirely clear as to what is being called for so he suggested that Mike talk to local DEP representatives to obtain a clear monitoring schedule.

In legal matters, Joe Zerbe said that a few proofs of claim, municipal liens, and bankruptcies were attended to. He received correspondence regarding the setbacks and easements from Jim Diehl which was passed on to the LWMA Board members. Other than that, nothing new has happened in legal matters, and nothing new has developed with the Shaner litigation.

The matter of the setbacks and easements was discussed. Tom said that he thinks one of the major problems he has seen in correspondence is the use of the words "easement & right-of-way," and "setback & isolation distance" interchangeably when, in fact, they are two different things. He added that the SEO's statement that they have been approving systems the same way for the past 20 years is simply not true; the current SEOs haven't been involved with Lake Wynonah matters for 20 years because they were not engaged by the Townships for the whole of the past 20 years. The SEOs claim that they weren't aware of any easements and Tom said he could understand the SEOs not being aware of existing easements, but what he doesn't understand is their reasoning for not abiding by the isolation distances, which are Pennsylvania law.

Jim asked what the LWMA should do in addition to bringing the problem to the attention of the townships. Joe Zerbe said the regulations seem pretty clear. If there is no easement in existence, the isolation distance would be from the property line. But since there's an easement, the isolation distance would be from the easement line. He said he can understand both sides of the argument as to where the isolation distance should be measured from. If the strict letter of the law is followed, some or many lots are going to be unbuildable. On the other hand, some septic systems are being built around water service lines. Mike noted several occasions where sewage was coming out in holes dug open for water line repairs.

Sewage malfunctions were discussed at length. Jim asked what the procedure was for reporting a sewage malfunction. Mike said the malfunction is reported to the SEOs. Jim asked what the SEOs then do about the malfunction report. Mike said an SEO comes out to look at the malfunctioning system but many times no action is taken even though the same problem has been reported over and over again. Kelly said that an inspection form is filled out for every septic inspection and the form is copied and sent to the applicable township. The township gives it to the proper sewage enforcement officer(s). Mike added that the townships get every report, not just the malfunctions. The emergency malfunctions are brought to the attention of the applicable SEO directly. Jim asked who was responsible for making sure the repair of malfunctioning systems was completed. Mike said it was the LWMA's responsibility to notify the SEO of the problem and the SEO takes the enforcement action. The LWMA has no authority beyond notifying the SEO directly or notifying the township (or both in some cases). Joe asked if the LWMA gets a report back from the SEO stating the problem was fixed. Mike said the LWMA gets no reports from the SEOs. Jim said that, in effect then, the LWMA reports malfunctions to the proper agency, but there is no effective follow-up and the problem doesn't always get solved. Joe said that the PA DEP should be made aware of the entire setback situation if efforts through other channels fail to correct the problem of placement of sewage systems in easement areas, but the townships should be approached again first. He suggested that the LWMA contact a representative supervisor from each township to sit down and discuss the setback/easement issues and the problems with septic malfunctions and lack of follow-up. It was decided that Jim and Tom would contact the townships. In other business, the accounting firm of Jones & Co. was reappointed to conduct the 2003 audit upon motion by Joe Chicora, seconded by Dennis Scharadin, carried by all.

The possibility of accepting credit card payments was discussed briefly but tabled.

The preliminary budget for 2004 was distributed to Board members prior to the meeting. Jim asked all Board members to suggest/submit changes, comments, or additions for final approval at the January 2004 meeting.

Joe asked Mike to check into the cost of purchasing one or two generators for possible future power failures affecting the water system in the event a power failure occurs when the storage tanks are low due to flushing or other activities that might deplete the storage tanks. Mike said he'd already checked at the government surplus outlet but he hadn't found anything suitable yet. He said he would continue to check other options.

There being no further business, Joe Chicora motioned for adjournment, Dennis Scharadin seconded the motion, carried by all. The meeting was adjourned by Jim Ridderhoff at 7:30 p.m.

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

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