Blakely Island Maintenance Commission, Inc.


 The meeting was held at Marc Droppert’s Seattle office with the following participants
(*telephonic conference attendance):

Marc Droppert, President
John Madden, Vice President
Ron Griffin, Secretary*
Cindy Zech, Treasurer
John Howieson, Water commissioner*
Ben Dole, Fire and Waste commissioner
Martha Mills Airports and Roads
Jim Davis Facilities manager     
Russ Keyes Water project volunteer
John Davidson – Fire committee member\

The meeting was called to order at 6:00 PM by Marc Droppert

  1. Corrections were noted for the August 21 and October 20 board meeting minutes. The corrections will be made and the minutes will be re-posted on the BIMC web site as soon as possible. The corrected minutes were unanimously approved.
  2. The Crowley/Anderson consolidation of Lot #75 and 75A was approved.
  3. The carport addition submitted for Lot 105 was approved.
  4. Jim Davis provided a detailed Facilities Manager’s report which is included in the appendix of these minutes.
  5. The Water Project had pressure test leak failures in several places. Earthworks, the contractor re-dug and re-glued the entire pipe and joints in the Driftwood Beach run at its own cost. All lines will be pressure tested next week and should be ready to be placed in service. Earthworks has been very committed to BIMC’s satisfaction with their work. The Water Project is on budget and it expected to be completed at or below budget. Six Raw Water connections have been added this year and three more are scheduled for completion as weather permits. One new domestic connection was added and the last three authorized by the state of Washington are committed for upcoming building projects.

    A motion was made by John Madden to maintain a $10,000 capital reserve for raw water system maintenance. Additional raw water connection fees collected
    above the reserve will be applied to the capital budget. Second by C. Zech, approved unanimously.

    The raw water line to Driftwood Beach had a leak which was repaired. The line is ready for connection pending final leak testing this week. BIMC paid Taggeres to contract for the complex re-plumbing to separate the Taggeres’ raw and domestic water systems.

    The change from a domestic water connection to a raw water connection at the hangars is to be done soon. BIMC will bring the pipe to the hangar property; the hangar owners will connect, manage and use the connection in consideration for the $2500 connection fee.

    Non-plat connections were discussed. BIMC domestic water is being supplied to three sites, which are not part of the BIMC plat, the marina, Ken Parker’s shop and the Taggares maintenance area. A lengthy discussion of water production costs, usage rates, need for metering all connections, excessive use policy, etc. resulted in a motion made by John Howieson that all BIMC water connections be metered. Second by Ben Dole, passed with one “no” vote. Marc Droppert will draft discussion points for circulation and review in preparation for further discussion of this subject at the next board meeting.

    Jim Davis produced a detailed cross-connection policy document that is needed to protect people and pets from drinking water from the raw water system. Now that the BIMC system is more complex, increased care must be taken to ensure community health. This document is included in the appendix to these minutes.

    The Phase Two part of the water project involves the additional storage capacity required to meet Washington State requirements. An engineer was contracted to confirm the proposed location and provide a design and cost estimate for the new tank. New Washington State regulations may require that a serpentine contact pipe system be included which will increase the cost of phase two over last years estimate approximately 15%, to $110,000.

    The marina has elected to continue to utilize the existing connection to Taggares’ raw water connection at this time rather than connect to the BIMC raw water connection which is now available to them.

  6. Ben Dole, fire commissioner, reported that $7,000 of the $10,000 budgeted had been spent for fire boxes, hoses and fire fighting tools. Ben created a specification for the minimum requirements for a BIMC fire truck as well as

    additional, desirable features for review and discussion. There was a comprehensive technical discussion lead by John Davidson and Jim Davis. John and Lance have been searching for a truck and helped determine the specification for a replacement BIMC fire truck. The pros and cons of buying a used truck vs. building a custom truck were discussed at length as well as considerations for effective fire suppression response to upper island, aircraft and other Blakely needs. Community training, fire drills with live equipment familiarization, foam vs. water only, truck tank capacity, pump capacity and other related issues were discussed. A motion was made by Ben Dole to use the amended specification to purchase (with a majority agreement of a fire truck acquisition committee, members Ben Dole, Jim Davis, Lance Douglas and John Davidson) and implement a newer fire truck on Blakely as soon as possible, within the budget approved at last year’s annual meeting. The motion was unanimously approved. The Motion and truck specifications are included in the appendix.
  7. Road repair has been delayed for completion of the water project excavation and favorable weather. Martha Mills and Jim Davis are to coordinate the bidding.
  8. Community initiatives for fire extinguishers and low flow toilets – it was determined that Costco has the best quality fire extinguishers at the best price. Different extinguishers may be required for ATV’s.

    Low flow toilets can save 30% water usage. Two main types are available. John Madden will summarize the prices and prepare a flyer for the membership mailing. If enough owners are interested, quantity purchases will be made. Arrangements to share plumber costs may be possible if enough toilet installations are to be made.
  9. The possibility of extending the plat south of Lot D was raised as a possible alternative way to provide capital for long range BIMC project needs. Marc Droppert will explore the issues and background regarding this property, for discussion of related pros and cons at a future Board meeting. Any action would require community approval.
  10. Buffer strip clean up and fire prevention considerations were discussed. A bid could be solicited for a contractor to bring in a crew with a large chipper. The ramifications touch on several areas – fire prevention, buffer strip appearance, chipper mulch disposal, access road tree trimming, etc. A committee is to be established at the next Annual Meeting to study the issues, estimate costs and make a presentation to the community.
  11. The budget year-to-date actuals and next year’s budget were reviewed. We are operating within the budget approved last year. It may be prudent to increase the reserve to 20% rather than the 15% we have used in years past. All budget requirements will be consolidated by Cindy for next year’s operating budget to be discussed at the next board meeting in preparation for submission prior to the annual meeting.
  12. John Madden was asked by the board to establish a nominating committee to provide a slate of board members to fill vacancies of outgoing board members. Slate has to be mailed to members by mid May.
  13. Next meeting dates in April were discussed and will be circulated.
  14. Executive Session was called (Jim Davis was excused) to review the parameters of the facilities managers’ contract. Marc Droppert and John Madden will further review and discuss for resolution and presentation.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:25 PM.

Ron Griffin, Secretary BIMC



Facility Manager’s Report
Jim Davis
February 17th, 2005


Water Treatment Plant

The water plant performed well in 2004, except for the problems described in my August report (water supply line/meter/valves). Recently we had some unusual glitches with our turbid meter. The manufacturer (Hach) has discontinued service on this unit, in favor of the next generation turbidimeter they now sell. The only user replaceable part is the special light bulb in the sensor cell. The existing bulb seemed to be functioning but I replaced it anyway. The unit has been operating normally since then. We will be closely monitoring this instrument for further anomalies.

One of the barrels used for chemical preparation and storage, the mixing apparatus, and one of our chemical feed pumps failed in January. All of this apparatus is twenty years old. The plastic barrel was cracked and nearly worn through from the vibration between the mixer lid and the top flange. Our primary mixer motor burned out and we are now using a backup that was replaced due to age and corrosion nearly ten years ago. The feed pump burned out and was not repairable. Replacement of the chemical barrel was a problem, due to size and shipping considerations. I was able to get it through our chemical supplier in Bellingham and there was no charge for shipping. I located a replacement mixer motor from Grainger. The mixer manufacturer also buys their motors from Grainger. We saved about half by cutting out the middleman. We had a spare chemical pump and a new backup still in the box, so we will not be purchasing a replacement pump at this time.

The Department of Health has instituted the Washington Treatment Optimization Program (TOP). This change places additional requirements for filter performance and monitoring. The new goals put forth by this program will be a challenge for our filter plant. A review of past performance puts us right at the edge of compliance. The biggest challenge comes during the coldest months when the reaction of the flocculation/coagulation chemicals is slowed due to the very cold-water temperature. We will have to be on our toes to consistently meet these new goals.

Water Use

The domestic system water use last summer was down nearly 30% from the previous year (June, July and August). The reduction was in several areas. The water flow at the marina was down over 40%. This change was primarily due to the installation of low flow toilets/shower heads. The change in irrigation policy (no lawn watering) had an

immediate effect in July and throughout the summer. A couple of members switched their irrigation demand to the untreated water system. As we began to install service meters, we immediately started finding leaks in service lines, as well as leaks at member’s homes. Most of these problems were quickly corrected, once identified. The heightened awareness, as a result of the efforts of the Water Committee, no doubt played a roll. I was very impressed that the installation of a low flow toilet at our own home dropped our water use by nearly 1/3rd. The toilet is quiet and works very well, with no clogs to date.

Water Meter Installations

The meter project currently is about 2/3rds complete. Terry and I have been doing all of the installations. We continue to find leaks both small and large that were previously undetectable. As reported previously, several of our water service connections were at unknown locations. Obviously, we needed to locate these in order to install the meters. Finding these presented a real problem. In the past we have devoted as much as a week of digging to find a single service connection. Since all of our service lines are plastic, they are untraceable by conventional instrumentation. I experimented with the “Pipe Horn” device we have used to locate the TV cable. To locate the plastic water service line, we dug up and disconnected the service line at the house. By inserting a metal electrician’s “fish tape” into the line we provided a conductor that could be followed with the Pipe Horn. The problem with the Pipe Horn is that the frequency it operates on transfers easily to other conductors nearby. In several cases we ended up following the signal all the way to an electric meter or telephone or TV cable pedestal. Because most of the other utilities are in the same area as the water service lines, this system was unreliable. I spoke with the Century Telephone lineman when he marked the lines in the path of our water line extension. They use locating equipment that operates on different frequencies to eliminate cross-over signal to other utilities. I checked on this equipment (Dynatel by 3M) and found that it sells for nearly $4,000. This unit seemed like just the answer to our problem but I was reluctant to spend the dollars. I told Russ Keyes about my conundrum and he went to work scouring the Internet. Within a couple of weeks he had located a good-as-new unit from E-Bay for less than $1,250. Thanks Russ! We have put it to good use and have located five of the buried services thus far. In most cases we have found the buried valves in less than three hours including excavating the lines/valves at the houses. There is no doubt that the unit has already paid for itself in time saved. Additionally, it will work much better for TV cable locations in the future. We will continue with this project and plan to have all meters installed by May 1st.

New Domestic Water Line

As a part of the new untreated distribution line installation, we elected to install a new 4” domestic water line from lot 129 to lot 163. The existing domestic water main serving this area was only 2”. Most of our water lines in the plat are 3”. However, most areas can be fed from two directions (3” + 3”). The North road is an exception because it is a dead end run. In order to accommodate fire flow supply as well as future lot development, our engineer advised us to go with 4” pipe. Unfortunately, there has been a problem with leaks on this newly installed line. As a result, we have not as yet put it in full service. The contractor has been working with us to identify and repair the leaks

since late November. Cold weather and high ground water levels have hampered this effort. The contractor recently decided to dig up the entire line and redo all the connections. This work is underway as I write this and we hope to be able to put the new line in full service within two weeks. It is worthy of comment that the contractor (Earthworks) feels extremely bad about this problem. He is doing all of the rework at his expense and will also give us an extended leak warrantee on the entire job. It’s always nice when you hire someone and everything goes off without a hitch. However, it’s equally reassuring to find that when something does go wrong, you’re dealing with a person of integrity that will go the extra mile to make it right.

Water Connections-Water Use

We assigned BIMC’s last approved, water connection last fall. As soon as we finish the meter project we will contact the Department of Health (DOH) to request a few additional hook-ups. Our DOH Regional Engineer continues to affirm that he will accommodate this request if we have completed the meter installation on all hook-ups and we can show reduced consumption. As stated above, we can show reduced consumption. What we don’t know is how many connections might be approved. We must increase our treated storage capacity and submit a final engineering study to qualify for the remaining connections needed for full development.

The number of new connections that will be approved relates directly to the amount of water that we use per active connection. As voted last July, that amount should be 250 gallons per day or less. There is no plan to read meters on a daily basis so the realistic restriction is 7,500 gallons per active connection per month. We will be reading the meters on a monthly basis beginning May 1st. The meters are calibrated in gallons and are easy to read so you can keep track of your own usage. Thus far, all full-time residents that have meters are averaging far less than the 250-gallon per day goal. We will read the meters monthly during the spring and summer and for leak detection purposes only during the balance of the year.

Irrigation Distribution Line Extension

The water line project began on September 24th. The installation progressed at a good pace and the contractor’s crew did a good job restoring the areas that were excavated. The project was completed on about November 10th. As with the new domestic water line there have been some leaks detected on this line. The contractor is working to resolve these leaks.

Eight residents along the route of the new untreated pipeline have purchased connections or committed to do so. Several members in other areas of the plat have also purchased or committed to purchase connections by this spring. About 20% of the developed lots will have untreated water connections by this summer.

Water Projects-Expense

The three water projects (water meters on all services, untreated water main extension, replacement/upgrade of North-end domestic water main) are expected to be completed at or under the water/capital budget, approved at last year’s annual meeting. We continue to

consult with Hart Engineering in Friday Harbor, as a part of the ongoing project (increased reservoir capacity & application for more service connections). The engineering costs are included in and still under the overall budget.

TV System

We had a fault in the TV cable system in September. At the time, we lacked the equipment to locate such a fault. In the past, Don Burkhart had been able to borrow from a friend a “Time Domain Reflectometer” (TDR) that could locate faults within a couple of inches. Unfortunately, Don’s friend no longer has the TDR and we were left with few options except replacing the entire length of cable (several hundred feet). As a temporary measure, I ran a cable over the surface to get the system back in operation. When we purchased the Dynatel locator mentioned above, it came with an optional fault location frame. Our first use of the new equipment was to locate the fault on this section of cable. There is a learning curve with this unit and I am getting better every time I use it. I located four faults on this length of cable. All four faults were real (nicks in the insulation) but only one of them was the complete fault (no conductivity) that had caused the failure.

Winter Weather

We have had quite a cold spell this year. It got cold shortly after Christmas and stayed that way for a couple of weeks. We got several days of snow and while the overall depth was only about 5” there were drifts in places that amounted to two feet or more. I gave the tractor a bit of a workout clearing some of the bad drifts to make the roads passable. We have had up to a week of below freezing temperatures and this could mean broken pipes in homes with water still in the lines. Residents should use extra caution when turning on the water for the first time this year.

When it finally warmed up, the warm air came with warm showers. Torrential rain that is! It just kept coming until Blakely could absorb no more. Not quite 40 days and 40 nights but enough to cause some unusual flooding in the plat. Most notable was the area above lot 120. This is a natural canyon that has its origin near the top of “Old Steepy”. The steady flow of water created trenches along the edges of several roads and a couple of driveways. The water has receded and left quite a mess to clean up.

Fire Committee

The fire committee has begun to implement their proposal. The fireboxes are equipped and in place at various locations on the upper island. Please make note of the locations of these bright red boxes when you are recreating. The portable, floating, fire pump that Lance donated has been repaired and puts out an impressive stream. This pump will be located in an enclosure at the pump house turn off from the main road. It is recommended that every home and vehicle should be equipped with at least one five-pound fire extinguisher. The best price I have found for good units is at Costco. I have purchased several of these and have them available on Blakely at my Costco price of $20.50 including tax. Please let me know if you would like to purchase one or more of these for your home or vehicle.

Insurance Renewal

I have contacted both of our insurance brokers regarding our upcoming renewals. I will work with these folks to make sure our coverage is renewed in a timely manor.

Mail Carrier

As most of you probably know, Methow Air has been carrying our mail for the last couple of years. A couple of weeks ago Methow suddenly discontinued this service. They evidently lost their insurance on the plane used for the mail contract and island charter service. Blakely went without mail service for a couple of days. Fortunately, Island Air has picked up the contract and we again have mail service six days per week.

Fire Hall/Shop Building

This building has been added onto twice; once in about 1989 (Post Office) and again in 1994 (Shop). The roofing (built-up/hot-mop) was sectioned in each time. The integrity of this roof has been in question for the last four or five years. Each time there has been a leak I have been unable to find the source. I have coated the entire roof three different times and each time the leak stopped, temporarily. I coated the roof again last fall. However, there has been a consistent leak this winter. There is also some rot in the sheathing on the original fire hall. In view of past problems and the effective age of the roof overall, I think we should consider replacing the roof next summer. The new torch-down membrane roof systems seem far superior to the old built-up roofs. I will be getting a bid on this work in the next couple of weeks. There may be some venting issues on the shop roof and these will be addressed at the same time.

Recycle Center

The glass from the BIRD was hauled on September 20th. We had purchased a new drum-handling frame and this was the first use. What previously has been a dangerous struggle for three husky workers was accomplished in safety with only a little sweat by yours truly. The new frame allows good control and has really cut down on the heavy lifting we used to do. I have since purchased a chain hoist to replace the two-part come-along that I used in September. We will be shipping paper and plastic again this spring.

Horseshoe Lake

We planted Rainbow Trout again on January 4th. The lake water temperature was at par with the rearing facility (Trout Lodge) so there was little or no thermal shock to the fish. We planted 3,500 triploid (sterile) fish of about eight-inches in length. The plant went well and I could find only one dead fish in the entire load. These fish should reach ten to twelve inches by next summer. Some of the boats/canoes need maintenance. Please contact me if you would like to help in this endeavor.

House Improvements

This project has been on hold as we are focusing on the water system projects.

Facilities Manager Vacation

We have used 6 days of vacation since August 1st. As of February 1st we will have 19.33 days of vacation coming.

Jim Davis


As most Blakely residents know, our source water is relatively clean and pristine. This does not mean that it is safe to drink. We test the lake water for bacteria at least 12 times per year. Nearly every sample that is analyzed contains significant levels of live bacteria colonies (coliforms). Not all bacteria are harmful to humans when ingested. However, more than half of the lake water samples contain fecal coliforms. This is normal and is to be expected with birds, otters, deer, raccoons, people, dogs and other critters in and around the lake.

The water for the untreated supply is pumped from the same pump-house/intakes as the domestic water system. After that, however, similarities in the systems cease. The untreated water system has no filtration, no disinfection and the reservoirs and distribution system are not monitored for contaminates. The controls that nature provides over contamination at the lake (sunlight, etc.) are ineffective in a closed reservoir and underground piping system. Additionally, since the system is not intended for human use, there are no safeguards from backflow of contaminates from other sources (in-ground irrigation systems, etc.). The result: The water that eventually flows to your untreated connection may contain significantly greater levels of pathogens than the lake itself. With the potential for backflow, there could be other contaminates (fertilizer, pesticides, seepage from septic systems, etc.) in the system that were never in the source water.

For garden and yard irrigation and other non-domestic uses, the untreated water is safe. It should not be used for bathing (including your pets) and should never be consumed by humans or animals. If, as many are intending, you have a hose connection on your property that supplies untreated water, it should be painted red or orange and labeled as Non-Potable/Not for Human Consumption. If the faucet is in a public place it should also have a locking device to preclude accidental/improper use.

Washington State law (WAC 246-290-490) does not allow any physical connection of domestic water systems with untreated water. Some members have asked if they can plumb their systems to use either supply for some uses. This is NOT permitted. There is no type of equipment (reduced pressure valves, check valves or other backflow equipment) that is approved for use in cross connecting potable and non-potable systems. It is advisable to paint even the underground pipe (orange) in your system to identify it as untreated water. Cross connection is a serious issue and one that we must focus on now that we have a widely used source of non-potable water.

We hope this letter has been informative and will help to avoid illness that could occur through the accidental consumption of non-potable water. Proper installations (no cross-connections) and signage will help limit potential liability exposure for you and BIMC. Keep in mind that in the United States, a water faucet, unless marked otherwise, is assumed to be safe for drinking.

If you have any questions please call on a Board member or Jim Davis.

Fire & Waste Commissioner’s Report – Ben Dole

Notes for discussion of a replacement fire truck have been distributed separately, so this report deals with the remainder of fire and waste items.

I met at some length with Jim Davis on February 1st to review the Fire Committee’s report from last summer. Then Jim & I also met with Lance Douglas. We recognized that a lot of work needs to be done to take advantage of the Fire Committee’s work and prepare for the upcoming fire season. I am working on an implementation plan, which I will review with Jim, and then provide to the Board. Highlights include:

There is nothing significant to report in the waste area at this time.

Ben Dole
Fire & Waste Commissioner

Motion re: Fire Truck replacement


The BIMC approves expenditure of up to $65,000 for acquisition of a replacement fire truck, with authorization to purchase delegated to a fire truck acquisition committee consisting of Lance Douglas, John Davidson, Jim Davis and Ben Dole. A majority of that committee (any three members) is authorized to make a final purchase decision consistent with the specifications listed below. The dollar figure is to include all costs involved in getting the vehicle functional on Blakely, including sales tax, transportation costs, inspections, and any equipment additions required to make the vehicle fully functional for the intended purpose.

The required specifications include:

Desirable feature (in order of importance) include: