|Blakely Island Maintenance Commission, Inc.|
(*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
Russ Keyes Water project volunteer
John Davidson – Fire committee member\
The meeting was called to order at 6:00 PM by Marc Droppert
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.
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
The meeting was adjourned at 10:25 PM.
Ron Griffin, Secretary BIMC
Facility Manager’s Report
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
WASHINGTON STATE LAW
REGARDING DOMESTIC AND RAW WATER CONNECTIONS
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:
- Probably the greatest return will come from training a group of volunteers, implementing contact and response protocols, and putting mutual aid arrangements in place for cooperation among the various entities on the island. Little dollar cost will be required. Perhaps the biggest challenge will be getting a number of people who are usually on the island to become thoroughly trained and willing to function in leadership roles in a fire emergency.
- The fire truck replacement as mentioned above.
- A variety of relatively small dollar items of maintenance, communications and readiness, a fair number of which have already been completed.
- Significant capital items which need to be implemented after the truck acquisition, as funding allows. Significant items include:
oExtending fire siren coverage throughout the plat.
o Enhancing the immediate response capability at the airport.
o Additional hydrant placement.
o Additional fire fighting equipment to enhance response capability.
o Planned inventorying, inspection and replacement of expendables, notably hose (Significant amount of hose purchased last summer to start this process).
- As noted in previous minutes, immediate response fire boxes have been staged at various places around the upper island.
There is nothing significant to report in the waste area at this time.
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:
- Minimum one ton dually
- 4-wheel drive
- Power steering and brakes
- Good Ground clearance
- 250 gallon/minute at 100 psi rated main water pump
- Skid plate protection for pump (if applicable)
Either Compressed Air Foam System (CAFS) or capability to add later
- If no immediate CAFS, then simple foam system required
- Ability to draft from lake or ocean (primer)
- Good exterior work lights
- HD alternator to run lights
- Less than eight feet tall for garage door access
Minimum 300 gallon water storage
- Utility storage for hose, foam buckets, hand tools, etc.
- Well laid out for ease of use by non-professional fire fighters
Desirable feature (in order of importance) include:
- Automatic transmission
- Larger chassis (F-450/550 equivalent) with additional water tank capacity
- All up cost <$55,000 to reserve funds for other fire priorities