Washington State Department of Health comments on the proposal

This recent exchange followed a meeting between the Washington Department of Health and Water Committee chair Russ Keyes. Mr. Deem is THE person who would authorize any increase in BIMC connections. The meeting was held to determine the validity of our approach. As you will read, Mr. Deem is not very accepting of the aspect of the plan that seeks to avoid the installation of water meters on individual services. He states that the DOH will be skeptical of the figures produced under such a regime. They  will require a much longer monitoring period and additional documentation before they would be convinced to grant an increase in connections.

-----Original Message-----
From: MossBayCo@aol.com [mailto:MossBayCo@aol.com]
Sent: Wednesday, June 09, 2004 7:14 PM
To: steve.deem@doh.wa.gov
Subject: Blakley Island Water System

Good Morning Steve -

Thank you for taking so much time with us today. It was very helpful for me to get this information first hand. We are very lucky to have such good people as Jim and Margo working for us. I am sure it also makes your job easier. Their help and the engineering work from John Hart should make this process much easier.

I wanted to mainly confirm the information I came away from the meeting with. As I understand our discussion prior to us getting anymore hookups we must prove that we have control of our system and have reduced consumption to a level appropriate to the infrastructure we have or will install. It is our goal to reduce ADD to 250 gpd, install an additional 100,000 gallons of storage capacity and have John Hart complete a study showing how this equates to an increase to 190 hookups.

The thing that was of the most interest to me was your comment about how long it might take for our approval for additional hookups based on the type of monitoring method we use. We are proposing to the membership that we select a test group and monitor their use for a couple of years and use that data to justify our request. As I understand it this method while acceptable would be more suspect and require at least 3 or 4 years of data at acceptable levels. However if we install individual meters that time could be cut to one or two years.

Your comments and response to this letter will be helpful.

Russ Keyes

Dear Russ:

I enjoyed meeting with you and the Davis's.
Yes you are correct.  In order for BIMC to get additional hookups, BIMC must show that all components of the water system (source, treatment, storage and distribution) can meet minimum pressure and water quality requirements under peak demand periods.  Peak hour demands usually control distribution sizing, while peak day and peak multiple day demands usually control treatment and storage sizing.  Average day demand usually controls source sizing.  Water production records will be used in determining peak and average demands.  Existing BIMC demands (water use) appear to be excessive when compared to similar water systems in the San Juans and in Western Washington.
The most cost effective and equitable method of reducing excessive water use and of obtaining sustainable control over demand patterns is to install and use individual service meters.  Installing individual water meters is generally considered a 'no-brainer' in the water industry.  Individual meters in conjunction with accurate source production meters allow water systems to discover leaks, to discover abnormal water use patterns, to reduce stolen water and even optimize treatment in addition to allowing the use of standard accounting and business practices.  Many of your neighboring water systems have reduced ADD and Peak day demands by installing and reading individual service meters. 
The limited service meter test proposal that you referenced in your email could possibly be used to justify reduced Demand design values for ADD and Peak Day demands.  However, a much longer time period would need to be tracked than if all services were metered, and BIMC would need to provide a very convincing rationale explaining how any reductions in water use demands resulting from a partial service meter program would be sustained over time.  (For example leak detection in the non-metered areas would still be extremely difficult).  Quite frankly, BIMC should stop wasting time and install individual service meters on all existing connections now.
Please feel free to follow up with any questions.  I am sorry that I am unable to attend your July 3rd annual meeting, but would be happy to meet with any interested parties at some other time.
Sincerely, Steve Deem