The regular meeting of the Redway Community Services District board was on Wednesday, Aug. 22.
During the budget meeting held the night before some questions were brought up that needed further clarification, and some of those were presented and discussed at the regular meeting. The budget will again be taken up on Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. at the RCSD office.
During public comment at Wednesday’s regular meeting a Redway resident and former RCSD board member spoke about the recent Department of Fish and Game presentation to the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors regarding the impacts of medical marijuana growing on private land. The speaker was alarmed to hear him say that “there was a water company in Redway” that provides water to grows. She was concerned that people might interpret this to mean that RCSD is supplying water directly or indirectly to grow operations.
She hoped that RCSD would make it clear to the public that they do not supply water outside their boundaries and that they are no longer selling water to bulk suppliers and have not done so since 2008.
The board said one or more private water companies that get bulk water from Garberville Sanitary District and Benbow Water Company may be private Redway businesses. RCSD is not selling water outside their district boundaries, chair McKaskle said.
While reviewing the July 18 meeting minutes, board member John Rogers wanted to be clear when he and Dian Griffith wrote a letter to the California State Water Quality Control Board addressing concerns over the water withdrawal request by Scheperdgerdes the letter was written at the behest of the RCSD board.
The Water Quality Board sent a letter to the RCSD board that they had failed to send a copy of the letter directly to the applicant as required to make it valid. So the board directed staff to send a certified copy of the letter to the applicant and a copy of the certification to the Water Quality Board.
Board chair McKaskle expressed concern about the sewer side of the financials being down.
Operations manager Ken Dean reported to the board that in the waste treatment plant a clarifier bearing that has been in operation for 16 years failed. The contractor Dean has looking at it is the original contractor who installed it.
Dean reported on some problems with the valves in the new actuators in the water plant. One of the actuators was determined to have been incorrectly installed, which invalidates the warranty. He has the engineers working on it.
Dean said it turns out the design of the automated valves are not perfect. Plus, the manufacturer has not provided a manual as required in the specifications.
The engineer’s specifications appear to have been met by the contractor but the design of the component is somewhat flawed and would require constant maintenance, which is especially difficult without a manual. Dean has talked with the California Department of Public Health about the problem.
Concerns about invalidating the warranty and how to fix the problem were discussed. Dean wants the parts to be replaced with something more durable. It is too soon to have problems after only five months.
The cost to replace all the actuators would probably be $150,000 for the 24 necessary, he said. There have already been problems with 19 of them. The project designer, Waterworks, is looking into the options for dealing with the problem with the California Department of Public Health.
Board member John Rogers suggested that board chair Michael McKaskle talk to the project design engineer about it.
Dean also reported that one of the turbidimeters that has been in service for about 14 years at the water plant failed. He had to order the next generation, so there are two new turbidimeters that are going to be installed. Dean hoped to be able to purchase a new pair every three months so that all eight turbidimeters can be replaced by the end of the fiscal year since the current ones are near the end of their service life. They are components required by the state to monitor clarity of the filtered water. The cost is about $3,200 per pair, including the controller.
There has been a significant reduction in the power usage at the plants, due the new automated system, which has allowed a reduction in staff time, too.
Payments from the state are coming in for the water project. More paperwork is being prepared for submission.
On the issue of rate restructuring and multiple units, chair McKaskle said the owner of a duplex was shocked at how much his bill had gone up and offered to drive McKaskle around and point out how many other multiple units there are in Redway. McKaskle suggested that he come to the board meeting, but he was not there.
It’s a sticky issue, McKaskle said.
Office manager Deborah Evans reported that some people complain about the new rate structure but then pay it.
The capital improvement plan includes the need for a new truck.
Ken Dean would like to work on a program that coordinates operations data with the office accounting system so that reports could be side by side. Dean wants to get started on a two-sided long-range plan that would enable presentation of clear, concise information to the board. McKaskle said he attended a webinar recently and was surprised that the district was considered unusual in having a split in office and operations management. There is nothing wrong with the arrangement, but it would be an improvement to have a comprehensive computer program that combines the two functions.
Water treatment plant boundaries were discussed. There is a problem with the siting of the water treatment plant on a boundary line with a neighbor. It is made more difficult by some inconsistency with the county’s survey lines from their boundary monuments.
The board believes it would be easier to move the fence than the building, if that is okay with the neighbor.
On new business, there was discussion about a new arrangement for the disposal of the biosolids. The plan is to contract with an operator in Fortuna who will haul it to Arcata to be turned into compost. McKaskle said that he had hoped to contract with a company that would turn it into methane, but there are some problems with that.
Having a contractor dispose of the biosolids might be better than burying it on the property for several reasons. It will save on the cost of equipment and staff time, plus it is better to keep the option open in the event it becomes necessary to use the land later and the district will still have the permit.
The contractor will periodically test the biosolids for heavy metals and toxicity. That has never been a problem for the district.
Humboldt County had requested the use of the district office in February 2013 for a county budget meeting. The county wants to have multiple community meetings in five areas of the county on the same night and have them live streamed to each other. The board thought that the office would be too small and decided to suggest Redway School for the meeting, which has more room and is centrally located.
The next regular meeting of the board will be on Sept. 19 at 7 p.m. at the district office.