Garberville Sanitary District met in a special board meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 11. The meeting was opened by the new board chair, Dennis Bourassa. Also in attendance were the only other two board members, Rio Anderson and Bill Stewart. Two seats on the board are vacant, and new board members are being sought.
Bourassa began by asking whether the GSD board packet could be available on the district's website prior to the meeting.
Operations manager Ron Copenhafer explained that the agenda is posted online 72 hours prior to the meeting as required by law, but only recently has project manager, Jennie Short, begun posting the entire board packet online, but didn't this time. She has a program for that and Copenhafer said that he is taking it over and within another meeting or two will be able to post the board packet on the website prior to the meeting.
There was no consent calendar, so the next point of business was to appoint ad hoc committees for negotiating, budget and the Community Park work group. There are only three people on the board now since both Herb Schwartz and Peter Connolly have left the board so reconfiguring the ad hoc committees was necessary.
It was decided the Community Park working group committee would be Anderson and Bourassa.
The negotiating committee is for negotiating leases and easement agreements. Bill Stewart and Dennis Bourassa were chosen for that committee.
Bourassa and Stewart will be on the budget committee.
Next the board turned to Resolution 02-013, to authorize signatures on funding agreements, certifications and amendments for funding under the safe water state revolving fund; to approve claims for reimbursement; to execute budget and expenditure summaries; to sign the contractors release form and dedicate revenues from the water enterprise fund as the source of revenue to repay the loans.
The board decided to require two signatures, the business manager or the project manager and the board chair. If the board chair is not available, vice-chair Anderson's signature will be required for such documents. The resolution was passed as amended.
Business manager Tina Stillwell reported the intake pump replacement has cost about $12,900, not counting the water haulers and costs from Benbow Water Company and Redway Community Services District, if they are going to charge the district for filling in when the intake pump stopped working recently.
Stillwell reported the district needs a more efficient way to contact district customers in cases of emergency. Email, facebook, Southern Humboldt Awareness website, KMUD, Channel 3 and the district website are being considered as options.
Board member Stewart suggested that customers should be notified when emergencies are over, too.
Bulk Water Sales
On the subject of bulk water, Stillwell reported that project manager Jennie Short will be responding to California State Water Resources Control Board Division of Water Rights letter requesting information about whether the district is selling water outside their licensed and permitted place of use. The district is to respond to the letter by Sept. 23.
Stillwell said staff is going to have a meeting with the water haulers.
Anderson asked whether Short has any new interpretations on the legality of the issue. Stillwell wasn't sure.
Stewart said the water is delivered to the haulers inside the district boundaries and that interpretation has to be accepted by the state water quality control board. Stewart also said he understands the district can deliver water to haulers from the Tobin well. Copenhafer said there are no restrictions or requirements on water taken from wells, only on the surface water of the river.
Copenhafer said he is looking at the adequacy of the pump in the Tobin well to transfer water at a reasonable rate and is preparing a report for the next meeting. The pump in the well is very old and has served very well in emergencies, he said, but if it is going to be used on a regular basis, he would like to be more prepared. Copenhafer said he has installed a two-inch meter on the well so they can accurately monitor how much water is being put into the distribution system. Then staff will match that with the water being sold to haulers and there will be no problems with violations of their permits and license.
Copenhafer wants to wait and see what the State Water Quality Resources board says, because if the district is not in violation of the permit he wants to keep the Tobin well as a standby source.
Wells are not required to be treated, Copenhafer continued, however the district has always provided chlorination in that well. The water is tested through the normal testing cycle and it meets all requirements.
Stewart said there might be an interruption of service to haulers until this is resolved. Copenhafer said he doesn't want to do that. He said he is waiting for a new chemical feed pump and when it comes he can start supplying water from the well. Copenhafer estimates it will only require running the Tobin well pump about twelve hours a day, five days a week. Stillwell is gathering the latest statistics about how much bulk water the haulers report they have been taking. It is uncertain at this point if the Tobin well has enough water, but board and staff are “pretty sure” it has. The Tobin well is about three feet in diameter and 45 feet deep. It has about 18 feet of water, Copenhafer said.
No mention was made of placing a meter on the fire hydrant that the bulk water sellers use to fill their trucks.
During pubic comment there was more discussion about the bulk water sales. Stewart said that it is important that people have potable water. He said there have been 10 years of building restrictions in Garberville and a lot of building has taken place outside town where it might normally have been, and though buyers might be using the water for other things besides drinking water, he thinks drinking water is an important point. He said the district has benefited by these sales. The 430 subscribers to the district are carrying a heavy burden to keep this going and any extra income that the district can develop legitimately they certainly wish to do, Stewart said.
Heather Kornberg, who owns Pura Vida Water Delivery, commented that her company has potable and agricultural tanks. She said the water stays in the watershed area. The scope of the watershed is quite large, she said, but it is not feasible to haul water 20 miles away. Kornberg said the water she sells is being used for homesteading. She said she has done all the calculations and relative to what the permit says, she doesn't think what they are taking is affecting it at all. The service is very much needed in this community, Kornberg said.
Stewart suggested that if water haulers would write letters saying that they are not taking water out of the watershed, it would be significant to the state in making a decision.
Another member of the public asked about the difference between the term “watershed” and the term “place of use,” which was the term used in the permit and referenced in the letter from the division of water rights.
Stillwell said the place of use is the district boundary. Copenhafer said some of these terms are open to interpretation. He said these decisions are political decisions based on how much money you have. He said the state is trying to make that determination and the district is at the mercy of the state. It was pointed out that the district board makes the decision to sell bulk water, though. The board said they wanted to wait to see what the state said.
On Sept. 5 the district held a mandatory meeting for general contractors bidding the drinking water project. Presentations were made by Mike Veach, SHN project manager with his assistant, Kendra Miers and Jennie Short, capital projects manager. The meeting was attended by 22 contracting representatives and subcontractors, the county department of public works and Jim Johnson representing his interests. The meeting was to establish ground rules and clarify contractors' potential roles in the project.
The bid closing date was postponed to Oct. 2. The contractors requested a postponement because during the presentation at the bidwalk a couple of things came up that needed clarification, Copenhafer said. The bids must be turned in by that date and then the board will open them and look at them.
The next regular business meeting of the board of directors for the Garberville Sanitary District will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 9, at 5 p.m. at the district office.
The following regular business meeting will take place on Thursday, Nov. 1 at 5 p.m.