Fire department and RCSD will team up to test fire hydrants

The Redway Community Services District has voted to support a memorandum of understanding with the Redway Volunteer Fire Department to test water-flow rates in more than 50 fire hydrants. The collaborative effort will be completed over roughly six months, and is expected to require 12 to 14 hours of RCSD staff time each month during that period. The district has also approved the purchase of a testing meter for $945, as well as an additional $372.87 for miscellaneous supplies and shipping costs.

Documenting this data may result in lowered insurance costs for local property owners, pending the results of an evaluation for a new Insurance Service Office (ISO) rating expected in late 2013. The Redway Fire Department approached the RCSD in October to seek the district's assistance in the upcoming tests. At the time of the December RCSD meeting, the MOU had not yet been presented to the fire department, and fire department chief Brian Anderson could not be reached by deadline.

Installation of new actuators at the district's pump station is scheduled for Jan. 7 and Jan. 8. According to operations manager Ken Dean, representatives from the manufacturer will be on site as well as Fort Bragg Electric - who will be contracted to perform the installation. Once installed, the new actuators will electronically trigger the opening and closing of butterfly valves designed to shut off water flow. In October, the total cost of purchasing and installing the new actuators was estimated at $89,000.

Recent storms took their toll on the RCSD, resulting in a high-level of sediment in water drawn from the Eel River. Two leaks in the water line were also discovered and repaired. Between them, Dean estimated that up to 15 gallons were being lost per minute. A leak in the roof at the district office forced Dean to temporarily move his desk and workspace out of the way until repairs could be made.

"We've had two major leaks on Briceland Road in the last two weeks," said Dean. "Got one repaired, then got a call a couple days later saying another was going to need repair."

The RCSD is seeking a new board member to fill the seat recently vacated by John Rogers - who announced his resignation due to personal reasons at the board meeting in October. Board president Michael McKaskle has asked interested candidates to attend upcoming meetings and get up to speed.

Next month's meeting of the RCSD will take place Thursday, Jan. 17, at 7 p.m. in the district office, at which time the board is expected to begin discussing rate-adjustments. Public comment is always welcome.