Water conservation in Redway discussed

REDWAY >> At the Redway Community Services District's regular board meeting last week operations manager Ken Dean reported the river level has declined in the last six weeks but has not affected water production at the treatment plant. He noted conservation efforts in the district are greatly appreciated.

On the day of the meeting, Wednesday July 15, the district received a media release from the California State Water Resources Control Board. In response to the ongoing severe drought a state emergency regulation has been issued intended to increase water conservation in urban settings by reducing outdoor urban water use.

The state media release said, "All Californians will be expected to stop washing down driveways and sidewalks, watering outdoor landscapes that cause excess runoff, using a hose to wash a motor vehicle unless the hose is fitted with a shut-off nozzle and using potable water in a fountain or decorative water feature unless the water is recirculated." In addition, the release stated, "larger water suppliers will be required to activate their Water Shortage Contingency Plan to a level where outdoor irrigation restrictions are mandatory."

Dean reported that he reviewed the district's voluntary/mandatory measures and they are in line with the state's media release recommendations. Board chair Michael McKaskle will post the district's voluntary Level 1 conservation measures recommendations around town.

Josh Monschke, co-owner of Gyppo Ale Mill, was at the meeting to provide the board with an update on his progress in applying for an industrial wastewater permit with the district for a proposed brewery/pub in the Meadows Business Park. He said the brewery process plan check drawings are almost complete and he is waiting for drawings from the plumber for the process flow description. The industrial wastewater committee, vice chair Art McClure and board member Linda Sutton, said the committee will meet after they receive the completed application. They reminded Monschke the board will need to hear from the engineers that are currently working on a consumption study before any decision is made. Dean reported the study from Waterworks Engineers LLC is on track and there may be a report by the engineers at the next regular board meeting.

McKaskle and Dean discussed the board's intention to hire a contractor with a Grade lll license to oversee the wastewater facility as a stopgap measure until they hire a permanent employee with a Grade lll license.

The board had not yet decided whether the new leak relief policy they recently approved still requires the board to review each leak relief request individually or whether it can be handled by staff. After discussion the board decided to continue their practice of reviewing the requests, because as Sutton pointed out, sometimes board members have information relevant to the request.

The district has a retirement plan in place, but the board is considering offering to pay a portion of the premium for a long-term retiree's health benefit until the retiree reaches age 65. Board member Rian Shultz and business manager Debra Evans had researched similar policies from other local services districts. McKaskle suggested the district pay 3% toward retirees' health care premium per month equal to the number of years the retiree had worked for the district. Sutton objected to discussing specific amounts yet and did not approve of using plans used by larger districts since those districts have more income.

The board also voted to reinstate the board stipend that was foregone several years ago during a time of district financial difficulty. Staff supported reinstatement of the stipend and secretary to the board, Nancy Jurrens, noted that board members work hard and share board duties equitably. The board members will receive from the district $50, and board chair and board secretary $75, per meeting up to $150 per month. McKaskle noted that he works up to six hours a week for the district.

Dean reported that a pump at the West Coast lift station needs replacement. He ordered two to replace old ones in use there. Because there are two pumps, no interruption of operation is anticipated during replacement of the pumps. The replacement pumps cost $5,876 each.

Dean, the board and staff congratulated district employee Calvin Chaille on receiving his Grade ll wastewater operator license.

The board looked over the budget for 2014-2015. McKaskle was concerned about the conundrum of water conservation measures cutting into the budget, but Dean pointed out that with conservation the costs of processing go down and he recommended looking at the budget again in three months.