Redway systems nearly at capacity

On Wednesday, Aug. 20, at their regular meeting the Redway Community Services District (RCSD) board of directors were informed by contracted engineers that the district is currently operating water and wastewater systems close to maximum capacity.

Recently RCSD had received inquiries about separate requests for services for a microbrewery, a commercial distillery and an annexation of a property for a development of 50 or more residences.

In due diligence the board hired Water Works Engineers for a report on the capacity of its current water and wastewater infrastructure to determine whether significant additional connections could be made to the system.

Professional engineers Scott Buecker, and Rebecca Tabor of Water Works Engineers were at the meeting with a 26 page detailed draft report.

"The real nutshell is that there is really not extra capacity in the system right now," Buecker said.

The report looked at the four components of the intake and the water treatment plant, the distributions system which includes the storage tanks; and on the wastewater side, the collection system and waste water treatment plant.

The engineers told the board that the district's water treatment plant is essentially already operating at its full treatment capacity.

Buecker said the intake is limited by the South Fork Eel River. The only way to increase intake, he said is to go dig deeper so more water could be moved even when the river is at record low levels. But then the district would then need another clarifier. Increasing storage as another component to system expansion was discussed.

In addition, the 100,000 gallon Meadows Industrial Park tank does not provide enough storage to meet the fire flow demands for the Meadows Industrial Park and the Evergreen booster pumps are insufficient to provide fire flow up to the tank. The distribution system does not provide sufficient pressure during fire flows in some areas, Buecker said.

The engineers found that the existing wastewater treatment plant may not be capable of complying with what is believed to be a forthcoming effluent discharge limit for nitrate of 10 milligrams per liter (mg/L). Buecker said a new 500,000 gallon oxygenation ditch could help but it is a significant project. Other major changes and additions to the system might increase capacity, but all options are costly.

Buecker recommended that if the district is considering significant development they need a full distribution model and full collection system model in order to develop specific capacities at specific points of future connections to the system. An estimate of $30,000 was given for each modeling system of mapping and hydraulics.

The board asked questions about various options for increasing the capacity of the water and wastewater systems. Buecker offered different possibilities for each system, all expensive. He suggested for a first step that the board start with the modeling systems.

General manager

Following closed session board chair Michael McKaskle announced that John Rogers of Redway is being hired as district general manager. The details being finalized, McKaskle said. He also reported that the personnel committee is meeting with a candidate for chief operator.

Rivercrest

Ron Olsen of Rivercrest Mutual Water Company, a small residential subdivision near Garberville, was at the meeting to request board approval for RCSD to take over water testing for Rivercrest, which requires weekly chlorine tests and once a monthly submission of tests to North Coast Labratory in Arcata.

Olsen said that Garberville Sanitary District had been doing the tests but had decided not to do it anymore.

District operations manager Ken Dean said it would not be a problem, since three RCSD employees were qualified to take the samples. The board readily agreed and said they would determine an appropriate fee for the testing and arrange a contract or memorandum of understanding.

Budget/retirement plan

The board continued to grapple with a retirement plan for long term employees but decided to consider the options more and discuss the matter further at the next meeting in conjunction with the budget.

The district board will have a workshop meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 3. The regular board meetings are the third Wednesday of each month at the district office in the Meadows Industrial Park in Redway.

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