1. Call to Order.
Directors Amoroso, Comstock, Godino, Siedman and Smith present; director Siedman presiding.
3. Manager’s Report.
-- Update on the Terrace Avenue Bluff Stabilization Project.
Staff reported that a meeting was held on March 31st at the Marin County Civic Center between representatives of the Bolinas Working Group and County personnel from the Department of Public Works (“DPW”) and Planning Departments, as well as Supervisor Steve Kinsey. The meeting agenda is in the Board binders and as expected, the discussion focused on the two potential projects to stabilize the bluff at Surfer’s Overlook: (1) the in-kind repair of road-level retaining walls to preserve the road and life of upper bluff pending the time needed to obtain approvals and financing for a full bluff stabilization project; and (2) the full bluff stablilization, mostly likely a soil-nail wall. As to the in-kind repair, it was agreed that the County would be the applicant for this project and it would be exempt from Design Review and Tidelands permits, although a local coastal permit would be required; Supervisor Kinsey said that the County would be responsible for the permit fees. The next step is to have the project engineered; given that the expected construction cost is approximately $300,000, the total project cost with contingencies and “soft costs”: is likely to be $500,000. BCPUD staff agreed to seek an estimate for the engineering costs and the County agreed that if the funds are raised for the project, County DPW personnel will schedule and manage it. As for a full bluff stabilization project, Supervisor Kinsey warned there may be difficulty obtaining permission from the Gulf of the Farallones to construct the project; discussion ensued about the extent of the Gulf of the Farallones authority and the location of the mean high tide line at the project site, so staff is investigating this topic. The Working Group is now planning a meeting with local stakeholders (i.e., those property owners along Terrace Avenue and it’s side streets) and Supervisor Kinsey to educate the stakeholdres about the project alternatives, test the potential for raising the $500,000 needed for the first project, and initiate the recruitment of fundraising coordinator.
-- Update on the Wastewater Treatment Plant Pump Station and Electrical Upgrade Project.
Staff has thoroughly evaluated this project for cost reduction opportunities and concluded that the district should abandon (at least for the near term) an upgrade approach and instead simply replace the existing equipment, with BCPUD staff doing as much of the work as possible. For example, staff will install the flow meters and replace the irrigation relief piping, as well as demolish the concrete pad and install a new post for the replacement control panel. Upon inspection, it seems that the existing wiring and conduit is in good shape and can be re-used. Director Smith inquired whether the irrigation piping can be sliplined rather than replaced; Chief Operator Bill Pierce responded that sliplining is not likely to be any less expensive than replacing the pipe and the pressure reducing valve needs to be replaced, as well.
-- Update on Shared Personnel Between BCPUD and Bolinas Fire Protection District.
Nothing to report.
-- Update on BCPUD’s Five-Year Capital Improvement Plan.
After consultation with the Finance Committee, staff sent the district’s Asset Inventory Spreadsheet and Prioritization Worksheet (the distillation of the assets identified on the Asset Inventory spreadsheet that are most in need of replacement or rehabilitation) to the district’s outside engineers and requested a proposal from them to value these assets. The district’s CPA and outside engineers confirm that it is standard for consulting engineers to perform such valuation, particularly where, as here, district staff is so small. Staff noted that the asset inventory valuation will be used to help the district assess the adequacy of its reserves and the valuation of the prioritization worksheet projects will be used to craft the district’s Five Year Capital Improvement Plan.
As far as general water operations, staff directed the Board’s attention to the water consumption statistics for the quarter ending in March 2014, noting that consumption was down below post-2009 levels, showing a direct response to the district’s imposition of the Heightened Voluntary Conservation Alert. Rainfall totals are now 15.7 inches at the corporation yard (270 Elm Road) and 22.5 inches at the Woodrat Water Treatment Plant (400 Mesa Road). Given the reduction in consumption and the amount of rainfall received since the imposition of the Heightened Voluntary Conservation Alert on January 17, 2014, staff recommends the district lift the alert at this time. Staff acknowledged that the district may well decide to re-impose the alert (or even mandatory rationing) later in the year as staff is concerned about the water supply over the dry season but, as of now, the district’s reservoirs are spilling and the creek flows are at healthy levels. Staff emphasized that it is important to safeguard the district’s credibility with the community and not impose more restrictions than are absolutely necessary to manage the water supply. On the other hand, staff does not want the community to abandon its vigilance, so the district will continue to request that all customers be very, very careful with their consumption as an increase in consumption likely will lead to the re-imposition of the alert status.
Directors Siedman and Amoroso expressed concern that consumption will rise if customers feel that “the crisis” is over. Director Comstock agreed, but said he also agrees with the staff concern about the district’s credibility with customers when asking for extra conservation efforts. After further discussion, the Board had no objection to the lifting of the Heightened Voluntary Conservation Alert at this time.
Lewie Likover gave a brief report about his recent attendance at a Membrane Technology Conference in Las Vegas. Overall, he reported that the conference was extremely useful as the best engineers in the country were there and available to answer questions. Lewie gave a presentation to the district staff about operational improvements that can be made at the Woodrat Water Treatment Plant; he also made useful contacts with operators also working on projects to reduce chlorine disinfection byproducts in the treated drinking water.
Staff reported that an inspection and cleaning of the district’s treated water storage tanks on Mesa Road took place on April 8th and 9th. The inspection covered both the interior and the exterior of both of the storage tanks and a written report of the findings and recommendations will be submitted. In brief, the inspector stated that both tanks require some maintenance work, but not on an emergency basis -- this is work that can be planned for over the next 2 – 4 years.
The Board reviewed a draft of the district’s Annual Report to the California Department of Public Health, which is due on April 30th. The Board also reviewed a copy of the notice mailed out to customers on April 14th with the latest numbers for our TTHM and HAA5 levels. Unfortunately, the reported results for the quarter ending in March were high due to extensive use of the Woodrat reservoir water supply and consequent chlorine management issues.
Staff reported on attendance that day at a seminar in Santa Rosa for rural water districts entitled Rate-Setting and Capital Improvement Plans; tomorrow staff will attend a related seminar on Financial Analysis. Several directors and staff members are scheduled to attend a lunch next week with the Executive Director and the Regional Affairs Representative of ACWA at the Parkside Café in Stinson Beach.
The Board reviewed correspondence sent and received since the last regular Board meeting, including a letter from Marin County LAFCO concerning its proposed operating budget and correspondence to customers about their expanded water use permits.
Finally, on the wastewater side of operations, staff reported that flows remain very low into the district’s collection system. As such, while April 15th is the official start of spray season, the district is not likely to begin spraying until later in the year.
-- Drainage Project Manager’s Report.
The Board received a written report from Drainage Project Manager Lewie Likover.
4. Community Expression.
Remick Hart reported that he and Community Center Executive Director Randi Arnold met with staff recently about the status of the downtown beach clean-up effort. He said the $8,000 annual cost greatly exceeds the $2500 that the Community Center is able to budget for this work. Remick said that they are exploring the potential use of a share of the County’s VRBO tax to pay for the shortfall. He also expressed concern about encampments on the beach and graffiti on the seawalls.
Matt Lewis said he was surprised to hear Roger Peacock report at a recent Mesa Park meeting that a well has been dug at the downtown park and the resulting water hooked into irrigating the landscaping system; he inquired if the well was property permitted. Director Siedman advised Matt to check with Mesa Park as the BCPUD does not have authority over wells in the district.
5. Request for Financial Relief from Quarterly Water Bill pursuant to BCPUD Resolution 553 – 99 Brighton Avenue (Talucci).
Staff reported that the customer’s water use dropped to 60 gallons per day during the most recent month and that the customer reports having installed shut-off devices on his outdoor hose bibs per the Board’s request. Director Smith noted that the district received a letter objecting to any financial relief for this customer in light of the history of prodigious water use at the property, which indicates to the author of the letter that the customer has not been paying attention to his water use. Discussion ensued about the amount of relief, if any, to grant this customer. It was noted that there were four sources of excess water use: a leaking hot water heater, unauthorized water use by intruders on the property, problems with the irrigation system, and an overflow of the swimming pool. After noting that the customer has made significant reductions in water use, which the district wants to support, director Amoroso moved that the bill be reduced by a third of the excess amount, based on historic water use during the same billing quarter.
V. Amoroso/L. Comstock all in favor to reduce the bill for this customer by 1/3 of the excess amount over the historic average water use during the same billing quarter.
6. Chlorine Disinfection Byproducts Reduction Project – Report and Recommendations (Jonathan Van Bourg).
Jonathan Van Bourg, the district’s consulant working with Lewie Likover on the district’s efforts to reduce its chlorine disinfection byproducts, presented an overview of his report and recommendations. He noted preliminarily that the district currently is in violation of the “Stage 2” chlorine disinfection byproduct rules, which is the result of organics in the district’s water combining with chlorine to form disinfection byproducts. The district is not alone, he said, over half of the water districts in the country are in violation of these rules. In order to reduce the levels in the BCPUD’s water, Jonathan recommends that the district pursue a multi-pronged approach, including improvements to the district’s water sources, operational changes, and treatment process improvements.
Director Smith inquired whether another disinfectant, such as chloromines, should be used to treat the district’s water. Jonathan said that the use of chloromines may resolve things from a regulatory perspective for a while because the rules applicable to chloromines haven’t been implemented yet. Director Smith said that based on the report, it seems that improved reservoir management is a key component for the district and he would like to see the district contract with a reservoir management specialist as soon as possible. Jonathan Van Bourg agreed that reservoir management is key, but cautioned that it took a long time for the reservoir to develop the problems (primarily algae) it has today, and may take just as long (i.e., 20 years) to fully remediate. Discussion ensued about how to filter the district’s backwash using the existing clarifier. Jonathan recommended that the district also run a pilot project to determine whether adding coagulants pre-filtration would remove a sufficient amount of the organics in the district’s source water. He commented that the use of alum as a coagulant does not leave a residual and alum “loves phosphorus” which is the district’s most significant nutrient problem. Jonathan noted that using alum as a coagulant would serve two purposes: (1) to settle out the backwash water in the clarifier, and (2) stabilize the reservoir.
Director Siedman observed that the report contains a series of recommendations for the district to pursue and asked if Jonathan is asking the Board to accept the report and approve the recommendations. Jonathan said yes, he is, and stated that the report and recommendations have been provided to the district’s regulators at the California Department of Public Health in draft form thus far. Lewie Likover noted that the district’s operators already have started to employ some of the operational recommendations and that the district needs to proceed step by step and evaluate the results of each recommendation.
D. Smith/V.Amoroso all in favor to accept the report and approve recommendations 1 – 7 contained therein.
Director Smith asked staff whether it would be possible to drill a well adjacent to the Arroyo Hondo catchment and extract groundwater rather than divert surface water from this source. Chief Operator Bill Pierce responded that drilling a well would be very complicated, and perhaps impossible, inside the national park and also would present significant water rights issues. Discussion ensued about possible alternative groundwater sources (in addition to the well at the Resource Recovery site, which the district currently is evaluating), perhaps nearby the water treatment plant. Jonathan Van Bourg cautioned that in some cases groundwater is under the influence of surface water, which presents different regulatory concerns. After a brief discussion, staff agreed to confer further on this topic with a qualified hydrogeoligist.
7. Mesa Park Ballfield Irrigation and Public Restroom Project: Contract Amendment No. 1; Deed Restriction; Request for Waiver of 3/7th Match Requirement.
Staff presented a contract amendment drafted by the granting agency, the California Department of Parks and Recreation, which eliminates the reclamation facility from the scope of the project, and an accompanying deed restriction which requires the district to maintain the park facilities as improved with the grant funds for a period of 20 years. In addition, the Board reviewed a letter prepared by staff (at the Department’s suggestion) requesting that the Department waive the 3/7th match requirement for this project. With regard to the latter, director Siedman suggested that the letter address the fact that the improved fields and public restroom will benefit, in addition to the youth of the community, a substantial segment of the adult Latino community. Director Smith agreed, observing that many adults in the community do not own cars and the local soccer games are a cost-free recreational activity that otherwise would not exist in town. Staff agreed to make the requested revisions.
D. Smith/L. Comstock all in favor to approve Contract Amendment No. 1.
L. Comstock/G. Godino all in favor to approve the Deed Restriction.
L. Comstock/D. Smith all in favor to approve the letter requesting a waiver of the 3/7th match requirement, as amended.
8. Water Supply Update.
Director Siedman noted that the district has been evaluating the quality and quantity of water produced by the irrigation well at the Resouce Recovery site as part of its ongoing responsibility to search for sources of water to augment its water supply. Director Amoroso said the water has a high mineral content and the district’s consulting hydrogeologist is concerned about the potential for salt water intrusion given that the well is at sea level. Director Amoroso suggested it may ultimately be possible to use the irrigation well water as the district’s emergency water supply rather than the existing reservoirs, given the problems posed by the reservoirs with respect to chlorine disinfection byproducts.
Matt Lewis inquired as to why the water from the well is going to irrigate ballfields, compost piles and farming operations rather than for additional hook-ups to the domenstic water supply. Director Comstock said that it is unknown at this point whether it is economically feasible to use the well water as a source of potable water; as such, the district has given conditional permission to others to use the nonpotable water for irrigation purposes while the district studies the question. In each case, the district’s permission is conditioned on the right of the district to terminate the license to take water if the district needs to augment its potable water supply. Meanwhile, the district is evaluating the quality and quantity of the well water, in consultation with its regulators, to determine whether and how the water can be used as an additional source for the district. Director Siedman commented that it also is essential for the district to fully understand the reliability of this water source before bringing it into the potable water supply.
9. Volunteer Committee Reports.
-- Bolinas Lagoon Advisory Committee: Nothing to report.
-- Downtown Parking & Traffic Committee: Nothing to report.
-- Resource Recovery: Nothing to report.
-- Water Conservation Assistance Committee: Noting to report.
-- West Marin Mosquito Control Coordinating Council: Director Amoroso reported that there will be a meeting of the council the following Monday; he and director Godino are making every effort to attend the meeting.
-- Sewer Pond Land Management Committee: Director Siedman noted that the Board received emails from John Glavis and Janine Aroyan about the next phase of the committee’s work; discussion ensued about scheduling another meeting and staff was directed to contact the committee members and propose either April 28th or May 2nd for the next meeting date.
10. Other Business.
a. Board Committee Reports
-- Finance: Minutes of the March 4, 2014 Committee meeting; Minutes of the April 1, 2014 Committee meeting; Community mailer re: draft FY 2014-15 budget.
The Board received the approved minutes of the March 4, 2014 Committee meeting.
L. Comstock/V. Amoroso both in favor to approve the minutes of the April 1, 2014 Committee meeting.
Approval of the community mailer was deferred to the May Board meeting.
-- Legal: Nothing to report.
-- Mesa Septic, Flood Control and Roads: Nothing to report.
-- Operations: Nothing to report.
-- Park and Recreation: Nothing to report.
-- Personnel: Director Siedman reported that the committee and staff continue to negotiate the terms of the MOU.
-- Sewer: Nothing to report.
b. Minutes of the March 19, 2014 Regular Meeting; Minutes of the February 28, 2014 Special Meeting.
Director Amoroso offered clarifying changes to the minutes of the March 19, 2014 regular meeting.
L. Comstock/D. Smith all in favor to approve the minutes of the March 19, 2014 meeting, as amended
Director Amoroso noted that there is a typo in the draft minutes of the February 28, 2014 special meeting.
L. Comstock/G. Godino all in favor to approve the minutes of the February 28, 2014 special meeting, as corrected.
D. Smith/G. Godino all in favor to approve the warrant list.
d. Scheduling of Next Meeting(s)
Staff requested that the next meeting be held on May 14, 2014 rather than May 21, 2014, due to staff vacations; there was no objection from the Board. As such, the next regular meeting of the BCPUD
Board will be on May 14, 2014 beginning at 7:30 p.m.