2014 Annual Report

Annual Report
Board of Trustees

of the

Jericho-Underhill Water District

P.O. Box 174

Underhill, Vermont 05489

October 1, 2013 to September 30, 2014

The Jericho-Underhill Water District provides drinking water and fire hydrant access to 314 residential and business units representing about 850 people within the District. During the past year drinking water supplied to the District averaged about 53,846 gallons per day, which was approximately 3.0% lower than the previous year. Two connections were added to the system during the year.

The District replaced the water service line between the Maple Ridge Cistern and a residence. This line had become separated in places and was leaking. After this line was replaced, it was possible to reduce the cistern pump run time; and overall system water usage decreased.

The District inspected and approved water line connections related to new construction. The District worked with customers to turn their water service on or off as requested. This is especially true for those who were selling or buying a residence within the District. It is important to note that the customer is responsible for heating the water meter area of the residence to prevent freezing of the water service line and the water meter. Also, the District assisted customers by locating water lines prior to natural gas lines being installed.

The District water contains iron and manganese. If these precipitate, the water will have a brown tinge. Discolored water was reported by a customer in the fall of 2013. This was cleared up by having the customer run their water for a time to flush out accumulated precipitates. The District also received a call related to odor in their hot water; the fix was to drain and flush the hot water heater.

The District coordinated a major repair when the main on Route 15 was accidently ruptured by a company installing a natural gas line. This repair involved turning off water to about a third of the District customers and replacing a section of the main. The affected customers were on a "boil water" advisory for several days. Another repair was made at a valve on River Road which failed. This repair required a boil water advisory for several customers. The Board appreciates the quick response to these situations by the Wayne Russin Excavating Company.

Almost all District customers have exterior reader heads attached to their water meters. The exterior reader head is read by an electronic device. During the past year the District has upgraded the District reading device. This was required to enable more consistent communication between the reader and the District computer.

The District has two storage tanks: Poker Hill and Maple Ridge. The Poker Hill tank was power washed in the fall; this was done to protect the exterior coating and to enhance the tank appearance. Bushes within the tank enclosure were cut down. Also during the fall, work was done at the Maple Ridge tank which included cutting and removal of several trees which were encroaching on the Maple Ridge tank, and the removal of gravel which had washed in from the road and piled up against the tank. The gravel was used to improve access to the tank parking space. In February the Maple Ridge Tank overflowed; subsequently the telemetry between the tanks and control building was checked and the selector switch for water level control of the tanks was replaced. Currently the tank level signals are being lost once in a while; the cause is being investigated.

A power outage occurred at the Poker Hill tank during the winter and the backup generator did not start. This was traced to possible water in the propane fuel and freezing of the regulator. The generator worked upon being reset. Later in January the propane tank regulators for backup generators at both Poker Hill and the Control Building froze and had to be steamed before the generators would run.

The state requires extensive testing of drinking water. During the year the District conducted and met all testing criteria with the exception of two tests for water treatment by-products. Testing for haloacetic acids and trihalomethanes was not done during August 2014. This test must be conducted in August, the warmest month. It has been rescheduled to August 2015.

Several repairs were made to the chlorine treatment pump. A rebuild kit was installed by the manufacturer's representative, but proved unreliable; consequently the pump was replaced. A polyethylene chlorine line was leaking and replaced. The District monitors chlorine levels using a chlorine analyzer meter. The flow control valve of the chlorine analyzer meter was replaced resulting in more consistent readings and a smaller difference between analyzer readings and manual checks. The regulator clogged and was replaced.

The District has connected the master flow meter to software which produces a daily report of the amount of water pumped in the previous 24 hours. This information is useful for monitoring the water usage of the system and is valuable as an indicator of performance and problems.

The Vermont Drinking Water and Groundwater Protection department conducted a "Sanitary Survey" of the District in April to determine how well the District was following state requirements. The survey results recommended replacing the fluoride saturator and purchasing secondary containment equipment for water treatment chemicals. The District has complied with this recommendation and under the fluoride program of the state Health Department received a grant which reimbursed the District for the cost of the new equipment.

The District applied for and in May 2014 received notification it would receive a grant for leak detection services. In preparation for the survey, the District was required to locate, exercise, and mark all District valves. The leak detection field work was conducted September 23rd and 24" 2014. A few minor leaks (such as valves not fully off) were found and corrected. In addition a large leak was found in the vicinity of the Poker Hill Tank. The staff and Board are working to investigate and repair this leak.

In the past year the fire insurance rating within the District was improved so that homeowner fire insurance rates should decrease. The rating is based in part on a flow model of the District system. The Board felt that an update of this model was needed. The updated model may allow a further improvement in the fire insurance rating and will provide better documentation of the location of valves and other elements of the system. The Board has engaged O'Leary and Burke Engineers to create the updated flow model for the District system. The model will provide data on available flows within the system. Field work was completed in the summer. At the end of September model calibration using Pitot tube measurement of hydrant flows was being planned.

Beginning mid-year the Board adjusted its meeting notices and agendas to comply with the new state open meeting laws. Meeting agendas are now posted at least 48 hours in advance on the website and at several public locations within the District.

The District is replacing about 10 hydrant flags per year with flexible fiber-glass rods that are covered with reflective material. Due to customer complaints about color, the Pump House exterior was repainted.

The District is aware that the Town of Underhill is planning a new sidewalk along the eastern side of Route 15 in Underhill Flats. The sidewalk would be built during the summer of 2017. The Board is planning to replace customer shutoff valves along Route 15 prior to the start of the sidewalk construction. This will improve the District infrastructure and hopefully avoid costly future repairs.

District customers have asked about electronic and online payment of District bills. In response to these requests and the results of an online customer survey, the District decided to make this service available. The provider selected for this service is Payment Service Network, Inc. (PSN). The PSN service has been installed and is now available through the District website. The Board would be interested in receiving feedback on this service.

The District property at the Pump House is an ideal location for solar panels. The Board received a proposal but decided the financial benefits were not attractive enough to go ahead at this time.

A District History including the origins and first fifty years of operation was completed and revised for the Underhill 250th History which Betty Moore of Underhill Center is compiling.

Mike Willard, Assistant Operator was fully certified by the state as a Class 3 operator effective August 2014. Mike has served as backup operator for more than a year. In addition he has served as operator when the Chief Operator has been out of town or not available. He has performed daily checks, conducted service calls, made repairs, and supported the maintenance activities of the District. The Board appreciates Mike's contribution to the system and his community service.

The operating staff, consisting of Chief Operator Marc Maheux, Assistant Mike Willard, Tester Helen Miller, and Reader Dwight DeCoster worked hard to keep the system operating smoothly in FY2014. The trustees wish to thank them for conducting all the necessary testing, repairs, maintenance, and reporting. The trustees wish to thank Clerk/Treasurer Jane Maheux for her work on accounting, billing, meeting notices and minutes, correspondence and other duties throughout the year. Also, the Trustees thank Moderator Bill Frank for his service, and Auditors Harlan Blodgett, Vicki Milton and Bill VanDeventer for their review and recommendations to improve the financial records of the District.

Marc Maheux has continued to improve the District website located at http://jerichounderhillwater.org. The Trustees encourage all customers to visit the website and register for e-mail notification of District communications such as emergency notices. The website was used this year in the distribution of the Consumer Confidence Report saving the District printing and mailing costs. The website now contains a large archive of District information including: the District Regulations, Annual Meeting Minutes from 1976, Annual Reports from 1980 (except 1981, 1982, and 1986), Water Usage from 2000, Bacteria Test Results from 2006, and much more.

If you are a resident of the District who would be interested in serving the District as a trustee, officer, employee, or volunteer please contact the Board. The Board asks District residents and customers to report water related irregularities such as leaks, wet spots, pressure swings, taste concerns, color concerns, etc. In the past customer reports have been the key to finding leaks and solving problems.

The Board holds regular monthly, public meetings on the first Monday of each month. These meetings are held at 7:00pm in the basement of the United Church of Underhill located at 7 Park Street in Underhill Flats across from the town green. Residents and voters of the District are welcome and encouraged to attend.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

______________________    ______________________    ______________________

Peter H. Mitchell, President                Joseph P. O’Brien, Trustee Jason P. Ritter, Trustee      

 

Dated: October 6, 2014   

 

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