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NEWSLETTER - SUMMER
June 27, 2016 

Water Quality Questions

I. President’s Corner

By the time you receive this newsletter, the Beaches Water Cooperative will have finished installations of water meters at the homes of all members, and will be returning each member's meter area as close as possible to the original state. Please do not cover, plant-over, pave-over or mulch-over your meter, or store anything on top of them, so that readings will be accurate and the meters will be accessible to technicians in case work is needed.

We have been studying the data from meter readings and still have some anomalies which will be addressed before we begin meter-based billing. Initial readings will be made commencing June 30/July 1, with monthly readings being taken again as close as possible to the end of the month in future. Rates will be calculated and bills will be processed and mailed out, so that the members will be expected to pay that bill by the 25th of that month.

When the cooperative was incorporated about 32 years ago, we had NO money, so the decision was made that we needed to bill quarterly in advance to provide cash flow to be able to commence operations. Under that quarterly billing format, people paid immediately in most cases, or throughout the quarter. Members who did not pay during the quarter were given a 10-day grace period to pay the outstanding balance, and non-payment by the end of that period resulted in a bill for a late charge and eventually having the water cut off for non-payment. That whole process took 120 days.

Quarterly bills will be replaced by monthly bills. We hope that billing monthly for an obviously lesser amount than a quarter will encourage members to pay in a timely fashion. We must continue to charge the late fees, which will be incurred if the bill is not paid by the 25th of the month in which it is received. Each member who does not pay on time causes an increase in costs for us all, because it means extra costs for bookkeeping and postage, and referring back to each bill to process during the month. As a member-owned not-for-profit cooperative, we cannot afford unplanned costs or unpaid bills. Please plan to pay your water bill as soon as it is received.

Our meters now include backflow prevention to stop cross-contamination of our water supply as required by plumbing regulations. The meter remains the property of the cooperative, and there is no hardware accessible to members within the meter housing. It is a violation of law to tamper with a water meter, as it is for any utility meter.

As discussed many times in the past, our rate schedule will be under constant review for the near future. The range of users from weekenders, summer only, single members, large families, and year-round members means that the rates will be fluid for the immediate future, and the usage, of course, varies seasonally as well. The per gallon rates will increase for those who use more than a set base amount. A tentative rate schedule is posted below. The Board of Directors is required to set rates which provide financial stability for the co-op, and to be sure that we recover costs and can maintain and improve the system. We are paying the loan portion of the Meter Pit EPA/MDE financing now, so it is even more critical to maintain a stable income. Bear with us for a while longer as we all adjust to this new reality.

Please plan to attend our annual meeting the second Sunday of September at 3:00 pm at the LBCA building. Thank you, and have a great summer.

Sincerely,
Gary Clarke, President

Announcing the Beaches Water Cooperative's Annual Meeting
Date: September 11, 2016       Time: 3:00 pm
Location: Long Beach Civic Center on Calvert Blvd

II. Water System Operations, Maintenance & Improvements

With the meter project completion, I was looking forward to writing about the successes we've had since this is a 20 year anniversary for us operating and maintaining the system. We started in 1996 and have made many major improvements over the years that have increased the reliability and operation of the system while reducing costs and water consumption. However, success is short lived with a couple of recent low-pressure water events happening at times when the high demand was needed. These low pressure events caused us to realize that we have more to do before we are finished improving this system. I apologize to all who were affected by the low water pressure. These folks are mainly in the higher elevations of the community and thus, during a low pressure event, they get less flow. When an event happens after hours only one person is available to respond and it is difficult to take phone calls and work on fixing the problems at the same time. There were multiple conditions at different pump houses that occurred on Saturday for this low pressure to happen. The source of the issue is mainly with the automatic controls which start and stop the well and booster pumps. These analog controls have been in operation since the late 1980s. When these controls fail to operate properly, pumps don't start or tanks run dry and pumps overheat. Minor repairs and adjustments keep them working. We have bids for updating the controls to digital controls, but the high costs have postponed that for future plans. Unfortunately, I believe that future has come now. So as we finish the meter project our next project for the water company will be to install new digital controls. Also, we have an application in to make the Flag Ponds site a new pump treatment station as well. You may recall we installed a new well there 2 years ago and we are waiting for approval to be able to do treatment locally. With that being the highest point in the community we will have better control over pressure throughout the system and less chance of low pressure events.

V/R,

Dennis DiBello, Business Manager and Superintendent

III. New Water Rates

With the pending completion of the water meter installation project, paid for by a Green Grant/loan from MDE, the time has come to set water rates according to usage. We have two main goals in setting the rates, first, to provide stable and adequate funds to provide for our costs of providing water, and second, to encourage reasonable water conservation. The current rate is a flat fee of $110 per quarter, or $36.67 per month plus a $15 per quarter "Bay Restoration Fee". Starting July, 1, we plan a tiered system of rates which start with a base fee of $30 per month for the first 0-1000 gallons, and then ramps up, to encourage conservation at higher usage rates, like:

0-1000 gallons $30.00
1001-2000 gallons $3.25/thousand gallons
2001-3000 gallons $4.50/thousand gallons
3001-4000 gallons $5.00/thousand gallons
4001-5000 gallons $5.50/thousand gallons
5001-10,000 gallons $5.75/thousand gallons
Over 10,000 gallons $6.00/thousand gallons

Thus, a monthly usage of 3011 gallons would result in a water bill of $37.75 ($30.00 + $3.25 + $4.50 + $0.05). By way of reference, the median use in May this year was 3,440 gallons per household. Similar rate scales are used by the Calvert County water systems and the Chesapeake Ranch Estates Water Co-op. These rates are based on the projected budget for next year (approximately $385,000) and the water meter readings for February, March, and April and May, in which most of the installed meters were read. Fortunately, the months included both low and high use months, so we have a good idea of the how much revenue different schemes should produce. At present, these rates are simply a good guess of what we will need. The actual rates may be changed as necessary, but the structure will likely remain fixed at least for a while.

One consequence of the metered water is that we will no longer charge special rates for swimming pools, and extra apartments. If you use more water, you will simply be billed accordingly and once over 10,000 gallons, at a rate of about 0.6 cents per gallon for each additional gallon.

The "Bay Restoration Fee", i.e. Flush Tax, of $15 per quarter will be apportioned as $5 monthly payments on the monthly water bill.

IV. Annual Water Quality & Consumer Confidence Report

Our drinking water is safe and meets all federal and state requirements for community drinking water. In 2015, there were no water quality violations.

BEACHES WATER CO-OPERATIVE
MD0040009

Annual Water Quality Report for the period of January 1 to December 31, 2015

This report is intended to provide you with important information about your drinking water and the efforts made by the water system to provide safe drinking water.

The source of drinking water used by BEACHES WATER CO-OPERATIVE is Ground Water: Nanjemoy and Aquia confined aquifers.

For more information regarding this report contact:
Name: Dennis DiBello
Phone: 410-586-8710

Este informe contiene informaciˇn muy importante sobre el agua que usted bebe. Trad˙zcalo ˇ hable con alguien que lo entienda bien.

Source of Drinking Water
The sources of drinking water (both tap water and bottled water) include rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, reservoirs, springs, and wells. As water travels over the surface of the land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally-occurring minerals and, in some cases, radioactive material, and can pickup substances resulting from the presence of animals or from human activity.

Contaminants that may be present in source water include:
  • Microbial contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria, which may come from sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations, and wildlife.
  • Inorganic contaminants, such as salts and metals, which can be naturally-occurring or result from urban storm water runoff, industrial or domestic wastewater discharges, oil and gas production, mining, or farming.
  • Pesticides and herbicides, which may come from a variety of sources such as agriculture, urban storm water runoff, and residential uses.
  • Organic chemical contaminants, including synthetic and volatile organic chemicals, which are by-products of industrial processes and petroleum production, and can also come from gas stations, urban storm water runoff, and septic systems.
  • Radioactive contaminants, which can be naturally occurring or be the result of oil and gas production and mining activities.

Drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that water poses a health risk. More information about contaminants and potential health effects can be obtained by calling the EPAs Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791.

In order to ensure that tap water is safe to drink, EPA prescribes regulations which limit the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems. FDA regulations establish limits for contaminants in bottled water which must provide the same protection for public health. Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population.

Immuno-compromised persons such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly and infants can be particularly at risk from infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. EPA/CDC guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by Cryptosporidium and other microbial contaminants are available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800-426-4791).
If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components associated with service lines and home plumbing. We cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components. When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before using water for drinking or cooking. If you are concerned about lead in your water, you may wish to have your water tested. Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods, and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline or at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/lead.

Lead and Copper

Definitions:
Action Level Goal (ALG): The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. ALGs allow for a margin of safety.
Action Level: The concentration of a contaminant which, if exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements which a water system must follow.
Lead and Copper Date Sampled MCLG Action Level (AL) 90th Percentile # Sites Over Units Violation Likely Source of Contamination
Copper 12/31/2013 1.3 1.3 0.32   ppm N Erosion of natural deposits; Leaching from wood preservatives; Corrosion of household plumbing systems

Water Quality Test Results

Action Level Goal (ALG): The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. ALGs allow for a margin of safety.
Action Level (AL): The concentration of a contaminant which, if exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements which a water system must follow.
Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG): The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety.
Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL): The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to the MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology.
Maximum residual disinfectant level goal (MRDLG): The level of a drinking water disinfectant below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MRDLGs do not reflect the benefits of the use of disinfectants to control microbial contaminants.
Maximum residual disinfectant level (MRDL): The highest level of a disinfectant allowed in drinking water. There is convincing evidence that addition of a disinfectant is necessary for control of microbial contaminants.
Avg: Regulatory compliance with some MCLs are based on running annual average of monthly samples.
ppm: milligrams per liter or parts per million - or one ounce in 7,350 gallons of water.
ppb: micrograms per liter or parts per billion - or one ounce in 7,350,000 gallons of water.
na: not applicable.
Disinfectants and Disinfection By-Products Collection Date Highest Level Detected Range of Levels Detected MCLG MCL Units Violation Likely Source of Contamination
Chlorine   0.9 0-0.9 MRDLG = 4 MRDL = 4 ppm N Water additive used to control microbes.
Total Trihalomethanes (TTHM)   4 3.8 - 3.8 No goal for the total 80 ppb N By-product of drinking water disinfection
Not all sample results may have been used for calculating the Highest Level Detected because some results may be part of an evaluation to determine where compliance sampling should occur in the future
Inorganic Contaminants Collection Date Highest Level Detected Range of Levels Detected MCLG MCL Units Violation Likely Source of Contamination
Arsenic - While your drinking water meets EPA standards for arsenic, it does contain low levels of arsenic. EPAs standard balances the current understanding of arsenics possible health effects against the costs of removing arsenic from drinking water. EPA continues to research the health effects of low levels of arsenic, which is a mineral known to cause cancer in humans at high concentrations and is linked to other health effects such as skin damage and circulatory problems.   7 6.2 - 10.5 0 10 ppb N Erosion of natural deposits; Runoff from orchards; Runoff from glass and electronics production wastes.
Fluoride 06/11/2014 0.3 0.3 - 0.3 4 4.0 ppm N Erosion of natural deposits; Water additive which promotes strong teeth; Discharge from fertilizer and aluminum factories.
Radioactive Contaminants Collection Date Highest Level Detected Range of Levels Detected MCLG MCL Units Violation Likely Source of Contamination
Beta/photon emitters 12/19/2012 13.1 13.1 - 13.1 0 50 piC/l N Decay of natural and man-made deposits.
Terminology used in this report is what is generally accepted as a means of measurement of the degree of contaminants in the water.
Contaminants include naturally occurring items in the water such as minerals and foreign matter that may or may not be acceptable based on the level detected.

Lead Statement: If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components associated with service lines and home plumbing. Beaches Water Co-op is responsible for providing high quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components. When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before using water for drinking or cooking. If you are concerned about lead in your drinking water, you may wish to have your water tested. Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods, and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791 or at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/lead.

Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immuno-compromised persons such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants can be particularly at risk from infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. EPA/Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by Cryptosporidium and other microbial contaminants are available from the Safe Water Drinking Hotline (800-426-4791).

V. Financial

The following chart is a breakdown of the budget for the fiscal year 7/1/16 - 6/30/17.

BWC FY 2016/17 BUDGET INCOME
Water service 346,280
Office Rent 1,200
Advertising-Quarterly 1,500
Application & Transfer Fees 5,000
Total Income $353,980
BWC FY 2016/17 BUDGET EXPENSES
Auditing 9,600
Bad Debt 1,030
Bank Service Charges 1,500
Depreciation Expense 27,617
Professional Memberships 500
Engineering 1,500
Insurance 12,254
Loan Interest 250
Mortgage Pay Down 20,407
Mortgage Interest 9,812
Legal 438
Licenses and Permits 250
Office - Other 12,000
Operating Supplies 18,000
Repairs & Maintenance 16,000
Routine Service 181,447
Solid Waste Fee & BRF 50
Utilities 36,725
Water Testing 4,600
Total Expense $353,980
  VISA and Mastercard:
We are now accepting VISA and Mastercard payments.  You may come by
 the office to make payment, pay over the phone, via www.beacheswater.com
 or include credit card billing information on your billing statement.
 

Ruler

Please submit all questions and comments to 
Dennis DiBello at
apc@chesapeake.net