The community in experiencing 80 percent loss of treated water.
District Manager Gerald Hartley had provided a memo from Water/Wastewater Superintendent Dan Schrader covering both leak detection and repair. Options are to do the work in-house, contract it out or do a combination of the two, with the last being Schrader's recommendation. Doing the detection portion entirely in-house would require the purchase of around $66,000 in equipment, he told the board. He also recommended hiring an employee dedicated to the task, whether it is done in-house or with a contractor.
The board discussed the issue for two hours before taking a vote, getting stalled on when to hire the employee. If the board goes with a contractor, the employee can receive some training by accompanying the outfit and learning to listen for leaks. Schrader said one outfit he had talked to encouraged an employee to be on hand.
He said there is no way to know in advance what will be encountered for leaks or what it will take to repair them. He said he already has some supplies on hand and has put in an extra $25,000 for supplies for the year.
"With $25,000 we anticipate hundreds of leaks," he said.
In terms of whether to hire a contractor, Commissioner Greg Davis asked, "If we bought and purchased the equipment, would that help us pinpoint those leaks more precisely?"
"Not more precisely," Schrader said. "You'd have the same equipment."
He added that leaks "travel," and sometimes what seems like one leak can be two. Exact location can also be off by a few feet, he said.
He said his plan for detection is not all-or-nothing; it can be broken down into phases. Some suggested a three-year plan.
Hartley said they won't know what it will take until they get a survey. He urged the board to act on the problem now because of the high water loss.
"At the rate you're going, you're going to deplete and harm your wells. I can't tell you how much it would cost you to drill a replacement well. A three-year plan may help us, but if we don't allow these wells to recharge, we could also be incurring a lot more cost as well, too."
Schrader said Well #5 is running almost 24 hours a day.
In answer to a question about whether the district, being in a watershed, could get grants or a low-cost loan to help, Hartley said that with federal sequestration coming on, he doubts there is any federal money. As for loans, he said, referring to the Bischoff v. HISID lawsuit, "I don't think anyone is going to lend you money with your revenue being subject to exaction."
He said revenue sources can come from the existing budget, and existing personnel from the Roads Department can help with repairs.
Hartley will prepare an RFP for a leak detection contract and will bring it back for the board's consideration.
The board approved the first reading of Regulation 2013-1, to institute the plumbing inspection program, provide an inspector and set an inspection fee of $30, and waived the second reading and declared an emergency to have it go into effect immediately.
Hartley said the program was worded "to avoid any appearances of drafting a police power" but to have the program meet the requirements of the state plumbing code. He said the state affirmed the district must have plumbing inspection, even though some residents have questioned whether a suburban improvement district can provide it.
"If we inspect something and it doesn't meet code, we can ask for correction and can refuse to connect the water until it's fixed," Hartley said.
Property owner Tony Germani asked if something could be added to accommodate the state requirement that backflow preventers on irrigation lines be tested annually. He said it has been difficult to get someone out to do it, and it costs a lot. He said a $30 fee is reasonable. Hartley said he would look into it.
In other business, the board:
* Approved Resolution 2013-R1 to set meeting dates for the rest of year.
* Approved Resolution 2013-R2 to commend former Commissioner Linda Griswold for her service.
* Approved on first reading Regulation 2013-2 to amend the HISID code with regard to how meetings are set and conducted and also to bring notification into compliance with the Freedom of Information Act.
* Discussed a "Solutions Committee" as recommended by Chairman Ken Ames to determine the future of the community in terms of staying a SID, incorporating as a municipality or other options. After discussion and input from property owners, the board agreed it is outside the purview of HISID, that such a committee can be established independently.
Ames announced the next meeting will be held Monday, March 25, at 6 p.m. at the Clubhouse, at which the district's counsel for the Bischoff v. HISID lawsuit, Thomas N. Kieklak of Harrington Miller of Springdale, will be present to address the Bischoff v. HISID lawsuit.