HOLMES HARBOR WATER COMPANY
Hello Holmes Harbor Neighbors!
2018 has been a busy year for the Holmes Harbor Water Company.
Our biggest project continues to be replacement of our aging distribution system. In 2017, we applied for and won a combination grant and loan from the US Department of Agriculture to replace the water supply pipe throughout our community. In 2018, we submitted, revised, resubmitted, updated, clarified and finally received approval of our applications for permits from the many agencies with jurisdiction over rural water systems, wetlands, cultural resources, and all other aspects of the project. In November 2018, we received the last approval that we needed to move forward. As I write this (end of December), we are waiting for the final engineering plans from our contractor, Davido Consulting Group, for submission to the USDA. USDA engineers will review the project before it goes out to bid and a construction contractor is selected. Our interim construction loan has been approved by Heritage/Whidbey Island Bank, and we have consolidated all of our banking there. We anticipate that construction will begin in the spring of 2019.
The pump house addition to house the new larger pump manifold, begun in 2017, is nearly complete thanks to many volunteers and especially to Cyndy King, who masterminded the project, sourced materials, coordinated volunteers, and put in many, many hours at the pump house. Thanks, Cyndy! We still need to complete electrical work for the addition and install the concrete floor, with expected completion early in 2019.
One of the USDA loan/grant requirements is a Vulnerability Assessment/Emergency Response Plan for the water system. The Great Power Outage of December 2018 demonstrated that we need to expand certain aspects of the plan to ANY emergency situation in the community. Most importantly, we need a way to contact community members quickly with emergency information and instructions. We will be working with the GBBC board to establish a phone and email/text notification system, and we’ll be asking property owners and renters for contact information to help keep everyone in the community safe.
Another important project for both boards is updating the Holmes Harbor Estates covenants. The covenants in effect now were adopted in 1964. Almost ten years ago, the boards did an enormous amount of work to update these but the effort was postponed due to other pressing issues before the community. It’s past time to complete this task! In 2019 we will convene a committee of board and community members to review the original covenants and the 2009 proposals, and develop new covenants for a vote by all community members.
Many thanks to board members David Paull, Cyndy King, Sharon Dunn, Ray Thorne and Sarge Lester for all their hard work this past year. We could use your help to continue serving the community effectively. There are several open board positions. Most importantly, Sharon Dunn is stepping down after many years as Secretary, and we are seeking a replacement for this position. The primary duty of the Secretary is preparing minutes of the board meetings and maintaining a file of all board activities. This could be a shared position to reduce the time commitment. Please consider joining us in 2019!
President Holmes Harbor Water Co., Inc
To provide safe, reliable drinking water.
To be fiscally responsible.
To avoid service interruptions.
Replace surface pump manifold at pressure tank in upper pump house.
Replace distribution system, including water mains, service connections and fire hydrants.
USDA Rural Development application for loan and grant is approved. All required permits are in place as of January 2019.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Call King Water Company: 360-678-5336
Notify a HHWC board member:
David Paull: 301-751-2314
Cyndy King: 206-697-0138
The water line running to your home is "metered" for accountability and billing purposes. A leak on your line can be very costly. Yet, even a very small leak can be found through trying a few simple techniques and can save you from a costly surprise.
If the water use indicated on your bill is higher than normal, you might have a leak on your side of the water meter. Here are a few steps you can take before calling a plumber.
Check the Pressure Relief Valve on the hot water tank. Sometimes these valves are plumbed directly into a drain and may be leaking without your knowledge. If you can't remove the drainpipe to check for a leak listen for a hissing sound, it may be leaking.
Check the toilet for leaks by removing the top off the tank and listening very closely. If you hear any hissing at all, try to locate where it is coming from. If you locate the area where the leak is coming from, assess it and determine if you can fix it. If you can't, then call a plumber.
- If nothing is noticeable, add some food coloring and put a couple of drops in the tank (not the bowl). Wait several minutes and if you have coloring in the bowl, you have a leak in the flapper at the bottom of the tank that is allowing water to seep through. At this point you can assess if you want to do the repair yourself, or call a plumber.
- If you have more toilets, repeat the process with each toilet to make sure you don't have more than one problem.
Check carefully all shower heads, faucets and hose bibs, even a steady drip when your faucets are off can be costly over time. Don’t forget refrigerator ice machines, washing machines and dryers with a steam feature.
If there is no indication of a leak inside the house, check the line running from the meter to the house. While this may sound difficult, you can save money if you can locate the leak for the plumber.
- If you know you have a shut-off valve by the house, shut it off temporarily and check the meter by removing the lid and watching the dial on top of the meter.
- If you can't see the meter head, try digging around because they sometimes have dirt or grass covering the top of them. Once you locate it and the valve is turned off by the house, watch the meter to see if is turning. If it is still turning, then the leak is between the meter and the house. That is, unless you have a leaking valve, and this very common with these older bronze gate valves. Then, your leak may also be inside the house.
- Look for signs of a leak such as: soft muddy areas, grass that is greener than the rest or growing much faster than other areas. If you see such an obvious sign, call the plumber or assess if you can make a repair yourself.
IF YOU DETECT A WATER LEAK ON THE STREET SIDE OF THE METER, PLEASE CALL DAVID PAULL: 301-751-2314.
FAQ about Backflow and Cross-Connections
Q: What is backflow and why is it a problem?
A: Our water system is designed to provide constant water pressure to all residential customers in the system. Backflow is the undesirable reversal of water flow in that system through a cross-connection. This only occurs in rare instances, such as a major break in an underground main or other damage to the system. In those cases a complete loss of pressure in the system may occur with the possibility that water from a source other than our storage tank is introduced into the mains. Even more rare is a case where pressure within a residence builds up and forces water from the home into the public water supply. Either of these situations may allow liquids, gases, non-potable water, and other objectionable substances, from any source, to enter the system.
Q: What is a cross-connection?
A: A cross-connection is an actual or potential connection between a public water system line and any other line, which contains water or fluids of a questionable or unknown source or quality. When this situation occurs, the drinking water supply can become contaminated during a backflow event.
Q: What is the most common form of cross-connection?
A: The ordinary garden hose is used to create the most common form of cross-connection. A hose can be easily connected to the drinking water supply and used for a variety of potentially dangerous applications. For example, a garden hose attached to a service sink with the end of the hose submerged in a tub full of detergent or a garden hose attached to a faucet and the other end lying in a hot tub or swimming pool. Another common form of cross-connection exists if a lawn irrigation sprinkler malfunctions and a water main breaks at the same time. When the water pressure drops, it creates a vacuum that sucks some water, which may be contaminated by fertilizer or weed-killer, into the water supply.
Q: What is a backflow preventer and why is it needed?
A: A backflow prevention assembly is an approved, testable assembly, which uses valves to prevent potential contaminants from flowing into the drinking water system. A backflow prevention device called a Double Check Valve Assembly (DCVA) protects each HHWC connection. It is the chief deterrent to a backflow event for our system. In some special instances, such as when a resident operates a photo lab, even as a hobby, an additional, more restrictive backflow prevention device is required inside the residence that is a Reduced Pressure principle Backflow Assembly (RPBA).
Q: Is HHWC the only water system enforcing backflow prevention and cross-connection control (CCC) regulations?
A: No, all Group “A” public water systems are required to implement cross-connection control programs in the State of Washington.
Q: What is a cross-connection control program or a backflow prevention program?
A: This program is required by the State of Washington Department of Health (DOH) to detect and prevent possible sources of non-drinking water from entering a public drinking water system. The program is a combined cooperative effort between plumbers, health officials, water system operators, property owners and certified testers to follow guidelines for controlling cross-connections and implementing means to ensure their enforcement so that the public drinking water supply will be protected both in the system mains and at each service connection. The elements of a program define the type of protection required and responsibility for the administration and enforcement. Other elements ensure continuing education programs.
Q: What is a Cross Connection Survey?
A: It is a survey of each customer's connection to determine if cross-connections exist within any given connection that could contaminate the community water supply if a backflow situation were to occur. HHWC has conducted two cross-connection surveys of the entire community: in 2007 and in 2014. Cross-Connection surveys are also conducted when new construction is involved. Surveys, conducted by mail, require each homeowner to self-report the presence, or absence, of specific items in the home that could be particularly susceptible to contamination of the community water source in a backflow event. The results of the survey are then interpreted by the on-site system manager and King Water, the system operator, to determine if additional protection of the system in the form of an RPBA needs to be installed at any point on the customer’s side of a given connection.
Q: Who has to complete a Cross-Connection Survey Form?
A: All customers with a water connection are legally required to complete the survey. The completed surveys are on file with HHWC. Both new and existing customers are obligated to report changes in their home that may warrant notification to HHWC that they have installed a device/item in their residence or other connection that is of significant risk of contaminating the water supply in a backflow event.
Q: When are backflow devices required to be tested?
A: All devices are required to be tested upon installation of the device. Health hazards devices must be tested annually. Low hazard irrigation systems (those with double check devices) must be tested every three years. Any time a device is worked on or repaired it must also be retested.
Q: Why do backflow devices have to be retested?
A: Backflow devices are mechanical devices with working internal pieces. A piece of debris or the calcification of water can cause the device to stop working.
Q: Whom should I contact for more information on backflow prevention and cross-connections?
A: King Water Company or the Department of Drinking Water, WA DOH. Or search WAC, Chapter 246-290, Drinking Water Regulations.
Why does King water flush our waterlines?
Occasionally, our water service is disrupted for maintenance of our water reservoir and underground distribution system. The Holmes Harbor Water Company and King water are required to notify residents of the disruption in service caused by periodic and routine maintenance of our water system.
Water main ﬂushing is the process of cleaning or “scouring” the interior of water distribution mains (pipes) by sending a rapid ﬂow of water through the mains. Distribution mains convey water to homes and hydrants in your neighborhood.
Flushing helps maintain water quality. The water entering distribution mains is of very high quality; however, water quality can deteriorate in distribution mains if the mains are not properly managed.
This is why ﬂushing is important. Flushing maintains water quality in several ways. First, ﬂushing removes sediments from the mains. These sediments mostly include iron and manganese. Iron sediment results from corrosion of iron pipes and valves used in the distribution system. Other iron sediments result from the change of dissolved iron, which occurs naturally in our water, into sediment form. This occurs in the presence of chlorine and oxygen under certain low ﬂow conditions. Dissolved manganese also occurs naturally in our water and it can be changed into sediments as with iron.
Although iron and manganese do not pose health concerns, they can degrade the “acceptability” of the water through affecting the taste, clarity, and color of the water. In addition, sediments can shield micro-organisms from the disinfecting power of chlorine. Therefore, such sediments could contribute to the growth of micro-organisms within distribution mains.
Finally, ﬂushing helps remove “stale” water. Much of our distribution system is designed with “loops” or interconnected grids, which keep water constantly moving around. However, some areas have dead-ends where water moves slowly and sits for longer periods of time. Such dead-end mains need to be ﬂushed to ensure the presence of fresh water with sufﬁcient dissolved oxygen, disinfectant levels and an acceptable taste and smell.
After the lines are maintained, it is a good idea for homeowners to run water from your furthest hose bib in your home to bleed off any excess air or debris that may come through the water lines into your fixtures.
For Water Quality Reports Go To Members Only Area