HOLMES HARBOR WATER COMPANY
Hello Holmes Harbor Estates Neighbors!
I’ve begun each of these reports as President of HHWC by saying that the past year was “busy”, even “momentous”. 2020 was neither.
By the end of 2019 we completed the bulk of our water system upgrade, including new pipe throughout the community and upgraded pumps, controls and pressure tanks in the pump house, supported by a loan and grant from the US Department of Agriculture. The USDA engineer also approved two additional projects, constructing a new reservoir and installing an arsenic treatment system, which cost estimates at the time indicated could be covered with our remaining funds.
In 2020 our contractors conducted pilot tests for the arsenic treatment plant and site assessment for the reservoir, developed engineering plans for both projects, and applied for permits from Island County for construction. Unfortunately, we did not obtain a final cost proposal for the remaining work until November. By that time, costs had risen significantly and it was clear that we would be unable to complete both projects with our remaining grant funds.
Because our arsenic levels are high, the Washington Department of Health will require us to mitigate these levels within the next few years. Home filtering systems are not acceptable to WDOH; we must deliver safe water to your meter. Therefore we plan to proceed with the arsenic treatment system, which should be installed sometime in 2021, using USDA funds. We will be able to cover the increased monitoring and maintenance costs of arsenic treatment by continuing incremental rate increases over the next few years; for 2021, this means a $3 per quarter increase in the water use fee. Fortunately, the USDA also approved repair of our existing reservoir. We are working with C. Johnson Construction on a cost proposal for relining the old reservoir, which should extend its use life another 20-25 years.
Review of the Holmes Harbor Estates covenants was on hold this year. At the 2020 Annual Meeting, members voted against any substantive change to the covenants, preferring to leave them as is or at most consolidate without any other change. The Covenants Committee decided that obtaining the required vote of the membership for a cosmetic change simply wasn’t worth the time and cost. I’m sure this issue will come up again, as it has regularly over the past years!
I am very sorry to report that HHWC board member Sarge Lester passed away in late November after a brief and aggressive illness. Sarge was always ready to help with any tasks, was responsible for our signage and took on the job of recording secretary at our board meetings over the past year. His quiet goodness will be missed by all of us. Carolyn Cliff also left the board at the end of December 2020 due to her election as Superior Court Judge for Island County. We congratulate Carolyn, thank her for her thoughtful and steady contributions to the board, and wish her all the best in her new position.
My thanks also go to HHWC board members Sharon Dunn, Rick Waclawik, David Paull and Cyndy King for their work this year. Conducting business by email and video call has not been easy, but board members have really stepped up to the task. Special thanks to David Paull and community Member David Lyle for inspecting, cleaning and lubricating our new blow-off valves and hydrants!
We could use your help to continue serving the community effectively. There are several open board positions. Please consider joining us in 2021!
President, Holmes Harbor Water Co., Inc. January 2021
PLEASE REMEMBER TO KEEP YOUR WATER METER CLEARED OF VEGETATION AND EASILY ACCESSIBLE FOR KING WATER COMPANY STAFF
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.
ATTN: WATER QUALITY REPORTS ARE AVAILABLE ON THE MEMBERS ONLY SECTION