Annual Report 2013
WATER & SEWER DISTRICT
Public Officials Annual Report for 2013
We have completed our sewer line and plant upgrades. All of Limestone’s sewerage is now being pumped by two pumping stations to the District’s new wastewater treatment plant located off of the West Gate Road on Plant Road. The plant is known as the Greater Limestone Regional Wastewater Treatment Facilities (GLRWWTF).
Now that the sewer projects are completed, we our turning our attention to fine tuning plant equipments such as the pump controls, for example, in efforts to reduce the cost of electricity. Chuck Kelley has been instrumental in helping us accomplish this goal and has been very diligent in getting issues as they arise resolved as quickly as possible. We couldn’t do it without him.
We are also developing routine maintenance programs and safety procedures for all plant equipment. In addition to this, we are developing strict lab procedures; all of which will result in our running the plant in an efficient and cost saving manner. These maintenance and safety programs also aid us in staying in compliance with all federal and state regulations. Our operators are licensed to operate both the water and sewer plants and attend seminars throughout the year in order to maintain their licenses and to stay current with ever changing rules and regulations and methods of operation.
We have for some time been researching and looking for ways to better utilize the back portion of the office building so that it could be used as a cold storage unit. This used to be the location of the old water plant which is no longer in service or usable. In 2012, we had the water tank and all of the obsolete equipment removed from that area. During 2013, the District hired Rene St. Peter, Jr. to pour and finish the concrete floor. We then added a graveled entranceway to that back section of the building. The hydrant at the back of the building had been leaking for some time and was beyond repair. This was removed and the 8″ line that fed off of it was replaced with a 2″ line. The funding for these repairs and upgrades came from the sale of the scrap metal that was removed earlier.
The District received a Maine Municipal Safety Enhancement Grant in the amount of $1,168.05. This grant was used to purchase traffic safety cones, vests and safety signs.
The employees were very busy this summer. Some of the work completed were:
- a. curb stop repairs
- b. hydrant flushing
- c. GPS data collection
- d. exercising main valves on the east end of town
- e. sewer interceptor line maintenance
- f. lawn mowing
We would like to thank the highway department for the use of their hot box and hot topping compactor todo our road repairs. The employees found this equipment to be extremely helpful and useful to them.
We would like to thank Maine Rural Water for their continued efforts in assisting the District in locatingwater leaks in the system. We also want to thank those customers who reported unusual water spotsshowing up where there shouldn’t have been any water. This is a tremendous help to the District. Leaks in the system are a burden on plant pumping equipment. When we have to pump more water it means more water is going through the treatment process as well and that water becomes costly to treat. So thank you everyone. Our goal is to run our plants as cost efficiently as possible and we appreciate your efforts in assisting us with meeting that goal.
We want to also thank our customers for their continued support of our efforts to provide clean, safe drinking water to their homes. Maine DOT has a two year contract to do work in our area. Plans include milling and repaving through town. The project area is between Bog Road and Rte. 89. At that time, the District will be looking at all the water main shut offs and sewer manholes that are out in the work zone. These will have to be dropped, then reset to grade so MOOT can pave. There are 11 manholes and 20 water gate tops that will need to have the tops taken off, re-graded and then the tops reset. There are also several water services that will need to be dug up that are in the sidewalks. Our employees will be very busy in the next year or so but we have to take advantage of the situation and get it done while we can.
This year health insurance reported that premium rates were increasing by 4% for 2014. After careful review and consideration, the board and staff agreed to change the health plan from POS Traditional to POS Comprehensive. This change produced a cost savings of $5,100 per year for the District.
As some of you know, we have a new billing software program. The old program was no longer being supported. In other words, if the computer crashed, we could never get the program back up and running. We would lose all of our information. The old program would also not work off of Windows 7 or anything higher; which created a problem since the office computer had recently upgraded to Windows 7 and the old billing program could not be carried over to the new computer. The trustees had to take a serious look at the situation and agreed to purchase a new billing program. The funds to purchase the new program were taken from a reserve account where funds are set aside for computer replacement or repairs and computer software upgrades.
New Federal EPA laws restrict the use of lead in brass meters. As a result, the District has set forth a plan to change out all meters that have lead in them. We recently purchased 200 IPERL meters from EJ Prescott. These meters meet EPA standards. Because of our bulk purchase, EJ Prescott gave us one handheld meter reading device and the software that goes with it. This device allows our meter reader to enter the readings into the handheld and then load the readings directly into our new billing program where the usage is automatically calculated for each customer account. This was a savings of $11,500 to the District.
Because of this new rule, we want everyone to know that our employees mav be requesting vou to allow us onto your premise to change out your meter. We thank vou for your co-operation as we work towards our soal of setting all meters changed out in order to meet the new standards.
We welcome James Cote who was elected in June to serve as trustee for another three year term.
We have been very fortunate to have great working relations with and wish to thank the following:
- a. Maine DEP, Nick Archer, Bill Sheehan and staff,
- b. USDA Rural Development, Thomas Stevens, Brian Wilson, Scott Emery and staff,
- c. Carl Flora, his staff and the LDA Board of Trustees,
- d. Al Hitchcock, Caribou Utilities District for his support and cooperation in allowing us to share
- Caribou’s outfall pipe to the Aroostook River.
- e. Donna Bernier, Town Manager
- f. Mike Cote and staff, Highway Department for the Town of Limestone
- g. The Limestone Police Department
- h. The Limestone Fire Department
Limestone Elected Board of Trustees:
Neal H. Leighton, Chairman
Charles H. Kelley, Treasurer
James M. Cote, Secretary
From the Greater Limestone Regional Board: Appointed Trustees
Carl Flora, CEO for LDA
Thomas Devoe, Limestone Selectperson