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June 26, 2007 

Water Quality Questions

Some terms defined:

I. President’s Corner

First, some background on Beaches Water Cooperative: We are a true member owned cooperative, and have a contract with Dennis DiBello, Systems Manager and Superintendent. Dennis and his company are in charge of the day-to-day operation of the system. Dennis increases his contract rate annually only by the percentage of increase in the Consumer Price Index and takes cost reduction into serious consideration in every action he takes on our behalf. We have an unpaid Board of Directors which directs the course of action and planning of the company, oversees the budget, determines rates and rules, and makes recommendations to the membership concerning the future of the company.

The business of treating and distributing water to our community has changed greatly in the past few years. The major consideration for all of Southern Maryland is that there is less water available in our aquifers and we must plan around that fact. Maintenance to the system, repairs, and system upgrades are major components of our budget. We must allow sufficient capital to meet the replacement needs for pumps, piping, and structures, as well as improvements to better control the water pressure and supply, and to plan for a future with less water for a larger population.

Any use of water has a cost associated with it, and one of our goals for the future is the addition of meters to fairly charge for water use over and above a base amount. We estimate that meter installation would currently cost $1.3 million. Another long term goal is to add an elevated storage and distribution tank at the top of the hill on Locust Street which would allow proper pressure for homes and fire hydrants in that area and better pressure control in a major part of the system. Large projects such as meters and a new water tank are financially out of reach without access to grants.

One way to achieve these goals would be the successful passage of proposed legislation to allow our co-op to present to the members the option of our becoming a Sanitary District or Water Authority, operated exactly as we are now but with the option to obtain low-to-no-cost grants.

We can all help control costs through sensible conservation inside and outside our homes. Be aware that attempting to have a lush green lawn in the middle of summer is a waste of a precious resource and our funds, and can actually cause us to exceed the capacity of the system.

Please read our Consumer Confidence Report and plan to attend our annual meeting in September for further information.


Gary Clarke, President

Announcing the Beaches Water Cooperative's Annual Meeting
Date: September 9, 2007       Time: 3:00 pm
Location: Long Beach Civic Center on Calvert Blvd

II. Water System Improvements

This last year we finished up work in replacing the main on Avenue C. This area had been plagued with many water leaks and over the years the road had been widened placing our water main under the asphalt. We appreciate the patience and the support of the residents on Avenue C as we worked through this upgrade. In the upcoming year our planned capital improvements to the system include continued main replacements in areas where we've had leaks, repair and painting of our tanks, well testing for water allocation, and future planning and engineering for water meters and an elevated storage tank.

III. Water Conservation

As the summer progresses we ask everyone to be water usage conscious. Using 3 hoses to water a yard puts an extreme demand on the water service for the community as a whole. Three hoses can drain as much as 15 gallons a minute off the system and a single well pump provides only 50 gallons a minute. So if we had three households running 3 garden hoses it would almost drain the capacity of one well pump. The same situation applies to underground sprinklers. On a hot summer weekend we may draw down our 100,000 gallon storage tank as well as have 6 wells pumping over 300 gallons a minute which for the weekend can be more than 500,000 gallons. Storage tank and pumpage combined is over 600,000 gallons for a single weekend! Please use our water resource wisely.

To aid in water conservation for our community, BWC is offering, at wholesale cost, water saving shower heads and faucet aerators. These water saving devices use 1/2 to 1/4 less water than the regular devices and produce similar water pressures. They are reported to provide the same enjoyment as their high flow counter parts. If enough members participate in this conservation effort we could save millions of gallons of water a year. These water saving devices can be purchased, by our members only, at the BWC office for the following prices:

Device Wholesale (your price) Retail List Price
Shower Head $4.95 $18.95
Shower Wand $6.95 $30.99
Faucet aerator $0.50 $1.50
Toilet Tank Dams $1.99 $6.99

IV. Right of Ways

The origins of the BWC system date back to the early 1930's. The water system at that time was developed to supply water to a few homes and over the years has evolved into the system we have today. We now supply water to almost 800 homes. During this evolution, the water system went from being a privately owned system to being a community owned not-for-profit system. Since the water system developed in conjunction with the growth of the community, right-of-ways were granted to the water company for installing and maintaining the water distribution on the streets in the community. From time to time it is necessary to repair, replace, or install new distribution piping in these right-of-ways. When this happens, you may notice digging along side the road in the right-of-ways. These road right-of-ways exist past the paved portion of the road and are usually 40 or 50 feet wide where as the road may only be 25 foot wide. Many community members maintain these right-of-ways areas as part of their yards. When it is necessary to dig in these areas we will always return theses areas to the same or better condition that they were in prior to the work. Remember we are a member owned organization and those BWC guys out there working are looking out for the best interests of the community.

V. Deep Water Aquifers

Where does our water come from? How much is there? How long will it last? These are some of the many questions that scientists are studying in our area. What we know is that our deep water aquifers contain water that rained on the earth thousands of years ago. These deep water aquifers are recharged at a very slow rate. The recharge zones are in southern Pennsylvania and northern Maryland. One of our wells is used by the scientists for monitoring the level of the aquifer. It has dropped slowly over the last few years indicating that the usage exceeds the recharge rate. Our wells draw our water from the Nanjemoy and Aquia aquifers which are in the 300 to 400 foot range. In the future we may have to drill a deeper well into the Patapsco formation which is between 800 and 1000 feet. The cost to drill into the Patapsco formation is about $250,000. St. Mary's County's METCOM is planning their first well into the Patapsco formation. BWC understands that sometime in the future we will have to do this also.

Deep Water Aquifers - Diagram

VI. Annual Water Quality & Consumer Confidence Report

Our drinking water is safe and meets all federal and state requirements for community drinking water. In 2006, there were no water quality violations. Our water quality results are based on the monitoring cycle for the contaminant up to December 31st, 2006. 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. The amount of contaminants in our drinking water is well below levels set by the Environmental Protection Agency in all categories. We routinely monitor for contaminants in your drinking water according to Federal and State laws. All drinking water, including bottled drinking water, may be reasonably expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. It's important to remember that the presence of these contaminants does not necessarily pose a health risk. If you have any questions about the Annual Water Quality Report please contact us at 410-586-8710.

Microbial Results MCLG MCL Level Detected Violation Likely Source of Contamination
Total Coliform Bacteria 0 > 5% samples 0 NO Naturally present in the environment
Di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (ppb) 0 6.0 1.1 NO Discharge from rubber and chemical factories
Arsenic (ppb) 1.0 10 6.6 NO Natural deposits
Copper (mg/L) 1.3   0.12 NO Natural deposits; corrosion of household piping
Iron - (mg/L) -- -- 0.14 NO Natural deposits
Fluoride - (mg/L) 4.0 4.0 0.31 NO Erosion of natural deposits; Leaching
Sodium - (mg/L) -- -- 16.6 NO Erosion of natural deposits; Leaching
Total Trihalomethanes (mg/L) n/a 0.80 0.002 NO By-product of drinking water disinfection
Gross Alpha (pCi/L) 0 15 1.0 NO Erosion of natural deposits
Gross Beta (pCi/L) 0 50 17 NO Erosion of natural deposits

Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) has completed a Source Water Assessment of the Beaches Water Company wells in the Nanjamoy and Aquia aquifers. This report is available in the office for public review.

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).

VII. Financial

The following chart is a breakdown of the budget for the fiscal year 7/1/07 - 6/30/08.

Water service 270,300
Pool water service 3,570
Space Rental 1,200
Advertising-Quarterly 3,600
Application & Transfer Fees 1,920
Hook ups 6,000
Total Income $286,590
Auditing 5,200
Bad Debt 100
Bank Service Charges 232
Contributions 100
Depreciation Expense 43,894
Professional Memberships 463
Engineering 551
Insurance 11,576
Loan Interest 200
Mortgage Pay Down 4,000
Mortgage Interest - MDE 1,500
Legal 386
Licenses and Permits 221
Office - Other 4,584
Operating Supplies 14,000
Repairs & Maintenance 22,000
Routine Service 138,720
Solid Waste Fee & BRF 180
Utilities 30,870
Water Testing 2,300
New Water Allocation Expense 5,513
Total Expense $286,590
In Memory of Linda Speciale

We are deeply saddened by the passing of our office receptionist, Linda Speciale, earlier this year. Linda had worked for Beaches Water Co-op for over 7 years at the time of her death. Her position covered a range of duties. Linda answered calls from customers, notified the field technicians of problems in the system, ordered supplies and equipment, compiled information and prepared reports along with myriad other tasks. Her friendly manner and positive outlook quickly defused tense situations and her cheerful enthusiasm created a warm and enjoyable work environment. She was always willing to help where it was needed and was a great asset to our company.

Linda is survived by her husband, two daughters, three grandchildren, her sister, brother, father, mother in law and several nieces and nephews.

Linda was special and will be greatly missed.


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