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June 26, 2009 

Water Quality Questions

Some terms defined:

I. President’s Corner

Beaches Water Cooperative is a true member-owned corporation, with equal ownership in the company by each homeowner served by our water system. The Board of Directors is made up of unpaid members bound by the By-Laws of the corporation, and a big part of our job is the financial health of the corporation. Many businesses, have not, or will not make it through our current economic crisis. We, however, must remain financially viable, with considerations for fire service, water testing and reporting, equipment repairs and replacement, operating costs, and upgrades to piping which could be over 70 years old. In addition we must also continue to upgrade the system to meet the needs of the community, including the installation of larger mains, more storage and distribution capacity, to include eventually having meters installed at every home, with a backflow preventer to prevent cross contamination. That is our ultimate goal, so that every member will pay an equitable share of the costs based on the amount of water they use.

We have been operating on a budget in which the costs to serve our customers exceed what we recover in water charges, which obviously cannot continue. Meters will eventually help that situation, and we are actively pursuing avenues for loans or any other means to maintain the company's financial position. That has been our prime focus and will continue to be during the upcoming fiscal year.

At the time of this writing, we are still working hard on the budget, but it has become apparent that we will have to raise rates to maintain the company. We will be discussing long range plans during our annual meeting in September, so please make every effort to attend. You can do your part now by conserving water to reduce expenses.

Please note that the Bay Restoration Fee is mandated by the state and the entire amount goes to the state for its intended purpose.

Thank you and we hope to see you in September at the annual meeting.

Gary Clarke, President

Announcing the Beaches Water Cooperative's Annual Meeting
Date: September 13, 2009       Time: 3:00 pm
Location: Long Beach Civic Center on Calvert Blvd

II. Water System Improvements

Our BWC team continues to meet the challenges of operating, maintaining, and improving your water system. In the last year, we have seen the usual water system leaks, equipment failures, changes in water testing requirements, and the heavy summer demand on the system. We continue to have a high system reliability and quick response time to get the system repaired with continued operation. With the extra isolation valves we have installed over the years we are now able to isolate smaller parts of the system which affects less customers when we have to work on the system. It always happens when you least expect or want it. We were out at 5:30 a.m. on Easter Sunday and on Memorial Day to repair major leaks. Your water is on 24-7 and we are there to keep it running.

As a major change in our maintenance strategy; now anytime we work on a house connection, we install a meter pit instead of the cast iron valve box. The incremental costs are only slightly more but the benefits are greater. The meter pit provides backflow protection and a new shut-off valve. We have also added the provision for installing a meter when we get to the financial point of purchasing them. We have installed over 125 meter pits in the last year or about 16% of the total population. For the next year we plan to continue our installations of meter pits and we are planning a major improvement to the water flow and fire hydrant service at a high elevation of our system. These future plans are now contained in the Calvert County Comprehensive Water and Sewer Plan.

I would like to take a moment to say thanks to the many of you who show your appreciation of the guys working in the field. This physically demanding hard work takes a discipline for working under less than ideal conditions. Letting the guys know you appreciate their dedication is wonderful.

III. Ground Water Rule

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created the final Ground Water Rule (GWR) in October 2006 to reduce the risk of exposure to fecal contamination that may be present in public water systems that use ground water sources. The 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act required EPA to develop regulations that require disinfection of ground water systems "as necessary" to protect the public health. EPA data indicate that only a small percentage of ground water systems are fecally contaminated. The GWR applies to public water systems that use ground water, as Beaches Water Cooperative does. The rule will require:

  1. Periodic sanitary surveys of ground water systems for potential sources of fecal contamination. States must complete the initial survey by Dec. 31, 2012 for most community water systems (CWSs) and by Dec. 31, 2014.
  2. Source water monitoring to test for the presence of fecal contamination.
  3. Corrective actions required for any system with a significant deficiency or source water fecal contamination.
  4. Monitoring to ensure that treatment technology reliably achieves at least 99.99 percent inactivation or removal of viruses.

The GWR will result in increased costs to public water systems and States. Public water systems will bear the majority of costs. The estimated annual household costs for community water systems range from $0.21 to $16.54. Annual household costs for the subset of systems that undertake corrective actions range from $0.45 to $52.38, with 90 percent having household cost increases of no more than $3.20.

At this point, it remains unclear how the GWR will affect the Beaches Water system. We believe that our wells and physical plant are in excellent condition, our chlorine treatment effective, and we are not concerned with the prospect of having them inspected, however, it is likely that we will incur some additional personnel cost, and possibly testing requirements as the implementation of this rule goes forward.

IV. Water Conservation

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 $4.40 $18.95
Shower Wand $8.75 $30.99
Faucet aerator $0.50 $1.50
Toilet Tank Dams $1.99 $6.99

V. Water Heater Expansion Tank

Installation of a Watts Expansion Tank protects the hot water heater from expanding volumes

Calvert County Plumbing Code requires homes to have a thermal expansion tank on their water heater. With the advent of meter pits which contain back-flow prevention these devices become even more important. If you do not have an expansion tank, please contact your local plumber to have one installed. When water is heated in a closed system it expands. Water is not compressible; therefore, the additional water volume created has to go someplace. When an expansion tank is installed the excess water enters the pre-pressurized tank (figure 1). As the temperature and pressure reaches its maximum, the diaphragm flexes against an air cushion (air is compressible) to allow for increased water expansion (figure 2). When the system is opened again or the water cools, the water leaves the tank and returns to the system.

Figure 1: When an expansion tank is installed the excess water enters the pre-pressurized tank
Fig. 1
Figure 2: As the temperature and pressure reaches its maximum, the diaphragm flexes against an air cushion (air is compressible) to allow for increased water expansion
Fig. 2

VI. National Night Out

Come and join us for the 26th Annual National Night Out on Tuesday, August 4, 2009. National Night Out is a unique crime/drug prevention event sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch. Beaches Water Co-op is proud to participate in this important campaign to strengthen neighborhood spirit and heighten crime and drug prevention awareness. Come out and meet your board members.

VII.Annual Water Quality & Consumer Confidence Report

Our drinking water is safe and meets all federal and state requirements for community drinking water. In 2008, there were no water quality violations. Our water quality results are based on the monitoring cycle for the contaminant up to December 31st, 2008. 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
Antimony (mg/L) 0.006 0.006 0.0025 NO Fire retardants; ceramics; electronics; solder
Di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (ppb) 0 6.0 1.1 NO Discharge from rubber and chemical factories
Arsenic (ppb) 1.0 10 7.2 NO Natural deposits
Bromodichloro-methane(ug/L) n/a 80 0.8 NO Drinking water disinfection byproduct
Cadmium (mg/L) 0.005 0.005 0.0034 NO Corrosion of galvanized pipes; erosion of natural deposits; runoff from waste batteries and paints
Chloroform (ug/L) n/a 80 1.3 NO Drinking water disinfection byproduct
Chromium (mg/L) 0.1 0.1 0.0025 NO Erosion of natural deposits
Copper (mg/L) 1.3   0.24 NO Natural deposits; corrosion of household piping
Iron - (mg/L) -- -- 0.14 NO Natural deposits
Fluoride - (mg/L) 4.0 4.0 0.32 NO Erosion of natural deposits; Leaching
Potassium(mg/L)     16.3 NO Natural deposits-clay
Silica (mg/L)     15.6 NO Natural deposits-sand
Sodium - (mg/L) -- -- 6.9 NO Natural deposits; Leaching
Total Trihalomethanes (mg/L) n/a 0.80 0.002 NO Drinking water disinfection byproduct
Total Dissolved Solids (mg/L) 500 500 156 NO Natural deposits
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

If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components associated with service lines and home plumbing. Beaches Water Co-op is responsible for providing high quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components. When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before using water for drinking or cooking. If you are concerned about lead in your drinking water, you may wish to have your water tested. Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791 or at

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).

VIII. Financial

The following chart is a breakdown of the budget for the fiscal year 7/1/08 - 6/30/09.

Water service 318,800
Pool water service 4,500
Space Rental 1,200
Advertising-Quarterly 2,400
Application & Transfer Fees 1,920
Total Income $328,820
Auditing 6,500
Bad Debt 1,000
Bank Service Charges 395
Contributions 105
Depreciation Expense 60,973
Professional Memberships 486
Engineering 1,500
Insurance 11,576
Loan Interest 200
Mortgage Pay Down 8,338
Mortgage Interest - MDE 7,530
Legal 405
Licenses and Permits 232
Office - Other 5,272
Operating Supplies 14,000
Repairs & Maintenance 22,000
Repairs & Maintenance-Contract 750
Routine Service 145,316
Solid Waste Fee & BRF 189
Utilities 32,414
Water Testing 3,850
New Water Allocation Expense 5,789
Total Expense $328,820
  VISA and Mastercard:
We are now accepting VISA and Mastercard payments.  You may come by
 the office to make payment, pay over the phone, via
 or include credit card billing information on your billing statement.


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