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June 25, 2010 

Water Quality Questions

Some terms defined:

I. President’s Corner

I will leave it to our Superintendent, Dennis DiBello, to fill you in on some of the accomplishments in FY 2010 elsewhere in this Newsletter. Those accomplishments resulted from a lot of hard work by Dennis and his field technicians, as well as an excellent group in our office who truly run the business. They all have difficult jobs, because there are simply never enough resources. The nature of a not-for-profit water company is that there will never be enough money to make all the improvements we would like, and never enough help or hours in the day to get it done.

As a result, we have had to be very creative to make improvements to our system. We spend most of each Board of Director's meeting debating the costs of maintaining and improving our system, a never ending job, in the most cost-effective and least expensive way. We have been able to install almost 200 meter pits in the community so far, most of those from a capital budget which is quite meager compared to our needs. We are currently working on several projects. One project is to improve the water supply to the hill on Ash Road, the highest spot in the community. Another project is to continue to install meter pits, and eventually, meters, in our entire system. A third, and ongoing project, is upgrading lines and piping, some of which have been in the ground 80 years!

Many of our members seem not to realize that this is our company, and each and every one of us as members has a share in that company. When there is a water usage moratorium as there was recently when our largest tank was empty and being repaired, some of our members chose to water their lawns anyway. There was a reason for our change of business name to Beaches Water Cooperative. You and I and the neighbors around us all have an equal share in the business of getting water out of the ground, treating it, and distributing it to our entire community to benefit us all. Please consider your neighbors and friends in the community in those instances. When you conserve water, and use only what you must to keep the plants in your yard healthy and green, you benefit our entire community. I enjoy a green lawn when it rains, and when it does not, the grass dies back until it rains again. Clean water coming in to our homes will be nothing short of a luxury in the future, and if we treat it that way now, it will last us a lot longer.

Several years ago, when the economy took a turn for the worse, we anticipated difficulties in collecting the quarterly bills from many of our members and that has happened in fact. The recent economic woes have touched many people in our community, and we have done everything we can to work with them to maintain their water supply while still maintaining the financial health of the company, which is required of us as Directors of the company.

We will continue to do what we can for those members who are having trouble making ends meet, but we cannot allow other members and the company to suffer as a consequence. Please do all you can to pay your water bill in a timely manner. Ultimately, we must cut off the water supply to those who do not pay their bill. If you are one of those having difficulty, please contact us to make payment arrangements to avoid having your water shut off.

We hope to see you at our annual meeting in September. We currently need another Director on the Board, so if you are interested, please let us know.

Gary Clarke, President

Announcing the Beaches Water Cooperative's Annual Meeting
Date: September 12, 2010       Time: 3:00 pm
Location: Long Beach Civic Center on Calvert Blvd

II. Water System Operations, Maintenance & Improvements

We have had another challenging year for the water company with an aging infrastructure and increased regulation. I would like to personally thank each of you for being understanding and supportive of our small limited operation as we respond to these challenges.

In one regard, being a small community owned system has its advantages, especially, when we see, in the local news, what it takes to restore water service to tens of thousands of customers when there is a failure of a 6 foot water main. We are able to respond much quicker with less impact on our members. However, limited budgets make us set priorities and we cannot always do everything we want to do to improve the system.

In the last year, we have continued to install meter pits when either there is a need to work at a member's property or on a planned basis. We are most efficient when we can plan the installation of many meter pits in an area. In that way, we are sharing our time and resources among many installations. Out of the 800 homes we service, we have installed 187 meter pits. That is quite an accomplishment when you consider that they were installed within our normal operating and capital budget. Of course, we still need to install the remaining pits and then install meters which are an even greater expense.

Our biggest improvement this year was the painting and restoration of the 100,000 gallon storage tank at the Slater Pumping Station. We planned to paint the tank interior and perform minor repair. After opening it up, we found that the roof beams had rusted to the point that they needed to be replaced. The two week painting job turned into a month long job. I am happy to report that we were able to operate for that period without an outage of the water system, although some of you may have noticed reduced pressure in the system.

As far as regulation goes we are now testing the water for by-products of chlorinating the water. For a ground water system with deep aquifers this is not much of a problem for us. Mainly, since we do not have a lot of organics in the system, we do not have as much demand, chlorine usage, and thus by-products. This EPA by-product rule is more concerned with surface water or reservoir type systems. As shown below, we continue to meet all water quality requirements.

III. Disinfectant Byproduct Rule

Pathogens, such as Giardia, are sometimes found in drinking water sources, and can cause illness. In most water systems, water is disinfected to inactivate (or kill) these microbial pathogens as a preventative measure. However, disinfectants like chlorine can react with naturally-occurring materials in the water to form byproducts such as trihalomethanes (THM), haloacetic acids (HAA), chlorite, and bromate. These byproducts, if consumed in excess over many years, may lead to increased health risks, including cancer. EPA has developed the Stage 2 Disinfectant Byproduct (DBP) Rule to protect public health by limiting exposure to these disinfectant byproducts in disinfected water. Beaches Water is chlorinated as a preventative measure, and thus Beaches Water falls under Stage 2 DBP Rule.

Under the Stage 2 DBP rule, Beaches Water must conduct an evaluation of our distribution system, to identify the locations with high disinfection byproduct concentrations to be used for compliance monitoring. Compliance with the maximum contaminant levels for two groups of disinfection byproducts (THMs and HAAs) will then be determined by calculating the running annual average of samples from the monitoring locations across the system.

The Stage 2 DBP rule also requires Beaches Water Co-op to determine if we have exceeded an operational evaluation level, which is identified using the compliance monitoring results. The operational evaluation level provides an early warning of possible future MCL (maximum contaminant level) violations, which will allow us to take proactive steps to remain in compliance. A system that exceeds an operational evaluation level is required to review their operational practices and submit a report that identifies actions that may be taken to mitigate future high DBP levels.

If the DBP levels at these locations are above the MCL, the system will start to take corrective actions. These actions could range from simple, quickly implemented management or operational changes to major construction. Any changes made by systems must be well studied and planned before execution.

Unfortunately, Beaches Water missed a deadline to submit representative data to support a (40/30) certification, which would have waived part of the preliminary monitoring requirement, and we will have to conduct a year of monitoring as a result.

For additional details on the Stage 2 Disinfection Byproduct Rule and the 40/30 Certification process, see:

IV. Right of Ways

From time to time it is necessary to repair, replace, or install new distribution piping in the right-of-ways. More of this will be happening with the installation of water meter pits. 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 these 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. National Night Out

Come and join us for the 27th Annual National Night Out on Tuesday, August 3, 2010. 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.

VI. Annual Water Quality & Consumer Confidence Report

Our drinking water is safe and meets all federal and state requirements for community drinking water. In 2009, there were no water quality violations. Our water quality results are based on the monitoring cycle for the contaminant up to December 31st, 2009. 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 7.1 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
Nitrate 10 10 1.0 NO Fertilizer runoff, leaching from sewage, erosion of natural deposits
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).

Water Source: Our water is drawn from deep wells in the Aquia and Nanjemoy aquifers.

VIII. Financial

The following chart is a breakdown of the budget for the fiscal year 7/1/10 - 6/30/11.

Water service 318,800
Pool water service 4,500
Space Rental 1,200
Advertising-Quarterly 2,400
Application & Transfer Fees 2,500
Total Income $329,000
Auditing 7,500
Bad Debt 1,000
Bank Service Charges 520
Depreciation Expense 61,236
Professional Memberships 486
Engineering 1,500
Insurance 12,500
Loan Interest 200
Mortgage Pay Down 8,360
Mortgage Interest - MDE 7,507
Legal 405
Licenses and Permits 232
Office - Other 5,272
Operating Supplies 13,300
Repairs & Maintenance 23,000
Routine Service 147,786
Solid Waste Fee & BRF 200
Utilities 32,414
Water Testing 5,582
Total Expense $329,000
  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
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