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Quick Look: BWS Board of Directors Meeting January 22, 2024

[See the video here]

Highlights from the BWS Public Hearing & Board Meeting – January 22, 2024

The Board of Water Supply's recent board meeting underscored a comprehensive commitment towards ensuring the safety, dependability, and affordability of water supply for both current and future generations. The meeting opened with an affirmation of this commitment, followed by logistical details regarding public participation and the virtual regulations for board members. Announcements included how the public could access meeting materials online, attend in person, or view a live stream, along with instructions for submitting written or oral testimony. [BWS website]

Significant agenda items included the adoption of minutes from a previous meeting, the acceptance of donations in support of the 2024 Water Conservation Week, and an update on the Board's response to the potential impacts of the Red Hill Fuel Contamination issue. The meeting emphasized the importance of community involvement and transparency, allowing public testimonies that brought attention to concerns regarding water safety and conservation efforts.

Donations totaling $14,000 were announced in support of Water Conservation Week, highlighting the community's involvement in fostering a sustainable water future. The program's 45th year focuses on educating students about water efficiency through art and poetry, demonstrating the Board's proactive approach to water conservation education.

Moreover, the update on the Red Hill Fuel Contamination issue detailed the ongoing efforts to address and mitigate the contamination risks, with a comprehensive plan aiming for complete facility closure by July 2028. Public testimonies underscored the community's concerns and the need for continuous vigilance and action regarding water safety.

The meeting concluded with discussions on recruitment status, groundwater levels, and water main repair reports, reflecting the Board's multifaceted approach to managing water resources, infrastructure, and personnel to ensure the delivery of high-quality water services to the community.

Key highlights from the Board of Water Supply's meeting include:

  1. Acceptance of Donations for Water Conservation Week: Donations totaling $14,000 were accepted to support the 2024 Water Conservation Week, underscoring the community's role in promoting water efficiency and conservation education among students.

  2. Update on Red Hill Fuel Contamination: An update on the Board's response to the potential impacts of the Red Hill Fuel Contamination was given, including the ongoing efforts to address the issue, with a detailed plan leading to the facility's closure by July 2028.

  3. Community Testimonies: Public testimonies highlighted concerns about water safety, the importance of addressing contamination issues, and the community's involvement in water conservation efforts.

  4. Recruitment Status and Human Resources: The board discussed recruitment status, highlighting efforts to fill vacancies and initiatives for engaging with potential employees through job fairs and partnerships.

  5. Groundwater Levels and Conservation Messaging: A report on groundwater levels indicated a stable to slightly increasing trend, attributed to recent rainfall and reduced pumpage. The board plans to intensify conservation messaging leading into the summer months.

  6. Water Main Repair Report: The December 2023 water main repair report was presented, showing 37 main breaks and the detection of 56 leaks, with a breakdown of these incidents by type and location.

The mentions of Red Hill in the Board of Water Supply meeting primarily revolved around the ongoing response to the fuel contamination issue, with key points including: [Red Hill update at 04:74]

  1. Defueling Progress: The update detailed the completion of the first phase of gravity defueling at Red Hill, with over 104.6 million gallons of fuel removed. The second phase, involving the draining of residual fuel within the pipeline and valves, began with completion expected by March 2024.

  2. Closure Plans: Transition from the Joint Task Force Red Hill to the Navy Closure Task Force was discussed, outlining the removal of remaining residual fuel and sludge. A detailed Integrated Master Schedule from the Navy Closure Task Force projected pipeline deconstruction and final defueling completion by November 2027, aiming for facility closure in July 2028.

  3. Upcoming Events: The board mentioned upcoming meetings (February 22, 2024) with the EPA and DOH to discuss closure plans and remediation efforts, emphasizing the importance of these updates for the board and the public's awareness.

  4. Public Testimony on Water Safety: A public testimony titled "Unsafe Waters" was presented, highlighting concerns over petroleum hydrocarbons detected in water, suggesting that many samples exceeded previously recommended Environmental Action Limits (EALs). The testimony called for reconsideration of the raised EALs to ensure water safety.

  5. Board Discussion on EALs and Contamination: The board discussed the DOH's adjustment of EALs for Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons (TPH) from 160 parts per billion to 500 parts per billion in 2017, expressing concern over the levels of contamination and the importance of establishing safe consumption standards.

  6. Community Concerns and Calls for Action: Testimonies from community members further emphasized the impact of the Red Hill contamination, voicing frustrations over the handling of the issue, the need for transparent communication, and immediate action to safeguard water quality and public health.

[See the video here and BWS Red Hill updates here]


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