WARSAW — In its first meeting of 2018, the Lakeland Regional Sewer District board of directors voted for all but one of its officers from 2017 to keep their posts in 2018. The board meeting was also the first held on its new schedule: 6 p.m. on the third Wednesday of every month at the water treatment plant, 5002 E. 100N, Warsaw.
Officers for 2018 are: Jim Haney, president; Bob Marcuccilli, vice-president and assistant secretary; Mike DeWald, treasurer; Parke Smith, secretary, replacing Greg Mitchell.
Also in attendance at Wednesday’s meeting were representatives of the companies involved in district construction, including DLZ Engineering, Crosby Construction, Advanced Rehabilitation Technology, Selge Construction, Rural Development, and, most notably, Crane Pumps and Systems, to discuss project warranty issues.
Crane supplies control panels to LRSD’s grinder stations. Thirty-nine out of roughly 1,200 failed due to moisture leaking on to the panels through a light fixture.
The panels are under warranty; however, delays in shipping replacements — as much as two months — has caused concern the district could be shorthanded in the future if more of the panels were found defective. In spite of the problem, the grinder pumps remain operational.
The Crane reps, including Ed Dunn, sales manager, answered several pointed questions from Haney and the board relating to the cause of the leak, delays and what Crane is doing to address the issue. Panels breaking in the coming spring, Haney commented, could be a “massive problem.”
According to Dunn, there is a “difference of opinion” between Crane and its suppliers as to who is responsible for the problem, if it occurred during assembly or installation. Regardless, he assured the board shipments would be rushed to replace six currently needed, and future shipments would take “weeks not months.” A letter stating Crane’s commitments as to when the six panels will be shipped will also be provided. “We will stand behind our product,” said Dunn.
Astbury Water Technologies, in charge of sewer plant operations, expects to randomly test 149 panels before the end of January, the statistical sample needed to ensure 90 percent reliability of the remaining panels’ effectiveness.
Haney appeared somewhat placated by Crane’s responses, concluding, “It’s a serious problem that needs to be fixed, and up to this point we didn’t think that was happening.”
During treasurer’s reports, DeWald reported a 50 percent increase in the number of customers more than 90 days late making payments. The increase is cause for concern, he said, and the board should keep an eye on the situation.
DeWald also reported receiving a letter from the U.S. Department of Agriculture indicating its expectation of a $392,000 bond payment from LRSD for the sewer system construction. The district would be meeting its obligations, according to DeWald, who said, “We’re set for them.”
LRSD’s total payouts for December were roughly $81,000.
The district’s connection status as of the Jan. 17 meeting, according to Kenneth Jones of Jones, Petrie and Rafinski, was 84.4 percent, or 1,394 connections. 92.8 percent of the district, or 1,532 properties, have received permits for the work.
The board expects to hear from attorney Andy Boxberger about possible failure to connect penalties at its Feb. 21 meeting.
Haney informed the board of the Kosciusko County Drainage Board’s request the district reports total number of EDUs — equivalent dwelling units — serviced every year Feb. 1. The district pays the county $5 per EDU.
The board passed a motion to extend its engineering service agreement with DLZ until Feb. 21, when it will revisit a new proposed agreement.