President Scott Tye called the Regular meeting of the Board of Directors of the Stinson Beach County Water District to order on Saturday, February 26, 2011, at 9:30 a.m., at the Stinson Beach County Water District office, located at 3785 Shoreline Highway, Stinson Beach, CA 94970.

Directors present:
Scott Tye, President
Elizabeth Sapanai, Vice President
Lawrence Baskin, Director
Barbara Boucke, Director
Jim Zell, Director

General Manager present:
Ed Schmidt

Staff present:
Richard Souza - District Engineer
Helma Schwendig - Administrative Assistant


Donna Andrews, Stinson Beach Village Association, reported on the status of the newly formed committee "Keep the Beaches Clean." Letters describing the hazards posed by dog waste will be sent to all residents as well as placed in all public places. Six signs and doggie pots will be placed at strategic locations. The SBVA needs the Redwood Empire Disposal's help to get a weekly garbage pickup of the dog waste. At the last Board meeting, Steve McCaffrey of North Bay Corporation/Redwood Empire Disposal, was very receptive to assisting the community to solve this problem. The General Manager gave Donna a copy of his letter to Steve dated February 23, 2011 concerning the placing of dog waste boxes and their weekly pickup.


The agenda was unanimously adopted as set.


  1. Discussion and Possible Direction to Staff to Implement a Six (6) Month Moratorium on Wet Weather Testing and the Approval of Septic System Design Approval Permits until the District Obtains a New Wet Weather Testing Policy for Parcels Subject to Flooding During a 100 Year Storm Event.
    Ed Schmidt opened the discussion by expanding on his staff report. At the last Wastewater Committee Meeting, it was suggested that a recommendation be made to the Board for a brief moratorium for both wet weather testing and new septic system design permits. In discussing the Flood Map presented to the Committee by Rich Souza, the District's Wastewater Engineer, the following questions came up: Why were new septic systems allowed in this designated flood zone? What has happened to the ground water level since there has been very little rainfall for over a month? Is there a correlation between or lag time between a high tide event at the beach and the effect on groundwater 100, 200 or 300 feet away? What is the impact of a storm event upon the groundwater level and what is the impact on the groundwater level if there is a storm event and a high tide at the same time? These questions were left unanswered.

    Rich prepared a revised regulation defining wet weather testing which is more rigorous and attempts to correlate wet weather to the current wet weather testing parameters. The Committee did not feel comfortable that the definition encompassed all of the aforementioned questions. Since it concerns the SBCWD Title IV, Onsite Wastewater Management Code, the Regional Quality Control Board must approve any changes, which could take several months.

    Rich explained that the Wastewater Committee has been working to change the wet weather testing guidelines for quite some time. The Committee has looked at other agencies' guidelines. Stinson Beach is special, however. Groundwater elevations fluctuate and they are affected by the tide. But is it the tide that has the greatest effect or is it the storm? The Committee also raised the question of the cumulative effect of the existing wastewater systems out in the Calles and the Patios and Seadrift areas. A study that was done several years ago of the cumulative effect of nitrates moving in groundwater should be revisited due to the new septic systems being built.

    Director Boucke inquired if a moratorium is needed in order to develop a policy and regulation to amend Title IV. Vice President Sapanai stated that this District came about as a result of a moratorium when the Regional Water Quality Control Board shut down any building in Stinson Beach and Bolinas because of pollution into Bolinas Bay. The State legislature created this District in order to monitor and control onsite septic systems. The District was required by Regional to create regulations and, thus, Title IV was created by the District. It was approved by Regional with the requirement that the District make changes to it on a regular basis as appropriate. The Wastewater Committee has been working consistently on the terms of the regulations, but it was suggested a 6 month timeout be taken to fully promulgate the appropriate regulations that deal with wet weather testing. Vice President Sapanai pointed out that this discussion is about a moratorium under health and safety regulations, not zoning regulations.

    Director Zell stated when there is a drought condition, the water table falls, and it is not an accurate picture of what wet weather testing was meant to be. The code provides that percolation tests must be conducted during wet weather testing periods when certain conditions exist. Wet weather testing is open as long as there continues to be intermittent storms and general wet weather. He believed that 47 days do not constitute an adequate wet weather testing period, if there are 47 days of minimal rainfall which occurred this season. The District Engineer can make a determination based on hydrology, geology or other technical standards that there has not been subsequent rainfall that continues to maintain levels of soil saturation adequate for testing. The District can then close the wet weather testing period until the standard is satisfied. He believed there should be a pause and more research done, because the ultimate objective is to make sure groundwater is not being contaminated.

    Director Baskin questioned the need for a moratorium in order to do the study research and analysis that is being suggested by the Wastewater Committee. He stated that the Board does not have any information today that suggests that the Board is legally able enact a moratorium. There is no information at hand that there is a health and safety problem right now.

    Rich stated that the wet weather period is typically between January and April. There will be periods when testing can be done and testing cannot be done within that period based upon the amount of rainfall during a given amount of time. Lately there has been enough rain to do groundwater testing. Stinson Beach has already had 15 inches of rain, which is half of the annual season rainfall. So, therefore, groundwater testing should be open, assuming that it keeps the level of saturation with the periodic rainfall within that period.

    John Topham, a resident on the hill, opined that health and safety can cover a broad spectrum and can be used as an argument for almost anything, even martial law. He has an old system and is concerned that now, when he would like to change it, a moratorium may be passed.

    Constanza Dopfel, a neighbor of the Silks, is disturbed about what she is hearing.

    Kenny Stevens, Fire Chief, stated a moratorium would negatively affect the livelihood of many people that work in Stinson Beach. He felt now is not the time to close down construction.

    President Tye clarified that the proposed moratorium has nothing to do with already approved septic system permits that will go forward over the summer. It would only affect new applications for new systems. It would not affect construction permits, only the process of applications for design review.

    Riley Hurd, III, Esq., asked where is the emergency, the evidential data, the findings that the law requires that there is a health and safety emergency? A moratorium is not needed. One dry January is not the type of emergency that warrants a moratorium.

    Who is the author of the Flood Hazard Map, what data was it based on, has it been adopted as a formal map by the Board? The discrete group of property owners affected deserve individual notice to know that all of their rights are potentially going to be stripped for 6 months as well as notice that the wet weather testing may be changed. He has a lot of experience with FEMA and their changes of NGVD [National Geodetic Vertical Datum] and NAVD [North American Vertical Datum] which deal with sea levels rising, not groundwater.

    He suggested the study also entail researching the elements of the new system of UV's and secondary measures. He represents the Silks. Testing has been performed at their property. He stated this property is showing the same reading at high tide and low tide with a difference of about 1/2 inch. There was no tidal influence in the wet weather testing period, in the winter, so perhaps some of the assumptions are flawed, he believed. He also believed that CA Government Code Section 65858 may apply to the District. He is concerned if some rainfall conditions in the proposed code regulations never occur, would there be a contingency for that or no testing allowed that year.

    Director Boucke noted that the Wastewater Committee has been on the cutting edge Statewide in terms of its ability to handle the specific problems here and in fact sets an example that has been upheld throughout California as a leader in maintaining and setting up regulations for assuring health and safety and for building septic systems that really improve the quality of water. She believes the SBCWD has been that leader for many years. She also thinks that the Regional Water Control Board thinks that the SBCWD is a model and will continue to be, because the Wastewater Committee provides this leadership. She just does not think a moratorium is needed to allow the District to review wet weather testing protocol.

    There were no questions asked of the District's legal counsel, Patrick Miyaki.

    President Tye entertained a motion in support of a moratorium. There was none and no action was taken to implement a moratorium.


  1. Discussion and Possible Direction to Staff to Retain Maze & Associates, Accountancy Corporation, to Provide Professional Auditing Services for the Stinson Beach County Water District.
    The General Manager reported that at the request of the Finance Committee he solicited three Requests for Proposals to perform the District's Annual Audit. The Finance Committee reviewed the proposals, and he checked the references of Maze & Associates. Maze & Associates agreed to reduce their fee from $12,600 to $11,500. The Board unanimously approved Maze & Associates as its new auditor, and the General Manager will notify Maze & Associates of their selection. Director Baskin noted it is a good practice of a public agency such as ours to periodically change auditors.
  2. Discussion and Possible Vote to Select or Reselect a Regular Member and Alternate Member to the Marin Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO.)
    The Board selected Dennis Rodoni, North Marin Water District, as first choice for Regular Special District Representative; Patrick Guasco, Ross Valley Sanitary District, as second choice; and Bruce Abbott, Richardson Bay Sanitary District, as third choice.

    The Board selected Russ Greenfield, Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District, as first choice for Alternate Member, and Pamela Meigs, Ross Valley Sanitary District, as second choice for Alternate Member.


The minutes of January 15, 2011 were approved by unanimous vote.


Director Baskin moved to approve the disbursements for January 20, February 2, and February 8, 2011. Director Boucke seconded the motion. The disbursements were approved by unanimous vote.


The reports had previously been reviewed by the Finance Committee. The Board unanimously approved the financial reports ending December 31, 2010.


The General Manager discussed his monthly report. A waiver will be requested from Marianne Watada, Department of Health Services, regarding the 25 foot separation requirement between water main and septic system components. If the waiver is approved, the mains will be relocated.
Vice President Sapanai suggested contacting WestAmerica Bank to waive the $7 monthly fee for the on-line monitoring of the District's bank accounts. The Board approved the General Manager's attending the workshop on Urban Water Management Plans in Sacramento on February 28.
The New Treatment Plant is really coming along, having a start up date of March 21. The staff is doing a great job.




Vice President Sapanai suggested that the District prepare a brochure, similar to the brochure prepared by ACWA, "California Tap Water: The Best Deal Around," getting input from the Water Operations Committee and the Water Reliability & Sustainability Committee.


The motion to adjourn the meeting was approved by unanimous vote. In the memory of George Hasler, the meeting was adjourned at 11:40 a.m.

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