Saturday, July 20, 2013


President Jim Zell called the Regular meeting of the Board of Directors of the Stinson Beach County Water District to order on Saturday, July 20, 2013, at 9:30 a.m., at the Stinson Beach County Water District office, located at 3785 Shoreline Highway, Stinson Beach, CA 94970.

Directors present:
Jim Zell, President
Barbara Boucke, Vice President
Lawrence Baskin, Director
Morey Nelsen, Director

Directors absent:
Sandra Cross, Director

Treasurer present:
Judy Stemen

General Manager present:
Ed Schmidt

Staff present:
Helma Schwendig - Administrative Asst.


John Washington, proprietor of the Stinson Beach Maintenance Company, requested that the subject of backflow device testing be placed on next month's Board agenda. He stated that businesses cannot compete with the District's $70 charge for performing backflow tests. He believes the District has an unfair competitive advantage. Mr. Washington said the average fee in Marin County is $80 per backflow inspection. Director Baskin directed staff to present the District's current policy and procedure at the August 17 Board meeting.

Terry Bryant, a member of the Stinson Beach Village Association, stated that the District's water conservation request for a 50% reduction in landscape irrigation also needs to address individual homeowners who rent out their homes for part of the year like he does. The District has placed its Water Conservation Stage II Alert in monthly billings, sent the Alert to local realtors, placed the Alert on the District's website, and posted it around town.


The agenda was unanimously adopted as set. Director Baskin stated he supported General Business Items #2, 3, and 4, but had to leave the meeting at 10:30 a.m.


  1. Discussion and possible direction to staff re: a Variance Request for installation of a new septic system using an alternative type system, vacant lot located at 213 Seadrift Road, Caitlin Pardo De Zela, Owner, APN 195-331-39.
    The General Manager briefly described the project, which had previously been discussed at the July 1, 2013 Wastewater Committee meeting. It consists of a new wastewater system on a 7,500 square foot vacant lot sized to treat and disperse a maximum and average wastewater flow of 300 and 200 gallons per day, respectively. It includes a 1,500 gallon septic tank, an AX20 treatment system, and dual pressure distribution leach fields. Neighborhood notification notices had been mailed to all property owners within a 300 foot radius.

    The District received an e-mail dated July 10, 2013 from Deb Seymour, an adjacent property owner, questioning why the proposed leach field would be installed a foot closer to her property fence line, i.e., four feet instead of the required five foot minimum . The District's Wastewater Engineer, Rich Souza, responded to Ms. Seymour that the District's regulations require five feet. However, in order to meet a required 100 foot setback from the Seadrift Lagoon to the leach field, a variance must be granted to reduce the placement of the leach lines to four feet from the front property line (not the side property line).

    Vice President Boucke inquired if the water main line in front of the proposed residence needed to be moved in order to meet the ten foot separation requirement to the septic system. Ms. Boucke also inquired if the District is considered to be the lead agency for CEQA purposes.

    Director Baskin stated he was unable to find any information in the staff report concerning that the depth to groundwater measurements were performed during the wet weather testing period.

    As neither Mr. Souza nor the system's designer, Paul Pospisil of Questa Engineering, were present to address the Board's questions and concerns, Director Baskin moved to continue the hearing on this project to the August 17 Board meeting. Vice President Boucke seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
  2. Discussion and possible direction to staff re: a Waiver Request for replacing an existing septic system with a new alternative system for property located at 24 Calle del Resaca, Harold Parker Properties, Owner, Acct. #520.
    The General Manager briefly described the project. It is an application for an alternative system to replace the existing failed single field gravity system installed in the early 1970's and rated for 191 gallons per day. There are no proposed building improvements or increase in habitable space. The existing system failed to accept hydraulic loading during a routine inspection by District staff on April 29, 2013.

    The wastewater design includes a 1,500 gallon septic tank and dual raised bed leach fields on the 2,400 square foot lot. There are 36 inches of separation from the leach field bottom to seasonal high groundwater. The new system is designed to accommodate a maximum daily discharge limit of 150 gallons and an average daily discharge of 100 gallons for the existing single family residential building.

    President Zell noted that when this project was presented to the Wastewater Committee on July 1, 2013, the staff report listed only one waiver to the District's Title IV regulations, which was: "Section 4.19.010 Use of Alternative Wastewater Systems Designs." However, the staff report presented to the Board lists waivers required to: "Section 4.15.100 Site Criteria - Setbacks" and "Section 4.19.010 Use of Alternative Wastewater System Designs." Since the setback would only be two feet, there is a possibility of concentration of waste from neighboring septic systems.

    Director Nelsen suggested moving the leach lines closer to the residence.

    Director Baskin stated that there is no mention in the staff report of testing being done in the wet weather testing period. Troy Pearce, of AYS Engineering, the system's designer, confirmed that no wet weather testing was performed, as this is only a repair of an existing system.

    Director Baskin recommended that this matter, as well as the 213 Seadrift project (Public Hearing Item #1) be sent back for another review at the next Wastewater Committee meeting. Director Nelsen made a motion to resubmit both projects for discussion at the next Wastewater Committee meeting, rescheduled for Monday, July 29. Vice President Boucke seconded the motion. The motion was approved unanimously.


  1. Discussion with the Village Green I and II Parks Community Service Area (CSA) re: the existing Water Budget Resolution and possible consideration of a revised water budget based upon the District's request for a voluntary 50% reduction in outside irrigation.
    Michael Mitchell, CSA member, requested that he be the contact person for Village Green I and II. He stated the Parks' water leaks have all been repaired and that from now on, the Parks' water use should be close to their allotments. However, the lawns are a luxury, as they require a large amount of water to maintain.

    Richard Reasoner, Dendron Landscape Management Consultants, distributed to the Board copies of his colored bar graph/trend chart showing the Village Green I and II average historic water usage, the usage allotted per Resolution GB-2004-12, and the 50% voluntary reduction request for outside irrigation [Stage II Alert]. The General Manager noted that the District is not mandated to follow the State's water budget. At the present time, there is no need for a Stage III Alert.

    As a first step toward revising the Parks' water budget, Mr. Reasoner recommended that, during the growing season, the Parks' meters be read on a weekly basis. Director Nelsen volunteered to read the meters.
  2. Discussion and possible direction to staff re: a proposal from CSW/Stuber-Stroeh to provide record drawings in a digital modeling format for the District's water main facilities.
    At the Water Operations Committee meeting on June 26, Rich Souza presented his firm's $15,480 proposal for providing the District's water main facilities in digital format. The Water Operations Committee recommended that the Board approve the agreement. Digital mapping is much more efficient, as paper maps get ripped and cannot be updated easily. Another advantage in digitizing is that the District will be able to add history and other important information useful to the worker in the field or office.

    Treasurer Stemen volunteered to enter the District's historical data into its computer.

    Director Nelsen moved to approve the Scope of Services and Fee Agreement proposal from CSW/Stuber-Stroeh. Vice President Boucke seconded the motion. The motion passed by a "Yes" vote by the three Board members that were present: President Zell, Vice President Boucke and Director Nelsen.
  3. Discussion and possible direction to staff regarding the establishment of the Gann Property Tax Appropriations Limit for the District for Fiscal Year 2013-2014.
    The appropriations limit is the maximum amount of proceeds of taxes which the District can receive during the fiscal year. Although it receives about $570,000/year in property tax revenue, it is eligible to receive more. By Resolution No. GB-2012-06, the Board established the appropriations limit for Fiscal Year 2012-2013 as $1,043,641.

    Based on data released by the Department of Finance on per capita income and population changes, the District's appropriations limit for the coming fiscal year is $1,100,728.

    The District will need to go to the voters no later than June, 2014 to prevent the District's appropriations limit from falling to pre-1998 levels, which was $141,212.

    President Zell made a motion to approve Draft Resolution No. GB-2013-__ [subsequently renumbered as GB-2013-08] to adopt the appropriations limit for fiscal year 2013-2014 as $1,100,728. Director Nelsen seconded the motion. The motion passed by a "Yes" vote by President Zell, Vice President Boucke and Director Nelsen.
  4. Discussion and possible direction to staff re: offer of Pall Corporation to settle District's claim for two failed Polyethylene tanks.
    As a result of the General Manager's extensive letters, e-mails and telephone calls, the Pall Corporation has offered the District one new replacement tank and $2,500 in operations and maintenance assistance for a total value of $7,500.

    Vice President Boucke noted that Draft Resolution No. GB-2013-07 did not state that the Pall Corporation would pay the cost of shipping the replacement tank.

    Director Nelsen moved to adopt Draft Resolution No. GB-2013-07 with provisions added that there is no cost to the District for delivery and that the Pall Corporation issues a one-year warranty effective from the date of delivery. Vice President Boucke seconded the motion. The motion passed by a "Yes" vote by President Zell, Vice President Boucke, and Director Nelsen.


President Zell moved to approve the Minutes of June 15, 2013. Vice President Boucke seconded the motion. The minutes were approved, with the exception of Director Nelsen, who stated he was not present at the June 15 meeting.


Director Nelsen moved to approve the disbursements of June 19 and July 11, 2013. Vice President Boucke seconded the motion. The disbursements were approved unanimously.


The General Manager discussed his monthly report. He received 15 applications for the new Utility Worker position which had been advertised in the West Marin Citizen, Point Reyes Light and on Craigslist. The General Manager, President Zell and Water Supervisor Toby Bisson will interview the three most qualified applicants on July 22. The person selected will have to pass a health screening and reference checks. The new employee would probably start working at the District in early August.

The General Manager informed Leon Lee, proprietor of Septic Troubleshooters, regarding the General Manager's concern about Mr. Lee leaving the lid of a septic tank open during the time Mr. Lee was away from the job site. A tenant had called the General Manager to complain about odors coming from the tank, which was located close to her bedroom window. Besides being a public health hazard, someone or an animal could have fallen into the tank. The General Manager will confer with the Legal Committee to determine if it is appropriate to retain Septic Troubleshooters on the District's referral list of contractors.

The General Manager contacted Jack Liebster, Senior Planner, Marin County, regarding a $250,000 Community Development Agency grant application which includes studying the impacts of Sea Level Rise on Stinson Beach septic systems. If the application for the grant is successful, Mr. Liebster will form a technical advisory committee. He has requested the General Manager to be a committee member and send a letter of support to Mary Small, Deputy Executive Officer of the State Coastal Conservancy, the administrator of the program.

On the morning of July 11, the District was notified by Fire Chief Kenny Stevens about a septic overflow in the Post Office parking lot. The site was barricaded and the water was shut off to the building. Gordon Hasler, the building's owner, Sarah Butler, the property manager, the Environmental Health Department, and the National Park Service were notified. Absorbent wadding was placed around the storm drain to stop it from getting into the creek. The County Public Works staff called Roto-Rooter to clean up the parking lot. Roto-Rooter found that a plugged sewer line caused the overflow. A fecal coliform test was performed on creek water samples from both upstream and downstream.

The General Manager stated that if all of the District's customers voluntarily reduced their outside irrigation use by 50%, the District's revenue would be reduced by $93,000.




The Board reviewed the correspondence.


The motion to adjourn the meeting was approved by unanimous vote. The meeting was adjourned at 11:45 a.m.

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