February DLWID Board Meeting Report

The Devils Lake Water Improvement District Board meeting was on Thursday February 2nd  at 6:00pm and was held in the City Hall Council Chambers located on the third floor of City Hall.

Public Comment: There were 12 interested parties in attendance. Comments were made to the Board which were related to the septic program expressing concerns that the District may be creating a regulatory morass that could put homeowners in a situation where inspections by one agency would not satisfy the requirements of another.  The District was encouraged to defer to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality as a basis of their program.  Other items mentioned included the Cafe, Cyano-Watch, the Lakescaping Course, and the Public Records Policy.

Septic Tank Revitalization: District Project Manager, Seth Lenaerts reported on the recent events related to the septic tank revitalization program. In the past months, the District obtained updated permit information from January 2010-December 2011. Over the two-year period, a total of 19 permits were issued by the county. It was reported that permits are issued for a number of reasons, including: new construction, repairs, alterations, authorizations, and site evaluations.  Of the permits issued 12 were for minor repairs or tank replacement, 1 was for a major repair, the balance were for alterations, authorization and site evaluations.

The District indicated that they feel that inspections performed by the County are insufficient.  They stated that very little data is taken on the system by the County, for example, when a typical tank replacement is done, information on the drain field is not generally collected,  They feel these procedures will not meet the goals of the program and they intend to take the lead on developing the new inspection criteria.  The District stated that they will be scheduling a meeting with DEQ, Lincoln County, the City, and local private inspectors.  In the January board meeting we learned that in addition to DLWID’s inspection criterion homeowners will also need to comply with proposed rules drafted by DEQ to comply with the Coast Zone Management Act. This new program will require another inspection to be performed at the time of property transfer as well as reporting of pumping events. As it currently stands homeowners may need to comply with three different standards; the DLWID/City standard, the County standard, and DEQ’s standard.

Save Our Shoreline: A update of the program was given stating the District has offered courses about lakescaping. In the past year they have offered Lakescaping for Landscapers and Why Lakescape?, which focused on shoreline property owners. The District is planning to offer the Why Lakescape? course again on a Saturday in Mid March, most likely the 10th or 17th. The free course will run from 10am-12pm and includes lunch. A mailer will be sent to all shoreline property owners, advertising the course.

Vegetation Management: The District hired Max Depth Aquatics to act as a consultant in their efforts to appeal the ODFW rejection of their application to stock additional grass carp in Devils Lake.  District data has been compiled and sent to the contractor.

Sewer: Brian Green reported that the project has hit a bit of a speed bump as there has been some discussion that there will be a “must connect” require. Under this every home in the project area would have to immediatly. DLWID will write a letter expressing concern.

Erosion Study: Tetra Tech presented the erosion study in the December board meeting.  The report concluded that waves generated by boats or wind, the nature of the soils around the lake, the presence or absence of sufficient bank stabilization, and the slope of the lake bottom are likely more influential on shoreline conditions than relatively small changes in lake levels. After that original presentation the District was highly critical of the report; specifically that it did not address the impact of inundation, reservoir hydrology, vegetation recruitment, impact of grass carp and the role of saturated soils. The District requested modifications to the report and the goal was to have received a copy of the changes by January 23rd. A delay in this project has occurred within Tetra Tech. Some additional data has been delivered and the hope is the study will be on the agenda in March.

Communications Report: The District made significant effort in January to alert property owners as to the height of lake, and the status of the D River. This outreach was accomplished through the social media tools; Facebook and Twitter.  The District has not obligated itself to continue this, but will when it can, as it appears it made a significant impact. This District has also been active in updating its website including adding audio from previous meetings that occurred in Council chambers.

Cyano-Watch Program: The program has been renamed to the HABs or Harmful Algal Bloom Surveillance program. This is the name the State of Oregon uses to describe cyanobacteria monitoring. New postings have been developed to reflect the change. The postings include changes in the language from “Cyanobacteria (aka Blue-Green Algae)” to “Blue-Green Algae* and/or their toxins” followed later in the posting with “*Scientifically known as Cyanobacteria”. Since the redesign the State changed their signage and the board discussed their use. The board adopted the revised DLWID format.

Public Records Request Policy: The District has drafted a public records request policy to review and asked the board for approval.  Currently, the District has a form for such requests.  The stated purpose of having a policy is to ensure that all requests for public records are handled in a manner that is consistent with and complies with the public records law. The proposed policy does allow the District to charge for costs associated with providing records and/or access to records. The policy contains a detailed schedule of fees and charges for provided various requests for information in a variety of formats.  The policy also provides for up to 15 minutes of free service and some free photocopies.  The discussed the policy and approved it with minor modification.

Non Agenda Items It was brought up that the recent intern work uncovered the use of suction diving to control weeds. After discussion it was decided to investigate. Additionally some discussion occured related to what was ment by the use of the word “pollution”. The district will attempt to define their use of the word.

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