April 13, 2015
The regular monthly meeting of the Board of Water Commissioners of Columbus, Georgia was held at the office of the Columbus Water Works on Monday, April 13, 2015, at 1:30 p.m., the following Commissioners being present:
Carole Rutland, Chair
Karl Douglass, Treasurer
Absent: Mayor Teresa Tomlinson
Mayor Tomlinson was excused from the meeting.
Receipt of the Minutes of the regular meeting on March 9, 2015, was acknowledged by the Board and approved as written.
The Financial Report for the month of March including Ft. Benning was provided to the Board. Motion was made and seconded to approve the reports. Motion carried.
Linda Sanders gave a brief update on the following activities conducted by Customer Service/Monthly Meter Reading:
Monthly Meter Reading Conversion Project
Several changes have been made in the Customer Service Department in preparation for the anticipated increase of customer inquiries during the months of April and May as we change over to monthly meter reading.
CWW worked with Media Marketing and More
CWW teams met weekly to determine the best plan
Customer Focus Groups
Key Stakeholder interviews
Bill inserts in March and April – Postcards and Rack Cards with FAQs
News Media – including video, television and newspaper
The following items have been implemented:
Take-a-Number System with electronic numbering viewer has been installed to ensure first come, first served.
An additional Call-Center, located at the Annex building, houses six trained temporary Customer Service Representatives for increased phone line capability. In addition, two previous CSR’s located in other departments will assist on the phone during peak hours.
Information monitors have been placed in the customer seating area and at the Cashier Station to ensure up-to-date information concerning AMR and FAQ’s.
An additional Customer Service “third station” has been added to assist walk-in customers as well as two front-line CSR’s will be available from the Main Lobby Call Center.
The Board acknowledged Ms. Sanders’ report.
Stacy Barnes gave a brief update on the following activities conducted by Meter Maintenance Department:
Service Order Performance Metrics
The following represents the “Most Requested Service Orders” for the department with corresponding completion targets. Our overall goal is to meet our target completion rates at a minimum of 90% for all customer requests.
# Of Request
# Completed on Time
% Completed on Time
Connection (24 hours)
Disconnects (24 hours)
Final Reads (24 hours)
Rereads (36 hours)
Meter Leaks (40 hours)
Work Order Trend
Work Orders Completed by Meter Maintenance
Non-Payment Disconnects 570
Unauthorized Usage – Meters Pulled 183
Meter/Street Leak Request 262
Misc. Orders (Connects, Disconnects, Rereads, General Maint.)
Total Numbers of Work Orders Completed 4,467
Average = 5,077
Automated Meter Reading
The Board acknowledged Mr. Barnes’ report.
Kevin White gave a brief update on the following activities conducted in the Engineering Department:
Malone Range North
This project is to extend water service from the Columbus/Ft. Benning distribution system to the North Malone Ranges on Ft. Benning.
Currently, potable water is trucked into these firing ranges via Water Buffaloes as the site is without its own source or connection to an existing system. These ranges are used on a daily basis, as they are an integral part of the Army’s Initial Entry (Basic) Training.
The total length of the system extension is 16,200 L.F.
On March 26, 2015, CWW received bids from three companies to perform this work in accordance with the engineering plans provided by Barge, Waggoner, Sumner, & Cannon.
The bids were publically opened and read as follows:
Whitfield Contractors LLC $424,939.00
Gordy Construction Co., Inc. $449,853.40
Crawford Grading & Pipeline $428,946.46
The engineer’s estimate was $500,732.00. The engineer has reviewed and tabulated the bids and recommends contract award to Whitfield Contractors LLC as the low responsive, responsible bidder, at the bid price of $424,939.00 (Funded via Ft. Benning Contract Modifications).
Staff requests Board approval to award the Malone Range-North Project to Whitfield Contractors LLC at the bid price of $424,939.00.
Motion was made and seconded authorizing Management to award the contract to Whitfield Contractors LLC at the bid price of $424,939.00. Motion carried.
Replace the current powergrid switchgear at the North Columbus Water Resource Facility
Included in the 2014-2015 Capital Improvement Plan approved in March of 2014
Replacement is needed due to:
Current equipment’s age, past failures, lack of parts availability, and the heavy reliance on this equipment operation.
This project is a design and install purchase of specialty equipment (Vista Switchgear)
Sole sourced to Georgia Power
Due to current maintenance agreement CWW has with Georgia Power
Staff has reviewed and recommends the Powergrid Switchgear contract award to Georgia Power/ Power Services at the price of $925,000.00 (Funded via 2014 Bond).
Staff requests Board approval to award the Powergrid Switchgear project to Power Services at the bid price of $925,000.00.
Motion was made and seconded authorizing Management to award the contract to Powergrid Switchgear Project to Power Services at the bid price of $925,000.00. Motion carried.
Jeremy Cummings gave a brief update on the following activities conducted by Field Services:
Cusseta Road Bridge
12-inch water main leak under Cusseta Road bridge
Leak was located between utility pipes and bridge making access to the pipe very difficult.
Leak was determined to be from the lead joint.
Field Services worked with the Engineering Department to design a proper and safe repair plan.
Mega lugs and rodding was installed to insure thrust protection was in place to prevent the new pipe from leaking
The work took two Water Distribution Teams working together to complete.
There was only one customer that was temporarily out of service while the repair was made.
The Board acknowledged Mr. Cummings’ report.
Vic Burchfield gave a brief update on the following activities conducted by Information Services, Environmental Compliance and Water Quality Management Departments:
CIS Requirements and Vendor Selection Project
CWW kicked off its CIS Requirements Definition and Vendor Selection project in January. CWW’s goals in a new CIS are to achieve Process Efficiency Gains, Productivity Improvements and Enhance Customer Service.
Develop Functional Requirements
CIS Project Team
Review Business Processes
Prepare Invitation to Bid (ITB) (June 2015)
Prepare for Vendor Demonstrations
Review Functional Requirements responses
Scope of Work Development
Rank and select final vendor(s)
Negotiations (October 2015)
Monthly Meter Reading Conversion Setup
Coordinated, tested and implemented the Customer Information System (CIS) code modifications required to support the monthly meter reading conversion project.
The IS Staff established a temporary call center capable of supporting eight addition customer service representatives to manage the anticipated increase in customer calls in relation to the monthly meter reading conversion.
The IS Staff also coordinated the acquisition and installation of two display monitors to share messaging about Automated Meter Reading with our customers.
A customer queue system was installed in the customer waiting area.
Phone system changes were made to accommodate additional call volumes.
All of these changes support the anticipated increase in customer traffic to the main office and provide both meter conversion and general customer service information.
Industrial Pretreatment Permitted Users Meeting
On January 30, 2015, CWW hosted an Industrial Pretreatment Permitted Users meeting to review the permit renewal and application process and the changes made to the upcoming permit. The meeting was well attended. This meeting helps tremendously in reducing the number of questions that arise during the permit renewal process and helps maintain good relations with the industries in Columbus. Permits are good for five years.
Backflow Prevention Exam
On February 19, 2015, CWW sponsored and hosted a State Exam for the certification of Backflow Prevention. Members of the ECD proctored the State Exam for the eight individuals who were taking the test. Most of those taking the exam were from CWW and the City of Columbus. The exam has a written portion that consists of 100 questions with a minimum score of 70 to pass. If the individual passes the written part of the exam, they must then pass a hands-on portion. The hands-on part of the exam requires them to successfully test three devices: a Pressure Vacuum Breaker, a Double Check and a Reduced Pressure Assembly.
Water Quality Monitoring
Water Laboratory Alliance (WLA)
WQM participated in a training session covering Water Laboratory Alliance (WLA) - Response Plan for handling emergency, natural or manmade disasters. The WLA is an EPA group that provides the Water Sector with an integrated nationwide network of laboratories. The Water Laboratory Alliance Response Plan (WLA-RP) is designed to assist WLA member laboratories with improving laboratory preparedness for response to natural, intentional, or unintentional water contamination incidents.
The Board acknowledged Mr. Burchfield’s report.
Becky Butts gave a brief update on the following activities conducted by Communication, Security, Community and Corporate Events:
, 2014 – CWW Hosted the Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency Medical Preparedness and Response to Bombing Incidents training
January 20-22 – CWW Hosted the Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency Emergency Operations Center Operations and Planning for All-Hazards course training
February 10-12 – CWW Hosted the Advance Intermediate Incident Command System for Expanding Incidents
December Bill Insert – Protecting the Environment by Recycling Fats, Oils, and Grease – Impressive Response to Stationary Grease Recycling Sites – Grease Recycling and Pharmaceutical Disposal Event (January 10, 2015) – Nationally Recognized for Excellence in Sustainable Management – Kids’ Corner… Taking Out the Trash
January Bill Insert – What Is Your Water Really Worth? – Value of Drinking Water – Low Income Credit Program – Protect Your Pipes – Kids’ Corner…Water Cycle
February Bill Insert – Protecting the Environment – Georgia Water Stewardship Act – Fix A Leak Week – Low Income Credit – Kids’ Corner…It’s Time To Test Your Water Sense!
Community & Corporate Events
December – Richards Middle School Annual Science Fair
December – CWW Partnered with Open Door Community House for the Christmas Holidays
January – Residential Grease Recycling & Pharmaceutical Disposal Event – Kmart Macon Road and Kmart Airport Thruway
January – Richards Middle School Annual Spelling Bee
February – 30
Annual Black History Observance Program
February – United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley Campaign Celebration
The Board acknowledged Ms. Butts’ report.
Savonne Monell gave a brief update on the following activities conducted by Strategic Planning and Employee Services:
Strategic Planning 2015 Mid-Cycle Review
The Cunningham Center for Leadership Development (CCLD) at Columbus State University facilitated CWW’s Mid-Cycle Review of the current five-year Strategic Plan.
The three planning sessions were designed to build on each previous session:
– During this “Visioning” session with members of Senior Staff, a priority list was developed to identify the strategic ideas for discussion in the following two sessions.
– This session included members from strategy teams, Senior Staff and department managers. A thorough review of the senior management priority list, online survey results and SWOT analysis was conducted to discuss progress and challenges of strategic initiatives.
– This session reviewed adjustments to projects, activities and initiatives, as well as recommendations for process improvements.
• A follow-up session has been scheduled for May 19. Strategy Team Leaders will present to Senior Staff the status of current Performance Work Plans (PWPs), as well as planned activities through Fiscal Years 2017/2018.
• After the completion of the Strategic Plan review, follow-up activities may include further discussions regarding potential adjustments to CWW’s strategic planning document and program processes.
Program and Training Activities:
• Accident Investigation – Safety Training
• “Retirement Strategies for Women” – Retirement Planning Seminar Series
• Annual Alcohol & Drug Awareness Training - Mandated Policy Training
• “Lead Different” – Servant Leadership Program
• “Identity Theft and Recovery” – Financial Planning Seminar Series
• Confined Space Training– Safety Training
• Chattahoochee Valley Community College Career Fair – Recruitment Program
• Blanchard Elementary Career Day – Recruitment Program
• Harassment Awareness Training – Mandated Policy Training
• New Employee Orientation – Recruitment Program
• Accountability and Workers’ Compensation Training – Safety Training
Quarter Personnel Actions:
• Promotions: 3
• Hires: 7
• Total Employees (FTE): 273
The Board acknowledged Ms. Monell’s report.
John Peebles gave a brief update on the following activities conducted by Water Resource Operations and Managed Maintenance:
Quarterly Flow Comparison
North Columbus Water Resources Facility Solids Dewatering
Plate & Frame Press started up in 1989 (26 years ago)
Press consists of 121 membrane filter plates for dewatering solids and forming dried cake (30% solids)
Press is no longer manufactured and parts are difficult to obtain:
• Steel rubber coated plates are no longer available
• Rubber membranes are available from only one company
• Filter cloths are available
Steel plates require recoating or replacement through time
Historically, the plates were shipped to Europe for recoating – no longer an option
Currently working with a supplier for a solution to modify the press to be able to use polypropylene plates
2018 CIP includes a major rehab of the press to extend the life by 20 years
By 2038 consider total replacement alternatives
ZAPS Water Quality Monitoring
ZAPS LiquID unit at the NCWRF intake has been running for over a year and a half
Unit at the FBWTP intake was installed 6 months ago and the commissioning phase was recently completed
Both units are monitored through SCADA continuously and have assisted process control adjustments made for algae, turbidity, pH, TOC.
ZAPs unit will provide an early warning and equipment shutdown on set constituent parameters
Currently, the FBWTP unit is set to provide a warning alarm/email at 50ppm of Hydrocarbon and an automatic raw water pump shutdown at 100ppm (sustained for 5 minutes)
Hydrocarbon was selected as the most likely constituent of concern due to the tank farm located at the State Docks.
SCWRF Methane Gas Holding Cover
Replaced the level sensor on top of the outer dome – built-in heater to combat condensation
Performed with in-house maintenance staff and completed professionally and safely
The Board acknowledged Mr. Peebles’ report.
President Davis provided the following items of information to the Board:
Gwen Ruff received a thank you letter from Sallie Martin, 2014 Campaign Chair, with the United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley for her part in making the “Heroic” Campaign such a success.
President Davis received a thank you letter from Donnie Young, Loan Executive Chair, with the United Way thanking Carl Corley for participating in the Loaned Executive Program.
There being no further business the meeting adjourned.
Emory E. Blount, Secretary