May 25, 2017 Meeting Minutes

Location: City of Bloomington Utilities, Conference Room, 6:30 PM

Attendees: Sherry Mitchell Bruker, Vic Kelson, Dave Simcox, Patty  Dennison, Richard Harris, Mary Madore, Kevin Dogan, Phil Sharp, Alice Sharp, Howard Webb, Ellen Popodi, Barbara Restle, Sara Tracey, Rich Nourie, Mark Gehlhausen, Hans Kelson, Patrick Dunigan

Sherry Mitchell Bruker opened the meeting at approximately 6:35. All attendees introduced themselves and told why they were in attendance.

Treasurer’s Report: Richard Harris gave the Treasurer’s report. FOLM currently has a balance of $240. There were no expenditures in May.

Sherry discussed the Hoosier-to-Hoosier volunteer opportunity and asked if anyone was interested in participating. HtH is an annual rummage sale held in August. Volunteer groups are paid $10/hr for a set number of hours for participating in the sale. Dave Simcox has already begun organizing an effort for FOLM to participate.

Sherry discussed FOLM’s possible interest in partnering with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the City of Bloomington Utilities (CBU) in a TNC Water Fund. Water Funds exist world-wide.  In a Water Fund, downstream users pay for upstream improvements of water quality. A Water Fund grant would provide funding for a feasibility study to determine if a Water Fund was viable. One meeting has been held with interested parties, and another meeting is scheduled in June to determine if the timing is right to pursue a Water Fund, and if the prospective partners are a good match for this endeavor.

Sherry briefly discussed the FOLM webpage constructed by Lily Bonwich and mentioned that it is the best place to go for FOLM updates and information.

Stakeholders: Patty Dennison briefly discussed FOLM’s stakeholder initiative. FOLM is currently identifying potential stakeholders and beginning the process of reaching out to potential partners. Mary Madore is assisting, and asked if anyone in the audience might be interested in helping. Mary mentioned that helping out was a good way to meet people. Ellen Popodi mentioned that she may be interested in helping.

Mary mentioned that she has been working with Erin Martin, an IU SPEA grad student, on testing Bloomington tap water to see if there was an observable difference in disinfectant by products (DBPs) between home filtered and unfiltered water. Erin’s results show a reduction of total trihalomethanes (TTHM’s) from 30 ppb to 4 ppb using a PUR faucet -mounted filter. She plans to collect and test more water samples once she's comfortable with the procedure they're using for haloacetic acids (HAA5).

Legislative Update: Dave Simcox wants to start a conversation about what kind of legislative initiatives may be available for protecting the lake. Can we partner with city, county, and state officials to find legislative solutions for lake enhancement? Stay tuned for more…

Logging on Shadyside Drive: Dave Simcox discussed a planned timber harvest on Shadyside Drive near the lake. This area is a broad peninsula of approximately 250 acres just south of the CBU water intake. FOLM, and several in attendance are concerned about erosion that might occur if timbering is conducted on the steep slopes surrounding the lake. The land is owned by an absentee owner (Joe Huff) who lives in Greenwood, IN. Specific details about the harvest and ultimate use of the  property are unknown. Vic Kelsen mentioned that CBU is aware of the harvest and is looking into it, but its ability to intervene is limited. The county has some ability to require a permit for parts of the planned harvest, but similar to the city, its role may be more advisory than regulatory. Howard Webb mentioned that the logging, although a potential threat, might provide an opportunity to study the effects of the timber cut. Several in attendance met after the regular meeting to discuss the situation in more detail, and agreed to meet at the home of Paul and Alice Sharp (who were in attendance and live on Shadyside) on Monday, May 29 to look at the planned timber cut and further assess the situation.

Upcoming Events: (Sherry) Saturday June 3, Watershed Tour. May 29 signup deadline. Sherry described the tour and the planned stops (Stillwater Marsh, Town of Nashville Wastewater Treatment Plant, Stonehead Nature Preserve (lunch), Maumee, and the Lake Monroe Dam). The tour is a good opportunity to help understand the scale of the watershed, and to see some of the significant landmarks.

Saturday,  June 17: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers open house. Dave Cable will discuss lake/dam history, jurisdiction, etc., and give a tour of the dam tower. Sign up on FOLM’s website.

July 4 Parade: Mary Madore and Lily Bonwich (and others?) will march in the Bloomington July 4 parade. FOLM has ordered a banner for the occasion, and participants may wear fish hats. Bring the kiddies.

July 13 City of Bloomington Utilities treatment plant tour: Vic Kelsen will lead a tour of the water treatment plant. What an opportunity! Tour limited to 25. Sign up early. Vic mentioned that CBU would host additional tours in the future.

Sept. 2: CBU will celebrate 50 years of service at the Farmer’s Market. Displays, etc.

Guest Speaker, Vic Kelson, CBU: Vic stated that CBU was glad to work in partnership with  FOLM, and to make their conference room available for meetings. He explained: CBU manages water, wastewater, and stormwater. Facilities include the Monroe Treatment Plant, 420 miles of water mains, 350 miles of sewer mains, 6000 fire hydrants, Blucher Pool and Dillman Rd. treatment plants. His remarks at the meeting focused primarily on water supply.

CBU uses chlorine (hypochlorite) to kill microorganisms and disinfect the water. Giardia and cryptosporidium are the most resistant and of the most concern. A residual of approx. 1 ppm of chlorine is required in the treated water to disinfect.  In the past several years, CBU has encountered disinfectant byproducts (DBPs) that have caused problems and increased monitoring by CBU.  Haloacetic acids (also known as HAA5), and  Trihalomethanes (TTHM) are a group of chemicals that are formed along with other DBPs when chlorine used to control microbial contaminants in drinking water react with naturally occurring organic and inorganic matter in water.  The presence of total organic carbon and dissolved organic carbon (TOC/DOC) in Lake Monroe water result in higher HAA5 and TTHM concentrations. Algae and other organic matter in the raw water are sources of TOC/DOC. In general, late summer and warm water conditions result in more algae and higher TOC/DOC concentrations. TTHM has a maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 80 ppb, and HAA5 has an MCL of 60 ppb. Consuming water (2 liters per day over the course of a lifetime) that exceeds an MCL can theoretically result in one additional cancer out of one million exposed people. This is considered a one in a million risk. Although HAA5 and TTHM have exceeded their MCL on a few sampling occasions, CBU has never exceeded the MCL on a 12 month rolling average, which is how the U.S. EPA regulates safe drinking water. CBU began quarterly monitoring for HAA5 and TTHM in 2013, and switched to monthly monitoring in 2016.

Vic mentioned that CBU continues to diligently monitor DBPs in the water supply, and that there are ongoing pilot projects to address problems. Other comments: Vic expects raw water organics to continue to increase in the future. He stated that a source water protection program is needed. CBU may consider taking water from different elevations in the lake. If problems persist or worsen,  CBU  may consider using a different disinfectant than chlorine in the future.

Thank you, Vic, for your presentation.

Feedback: Sherry ask for feedback from the group on the meetings. One attendee suggested that the meetings may be too long at two hours. He also asked if the presentations could be made available online. Sherry mentioned that having meetings broadcast on public access TV may be an option. One attendee suggested that making transportation available might be helpful, or at least notifying the public that Bloomington Transit has a bus stop at the CBU facility.

Possible future speakers: Michael Chavez, U.S. Forest Service, manager of the Hoosier National Forest. Richard Harris, to speak about his experience at the Indiana Watershed Leadership Academy.

Meeting adjourned at approximately 8:30.