May/June 2017 - In This Issue:
Sharing Our Key Initiatives
SVCW General Manager
Our annual budget (see story in this newsletter) provides an opportunity for us to share our key achievements during the past year (see later in this newsletter) and our management goals for each division that together advance SVCW objectives.
Following are the key initiatives for 2017-18 (partial list):
- Build a robust energy efficiency program to maximize use of generated bio-gas, including new measures such as battery storage and photo-voltaic systems. The program will seek to maximize private-public partnerships, grants and low cost loans.
- Use the Design-Build procurement method in instances whereby projects would benefit from value-based selection and partnerships.
- Seek opportunities for partnerships with private industry and universities to progress wastewater treatment technologies that would provide benefit to SVCW.
- Cooperate with Bay Area Clean Water Agencies (BACWA) to advance the science of San Francisco Bay as relates to nutrients to inform the need for wastewater facilities to reduce nutrient loading.
- Seek opportunities for recycled water partnerships, including indirect and direct potable reuse with water purveyors and other wastewater agencies.
- Expand on the Invent aeration mixer pilot project by installing energy-saving mixers in all remaining aeration basins.
- Investigate the benefits of reducing the number of fixed film reactors in service which may improve treatment efficiencies, reduce odors, and save energy costs.
- Optimize chemical usage and seek price improvements to reduce costs while maintaining compliance.
- Focus on a current equipment inventory update in the Computerized Maintenance Monitoring System (CMMS), including new assets acquired as CIP projects.
- Complete the installation of new turbidity meters on the "A" side Dual Media Filters (DMF's) along with new pressure transducer units to enhance the operation of the filters based upon differential pressure. This would decrease filter backwashing frequency and potentially reduce energy.
- Reevaluate local limits associated with the SVCW NPDES permit, scheduled for renewal in 2017. A standard NPDES requirement is to reevaluate local limits as needed.
- Assist Operations and Engineering with a hydrogen sulfide study to determine the impact of the member agencies on the new gravity sewer project. This will provide valuable information to the Engineering Division to specify odor/corrosion control systems to protect the new conveyance system.
- Research and prepare for regulatory oversight changes for California Certified Laboratories from the CA Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP) to the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (NELAP). The State of California is preparing to adopt the NELAP Standards which requires a higher level of documentation and accountability to the laboratory methods and procedures.
- Create a computer and server-level infrastructure to allow the Records Retention policy to be implemented.
- Continue with cyber-security measures including at remote pump stations.
Administrative and Finance:
- Conduct a recruiting and transition process for two key positions to ensure uninterrupted workflow.
- Negotiate new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) terms with representatives of the International Union of Operating Engineers AFL-CIO (Stationary Engineers, Local 39) prior to its June 30, 2018 expiration.
- Define, configure, and implement effective audit techniques to monitor and report on Capital Improvement Project (CIP) construction expenditures.
Commission Approves 2017-2018 Budget
The SVCW Commission has adopted the agency's 2017-2018 Fiscal year annual operating and capital budgets.
The budget outlines the amount of revenue needed to provide for expenditures required for the operation, maintenance, administration and compliance monitoring requirements of the Authority.
Furthermore, the Budget identifies other cash flow requirements for non-financed capital
projects, debt service, and cash reserve designations.
The budget provides $23.29 million for net operating expenditures. It also accommodates $1.55 million for revenue-funded capital and $2.03 million towards cash reserves to incorporate Commission-adopted policy. Finally, SVCW debt service is projected to be $12.35 million.
The operating budget of $ 23,912,933 is broken down in these categories:
- Personnel $14,801,899
- Utilities $ 1,777,011
- Administrative Expenses $448,151
- Equipment & Supplies Expense $2,617,471
- Chemicals $1,377,005
- Professional & Contractual Services $2,524,456
- Training, Memberships, Travel $366,940
Utilities costs are decreasing by $114,000 (6%), despite an anticipated 10% increase in PG&E rates. Electricity demand is reduced as SVCW replaces inefficient motors and machinery, savings estimated at $238,000 next year. Additionally, cogeneration engines have performed well and are expected to contribute an additional $279,000 in savings next year.
The budget includes capital expenditures outside of the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) consisting of 15 projects at a total estimated cost of $1.55 million.
Significant projects include approximately $567,000 to address timeworn valves at pump stations and the Flow Equalization Facility. It was determined that these valves are inoperable and cannot await pump station rehabilitations scheduled for 2022. Phase 2 of the pump station valve replacements will occur in FY 2018-19. Approximately $420,000 is needed to invest in drying bed equipment to improve the efficiency of biosolids handling, as well as $123,000 to replace certain pieces of technology equipment.
SVCW has raised approximately $217 million through debt to fund CIP projects. In addition, Member Entities have contributed $27 million of cash in lieu of participating in SVCW debt. As of January 2017, remaining CIP project expenditures are approximately $590 million.
The January 2017 Long Range Financial Plan considered remaining CIP expenditures, their timing, and available sources of funds to recommend a debt structure that uses a hybrid combination of governmental loans and public bonds.
Debt service payments will increase in FY 2017-18 as repayment begins on a State Revolving Fund Loan associated with treatment plant upgrades. In addition, in the fall of 2017, SVCW expects to issue wastewater revenue bonds, with a currently estimated net value of $45 million, to support ongoing CIP projects. Annual debt service payments in FY 2017-18 are estimated at $12.35 million.
John D. Seybert,
Redwood City Council
West Bay Sanitary District Board
San Carlos City Council
Belmont City Council
Each year, SVCW management sets goals to ensure its communities' wastewater is conveyed and treated in a safe and dependable manner. Key achievements during the past year include (partial list):
- Treated approximately 5.3 billion gallons of water in 2016 while meeting regulatory standards.
- Produced 3,490 dry tons of biosolids that are beneficially reused for soil amendments and composting.
- Continued uninterrupted treatment plant operations while large construction projects were being undertaken:
- Primary Sedimentation Tanks 3 & 4 upgrades.
- Cleaned and rehabilitated Digester 3.
- Standby Generator 4 & 5 installation.
- Redwood City Pump Station replacement of Reinforced Concrete pipe with HDPE pipe.
- Effluent Outfall pipeline replacement
- Participated with Engineering Division and Kennedy Jenks Engineering in California Energy Commission Food Waste Study.
- Completed large, multi-year and multi-process automation of the treatment plant's solids processing facilities. Automation of these processes enables Operations staff to monitor and optimize the processing of solids. This will reduce maintenance costs, downtime, and enable more efficient operations.
- Participated in the creation of a Memorandum of Understanding with water partners to study the feasibility of developing potable reuse as a new water supply for the region.
- Received a $2 million grant award to demonstrate the water recovery and energy savings provided by a Staged Anaerobic Fluidized-bed Membrane Bioreactor or SAFMBR ("SAFE" MBR).
- Addressed and relieved three emergency conditions: Redwood City Pump Station, Outfall pipeline, and Information Services servers. Addressed a near-emergency: Gravity Thickener failures.
- Increased plant electrical reliability by constructing two new standby generators.
- Collaborated with Operations Division to bring screening facilities to the Grease Receiving Station, evaluating costs to feed into discharge fee to haulers, resulting in increased amounts of grease being received and higher biogas production.
- Completed 9,167 corrective and preventative maintenance work orders to ensure systems reliably operate in all facilities.
- Utilized internal staff to make programming logic changes that improve the process reliability of recycled water, automate the returned activated sludge control, automate fixed film reactor operations, automated aeration dissolved oxygen control system, and reutilize hot water from the cogeneration system for digester and building heat.
- Rehabilitated San Carlos Pump Station sewage pumps suction piping.
- Performed 127 industrial sampling events to ensure compliance with federal and local Limit Permitting requirements.
- Partnered with lab staff to perform 80 pump station sampling events to gather the data for the SVCW Flow and Loading Report. This sampling is required to determine member agency loading
- Led a Community Outreach Program to reach 2100 students through the Sewer Science and elementary school programs, 326 people attended plant tours and approximately 300 people were contacted with informational flyers/word of mouth at the SVCW Outreach Booth during two Earth Day Fairs.
- Processed more than 10,000 samples with 25,000 tests to generate 68,000 data points in support of plant operations, permit regulations, Environmental Services, and customer projects.
- Expanded the list of certified test methods to include orthophosphate, nitrite, and nitrate by Ion Chromatography. These analytics are critical to tracking nutrient removal at the treatment plant. Testing in-house shortens turn-around time and reduces costs when compared to using a contract laboratory.
- Conducted more than 16 health and safety trainings to SVCW staff during the year. A key component of SVCW safety programs, training ensures employees know how to do their job safely and reduces risk exposure.
- Staff was highly involved with Water ISAC (Information Sharing and Analysis Center), which leverages Homeland Security directives to analyze threat data from the federal government level that could affect the water/wastewater communities.
- Built a failover system for the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system by replacing and configuring network switches. Now, in the event of a disastrous system outage, plant Operations Division staff can continue to collect plant data and control equipment.
Administration & Finance:
- Submitted a Letter of Interest to the Environmental Protection Agency to request a $194 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan.
- Closed a low-cost financing agreement with the State Water Resource Control Board that finances $14 million in environmental and preliminary planning activities associated with the Conveyance Project.
- With the upcoming retirement of the Administrative Services Director, worked towards distributing her duties to existing staff. Trained a new Human Resources Director, ensuring enough overlap existed for knowledge transfer. Transferred Commission support and agenda preparation to the Administrative Assistant.