Category Archives: General News

The Flow Monthly Newsletter – Issue 4 – December 2017

Beginning in September 2017, the BGJWSC is now publishing a monthly newsletter in a low-cost effort to guarantee that the news most relevant to you will be distributed with your billing statement each month. When necessary, news too long to print will be presented in a brief edition with more information referenced with a link to our website.

The latest edition, set to go out next week, is pictured below:

 

 

This edition and previous editions are available for download below in Adobe Acrobat PDF format:
The_Flow_Newsletter_Issue_4_December_2017

The_Flow_Newsletter_Issue_3_November_2017

The_Flow_Newsletter_Issue_2_October_2017

The_Flow_Newsletter_Issue_1_September_2017

If you would like to see information published in The Flow or on our website, please feel free to contact me.

Jay Sellers
Public Information Officer
912-261-7123
jsellers@bgjwsc.org

BGJWSC Commission Approves Refinancing of Existing Bond

At a special called meeting held on November 29, 2017 the Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission unanimously approved a refinancing of its outstanding revenue bonds issued in June of 2010.

By taking advantage of lower interest rates and removing a requirement to hold cash in a reserve fund, the total outstanding debt was reduced by $1.1 million dollars and the total interest decreased by $6.4 million dollars. The total resulting savings for the refinance is $7.5 million dollars.

In early 2017, JWSC had begun planning to refinance existing 2010 bonds and to secure new bond debt for critical SPLOST project completion needs as well as for wastewater plant improvements. To that end the JWSC issued an RFP for financial advisors to guide the JWSC through bonding efforts. Davenport & Company were selected.

Refunding of the 2010 bonds had been planned for the spring of 2018 in conjunction with issuing additional bonds.  However, in mid-November, Davenport & Company notified the JWSC that the pending tax reform bills in Congress would likely eliminate any savings from refunding after December 31, 2017.The JWSC, staff, financial/bond advisors and bond council worked together and were able to quickly complete the refunding to take advantage of the savings resulting from lower interest rates.

Davenport, in conjunction with JWSC, issued an RFP for refunding the existing 2010 bonds. Eight financial institutions provided refinance offers. Sterling National provided the best proposal which has been acted on. Because of the strong governance by the JWSC Board of Commissioners, proactive management, and the financial strength of the JWSC, the requirement of maintaining a cash trust account or reserve requirement of $3.8 million dollars was removed in the refunding.  This allows the JWSC to utilize those funds and the annual interest savings productively to fund necessary capital repairs and replacements to the water and sewer systems.

The public meeting in which the decision was made by the commission can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEUjSFxP0xw&feature=youtu.be&t=4

BGJWSC Participates in Water Loss Audit Program

On April 20, 2017, the BGJWSC entered into an agreement with the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) to enable our community to receive water loss technical assistance. This audit, which is being provided at no cost to our utility, our rate payers, or our community, will enable us to determine areas of concern within our water distribution system. We will then be able to develop a priority for future capital improvement projects to make repairs to our aging infrastructure.

GEFA, an integral part of our Georgia state government, invited our utility to apply for this program on January 24, 2017 and we are honored to have been selected as a recipient of this technical assistance from the federal Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. The primary aim of this national program is to assist local utilities with reducing water loss, thereby reducing our monthly operating costs, a savings that will ultimately be passed on to our rate payers.

The water loss audit will be performed by Matchpoint, Inc. of Wilmington, NC. You may see one of their vehicles, pictured below, as they make their way throughout our system over the coming weeks. The survey will include mains, hydrants and service connections up to your meter box. Please be aware that they are not making any repairs to our system at this time but will notify our staff of any leaks or other problems that they find through the course of the audit.

Questions concerning this project can be sent to Jay Sellers at jsellers@bgjwsc.org.

Strategic Plan 2017

The Vision Forward – A Message from Executive Director Jimmy Junkin

In the last twelve months, the BGJWSC has begun the process of becoming more strategic in its path to providing the best service possible at the lowest cost practical. The BGJWSC has adopted ten core attributes to guide the future process of continuous improvement for our utility. These attributes are essential to the sustainable efficient operation of a utility. They are closely aligned with the attributes of private sector businesses which include physical operations of fixed assets in their day-to-day business activities. These attributes for effective utility management (EUM) were developed in 2008 and updated in March, 2017, by a 10-partner coalition including representatives of public and private sector utilities and state agencies that provide water and wastewater services around the U.S.

Developing a more strategic approach to the management of the BGJWSC to allow it to be managed and measured more like a business is the key to our vision of being a best in class utility operation. Certainly, we have many concerns from infrastructure condition and capacity needs to billing software implementation conflicts and a lack of customer service responsiveness.

All these concerns represent challenges but they also represent opportunities. The BGJWSC has made great strides in hiring and developing key personnel who have skill sets which will facilitate achieving our future vision. Recently, the staff held a “future vision” workshop with the BGJWSC Board of Commissioners. This workshop went into key infrastructure issues and future asset management directives for our utility.

The BGJWSC commissioners and management team met on the morning of Thursday, October 19, 2017 in a public meeting where the high points of this newly developed strategic planning mission were discussed. To learn more, the recording of that meeting is available below along with resource documents that have been vital to development of the strategic plan.

Useful References:

Presentation Video: https://youtu.be/PnZWZo2MmS0

PowerPoint Presentation: EUM_Strategic_Plan_BGJWSC_kv_10-18-17

The Water EUM Coalition: http://www.watereum.org/

WEF Effective Utility Management Primer Announcement: http://news.wef.org/wef-joins-in-updating-effective-utility-management-primer/

Download the Primer Document: https://www.amwa.net/sites/default/files/EUM%20PRIMER%20FINAL%20Jan:2017.pdf

Ten Attributes of Effectively Managed Water Sector Utilities: http://www.watereum.org/resources/interactive-primer/ten-attributes/

Keys to Management Success: http://www.watereum.org/resources/interactive-primer/keys-to-success/

 

 

All-Clear for All Water and Sewer Systems – Friday, September 15, 2017

All Water and Sewer Service Systems Are Now Active for Brunswick and St. Simons Island

For the few remaining pumping stations that are not yet online, work is underway now at a rapid pace. These stations are in limited use and at very limited risk of contributing to overflows. We are confident that the remaining work can be managed over the next forty-eight hours and will continue to monitor all stations to ensure that we have accommodated the excess demand presented by the storm surge and ground water intrusion.

As such, the sanitary sewer overflows were widespread but contained very dilute and minimal human waste. Testing at our state-certified lab at our treatment plants indicate that the waste flowing to the plants contained more than three to four times the level of ground water and sea water normally expected, giving us confidence that the waste viewed coming out of manholes will be unharmful having now been exposed to sunlight. Also, coming rainwater will drain residue to the storm system. If locations are found where conditions are different than those described, we will address those concerns on a case-by-case basis in an expedient manner.

Have you signed up to receive our emergency notifications regarding service outages or boil water advisories? Please click here to subscribe: http://www.bgjwsc.org/subscribe-to-updates/

Our emergency updates are independent from the CodeRED system used by Glynn County. As we only have 709 subscribers in this new service at the moment, this system would have been ineffective for this event. Please subscribe now and help this become a more viable solution in the future.

Thanks again for your patience and understanding.

Jay Sellers, Public Information Officer

 

Hurricane Irma Strict Water & Sewer Conservation Plan Update 3 – Friday, September 15, 2017

Due to the significant power losses sustained in the area from Hurricane Irma, some customers of the Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water & Sewer Commission continue to be under a strict water & sewer service conservation plan, except in the Exit 29/Southport area. Georgia Power has been diligently working to restore electricity to residences, businesses and critical infrastructure yet our wastewater collection system is still without power at 30% of our pumping stations as of 9:00 AM today. Local and state partners have provided much-needed resources, such as generators and fuel, and we will continue to work hard to restore sewer services system-wide.

If you have BGJWSC water service but have a septic tank, you are no longer under water restrictions. The early efforts to prevent excess strain on the water distribution system are complete. Thanks to everybody’s hard work, we didn’t have any pressure drops that would have prompted the need for a boil water advisory. Many thanks to you all for that.

If you live or have a business in the Exit 29/Southport area, all water and sewer systems are available.

If you live or have a business on St. Simons Island or Mainland Brunswick, we still have about 30% of our pumping stations offline waiting for power to be energized. Thanks in advance for your patience.

For residents and businesses on mainland Brunswick, aside from the Exit 29 area, and St. Simons Island, you are still under water and sewer restrictions in certain areas until all pumping stations have been energized and tested.

Water restrictions for those connected to our system will be in affect until an all-clear message has been posted here.

Certain customers have reached out to staff to confirm service availability. Those customers can have confidence that their service is safe to use.

I’ll also post neighborhood names at http://www.bgjwsc.org/outage since the outage map doesn’t make it that precisely clear that service is available and we want to give you confidence. Please check that page now to see if your neighborhood is listed. I’ll be updating it in real-time, so hit refresh until you see your neighborhood listed.

Those that have not communicated with us via email or Facebook can email us at outage@bgjwsc.org to confirm sewer service availability. Response time may be many hours depending on the volume. Please contact now if services are critical to public health but please wait until later in the day if services are not critical as many more sites will be up by the end of the day.

Businesses that serve food must have authorization from Department of Public Health (DPH) or Department of Agriculture (USDA) to open. DPH and USDA staff will reach out to BGJWSC staff to get confirmation of service availability. If you see a business open and serving food, that authorization has either already been given or that business may be in for a surprise when the inspector shows up today.

For those businesses that we were forced to shut down without giving advance notice, I send my personal sincere apology. This emergency measure was necessary to minimize sanitary sewer overflows. We’ll be very active in coordinating with Glynn County and City of Brunswick Police and Code Enforcement personnel to confirm your service availability and get you back in business as quickly as we can.

Have you signed up to receive our emergency notifications regarding service outages or boil water advisories? Please click here to subscribe: http://www.bgjwsc.org/subscribe-to-updates/

Our emergency updates are independent from the CodeRED system used by Glynn County. As we only have 656 subscribers in this new service at the moment, this system would have been ineffective for this event. Please subscribe now and help this become a more viable solution.

More details regarding the water and sewer restrictions are available here: http://www.bgjwsc.org/hurricane-irma-strict-water-sewer-conservation-plan-update-2-thursday-september-14-2017/

Thanks in advance for your patience and understanding.

Jay Sellers, Public Information Officer

Hurricane Irma Strict Water & Sewer Conservation Plan Update 2 – Thursday, September 14, 2017

Due to the significant power losses sustained in the area from Hurricane Irma, all customers of the Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water & Sewer Commission continue to be under a strict water & sewer service conservation plan. Georgia Power has been diligently working to restore electricity to residences, businesses and critical infrastructure yet our wastewater collection system is still without power at 45% of our pumping stations as of 12:00 PM today. Local and state partners have provided much-needed resources, such as generators and fuel, and we will continue to work hard to restore sewer services system-wide.

At this time, no district in our system is under a boil water advisory. The water is safe to drink according to established standards.

The following measures must be followed by all citizens to preserve the integrity of our systems, promote public health, and ensure protection of the environment.

  • No showers or baths should be taken.
  • Toilets should not be flushed if at all possible.
  • Sink use should be extremely limited.
  • Do not run dish washer or washing machines.

At this time, the following recommendations are being added to the previous conservation plan posted on Wednesday, September 13, 2017.

  • Please stay off the road if you can. The safety of our crews is becoming a challenge.
  • Any restaurant that you see open has been approved by the Department of Public Health only after we have confirming sewer service is available.
  • There are many, many reports of sanitary sewer overflows, especially at manholes. Stop using water if you can until all services have been restored.
  • Please avoid automatic car washes: they’re adding to the problem.
  • Staff has begun communicating with high volume water users, such as commercial laundry, coin op laundry and dry cleaners, to determine if they are in sewer basins that are sensitive to overflow.

You can view the report below (previous reports had only been used in the Emergency Operations Center) and also click on the outage dashboard on the banner of our website. Please don’t accept any word you get second hand or through social media as definitive. This problem is not over yet and the systems will only become more fragile as masses of citizens arrive back home.

 

This water conservation policy shall apply for the next 48 hours, from noon on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 until noon on Friday, September 15, 2017, or until further notice has been posted on the BGJWSC website.

The staff and management of the BGJWSC understand the hardship this places upon you and your family but we must all work together to make sure that the entire community can be restored to normalcy as quickly as possible.

Hurricane Irma Strict Water & Sewer Conservation Plan Update – Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Due to the significant power losses sustained in the area from Hurricane Irma, all customers of the Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water & Sewer Commission continue to be under a strict water & sewer service conservation plan. Georgia Power has been diligently working to restore electricity to residences, businesses and critical infrastructure yet our wastewater collection system is still without power at 75% of our pumping stations.

The following measures must be followed by all citizens to preserve the integrity of our systems, promote public health, ensure protection of the environment, and guarantee that available water and sewer capacity can meet the needs of the residents that did not evacuate and our present first responders:

  • No showers or baths should be taken.
  • Toilets should not be flushed if at all possible.
  • Sink use should be extremely limited.
  • Do not run dish washer or washing machines.

You may find that you have water pressure now but that pressure may be intermittent or go away completely due to the lack of available water in the distribution system. If any water is drained from the hot water tank, please turn off the breaker that supplies power in case power is restored before water service has been.

This water conservation policy shall apply for the next 48 hours, from noon on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 until noon on Friday, September 15, 2017, or until further notice has been posted on the BGJWSC website.

The staff and management of the BGJWSC understand the hardship this places upon you and your family but we must all work together to make sure that the entire community can be restored to normalcy as quickly as possible.

Hurricane Irma Strict Water & Sewer Conservation Plan

Due to the significant power losses sustained in the area from Hurricane Irma, all customers of the Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water & Sewer Commission are now under a strict water & sewer service conservation plan. Estimates by Georgia Power place restoration of electrical services to begin no sooner than tomorrow morning, Tuesday, September 12, 2017. The following measures must be followed by all citizens to preserve the integrity of our systems, promote public health, ensure protection of the environment, and guarantee that available water and sewer capacity can meet the needs of the residents that did not evacuate and our present first responders:

  • No showers or baths should be taken.
  • Toilets should not be flushed if at all possible.
  • Sink use should be extremely limited.
  • Do not run dish washer or washing machines.

You may find that you have water pressure now but that pressure may be intermittent or go away completely due to the lack of available water in the distribution system. If any water is drained from the hot water tank, please turn off the breaker that supplies power in case power is restored before water service has been.

This water conservation policy shall apply for the next 48 hours, from noon on Monday, September 11, 2017 until noon on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, or until further notice has been posted on the BGJWSC website.

The staff and management of the BGJWSC understand the hardship this places upon you and your family but we must all work together to make sure that the entire community can be restored to normalcy as quickly as possible.