Category Archives: General News

Public Emergency Notification System is Now Available

The BGJWSC has begun using a Public Emergency Notification System for immediate mass communications of emergency information.

Effective at 8:00 am on Thursday, June 22, 2017, all boil water advisory alerts, unexpected road closures and unplanned service outages will be communicated to subscribers using this emergency notification system. This system, produced by Everbridge, Inc., will allow the public to set up multiple means of communication, including text, land-line phone message, cell phone message and email. If we fail to reach you using one method, the system will automatically roll over to the next method until you confirm receipt of the message. A brief introduction of this system is available in the orientation video below:

Existing customers that have provided an email address will receive an email to confirm their preferences for the service once their data has been put into the system. However, please feel free to register now, if you wish, as this data migration may take some time.

Those of you that have previously received emergency notifications via email from our online subscription service will find that system will be phased out by the end of August, 2017 at which time all emergency notifications will be sent out via this Public Emergency Notification System. All non-emergency notifications will continue to be sent via the website email system, as outlined on the Subscribe to Updates page on our website.

I’m standing by to assist if you have any questions on how to make the transition or if you have questions about how to register for the new Public Emergency Notification System.

Sincerely,

Jay Sellers, Public Information Officer
jsellers@bgjwsc.org
912.261.7123

Sanitary Sewer Overflow on St. Simons Island – June 9, 2017

Update 6/12/2017 at 9:41: A map has been added below to indicate the affected area. More details as to the cause of the spill and the results have also been added.

The Brunswick Glynn Joint Water & Sewer Commission, operating under NPDES Permit GA0025313 in accordance with aforesaid permit and DNR Regulation 391-3-6-05 Emergency Actions, hereby make public notification of a wastewater spill that was reported on Friday, June 9, 2017 from an electrical failure at sanitary sewer pumping station 2023.

Date of Spill: 6/9/2017

Time: 10:00 AM

Location of Spill:
Gascoigne Lodge
1000 New Sea Island Road
St. Simons Island, Georgia 31522

Cause of Spill:  An apparent electrical equipment malfunction at sanitary sewer pumping station 2023 at 43 Kings Way caused the sewer system to surcharge and overflow at a manhole at 1000 New Sea Island Road behind apartment 9.

Estimated Volume of Discharge: >10,000 Gallons. Historical flow estimates at this pumping station place the discharge in the area of 10,000 to 20,000 gallons, though the volume of rain over the previous week may have led to a high concentration of ground water in that discharge.

State Waters Discharged: Gascoigne Pond

Corrective Action Taken: JWSC personnel repaired the electrical equipment malfunction at pumping station 2023 at 43 Kings Way and the station was brought back to working order. The JWSC spread lime on the affected area of the shoreline, approximately 6 square feet. The JWSC is also are running two bypass pumps in Gascoigne Pond to aerate the affected receiving waters. The JWSC laboratory will continue to test this area.

Regulatory Compliance: Signs were placed along the immediately affected areas to indicate the presence of a sanitary sewer overflow (SSO). The Environmental Protection Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources was notified, along with local authorities and the Glynn County Health Department District Environmental Health Manager.

Immediate Results and Investigation: As of 8:44 on Monday morning, June 12, 2017, pumping station 2023 is functioning properly again. The Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) communications equipment has been replaced and tested using a ‘known-good’ backup unit. The water in the associated pond where the overflow drained to has been aerated following the discovery of the spill, with staff reacting with the pumping equipment within two hours of responding to the situation. Aeration dissipated the odor nearly immediately. No fish were killed in this event. This was likely due to the fact that much of the overflow was very dilute from rain flow and groundwater inflow and infiltration entering the station.

Our sewer pumping stations transmit failures at the station via SCADA equipment. Under normal circumstances, the crew responsible for monitoring the station for alarms can remotely correct failures. We have staff available 24 hours a day, seven days a week that are licensed, certified by the state, trained and qualified to perform routine maintenance, such as the replacement of pumps, antenna, power breakers, electronic circuit boards, and wiring to the electronics. We also have the capability to set float switch points, such as those that trigger the pump to operate and those that trigger high water alarms.

As we do not presently have a licensed electrician on staff, we contract out any primary electrical work from the Georgia Power pole to the main breaker at the station. All points beyond the main breaker at the station are maintained by JWSC staff or Data Flow Systems (DFS), our SCADA hardware and software provider. The JWSC management has approved adding a licensed master electrician in the coming fiscal year, contingent upon budget adoption.

After investigations over the weekend (6/9-6/12), it appears that the remote control communications device, called the Telemetry Control Unit or TCU, malfunctioned. The two submersible pumps at the station did not fail and testing has confirmed that they are in working order, having been replaced with new pumps on or about October of 2016. Burned contacts were cited, which would have caused the TCU to not give the pumps the “run” command. The red alarm light on top of the station, which activates independently from the TCU contacts, did engage. However, an audible horn and alarms to SCADA did not transmit by radio to the on-call staff member. In a certain sense, the redundant alarms failed, as did the TCU, creating the “perfect storm” effect. That doesn’t fully explain the lack of alarms we expected by radio, as the programming logic generally dictates that a fault code would be sent if communications fails. Our present system does not have a feature available that would enable an alarm via SCADA if a pump hasn’t run within a specified period of time.

Staff will be communicating with both DFS and our electrical contractor to determine what caused the failure, whether it was a hardware failure, a power surge, a power phase problem, lightning, etc., and how to minimize the risk of failure in the future. Rest assured that this failure was isolated and there are no indications that any of the other pumping stations have suffered from the same electronics/electrical failure at this time.

Sanitary sewer overflows are not a new occurrence. Aging infrastructure continues to pose challenges. During a reorganization of the Systems Pumping and Maintenance Division in 2014, policies and procedures were updated to more accurately follow EPA and EPD guidelines, and SSOs are being more faithfully declared.

Contact for Any Additional Information:

Kirk Young, Superintendent
Systems Pumping and Maintenance Division
Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission
Phone Number 912-261-7152
Email kyoung@bgjwsc.org

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This notice is being made available immediately to all local print and radio media to allow for publication and notification. A formal advertisement will be run in the Brunswick News at the next regular printing to satisfy the statutory needs to distribute via a local paper of record.

Urbana Park Area Improvements

Firefighter Casey Spradlin tests hydrant flow in the Urbana Park area on May 19, 2017.

The Brunswick-Glynn Joint Water & Sewer Commission is pleased to announce that repairs made to the BGJWSC water system within the Urbana area of the City of Brunswick yielded both increased flow capacity and water pressure increases for the homes in the affected area as well as increases in pressure at associated fire hydrants in that area.  The result is a substantial improvement in firefighting capabilities.

Since November, 2015, the BGJWSC has been working in conjunction with the City of Brunswick to upgrade water, sewer, storm drainage and paving in the area known as Urbana Park within the City limits. This section of Brunswick, located in the grid between Gloucester Street and L Street from MLK Jr. Boulevard to Hwy 17, has not seen significant utility improvements in 40-plus years, leading to low fire protection and domestic service pressure due to corrosion in water mains which obstructed the flow in those water lines, much like clogged arteries. These old corroded and obstructed lines are a major concern for the BGJWSC, as the resulting low pressure puts many homes at higher risk of total loss due to fires that could not be controlled with the available water. BGJWSC staff teams with City of Brunswick Fire Department personnel in testing the water pressure at fire hydrants throughout the service area. Tests conducted in the Urbana Park area since the construction achieved substantial completion indicate much greater pressures and flows at the fire hydrants in this area.

Firefighter Casey Spradlin tests fire flow while Capt. Peter John Buglino and Water Distribution Superintendent Derrick Simmons monitor the progress.

Todd Kline, Senior Engineer of the BGJWSC, stated that “Thanks to the improvements that we’ve seen within the Urbana Park area, we’re taking the initiative to identify areas lacking sufficient fire protection. The policy on how that need is defined is being developed now. We look forward to outlining that initiative with a visual of areas that have the greatest need.” Kline went on to say that crews supervised by Derrick Simmons, Water Distribution Superintendent, will work closely with staff from both the City of Brunswick Fire Department and the Glynn County Fire Department to closely monitor results from routine fire flow testing and will prepare a map for the public highlighting the areas of concern which will accompany project updates delivered to Commissioners on a monthly basis during public meetings.

With the success of this project, the BGJWSC is seeking to identify other areas of concern within all districts, especially where low pressure will affect fire protection. While some of this repair and replacement can be completed by BGJWSC staff, some projects exceed our existing staff’s capability. Where funding is available, BGJWSC will seek to prioritize contracts that will enable us to quickly and effectively improve fire service pressure across our entire user base. As SPLOST 2016 funding is focused upon major sanitary sewer collection system upgrades, any immediate upgrades will be funded by user rates from the regular operations. Any urgent project that is presently unfunded may require other funding sources to cover the cost.

BGJWSC Executive Director Jimmy Junkin added “As fire protection is a service that is utilized by not only rate payers but also visitors to Glynn County, we are going to be making significant investments of both time and money to ensure that anyone that is able to make use of our services will have confidence and trust that the water pressure and volume will be there when it’s needed.”

Budget and Rates Town Hall Meeting Schedule – 2017-2018 Fiscal Year

Increasing costs to operate and maintain existing infrastructure while providing the current level of service or better has led the Brunswick-Glynn Joint Water & Sewer Commission to consider raising water and sewer rates as well as many of the fees associated with the services provide by the BGJWSC. Water and sewer tap-in fees will need to be higher for new construction to cover the capital costs associated with capacity required to serve new users or new connections to the water and sewer systems. Developers are also taking on the burden of paying for new development plan reviews and inspections. These changes will help prevent existing customers from bearing the costs of increasing capacity needed for new customers or new developments.

The management, staff and members of the Board for the BGJWSC will be hosting town hall meetings June 14 and 19 to open up discussion with the community regarding changes that will affect all rate payers and developers beginning with our July 1st billing period.

Main topics will include:

  • How the Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) impacts operations, maintenance, development and BGJWSC rates and fees.
  • Why a significant borrowing, known as bond issue, will be required to keep us on track.
  • What methods management is taking to ensure that the organization is slim yet effective.
  • How the BGJWSC is working hard to put the cost of development on the developers and not on the bills of ratepayers.
  • What caused debt owed to us by current and past customers to grow and what we’re doing to reduce it.
  • How the BGJWSC aims to provide the highest quality service possible with the most reliable water and sewer infrastructure far into the future.

First Town Hall Meeting:

When – 6:00 PM on Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Where –  St. Williams Catholic Church Parish Hall
2300 Frederica Rd St
Simons Island, GA 31522

Second Town Hall Meeting:

When –  6:00 PM on Monday, June 19, 2017
Where – Howard Coffin Park
1402 Sonny Miller Way
Brunswick, GA 31520

Special Called Meeting for Budget and Supporting Rate Schedule Adoption:

When – 2:00 PM on Thursday, June 29, 2017
Where – BGJWSC Commission Meeting Room
1703 Gloucester St
Brunswick, GA 31520

The meetings will be recorded and accessible via our website on the day following the meeting. Those seeking to ask questions but unable to attend can direct those questions to:

Jay Sellers
Public Information Officer
912.261.7123
jsellers@bgjwsc.org

Sanitary Sewer Overflow in Brunswick – April 24, 2017

Please view the attached notification for details of a sanitary sewer overflow that occurred on Harry Driggers Blvd in Brunswick on April 24, 2017, with the details listed below:

SSO_Harry_Driggers_Blvd_-_April_24,_2017

The Brunswick Glynn Joint Water & Sewer Commission NPDES Permit GA0025313 in accordance with aforesaid permit and DNR Regulation 391-3-6-05 Emergency Actions, hereby make Public Notification of a wastewater spill that was reported on Monday, April 24, 2017 from a broken force main.

Date of Spill: 04/24/2017

Time: 11:36 A.M.

Location of Spill:
Harry Driggers Storm Ditch Line
622 Harry Driggers Blvd
Brunswick, Georgia 31525

Cause of Spill:  A force main within the collection system broke due to a material defect and caused a sewage discharge from the ground located at 622 Harry Driggers Blvd, sending 3,000 gallons of raw sewage into the storm drain ditch line. This flow into the Altamaha Canal resulted in a fish kill of approximately 62 fish consisting of catfish, brim and minnows.

Estimated volume of discharge: Approximately 3,000 Gallons

State Waters Discharged: Discharged into the Altamaha Canal.

Corrective Action Taken:  The JWSC construction, lift station and vacuum cleaning crews worked in unison to repair the force main as quick as possible for minimal impact. The JWSC placed notification signs along the storm drains and Altamaha Canal. JWSC laboratory staff will continue to test this area.  The EPD was notified, local authorities and the Glynn County Health Department District Environmental Health Manager.

For any additional information, please contact Kirk Young, Superintendent of the Systems Pumping and Maintenance Division, Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission at 912-261-7152.

April 2017 Water Meter Upgrade Servicing Schedule

In April, the following areas will see changes to their water meter setup:

  • The Landings at Golden Isles
  • The Villas at Golden Isles
  • Turtle Creek
  • Timber Ridge

If you live within or in the vicinity of one of the neighborhoods listed above, the meter used to keep track of your water consumption is going to be serviced this month. Due to the nature of this work, the crews that perform the upgrades are the same technicians that may get called out for water main leaks or new service installations, making the process timing sporadic. As a result, we are unable to notify you of the exact date or time that your individual meter will be replaced.

Our field staff will make an attempt to notify you when they are onsite preparing for the replacement. Your meter box may be replaced during the upgrade, as we will also be installing a check valve, known as a back flow preventer, requiring a longer setting within the box. This back flow preventer is required on every service connection by national plumbing code to protect your water supply from contaminants that may be exposed to the water mains.

Your meter box cover will be painted blue. Though we read all meters by radio transmitter, being able to quickly identify the location of this meter is vital to performing regular maintenance. You may also see a concrete ‘donut’ painted blue will be placed around any water main valve box in the area. This ring helps crews respond as quickly as possible during leak repairs by making the valves easy to identify.

You may also see a new blue circular cap on the side of the meter box facing your house. Under this cap, you will find a hand valve that can quickly and easily be used to isolate your house from the water in the event that you have a leak inside the house or on the service line. This will be of great benefit to you if you need to stop the flow quicker than our emergency crews can respond.

Approximately 20 gallons will be used during flushing prior to the crew completing the work and moving on to the next house. This flushing at an outside spigot will help ensure that any dirt, pipe debris, and pipe glue has been removed before making its way into the plumbing of your home. The water may be cloudy when you first turn on your sink, but it will be clear within two to three minutes. If you see any drop in pressure or erratic flow at your sink faucet, please remove the strainer and check for any remaining debris. The strainer should then be put back on the faucet.

We apologize in advance for the inconvenience caused by the temporarily outage and the changes that will be made within the utility easement area. We will make every attempt to flush debris and protect your landscaping. If you have any service related concerns following this upgrade, please feel free to contact us.

2017 Commissioner Orientation Day Presentations

In an effort to expose our elected and appointed commissioners to all facets of the processes and procedures that we follow at the BGJWSC, staff held a series of presentations that we referred to as Commissioner Orientation Day. These meetings, which occurred on both February 2nd and 16th of 2017, were recorded to serve as a training aid for both new staff and new commissioners. As they may be of interest to the public as well, the videos are now available on our YouTube channel and linked below.

Any comments or questions that you may have can be directed to the speaker featured in the presentation, to a commissioner or to our Public Information Officer, Jay Sellers at 912.261.7123 or jsellers@bgjwsc.org.

The videos of the 2017 Commissioner Orientation Day are as follows: Continue reading

Industrial Pretreatment Permits Drafted for Public Review and Comment

The Brunswick-Glynn Joint Water & Sewer Compliance & Legislative Committee has approved the release of five new industrial draft permits for public review and comment. These permits have been drafted pursuant to the Code of Federal Regulations, 40 CFR Part 403, the Glynn County Water Use Ordinance, Article III & the City of Brunswick Water Use Ordinance, Article III. The industrial pretreatment permits outlines the steps the industries will follow in treating and monitoring their wastewater discharge as well as the steps Brunswick-Glynn Joint Water & Sewer Commission will follow in enforcing the regulations on permitted Industrial Users to the Sewage treatment plants.

A copy of the five industrial pretreatment permits are available to be viewed by the public at the main office of the Brunswick-Glynn Joint Water & Sewer Commission, 1703 Gloucester Street, Brunswick, GA 31520.  The permits will be available for public review and comment between the hours of 9 AM and 3 PM, Monday through Friday, until April 22, 2017.  Any citizen interested in reviewing the draft industrial pretreatment permits and/or commenting on them may contact Angela Walker, Pretreatment Compliance Coordinator at Academy Creek Wastewater Department at 912-261-7143 to arrange a time for reviewing the permits or visit the main office and ask to view them.

These drafts are also available for download here in the Adobe Acrobat Reader PDF format:

KING_PERMIT_Effec May-1-2017C
PINOVA_FINAL PERMIT_Effec May-1-2017C
QCP_FINAL REVISED PERMIT_Effect May-1-2017C
RICH_FINAL PERMIT_Effect May-1-2017C
SGHS_FINAL PERMIT_Effec May-1-2017C

Check Fraud Situation

Summary

The BGJWSC was the victim of fraudulent financial transactions between May and June of 2016. During that time, $40,986.96 in unauthorized transactions was charged to us via counterfeit checks and ACH payments. Our banking services provider, BB&T, assumed responsibility for covering all charges as a benefit of our contract with them and the BGJWSC was not held responsible for any of the loss.

This fraud was perpetrated by using the routing number and account number from one of our authorized checks intercepted by persons of interest. Any payment made by check is potentially exposing you to the same risk.

How were we made aware of the fraud?

BB&T Bank notified the BGJWSC Finance Division staff regarding a suspicious duplicate check number at the end of May, 2016.

How quickly did the BGJWSC react?

Our staff immediately responded by researching all recent payments to determine validity of the transactions.

How many paper checks were forged?

Three fraudulent paper checks were presented for payment and accepted by the bank. These charges were applied to our account but reversed by July, 2016.

How many ACH transactions occurred?

Thirteen ACH transactions were created. These charges were applied to our account but reversed by July, 2016.

There were more attempts made beyond this amount which were rejected by the bank automatically.

What indications are there that this fraud has crossed state lines and involved the FBI?

As the matter is under local investigation, we are unaware of FBI involvement and cannot comment.

Has the suspect been identified and the funds accounted for?

The BGJWSC has been informed that, as the case is ongoing and the BGJWSC has no further stake in the matter, reconciling the lost funds will be coordinated between investigators and BB&T Bank.

Were we adversely affected in any way, whether short or long term?

This happened so quickly that every bona fide payment sent was honored and no fees were assessed to the BGJWSC. Every recipient expecting an authorized check from us received the funds as they expected to.

What safeguards are now in place to prevent the fraud in the future?

As of June, 2016 when the fraud was identified, we activated an arrangement with our banking services provider, BB&T, which involves reporting the payee, amount and check number of all checks issued. We receive notification from the bank on any transaction that is unauthorized, giving us the opportunity to approve or reject suspicious transactions.

To protect the integrity of the ongoing investigation, any other details regarding the persons of interest and recovery of the funds is being communicated between the City of Brunswick Criminal Investigation Division and BB&T Bank and cannot be discussed.

Printable Press Release: Check_Fraud_Situation

Videos of Open Customer Relationship Town Hall Meetings

I’m encouraged by the light turnout at our first series of quarterly town hall meetings.  Members of our commission and staff met with the public at Brunswick’s Howard Coffin Park recreation center on Wednesday night and at the St. Simons Island Casino on Thursday night. As we only had three citizens attend on both nights and only received questions via email from four citizens that were unable to attend, that’s a clear indication to me that your concerns have either been met by our other customer service efforts or you are satisfied with the level of service that we are providing.

You can view both town hall meetings in their entirety on our YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNTOqVVMpe1PbRohKlysvIg. Each video begins with a message from our Executive Director, Jimmy Junkin, followed by questions from the audience and then questions submitted via Facebook or email. Please subscribe to our YouTube channel to get notified when we add additional videos.

We are committed to striving for improvements in all areas of our service to you. We have formed a team referred to as the Public Information & Customer Relations Committee to investigate and institute changes that will have a beneficial impact to all of our customers. We invite you to attend that committee meeting, which kicks off at 2:00 PM this afternoon, Tuesday, February 28, 2017, in the Commission Chambers at 1703 Gloucester St.

Sincerely,

Jay Sellers
Public Education and Systems Analysis Manager (Public Information Officer)
1703 Gloucester St
Brunswick, GA 31520
Office: 912.261.7123
Fax: 912.261.7178
Email: jsellers@bgjwsc.org