Category Archives: General News

BGJWSC Customer Service Survey

You’ve spoken and we have listened!

Please give a few minutes of your time today to complete this brief survey that we’ve prepared to help us gauge the concerns and needs that you face in your daily interactions with us. We highly value your input and will be presenting the initial results of this survey to our Public Information & Customer Relations Committee meeting at 10:00 am on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 (agenda pending).

That doesn’t give us much time to get started. However, I’m confident that through this online survey, the calls that I’ll be making to a random sample of active customers and contact with those that have visited our customer service area at 1703 Gloucester St, I believe that we can begin to get a clear picture of meaningful changes that can be made to make your experience with us more effective, more pleasant, and more satisfying.

This survey will be ongoing, though the questions may change as necessary. We sincerely hope that you will be honest and candid with us as we strive to serve you better.

Jay Sellers
Public Information Officer
912.261.7123
jsellers@bgjwsc.org

Online Payment Portal is Now Available

The new JWSC online payment portal is now available. You can view your past billing statements, print an old bill, pay current charges and set up a recurring payment, if you wish. The billing information is available through our website but, if you choose to make a payment online, you will be directed to a secure online payment center with Paymentus. There is a convenience fee of $2.75 per payment processed. Payments made online reflect immediately on your account. You may also submit your payment by telephone at 1-844-347-8236, by mail, by using our St. Simons Island drop box or by using the drop box in front of our main office at 1703 Gloucester St.

A valid account number from a statement sent after 7/1/17 will be required. Bills mailed after July 1st may have a different account number due to our billing system change. We are developing a method to search for your account number, but that functionality is not available at this time.

Your July billing may be delayed due to a careful review of all bills needed to minimize any chance of error. Once you have your bill in hand, please return to set up your account within our billing portal. If you choose to pay online, you will also be asked to sign up for an account with Paymentus. Though your username, email and password information does not forward over from our Citizen Access portal to Paymentus, they can be the same. Please keep in mind that you will need to update your email address and password at both locations if they change.

We apologize for the confusion and the inconvenience of not having access to the online payment portal during our conversion process. We have more software features coming and will let you know when they become available in the future.

Pumping Station 4048 Project Informational Meeting – Thursday, August 3, 2017

The details below outline the project referred to as PS4048, which is located in the area between the corner of Norwich Street and Fifth Street to the corner of Townsend Street and Stonewall Street. This wastewater force main basin serves over 3,000 customers. This force main improvement project is required in order to continue serving the existing customer base and also prepare the way for future growth.

During construction, 3,100 linear feet of 24-inch force main will be installed to increase the efficiency of existing piping that carries wastewater from the north end of our present mainland Brunswick sewer system. This system runs from as far northeast as Chanslor Road to Odyssey Lake Apartments on Highway 99, down Golden Isles Parkway, across to Shell Point Subdivision on Harry Driggers Blvd, down Darien Highway, following over to the project area off of Townsend Street, bringing the wastewater through 23 pumping stations before reaching its final destination at the Academy Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility on Newcastle Street.

The construction equipment and supplies will be staged at Paulk Park off of Wylly Ave on August 1, 2017 and will be completed by December. During this time, traffic will be rerouted due to excavation on Fifth Street east of Norwich Street towards Lee Street and up to Branham Ave. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. will be blocked at Fifth Street for a short period of time. Once construction commences, routine updates to this briefing will be posted every two weeks following a planning meeting with BGJWSC, City of Brunswick, Glynn County and contract construction personnel. Progress will be reported in advance to the next phase of construction.

The BGJWSC will be hosting an informational meeting in the Brunswick High Auditorium on Thursday, August 3, 2017 from 5:30-7:00PM. During this time, members of BGJWSC staff, elected officials and staff from the construction team at TB Landmark Construction will be present to answer your questions related to this project.

Any questions regarding this meeting or the project can be directed to the JWSC project manager, Senior Engineer Todd Kline at 912-261-7122 or tkline@bgjwsc.org.

2017 – 2018 Rate Resolution & Budget Approval

With today’s passage of the Fiscal Year 2017-2018 Budget and supporting Rate Resolution, the BGJWSC Commissioners and management team confirmed their commitment to rejuvenate the BGJWSC Water and Sewer systems to provide the residents of Brunswick and Glynn County high quality services at affordable rates while expanding the system for future development needs.

User Rates were conservatively raised in respect to the needs for repair and restoration of the existing infrastructure.  County SPLOST funding to repair and restore portions of the Brunswick and North Mainland conveyance systems assisted immensely in keeping rate growth affordable.

Capital Improvement Fees used to fund system expansion to meet economic development growth were raised to the level of funding required to meet the current five-year plan for expansion related projects.

We were encouraged by the feedback that we received during our town hall meetings this month. The overwhelming sentiment that resonated in both the Brunswick and the St. Simons Island meetings was that the community is seeking to place its trust in us, believing that our increase in transparency is genuine and that the needs we are seeking to meet are real. We are grateful to serve you and believe that in the near future the BGJWSC service to this community will be at the world class level you deserve.

Please review the the budget and rate resolution documents below:

BGJWSC – Budget for Fiscal Year 2017-18
BGJWSC – Rate Resolution FY 2017-18 – Executed Copy

Sincerely,

Chairman Donald M. Elliott

Public Notice – Draft Industrial Wastewater Pretreatment Permit for Pinova, Inc.

PUBLIC NOTICE

The Brunswick-Glynn Joint Water & Sewer Compliance & Legislative Committee has approved the release of one new/revised industrial draft permit for public review and comment. This permit has 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 outline 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 this industrial pretreatment permit is 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.  This permit will be available for public review and comment between the hours of 9 AM and 3 PM, Monday through Friday, until July 21, 2017.  Any citizen interested in reviewing the draft industrial pretreatment permit and/or commenting on it may contact Angela Walker, Pretreatment Compliance Coordinator at Academy Creek Wastewater Department at 912-261-7143 to arrange a time for reviewing the permit or visit the main office and ask to view it.

You may also view a digital copy of the draft permit here: PINOVA_FINAL DRAFT PERMIT_Effective_Aug-1-2017

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.