July 9, 2015
First you all need to know that this posting is not an official Board communication, it is a message that I personally felt was needed and is overdue. Please do not at all think that anything that I state in this message has been approved by our Board.
Report on Water Supply for Thornton Farms for the July 4th 2015 Holiday weekend
This past holiday weekend the entire community came very close to not having any water for several hours as well as avoiding a required 72 hour boil water alert.
On Friday morning (7/3/15) the monitoring systems at the well house sent out a low pressure alert. David Hensel was at the well house within minutes to check the status. He was able to confirm that our Aqua Store Tank (big blue tank at the well house) was at 14 feet of water(normally 20 feet) and the pressure was down to 27psi (normal level is 50-70psi), which is just 7 psi short of a DEQ required boil water alert(anything below 21psi).
He quickly contacted the service company that maintains our systems, which is Highland Treatment (HT). With their direction David was able to place well head #1 into manual operation to maintain the needed reserve storage water level and the pressure on our system. HT showed up onsite within two hours and checked our system and were able to restore it to operating specifications.
Then later in the evening David contacted me and informed me of yet another low pressure alert that he received from the water plant and he was heading over to the water plant to attempt identify the problem. I showed up at the plant about 5 minutes later and David had already contacted HT and placed the system in a manual functioning state. While I was onsite that evening I personally witnessed David operating the controls manually to make sure that we maintained pressure and maintain the appropriate reserve water levels. I was at the water plant for about 30 minutes waiting for HT to show up and inspect the system (it typically takes HT 2 hours to reach us, unless they have a technician or engineer in the area), but due to my personal disability I was unable to continue standing until someone from HT showed up, I needed to leave and return home, but I told David to call me if he needed me and I would come back to the water plant.
David continued to manually operate our water pumping systems to make sure that we had the correct amount of water in the reserve tank as well as keeping the water pressure up until HT was able to reach our facility. Which once they did they were able to identify that we lost the functionality of several key systems, and ultimately they (HT) reconfigured our primary well #1 to run continuously at 60% speed to make sure that the community has enough reserve water and the pressure on the system which continues to be maintained at this point. The reason HT configured well head #1 to run at 60% is that this is the lowest continuous speed that our well heads can run without prematurely burning them out. This is why there has been water overflowing from the Aqua Store tank in the well fields since last week.
Highland Treatment identified which systems have indeed failed, luckily the most expensive system that has been identified so far is indeed under warranty. But due to the timing of our failure some of the replacement parts have been delayed a few days. Some repairs have already been completed, but we are still waiting on parts to have everything completely repaired and our operations returned to 100%. We do expect to have everything repaired by the end of next week. So currently we are operating with only one of our wells functioning, which is enough to supply the community for the foreseeable future.
The system was originally designed with two wells to provide balance if and when a well dose go offline. So as long as well head number one does not fail until next week when HT is able to install the parts that are on back order, the community should be fine. Just as a minor side note there have been many times over the past 9-10 years where we have ran the entire community on a single well pump for weeks while waiting for parts. So this current condition of waiting for parts is nothing new for our water plant operations.
The important thing to take away from this posting is that without David Hensel’s dedication and commitment to this community, we all would have had a much more ‘inconvenient’ weekend.
Board members are never paid in our community for their service as Board members, at the most we get reimbursed for purchasing items that are needed to keep the community running (bathroom supplies, light bulbs, basic repair items, etc.). Historically the majority of Board members have all gone above and beyond what is simply required of us as Directors of the community, often we all perform duties and actions that the community never finds out about but if not for us, the community would have had to pay for someone else to perform these tasks.
Even in David’s email to the Board this past weekend explaining what had happened he put in a statement that struck me in a unexpected way: “It is amazing that the things that we do and handle without the knowledge of the community”. David is completely correct in his statement, I can personally vouch/speak to the very many times that David and other Board members, including myself have performed actions for the community that are not only above and beyond what is required of us, but these actions have often saved our community from problems (like no water, or a boil water alert) or at least saved our community from having to spend the money to have a company be hired to repair an item or solve a problem and their actions have typically never been acknowledged.
There have been times that I have literally shed my own blood, working for this community. By repairing items in the community and ending up with cuts, scraps, bruises, and even bee stings from removing nests from the fencing around the pool and trimming trees around the pool (I am very allergic to bee stings). But this has never been brought to light so the community has no knowledge of any of these actions. I can assure everyone that I am not the only Board member who has gone above and beyond the expectations of a typical HOA Board member.
Earlier this year I was indeed at odds with other Board members, which now looking back was for the most part a misunderstanding on all sides (I will explain more on this over the weekend before our next Board meeting). I will state now that I have been working with some Board to come to an understanding and put past conflicts behind us all, while each of us are continuing to work for the community.
There has in the past been a very large question recently regarding a conflict of interest with David Hensel working for Lombardo Homes as a consultant while being such an important member of the Board of Directors. A large question that I have mostly brought to the surface, much more than anyone else in the community. Well David and I have been discussing this issue at length over the past 1 ½ - 2 months; earlier this week David took me one a tour of all of the sites that he works on with Lombardo Homes and he explained in great detail the work that he has performed and the work that he is continuing to perform for Lombardo.
I plan on posting my impressions of his work as well as my opinion of how currently his workload is indeed NOT a conflict with the majority of his work as the Treasurer and our Chief Steward of our water and waste water systems.
So while setting aside the conflict that I have had with the Board since the end of February this year, and setting aside the question of David’s involvement with Lombardo Homes and as our Treasurer of our community, I do want to give credit where credit is indeed due.
Which is I want to personally go on record to thank David Hensel for saving all of us this past Holiday weekend, by making sure that our water supply was indeed up and running to the point that no one in the community ever noticed or experienced any type of water service outage and where we all were not bothered with a DEQ required 72 hour boil water restriction. If David was not as committed to this community as he indeed has been we would have had a much different experience over the Holiday weekend.
Finally as a part of my personal commitment to you as your Board member, I plan to make sure that this Board and future Board members are indeed more open and transparent with their actions in regards to working with and for our community. I do plan to start pointing out when a Board member has gone out of their way to make sure our community is running smoothly. As we all know, it is always easier to sit back and nitpick when someone does something that we do not all agree with. But it is much harder to identify and report back to everyone when someone has gone above and beyond for all of us. This of course does not mean that I will be giving anyone a free pass (especially myself) when something is done wrong… Yet another statement I plan on releasing before our next Board meeting.
Instead of continuing to explain about the issues that I experienced with the Board since February and instead of explaining where both sides have overreacted, I do want this message to highlight the great work that David has indeed done for us all, which in the past would never have come to light.
Thank you very much David, I truly appreciate everything that you have done and continue to do for everyone in our community.