Biomass plans on hold
Given the extensive resources and research required to get a thorough understanding on the utilization of woody biomass, Indian Valley Community Services District board members decided to put a hold on taking action on the matter.
During their April 10 meeting, the board members agreed that research into the subject is so extensive that it would take hiring a full-time engineer to get the proper handle on things.
Board director Mike Yost joked that if board chairman Blake Shelters quit his architecture job to concentrate solely on the biomass project, he might have enough time for research.
“We just don’t have the expertise, or the time, to put into this thing. We want to protect the community and do not want to make any commitments until we know for sure what we are getting into,” said Yost. He added that the district couldn’t afford to hire a project manager at this time.
He said that on a regulatory level, “the concept of these small megawatt biomass plants is still in flux.” The board hopes by waiting on making a decision, regulations will become clearer and better defined.
This does not mean, however, that the district has given up on the idea of leasing its land to a biomass plant developer. The board still believes that because it can provide revenue to the district, and jobs to the community, it is a feasible idea.
Yost said they would still hold a place on the agenda for discussion on the matter. But until they have a better understanding how the plant could affect the community, they will not be taking action one way or the other.
Major leak discovered
For at least the last eight years, the community services district has had a steady increase in its average water loss per year. This year, however, is already averaging a loss of 6.8 million gallons of water per month, which is almost double what is has been since 2009.
Lawson has been working hard to track down the culprits responsible for the loss, and at 1 a.m. April 12, he found a section of pipe that accounted for 70 percent of the loss.
He explained that there is a small window of time when he can look for leaks, and it involves searching when people are least likely to be running water.
Replacement pipes have already been ordered and will cost the district approximately $10,000. Lawson said the loss equates to about $1,000 per month. By making the repairs, the money should be recovered within the year. He said he hopes to have the project completed before the May board meeting.
“Replacement of this section will reduce district utility costs at the water plant by nearly 50 percent. Any reduction in cost the district is able to achieve helps defer future rate increases,” said Lawson.