Bulletin October 31, 2023 – Generator Complaint – Request for Feedback. As sent to all residents, by either MailChimp or Canada Post.
At the Annual General Meeting Sunday July 30, property owners requested updates and opportunities for input on the ongoing Generator Complaint. Background information is found on pages 5-7 of the AGM Draft Minutes linked here, in which SSID reviews the $13,000 spent so far, plus $1,100 in legal fees.
SSID has attempted to address the Complaint regarding Generator-2 by putting it on standby mode. This generator will start only when undergoing maintenance, or as an automatic backup should the main Generator-1 fail to start.
Generator-1 may not be disabled, as it must be available to pump water to SSID residents who pay taxes for water, and for emergency fire service, day or night. However, the $3,000 hospital silencer/exhaust system installed in July makes the generator notably quieter.
Unfortunately, our efforts have not ended the Complaint, as indicated in a September email from the Complainant.
Expenditures on this one property’s grievance are paid by all SSID residents through District taxes. The tax plan for 2024 and beyond is already increasing to accommodate repairs and replacements of our aging water system. This newsletter therefore asks for your feedback on the additional $9,000 or $56,000 projects being considered to address the Generator Complaint further. Both expenditures are described on page 6 of the draft AGM Minutes linked above.
By November 21 2023, please provide respectful comments, stating your name and address, to
SSID, box 176, Lund BC V0N 2G0 or email@example.com
Only SSID property owners’ correspondence will be considered.
Related: Some AGM attendees expressed an interest in SSID becoming a future solar-powered water system, which could conceivably run the water pumps as needed for 8 months each year (Mar-Oct). As estimated in 2022, the costs would be about $450,000. Would you like further discussion of this as a future project for consideration?
We thank you for your guidance.
Bulletin June 30, 2023 – NEW COMPLAINT– received and addressed.
While SSID has been preparing options for resolving a neighbour’s complaint about night use of generator-1, a different complaint has been received from the neighbour, now concerning day use of generator-2. Previously, the complaint about generator-2 was night use, which was addressed in 2021 with a controller and timer disabling generator-2 from coming on at night.
To remedy this day-use complaint, operational changes have been made, with generator-2 taken out of rotation, as of June 24. Generator-1 is now the sole generator powering the District’s water pumps when the tanks call for water. Generator-2 is still available to turn on in the event of a malfunction with generator-1, day or night. Generator-2 will sit idle otherwise, so once a month must be "exercised under load" for proper maintenance, meaning run for about 30 minutes at high power. And to prevent the stored diesel fuel from developing algae, it will be maintained with treatments of biocide. SSID’s operator has advised that these procedures will not be detrimental to the water system or its generators.
Bulletin May 31, 2023 - REDUCING NIGHTTIME WATER USE: Bulletin sent by MailChimp to email subscribers.
Bulletin May 10, 2023 - STATEMENT OF FACTS: Shortened details regarding ongoing complaint.
Bulletin February 20, 2023 - UPDATE ON EFFORTS TO RESOLVE A COMPLAINT
To residents of Savary Shores Improvement District, and the Savary community;
This Bulletin is an update to the September 10, 2022 bulletin below. It is intended to show further steps toward addressing a complaint that entered public discussion in 2022.
To recap, the two generators at SSID’s well lot have been the cause of complaints from a neighbouring property, because of night-time generator noise. The initial complaint identified Generator-2 as the concern, and was addressed—after technical issues as outlined in the September bulletin—by electrical consultation and purchase of an electrical alternating panel and timer, so that Generator-2 does not come on at night, unless there is a failure of Generator-1. After these changes to Generator-2, SSID received a complaint from the neighbours that the enclosed Generator-1 was now waking them.
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SSID continues to review potential electrical and mechanical solutions to the complaint. At this time, at least one generator must remain available to pump water, whether day or night, for the purpose of keeping the water tanks full for resident or fire department use. Inspection of Generator-1 has shown no changes in the machine, its muffler or exhaust, or subjective changes to its startup and running sounds. However, further sound reduction may be possible by replacing the existing muffler with a more effective one. We are consulting with the generator seller for muffler restrictions on this tier-4 generator model.
Electrical approaches are still under consideration although not guaranteed as solutions. Force-filling the tanks before evening to reduce the chance of refilling in the night adds an estimated $6,000 of electrical programming, switching, and complexity, but even then, peak periods of water consumption can call for another tank fill before daytime, triggering Generator-1 to come on to pump water.
Another approach is an estimated $36,000 purchase of lithium batteries and related components to power the pumps at night, plus the as-yet un-estimated cost of space and labour for this project. The resulting significant expense is not affordable this year, as SSID’s current capital reserves and 2023 taxes are already allocated to asset replacements, such as saving for new tanks in 2035. The battery option might still be viable for a future year however, particularly if it can be tied to a solar installation that would contribute to energy savings for the community.
The trustees recognize that until such time that the generator sound is reduced or removed, there will be continued frustration with our efforts. We will again discuss the subject at the summer annual general meeting, as all costs being incurred now and in the future for the resolution of this problem are paid by SSID’s 176 property owners through annual taxes.
Bulletin September 10, 2022 - ONGOING EFFORTS TO RESOLVE A COMPLAINT
To residents of Savary Shores Improvement District, and the Savary community;
This Bulletin is intended to provide clarity to a complaint that has entered public discussion.
The volunteer trustees of SSID are entrusted to maintain operations of the waterworks for the benefit of 176 tax payers. All efforts and resources are directed to this objective. Within this context, the trustees have been working to address an individual household’s complaint.
The complaint concerns sleep disruption caused by the sound of either of SSID’s two generators during night-time operation. Generator-1 is in an enclosed structure since 1992, and Generator-2 is in a chain-link enclosure since 2018.
SSID received the first email about Generator-2 on May 27, 2019. SSID’s Operator responded by switching the pump power to Generator-1. Generator-2 was used minimally thereafter that year, to keep it in working order. During all of 2019, Generator-2 ran 98 hours, and Generator-1 ran 756 hours. We received no complaint about Generator-1.
The trustees discussed options for noise abatement in meetings that were held in camera, as is done for matters considered private or sensitive. It was decided that in the new year 2020, with a new budget, SSID should purchase a Thomson control panel with a timer so that the two generators could be operated in rotation, with Generator-2 scheduled for daytime use only, to avoid night-time disturbance.
The Thomson panel was installed in February 2020, and although Thomson is an industry leader in generator switching, the panel was problematic in this off-grid environment. Various attempts and notable expense with additional components and electricians did not fully resolve the issues at the time.
As we continued to work on electrical solutions, in June 2020, the 23-year-old Generator-1 failed, so Generator-2 became SSID’s sole source for powering the pumps, including during the night if the water tanks were filling. After unsuccessful attempts to fix Generator-1, and a prolonged search for a suitably sized Tier 4 model—the environmental standard for emissions—the new Generator-1 was installed for operational rotation with Generator-2 on November 24, 2020.
On November 28, new electrical issues were causing both generators to cycle on and off in 15-minute intervals. The issue was recurrent until late December. During this period, SSID maintenance staff made runs to turn off automation, and manually operate the generators to pump water during the day to reduce night-time operation, until such time that the electrician could be back on site.
SSID received no complaints of night-time disturbance for all of 2021. Generator-1 ran for 983 hours and Generator-2 ran 104 hours.
On July 5, 2022, SSID received a complaint that Generator-1 was now waking them. It was unusual for Generator-1 to be considered noisy, so we inspected it on July 6 and 8, and found no changes that would cause additional noise. This included inspection of the muffler/exhaust output on the building’s exterior.
With no change to the sound from Generator-1, it is not yet understood why Generator-1 would now be a noise concern 5 years after the neighbouring property was purchased. SSID is considering that the waking sound might actually have been caused by a different generator, one offsite, as it can be difficult in the night to know exactly from where sounds are coming. This would explain why a 3:30AM wakeup on August 29 did not correspond with the time recorded in the Generator-1 automated Event Log.
We are, however proceeding on the complaint of Generator-1 waking the neighbours. This is a more difficult problem than Generator-2, as Generator-1 is programmed to power the pumps at night. As an Improvement District government, we are obligated to deliver the water service in exchange for water taxes collected. There are no night-time restrictions on water use, nor can there be without changes to the Water Use bylaw, and an effective method of enforcement. The trustees are disinclined to impose such restrictions, as they are unlikely to be supported by this community for the sole purpose of reducing night-time operations. Nor can we turn off generator power to the pumps for any duration, as water must be readily available for fire suppression at all times.
The trustees are now considering options for reducing the need for SSID water tanks to fill in the night. We have engaged an electronics consultant who has offered ideas that range in price and complexity. All expenditures of this district are borne by the 176 taxpayers, so careful evaluation is required prior to any decision, and at this time there is no guarantee of any option being viable.
Difficulties of addressing the generator complaint were outlined to residents attending SSID’s 2022 Annual General Meeting on July 31. We will continue to consider solutions while tending to the ongoing requirements of this water system.