Environment
Utilities

Wednesday, July 27, 2022
2:00 p.m. — 4:00 p.m. EDT

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Remote

Meeting notice: https://www.glwater.org/event/board-of-directors-54/

Check the source website for additional information

Reporting

Edited and summarized by the Detroit - MI Documenters Team

Note-taking by Nick Hagen

EGLE makes changes to regulate corrosion control treatment of drinking water and fine non-compliance.

Live reporting by Dan Ignacio

EGLE makes changes to regulate corrosion control treatment of drinking water and fine non-compliance.

Hey Detroit and southeast Michigan! At 2 p.m., I’ll live-tweet the @glwatermi Board of Directors meeting for #DETdocumenters. 🧵

Our partners: @DetDocumenters, @media_outlier, @BridgeDet313, @chalkbeatDET, @Detour_Detroit, @freep, @metrotimes, @PlanetDetroit and @wdet.

12:09 PM Jul 27, 2022 CDT

Dan @civicDetroitDan 2/56
Join this meeting online, by phone or in person: glwater.org/event/board-of…

We will have more notes, recordings and archived materials: detroit.documenters.org/assignments/bo…

📎 Follow along with today’s agenda! I may refer to numbered items throughout: glwater.legistar.com/MeetingDetail.… https://t.co/ib0qAYGAWi
Dan @civicDetroitDan 3/56
🏃 Need to catch up on the GLWA? See our past reporting: detroit.documenters.org/reporting/?sea…

See Alex’s tweets from the last meeting we covered: twitter.com/mostlikelyalex…
Dan @civicDetroitDan 4/56
🗞 The Great Lakes Water Authority has denied all damage claims from last year’s summer floods. They received approximately 24,000 claims. GLWA said an independent investigation and state law clear them from responsibility. @j_e_n_a_b has more: bridgedetroit.com/great-lakes-wa…
Dan @civicDetroitDan 5/56
After decades of pressure, Detroit’s water department now has a water affordability plan, the Lifeline Plan. But activists say the plan launched with little public input, accountability or transparency. @e_catolico talked to them: planetdetroit.org/2022/07/advoca…
Dan @civicDetroitDan 6/56
… At this meeting, the GLWA board will consider using funds from their Water Residential Assistance Program for Detroit’s Lifeline Plan (Item 3C-10). glwater.legistar.com/LegislationDet…
Dan @civicDetroitDan 7/56
In June, the Great Lakes Water Authority board cut $6.7 million in rate increases that they would have used to cover Highland Park’s water debt. Macomb County and the governor opposed the rate hikes. @SarahRahal_ covered this story: detroitnews.com/story/news/loc…
Dan @civicDetroitDan 8/56
… Oakland County joins Macomb in asking the GLWA to leave them out of Highland Park’s water debt. The board will acknowledge this communication (Item 3B-1). glwater.legistar.com/LegislationDet…
Dan @civicDetroitDan 9/56
❓ The Board of Directors makes GLWA’s long-term decisions. They’re appointed by Detroit’s mayor (@MayorMikeDuggan), the governor (@GovWhitmer) and the county executives of Macomb (@MarkHackel), Oakland (@davidwcoulter) and Wayne (@CountyExecEvans). The board meets monthly.
Dan @civicDetroitDan 10/56
Your GLWA board members (and the county they represent):

@JayeQuadrozzi, chair (Oakland)
@fremanhendrix, vice chair (Detroit)
• Brian Baker, secretary (Macomb)
@DrBeverly_GoMCC (state)
@GaryBrownDET (Detroit)
• John Zech (Wayne)

glwater.org/about/leadersh…
Dan @civicDetroitDan 11/56
Need image descriptions? Reply and I’ll describe images for you.

Found something inaccurate? Email documenters@outliermedia.org with the subject “Correction Request”. I’ll add corrections at the end.

See you in less than an hour!
Dan @civicDetroitDan 12/56
The online meeting is now live. It’s just me and the meeting body… https://t.co/2GfJefHnh0
Dan @civicDetroitDan 13/56
Need to eat something before it starts, so y’all let me know if anything happens.
Dan @civicDetroitDan 14/56
Two hastily-eaten bagels later, I’m back.

I guess this meeting chamber camera is better than a grainy webcam that only shows four people, but it’s dizzying to watch.
Dan @civicDetroitDan 15/56
Here’s who’s here. https://t.co/xp3f4VyAZQ
Dan @civicDetroitDan 16/56
⌚️ At 2 p.m. exact (!) the meeting starts. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX calls the meeting to order.

👤 Roll call! All board members are here.

They approve the overall agenda, the consent matters agenda, and all the consent matters. Someone says there aren’t any communications.
Dan @civicDetroitDan 17/56
📣 At 2:02 p.m., the board proceeds to hear public comments! Someone says they have received written comments. Commenters will have three minutes to speak. There is one in-person commenter.
Dan @civicDetroitDan 18/56
The first commenter represents a financial services company. It is almost impossible to hear them. It also looks like Cheryl Porter, GLWA, is having a hard time hearing.

An unidentified board member says they’re “looking for some relief from this organization”.
Dan @civicDetroitDan 19/56
The unidentified speaker says GLWA is facing financial challenges and wants assistance from the commenter’s company.

Now to online commenters. Nobody requests to speak.

No communications nor unfinished business.
Dan @civicDetroitDan 20/56
💼 At 2:06 p.m., the board proceeds to new business.

Cheryl Porter starts talking Item 9A, water quality regulation changes. She says there was a miscommunication between GLWA and the state’s Environment, Great Lakes and Enviroment department. glwater.legistar.com/LegislationDet…
Dan @civicDetroitDan 21/56
Porter says GLWA has an “optimal corrosion technique” but EGLE is applying their standards to the distribution systems of their member-partners. The new regulation: Falling below corrosion standards triggers a review, including scientific sampling. https://t.co/0kyB9GjWPV
Dan @civicDetroitDan 22/56
Porter says, “If something is out of whack, we need to get a hold of them.” Violations can accumulate by the day.

Porter also says most of their member-partners are above this new threshold but some are “concerning”.
Dan @civicDetroitDan 23/56
Porter says flushing can alleviate corrosion issues, but they would need to “step in” if member-partner’s violation persists.

She also says additional violations can increase how frequently a member-partner’s water system is reviewed.
Dan @civicDetroitDan 24/56
Porter says there is less than “0.1% of a concern” currently.
Dan @civicDetroitDan 25/56
Someone who’s name I missed asks about the sampling process. Porter says the majority use a sampling process to detect copper and lead.

They also ask if GLWA will be liable for violations. Nope, they will be brought to local water system operators.
Dan @civicDetroitDan 26/56
The board approves receiving and filing this item.
Dan @civicDetroitDan 27/56
An emergency (tornado?) alarm briefly interrupts the meeting. The board proceeds anyway.

A staff member, speaking on behalf of another staff member, joins in-person to give an overview of Items 9B through 9P. These are amendments to municipal water service contracts. https://t.co/knhETss68u
Dan @civicDetroitDan 28/56
They refer to an “exhibit A” document which I didn’t find online.

This camera operation is genuinely nauseating.

The board approves Items 9B through 9P.
Dan @civicDetroitDan 29/56
Now to Item 9Q: A request to sell 235 S. McKinstry St. to Newer Horizons. The resolution says GLWA used to store Water Resource Recovery Facility equipment in a warehouse on this property, but it’s now vacant. glwater.legistar.com/LegislationDet…
Dan @civicDetroitDan 30/56
Someone says this buyer is more promising than their previous prospective buyers. The equipment that used to be here was moved to a site in Melvindale.
Dan @civicDetroitDan 31/56
A board member asks if this property was put on the market before Newer Horizons made the offer. Yes it was. The first person who spoke says this buyer seems to be “much more serious” and not speculative.
Dan @civicDetroitDan 32/56
This person also says there are issues with the roof on this property’s warehouse, which caused some prospective buyers to decrease their offers.

The board approves the sale request, Item 9Q.
Dan @civicDetroitDan 33/56
📝 At 2:25 p.m., the board proceeds to the CEO’s report.

Suzanne Coffey, CEO, recites statements on GLWA’s denial of 2021 flood claims and the conflict surrounding Highland Park’s debt.

Coffey also says they’re recruiting employees to fill vacant positions. …
Dan @civicDetroitDan 34/56
A board member asks where they’re recruiting. Coffey says they’re recruiting both inside and outside GLWA.
Dan @civicDetroitDan 35/56
Coffey, pictured right, gives positive remarks of their internship program and hopes some will join GLWA.

She goes on to thank contributors to some organizational plans and a developer who created an algorithm in use at the “WRRF”. https://t.co/aRW3Q1hAww
Dan @civicDetroitDan 36/56
Coffey also congratulates their financial services team. That’s all for her report.
Dan @civicDetroitDan 37/56
A meeting body member, not identified, would like to meet the interns and sit in on some interviews. Someone says playfully, “You can’t poach our interns.” The first person says they won’t. …
Dan @civicDetroitDan 38/56
They also ask about the “next steps” regarding their work contracts, citing concerns about rising fuel prices for their fleet vehicles. Coffey says someone will get back with them on that.
Dan @civicDetroitDan 39/56
Someone else (unidentified too?) joins the meeting to talk about GLWA’s vendors. They speak about rising prices and how they will use federal funding to pay their vendors. …
Dan @civicDetroitDan 40/56
This person says they will bring a report to GLWA and other water authorities, and that they will have a meeting next Thursday.

They’re referring to a lot of insider stuff. It’s hard to follow.
Dan @civicDetroitDan 41/56
The new meeting participant’s name is named Nikki. A meeting body member gives positive remarks to her and her work.
Dan @civicDetroitDan 42/56
Board member Hendrix expresses urgency in addressing issues with their contract vendors, so the vendors get paid and wait less for work.
Dan @civicDetroitDan 43/56
Nikki says they might not be able to afford some system repairs, despite having ways to maximize the effectiveness of their funds. She also says GLWA needs to hear vendors’ “pain points” as “their pain points are our pain points.”
Dan @civicDetroitDan 44/56
Board member Baker asks something I wasn’t able to parse. CEO Coffey says whatever he said is worth considering.

Board member Zech says something but his microphone is so far away, I can hardly hear him.
Dan @civicDetroitDan 45/56
I’d wager that mic is two feet away from Zech. Perhaps it’s muted. Sigh.

CEO Coffey says they’re “making some pretty hard decisions” in re-prioritizing their ongoing projects. https://t.co/qlknB3suRx
Dan @civicDetroitDan 46/56
Zech also asks about sitting in on job interviews, saying past board members were able to. Coffey says they do panel interviews and she’ll let the board know about these.
Dan @civicDetroitDan 47/56
The board votes to receive and file CEO Coffey’s report.

👉 The board proceeds to other matters. There are none on the agenda. But someone starts talking about an upcoming (private) meeting for the board. Someone else remarks it’ll take place during happy hour. …
Dan @civicDetroitDan 48/56
The unidentified speaker says they’ll have food.

Board member Hendrix asks about presentations. CEO Coffey says they’re more effective when staff members present remotely, as “it’s the best way for the public to see these presentations.”
Dan @civicDetroitDan 49/56
🔒 At 2:50 p.m., the board will vote whether to go into closed session. Someone says they need to discuss some legal matters. They need a two-thirds majority. All board members vote yes, and we lose the audio and video feed.
Dan @civicDetroitDan 50/56
Still in closed session…

This meeting is a little less eventful and much more opaque than I expected! Even SEMCOG’s Water Infrastructure Task Force meeting was a little easier to understand than this.
Dan @civicDetroitDan 51/56
…Still in closed session…

I wouldn’t say this public meeting’s video feed is the worst I’ve seen. But the way they whip-pan the camera to catch every speaker – usually panning to the wrong person – is highly distracting. Install more cameras!
Dan @civicDetroitDan 52/56
……Still in closed session.……

So how about those teal Pistons jerseys?
Dan @civicDetroitDan 53/56
🔓 At 3:15 p.m., the board returns from their closed session. The video feed comes back but it’s still muted. Board members start to pack up and someone else in the online meeting says, “I guess it’s over.” https://t.co/MVu52yDeJf
Dan @civicDetroitDan 54/56
⏱ At 3:17 p.m., the meeting adjourns, I guess! The online meeting abruptly closes without another word from the board.

GLWA’s next meeting will be the Capital Planning Committee meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 9: glwater.org/event/capital-…
Dan @civicDetroitDan 55/56
That’s my live coverage of this Great Lakes Water Authority Board of Directors meeting. As always, thank you for following along!

Find more on your local government and become a Documenter yourself at @DetDocumenters: detroit.documenters.org
Dan @civicDetroitDan 56/56
Corrections may follow below. Read these tweets on Mastodon (@civicDetroitDan@a2mi.social): @civicDetroitDan/108720374087176198' target='_blank'>a2mi.social/@civicDetroitD

Attachments

By Nick Hagen 7/27/2022

Agency Information

Great Lakes Water Authority

www.glwater.org

See Documenters reporting

The Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) is a regional water and sewer authority that services nearly 40 percent of the water customers in Michigan. Currently GLWA provides wholesale water and waste water services to 127 municipalities in eight Southeastern Michigan counties, which is equivalent to approximately 3.9 million customers.

Documents

7/27/2022
7/27/2022

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