WSSC owns, and is currently responsible for the maintenance and replacement of water lines, including the lateral pipes up to and including individual water meters outside GHI masonry homes. GHI is responsible for the piping from the water meter into the homes. For the past ten years, WSSC has postponed plans to replace the aging water and sewer infrastructure for the masonry homes. The reason is WSSC would like to relocate the water meters to the curb and for GHI to take over the responsibility of the water lines from the curb up to the individual units. This would mean that GHI would be responsible for thousands of feet of buried pipe that WSSC currently maintains under a 1958 agreement. While WSSC has postponed the replacement of pipes, they continue to replace pipes as they fail. (The infrastructure for the frames homes was replaced in the 1980’s and has not reached the end of its useful life.)
In answer to a question raised at the January 25, 2015 Town Hall Meeting about the potential cost of this shift to GHI, GHI estimated that the cost to GHI members would be about $1.5 million.
Recently GHI received a letter from WSSC indicating that the WSSC would go ahead with replacing the water and sewer infrastructure, including bringing the water meters up to code and relocating them further away from the housing structures. They then propose that WSSC would remain responsible for the maintenance and repair of the additional pipes for 30 years after the project is completed. Following that period of time, GHI would be responsible for the replacement and repairs of these pipes from the relocated water meters to inside the homes.
GHI to Discuss Proposed Response to WSSC
The Board has scheduled a work session to discuss the WSSC offer. The work session includes a site visit, open meeting and executive session on May 31, 2018. The site visit will start at 6:30 pm at 5 Eastway followed by open session and executive session at the Administration Building. The Board President would like input from members on GHI’s response to the offer. Please try to make the work session and provide input to the Board. Also feel free to comment on this post.
In Considering …
- What is the expected lifespan of the new infrastructure? 50 years? More?
- What about the frame homes?
- Shouldn’t the Board wait until the Replacement Reserve Study is completed to have a better idea of what the long-term effects to GHI would be as a result of accepting this offer?
- Has an attorney who specializes in WSSC disputes been involved in considering this proposal?
- Even though some members won’t be here in 30 years, won’t we all be contributing through our monthly fees to the costs of maintaining water lines in the future
- What is the City of Greenbelt’s role in the 1958 agreement and this situation?
References November 2017 Town Hall Q&A p. 6 of 6 (WSSC's responsibility under the 1958 agreement): https://www.ghi.coop/sites/default/files/attachments/news/Town%20Hall%20QA%20from%20November%202017.pdf March 2016 Town Hall Q&A p.9 of 9 (describes Board only agreeing if water pipes/meters located in same place): https://www.ghi.coop/sites/default/files/attachments/news/Town%20Hall%20March%202016%20Questions%26Answers%20-%20FINAL.pdf January 2015 Town Hall Q&A p. 18 of 18 (*identifies future costs for masonry units): https://www.ghi.coop/sites/default/files/Town%20Hall%20QA%20Jan%202015%20FINAL%20%284%29_0.pdfhttps://www.ghi.coop/sites/default/files/Town%20Hall%20QA%20Jan%202015%20FINAL%20%284%29_0.pdf March 2014 Town Hall Q&A (frame homes pipes replaced in 1980’s: https://www.ghi.coop/sites/default/files/TH%202014%20QuestionsAnswers%203-27-14.pdf