Lots of carerful mowing scheduled for tomorrow, and a meeting with Jessie to make sure that happens along with proper edging.
A Comment Form came in with a series of questions that were so good that I am publishing it here for everyone. Annonomously, of course!
First of all, I would like to thank the volunteers on the
landscape committee. I think the reporting of complaints and
comments is very efficient. Thank you for all your work.
I would like to clarify on your last weekly statement where you indicated that our water company was PUD. Our company is Olympic Water and Sewer Inc. Also, in regard to that email I have a backflow problem, I failed the test and I am having an independent contractor repair the work for me, my question to you is who do I report this to when the work is complete.
I would like to make a suggestion. You indicated in a recent weekly statement that NLS was unable to stop and point out all the areas of repair in individuals’ landscapes. I understand that, it’s very distracting to have to do that. I have a suggestion for next year, when Jesse or whoever is responsible for doing that work . When they are at an individual’s home they could put a flag next to the area that needs to have a sprinkler replaced, etc.. These flags are used by the electric company and I think that would solve the problem for a lot of people that would like to do the work themselves.
Also, I don’t know the timeline on this, but I sent a complaint in regarding lack of edging in the grass area directly behind my house. This area has never been edged this season and grass is starting to grow into the beds. It’s very difficult for me to take care of the weeds inside that area unless it is edged. I have no problems if when edging they have to cut through any plants that have grown, into the edging space. I just would like to have it edged They do a very good job on my front yard so I know that they can do it.
Chris Wolle responds:
Thanks for your compliments! Always nice to hear.
You are right, Olympic Water and Sewer, Inc is our water and sewer supplier. They are subject to Washington State law and regulation.
For your backflow repair, I would ask your contractor if they can report it, and if it needs to be tested again if it is replaced. If you do need your new meter tested, there are a number of local cotractors available that you can find online or in the phone book, or your contractor might arrange it.
NLS has not been contracted by the association to repair your sprinkler system. You are free to entertain proposals from anybody you wish. NLS is only required to check out your system and notify you if there are problems. They only get paid for repairs if you work out an agreement directly with them.
I am printing out your form to discuss with Jessie tomorrow. You edging should be done correctly.
Last week we received a campus wide, dethatching and areation process. The plugs that were left behind were left purposefully as they will be mowed into the turf top, just as they are on the golf courses that NLS maintains. They are just too valuable to waste by raking up. The exceptions were backyards along much of Crestview Dr, which, despite the delay, were still so wet that they could not be mowed. Dethatching equipment is heavier than mowers, and causes even more damage to wet turf.
The wet back yards are caused by by a thin layer of top soil over an impermeable clay layer. To combat this, NLS is reprogramming the affected yards to reduce water application on affected areas, and shifting to biweekly mowing until those areas dry up. Then NLS will return to dethatch and areate the affected back yards later.
There are about seven homes that will get bids for failed backflow preventers, and perhaps fifty for misc. irrigation problems in the next couple of weeks. Back flow preventer problems will get an attempt at personal contact, as they are more critical. Irrigation system problems will be a simple notification note at your door. This is as far as NLS' obligations go. You can choose to use them to rectify your issues, hire someone else, or fix it yourself, as these activities fall outside the scope of the HOA contract.
Please be aware that the state of Washington requires the PUD suppying water to your home have a current passing certification for your backflow preventers. They will shut off all your water if you fail to repair in time, and no, I can not tell you what the deadline is. The state generally sends out warning notices before they cut you off though.
For what it is worth, the Board has attemped to negotiate a blanket annual irrigation repair contact, but it was just too expensive, as the cost estimates are highly varible. Furthermore, it is not part of our mandate. The Board does NOT have any fiduciary obligation to provide members with utility services to their property that are outside the scope of the landscape contract.
Dethatching: Last week we got the first dethatching we have had in many years. There were at least 10 people here every day working on it. However, there were several homes along Crestview Dr. that had back yards so wet that they could not be mowed without causing turf damage, let alone get dethatched which is even more demanding. Jessie and I are meeting next week to see what can be done for those folks. The problem is that thin topsoil layer over clay.
ASL: Coming up we will have an ASL (areate, seed and lime) treatment, the first of two this year. That will definately help sogged out lawns, and get everything really nice for summer. It will be especially effective as a followup to the de thatch.
Irrigation: There were about fourty households with small annual sprinkler problems required this spring. There always are a bunch of small items. Plugged or misaligned nozzles, siezed or leaking rotors, etc. NLS is in the process of sending out bids to everyone. However, Jessie tells me that a number of our members are asking to be given all the details of each job upfront, and to map out where each problem is. Our members, feel, reasonably, that they need to have those details to make a decision. But NLS just can't work that way considering 40 homes. It quickly becomes too time consuming with too little reward. We are working on an alternative method for the future, but for now, it is a take or leave it proposition if you want NLS to fix your sprinklers.
This year we begin another El Niño cycle. Whereas La Nina brings cooler weather, El Niño brigs hotter weather. And we are already in a record hot year this year. Its going to get hot and dry this summer! So everyone needs to be especially careful, starting now. Please eliminate open flames outside and make sure your grills are used with the tops on, and are well away from combustibles.
Results are in on back flow check valve testing. There were seven households that failed. Statistically, this was about what was to be expected. Jessie Gallegos will be contacting affected owners with a bid to repair them. He told me that he has figured out how to repair some of them, but others will need to be replaced.
Usually repairing can save money on fixtures and eliminates the need to dig it up, but it may or may not work, and costs are not capped. Replacement is usually done for a set fee, but includes a whole new unit, and the excavation work. You can have anyone you want do the work, but NLS already has all the info, so IMHO, they would be my first choice. You will be billed directly by the contractor for whatever work you need, so the choice is yours to make. Jessie.email@example.com
From Jessie, our area manager:
"Good morning Chris can’t believe it’s already almost may.
Next week the guys will be focusing on mowing, trimming, edging
and some bed work. I’m happy to say we will have a new foreman
named Doug Gorski, I think he will be a great fit for Teal Lake
to keep the property up to par.
I also received the backflow testing results I believe 7 failed. I am trying to see if it would be cheaper to replace certain parts or the whole backflow, just waiting on more information from our sub-contractor. I will bring all the backflow information up Monday when I introduce you to the new crew lead. Hope you have a great weekend and hope you get out and enjoy the beautiful weather we are going to have this weekend."
We had a fire today. It was on Crestview Dr, in a back yard.
About a dozen bushes, about 5 feet tall went up like a candle.
Flames were up past roof level, and there was a lot of smoke.
From my vantage point it looked like a house fire. This
occured adjacent to our tinder laden commons area. People
on the far side of Teal Lake Road were shouting alarm. The
Fire Dept responded.
The flames came hard and fast, but it died down just as fast as fuel ran out and the owner hosed down the area. The wind was down, and we got lucky this time. No serious damage.
At last week's board meeting, we had a couple of concerns regarding the complaint form not sending. There is a trick to it, so we repeat it here: There is an entry field for the adjacent common area. This is a required field, so something, anything, needs to be entered here for the form to send. You could enter a ? or 7 or arf arf, and the the form will send.
Also we have decided to change the name of the complaint form to the comment form as it has a less negative connotation , and compliments are more common that complaints. Thank you everyone for making this task a pleasurable one!
Our intrepid leader, Sheila Twohey reports another small coyote sighted at the lower entrance to the campus.
We continue to see scattered comments regarding a bush missed here and there, but otherwise the crew seems to be doing well, and covering those missed items promptly. Lawns are looking super. The only bad spot being the grassy knoll on the right at the lower entrance. We will need to irrigate this area to improve the mole problem there.
Once again we missed on the de-thatching due to weather. And NLS is now behind on this function across several facilities. So we are now looking at first half of May for our dethatch and ASL (aerate, seed, lime). Jessie, our area manager tells me this is the better time of year anyway.
Bad weather prediction slowed down our de-thatching again.
Yards were cut, bushes should be all trimmed, let us know
if anything looks amiss.
Almost everyone has been using the complaint system efffectively, with complaints down to one in the last 6 weeks. And that one complainant was the only one that has trouble using the complaint form.
So a reminder to all, if you have a problem, use the complaint form. Give us at week to respond. If you don't see a correction, send a second form, which I will respond to so that you know we have you covered on our end. Don't email me, and don't email the board. Use the complaint form because then, we have a record with NLS eyes on it. Simple right?
We still have a member that think its okay to direct our
landscapers on their property. This is not okay. NLS is
contracted by TLVA, not by individual members. We have instructed
landscapers to not respond in this situation. Just imagine,
for a moment, what it would look like if each member diverted
landscapers however they choose. Utter chaos!
De-thatching and backflow testing are scheduled for the next two weeks. Once again weather permitting. Once the de-thatching occurs, we will get the ASL (aireate, seed lime) treatment.
NLS picked up a contract to do landscaping for Fort Worden. This is good for us since they will be in the area even when they are not here specifially for us.
Not much to report for last week. Weather continues to be a bit of a problem.
This coming week, NLS will begin dethatching if weather permits. I don't know how rain will affect that activity or if they will mow first or what. We will see. Expected duration is at least a couple of weeks depending on weather. They will rake up and cart off debris as they go, and every lawn will recieve dethatching, as there is no reason for opt outs. If you really don't want one though, call Chris at 253 905 7533, or email the NLS complaint form to let your wishes be known, and we will see if we can accomodate.
On Friday, at about 2 PM, Lorrie and Chris Wolle were entering Crestview from the upper end, and spied a big fat raccoon in an adjacent lawn. While the racoon was looking at us, a coyote burst from the bushes and chased it about 10 feet up a tree. The coyote was small but in good shape, and not afraid of us watching from the car. My thought was that this must be one of the pups that were raised at the lower campus entrance last year. So cat people, beware! All but the smallest dogs should be safe for now.
Olympic Water and Sewer, Inc (OWSI) expects to be flushing water mains in Teal Lake Village the week of 4/10/23.
A reminder that the flushing may cause a temporary change in the appearance of the water. The changes are generally in color, ranging from brownish to black in extreme cases. OWSI recommends that during the time of the flushing on your street that no water should be run in the homes. Using water at the same time as the flushing on the street you live on could draw colored water into household plumbing. The discolored water might appear not only in the tap but also in hot water tanks and toilet tanks. In most cases after the flushing is complete running your tap for a few minutes will eliminate the discoloration. It is a temporary condition and the water should quickly return to normal. There are no known health issues associated with the discoloration.
NO complaints and three compliments were sent on the “Complaint” form, all sending thanks for a super job, well done. Kudos to the crews. Jessie Gallegos and NLS are really working hard to see our neighborhood looks as it should. If you want to send a compliment to NLS, you can do it through the “Complaint” form or directly to the Board at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spring applications are all down and the grass is greening up nicely.
NLS has started filling in bare tire gouges, left by mower wheels, located halfway down Seaway Place, where the embankment gets really steep. In the future, they will cut this area using different equipment to avoid scarring the turf again.
The Board approved thatching, which is scheduled to begin ASAP (perhaps this coming week, depending on the weather) so that it can be done ahead of our ASL (aerate seed and lime). Dethatching was way overdue to help combat extensive moss. Again, costs were largely covered by savings realized in last Fall’s contract negotiations.
Jessie let our Landscape Chairman know that NLS has the skills and resources to replace backflow preventers. They don’t repair them, but it might prove convenient to have them do your replacements, should it become necessary. A backflow testing service may be able to help with repairs, but this depends on the contractor doing the testing. Please use the Complaint Form to message Chris Wolle, our Landscape Chairman, if you have the need.
Backflow testing will begin within the next few weeks, and NLS (Northwest Landscaping Services) has already identified a couple of failures during spring sprinkler comissioning this year. Expected lifespan for these things is about 25 years, so I expect we may see more. Keep this newsletter in your desk for future use. Replacing a backflow preventers (BP) can be costly, so when it happens to you, you will be glad to have the following tidbits to help steer you through it.
The BP protects the water system entering your house from potential contamination by the sprinkler system. It is required by state law, and must be inspected by a licensed technician every year to confirm proper operation. It resides in the ground, out by the street, under a plastic lid.
If the backflow preventer fails, you won't be able to tell. Everything will appear as normal. You will still have water in your yard and house. The only difference is that the emergency protection the BP provides will no longer exist. Your water system could become cross contanimated by your sprinklers. Your neighbor's water too. Every spring our lawn care contractor NLS, hires an inspector to do the test for each of us.
Inside the BP, are springs, and gaskets that naturally wear out over time. There are also testing "ports" which must remain operable for inspection. Expected life span without repair is usually about 25 years, which means we are approaching the "sweet spot". If the inspector notifies you of an unsafe BP, you will need to hire a plumber or specialized BP repairman to come out and fix or replace your BP. There is NOTHING NLS or the inspector could do that would cause your system to fail. (and yes, I have heard this accusation) It just happens over time.
This is your household equipment, much the same as your hot water heater or home HVAC system. TLVA provides the first test through NLS, but after that, you will be on your own.
Many BP's can be made operable with some springs or gaskets, but severe leaks, or damaged valves may require replacement. Since BP's are in the ground, digging may be nessesary to expose plumbing connections for repairs. If you are handy, you can replace the valve yourself, but you must first check with the water district to verify the correct type and size. BP valves from the store range from $200 to $300. Contactors will charge more. And when you are done, you will still need to have your system tested. Additional tests run about $75. Plumbers cost about the same as lawyers these days. Time to complete about 4 to 8 hours. So the total cost range might be between $200 to $1000 or more.
Sorry, no. BP repair and replacement should occur in small numbers, even when we are in the "sweet spot". You can find help in the Village Voice or google local plumbers. We just don't have enough volunteers to cover smaller clusters of issues like this.
This past week, NLS applied fertilizer with iron to the turf areas of all households who did not opt-out of chemicals.
All the irrigation systems were inspected and have been turned on. NLS will be making up individual proposals for the homeowners of irrigation systems that require repairs.
Where bonafide errors in work have occurred, either the Project Manager, Jessie or the Area Foreman, Artimo, have started attempting to contact the homeowner in person to resolve issues quickly. The Landscape Chairman is filtering out TLVA issues and maintaining oversight, while NLS is dealing with execution issues. Please continue to use the Complaint Form to notify us of problems.
Continued wet weather has resulted in moving some activity schedules around.
It has been a number of years since Thatching has been done to the yards. NLS has recommended that we do a thatching treatment prior to the scheduled Aerate-Seed-Lime treatment this Spring. Doing them in concert should result in a better outcome. The money we saved in the contract due to negotiations last Fall, will allow us to add thatching to this year’s lawn management. The Board has approved spending approximately $13,600 to have the yards thatched.
Mowing will actually start this coming week. It is slower than usual due to weather retarding growth. NLS is going to apply Iron to lawns and other areas with moss problems as this may help green up the grass and discourage moles. It is not explicitly part of our contract. The Project Manager is doing it because he thinks the lawns need it.
Our Project Manager Jessie is out with Covid. Chris Wolle, our Landscape Chair and the Area Foreman worked together to insure the work was done. Pre-Emergent work was completed.
Our Opt-Out system has been streamlined from last year's 9 options to this year's 3. The previous system was too complicated and proved unworkable. The communication system required to do this became overwhelming, especially with an understaffed, volunteer outfit. Note: Most landscape companies offer zero to two opt-out options.
The HOA does not pay for the cost to trim trees for view maintenance. The individual Homeowner is responsible for the cost of tree trimming for view maintenance, both on their own lots and in common areas, with a permit. Trimming of fire hazards in common areas is handled by the HOA.
NLS has provide us with a way to record complaints directly on their website. The link is monarchlandscape.forms-db.com/view.php?id=76524 or click the button.
About 6 or 7 complaint forms came in which the Landscape Chairman answered directly by email, due to the Project Manager being ill. An underserved property was identified and reparation work has begun.
Our HOA runs primarily on volunteers. We will have open Board positions at the end of this year and will need volunteers to fill them. If people don’t volunteer, the Board may be forced to hire professionals to fill the vacancies or assist with the responsibilities. This could cost the membership additional money in the way of a dues increase. So, please support your community by volunteering to serve on the Board.
This is the first of our new weekly landscaping bulletins. They will normally come out between Wednesday and Friday, so you have time to plan. However this first edition was delayed by an emergency hospital trip. I got it out as soon as I could.
Each week we will let you know what is to be expected in the following week. Weather events, and variable work loading make planning further out in time, impossible to do with any accuracy. These weekly notices will be emailed out through our own PRIVATE email owner's list to protect your privacy. Only one board member has the list.
This web address is the form that you will use to file any complaints or questions regarding service from NLS. Copy and paste the above address into your browser. Pop open the page, then save it in your bookmarks or favorites websites, and label it something like "NLS complaint form".
Mike Wilcox is the project manager to indicate on that page. This will change to Jessie Gallegos in the next couple of weeks. From now on, ALL your questions and concerns will go directly to the NLS project manager via this page. That way we have a complete historical record of who what, why, and when for each issue. If the project manager is unable to resolve your issue, he will request I weigh in. Please DO NOT call or email any board members with problems/complaints unless you have first tried to resolve the issue via the complaint form. Since this is a new process for NLS as well as TLVA, there may be a few hiccups . . . so please have some patience as we work the kinks out.
Our old project manager, Mike Wilcox is the one that created the complaint form which is why his name is on it. Jessie Gallegos is our new project manager, so the complaint form will be changed into his name. We also have a new full time foreman. So right now, there are 2 layers of management working to get this operation working as it should. Even though our contract calls for four project manager visits per year, Jessie is here every single week getting his new crew seated into our new relationship. Their goal is to have our facility in good working order by the middle of the year. They are working hard, and going above and beyond, to restablish our relationship with them.
I have also given Jessie instructions that work operations shouldn't be done if environmental conditions interfere, just to maintain a schedule. Instead, those hours should be carried forward to be used in a more productive manner later. This makes a better project over the long run as wasted motion is eliminated. For example: "If the ground is too wet, and not growing, then don't mow it if you will leave ruts" or "If the leaves are frozen to the ground, then don't try to blow them" or " Don't blow leaves into hedges that were formally clean" or "don't let squads of leaf blowers wander around without purpose, just to say you did it". The disadvantage is that your neighbor's grass may be mowed, but your's may not because your ground was too wet . . . If this concerns you, then use the complaint form to ask NLS why this happened.
The facility is about 80% complete with pre emergent applications. Last week was mostly a bust due to bad weather.
Next week the the pre emergant application should be completed. I believe they generally work from top to bottom, so those lower neighborhoods will be hit next. And from Jessie, the following message: "Once we get done get with pre-emergent, we will get started on the moss treatment. I’m hoping to get the moss treatment down in the next 3-4. As far as crews’ production out there they are focusing on pruning and bed work and also putting down iron for moss in bed areas that need it."
I want to let you all know that because we have a lot of moss in the yards, it might be a bit gnarly as we kill it back. Jessie will infill those areas with seed and fertilizer. He also is going to use some iron, which kills moss, greens up pale grass and has a side benefit of tasting bad to moles!
VP and Landscaping Chair