Salmonella, Arsenic, TCP and Manganese, A Timeline About Water Issues, and a City Council Agenda

 Foster Farms has placed full-page ads in major newspapers throughout the West and is improving its food safety handling practices as it continues to try to win back consumers…Foster Farms — one of the nation’s largest chicken processors — has acknowledged that since the outbreak in early October, sales of its chicken have dropped 25% – October 29, 2013, Robert Rodriguez,The Fresno Bee,  Foster Farms reaches out to consumers in full-page ads October 29, 2013, October 29, 2013,

The salmonella outbreak in Foster Farms chicken has cut sales by 25 percent, company leaders said Thursday while vowing to win back consumers with improved sanitation and other measures that far exceed industry standards. John Holland, Merced Sun Star/Modesto Bee, Foster Farms working to win back customers after chicken sales dip amid salmonella outbreak October 17, 2013 (Note from TheGardeningSnail. The link to this article has either expired, has been moved, or the page taken down)

Tainted water disrupted poultry production at Foster Farms last week, and city officials are trying to find out what caused it. Mike North, Merced Sun Star Discolored water disrupts production at Foster FarmsFebruary 27, 2013

If the city loses one of its existing wells, Samra said, it would have to implement severe conservation efforts, such as restricting residents from watering their lawns or asking Foster Farms to alter its production, Ramona Giwargis, Merced Sun Star Livingston gets water project grant amid struggle to pass balanced budget – September 16, 2013,

…some people who drink water containing arsenic in excess of the MCL over many years may experience skin damage or circulatory system problems, and may have an increased risk to getting cancer. City of Livingston, Notice of Violation of a Drinking Water Standard for Arsenic insert included with “water bill”. Distribution Date: October 24, 2013

Foster Farms has placed full-page ads in major newspapers throughout the West and is improving its food safety handling practices as it continues to try to win back consumers. Foster Farms reaches out to consumers in full page ads  Robert Rodriguez — The Fresno Bee/Merced Sun Star October 31, 2013

Be careful what you ask for. You just might get it. –Anonymous

Foster Farms is working on regaining consumer confidence with improved sanitation and other methods and has embarked on an Apology and Marketing Campaign to win back customers.

While the consequences of an outbreak of Salmonella is something Foster Farms can address “in house”, the next issue it will have to address, in the long run, will require cooperation with the City of Livingston: that being having enough water for use within the plant that meets State and Federal Water Quality Standards.

Livingston already has at least one well that fails the Secondary Drinking Water Standard for Manganese and Foster Farms has already had to shut down at least one shift due to manganese in the water.

Tightening Drinking Water Standards, coupled with the City of Livingston’s budgetary woes could well mean that, some time in the future, (unless there are some drastic changes) the water Foster Farms depends upon for Production and Sanitation will fail State/Federal Maximum Contaminant Levels for Arsenic and/or TCP 1-2-3 as well.

More on that a little later. But first, its been a while since we’ve checked in on Delta Bravo Land.

123

Yep…There’s Strange and then there is Army Strange. Courtesy of Damon Shackelford and the gang at Delta Bravo Sierra: furious scribblers of military cartoons.

VFWLIVINGSTON VETERANS DAY EVENTS…The Livingston-Delhi Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8327 and their Ladies Auxiliary will be sponsoring the Livingston Veterans Day Parade on November 11 starting at 11am.

The parade will start at the corner of C and Main Streets, proceeding down Main Street to Park Street where it will disband.

If any Veteran wishes to ride in the vintage Jeep truck, they are asked to be at the starting area of the parade no later than 10:30 am.

The award ceremony will immediately follow the parade at the Livingston Veterans Memorial Hall (1605 7th Street) where a homemade soup lunch will be served, for a donation of $5.00.

For more information or parade entry forms contact Denis Wells at 394-2059.

11022013 Water is just fine

YOU CAN’T REALLY UNDERSTAND THE CITY OF LIVINGSTON without factoring in the sometimes turbulent, sometimes antagonistic Symbiotic Relationship between The City of Livingston and the City’s largest employer: Foster Farms.

Many Residents get their paychecks by working for Foster Farms and Foster Farms gets it’s water for Sanitation and Production purposes from the City of Livingston: 65%-66% of the water produced by Livingston’s well goes to Foster Farms.

Yep. It takes a lot of water to process those chickens into a variety of food products AND keep the plant Tidy, Clean, and Sanitary.

So it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. that when the Symbiotic Relationship of Livingston and Foster Farms “strains”, its most likely over Water Related Issues: Things like Backflow Devices, and Water Meters, and Regulatory Compliance, and how much Foster Farms should pay for the water it uses.

Stuff like that

And since we are getting ready (Again) for another round (someday) of Proposition 218 Hearings about Water Rate Increases, AND Foster Farms is obviously a Major Player when it comes to discussing things like Water Rates, lets look back at some of the History about Water Rates and that Symbiotic Relationship of Foster Farms and the City of Livingston.

Although the following is not a complete list, there should be enough there to give you and idea of where we’ve been, and where we may be headed.

1995 The City of Livingston Raises Water Rates for the 1st time in many, many years

1999-2006 Notices of Violation and the Beginnings of Litigation

November 15, 1999-August 04, 2000 The California Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) staff inspected the industrial wastewater treatment and conducted sampling of existing groundwater monitoring wells…As a result of this assessment, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) to Foster Farms and the City of Livingston with an inspection report on January 12, 2000…..On August 4, 2000, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board issued a Notice of Violation of Waste Discharge Requirements (WDR) Order No. 79-209. (City of Livingston 2010-2011 Adopted Budget pg. 588)

April, 2004..The City of Livingston begins colleting data about TCP-1,2,3 levels in it’s groundwater.

2005….The City of Livingston initiates Livingston vs. Dow Chemical: a lawsuit against Dow Chemical Company re: TCP-1,2,3 Levels in groundwater. (copy of the Original Complaint upon request)

July 2006, The City of Livingston and Foster Farms head to court in dispute over backflow devices. “The city wants the poultry processor to install air gap assemblies, which (Public Works Director) Creighton said are "fool-proof."…Waste from the factory — including chemicals and salmonella — could contaminate drinking water pipes if a water main breaks or pressure falls, Creighton said. The reduce pressure assembly could fail. An air gap assembly can’t, he said”

October 26, 2006, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board issued a Cease and Desist Order (CDO) No. R5-2006-0112 containing findings that waste constituents discharged from the existing industrial wastewater treatment plant had caused nitrate levels in shallow groundwater to exceed applicable Water Quality Objectives (WQOs) contained in the Water Quality Control Plan for the Sacramento River and San Joaquin River Basins in violation of Order 79-209 (City of Livingston 2010-2011 Adopted Budget pg. 592)

2007-2008

Water Meters, Backflow Devices and Litigation Settlements

June 19, 2007  Presentation by Dan Bergmann. City losing money monthly—rates need to be increased

November 13, 2007, a comprehensive settlement agreement between the City of Livingston and Foster Farms became effective. The settlement agreement requires Foster Farms to assume responsibility for constructing the new wastewater treatment plant…. The City will continue to operate its existing industrial wastewater treatment plant until Foster Farms initiates the operation of their plant. Foster Farms will clean up the current industrial wastewater treatment plant when decommissioned, including the current groundwater contamination and sludge at the existing wastewater treatment plant to the satisfaction of the Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB). …..Once the existing plant site is cleaned up, the land will revert back to public use for the citizens of Livingston. …The agreement also required Foster Farms to install water meters at its property line to ensure that all water going on the property is accounted for and billed. These meters were installed in May 2008…. A 1997 option agreement permitting Foster Farms to acquire the City’s property for $1,000 per acre has also been voided. (City of Livingston 2010-2011 Adopted Budget pg. 592)

November 20, 2007, Introduced of new City Attorney Malathay Subramanian from the firm of Best Best & Krieger

January 15, 2008 Slide Presentation by Dan Bergman. Mayor Samra …said the Council will study this matter; however, not just the Council, but also the community at large needs to deal with the issue.

February 5, 2008 Motion: MS Soria/Espinoza to continue the Public Hearing (About Water Rates) to the March 4, 2008, regular Council meeting. The motion carried 4-0-1.

March 04 2008, The Public Hearing About Water Rates (Bergman Study) is continued to a future Council Meeting

April 1, 2008. Settlement with Foster Farms Reported at Council Meeting Three water meters will be installed at Foster Farms. Foster Farms will install their own backflow devices. There will be a building permit fee. The City will have returned to it, 120 acres estimated at $200,000 an acre. An option agreement that allowed Foster Farms to purchase this land at $1,000/acre was terminated. Foster Farms will cleanout the wastewater ponds that are contaminated with sludge. The City agrees to grandfather in buildings constructed without permits over the years and not inspect the facilities.

2009

Another New Rate Consultant Another New Rate Study and Another Round of Litigation over Water Rates

February 17, 2009 Water Rate Study Presentation by Raftelis Financial Consultants, Inc. and Authorization for Public Hearing – City Council Votes 5-0 to go forward with Proposition 218 Hearing.

April 21, 2009 Proposition 218 Hearing. City Attorney (Best, Best, and Krieger) states rates must by passed by at least a 4-1 vote.

May 28, 2009 California Department of Public Health Enforcement Letter for Failure to Comply with Secondary Drinking Water Standard for Manganese for Well #15.

June 16, 2009 Best, Best, and Krieger Attorney replaced with an Attorney from Kronick,Moskovitz, Tiedemann & Girard

July 07, 2009 Rates adopted by Resolution – Run Up to the Recall Begins – Recall organizers, officers, proponents and supporters include Gurpal Samra, Rodrigo Espinoza (Candidate for Mayor), Mario Mendoza , Luis Flores, Francisco Castillanos, Teresa Land, and Warren Urnberg.

July 14, 2009 Foster Farms sues Livingston over water rate increase, (Foster Farms I)stating “The city of Livingston broke state law and health codes when it adopted a resolution that will increase water rates by an initial 40 percent, (and that) the company will be negatively impacted by the city’s July 7 resolution and demand(ed) that the court order the city to rescind the increase.”

November 30, 2009 Livingston city rate increase sued for 2nd time The Central California Legal Services claims that the City violated State Law by passing Rates by Resolution and that “the revenues generated from the rate hikes far exceed what is needed to run the sewer and water systems”

2010 The Year of the Recall

January 10, 2010 Foster Farms files (Second) suit against Livingston Regarding Water Rates alleging that in order to fill deficits in Enterprise Funds (ex. Water), the City Manager used monies from Restricted Funds.

Feb 27, 2010 The Merced Sun Star Reports Judge: Livingston’s water rate hikes unconstitutional (Foster Farms I)

Mar 2, 2010 The Merced Sun Star Reports Recall effort under way in Livingston

Mar 2, 2010 The Merced Sun Star Reports Livingston to hold special council meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday–water rates on agenda

March 5, 2010 The Merced Sun Star Reports Livingston appeals water ruling (Foster Farms I)

Jun 18, 2010 The Merced Sun Star reports Livingston water fee increase stays in effect  The Central California Legal Services lawsuit fails)

August 05, 2010 The Merced Sun Star Reports Organizations lend legal help to Livingston in Foster Farms lawsuit (Foster Farms I)

Aug 27, 2010 The Merced Sun Star Reports Judge: no evidence city of Livingston violated laws in Foster Farms fraud case  (Foster Farms II)Foster Farms plans on filing an amended complaint by Sept. 8 2010

September 22, 2010 The Merced Sun Star Reports After recall election, new leadership takes reins in Livingston 

September 23, 2010 The Merced Sun Star Reports Appeal on Foster Farms lawsuit dismissed; city attorney resigns (Foster Farms I) Despite most of the work being done, money spent and recent support from The League of California Cities, California State Association of Counties and the Association of California Water Agencies, the new council still directed the city attorney to drop the appeal.

September 24, 2010 Livingston takes back utility rate hike ……Warren Urnberg, a leading voice of the Recall Movement is appointed as a Temporary City Member. One of his first actions was to second a motion by Margarita Aguilar to roll Water Rates back to 1995 levels.

September 28, 2010 The Merced Sun Star Reports Questions raised about Livingston’s ability to provide safe water, The California Department of Public Health issues a letter to the City of Livingston stating (in part):…."It is important for the city to understand that if the city violates any of the drinking water regulations as a result of having insufficient funds to properly operate and maintain the water system, our department will take the appropriate enforcement actions,"

November 2010 Espinoza, Livingston’s mayor for two months, wins re-election

November 2010 A Livingston Resident makes a complaint about Dirty, smelly water on tap in Livingston

December 2010 The Merced Sun Star Reports Livingston eyes cheap way to deal with arsenic contamination in water supply: The City Hopes “Well Profiling” will lead to cheaper, easier fixes.

December 07, 2010 The City Council votes to send out a Request For Proposals for a New Rate Study Consultant.

2011 – Cleaning Up the Water Won’t be As Cheap as Some Had Hoped

March 01, 2011….Bartle Wells chosen as the 3rd Consulting firm since 2007, to provide Water, Wastewater and Solid Waste Rate Studies, Community Outreach and Proposition 18 Balloting Services.

April 5, 2011Richie King from Foster Farms, Kathy Berkeley from Livingston Union School District, Michael Belluomini from Merced Union High School District and Livingston residents Claire Gehrman and Warren Urnberg appointed by the City Council to a Utility Rates Stakeholders Committee 

April 2011 Foster Farms Drops Second Lawsuit against the City.(“without prejudice”)(Foster Farms II)

June 17, 2011 Jose Antonio Ramirez appointed to be the New City Manager

August, 2011 Livingston well tests bring disappointment, No easy fix for wells in Livingston, Inexpensive treatment of broadly distributed contaminants not an option The Merced Sun Star Reports. “The results from Livingston’s water-well profiling are in — and they aren’t what city officials were hoping for. …..Despite $22,500 to study wells 8 and 15, not much can be done with them to reduce contaminants without costly filtration systems. Impurities include high levels of arsenic, manganese and 1,2,3 Trichloropropane (TCP)”.

Sep 19, 2011 The Merced Sun Star reports the City of Livingston receives a Settlement from Dow Chemical to compensate for 1,2,3-trichloropropane pollution…..

November, 2011  Request For Proposal – PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERING SERVICES TO PREPARE A FEASIBILITY ANALYSIS REPORT FOR A CENTRALIZED WATER TREATMENT STRATEGY FOR THE CITY WATER SUPPLY is sent out.

Dec. 28, 2011 The Merced Sun Reports Bartle Wells (Rate Study Consultant #3) fired by City Manager.

2012-2013 The City Hires More Consultants and a Public Relations Firm

Water Quality Problems Affect Production at Foster Farms

Warning Letters about Violating the Maximum Contaminant Level for Arsenic are Sent Out

February 21, 2012 Kennedy/Jenks Consultants of Portland, Oregon selected to prepare a Feasibility Analysis Report for a Centralized Water Treatment Strategy for the City’s Water Supply

APRIL 17, 2012 Hansford Economic Consultants chosen to Provide Water, Wastewater and Solid Waste Utility Rate Studies, Community Outreach and Proposition 218 Balloting Services (Rate Consultant #4)

September 4, 2012, Humberto Molina hired as the New Public Works Director…..

October 2, 2012, a Professional Services Contract for Providing Community Outreach and Proposition 218 Balloting Services is awarded to GoodStanding Outreach of Reno, Nevada .(The Public Relations Firm)

December 11, 2012 The Merced Sun Star reports Atwater votes 3-2 to raise water rate

February 27, 2013  The Merced Sun Star reports "Discolored water disrupts production at Foster Farms"

May 16, 2013 The  California Department of Health issues a Compliance Order For Violation of the Arsenic Maximum Contaminant Level.

August 19,2013 The Feasibility Analysis For A Sustainable Water Treatment Strategy by Kennedy Jenks Consultants is released. Copies are distributed to members of the Utility Rates Stakeholders Committee.

September 16, 2013 The Merced Sun Star reports. If the city loses one of its existing wells, Samra said, it would have to implement severe conservation efforts, such as restricting residents from watering their lawns or asking Foster Farms to alter its production, Ramona Giwargis, Livingston gets water project grant amid struggle to pass balanced budget

October 2013 The Merced Sun Star Reports USDA threatens to close 3 Foster Farms plants in salmonella outbreak

October 24, 2013 The City of Livingston distributes yet another Notice of Violating The Drinking Water Standard for Arsenic

November 01, 2013 and We are still waiting for the Water Rate Consultant to come up with Preliminary Water Rate Increase Numbers…

If you have been following Livingston’s water quality and growing Budgetary Woes over the years, you already know that the City does not have the money needed for essential upgrades to the Water Delivery System. The Water Enterprise Fund has a huge deficit and the City is borrowing from the TCP Settlement funds for Day-to Day Well Operations and Maintenance expenses.

Although Foster Farms has control over its Operations and Sanitation Procedures within its plants and can tighten them as necessary, maintaining the Water Delivery System that provides water to Foster Farms (and others within the City Limits) is under the Control of the City.

But whether or not the City of Livingston, (because of its Budgetary Woes), will be able to continue delivering water that meets State and Federal Drinking Water Standards is something all water users within the City of Livingston, including Foster Farms will need to cooperate and address.

For, in the long run, that may prove an even larger problem to solve than an outbreak of Salmonella at the plant.

One last thing, a question for the audience.

Did the City of Atwater do something illegal when it passed its Water Rate Increases by a 3/2 vote? (Or Did you even catch that bit of Political Irony?)

I mean really..if you look back at the record, one of the main contentions in the lawsuits against the City of Livingston, and the Rhetoric of the Recall Movemt, was that Livingston Raised it’s Water Rates The “Wrong Way”: by a 3/2 vote instead of a 4/1 or 5/0 vote.

So if Livingston did an “Illegal Thing” by passing Water Rates by Resolution and a 3/2 vote, doesn’t that mean that Atwater illegally passed its water rates as well? 

Just sayin

And Now On to the

CONCURRENT JOINT MEETING

CITY COUNCIL AND SUCCESSOR AGENCY TO THE REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY OF THE

CITY OF LIVINGSTON

REGULAR MEETING AGENDA

NOVEMBRER 5, 2013

CLOSED SESSION: 6:00 P.M.

OPEN SESSION: 7:00 P.M.

Notice is hereby given that the City Council and Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Livingston will hold a Regular Meeting on November 5, 2013, at the City Council Chambers, 1416 C Street, Livingston, California. Persons with disabilities who may need assistance should contact the Deputy City Clerk at least 24 hours prior to this meeting at (209) 394-8041, Ext. 121. Any writings or documents pertaining to an Open Session item provided to a majority of the members of the legislative body less than 72 hours prior to the meeting shall be made available for public inspection at Livingston City Hall, 1416 C Street. The Open Session will begin at 7:00 p.m. The Closed Session will be held in accordance with state law prior to the Open Session beginning at 6:00 p.m. The Closed Session will be held at the City Council Chambers located at 1416 C Street. The agenda shall be as follows:

Closed Session

CLOSED SESSION

A “Closed” or “Executive” Session of the City Council or the Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Livingston may be held in accordance with state law which may include, but is not limited to, the following types of items: personnel matters, labor negotiations, security matters, providing instructions to real property negotiators, conference with legal counsel regarding pending litigation. The Closed Session will be held in the City Council Chambers located at 1416 C Street, Livingston, California. Any public comment on Closed Session items will be taken before the Closed Session. Any required announcements or discussion of Closed Session items or actions following the Closed Session will be made in the City Council Chambers, 1416 C Street, Livingston, California.

1. Call to Order.

2. Roll Call.

3. Successor Agency

Conference with Legal Counsel – Existing Litigation

[Government Code Section 54956.9(d)(1)]

City of Livingston and Successor Agency to the Livingston Community Redevelopment Agency v. Ana Matosantos, et al Superior Court of the State of California – County of Sacramento

Case No. 34-2013-80001460

4. Conference with Legal Counsel – Potential Litigation

[(Government Code Section 54956.9(d)(2)]

Number of Cases: 3

5. Conference with Labor Negotiator

(Government Code Section 54957.6)

Labor Negotiator: City Manager Jose Antonio Ramirez

Employee Organizations: All Represented City Employees

Regular Meeting

CALL TO ORDER Next Resolution Number: 2013-52

Next Ordinance Number: 608

Roll Call.

Pledge of Allegiance.

Closed Session Announcements

Changes to the Agenda.

AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, APPOINTMENTS AND PROCLAMATIONS

1. Presentation by Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza and Planning Commissioner Mario Mendoza: Certificate of Appreciation to Juan Avila and Ben Penfield, McClure Enterprises for their donation of concrete to help raise funds for the Livingston Middle School band and wrestling programs.

2. Presentation by Police Chief Ruben Chavez and Officer Richard Mocchia: Introduction of Police Explorers.

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REPORTS

Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.

City Staff Announcements and Reports.

City Manager Announcements and Reports.

City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.

Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.

CITIZEN COMMENTS

This section of the agenda allows members of the public to address the City Council on any item NOT otherwise on the agenda. Members of the public, when recognized by the Mayor, should come forward to the lectern, and identify themselves. Comments are normally limited to three (3) minutes. In accordance with State Open Meeting Laws, no action will be taken by the City Council this evening. For items which are on the agenda this evening members of the public will be provided an opportunity to address the City Council as each item is brought up for discussion.

CONSENT CALENDAR

Items on the Consent Calendar are considered routine or non-controversial and will be enacted by one vote, unless separate action is requested by the City Manager or City Council Member. There will be no separate discussion of these items unless members of the City Council or City Manager request that specific items be removed.

3. Direct Staff to Advertise the Request for Qualifications for Project Engineering Services and the Request for Proposals for Administrative Grant Services.

4. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on July 23, 2013.

5. Approval of Warrant Register Dated October 10, 2013.

6. Approval of Warrant Register Dated October 30, 2013.

DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS

7. City Council to Give Staff Direction and to Review and Approve Proposed New Bus Stops and the Elimination of Two Parking Stalls to be Used as a Bus Stop on Main Street.

8. Resolution Approving a Utility Bill Auditing Service Agreement and Authorizing the City Manager to Execute the Agreement with Utility Cost Management (UCM) in a Form Approved by the City Attorney.

9. Resolution Approving a One (1) Year Memorandum of Understanding and a Side Letter Concessions Agreement between the City of Livingston and the City of Livingston Management and Confidential Employees Association.

ADJOURNMENT

3 thoughts on “Salmonella, Arsenic, TCP and Manganese, A Timeline About Water Issues, and a City Council Agenda

  1. Pingback: Cockroaches, Arsenic, and TCP; A Requiem for the Court Theater and a Planning Commission Agenda | Thegardeningsnail's Weblog (because not every critter is hiding under a rock...)

  2. Pingback: Arsenic and Lawsuits, Workshops and Hearings; A Clean Up/Abatement Order from the Water Board, and a City Council Agenda | Thegardeningsnail's Weblog (because not every critter is hiding under a rock...)

  3. Pingback: Arsenic, TCP and Salmonella; Lawsuits and Politics; A Look Back at 2014 and A City Council Agenda | Thegardeningsnail's Weblog (because not every critter is hiding under a rock...)

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