01/28/13 Utility Rate Stakeholders Committee Meeting Recap

After several weeks of canceled meetings, the Livingston Utility Rate Statkeholders Committee held a meeting on January 28, 2013 and discussed the following:

· A recap of the upcoming Proposition 218 Process for Solid Waste (Garbage) Rates.

· Kennedy Jenks report on Feasibility Analysis for Centralized Water Treatment

· AECOM Report on Status of Well #8 TCP Remediation Design Project

· Evaluation of Well 17 and Well 10

· Emerging issues with the Distribution System: microorganisms and manganese.


· Representatives from “Industrial” Foster Farms (2),

· Livingston School District (1)

· Merced Union High School District (0),

· Local Business (0),

· Residents (1) Warren Urnberg arrived late

· City Council Liaisons: Gurpal Samra and David Mendoza arrived late

· City of Livingston: City Manager Jose Ramirez, Finance Director Odilion Ortiz, Engineer Nanda Gothiparty, Public Works Director Humberto Molina, Connie Payane Public Works

· And interested members of the community


{Note: this is not a “word for word” transcript. I’m working on that. But this does give you a really good idea of what was discussed and I’m sure I got most of the most important stuff here. }


According to City Manager Jose Ramirez, although Rate Increases are typically done by Resolution, the City of Livingston will be doing so by Ordinance: timeline as follows

· 02/01/2013 Notices of Hearing mailed out

· 03/19/2013 First Hearing and First Reading of the Proposed Ordinance.

· 03/02/2013 Second Reading and Adoption of Ordinance

· 04/02/2013 New Rates to go into affect.


Representatives from Kennedy Jenks were not present. It was felt that the added expense of having a representative from Kennedy Jenks was not justifiable at this point in time. Once the consultants have a Final Draft ready they will be called upon to make a presentation to the committee.

The City’s groundwater has several issues: Arsenic, TCP – 1,2,3, Manganese, etc. It is expected that water quality will continue to decline as the pumping from wells continues. Therefore, the city is considering the possibility of moving away from Individual Wellhead Treatment to a more Centralized Water Treatment System in addition to acquiring Surface Water. The Feasibility Study is looking at Well Water Vs. Surface water Options and breaking down the costs per 1,000 gallons.

A preliminary Draft has already been distributed to the members of the Utility Rate Stakeholders Committee and comments by comments and Regional Partners are being incorporated into the Final Draft.

The city is looking at using the recent $9 million TCP Lawsuit settlement from Dow Chemical for more than just TCP – 1,2,3 filtration.

Even though the option of more centralized treatment is being explored, the City is still going forward with installing Wellhead Treatment at Well #8, which is near the Foster Farms processing plant.

The Final Draft of the Feasibility Study is expected to be done by early March.


The representative from AECOM was not present. So the City Engineer gave the status report on and some background on the project.

Well #8 is off Main Street next to the foster farms facility. The current project that’s being done by AECOM is a design project to come up with treatment for TCP 1,2,3 contamination. The design is about 90% complete and it is anticipated that in another 3 to 4 weeks to have the final design documents available. Preliminary bid documents are available. Some details on how to handle backwash waters are still being worked on.

Well #8 is one of the main wells on the City’s system. About 4 or 5 years ago, the City became aware of elevated levels of TCP and the City Council was notified. Although there is not currently a Maximum Contaminant Level for TCP it is expected the State will adopt MCLs for TCP in the very near future. The State notified the city that some of the wells have a higher level than the expected future MCL that will be adopted. Therefore the state has asked to city to look into treatment options.

At that time the city council hired a firm and identified as they went through the litigation process identified the source of contamination. One of the major companies that part of the litigation was Dow Chemicals. There was a settlement that came out of that litigation a total amount of $9 million that was part of the settlement.

Following that settlement, the city decided to start with treatment and defined Well #8 as one of the major wells needing treatment for TCP. The city went into the selection process and came to the Utility Rate Stakeholders Committee for presenting the consultants for selection. AECOM was selected for design: the completion of the design is nearly done.

The state has observed that in some wells at other facilities that have a similar treatment system have issues with temporary peaking of nitrates. So they have asked the City to add to the design a way to either put (that) into the sewer system or the storm drain system. There is a storm drain basin that is adjacent to the well and the consultants have been asked to provide us with a preliminary design.

The preliminary cost estimate for the treatment is at about $1 ½ million for Well #8. There are still some changes to be worked on so this will be brought back to the committee before the final designs are released.


The City manager has directed staff to look at what it would cost to bring Wells #17 and #10 online: if addressing the issues at these wells would be cheaper than fixing the problems at some of the wells currently in use.

For Example: the Maximum Contaminant level for Arsenic is 10 ppb. Well #15 is at about 9.9 ppb. Projected costs for wellhead treatment at Well #15 for Arsenic is about $2.5 million.

A couple of developers are looking at building homes and the City does not want to put extra stress on the system. There is only 1 well on the South Side of town and another well on that part of town would be beneficial.

Well #10 was initially scheduled for destruction due to elevated levels of Nitrate and would still need a lot of work. But the changes in technology, it might prove cheaper than drilling a new well or depending on some of the more problematic wells we already using.


This is not a State or Public Health Issue – but it has affected the area around Foster Farms with some spikes in manganese when a section of pipes that loop in the city had been reactivated.

A couple lines that cross the highway: one had been shut down 3 years ago and had had work done. Re-opening the lines stirred up organisms that had collected in the deadends of the system.

The city is working on a plan to flush the South end of town to achieve a more “balanced state” throughout the system. Everyone will be notified when this process takes place.

The City is working with Kennedy Jenks to do a Hydrologic Model on the best way to do directional flushing of the system. The city may have to do an actual scrubbing of the lines: a process which is much more involved and costly. Flushing will be tried first.

The pipes involved are newer and therefore not scheduled to be replaced.

A centralized system may be able to reduce or eliminate some of the problems Livingston is having in the distribution system. Perhaps a Hybrid System. Final decisions will be in the hands of the City Council.


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