June 03, 2013 Meeting Summary

LIVINGSTON CA / July 15, 2013 —

Note from TheGardeningSnail – this is not a word for word transcript of the entire meeting, but is meant to give you an idea of what was covered during the meeting, and what essential information was presented to the members of the Utility Rate Stakeholders Committee present.

Utility Rates Stakeholders Committee Mtg.

Monday – June 3, 2013 at 5:30 p.m.

City Hall Conference Room

Information and Discussion

1) Non‐Compliance Order Received

  • Well # 13 was out of commission for several years for different reasons: one of them being upgrades. The area area around Gallo Park was being enhanced.

  • The well was brought back online in April and had high numbers for Arsenic. The historical data for the well show it had problems going back to 2009. Therefore the problem is not new – just new to the new staff at City Hall.

  • There is a 4 quarter running average. If that average exceeds the Maximum Contaminant Level than the State issues a Compliance Order.

  • When the average for fewer than 4 Quarters is such that the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) is certain to be exceeded regardless of additional sampling results, it’s a pretty sure bet that the State will be issuing an order to install a Treatment System for Arsenic.

  • The Maximum Contaminant Level for Arsenic is 10ppb. One sample came up 12.9, another 11.9. Even if samples came up for the next 3 Quarters to be below 10, the odds of getting the Average to be below 10 is pretty much nil.

  • Staff is asking for proposals to see what it will cost to design and install a Treatment System for that well because the City needs that well in operation. Staff is looking at documentation for Well #16 as a prototype/model.

  • The only issue to date with that well is the Contaminant problem. The Well itself had been completely overhauled: motor, pump, new generator.

  • A Notice about Exceeding the Drinking Water Standard for Arsenic has been sent out to residents. The wording, with few exceptions is as mandated by the State.

  • There was discussion about including additional wording and explanations in addition to the State Mandated wording. Apparently, some people were confused as to whether or not they should be buying water from outside the City, of if water from places like the local Water Mill was undrinkable…………There was also discussion of including additional explanations in Punjabi and Spanish: because it is highly likely that the City will have to send out more of these notices in the future: every time the well test over the limit for Arsenic.

  •  

  • i)Water Conservation Ordinance

    • Has been an issue since around 2000.

    • The City Ordinance says in order to move on a Water Conservation Program, it must be set in motion by a Resolution.

    • There is no provision for fines in the Current Municipal Code. The Code reads as follows “PD, Fire, and Public Works and all City Employees are tasked with monitoring this”. The section that calls for fines is gone.

    • There was a discussion about Watering Days. Committee Member Warren Urnberg advocated for Alternating Watering Days as a Conservation method while Mayor Pro-Temp Gurpal Samra questioned whether or not Watering Days would really save water and City Staff stating that Alternative Watering days reduced strain on the system and helped in maintaining adequate water pressure.

    • City Staff also discussed the increase in water usage during the Summer Months for landscape/lawn irrigation: water usage often doubling or more than doubling.

    • There was also discussion about “educating the public” about the need to conserve water, requiring developers to use 1.23 gallon toilets, putting a jar or bottle in toilet tanks, and watering more frequently but for shorter periods of time because of our sandy soil.

    • Enforcement is tasked to every City Employee. But, without a way to enforce it, what really could the City do?

    • Livingston Unified is working to have their sprinklers work as efficiently as possible, but there is pressure to water regularly to keep the grass green and looking good.

    • The City needs to start off right away and start the process towards conservation because it is in the Compliance order to have some kind of Water Conservation program in place. 

    • Staff will come up with an action plan for education and look for grants for things like low flush toilets.

    • The full impact is expected to be felt next year.

  • ii) Resolution implementation

    • Not really discussed as a separate item

2) Update on Well #16 (Arsenic Removal Treatment System)

  • The project is going well. Chemical tanks are in place: they were fastened for seismic protection.

  • Currently waiting on a different contractor: it is necessary to install some animatic valves to control the pull into the tanks and then some animatic pressure controls to control the pressure in the tanks.

  • The reason for animatic controls is if you don’t control the water volume pressure going into the tanks the media can be washed out.

  • The manufacturer of the media only allows a 10% loss due to wash-out. Any more would void the warranty.

  • An animatic valve system would provide much better control of water pressure. Controlling 1,200 psi by hand is nearly impossible.

  • Most of the old media had been lost to wash-out: only 20-30% had remained.

  • The well is expected to be online by mid-summer and Staff is communicating with the California Department of Health.

  • What has been learned on Well #16 will be used to provide ballpark figures about what to do with Well #13.

3) Well #14 DBCP Testing Frequency Increase 

  • Testing had been every 3 years. As part of the Inspection of the Water System: one of the requirements is that testing for DBCP on well #14 be increased from every 3 years to every 3 months.

  • Everything that was sent to the City as part of the inspection was also sent to the Lab. The lab has a computerized scheduling system. As items on the list comes up, the laboratory automatically contacts the City and comes out for a sample.

  • A new California Department of Health sampling schedule came out and changed a lot of sampling schedules.

  • Nationally, as technology increases and the EPA knows more, policy changes are made: just like it did with Arsenic Maximum Contaminant Levels.

    • It used to be 15ppb then it was changed to 10ppb.

    • Sometime in the future it will probably be lowered even further.

    • They use data from the UCMR (Unregulated Chemical Monitoring Rule) to come up with different testing frequencies. These are tests the City is “mandated” to do.

  • The State is looking to merge the State Water Control Board with the California Department of Health. The Water Control Board is much more into the details and enforcement.

  • (Los Banos is going to have some real Chrom 6 and Chrom 3 Issues.)

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4) National Rural Water Association

  • This is a non-profit agency…that helps with technical assistance. If the City needs some temporary help with something, they can help.

  • They also let you know about different kinds of funding opportunities: what’s out there.

  • They came and met with us: we specifically told them we want whatever they have: news of grants we can go after both on water and wastewater.

  • They have a revolving loan fund and then there are some grants.

5) Water Distribution System Maintenance

  • i) Dirty Water  I’ll get this updated at a later date

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