Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Dr. Reese Halter: Parched Sierra Madre Taps Into Disinfectants

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(Mod: Dr. Reese Halter is described by The Huffington Post as "a broadcaster, conservation biologist, educator and co-author of Life, The Wonder of it All" (link). He is also a very generous guy and has now written on important issues for The Tattler twice. The issue today is Chloramine and how this unhealthy combination of chlorine and ammonia is about to be introduced into Sierra Madre's water supply in less than two weeks. CBS News picked up on this story late last week and we posted their angle on our predicament Sunday - link. Today we have Reese Halter's take.)

Parched Sierra Madre Taps Into Disinfectants: Climate change has imposed a long-lasting drought gripping the West, ringing out every last drop of fresh water from the Rio Grande (link) to the Los Angeles basin (link) including our picturesque community of Sierra Madre (link).

Once upon a time the nearly 11,000 denizens of Sierra Madre had a plentiful source of drinking water; snowpack spring melt waters and rainfall from the Angeles Mountains, home to the thousand year old subalpine limber pines, provided enough moisture to recharge our aquifers – a reliable and abundant supply of ground water.

Prolonged irregular precipitation patterns with above normal temperatures have placed Sierra Madre in a dire predicament: An extreme water shortage.

A $2 million pipe has linked into San Gabriel Valley Metropolitan Water District (SGMWD) and for the first time Sierra Madre will draw water from a supply treated with chloramine or chlorine and ammonia (link). Chloramine is known according to Citizens Concerned About Chloramine (link) to affect human breathing and cause severe skin irritations.

When my friend, Sierra Madrean Warren Betts, told me about this new disinfectant to be introduced into his community, I wondered why SGVMWD was not using ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (link) instead of chlorine and ammonia?

Ultraviolet radiation uses very short wavelengths of light to effectively and efficiently eradicate all microorganisms. It mitigates the need to introduce caustic and toxic chemicals like chlorine and ammonia into the Sierra Madre water system and ultimately into children’s bodies.

The water crisis in Sierra Madre also draws attention to how each of our homes and us take for granted how precious and important water is throughout the Los Angeles basin, highlighting the immediate need to safeguard it.

Australia has been brutally lambasted by climate change over the past decade and they have implemented smart water conservation policies. It's incumbent upon the Sierra Madre city council to examine the successful Australian model (link) and adopt further stringent water conservation measures.

The greatest expenditure of household water is sprinkling it profusely across our lawns, which invariably is followed by unnecessary and harmful fertilizers and herbicides. Why not consider making it a family project, get rid of your profligate water-spending lawn and go native with thrifty Californian plants (link) that are adapted to arid conditions and are bee and butterfly friendly such as: Milkweed, butterfly sage, penstemon, verbena, sunflowers, poppies and black-eyed Susan’s (link).

In addition, I suggest planting a couple fruit trees like apple, citrus or pomegranate as they too will provide a safe and healthy source of nectar and pollen for our urban bees, and give your family, friends and neighbors healthy bounty (link). Please do not use any pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or miticides in your garden – combinations of these chemicals are killing our bees.

Also consider planting a Californian conifer like Sequoia or Jeffrey pine in your yard. Mature trees cast shade, reducing home cooling costs by as much as 40 percent (link).

It’s clearly time for each of us to make the commitment to change our water spending habits, and then we can change our family water-use habits. Lastly, as a transformed model city  – Sierra Madre can provide future-proofing leadership for other California communities to lower their water footprints and prepare for the drier times ahead.

Learn more about Sierra Madre's water with Erin Brockovich at the San Gabriel Valley Water Forum (link) on October 3rd.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

37 comments:

  1. Tree suggestion completely wrong for Sierra Madre, Sequoia and Jeffry pine are completely wrong for our elevation and natural rainfall levels. Also hugely flammable in our fire zone.

    Also, what Angeles Mountain 1000 year old sub-alpine limber pines?

    Other suggestions...California native drought adapted plants...great!

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  2. I followed the link to Dr. Reese's blog on planting these suggested trees in relation to planting a Christmas tree. Here is how a little information goes a foul of an otherwise seemingly good idea. Christmas potted trees do very poorly in the ground having been held in the pot for the Christmas trade too long. And the are species from higher, wetter, colder climates that are asked to adapt somewhere else. I know. I went that route once. Watering instructions: water with ice cubes!

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  3. What water would you use?

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  4. Fire on Mt. Trail! It looks like a shed fully engulfed.

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    Replies
    1. No, it wasn't angry.

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    2. So I guess it was Mountain Trail and Pun Avenue.

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  5. Pines are a ridiculous suggestion near homes -ask any homeowner who has one or more.The tree removal guys love them!
    A candidate tree that needs no extra water(with or without chloramines), provides shade ,no sap/leaf/fruit litter, is weeping and grows only to 15-25 feet is Agonis Flexuosa -Peppermint Willow. The leaves smell of peppermint when you cut or rub them.It is often confused (even by our Tree Commission(!) with the Australian Willow(too big for small yards) and the Pepper Tree.

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  6. Let's not be alarmist about Chloramines ?
    Nobody(except dialysis patients perhaps) died from drinking a few glasses of chloramine treated water.
    There are 2 real problems(IMHO)
    1. is the chronic effect on children from drinking it for a lifetime.

    2. the metabolites of chloramine(look it up) are potentially more toxic than the chloramine itself.
    Time will tell if there two concerns have validity.Are you willing to volunteer for the experiment?

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    Replies
    1. No, I'm not willing to volunteer for a dangerous experiment.

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    2. Lighten up. A "dangerous experiment" would be living in Syria.

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    3. That sounds like you have no clue what you are talking about ...Syria? compared to our water woes?

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  7. Watering with ice cubes was the instructions for the potted "Christmas" tree I bought at a So Cal nursery some years ago. In its natural setting these species of trees get their water from snow melt not summer rain and definately not imported water via lawn sprinklers.

    If anything, this drought will educate people to chose tree species that do not require summer water.

    The link to Rio Grande water (I looked because I was about to question Dr Reese's geographical knowledge--we don't get water from the Rio Grande) but it was a story about Albuquerque. They have lost lots of trees to drought and I can just bet they were species not meant to grow at the elevation and temperature and lack of water at certain times of year.

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  8. You are all falling in line with the puff that city hall has been spreading. Now everyone is arguing about plants and who is using too much water, just what city hall wants us to do. We are going to be so happy to have water we are going to turn our neighbors in and start fighting and turning our eyes and ears away from the line of lies coming out of city hall. THIS ENTIRE PROBLEM IS FROM CITY HALL. The city knew this was coming but did they do the right thing NO. If we would have been taking care of our wells and cleaning and drilling them deeper like Monrovia and Arcadia did we would not have the problems. This mess is because our city wanted to tap in so we would have all the water to build up the city not conserve. Now we have to conserve what we have until we tap in to MWD then we will have plenty to continue to increase the building and density at a higher price and city hall will be fat cats again and will do nothing to improve our wells only fix some of the most leaking and obvious pipes.

    This city council and city administration has failed it's citizens and should be held accountable for not acting in our best interests. We are the victims here.

    They have been acting in the best interests of the building industry with stack and pack from Sacramento. We are but cattle being led to the slaughter.

    Is mean mayor Nancy Welsh still watering her green yard?

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  9. "Ultraviolet radiation uses very short wavelengths of light to effectively and efficiently eradicate all microorganisms."
    Why can't the MWD use this far superior method?

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    Replies
    1. It would have to be cost. Chloramine being the most inexpensive option.

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    2. Ozone treatment of the water has the best results so far and doesn't add chemicals to the water either.

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    3. If it wasn't cost, they'd be using uv or ozone, trust me.

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  10. let's not forget to thank Bart Doyle for being the point person for this

    and then when you see John Buchanan be sure to thank him for lying to us about the situation and hiding the truth to cover up for his buddy Doyle

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  11. Just ask a Tree Advisory Commissioner

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  12. 8:18 you talk a lot, why don't you take some action and do something?

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    Replies
    1. 8:18 in that one very clear post has done more than I suspect you will do for years.

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  13. 8.18
    Excellent & perceptive post .Please ignore Trolls(?) who seek to divert attention from the big issue of mismanagement and deception.
    Thanks for your persistence on the subject

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    Replies
    1. Yes. The trolls are out today. You can smell the ammonia.

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  14. 8:18, when wells hit bedrock, no amount of drilling will bring up water. This is something you can't blame the city for. Blame the city for not taking action a long time ago - say when Buchanan insisted that water was not a problem when discussing Stonehouse and Carter subdivisions, when all along the water disaster was fast approaching. And tell me why the city is still dragging its heels on a building moratorium?

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    Replies
    1. Next step on water conservation (30% reduction) has an automatic moratorium attached

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    2. And the city council wants to avoid it like the plague.
      It would have been a great action to take even 5 years ago.

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    3. City Hall hopes the MWD hookup is the answer to all of their problems. A water supply that allows for as much development as they can handle.

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    4. How stupid does someone need to be to believe what comes out of City Hall?

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  15. Once Building Industry Association types got the MWD pipeline on the table, it made many city staff and leaders stupid. The pipeline took away the initiative to be more pro-active on conservation, and guaranteed development beyond our capacity to sustain ourselves.

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    Replies
    1. Great. Getting someone else to do it seems to be a big problem solving strategy downtown.

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    2. Getting someone else to do it and getting us to pay for it.

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  16. Please type in Tree of Life Nursery, San Juan Capistrano, California - there you will find reams of information on native California plants and blooming period's of the year and lengths of blooms lasting.

    It's a home owner's treasure chest of super useful information.

    This is the right way of reducing water NOW and forever!

    http://californianativeplants.com/

    http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=Tree+of+Life+Nursery&qpvt=Tree+of+Life+Nursery&FORM=IGRE

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  17. The state wide water reduction goal is 20% and holding.

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  18. 12:05, this is 8:18. I beg to differ. Have you seen the drilling platforms off the coast of Santa Barbara? For your information those platforms drill for miles at angles under the mainland. I say the city of Sierra Madre has failed the tax payers and have done so on purpose. An investigation into this matter is called for. Hopefully someone out there knows the truth and can come forward to expose the incompetence of the leadership this town has been exposed to. Saying that the leadership of this town is incompetent is letting them off the hook as far as I'm concerned. For years we have known we have a water problem and they have not taken the appropriate action, period.

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  19. State Controller's office needs to audit Sierra Madre. John Chiang, come on over after your done with Cudahy... I'm sure you'll have a field day.

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