|An even stranger brew|
After all, you're just not going to be able to shift a hundred or so $2.5 million dollar love shacks if the stuff coming out of the taps of Sierra Madre looks a lot more like an end product than anything you'd care to use for actual household purposes. Like possibly even drinking the stuff. This has been going on for some time now, and the problem doesn't look like it's getting any better.
(Mod Interrupts: If you haven't heard yet - and so far only a handful have - there is an acute new danger lurking in Sierra Madre's edgy water supply that makes the discoloration problem look like child's play. I've saved that new information for the end of this article, just like City Hall did in its related Staff Report.)
Of course, in the past we were given at least some reason for hope. We were told that somehow the yellow water problem would, in time, remedy itself naturally. Here is an example of that now obsolete messaging approach, taken from an article published by The Pasadena Star News sometime during last March (link):
Sierra Madre City Council says it’s premature to re-impose water penalties - The City Council backed off plans to impose water conservation penalties after residents complained it would be unfair to punish them for running their faucets until orange or yellow water turns clear.
The murky, odorous water made its first appearance in early October when Sierra Madre shut off its wells and began using supplies from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Experts said the city’s tainted water should clear up by next month, but Bruce Inman, the director of public works, said the forecast is based on an inexact science.
“The estimates that we received were that normally it takes three to six months,” Inman said. “Now there are variables to that, like the age of the water system, the amount of (rust and deposits) that is in the system. ... The fact that some of our pipelines are 90 years old, that’s 90 years of accumulation of this stuff. It could take longer than six months, but we’re hoping it’s less than that.”
Inexact science is something that many Sierra Madre residents have become used to in the last year or so. Much of it invented on the fly in order to keep the townies off City Hall's back, especially before last April's election.
Imposing financial water conservation penalties on yellow water over-usage, and right on the heels of having raised water rates for the second time in several years, would have been in bad taste, so to speak. And it is admirable the City Council at that time recognized this. They were willing instead to wait until our water cleared up before dunning us with even more water costs.
Unfortunately for them, it now appears that the "experts" Bruce Inman spoke so hopefully about weren't quite as clued into the extent of the problems here as first believed. And the whole thing about Sierra Madre's yellowed water clearing up in a month, or in three to six months depending on who at City Hall you spoke to last, is no longer operative.
And how do we know this? From the following agenda item, prepared for tomorrow evening's City Council meeting. It would appear that we are about to reach an entirely new elevation in Sierra Madre's ongoing Yellow Water Crisis. Check out the latest bold new thinking (link):
Certainly this would indicate that there is not much left in the city's vision tank, and it's yellow water problem solving has now been played out. It also appears that the people who have been calling the shots until now have lost confidence in what they've been doing. So much so that they've thrown up their hands, cried "Uncle!" and are begging the City Council for a $50,000 dollar water consultant to come and save them.
In other words, this all smells like panic. And, as I alluded to earlier, there is a perfectly frightening reason for that.
The attached Staff Report sheds some necessary light upon the depths of confusion and despair downtown (link):
Finally, and this is what I was referring to earlier, we have now reached the paragraph in the Staff Report that reveals an entirely new reason for this $50,000 consultant. It is likely the real one.
In other words, they are not just completely fresh out of ideas, "water staff" also knows that the situation is becoming dangerous and could easily get much worse, and soon. In case you are not aware, "nitrification" is a potentially deadly consequence of using chloramines. Especially during the warm summer months.
Here is a short explanation of the possible dire consequences of nitrification to human beings, taken from a report called Chloramines: The Good and the Bad (link):
Blue Baby Syndrome. Have you ever heard of it? This from Wikipedia (link):
A sort of "blue baby syndrome" can also be caused by Methemoglobinemia. It is believed to be caused by high nitrate contamination in ground water resulting in decreased oxygen carrying capacity of hemoglobin in babies leading to death. The groundwater is thought to be contaminated by leaching of nitrate generated from fertilizer used in agricultural lands and waste dumps. It may also be related to some pesticides (DDT, PCBs etc.), which cause ecotoxicological problems in the food chains of living organisms, increasing BOD, which kills aquatic animals.
Can we say "potential systemic catastrophic failure" yet? Has anyone alerted Moody's?
I seriously doubt that City Staff would be asking this City Council for $50,000 to hire a water purity consultant unless it had absolutely no other choice. Not in this tax and political environment. Staff is going down this road because they are simply at wit's end. They now know there are some serious problems that can't just be swept under the rug like they were in the past.
It is one thing to supply the city with water that kills pet fish. It is quite another matter if that water also has the potential for killing human infants.