Friday, September 25, 2015

A Note from a Sierra Madre Resident about Chloramines and Water Pipe Leaks


(Mod: I received the following email and pictures from a Sierra Madre resident earlier this week. His troubles are not unique and I have received similar emails over the past few months. I figured this would be as good a time as any to post his observations. The question that needs to be asked is this. If chloramine is doing this to metal pipes, what is it doing to far softer people?)

Have you heard anything about leaking water mains from residents? As you know since we have been importing water there is a lot of brown water when you first run a faucet that has been sitting for a few days. The brown is rust from the inside of the pipes, the decay of the iron pipes caused by the change in the water treatment from the imported water that started in 2013.


(Mod: The rest of this 2013 Los Angeles Times article can be found here.)

I have recently had 3 breaks, actually holes, in my 70 year old, 200 foot long water main. Plus another one has started.

Our pipes are literally being eating from the inside out from this change of water treatment. I know the city is also having problems with its mains.

Now we have to save water and deal with leaking water mains caused by a change in water treatment we have no control over?  I can't believe I am an isolated case.

They have to keep the chloramine under 4 parts per million. Hard to believe that little will aggravate the rust.


(Mod: Wikipedia link here.)

I received a courtesy notice stating that my water usage increased so I checked my meter with everything turned off. Yes it is creeping along indicating there is another leak. My fault? I don't think so, but who gets the blame?


(Mod: The question I have is are all of these leaks responsible for Sierra Madre not hitting its state mandated water use reduction number last month? Are all of the reductions in water use being made by residents enough to overcome it?)

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

63 comments:

  1. All of these leaks are why Sierra Madre did not make its state water number last month.

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    1. Eventually all the ductile iron pipes will become corroded. There are alternatives that do not corrode. These alternatives are used by other Cities in this area.The alternative materials are more tolerant of seismic shock.
      But you need a competent and diligent Director of Public Works to make such choices.
      It requires a peculiarly determined attitude to consistently make the appalling choices that brought us to this point.

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    2. Or it requires a constituency that chronically pays lower rates to its staff and has consistently subpar quality employees (through competence or motivation) as a result.

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    3. 11:01, I bet you think an UUT increase will fix that, huh?

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    4. If the staff pay is so bad that why isn't turnover higher? Is it because it's not too hard to work here?

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    5. If this is a Staff Problem - my Mom would work for a fraction of what any of these employees do. And she is great on Google ! That alone would have prevented most of the problems !

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  2. I talked to my sister-in-law last night. She has been a nurse and a supervisor for decades. She could not believe that our imported water has chloramines! It could be time for our local medical community to raise a stink (actually, the stink is already there in the water). In case you weren't watching the City Council meeting about a month ago, our $50,000 consultant, Ms Baribeau (sp?) "knows nothing" about what's wrong with our water. Where's Erin Brockovich when we need her!

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    1. Your sister may be decades old but chloramines have been used to disinfect water for close to 100 years and over 80% of water used for drinking is treated with them. A simple inexpensive carbon block filter will remove them if you don't like the taste of chlorine.

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    2. Why are chloromines having such a bad effect on the water department's pipes?

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    3. It has been explained to you many times and I'm not doing it again. Ask Ms Barbie or Bruce.

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    4. No, it hasn't been explained. At least not in a believeable way.

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    5. 7:35, it requires a lot of carbon and a lot of time. You can also boil the water for an hour or so.

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    6. Kind of like you would in a third world country.

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    7. 7:56 it takes neither a lot of carbon or a lot of time.Gem plumbing can install one in 2 hours for a reasonable price and you change the filter annually if you're more concerned get a reverse osmosis system.Yes it costs money affluence is expensive if we were not so rich we couldn't complain.

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    8. I believe that at least 80% of LA County uses chloramines to treat the water supply. Big MWD uses 100% chloramines and they supply a LOT of people.

      Could it be the pipes are really old galvanized (not copper) and should be replaced? Certainly home piping is preferred to be copper for better pressure and less leaks.

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    9. This means that carbon filtration is the best removal method, and, contrary to urban legends, filter carbon does indeed remove chloramine. The problem is that it takes more carbon and more contact time to do the job. In practical terms this means that if your city disinfects your tap water with chloramines you'll need to get a larger and better carbon filter than you would need if chlorine alone were used.

      For drinking water you can consider high quality carbon units like Multipure, or double and triple units that use lots of carbon. And, contrary to another widely promoted myth, reverse osmosis units do remove chloramine. In fact, they do it well, because any good RO unit contains a couple of carbon filters and the water gets an extra slow pass through the first one.

      In choosing carbon for chloramine removal, a specially prepared carbon called “catalytic” carbon is far superior to regular carbon.

      Catalytic carbon is a specifically processed grade of filter carbon that is designed especially for, among other things, exceptional chloramine removal. On our site, the brand name for catalytic carbon is Centaur.

      You should also consider specially prepared carbon filters from Pentek, which are expertly designed to reduce chloramines.

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    10. Glad you're affluent 8:10, but I'm not - and I'm not alone here in town. Just because the land values went crazy doesn't mean that everyone here is rich.

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    11. Bruce Inman should have explained how to remove chloramine from our water years ago. But he can't even use Google without a Consultant and he obviously can't be bothered.
      When this subject came up months ago ,I got my Mom to Google the issue to check how easy it was to find the correct answer.It was the first site on Google when she searched "Chloramine Filter".
      To save you the bother ,you just need a triple filter with catalytic carbon for drinking+ cooking water. The water needs to 'spend time' with the carbon - so that is why you need a triple canister system.They cost around $300+fitting. You'll need an effective sediment filter prior to the Carbon filter because our water often has a lot of sand suspended in it.This is pathetically simple but clearly beyond Inman or anyone else at the Water Dept.Or maybe they just don't care?
      To replace pipes from the meter to the house, do not use galvanized, nor copper - too reactive. Use Code & NSF approved plastic. There are several to choose from. Inside the house the best choice is PEX.
      Repipe from the street to the house will cost less than $1000. Repipe in the house is way more. Then there is the issue of water heaters ........... This is all simple,well known stuff. Nobody at City Hall could be bothered to explain it. Why are they still employed ? Exactly how much more negligent and incompetent do they have to be before they are fired for cause.
      Ultimately it is this City Council who is to blame.

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    12. RO is ineffective for chloramine removal. Carbon works.Catalytic carbon works even better.
      People think RO works because RO systems often include a small carbon filter.
      Save your money .Just get a big carbon system. Ask a biochemist not a plumber if chloramine really worries you

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  3. City hall should be made to drink the tap water, not the Cool Aid they have imported. Unfortunately our city employees and some past and present council members have been drinking the Cool Aid for years. That has got to be the reason they treat us the way they do. I bet if you go to city hall they will even offer you a drink from their cooler. I guess we $ buy $ them that bottled water, I want to know how much water we are $$ buying $$ for all the city employees or is it just the workers at city hall? How about the Police and Fire, do they get special water to drink or is it just those who work in the main building. How can we check on such a question, ask at CC meeting? This really stinks.

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  4. Yes, I'll be interested to see my water bill - had my house pipes burst. Had reduce my usage 50% last cycle.

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  5. Does anybody know if we should be drinking this stuff? If it has that kind of corrosive effect on pipes, what in the world is it doing to our insides? Has the city said that the water is safe to drink?

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    1. Don't drink it! Don't cook with it, and don't give it to pets. Google it and see the controversy...then choose the safer way.

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    2. Unless you are on dialysis ,it is 'safe'. Is it good? That depends .... but don't use it in your fish tank -they will quickly die.Try it ? What's a few gold fish lives ? But don't give the dead fish to the cat.

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    3. For fish tanks, a simple water conditioner that removes chloramines will work just fine to make the water safe and prevent deaths.

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  6. It seems obvious to me that the city's priority here is the money they will get from fining people. Other considerations are not to be looked at.

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    1. Eastside residents, check your last bill. Was your meter read on the 2nd Tuesday as it's supposed to be? Look on a calendar and count the days between the "from" and "to" dates. Does that agree with the "Number of days" printed on the bill?

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  7. I haven't drunk the water in years. I'm filling up the landfills with all those plastic bottles.

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    1. I hope you're using your blue bin to recycle those plastic bottles. They don't go to the landfill that way.

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    2. Oh, right. I'm recycling them to be converted into bikes, pens, and whatever else it is that becomes their new life.

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  8. Would you trust the City to be able to tell you "what is safe" to drink? Me, hell no. They send out a water quality report, but there are many unanswered issues in those reports. Yes they report data, but nowhere does it state they how the sample(s) were collected that they provided data for. There are many ways to collect a sample, and with no proper and knowledgeable oversight during sample collect, we have no way of knowing if the data they provide to us is even valid. Not that is isn't done correctly, I'm just saying, they told me "it's done according to standards, etc....bla bla" but again, as far as I'm concerned, it seems there is little liability on their end on how they collect samples. THe point is, the data in the water report may not truly be representative of what is flowing through our bodies and pipes.

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    1. If you are that concerned and paranoid perhaps you should spend $25. and test it yourself from your tap?
      I know it could be a conspiracy you don't trust them either.

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    2. Cool. Blame the victim.

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    3. Groovy but we're talking health and solutions not "the victim"

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    4. Sure, Sunshine. But citizen self-defense should not be required with a water company that charges the crazy prices this one does.

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    5. Ok, Pickles it's your health my water on Sunnyside Ave. tested fine with my $9.99 test kit from Amazon. I know conspiracy theory

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    6. And those who have brown water and pipe leaks because of corrossive chemicals? What is your Mary Poppins solution for that? Baking soda?

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    7. Replace the pipes 80 year old galvanized steel pipes corrode "Just the facts mam" sorry.
      As I stated before if you are scared test the water yourself and buy a carbon block filter. Your money your life.
      I don't recall Mary P. being at all concerned about the London water that is disgusting btw.

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  9. I want a UUT tax break because, I really pay extra for water I can drink. Water is our life blood and what do the residents of Sierra Madre get? A mismanaged water system that city hall has for years taken money out of has come home to roost and now we are paying for it, their decisions and their mistakes. Remember, if they were putting the money collected from our water bills to maintain the system we might not be having the problems we are having right now. I hope when the FBI investigates they look at all the line items like this. Tax me / charge me more for water I should probably not be drinking seems criminal to me. Maybe the Citizens Action Committee needs to send a signed petition to council asking for an upper city management replacement. We need someone managing this city who lives here and can figure out what is best for the residents and the city.

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  10. Chloramines backed by communist amber mine

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    1. The Dominican Republic is not communist. It is a corrupt plutocracy. In Mexico the amber mines are in a narco state.

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  11. 8:31 If you make over $34,000 USD you are affluent in fact you are in the top 1% of wage earners in the world!!

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  12. You gotta look at the bright side. At least we don't have Fluoride and PCB problems as we did with our good well water

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  13. 9:39, that is laughable, comparing us to the rest of the world. We had a good system in place but city hall has lost that for us.

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  14. Are you kidding me, blame this council for the council of the last 10 + years? I blame management, their suppose to know these things, that's what we pay them the big bucks and pensions for.

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  15. Reverse osmosis is a big water waster: 3 gals of by-product (waste water) for one gallon of water to use. I took my RO system back to CostCo for a full refund and now have a simple two stage filter on my kitchen sink drinking water spigot and a two filter system on my fridge water and ice maker. On my shower head I have a Vitamin C filter from Korea that has eliminated the dry skin and burning eyes from my showering with Chloromine. Look on line.

    Double check, boiling your water does not get rid of chloramine or chlorine. But the poster regarding the number of years it has been in use in the US is correct, very long time, long time for enough information to tell us it is BAD, BAD, BAD.

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  16. Check around on the web and find the truth about Chloramine in drinking water: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/11/27/drinking-water-with-chloramine.aspx

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  17. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. So on top of paying ever increasing water rates, residents have to pay for extra equipment as well?

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    2. Yep.
      Our water department was a cash cow and grossly mismanaged for years. Then Mother Nature put the squeeze on California.

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    3. That site seems like a total scam? What language is that?

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  18. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. Water softeners do not remove contaminants?

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    2. Both sites mentioned are scammers don't even click on them.

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    3. Just go to Home Depot .Buy the triple carbon filter .No dubious links required.

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  19. Flouride in the well water was naturally occurring. The city had to ask for relief from the amounts allowed as they had to dilute the water to bring the % down. The PCBs in the well water was inadvertent. We did not dump this into our own aquifers but in adjacent cities...El Monte had to shut down wells years and years ago then it "cleared" maybe? JPL did jet testing and it spread via a "plume" into our area did it not? Sierra Engineering was in town making face masks for jet pilots and there may have pollution from that production but I never have read what it was.

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  20. Natural Fluoride,inadvertent PCB's still poison. I drank it for 58 years and hopefully will again yellow teeth is all I got from it as far as I know.

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  21. Just got this from City;



    City of Sierra Madre Public Works Department September 25th, 2015



    Warning Received from State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB)

    The City received a letter from the SWRCB this week noting that the City did not meet its SWRCB-Mandated 32% conservation goal in July, attaining only 28.4%. The State letter is the first step in enforcement action against the City that can be taken by the State for not meeting the specified goal. Water Production Data already submitted to the SWRCB for August shows an even lower conservation rate (24.8%) so the City can expect to receive a Notice of Violation and Information Order from the State in the next few weeks.

    September's water production numbers are even more dismal than August at 23.4%. It is entirely possible that as a result of the production report we will have to turn in for September (due October 15) is the SWRCB may assess a significant fine against the City and/or order the City to take specific conservation-related actions.

    While the City response to the Information Order will list everything that the City has done to encourage conservation, the fact is that the result of those efforts has not met state requirements. It is expected to result in the City being required to take more stringent actions. Note that the conservation is calculated by the state on a cumulative basis beginning in June 2015. At this time, not only will the city have to increase its monthly conservation to attain 32% cumulatively, but we will actually have to exceed that conservation rate to make up for those months in which the 32% was not met.



    Water Discoloration Increases

    Portions of the City are experiencing an increase in water discoloration due to the temporary shutdown of the water treatment that had been somewhat effective in reducing the iron being released into the water from public and private piping. Treatment of the water will resume as soon as possible.



    Please Pardon our Noise

    Portions of the City’s water distribution system are 90 years old, and sadly the number of system leaks has increased dramatically in the last few weeks. It has always been the City’s policy to repair leaks as soon as we become aware of them; compliance with that policy is critical in this time of drought. As system leaks do not respect regular work schedules, it is not uncommon for Public Works staff to work late into the night or in the wee hours of the morning repairing leaks. While we will do all we can to keep the accompanying noise down, please understand, it is by its very nature noisy work. We apologize in advance for the disturbances we are creating.

    That said, as we found on the night of September 11, sometimes we simply do not have the manpower, equipment, or materials needed to address multiple simultaneous leaks. At those times we will go into a triage system, addressing the worst leaks first. A damp spot on the pavement is a level 1 leak. It will have to wait. Water flowing in the gutter 4 inches wide is a level 2 leak, which we will address as quickly as we can, manpower and equipment permitting. A level 3 leak is one which exceeds 4 inches of water in the gutter or one that has caused or threatens to cause major damage to public or private property. Those will always be staff’s highest priority.

    And PLEASE, if you see water coming out of the street pavement, call 355-1414 (PD Dispatch) and report it; you have spotted a leak!

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  22. Everybody got the love letter from the Department of Public Works?

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  23. Mod,
    You forgot to include the photo of Mr. Inman with the rusty old pipe. That photo would have been dated BC, that is, Before-Chloramine. Imagine what those underground pipes look like now! Yowzaaaa!

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