Here is a stab at it. Many aspects can influence our water system's corrosion levels. Dr. Baribeau's study provided options as to how to treat our water. None of them worked. At least not very well. There is now a serious concern about the release of lead into our water system. Why are we suddenly having to be concerned with lead? Has the MWD water stripped our old pipes down to some hitherto unmentioned element? I don't recall any discussions about lead in the past.
Maybe folks should have been tipped off about this "lead release" thing before now?
An option discussed here is to change or line all of those older pipes. Staff actually recommends these as the best solutions. Either of them. This will cost many hundreds of thousands of dollars, but that was discussed at the last meeting and seemed to fly with the elected ones. They have the money somewhere.
But wait, weren't the various Prop 218 water rate increase moneys supposed to be used for that purpose? Yeah, I know. Me with the jokes all the time.
Several other options were looked at, and we will get to them. All of which then brings us to this:
"In a take no further action option the fact that many providers of MWD water are successfully distributing this water indicate that the discolored water events will eventually stop. However, the time period that will be required to achieve this goal is impossible to predict and depends on changing water quality and on distribution system operation."
So we now go from that alarming new concern about lead in our drinking water to a recommendation that nothing be done about it?
Quite a significant mood swing. Colored and foul smelling water, lead, nitrification and pipe corrosion aside, if we just whistle Dixie everything is going to be OK. Someday, but nobody knows quite when for certain.
Here is a screenshot of a passage that gave me pause.
This is rather groundbreaking. Usually when a City Council and the appropriate city staff persons engage a consultant, it is because they're paying that hire to come to a specific conclusion. It is usually more of a consensus building "cover our backs" exercise than anything else. Yet here was a consultant hired to deal with what was a possibly serious public health risk (nitrification or "blue baby syndrome," remember those?) and nothing much ended up being done about that. Or very much else, either.
To the point where the consultant, Dr. Helene Baribeau, didn't even hand in a very useful report. Something so disappointing to the City Council that senior staff practically threw the consultant under the bus.
So how was that disappointment to be dealt with? Give her more money, of course.
Kind of an embarrassing ask. But that's what Elaine and Bruce do sometimes.
There are two revelations here. The second one is bigger.
I am not sure what the implications of putting SGVMWD water into Sierra Madre's spreading grounds might be. Maybe it is being done to dissipate the negative effect of chloramines on our rapidly corroding pipes and livers? In the process recharging the aquifers with something?
So the City of Sierra Madre wants to go back to using its own water again? Do we actually have any? I thought that was why SGVMWD water was being brought here in the first place.
Dr. Baribeau, who apparently has now gotten into the managing expectations business, warns us not to get our hopes up too high. But perhaps using our own water will help.
So I guess it has all come down to this. They're hoping El Nino brings us lots of rain this winter and solves all of these problems. If the drought ends in a tropical deluge, then Sierra Madre will be saved.
Despite all of the needless talk, meetings, hand-wringing, bad water, consultants and reports over the last couple of years, in the end waiting for the return of winter rains was all that needed to be done.
So I guess that what we require now is a rain dance expert and a dowser. Any idea what they cost?