Monday, November 23, 2015

The Most Bizarre City Council Meeting Staff Report About Water Ever Written?

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I've read and reread this thing several times now and I still don't quite know what to make of it. This is either some of the most momentous staff reporting ever, or the strangest. Considering it was written by both Elaine Aguilar and Bruce Inman, your guess is as good as mine. Anything goes, as they say.

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.


That additional payment of $7,040, which apparently still needs to be approved by the City Council, is mentioned in this report three separate times. Obviously it is something of concern to those who wrote it. Considering that a year or so back Dr. Baribeau was going to magically solve all of these problems (whatever they were), and at the cost of $50,000 no less, only to now cough up something described here as a "disappointment?"

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?

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

35 comments:

  1. I volunteer to be both a rain dancer and a dowser and I promise (for the same 50K +), that I will provide the same results and conclusions as the previously hired water "expert".

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  2. Since the city continues to waste water dept. funds (after a hellish water rate increase that started in 2014) and general fund monies ($157,000+ on a librarian) I have decided to do my part as well.

    I will vote NO on any UUT tax increase and YES to repeal the UUT.

    Call it an intervention.

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  3. Dr. Baribeau was Bruce's old solution. His new one is a dude named El Nino. I hear he doesn't cost so much.

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    Replies
    1. What exactly did Dr. B give us for $50K? Now she wants more for more nothing.

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    2. Dr. baribeau is the perfect consultant. Promise the world, under deliver, and charge more than originally quoted.

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    3. Very well said. Thank you. The only thing I would add being "Then get out of town!"

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  4. I am voting yes to repeal the UUT as well. Too much waste from the librarian to all those police officers getting too much overtime. The City is being mismanaged. There is way too much waste at City Hall.

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    Replies
    1. I've come to the same decision. I'd rather see my beloved city go through bankruptcy than watch it bleed to death. It's time for the tough love intervention!

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    2. It is of no surprise that all of the anons here are of one mind.

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    3. And here you are to ruin everything.

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    4. Except for the 6:53 anon that doesn't agree. How ironic.

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  5. I am so outraged over this water situation! LEAD? We're just hearing about it NOW? I'd like to see the true numbers of the lead readings. You know Public Works wouldn't bring forth a lead problem if they weren't worried about it. Time for my blood pressure medication!!!

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    Replies
    1. The lead is not a big risk for adults at current levels unless you have a condition requiring dialysis. It is however a serious concern for infants and children.
      Bottled or correctly filtered water is a solution. Our water rates are now so high and the water so polluted ,it is only suitable for the garden or the toilet. Thanks Bruce!

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    2. Or so we've been told.

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    3. There is absolutely no safe level of LEAD. It is a neurotoxin, and once the damage is don, it is irreversible. This is sickening.

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  6. All of those years when money was being siphoned off from the water department and used for purposes other than doing basic maintenance to the system, what was it used for? Why was whatever those things were considered a priority over water maintenance? Whatever it was we are certainly suffering the consequences now. Hopefully it was for something good.

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    Replies
    1. Something good? Probably CalPERS and consultants.

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    2. $176,000 a year Librarians.

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    3. Elaine an Bruce got a nice raise!

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  7. I guess we can count on that more beneficial local water getting into the pipes early next year. Maybe a month or two before the election?

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    1. Which pipes, those on Grandview, Sunnyside, or the Blvd? Don't count on it. I doubt that the city can solve the water problem before the election.

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    2. You don't think things will improve at least some if we start using our own wells again?

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  8. Replies
    1. For anyone trying to sell a home here, "Lead in the Water" is the death knell for Sierra Madre real estate values.
      If that wake-up call doesn't energize the community beyond the Tattler readers, or creditors will eventually force a more draconian resolution.

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    2. Water filter system may become as important as a water heater in our homes!

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    3. So the most recent Water Quality report on the City website is 2014, which reports 2013 data. Not very up to date. Nor does it mention how the sample(s) were collected. No real high lead exceedences, but again, no sampling protocol description so no way to know if these things are being done with our health truly at the forefront of the City's efforts, or just compliance to keep them out of the most trouble. I'm thinking I'm going to collect a few water samples myself and submit them to a local lab.

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  9. Where is the No More UUT petition. I want to sign it?

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  10. So much apparent corruption. I feel like I need to take a shower...

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    Replies
    1. Well, don't take it in Sierra Madre. Hope you have a friend in an adjacent city that will open his shower doors to you.

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  11. Lead in drinking water causes health issues. From being sick to dieing. It's a fact. Coffee cups which were made of lead materials and not furnanced brazed correctly caused deaths! Why has the city failed to disclose the true percentage of lead in our water. Sierra Madre has some of the most expensive water in the state of California.

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  12. Don Watts, are you out there? Please comment on this confusing water situation.

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  13. Lead is a cumulative poison .It could take years before the damage to the health of Sierra Madre residents is identified.By then it is too late and not reversible.Just google it.
    The MWD should forget distributing free low-flush toilets and offer drinking-water filters instead ?

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  14. My young dog died of unknown causes. I always gave he r bottled water but being a dog she did get her share of eau de toilette. I wonder if that killed her.

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  15. My next door neighbor on Esperanza Ave dog died of a large cancer tomour. The neighbor stated the he discussed our water issues with the vet....

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  16. Case dismissed! When's the next city council? - Anaheim James

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