MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
ALAMEDA COUNTY FLOOD CONTROL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT
September 15, 2021
The following were present:
DIRECTORS: SANDY FIGUERS
ANGELA RAMIREZ HOLMES
MICHELLE SMITH MCDONALD
DIRECTORS ABSENT: NONE
ZONE 7 STAFF: VALERIE PRYOR, GENERAL MANAGER
OSBORN SOLITEI, TREASURER/ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER, FINANCE
COLTER ANDERSEN, PRODUCTION MANAGER
JARNAIL CHAHAL, ENGINEERING MANAGER
CAROL MAHONEY, INTEGRATED WATER RESOURCES MANAGER
RHETT ALZONA, PRINCIPAL ENGINEER
BRANDON WOODS, ASSOCIATE ENGINEER
ELKE RANK, ASSOCIATE PLANNER
DONNA FABIAN, EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT
ALEXANDRA BRADLEY, COMMUNICATION SPECIALIST
COUNSEL: REBECCA SMITH, DOWNEY BRAND
Item 1 - Closed Session
The Board went into Closed Session at 6:02 p.m. and came out of Closed Session at 6:25 p.m.
Item 2 -
2. Open Session and Report Out of Closed Session
The Board had nothing to report.
Item 3 -
3. Call Meeting to Order
President Ramirez Holmes called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m., roll call was taken, and all Board members were present.
Item 4 -
4. Public Comment
Public comment was received from Kelly Abreu, Fremont resident.
Item 5 -
Director Green made a motion to approve the minutes of the Regular Board Meeting of June 16, 2021, and Director Figuers seconded the motion. The minutes were approved by a roll call vote of 6-0 with Director Ramirez Holmes abstaining. Director Palmer made a motion to approve the minutes of the Regular Board Meeting of August 18, 2021, and Director Smith McDonald seconded the motion. The minutes were approved by a roll call vote of 7-0.
Item 6 -
6. Consent Calendar
Director Smith McDonald made a motion to approve Item 6a, ACWA Region 5 Board Election, and Director Figuers seconded the motion. Item 6a was approved by a roll call vote of 7-0.
Resolution No. 21-68 Authorizing General Manager to Cast Zone 7's Vote
Item 7 -
7. Presentation by Alameda County LAFCO Executive Director on the Municipal Service Review of Water, Wastewater, Flood Control and Stormwater Services
Rachel Jones, Executive Officer of the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO), gave a presentation on the public draft of LAFCO's Countywide Water and Wastewater Municipal Services Review (MSR) on water, wastewater, flood control and storm water services. She explained what LAFCO is and that the purpose of the MSR is to ultimately inform three subsequent actions: 1) a sphere of influence update for the affected agencies, 2) future boundary changes therein, and 3) if merited, reorganizations that be a consolidation of two or more agencies or dissolution of two or more agencies.
Director Green, noting that Pleasanton was the only city that did not require further review, asked if they are waiting to get some information from Pleasanton. Ms. Jones replied that the City of Pleasanton wants to wait until they complete their water service master plan before LAFCO reviews their sphere. They're also requesting to reduce their sphere in open space areas to the south of their boundary.
Director Gambs said he wanted to make sure it was reflected in the MSR that Los Vaqueros expansion is going to provide some inter ties with EBMUD and Zone 7. Ms. Jones replied that if that needs to be included, they will definitely review that.
Director Sanwong asked if the projected population growth and job growth data might be based on data before COVID. Ms. Jones replied that they're using U.S. census population data, so it's not going to accurately reflect everything that has gone on from 2020 to this year. The report is more of a snapshot. They don't have as much accurate up-to-date data to make a predictable forecast.
Director Sanwong, citing Hacienda Business Park's concern about stormwater plans in Dublin and the possibility of increasing the size of a culvert underneath highway 580, asked if LAFCO typically gets involved in these types of things. Ms. Jones replied that it depends on their level of involvement. They evaluate how agencies are trying to provide services to their service area. If they're not doing it well, that's where they come in and look at options where they can do it better and give a recommendation.
Director Sanwong noted that back in 2013 or 2014, LAFCO suggested consolidating some of the Tri-Valley water, wastewater, and flood control agencies. At that time, the different entities, including Zone 7, decided not to pursue that idea. Is that something that is still being discussed at LAFCO? Ms. Jones said it is. Maybe not strong structural consolidation, but perhaps a functional kind of consolidation or a joint power of authority where these agencies can collaborate and share facilities in a more efficient manner.
Director Sanwong asked how the different workgroups might that be formed. Ms. Jones replied that it would involve working with staff and seeing the best method for that and what they would recommend. But they are not opposed to having board members or elected officials included.
Director Ramirez Holmes asked if LAFCO is actively moving the conversation about areas without public wastewater. Ms. Jones replied that it's definitely a major issue, however, LAFCO cannot initiate annexations. They are trying to educate residents so that they can see the benefits of annexing into a district or city to receive wastewater services.
Director Ramirez Holmes, noting that this MSR was delayed due to COVID, asked how long this MSR is good for. Ms. Jones replied that it's five years, so they have a five-year window to update and review the spheres. Director Ramirez Holmes noted that it's probably been closer to 10 years since the last update. Ms. Jones replied that was due to staffing but they now have a study schedule that they try and follow.
Item 8 -
8. Authorization of Construction Contracts for the Valley Pump Station Project
Brandon Woods, Associate Engineer, gave a presentation on the Valley Pump Station project. He covered the purpose and benefits of the project, its background and status, the contracts needing authorization, previous experience with Conco West, the project schedule, the cost breakdown, the funding, and the next steps.
Director Smith McDonald questioned who identified this to be an expedited project. Ms. Pryor replied that staff looked at the drought conditions and our need to most likely rely heavily on groundwater next year and identified this as a project to expedite to help us next year.
Director Smith McDonald asked if supply chain issues might delay the project. Mr. Woods replied that from discussions with the potential contractor, Conco West, they have identified the longest lead items and feel comfortable with the expedited schedule for next summer.
Director Sanwong asked what the scenario looks like if we don't have this pump station online next summer. Mr. Woods replied that our well capacity would remain the same, and as we pump more, it would decrease slightly. Whereas, with the pump station, we would get increased capacity. In addition, maintenance and reliability issues can arise from pumping against the high pressure in the system, which can stress the equipment.
Director Green wondered why a permanent emergency power generator and surge tank weren't included in the original concept. Mr. Woods replied that the emergency power generator was added as a reliability feature if we ever lose power due to power outages in the summer and rolling brown outs. The surge tank is also a reliability remedy. If we lose power, all the weight of the water from the treatment plant elevation will slam into any equipment that is on the west side or the lower end of our service area, and that can be a real maintenance and reliability problem. With the surge tank, water enters the tank instead of continuing down our transmission system and impacting any ancillary equipment that is connected to our transmission system.
Director Gambs asked how many more acre feet of groundwater we could get next year. Mr. Woods replied that, in his opinion, we would probably get an increase of 5-8% in well capacity, which would be another 1.5 million gallons per day, based on the low end of 5%.
Director Ramirez Holmes asked how much more it is costing us to move the project up a year. Mr. Woods replied that he didn't have a specific number because we would have to compare that to a traditional design bid build where we would have to take the lowest bid. He said he can't postulate what those low bids would be. The compressing of the schedule means that we must take into account what the prices are now. As supply chain issues ease, we might see some lower equipment costs later. Director Ramirez Holmes asked if we only talked to one contractor. Mr. Woods replied that we did not. We got a cost estimate from the design engineer. The design engineer was about $400,000 higher on their estimate than the contractor.
Director Ramirez Holmes expressed concern about the benefits of moving the project up a year. She asked if there were other advantages besides increased production. Mr. Woods cited maintenance reliability as the biggest advantage, which would give us a higher level of comfort in the reliability of our facilities. If we lost one of our wells next year because of high pressure, it could put us in a much more constricted position than we would be operating on just groundwater.
Director Ramirez Holmes asked where the money would come from for the project. Mr. Solitei replied that it would come out of the $5 million that the Board adopted in June for projects like booster stations, generators, groundwater recharge, conservation programs, and additional wells.
Director Palmer wondered if there was that much difference cost wise if one of our wells were to fail because of the wear and tear put on it from an emergency or a large drought situation. Would that make the risk of the costs a little more equal? Mr. Chahal explained that this doesn't lower pressure on only the wells, but it also lowers pressure on the transmission system on the west side of this pump conversation. Repairing a large pipeline in an emergency could cost a couple hundred thousand dollars. The other thing to consider is if we delay the project a year, there is no guarantee that the supply chain or costs will remain the same because inflation is projected to be 6% a year.
Director Figuers added that costs a year or two from now could be larger because of inflation. If you assume 5%, you're only looking at about $20,000 to $30,000 to have this project ready in case of a drought next year. It may cost a little bit extra, but we'll have it, and he would rather err than on the side of caution.
Director Palmer moved to approve Item 8 and Director Green seconded the motion. The item was approved by a roll call vote of 7-0.
Resolution No. 21-69 Authorization of Construction Contracts for the Valley Booster Pump Station Project
Item 9 -
9. Award for As-Needed Environmental Services Contract
Elke Rank, Associate Planner, gave an overview of the As-Needed Environmental Services Contract. She explained the purpose and need for these contracts and discussed the consultant selection process. She said that staff recommends two as-needed contracts with the following firms: Environmental Science Associates (ESA) and Sequoia Ecological Services. They would both initially be three-year contract terms, with options for a fourth and a fifth year, if needed.
Director Sanwong asked if the contract with ESA is set to expire in November. Ms. Rank confirmed that it is. Director Sanwong asked if we have worked with Sequoia previously. Ms. Rank replied that because we had so much bank repair work the last year or two, we split some of the biological monitoring that was required for that work between ESA and Sequoia. Director Sanwong asked if any of the 12 bidders were based in the Tri-Valley area. Ms. Rank replied that Sequoia is based in Walnut Creek, but a lot of staff work in the area from their homes. The other firms are scattered all over California.
Director Gambs asked about the rationale behind the period of the contracts. Ms. Pryor replied that it's fairly standard local agency practice to do three-year contracts with options to extend up to five years. It's for the efficiency of the bid process. Ms. Rank added that if somebody has a project coming up and they know they need that consultant for a two-year period, they might not want to engage them using this on-call contract because it's going to end at three years. And so having the flexibility to roll in another year lets us have that continuity and without too many contracts.
Director Gambs moved to approve Item 9 and Director Palmer seconded the motion. The item was approved by a roll call vote of 7-0.
Resolution No. 21-70 Authorization for As-Needed Environmental Services
Item 10 -
10. Reports - Directors
President Ramirez Holmes attended Supervisor Haubert's drought town hall meeting and added that there is also an upcoming drought town hall with Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan. She also attended the City of Pleasanton's city council meeting where they approved the $46 million PFAS treatment plant and the rehabilitation plant.
Director Palmer added to her written report that she attended a microplastics workgroup and that there is a push in the state to establish a statewide microplastic strategy by 2022. She stated that more toxicity studies need to be done, and this is something we have to keep an eye out on. President Ramirez Holmes asked Carol Mahoney, Integrated Planning Manager, to add SB 1263 to the implementation of the Legislative Committee list since that will be kicking off next month.
Item 11- Items for Future Agenda - Directors - none.
Item 12 -
12. Staff Reports
Ms. Pryor highlighted a few items from the General Manager's Report. The key item is the drought operations for this year and that she is planning for next year. Ms. Pryor stated that staff are very concerned about 2022. She said that retailers are working on their plans and they should all be adopted by their governing bodies by October 5th. Ms. Pryor took the opportunity to remind members of the public that one of the most efficient ways to save water is to reduce outdoor irrigation. Ms. Pryor also highlighted the Arroyo Mocho Stanley Reach Project and the repairs to the bank sites.
Director Palmer thanked staff and said the board appreciates them.
Item 13 -
President Ramirez Holmes adjourned the meeting at 8:26 p.m.