MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
ALAMEDA COUNTY FLOOD CONTROL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT
May 18, 2016
The following were present:
ANGELA RAMIREZ HOLMES
DIRECTORS ABSENT: SANDS FIGUERS
ZONE 7 STAFF: JILL DUERIG, GENERAL MANAGER
KURT ARENDS, ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER, ENGINEERING
OSBORN SOLITEI, ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER, FINANCE
BONI BREWER, COMMUNICATION SPECIALIST,
OFFICE OF THE GENERAL MANAGER
MATT KATEN, PRINCIPLE GEOLOGIST, GROUNDWATER SECTION
ROBYN NAVARRA, WATER CONSERVATION COORDINATOR,
BRANDON WOODS, ASSOCIATE ENGINEER, FACILITIES
LINDA VAN BUSKIRK, BOARD SECRETARY
COUNSEL: DAVID ALADJEM, DOWNEY BRAND
Item 2 - Open Session and Report Out of Closed Session
The Board came out of Closed Session at 6:58 p.m. and President Palmer said that no reportable actions had been taken in Closed Session.
Item 3 - CALL TO ORDER / PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
President Palmer called the regular meeting to order at 7:01 p.m.
Item 4 - Pledge of Allegiance
President Palmer led the Salute to the Flag.
Item 5 - CITIZENS FORUM: None.
Item 6 - MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETINGS OF APRIL 20, 2016 AND MINUTES OF THE SPECIAL MEETING OF APRIL 27, 2016
Director Greci moved that the minutes of April 20, 2016 and April 27, 2016 be accepted and approved, and Director Quigley seconded the motion. The minutes were approved by a voice vote of 6-0, with Director Figuers absent.
Item 7 - Consent Calendar: None.
Item 8 - STAFFING UPDATE
Item 8(a) New Employees Introduction - Gilbert Bowman and Rosario Lopez
General Manager, Jill Duerig, introduced Gilbert Bowman who was present in the audience. Gilbert joined Zone 7 as a Water Plant Operator III in the Operations Section. The Board welcomed and applauded Mr. Bowman.
Rosario Lopez joined Zone 7 as an Account Clerk reporting to Margaret Chun. The Board applauded Rosario in absentia.
Item 8(b) Recent Employee Activities
Ms. Duerig announced that because May is Water Awareness Month, Zone 7 traditionally celebrates a few extra special events. In May its employee activities included two events - Take Our Children to Work Day and Service Recognition Awards. She encouraged everyone to look at the picture boards posted up at the back of the board room. The agency's HR group prepared a short DVD about those receiving service awards and the presentation was played for the Board and audience.
Item 9 - PRESENTATIONS BY SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING FAIR AWARDEES
General Manager Jill Duerig congratulated the Alameda County Science and Engineering Fair Awardees and their parents for their support. She then introduced Boni Brewer, Communication Specialist in the Office of the General Manager, who welcomed the science fair winners and provided a brief background on Zone 7 Water Agency's participation in judging the Alameda County Science and Engineering Fair over the years. She thanked this year's judges, Karen Newton, Water Quality Engineer, and Travis Baggett, Flood Control Technician, who came out over the weekend to judge the water-related projects that were submitted by students within Zone 7's service area.
Courtney Schnaap, Junction Avenue Middle School, presented her project entitled, "Potable or Not? Measuring and Comparting Different Ways of Water Purification."
Anay Bhakat, Quarry Lane Middle School, presented his project entitled, "Using a Tool to Maximize the Yield of Your Plants by Controlling the Water Received."
Preethi Veeragandham, Dublin High School, presented her project entitled, "Rooted in Environmentalism: Exploring the Effect of Recycled Water on Plant Growth."
President Palmer presented a certificate and award to each awardee individually and the full Board enjoyed a photo opportunity with the awardees.
Item 10 - AUTHORIZATION FOR COMMERCIAL SEPTIC SYSTEM USE, RAO & RAO CO. WINERY
Matt Katen, Principle Geologist in the Groundwater Section, gave a presentation on the request for authorization for a commercial non-residential use of a septic system at the Rao & Rao Co. Winery, a 20-acre parcel on the corner of Tesla and Greenville Road in South Livermore.
Director McGrail asked what the agency has done to continue to investigate the "nitrate hotspot" and what is the science behind it? Mr. Katen responded that the science is the use of water samples. The agency utilized a summer intern who was able to work on some cross-sections then get permission to sample some of the relevant wells in the area. This added about eight more data points to the plume map. Staff was also able to go out to the Byer Ranch in the same area and sample four piezometers on their site, which provided additional data that was not previously available. Generally, the data confirmed hotspot locations. There has been a little bit of shifting of the contours, but basically the drawing is better as a result. The monitoring well which alerted us to this is a 70-foot monitoring well.
In response to questions from Director Ramirez Holmes about the ability of the winery to meet Zone 7's conditions, Mr. Katen said he had the same concern and had voiced it to the applicant and Environmental Health. The resulting joint decision was that County Health would support Zone 7's decision so staff is asking approval for up to Zone 7's limitation. If the owner cannot make that limitation with his current plan, he will have to either reduce, or another option would be additional treatment.
Director Greci stated that he is happy to see that the owners are so cooperative, but that he would be more assured and comfortable knowing that the County is going to dedicate manpower and hours to stay on top of monitoring and measurements. This could be beneficial for other potential wineries in that area.
Director McGrail asked if the agency has talked with the City of Livermore regarding a sewer line from Vasco or down Tesla Road. Ms. Duerig responded that Zone 7 has had numerous meetings with Livermore over a previous application for the new Concannon facility to connect to the city sewer even though it is outside of the urban growth boundary. The Agency also talked to the City about running a line up Buena Vista, another hot spot. She feels the agency is making progress through negotiations, but ultimately it will be the City's decision.
Director Quigley asked if the agency has monitoring wells in close proximity to this project location, and if so, how close and how many? Mr. Katen responded there is one monitoring well on Greenville Road south of Tesla. The data that was used to create the plume map came from several of the supply wells and some private monitoring wells. President Palmer asked if the agency has permission at some point to go back to some of the private wells as was done last summer and monitor them on an ongoing basis with this type of project. Mr. Katen responded that the agency did not ask for ongoing permission, but he thinks we could do that.
In response to Director Ramirez Holmes' question about if the agency has granted other exceptions, Mr. Katen said that this is the agency's 76th case. Since the mid-80s, approximately 74 of them have been approved and two have been turned down. Those were commercial sites, not all within the area of concern, but within our service area including Sunol.
Director Stevens moved to approve Item 10 and Director McGrail seconded the motion. The item was passed by a roll call vote of 6-0, with Director Figuers absent.
Resolution No. 16-133 Authorized commercial use of an onsite wastewater treatment system for Rao & Rao Co. Winery in Livermore
Item 11 -
AUTHORIZATION OF TASK ORDER 004 FOR LIVING ARROYOS PROGRAM AND BUDGET
Ms. Duerig explained that this is a continuation of an existing program that the Board has heard a lot about over the years - the Living Arroyos Program. Zone 7 originally had Urban Creek Council as a partner, but then shifted to Livermore Area Recreation and Park District when the Council closed its doors. Ms. Duerig introduced Robyn Navarra, Water Conservation Coordinator, who talked about the Living Arroyos Program and requested the Board to authorize the General Manager to negotiate and execute Task Order 004 including the amendments under the Tri-Valley Intergovernmental Reciprocal Services Master Agreement for Fiscal Years 2016-18 and to authorize Zone 7's Living Arroyos Program contribution for the 2-year budget for an amount not-to-exceed $400,000.
In response to a question by Director Ramirez Holmes regarding whether or not recycled water is used for the watering that is done on the plantings, Ms. Navarra said that although recycled water was used last year for the planting, potable water is usually preferred. This is because one tank is used by the Park District and that tank cannot be utilized for both recycled and potable water. According to Bruce Aizawa of Livermore Area Recreation & Park District, the parks district concluded that no recycled water would be used. Ms. Duerig added that, generally speaking, recycled water can't be used in any area where it might run into a natural water body. There are very strict regulations that recycled water that is plumbed to major landscaping areas cannot even overspray into the streets if it might eventually run into a waterway. Since most of the Living Arroyos Program is right along the arroyos and the creeks, there would be a big reluctance on the part of the Regional Board to allow any recycled water use.
Director Quigley commented that he has followed this project since its inception and likes the way it is shaping up. He suggested that because of the partnership, this project may be able to qualify for Proposition 1 grant money. He further suggested to continue working on trying to use recycled water as the purple pipe was installed a year or two ago down Stanley Boulevard.
President Palmer asked for comments from the public. There were none.
Director Quigley moved for approval of Item 11 and Director Greci seconded the motion. The item was passed by a roll call vote of 6-0, with Director Figuers absent.
Resolution No. 16-134 Authorized execution of Task Order 004, including amendments, for Annual Work plans, under the Tri-Valley Intergovernmental Reciprocal Services Master Agreement with Livermore Area Recreation and Park District on behalf of the Program Partners for the Living Arroyos Program for FY 2016-18 and authorized Zone 7's contribution for the 2-year budget cycle of FY 2016-18 in an amount not-to-exceed $400,000 for the Living Arroyos Program.
Item 12 - AWARD OF CONTRACTS FOR THE DVWTP OZONATION PROJECT
Ms. Duerig introduced Brandon Woods, Assistant Engineer in Facilities Engineering who gave a short presentation on the DVWTP Ozonation Project.
In response to questions from President Palmer regarding which media is used in the dual media filter, Mr. Woods responded that that will be up for discussion during the design phase, but generally it is anthracite as well as sand which would go to gravel underdrains. The new filters would have the same one foot layer of sand, but would increase the current two foot layer of anthracite to potentially between three and four feet. President Palmer referenced a study she had read that basically said that anthracite doesn't work as well as the granulated activated carbon in terms of removing contaminants of emerging concern and that it is more likely to remove the endocrine disrupters than using only anthracite would.
Ms. Duerig added that the agency will bring in the experts to investigate this and hopefully give us a good design. At least one of our sister contractors on the South Bay Aqueduct put in granular activated carbon and then removed the GAC after several years when it was not performing any better than the anthracite, despite expectations that it would.
Director Greci commented that he is happy the agency is finally getting into this phase. It is long overdue and Zone 7 is now the only water agency on the South Bay Aqueduct that is not utilizing this process. That's the down side. The good side to that is the consultants should be able to gain from the experience of the other agencies that have already planned and designed similar facilities. Because of this, Director Greci expressed concern that the agency is going to pay $2.6 million to have the consultant tell us something that has already been dealt with at neighboring agencies with the same water that Zone 7 is treating. He suggested Staff keep that in mind while negotiating this contract with the design consultants.
Director Quigley agreed with Director Greci that this agency has waited a long time for this project to move forward. It has been deferred because it is big, but now that the bugs have been shaken out through the other water agencies, he is excited that this is going forward. He encouraged staff to take a look at Contra Costa Water District and Stockton that both ozonate direct contact water from the Delta. Their board and staff seem like it.
Director Ramirez-Holmes asked what is the primary goal of this change? Is it disinfection or taste and odor? Mr. Woods responded that the main benefit will be a higher quality of finished water as a result of improved disinfection and taste and odor control. He explained that treating SBA water is difficult at this time after four years of drought. Ozone does a better job of disinfecting by inactivating the high organic matter that we get from SBA water. Ms. Duerig added that ozone has multiple benefits and they all lead to better quality water but they also enhance things that are sort of ancillary to the primary purpose such as reducing the coagulant demand which in turn reduces the pH adjustments so it is expected that the agency would see reductions in both ferric chloride and caustic use. Along with that would be a reduction in sludge generation because ozonation - with its higher oxidation - actually makes the coagulant work better with a lower dosage. In addition to that, we must consider contaminants of emerging concern. Even though many are not yet regulated, ozone is shown as one of the best ways of addressing those. It is important to note that a recent study on cyanotoxins seen in Lake Del Valle were best treated with ozone. Studies like this keep reemphasizing you need ozone in your tool box to be able to produce high quality water which is a core mission of this agency.
In response to Director Ramirez Holmes' question about how many days a year is the ozone part of the plant expected to run, staff responded year round. Mr. Woods added that although the plant would run year round, the dose would vary depending on the season. A slightly higher ozone dose would occur in spring and summer months when you get the algae bloom and then during the winter months you would see a lower ozone dose.
In response to Director Ramirez-Holmes question about what the drawbacks to using ozone are, Mr. Woods responded that the 2009 Executive Summary she mentioned talks about bromate formation, although he explained that the simple fix to that is to pre-chloraminate with a very small dose of chloramine which is what is currently used as a residual disinfectant. According to that report, this does a very good job of reducing bromate formation to an acceptable level. President Palmer added that the downfall associated with treatment with chloramines is the creation of THMs as a byproduct. Mr. Woods responded that the chloramine addition for bromate control would generally utilize a smaller dose of 0.5 to 0.8-1.0 mg/L which does not have a significant impact on formation of THMs. Ms. Duerig clarified that the THMs are formed more as the first step of disinfection which is the free chlorine. The generation process stops once ammonia is added and it becomes a chloramine, because chloramines are the lowest level of oxidizer.
Director Ramirez Homes expressed concerns regarding the drawbacks and about moving forward with such a large ticket item requiring a down payment of several million dollars without having the financing in place. She is also concerned that not all of the retailers are on board with this project.
Ms. Duerig clarified that the west-end retailers have encouraged Zone 7 to enter into a joint water quality policy back in about 2005 that specifically called out this project because they wanted to make sure that we moved forward with it. A few comments recently from a single individual at Pleasanton who's expressed some concerns is not consistent with the message Zone 7 has received from the agency as whole in the past. Multiple meetings have been held over the years and decades and there has been a strong push to move this project forward. The comment that was most common from the retailers was that this is such a big project that the agency should look at debt financing instead of pay-as-you-go.
Director Stevens mentioned that the Board approved the CIP and this project is part of the CIP. He encouraged staff to go forward with debt financing and this project.
Director Greci expressed his concern about delaying this project any longer. Other water agencies that are using ozone have shown that it is successful enough to merit going ahead with this project. The Del Valle Water Treatment Plant is very limited on space, so there is not a lot of room for sludge ponds. Processing sludge is also a big cost. Ozone use will offset chemical costs and sludge processing which is labor intensive. Zone 7 has put many projects on hold, but this has enough merit that we have to keep going and quit stalling. He is fully in favor of moving forward with this process and stated we have a commitment to the public to produce reliable, quality water, so it is imperative that we do this. Director Quigley concurred.
President Palmer stated that her main concern is public health. Although it is nice to have good taste and odor, contaminants of emerging concern are real and if the tunnels do not go through Zone 7 will see more and more of those coming out of Stockton and coming down stream to us. Ozone will be needed even more at that point. She stated she is in favor of this project.
President Palmer asked if there were any comments from the public. None were received.
Director Greci moved for approval of Item 12, and Director Quigley seconded the motion. The item was passed by a roll call vote of 5-1, with Director Ramirez Holmes voting no, and Director Figuers absent.
Resolution No. 16-135 Authorized award of contracts for the Del Valle Water Treatment Plant Ozonation Project
COMMITTEES-LIASON COMMITTEE MEETING (w/EBRPD, LARPD, TVC) April 11, 2016 - notes
President Palmer noted that these meetings are very useful in terms of interaction. Directors Ramirez Holmes and Quigley attended the meeting as well. Director Quigley commented that the meeting notes reflected well what went on during the meeting. He encouraged staff to look at the map of a trail segment provided by Bob Nesbit.
President Palmer added that it is important to remember that next steps will come from EBRPD and LARPD. Ms. Duerig added that Zone 7 has sent a letter of support as requested by LARPD for their grant application, along with the preliminary map to connect to the Garaventa Wetlands which would cut across Zone 7 property. This will be brought back to the Board once the process is at the easement or licensing stage.
Item 14 -
REPORTS - DIRECTORS
Verbal comments by President
Written report by Director Quigley
President Palmer reported that she attended a breakfast meeting in Monterey discussing Delta issues, along with Director Stevens, Osborn Solitei and representatives of several other agencies. She also attended a Statewide Issue Forum at the ACWA Spring Conference titled "Go Time for the Delta Fix?" where Mark Cowin and others discussed how 2016 is viewed as a critical year to move the California WaterFix project to the next level. Many different viewpoints were provided. It was very interesting and definitely worth seeing. She suggested that staff obtain a copy of the short video that was put out by the Water Education Foundation and include it on the agency's website for educational purposes.
President Palmer spoke with someone from DSRSD about getting the electeds together to look at a feasibility study regarding potable reuse. Ms. Duerig responded that staff from Zone 7 and the retailers have been busily working together on developing a scope for the potable reuse feasibility study. It is anticipated that this will go out to bid as soon as July, and then will be brought before the elected representatives at a joint committee/roundtable sometime around September.
President Palmer reminded staff that at the April 27, 2016 Special Meeting, some board members requested more information regarding the breakout of some of the reserves, more information on the AMP transfer, the cost of the temporary conservation surcharge, and what our bond rating is. Osborn Solitei responded that the information will be forthcoming at the June 15, 2016 Regular Board Meeting with the budget discussion. Director Ramirez Holmes asked if the information could be sent to the Directors prior to the next agenda package going out.
Director Quigley reported that he also attended the ACWA Spring Conference in Monterey and was very pleased to see some members of the Zone 7 staff there as well. He agreed that the meeting with Mark Cowin as speaker was very educational. He also attended a breakfast panel meeting where water policy experts discussed ways to connect innovation with water policy and technology. He brought back and distributed a primer on why water agencies need reserves and encouraged the Board to read it. He concluded that at the end of the conference Randi Fiorini, chair of the Delta Stewardship Council, spoke.
Director Ramirez Holmes attended the Elected Women's luncheon where she spoke with some board members from DSRSD about getting an update on the feasibility study and also outreach efforts. She relayed that DSRSD has offered to pay for a facilitator for the next policy roundtable that would try to focus the electeds on common themes and messaging and where all the agencies can agree. She also attended the Community of Character luncheon today where some folks were honored. The Community of Character Collaborative is supported by the City of Pleasanton, Pleasanton Unified School District, Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce and various businesses, service and faith organizations. She said that while she was attending the first Wednesday Street Fair, she was surprised at how many people recognized her from the board meetings now that they are being televised on TV30. She expressed her appreciation that viewers approached her with so many specific, detailed questions and how this process encourages good feedback and sparks conversation.
Item 15 - ITEMS FOR FUTURE AGENDA-DIRECTORS
Director Ramirez Holmes asked to discuss the Public Records Act Policy in detail, perhaps in July, as the Guidelines provided in Item 16f are not the same as a policy. She asked for more information regarding how the Board gets notified about public records requests, and how the agency determines the fees. President Palmer responded that although the item was not listed as a separate discussion item, it was included on the agenda as a staff report and therefore could be discussed. In terms of policy setting, the Board may want to discuss this even further at an upcoming board retreat. She thanked staff for being responsive.
Director Quigley said he also appreciated seeing the staff report on California Public Records Act Requests. He added that the California Special Districts Association has volumes of information on the topic. He is comfortable with the data presented by staff.
In response to Director Ramirez Holmes' question about the response process and how fees are determined, David Aladjem, General Counsel, responded that it is Zone 7's standardized policy that per the Public Records Act, a letter goes out to the requestor within 10 days of the request stating whether or not the request seeks records that are within the scope of the Public Records Act, the estimated date that such records will be made available, and the estimated costs for photocopying requested records. To his knowledge, every public records request he has seen has been responded to in an appropriate way and within an appropriate time by the agency's Executive Assistant. The standard fee that many agencies utilize is 25 cents per page. There have been a couple of requests which resulted in voluminous documents responsive to the request with a great deal of private information which had to be redacted. The agency must be diligent in not releasing any unauthorized information, and although that can add time, it is an appropriate process here.
Ms. Duerig clarified that one recent request generated thousands of pages of documents. This request was unusual in that it came from an email and the requestor desired to remain anonymous. Once the documents had been gathered, the requestor declined to come in to the office to review the documents. There is no fee to come in to the office to review documents. A quote was received from Kinkos to copy and/or pdf the documents at a discounted bulk rate of $25 cents/page which was then relayed to the requestor. Having received no response from the requestor, the request was dropped.
Director Ramirez Holmes reiterated that a formal policy should be created in language that is clear and understandable to the layperson and posted to the agency's website to ensure a streamlined process that is responsive to the public. President Palmer concurred with the idea and directed staff to place the guidelines on the agency website with a note that due to legalities, some information may need to be redacted to clarify any delays in producing the documents.
Item 16 - STAFF REPORTS (Information items. No action will be taken.)
General Manager's Report
Water Inventory/Supply Update
Public Records Act Policy
Capital Project Status
FY 2015-16 Third Quarter Revenue & Expenditure Report
Ms. Duerig stated that today the State Board met and adopted new emergency drought regulations. This took a lot of work between State Board staff and that of Zone 7 and other major urban suppliers. The new regulations that were adopted today allow something called self-certification. The guidelines state the local urban supplier will determine whether or not it has enough water. If not, new standards will be set for local conservation. It does not appear that Zone 7 will have to set any mandatory conservation requirement. Ms. Duerig suggested that at the next meeting, staff would likely recommend a 10% voluntary conservation level with no water waste.
President Palmer discussed the Drought Update. She pointed out that although the storage levels at Lake Oroville are looking quite good, the San Luis Reservoir which is further down south is still incredibly low because of the difficulty in getting the water down there. She said that is really telling in terms of our needs for being able to somehow get the water down there during the time periods when the water is indeed available. Although Director McGrail agreed with President Palmer, he added that is a state issue and the problem lies up in Sacramento.
Item 17 - ADJOURNMENT
The meeting was adjourned at 9:14 p.m.