ZONE 7 Meeting
MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
ALAMEDA COUNTY FLOOD CONTROL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT
July 15, 2020
The following were present:
DIRECTORS: SANDS FIGUERS
ANGELA RAMIREZ HOLMES
MICHELLE SMITH MCDONALD
DIRECTORS ABSENT: NONE
ZONE 7 STAFF: VALERIE PRYOR, GENERAL MANAGER
OSBORN SOLITEI, TREASURER/ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER - FINANCE
CAROL MAHONEY, INTEGRATED WATER RESOURCES MANAGER
AMPARO FLORES, INTEGRATED PLANNING MANAGER
EMILY MOSHIER, ASSOCIATE ENGINEER
MONA OLMSTED, ASSOCIATE ENGINEER
ALEXANDRA BRADLEY, COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST
DONNA FABIAN, EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT
COUNSEL: DAVID ALADJEM, DOWNEY BRAND
Item 1 - Call Meeting to Order
The meeting was called to order at 5:36 p.m. and the Board immediately went into Closed Session.
Item 2 - Closed Session
a. Government Code section 54957(b); Public Employee Performance Evaluation: Title: General Manager
b. Conference with Labor Negotiators pursuant to Government Code section 54954.5:
Agency Negotiator: Valerie Pryor/Osborn Solitei
Employee Organizations: Alameda County Management Employees Association; Alameda County Building and Construction Trades Council, Local 342, AFL-CIO; International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, Local 21, AFL-CIO; Local 1021 of the Service Employees International Union, CTW; Unrepresented Management
c. Conference with Legal Counsel - Existing litigation pursuant to Gov't Code section 54956.9(d) (1): (1) City and County of San Francisco v. County of Alameda (Contra Costa County Superior Court Action No. MSN18-0928), (2) County of Butte v. California Department of Water Resources (California Supreme Court No. S258574, (3) State Water Contractors v. California Department of Fish & Wildlife (Fresno County Superior Court, filed April 29, 2020), (4) Thomason v. Morrow (Alameda County Superior Court No. 18918041)
d. Conference with Legal Counsel - Potential initiation of litigation pursuant to Gov't Code section 54956.9(d) (4): 2 cases
e. Conference with Legal Counsel - Anticipated litigation pursuant to Gov't Code section 54956.9(d) (2): 2 cases
Item 3 -
Roll Call and Report Out of Closed Session
The meeting was called back into session at 7:02 p.m., roll call was taken and all Board Members were present. President Figuers stated that there was nothing to report out of Closed Session.
Item 4 -
Swear in Newly Elected Directors
Assembly Member Rebecca Bauer-Kahan swore in Directors Sandy Figuers, Laurene Green, Angela Ramirez Holmes and Michelle Smith McDonald.
Item 5 -
Reorganization of the Board
Director Palmer nominated Director Sanwong as President of the Board. There were no other nominations. All Board members were in favor. President Sanwong nominated Director Ramirez Holmes for Vice President and Director Green nominated Director Palmer. Director Palmer withdrew her nomination allowing Director Ramirez Holmes to be voted in for Vice President as she has never been Vice President. There were no other nominations. All Board members were in favor.
President Sanwong asked the Board to email her their top three choices for Committee assignments and she would make a decision the following week.
Item 6 -
Donna Fabian, Board Secretary, read a letter from Karen Zengel regarding groundwater recharge. Valerie Pryor, General Manager, provided an overall answer to Ms. Zengel but said she would have staff reply to her formally.
Item 7 -
The minutes of May 20, 2020 and June 17, 2020 were approved by a vote of 6-1 with Director Green abstaining.
Item 8 -
Director Palmer made a motion to approve all items in the Consent Calendar. Director Ramirez Holmes seconded the motion. Items 8a, 8b and 8c were approved by a roll call vote of 7-0.
Resolution No. 20-40 Purchase of Construction Trailer for Zone 7 Use at Del Valle Water Treatment Plant (Item 8a)
Resolution No. 20-41 Contract Amendment for Construction Management Services for the DVWTP Ozonation Project t (Item 8b)
Resolution No. 20-42 Award of Contract for Janitor Services in Zone 7 Facilities (Item 8c)
Item 9 -
Appointment of Association of California Water Agencies Joint Powers Insurance Authority (ACWA/JPIA) Board Representative and Alternate Board Representative
President Sanwong nominated Director Gambs as the ACWA/JPIA Board Representative and Director Gambs accepted. Director Palmer nominated Director Green as the Alternate Board Representative and Director Green accepted the nomination. The motions were approved by a roll call vote of 7-0.
Resolution No. 20-43 Appointment of Association of California Water Agencies Joint Powers Insurance Authority (ACWA/JPIA) Board Representative and Alternate Board Representative (Item 9)
Item 10 -
General Manager's Compensation
President Sanwong stated that the Board evaluated the General Manager in Closed Session before the last Board Meeting and that the Board needs to consider her compensation at this time. President Sanwong made a motion to award the General Manager a 4% base salary increase and Director Ramirez Holmes seconded the motion. The General Manager's Compensation increase was approved by a roll call vote of 7-0.
Resolution No. 20-46 General Manager's Compensation (Item 10)
Item 11 -
PPWTP Upgrades and Ozonation Project Quarterly Progress Presentation
Mona Olmsted, Associate Engineer, gave a quarterly progress presentation on the Patterson Pass Water Treatment Plant (PPWTP) Upgrades and Ozonation Project.
Ms. Olmsted stated that the project is on schedule, approximately 35% complete, and the budget is under control. Staff have negotiated and executed change orders total $1.2 million to date, which is approximately 1.5% of the original contract amount. Project issues are under control and no decisions are requested at this time. There is a potential risk for COVID-19 related impacts, but those impacts are uncertain at this time. Ms. Olmsted stated that the project continues to go smoothly, the project team is working well together and resolving issues in a timely manner as they arise.
Item 12 -
Outreach and Communications Program Update
Alexandra Bradley, Communications Specialist, gave a presentation on the Outreach and Communications Program. Ms. Bradley stated that although she provides the Board with a monthly status report, per the recently adopted Strategic Plan, Ms. Bradley will provide a presentation bi-annually.
Ms. Bradley covered outreach activities over the last year and half including the updated communications plan, branding, website redesign, social media, the newsletter, and the education and outreach program.
Director Smith McDonald stated that she is a big proponent of infographics and she would advocate for the opportunity to use them as often as possible. She asked what the strategies are around building the email distribution lists for the newsletters. Ms. Bradley replied that with the current website, driving additional traffic to the e-newsletter is a little bit complicated, but she is open to suggestions. Ms. Bradley added that when Zone 7 gets its new website, staff will have a lot more tools available.
Director Palmer stated that she has been impressed with the newsletters and mentioned that the Regional Occupational Program might be a good opportunity for educational outreach. President Sanwong added that some members of the audience are from the Go Green Initiative and there are a group of students working on a documentary about Pleasanton water, specifically past, present and future.
Director Ramirez Holmes said it has been a long time coming and it is nice to see things coming together. She agreed with Director Smith McDonald regarding driving traffic to the newsletter, and that Zone 7 should broaden its audience. She added that Zone 7 should spend some money on promotional items and notices to get more people signed up for the newsletter as it is a priority for her.
Item 13 -
State Water Project - 2020 Water Exchange with Napa County
Amparo Flores, PhD., Integrated Planning Manager, gave a presentation on a proposed water exchange with Napa County. Dr. Flores explained that due to increases in demand in the Tri-Valley, decreases in the reliability of our State Water Project supply and with no new water supply projects, a decline in storage reserves would lead to water shortage risks, which would violate our reliability policy.
Dr. Flores presented charts with operational storage levels and how the storage reserves are declining over time. Since new water supply projects will take a while to implement, a water transfer could help address the risk in the interim.
Provost and Pritchard, Consultants for Zone 7, looked at a number of water transfer options for Zone 7, namely a State Water Project transfer exchange, an exchange with the Sacramento Valley or San Joaquin Water Agency, and lastly, an exchange with the Central Valley Project Agency, which is a federal water system. Provost and Pritchard recommended that Zone 7 focus on a State Water Project transfer exchange, as the benefits in this type of exchange or transfer are minimal water rights considerations because the water rights essentially have been determined already for the State Water Project system. It would use existing advanced facilities and storage facilities that Zone 7 has already invested and paid for. There is also no carriage loss associated with this water transfer. After talking to various agencies in the State Water Project system, a good opportunity emerged with Napa County. They are willing to exchange 5,000 acre-feet of water at a cost of $230 per acre-foot at an exchange ratio of 4-1.
Dr. Flores recommended the Board direct the General Manager to negotiate and execute an exchange agreement with Napa County for 5,000 acre-feet at a purchase cost of $1.15 million to be paid from Fund 100.
Director Palmer asked if the price of $230 per acre-foot seemed like a pretty good price and what was the price of the water the Agency gets from the State Water Project normally when Table A is received. Dr. Flores responded that it is about $700 per acre-foot. Ms. Pryor stated that the bulk of the State Water Project bill is paying the capital cost for the system. The operational cost is only the cost of the energy to move the water.
Director Ramirez Holmes asked if this was the only water transfer the Agency was pursuing for this fiscal year. Dr. Flores responded that it was. Director Ramirez Holmes further stated that due to the previously budgeted amount, this water exchange would exhaust it. She asked if River Garden, the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (BBID), and the other water exchanges would happen this year of if they were budgeted elsewhere. Dr. Flores responded that there were no other water transfers occurring and the Agency would continue to follow-up on resolving the issue with BBID in terms of the long-term agreement. Director Ramirez Holmes inquired about how much was planned for water transfers when the water inventory for the year was planned, and was it planned for this amount of transfers. Dr. Flores responded that yes, 5,000 acre-feet of transfers were planned in the updated operations plan that was presented in June 2020.
Director Gambs asked if Napa could provide short-term transfers in the near future or continue to provide these transfers. Dr. Flores, responded yes, and clarified her previous response to Director Ramirez Holmes, that the Agency purchased water through the Yuba Accord that was also included in the budget, along with this separate transfer. Director Ramirez Holmes asked if Yuba was also included in the plan under transfers. Dr. Flores responded that it was budgeted for both Yuba and a separate transfer. Director Ramirez Holmes asked if the estimated budget of $1.1 million was just for this particular project. Dr. Flores confirmed that it was for this type of transfer.
President Sanwong asked for clarity on how Table A allocations were originally determined. Dr. Flores explained that around 1999, the Agency purchased permanent Table A transfers that almost doubled the allocation from 40,000 acre-feet. President Sanwong further asked about capital costs, such as what happened with the Oroville Dam and Lake Oroville, stating that when costs are determined, the percentage that Zone 7 pays is directly connected to the Agency's Table A allocation. Ms. Pryor confirmed and further explained that the 80,000 acre-feet Table A allocation is roughly 2% of the State Water Project. There could be some differences based on power usage and the length of the aqueduct to get to the service area.
Director Palmer made a motion to adopt the resolution and Director Gambs seconded it. The item was approved by a roll call vote of 7-0.
Resolution No. 20-44 State Water Project - 2020 Water Exchange with Napa County
Item 14 -
Second Amendment to 2019 Sites Reservoir Project Agreement
Dr. Flores gave a presentation that included a project overview, citing the reservoir's environmental and reliability benefits, the importance of permitting discussions, and affordability; the purpose and terms of this second amendment, and project next steps, including a financing plan and term sheets. Staff recommended continuing to participate in phase two of the Sites Reservoir project at 10,000 acre-feet per year for a total of $1 million.
President Sanwong asked if the estimate included the cost of conveyance through the Delta and South Bay Aqueduct. Dr. Flores replied that staff tried to incorporate that cost as much as possible.
Directors Gambs and Ramirez Holmes wanted to know what the next steps were after phase two and what the anticipated share of costs would be. Dr. Flores replied that after phase two, which ends December 2021, there will be a few other permits that need to be completed as well as some additional engineering before construction starts in 2023-2024. Terms of financing are still in discussion, but annual payments will be ramping up until the project is operational. Current estimated average annual yield is 240,000 acre-feet, so at 10,000 acre feet that makes Zone 7's share roughly about 4% of the cost. Approximately $900 to $1,200 per acre foot is the cost estimate. Director Ramirez Holmes inquired if the total cost includes grant money. Dr. Flores replied that the $3 to $3.3 billion on is the total project cost, which would be shared amongst the different sources of funding. She added that the financing plan that will be developed in the next phase will help answer those questions.
Director Ramirez Holmes asked what would happen to the money Zone 7 has already paid into the project if we decide not to participate in a phase. Dr. Flores answered that if another investor took our place, Zone 7 would get credited for the money that was invested in the project. She also confirmed that Zone 7 would be allowed to exit if we choose not to continue to participate in the phases.
President Sanwong inquired about worst-case scenarios, where water might not be available because of weather conditions. Dr. Flores responded that it is possible that we may not have the rainfall to support diverting water into the reservoir. There is no guarantee that Sites Reservoir can be filled or at what rate it can be filled because that depends on hydrology. But even under drought conditions there could still be storm events that produce extra flow that can be diverted into the reservoir. It's just difficult to guarantee the rate of fill.
Director Ramirez Holmes moved to approve Item 14. Director Palmer seconded the motion. The item passed by a roll-call vote of 7-0.
Resolution No. 20-45 Second Amendment to 2019 Sites Reservoir Project Agreement
Item 15 -
PFAS Treatment Feasibility Study Conclusions and Next Steps
Ms. Pryor provided an overview of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), unregulated contaminants of emerging concern found in eight of ten Zone 7 groundwater production wells. The Agency currently delivers safe drinking water to meet state response levels by adjusting well operations and with the use of existing reverse osmosis treatment. However, newer, and more strict State and Federal regulations are anticipated within the next few years. Carollo Engineers, Inc. conducted a study to evaluate whether additional treatment facilities would be necessary to meet these future regulations. Ms. Pryor introduced Carollo Engineer Dr. Tom Gillogly and Zone 7 Facilities Engineer Emily Moshier, who gave a presentation that evaluated if additional treatment facilities would be necessary, potential treatment operation site constraints for Zone 7 wells, and cost estimates for planning purposes.
Dr. Gillogly provided background on the health risks associated with PFAS exposure. He explained that the Chain of Lakes is the next well field that will require PFAS treatment. Since this is a fairly new area with respect to some of the options, he encouraged flexibility in addressing these compounds since there are treatment systems that provide the ability for change between medias or technologies to help reduce overall long-term operational costs. Dr. Gillogly then provided commercially viable and effective water treatment options such as Granular Activated Carbon (GAC), ion exchange, reverse osmosis - a technology already being used at the Mocho Groundwater Demineralization Plant (MGDP) and blending. He highlighted the advantages, disadvantages, and cost comparisons of each treatment process. Individual states have implemented regulations to various degrees of stringency, but Federal regulation is still in development. California currently has notification and response levels for two of the PFAS compounds. He explained the concentration levels that were detected in each of the wells, in addition to the state's response levels and requirements. Their firm reviewed various options such as possibly setting 80% of the response level as an operational target to set the cost expectations. They also considered the most rigorous of regulations, where the removal or reduction of the compounds would be below the 20 parts per trillion. The Mocho well field could meet some of the most stringent of regulatory levels that are in place today, but it would require some operational limitations on how it is utilized to meet the existing MGDP facility. Dr. Gillogly recommend initializing centralized treatment and suggested that a hybrid system could utilize medias that are available today as well as those that will be developed in the future.
Ms. Moshier presented the anticipated regulatory schedules, project schedule, and the cost estimate for a potential Chain of Lakes PFAS treatment project. Next year, planning and design is estimated to be $2.2 million, with $3 million budgeted for planning and design of the project. Construction and construction management in the following years would be an additional $24 million for a total capital cost of $26.3 million. Annual O&M is estimated at about $2 million and would depend on the MCLs. The Board will have opportunities to weigh in again at the award of the design contract next spring, prior to the adoption of the final California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) document in the fall, and when the award of the construction contract is issued the following summer. She explained that no action needs to be taken, but asked for the Board's input on the proposed next steps and the Chain of Lakes PFAS treatment project with design beginning in the next calendar year.
President Sanwong found the presentation to be very informative and asked for copies of the slides. She referred to the City of Pleasanton's recent presentation on the same topic. The areas of recommendation for Pleasanton were near Well 8, which was not far from the Chain of Lakes region. She asked if it was possible to combine their efforts in a joint treatment center for that area. Ms. Pryor indicated that although a collaborative effort would be ideal, any such facility would require an expensive and long pipeline to connect it in a troublesome area. Dr. Gillogly explained that the operation center that President Sanwong was referring to is many miles further west, costly to lay the pipe, as well as an imposition into the public streets. President Sanwong commented that since 2014 there had been discussions of the City of Pleasanton relocating their operations center. She recognized that the pipeline may be expensive to build, but she wanted to be mindful of the alternative options.
Director Ramirez Holmes said that the distance to the operation center is shorter than they were describing and there is currently no housing or neighborhoods to interfere with pursuing the option of a pipeline. She was not pleased that the item was not presented to the Water Resources Committee prior to the Board meeting, as she had several questions about the comparison of costs, if the possibility of shutting down the well altogether and getting water elsewhere could be more economical, and the percentage of the wells' overall production. She felt it was premature in the process since the Agency's current treatment options were meeting standards. She asked at what level blending is no longer effective, inquired about how the state currently ranks among others that have regulations in place, if the three treatment options were still in the pilot phases, and expressed her concerns about the potential disadvantages that were presented. She felt that the project would be costly and reiterated the importance of bringing it to the committee to outline the details.
Director Gambs agreed that the item should go to the committee. He asked if blending Chain of Lakes 1 and 2 would suffice so a pipeline would not have to connect to Chain of Lakes 5. He also asked why blending could not be utilized more since it is clearly the least expensive treatment option and inquired how the blending process currently takes place. Ms. Moshier explained that Chain of Lakes 5 already goes to Chain of Lakes 1 where chloramination occurs. Blending is limited by each wells' flow and source water quality, so it can be used to meet the existing response levels, but the source water quality of each well is such that its unable to be any lower. If the MCL requirement is much lower than the existing response levels for PFAS and PFOA, then blending would no longer be a viable option. The three Chain of Lakes wells blend at Chain of Lakes 1 before they are chloraminated, then samples are taken downstream of the blending point at monitoring stations where water quality data is collected for various parameters, including PFAS chemicals.
Director Palmer asked what it would mean to turn off the two contaminated Chain of Lakes wells in terms of water availability. She also indicated that she would like to see the item to go the committee. Ms. Pryor specified that the Chain of Lakes well field provides about 25% of the groundwater. Turning off any of the wells would make the Agency more dependent on imported water and the State Water Project. Also, the Chain of Lakes well field is critical in the transmission systems helping to move water east to west when other parts of the system are out. Ms. Pryor explained that this was only a recommendation knowing that strict regulations are likely to take place in 2024.
Director Green asked Dr. Gillogly to describe the resins. She inquired about how well it captures an array of PFAS chemicals. Dr. Gillogly explained that ion exchange will depend on water qualities. These specific resins are targeted to remove a wide range of different compounds as oppose to GAC which removes a wide range of these compounds as well, but it is much better at the bigger compounds. Ion exchange is sometimes more cost effective as the regulations become more stringent. Director Green then inquired about the energy requirements and whether there would be a large discrepancy in the greenhouse gas footprints that are associated between the various options. Ion exchange and GAC do not require any additional pumping, as they both use existing infrastructure to treat into the distribution system with no additional energy needed. Director Green then stated that she has no qualms with blending for right now, but this is a long-term problem. She agreed with Director Ramirez Holmes' statements about bringing the item to the committee for further discussion. Director Smith McDonald also agreed with bringing the item to the committee to explore potential funding sources.
Director Figuers asked if resin was proprietary and if there was more than one manufacturer.
Dr. Gillogly answered yes to both and explained that the hybrid systems allow for more flexibility depending upon which media turns out to be most cost effective today and in the future. Director Figuers then asked if it were possible to construct a housing for the different types of resin and flow capacity. Dr. Gillogly stated that the intent is to have a generic housing that could hold a variety of these different resins with various physical characteristics.
Director Gambs asked Dr. Gillogly if there were some good examples of projects that are successfully using these technologies to treat PFAS. Dr. Gillogly responded that there are several treatment facilities like Zone 7 that have been removing PFAS at concentrations above the response levels before they were identified. There are many other GAC systems that were initially installed for other organic contaminants and have removed some additional compounds including the PFAS. There is less information on the novel ion exchange resins but there have been plenty of ongoing studies and many systems that are expanding the understanding, confidence, and information with respect to how long these resins last.
Director Figuers asked if resins are considered hazardous waste. Dr. Gillogly responded that this class of compounds is not considered hazardous waste by the Environmental Protection Agency. There are services that destroy both resin and PFAS through a high temperature process so it does not go back into the environment.
President Sanwong welcomed comments from the public.
Jill Buck expressed her support in moving forward to treat PFAS contaminants. She stated that although it may be an unanticipated capital expense to develop this kind of treatment, she felt that the cost per household is lower than what it would be for each household to perform their own treatments, and certainly much lower than medical costs if someone were to have health complications that are associated with PFAS. She stressed the importance of protecting the groundwater supply. She also volunteered to assist with public outreach that would be needed.
Director Ramirez Holmes reiterated the Board's commitment to a safe and reliable water supply and that Zone 7 has been aware of PFAS for several years. Her main concerns were about the $26 million cost for the project, along with the unanswered questions many of the Board members still have.
Celine Leroudier, a resident of Pleasanton, asked for more outreach information on how to avoid consuming PFAS, which filters are the most effective at home, and if the public should be drinking from water fountains. Director Palmer stressed that many of the health risks associated with doses found at other sites or other locations, contaminated water were hundreds of times what is seen in Zone 7 water. President Sanwong added that there are public health studies looking into chemicals in microwaved popcorn. It is not necessarily only found in water.
President Sanwong asked the Board to join her in recommending that the item be brought to the next Water Resources Committee meeting and they agreed. Ms. Pryor confirmed that a Water Resources Committee Meeting would be scheduled.
Item 16 -
Reports - Directors
President Sanwong did not have any verbal reports but did want to mention she has some exciting programming updates that she will share in terms of some of the work that she is doing with the Go Green Initiative.
Director Palmer submitted a written report and added to it with a verbal report. Director Gambs also gave a verbal report.
Item 17 -
Items for Future Agenda - Directors
There were no items for a future agenda.
Item 18 -
Staff Reports (Information items. No action will be taken.)
a. General Manager's Report
b. Legislative Update
c. June Outreach Activities
d. Monthly Water Inventory and Water Budget Update
e. Verbal Reports
Item 19 -
President Sanwong adjourned the meeting at 10:10 p.m.