Zone 7 Meeting - August 17, 2022
MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
ALAMEDA COUNTY FLOOD CONTROL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT
August 17, 2022
The following were present:
DIRECTORS: DAWN BENSON
ANGELA RAMIREZ HOLMES
ZONE 7 STAFF: VALERIE PRYOR, GENERAL MANAGER
OSBORN SOLITEI, TREASURER/ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER - FINANCE
CAROL MAHONEY, GOVERNMENT RELATIONS MANAGER
AMPARO FLORES, INTEGRATED PLANNING MANAGER
MONA OLMSTED, ACTING PRINCIPAL ENGINEER
JEFF TANG, ACTING PRINCIPAL ENGINEER
BRANDON WOODS, ASSOCIATE ENGINEER
DONNA FABIAN, EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT
COUNSEL: REBECCA SMITH, DOWNEY BRAND
Item 1 - Call Zone 7 Water Agency Meeting to Order
President Palmer called the Regular Meeting of the Board of Directors to order at 7:04 p.m.
Item 2 - Closed Session - CANCELED
Item 3 -
Closed Session was canceled so there was nothing to report.
Item 4 -
Item 5 -
Item 6 -
6. Public Comment - none
Item 7 -
Director Ramirez Holmes moved to approve Items 7a, 7b and 7c, motion seconded by Director Benson. The consent calendar was approved by a roll call vote of 7-0.
Item 8 -
The minutes of June 29, 2022, were approved by a roll call vote of 6-0 with Director Benson abstaining. The minutes of July 20, 2022, were approved by a roll call vote of 7-0. The minutes of July 25, 2022, were approved by a roll call vote of 7-0.
Item 9 -
Valerie Pryor, General Manager, reviewed the Drought Report saying Zone 7 is continuing to use stored water from both local groundwater and Kern County storage and recovery programs. Demands in July 2022 were 19% lower than the same time in 2020 so we are seeing conservation. Ms. Pryor added we may lose Stoneridge, our most productive well, anticipating a State Water Board response level for Perfluorohexane Sulfonate (PFHxS). Currently, Stoneridge well provides 25% of the groundwater produced. We would have to turn on the Mocho Groundwater Demineralization Plant to treat the Mocho wells, which does result in some water loss.
Item 10 -
Valerie Pryor introduced this item stating that we are anticipating a State Water Board response level for PFHxS that would require the Stoneridge well to be out of service. Because it is our most productive well and provides about 25% of our groundwater production, losing that well in a drought would be an issue. However, some pressure vessels have now become available for purchase from a job that fell through, which could save a lead time of 12 to 15 months. Therefore, we are coming to the Board on an expedited basis to request purchasing these vessels now. If approved by the Board, we would come back to the Board next month with a full project to be done as a drought emergency project design bid.
Brandon Woods gave a presentation about the possible PFAS treatment system purchase. He discussed the background of PFAS at Stoneridge Well, gave an overview of a potential PFAS treatment system and what a site layout would look like, went over the project schedule and implementation, discussed funding, and gave the recommended action.
Director Ramirez Holmes felt that notice should have already been given to nearby residents. She asked if staff will be able to provide notice to residents before the September meeting. Mr. Woods replied yes.
Director Gambs asked if the system would be able to treat Chrome-6 at the Stoneridge location should that become a problem. Mr. Woods replied that this system could accommodate that if the space for a fourth train was used. A fourth train could be used with a different type of media to treat Chrome-6.
Director Green asked about traffic in the neighborhood. Mr. Woods replied that there's quite a bit of traffic on Stoneridge but at least two sides of the facility do not have residents.
Director Green asked about the impact of the construction work. Mr. Woods replied that the site involves a small bit of excavation for some piping between the well and the treatment facility, the pressure vessels. The vessels themselves would be set on the ground on a concrete pad.
Director Green asked counsel if there were any problems dipping into our emergency fund. Ms. Smith explained that both of those policies are intended for situations like this. They're not going to cover every possible emergency that Zone 7 runs into. It was not anticipated when the policy language was drafted that you'd be dealing with PFOS. But the idea is there, and the language is clearly meant to capture this kind of emergency.
Director Sanwong hoped that coming regulations will consider supply chain shortages and delivery times when determining agencies' ability to respond. Ms. Smith said that it's going to depend on when the Board adopts the response level. Our understanding is that this could come out quickly and be in place quickly.
Director Benson asked if we should do the financing before we approve the project. Ms. Pryor replied that if the Board approved the purchase of the vessels tonight, in September staff would bring to the Board a reimbursement resolution, which means that if later in the project life we issue bonds, we can reimburse ourselves for the cash we used upfront. That's a very standard bond financing technique.
Director Benson asked if there was any way that we could get funds for this through the new program that was rolled out last week for drought. Ms. Pryor replied that we will apply for the grant fund.
Director Figuers noted that if this drought continues and we have to shut down Stoneridge because we haven't done the treatment, the Board's going to have to face the consequences of failing to act. After purchasing them, we will have time to do due diligence. And if we decide not to use them, we could sell them. We may lose a little bit of money on it, but we've reserved our options. If we decline this tonight, we've lost our options.
President Palmer asked if we could use those same vessels in the Chain of Lakes. Mr. Woods answered that the piping might not be the exact same size, but the vessels themselves are the same size and hold the same amount of media that the vessels being designed for the Chain of Lakes would.
President Palmer asked about interchangeable parts and if we can think about having the Chain of Lakes and Stoneridge systems compatible. Mr. Woods responded that because there are very few moving parts, just valves, the piping size would have to be the same between the two facilities in order to have interchangeable valving.
Director Green asked about the CEQA process. Mr. Woods replied that we would do an initial study, but this project is a good candidate for a categorical exemption simply because it's occurring on an existing industrial site, our well site.
Director Ramirez Holmes expressed concern about having to potentially fund two PFAS projects within a short period of time, especially since the proposed notification level issuance that came out from the Department of Drinking Water says to either remove a water source from use or provide public notification, so the well would not necessarily have to be shut down. Ms. Pryor replied that staff recommendation to the Board would be to take the well out of service and not deliver water that's above the response level.
Director Figuers asked for a breakdown of the $70,000 to be paid to Carollo for mediating the purchase. He felt that was a very large amount of money.
There was public comment from Kelly Abreu.
Dan McIntyre, General Manager of Dublin San Ramon Services District, expressed support with going forward with the initial $2.9 million purchase and said that the other retailers also supported the purchase.
President Palmer summarized a letter from Jill Buck, which expressed Ms. Buck's support for moving forward with the purchase of the vessels for the Stoneridge well.
Director Ramirez Holmes expressed her discomfort with going forward with the purchase. She felt she didn't have enough information to say yes.
Director Green felt that she knows everything she needs to know to make a decision. She believes this is a good opportunity and it's something that we're going to have to eventually address. With regards to the $70,000 to be paid to Carollo, she wanted to make sure we are getting value for our money. Ms. Pryor replied that staff would work with Carollo to see if they can get that number lower.
President Palmer said that she is in favor of going ahead with the purchase of the vessels and would like to negotiate a lower price with Carollo, if possible.
Director Gambs commented that the first risk issue is the purchase of 2.9 million. But he didn't see the downside because we can either resell it or use it in the Chain of Lakes. The other risk is if we do not purchase it and then lose the use of Stoneridge Well. We would lose 25% of pumping capacity and risk not being able to meet our customers' demands.
Director Figuers moved to approve the resolution to purchase the vessels and Director Green seconded it. The item was approved by a roll call vote of 5-2, with Directors Benson and Ramirez Holmes voting against it.
Director Figuers moved to approve the resolution to have Carollo facilitate the purchase of the vessels and Director Green seconded it. The item was approved by a roll call vote of 5-2, with Directors Benson and Ramirez Holmes voting against it.
The Board took a brief recess.
Item 11 -
Valerie Pryor introduced the item, which is a recommendation to adopt the Flood Management Plan, Phase 1.
Mike Inamine from HDR, gave a presentation about the item, explaining that this is the second time staff is bringing the Flood Management Plan before the Board. He called Phase 1 the "what" document because it contains what the recommendations are for Zone 7 to reduce flood risk. He said Phase 2 will be the "how" document, how to accomplish the plans that come out of Phase 1. Mr. Inamine explained the two phases of the flood management planning process.
Tom Chapman continued the presentation, discussing how the Flood Management Plan is organized by chapters. He then went through the development process of the plan, discussed next steps, and recommended adopting the Flood Management Plan.
Director Ramirez Holmes was confused that the title didn't include "Phase 1" even though they had the same discussion about that previously. President Palmer agreed that it should be included in the title in order to keep it clear. Mr. Inamine acknowledged the request and agreed to change the title.
The Directors and Ms. Pryor discussed and requested that language be added stating that the Department of Water Resources owns and manages the State Water Project, including Del Valle dam and the South Bay Aqueduct, and orders the release of water into the Arroyo Del Valle. Mr. Inamine replied that they can add that language.
President Palmer asked for public comments. There were none.
Director Gambs moved to accept the Flood Management Plan with the correction calling it Phase 1, seconded by Director Green. The item was approved by a roll call vote of 6-0, with Director Figuers abstaining.
Item 12 -
President Palmer stated that she attended an ACWA Local Government Committee Meeting where they discussed the increasing demands for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), along with the potential fire safety issues due the ADU's ability to handle the water pressure that is needed to fight a fire. She also presented on the Delta Conveyance to the Rotary Club.
Director Figuers suggested that the Water Resources Committee be renamed or incorporate flood control within the Water Resources Committee. President Palmer reminded him that Zone 7's webpage states that the Water Resources Committee addresses both water and flood protection matters. Director Figures added that the flood management plan should have gone through the Water Resources Committee to be vetted prior to going to the full Board.
Item 13 -
Item 14 -
Valerie Pryor, General Manager, highlighted from her report that the Department of Water Resources (DWR) recommended Zone 7 receive a $4.6 million grant for a flood control project. Ms. Pryor stated that the funds will be applied toward the Alameda Creek Bank Stabilization and flood management pilot program which is a $5 million project.
Director Ramirez Holmes asked how staff are getting the word out about the water rate study and rate setting process. Ms. Pryor replied that staff sent out a postcard to all of the households and that there will be a press release.
Item 15 -
President Palmer adjourned the meeting at 9:50 p.m.