11-25-14 Meeting Minutes


DATE: November 25, 2014
PLACE: Crawford’s Barn, 2715 Tiber Dr., Sacramento, California
MEETING TYPE: BRECA Steering Committee Meeting


Lori Christensen
Bonnie Domeny
Rene Hamlin
Gay Jones
Jim Morgan
Rick Sloan

  1. Welcome from Chair, Gay Jones
  2. Guest Speakers: California American Water
    California American (Cal Am) Water representatives Evan Jacobs (External Affairs) and Travis Peterson (Water Quality) made presentations and answered questions. Mr. Jacobs stated that they are aware of sedimentation issues in the Riviera East area. He stated that in many cases this problem is from home plumbing, but in other cases it is from Cal Am. They can work on the latter, but not the former. Regarding the drought, he stated that Sacramento has achieved a 20% reduction in water use compared to the previous two years. Sacramento is in better shape than many areas, as the Cal Am Sacramento water supply is from groundwater. Cal Am has water efficiency programs, and also rebates for more efficient equipment, like 1.28 gallon toilets. He stated that the General Rate Case before the California Public Utilities Commission has been tentatively settled with about a 2% increase for 2015, and increases for inflation in 2016 and 2017.

    Travis Peterson stated that there are three main wells for this area, they are hundreds of feet deep, and do not depend upon local river water. Cal Am uses free chlorine to control bacteriological growth in pipes. He stated that the Cal Am pipes under the street are concrete, and they have sampling stations along the pipes. A couple of customers have let Cal Am come into their homes, and they did not find any sand from the Cal Am system. Mr. Peterson stated that at one of the houses, there was a particulate filter in the garage, and no sand was found. They also did not find grit inside the house. He also stated that they had flushed from 5 hydrants in the vicinity, and found no sand. The house has galvanized pipes, one section of which was previously replaced.

    There was a lively discussion. A person from the audience stated that she had water pressure problems and sediment when she first moved in. A Cal Am representative at that time stated it was from Cal Am and dual sources of water. Mr. Jacobs stated that Cal Am had recently installed a connection to the City of Sacramento system (which uses water from the American River), but that had not been used due to the drought. Another concern was regarding possible plumes of contaminants from the oil tank farm at Bradshaw and Folsom. Mr. Peterson stated that they have not detected oil or gas compounds in the Cal Am water. The wells are deep, and the plume would be shallow, so contamination is minimized. Another person stated that she had sediment problems after the meters were installed, and other people did also. Mr. Peterson stated that possibly the plumbing work had shaken loose sediment in the system. Several people complained of getting grit all the time, and some of having to replace appliances as a result. Mr. Peterson replied that many of these problems come from galvanized pipe. However, it can also be from calcium carbonate, which is naturally in the water, and inhibits corrosion. This can be tested because it dissolves in acid. Mr. Jacobs commented that they have mapped the area, and there is a specific region in Riviera East that is affected. One person, who lives in the Butterfield area, commented that his house has plastic pipe from the meter to the house and copper pipe inside the house, and he has not experienced the problems that people were describing.

    Mr. Jacobs commented that Mr. Peterson needs to inspect more houses in order to better characterize the problem. A sign-up sheet was circulated for people to get inspections. Gay Jones requested that Cal Am put together a report, which could be circulated electronically. She suggested that Cal Am representatives return in February for further discussion of the issues.

  3. Minutes for September 2014
    Lori Christensen noted and accepted changes to the draft minutes for September 2014 proposed by Kelly Cohen and Joe O’Connor. Rene Hamlin made a motion to adopt the amended minutes. Bonnie Domeny seconded the motion. The motion was approved unanimously.
  4. Updates
    1. Treasurer’s Report
      No treasurer’s report was provided.
    2. American River Parkway Coalition
      Joe O’Connor noted that the County Parks Department has 21 authorized rangers, and 18 actual rangers.
    3. From the floor
      There were no comments from the floor.
  5. Old Business
    1. Corps Mayhew-Gristmill Levee Project
      Jim Morgan reviewed information gathered from the Corps of Engineers regarding the Mayhew-Gristmill east end project. He stated that the previously expected project was something like a berm connecting the east end of the levee with high ground in the back yard of a house about 130 feet upstream. However, the project that the Corps has proposed and apparently will build amounts to a short widening of the levee that would partially block the channel in back of the levee that water coming around the east end of the levee would flow through. How much of the channel would be left open cannot be determined from the documents received from the Corps. Bonnie Domeny commented that the Corps representative had said the opening would be six feet by two feet at the “workshop” on September 30, 2014.
    2. Newsletter
      Jim Morgan stated that he would try to get a BRECA Newsletter out in the early part of December.
    3. California American Water
      Joe O’Connor noted that Evan Jacobs had said earlier tonight that the resolution to the General Rate Case would be a 2% increase in 2015, and then inflation for the next two years.

      Joe also addressed the Cal Am proposed consolidation of the Sacramento water district with a small district near Dunnigan. He stated that he had talked with Ting Yuen with the Office of Rate Payer Advocates (ORA) yesterday. The ORA is concerned about Sacramento subsidizing Dunnnigan acquisition and growth. There is to be an evidentiary hearing on January 13, 2015, and a California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) decision before the end of the first quarter. Ting Yuen wants to be cc’d on the BRECA letter.

      Joe stated that he had circulated a draft letter that contains information gathered from the Cal Am application for consolidation with Dunnigan. He requested approval from the Steering Committee to send the BRECA letter to the CPUC. Gay Jones raised a concern with the language in item 2 of the draft letter regarding “disadvantaged unincorporated community” policy. She requested time to confer with people on the Local Agency Formation Commission on this question. Jim Morgan questioned the calculation of the cost per connection stated in item 1. According to his calculator, it should be $17,786 not $18,518. Rene Hamlin checked the calculation and agreed with the former number. Jim also suggested deleting two sentences from the next to last paragraph concerning the pay of the workforce, which is unknown, and the distance to Woodland. Rene Hamlin suggested leaving out the last sentence of item 8 concerning geosynthetic liners. She also expressed concern about item 2. Gay Jones suggested revising item 2 to emphasize state policy as opposed to a piecemeal solution.

      Jim Morgan made a motion to adopt the general letter as proposed by Joe, with changes as discussed above incorporated, and Gay Jones, Jim Morgan, and Joe O’Connor to do the revisions. Lori Christensen seconded the motion. The motion was approved unanimously.

    4. From the floor
      There were no comments from the floor.
  6. New Business
    1. December Meeting
      Jim Morgan suggested making Tuesday, December 16 the date of the December meeting, similar to last year. This was agreed to. Jim also suggested having a regular business meeting with a social afterwards. There was discussion of possible meeting places, including Crawford’s Barn, Brookside, the County buildings south of Folsom Blvd., the Butterfield apartments, and the Franchise Tax Board. Gay Jones was assigned to research the possibilities.
    2. 2015 Calendar
      Gay Jones suggested that the group should think about the 2015 calendar and make one at the December meeting.
    3. Increasing Memberships
      Bonnie Domeny stated that she would like to see BRECA membership grow. There was general agreement. Bonnie suggested that the Newsletter could be used to increase membership. Jim Morgan pointed out that the Newsletter is only sent to members, due to cost constraints. Rick Sloan suggested having a welcome package for new people who come into the neighborhood. Bonnie suggested posting a list of benefits on the website. Rene Hamlin stated that it would be good to follow up with a thank you for the people who came to the meeting tonight. She volunteered to do this herself. Jim Morgan agreed to give Rene a list of the people who came tonight.
    4. Communicating with BRECA Members
      Gay Jones stated that she does a lot of bcc-ing to members’ e-mails. Jim Morgan stated that, for important events where we want a large turnout, there is a communication strategy: all members are mailed a notice or flyer, and those with e-mails are sent follow up e-mails, while those without e-mails receive phone calls. Thus, each member is contacted twice. It was agreed that this was a good plan.
    5.  From the Floor
      There were no comments from the floor.
  7. Meeting adjourned
    The next Steering Committee Meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 16, 2014, location TBD.
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