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File #: 2017-4766 (60 minutes)   
Type: Regular Agenda Item
Body: City Council
On agenda: 10/3/2017
Title: Receive an Update on Recent Water Quality Issue at Alameda Point. (Base Reuse 819099)
Attachments: 1. Exhibit 1 - Community Advisories, 2. Exhibit 2 - Frequently Asked Questions, 3. Correspondence

Title

 

Receive an Update on Recent Water Quality Issue at Alameda Point. (Base Reuse 819099)

 

Body

 

To: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council

 

From: Jill Keimach, City Manager

 

Re: Receive an Update on Recent Water Quality Issue at Alameda Point

 

BACKGROUND

 

On Friday, September 8, 2017, and through the weekend, calls came in to East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBBMUD) and the City from residents and businesses at Alameda Point regarding the look and taste of the water coming out of their taps. EBMUD responded to each complaint and tested water within the properties; test results were consistent with EBMUD drinking water and considered safe to drink. Another call was received Monday, September 11, and the samples taken that day, as before, came back with clear test results. Separately, EBMUD’s routine sampling of the water system (independent of the incident) did not indicate abnormal water conditions at the designated sample site.

 

On Tuesday, September 12, additional sampling was conducted, and results made available late in the afternoon showed the presence of non-potable water in the Alameda Point drinking water system. With this test data from EBMUD, the City of Alameda issued a Do Not Drink/Do Not Use advisory to the 268 homes and more than 60 businesses at Alameda Point. The City notified RiverRock (the City’s property management company) and the Alameda Point Collaborative, who went door-to-door with an advisory for affected properties.

 

The City’s first priority was making free bottled water available for residents and businesses. The Alameda Police Department contacted the Red Cross, who along with the Alameda Fire Department and City staff, provided free bottled water at two locations within Alameda Point by 7:00 pm. Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteers were mobilized and helped distribute approximately 20,000 bottles of water that evening and throughout the water quality incident.

 

The City began issuing regular Community Alerts with the information we had available to the news media, and posted alerts on Facebook, Nextdoor, Twitter, Nixle, and the City’s website. By late Tuesday night, the irrigation well that was the source of the non-potable water was shut down and EBMUD flushed the water lines. Tests showed steady improvement. EBMUD began taking additional samples to do a full battery of tests.

 

On Wednesday, September 13, City staff established a water alert hotline that was monitored throughout the day. A community meeting was held for affected residents and businesses at Michaan’s Auctions Theater, and ten portable showers were made available for affected residents. By the end of the day, tests continued to show improvement in the water quality and one round of bacteria samples came back clean. As a result, the State Water Resources Control Board, Division of Drinking Water lifted the advisory to avoid bodily contact with the water at Alameda Point. The do-not-drink advisory remained in place until the more extensive tests could be confirmed.

 

On Thursday, September 14, laboratories continued to analyze the water samples while bottled water remained available for all affected residents. The City’s property manager worked directly with affected businesses on their specific needs, and an EBMUD water truck delivered drinking water directly to several businesses specializing in food and beverage production.

 

On Friday, September 15, comprehensive tests of Alameda Point’s system came back clear for a broader range of potential harmful contaminants. The State Water Resources Control Board, Division of Drinking Water then lifted the remaining do-not-drink advisory.  All agencies are continuing work to investigate the incident and ensure a continued high-quality drinkable water system at Alameda Point.

 

DISCUSSION

 

The City and EBMUD have determined that a cross-connection between the drinkable water and irrigation systems at Alameda Point caused non-EBMUD water to get into the drinking water system. The City and EBMUD fixed the cross-connection issue by physically disconnecting the irrigation well that fed the irrigation line. Now that the immediate water quality issue has been resolved, the City, in coordination with EBMUD, DDW and the City’s property managers, have transitioned toward ensuring all residents and businesses are back on their feet, and doing everything the City can to ensure this does not happen again.  As of September 19, all businesses were back in operation.

All of the community advisories issued by the City are attached as Exhibit 1.  A chronology of events related to the incident and more information summarizing the test results of the water system and irrigation well are provided in a Frequently Asked Questions document prepared by the City, in conjunction with EBMUD (Exhibit 2).

The City is grateful for the significant and swift response and coordination that occurred among numerous public agencies, property management companies, and community groups and members including EBMUD, DDW, Alameda County Department of Environmental Health, California Department of Public Health (Food and Drug Branch), Alameda Point Collaborative, RiverRock Real Estate Group, Gallagher & Lindsay, Red Cross, Target, Community Emergency Response Team volunteers, and an interdepartmental team of staff from the City of Alameda.  Most importantly, the City extends special consideration and gratitude to the residents and businesses directly affected by this incident.

 

The following section provides a summary of the next steps being taken to follow-up on the water quality incident and the need for new water infrastructure at Alameda Point.

Immediate Next Steps Related to Water Quality Incident at Alameda Point

 

                     Continue ongoing investigation of the cross-connection that occurred between the drinking water system and the irrigation lines connected to the irrigation well that caused the water quality incident at Alameda Point;

 

                     Develop a plan for ensuring that other potential cross-connections between the drinking water system and non-drinking water sources, such as fire protection lines, are eliminated throughout Alameda Point, based on a recently conducted cross-connection survey performed by Hydromax, a contractor for the City, consultations with EBMUD and DDW, and a review of other cross-connection programs in other jurisdictions; and

 

                     Work with property managers at Alameda Point to further assist existing residents and businesses at Alameda Point post-incident.

 

Next Steps Related to Long-Term (New) Infrastructure Plans at Alameda Point

 

                     Staff will be bringing a contract with Carlson Barbee & Gibson, a civil engineering firm, to the City Council on October 17, 2017 for the design and engineering of new phased water infrastructure in key portions of the adaptive reuse area consistent with the Master Infrastructure Plan for Alameda Point (MIP) and the water infrastructure agreement with EBMUD; and

 

                     Staff will be exploring additional financing sources for expediting the implementation of new infrastructure, including new water improvements, beyond the current approach of using only sources of funds directly from new development and properties at Alameda Point (i.e., Alameda Point Development Impact Fees (DIF) and building and land sale proceeds).  Alternative sources to be explored include a portion of a potential Citywide infrastructure bond to improve the City’s failing infrastructure and a loan from the General Fund reserve repaid by future Alameda Point DIF and building and land sale proceeds.

 

In sum, City staff is committed to working diligently with its partners to further investigate the cause of the incident; ensure a continued high-quality drinkable water system; implement new infrastructure at Alameda Point as expeditiously as possible; and to avoid this type of incident occurring again.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

There is no impact to the General Fund at this time.  There may be short-term impacts to the General Fund Reserve depending on Council Direction.

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW

 

This is for information only.

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

Receive an update on recent water quality issue at Alameda Point and give direction to staff on immediate post-incident next steps and longer-term next steps related to new infrastructure improvements at Alameda Point

 

Respectfully submitted,

Jennifer Ott, Base Reuse & Transportation Planning Director

 

Financial Impact section reviewed,

Elena Adair, Finance Director

 

Exhibits:

 

1.                     Community Advisories - Alameda Point Water Quality Incident

2.                     Frequently Asked Questions Document - Alameda Point Water Quality Incident