Archive · Fresno

Briefing Room: Swearengin's next gig, NE Water email dump, Cops delivering success in southeast

Byline1

A baker’s dozen of comments on various issues in Fresno:

1.) So, Mayor Ashley Swearengin will be chief executive of the Central Valley Community Foundation when she leaves office in January.

She will finish her second term. No resignation.

Kudos to The Bee’s Tim Sheehan for the big scoop.

I must admit I didn’t see it coming: Ashley Swearengin turns into Sarah Reyes 2.0.

2.) Reporters are getting copies of City Hall emails connected to the discolored water controversy. I got one dated Feb. 2, 2005 – 11 years before top city officials publicly said they knew of customer complaints in Northeast Fresno.

This email is from Lon Martin, an assistant director at the time in the Department of Public Utilities and, by all accounts, a respected expert in the Valley water industry.

Martin’s email was sent to more than a dozen city officials. Among them: Jerry Duncan (District 6 council representative), Martin McIntyre (DPU director), Andy Souza (city manager) and Georgeanne White (Mayor Alan Autry’s chief of staff).

Only White among these four is still at City Hall.

The subject: “Water issue – Sharon & Perrin Ave.”

3.) Martin described the situation thus: “During the month of November the (Northeast) Surface Water Treatment Facility (SWTF) was taken off line due to required canal maintenance and construction by the Fresno Irrigation District. The facility was brought back on-line the first week in December.

“The change in water chemistry from ground water to surface water can cause a dissolving reaction of naturally occurring minerals within the pipes resulting in water that has a slight yellow tint.

“The primary mineral is iron, therefore the slight yellow coloring. This is not a wide spread problem in N.E. Fresno. There are two areas, one near Fort Washington Country Club and the second near Perrin and Sharon Avenues. At this time we are aware of 8-10 homes with this problem.”

4.) Next, Martin presented the facts: “The water is safe and meet all state and federal health requirements.

“The water produced by the SWTF is not discolored; the reaction takes place within the plumbing of the homes. Example: In all cases water samples taken from a hose bib outside the home is not discolored. Water samples taken from some faucets within the home (have) been discolored.

“The state health department is aware of this situation and is satisfied with our resolution strategy.

“We have a resident that is very distraught and may be contacting you and/or the press. This person is Mike Conner, who lives on Sharon Ave.

“This is an esthetic issue, not a health issue.”

5.) Next, Martin identified city actions: “City staff has been in contact with all customers, collecting samples and obtaining feedback as to current resolution progress.

“City staff is adjusting the treatment process to reduce this reaction. This adjustment does not happen immediately.

“We have been and are currently increasing the concentration of an oxidation inhibitor, which stops this chemical reaction.

“We are using a flushing crew to draw water containing the inhibitor into the area.

“We have offered and will reimburse customers for the cost of using bottled water during this situation.

6.) Finally, Martin made a guess as to the endgame: “Due to recent treatment process adjustments we are seeing improvements.

“We expect this to be resolved by the end of the week.”

George Hostetter
George Hostetter is The Sun’s Fresno Civic contributor – covering the City of Fresno, County of Fresno, and Fresno Council of Governments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.