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Quincy, California
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October 13, 2010     Feather River Bulletin
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October 13, 2010
 

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Feather River Bulletin f Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010 7A Department says grand jury is .all wet Environmental Health disagrees with water findings Joshua Sebold Staff Writer jsebold@plumasnews.corn Given the frequency with which he responded to the Grand Jury's report on water with contradictions of its facts or statements like "this recommendation will not be implemented at this time," it is fair to say that Environ- mental Health Department Di- rector Jerry Sipe wasn't over- ly impressed with the jury's work. Despite this fact he did seem to make an effort to hon- or the jury's intentions when possible, engaging with its ideas rather than discarding them outright. Ali's well The Grand Jury began with a recommendation that each aquifer in the county be test- ed for contamination periodi- cally on a schedule. Sipe explained that his de- partment regulated around 140 local public water systems with "ongoing sampling and analy- sis of their water quality." He added that this process "has not revealed any aquifer. wide contamination problems." He went on to say "a variety of groundwater protection measures are in place, includ- ing the permit and regulatory process for both septic sys- tems and individual water supply wells." He explained the recom- mendation wouldn't be imple- mented for those reasons. Next, the GJ voiced con- cerns that wells aren't tested for "metal or microbial conta- mination." Sipe acknowledged that the mining background of the area did cause some concerns for water in general, but not necessarily well water. He said mercury problems usually arose from the metal being dumped or spilled into surface water. The director explained that this could lead to contamina- tion of wildlife in small amounts that grows as it goes up the food chain, which leads to the mercury problems in fish. In terms of drinking water he clarified "this form of mer- cury does not readily spread to groundwater and is highly unlikely to contaminate our well water." In response to the GJ re- quest that the department start testing for a long list of additional substances, Sipe in- dicated, "Sampling and analy- sis for a broader spectrum of disease producing microbes is not cost effective nor is it a sound scientific apprRach." He added that the current system of testing and remain- ing alert for problems or trends would continue and "this recommendation will not be implemented at this time." Sipe agreed with the GJ's finding that few records exist of wells drilled prior to 1980. The GJ report went on to suggest the department estab- lish a plan to locate and docu- ment older unaccounted-for wells to lessen "the chance of those wells contaminating our aquifers." Sipe said the recommenda- tion was already being imple- ment as resources allow, explaining that EH specialists routinely watch for old, aban- doned wells while out in the field on other business. "Locations are noted and owners of such wells are edu- cated on the risks and encour- aged to abandon them if they are no longer needed or not operational." Planning ahead The GJ claimed Environ- mental Health "wasn't in- volved in evaluating the qual- ity or quafitity of the source of water" before new develop- ments were approved by the county, adding that no one was doing that work. Sipe disagreed, "State law requires review and certifica- tion of the water supply for large projects." He explained that the county planning department "reviews water supply for new projects when it pre- pares an environmental im- pact report." He went on to say the EH staff didn't have the creden- tials or expertise "required to review the work of state agency professional engineers and hydrologists on these matters." "Therefore, this recommen- dation cannot be implement- ed as proposed." Next he addressed the GJ's finding that there was a histo- ry of problems with water supplies in developments. He said studies at Grizzly Ranch showed there was enough water, "but mitiga- tion measures were not imple- mented in a timely manner to address interference with neighboring wells." "In some areas of the coun- ty the water supply itself was abundant, but subdivisions were approved decades ago without providing for ade- quate water supply infra- structure." Tanks a lot The GJ ended its report by lamenting that there was no requirement for ongoing mon- itoring of septic systems or re- quirements for periodic pumping of septic tanks. The report called for the Board of Supervisors to establish "a countywide re- quirement for mandatory pumping of septic tanks when a property is sold" along with a public relations effort to "in- form residents of the need to pump their systems every three to five years." Sipe recognized these as ref- erences to Assembly Bill 885, "the recent statewide propos- al for mandatory septic tank pumping" and monitoring. He responded that the mea- sure was "met with strong public opposition." Some of the specific con- cerns voiced by the county re- lating to that issue were that it was a "one-size-fits-all" so- lution that didn't show any consideration for the differ- ences between rural counties and coastal cities. "Plumas County is working with state and regional part- ners to develop workable wastewater regulations and to develop local septage receiv- ing and treatment options." Sipe also indicated he was "participating on a statewide working group dedicated to resolving this issue." )iii i:; i I iiii i  Steve What a great person :I you are - and that goes :t for being the absolute greatest boss, too! : ......... Jennifer and VaLois Edward Jones :, i%1i OS Thank you for all your hard work. Happy Boss Day! Christie Brawley Feather River Fitness & Recreation G.O.D., The rode you travel is always the one less taken and your crew follows to see Where it ends! Your dedicated employees Feather River Materials, Inc. !Z:::il Jim & Judi, Thanks for taking care of us all. Happy Bosses Day! ': Bonnie, Mafilyn, Mike, Matt, Malcolm, Todd, ::i Madden Plumbing :i Marc, Ralph & Trish, Thank you for : Every day that I come to work with you at Quincy Appliance : is a happy day for me! Love, ;;. Morn another amazing year! Working with :;i  and for the two of you has been a great adventure. We look forward to many more years of hootin', hollerin', boot stompin' fun with you both!! Happy Bosses DayI The Greenhorn Gang To Our Great Bosses David, at Barnard & Associates, ,. " You're .,: ._. x ',i ,,' the ii ,_ ..... greatest, From ) All the Gang Cal-Sierra Larry, M oe, Curly and Andi , OS -- Title Mark, "Kill my boss??" "Do I dare live out the American Dream?'" Homer Simpson Happy Bosses Day! The crew at ,,: . Hi-Tech Frame & Finish Rod, Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, Let someone else do the cooking for you! The Gang at Coast Gas Quincy Mike, Thank you for all your hard work. Happy Boss Day] From your Crew at Feather River Disposal Charlotte & Ashley, Thank you for the new changes and the good times. Things will continue to improve! We love you. The Ayoobs Girls