Archive for the ‘Delta & Environment’ Category

FOG – the unwelcome guest in your home this holiday season

Monday, November 27th, 2017

With the holiday season upon us, it is a good time to remember the only people we want visiting our homes are family and friends – not plumbers and wastewater professionals. Disposal of unwanted food waste and fats, oils and grease (FOG) down your kitchen drain, dishwasher and garbage disposal can lead to overflowing pipes, sewage spills, and emergency calls to plumbers.

Traditional holiday foods such as turkey, ham, meats, gravy, potatoes, sauces, vegetable or olive oils, salad dressings, baked goods and dairy products are sources of FOG. With family and friends celebrating together, it often means bigger meal preparation and cleanup with a lot of scraps incorrectly disposed of though pipes that may already be partially clogged and go unnoticed until guests overload the system.

People mistakenly believe their garbage disposal and dishwasher are effective methods of dealing with food and FOG; however, these devices only shred it into smaller pieces or wash it further down pipelines where it hardens in areas which require professional plumbers or wastewater professionals to remove safely.

Grease is one of the leading causes of residential sewer blockages. These blockages can cause costly, unpleasant sewage overflows that can damage our homes, and potentially find its way into our local waterways damaging local fish and wildlife habitat.

Delta Diablo reminds customers that prevention is the best way to tackle an unpleasant FOG experience in your home, and offers tips for this holiday season and throughout the year to reduce overflows, backups and clogs:

•Never pour FOG down kitchen sinks, garbage disposals or into toilets.

•Keep a heat-proof container in your kitchen to capture all FOG after cooking. When cooled, safely secure it and bring it for proper disposal at the Delta Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility.

•Scrape grease and food scraps from plates, pots, pans, utensils and grills into a compost receptacle or the regular trash before washing.

•Wipe pots, pans and plates with paper towels to capture any leftover grease before handwashing or placing into dishwasher.

•Use a strainer or place paper towels over the kitchen drain to help keep grease and food scraps out of your plumbing system. Home garbage disposals and dishwashers do not help, not even with running hot water.

For more information about safely disposing of FOG, or services provided by the Delta Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility, please visit www.DeltaDiablo.org or call 925-756-1990.

 

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State Legislative Delta Caucus to hold public hearing on WaterFix proposal Nov. 30

Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

State Auditor to present findings of cost over-runs, mismanagement of project; Dep’t of Water Resources to also make presentation

SACRAMENTO – Assemblyman Jim Frazier (D-Discovery Bay) and State Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa), co-chairs of the California Legislative Delta Caucus, announce they will hold a public hearing on Thursday, Nov. 30 to examine mounting financial concerns connected to the proposed WaterFix project.

The hearing will be held in the Delta, at the Jean Harvie Community Center, 14273 River Road, in Walnut Grove, from 10 am. to noon. Members of the public are invited to attend.

“WaterFix is one of the largest, most costly public works project ever proposed in California,” said Frazier, who represents the heart of the Delta region in the Assembly. “There are a number of growing concerns surrounding the project’s financials. The recent state audit cited cost over-runs that are out of control. The audit also found the Department of Water Resources failed to complete a basic cost-benefit analysis and has mismanaged the project. The Delta Caucus decided to hold an informational hearing accessible to the public where these concerns can be thoroughly examined.”

The office of State Auditor Elaine M. Howle will present the findings of the recent audit: “Department of Water Resources: The Unexpected Complexity of the California WaterFix Project Has Resulted in Significant Cost Increases and Delays.”

Dr. Jeffrey Michael, executive director of the Center for Business & Policy Research at the University of the Pacific, will present the Center’s recent report, “Benefit-Cost Analysis of the proposed California WaterFix.”

The State Department of Water Resources, which is managing the proposed WaterFix project, has also committed to making a presentation.

Other presentations may be added to the agenda as the hearing date approaches. Members of the public will have an opportunity to comment during a public comment period at the end of the hearing.

“Ensuring a vibrant and sustainable Delta is absolutely essential for our region and our entire state,” said Senator Dodd. “I encourage Delta residents to join us and hear from the State Auditor’s Office regarding their recent findings. The Delta Caucus is working to educate the public and fighting to protect the Delta for our residents, visitors and wildlife.”

The Delta Caucus is a bipartisan mix of 12 members of the Assembly and Senate who represent the Delta region. The Caucus is co-chaired by Assemblymember Frazier and Sen. Dodd. Other members are Senators Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton), Steve Glazer (D-Orinda), Dr. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) and Assemblymembers Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove), Heath Flora (R-Ripon), Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), Timothy S. Grayson (D-Concord) and Catharine Baker (R-Dublin).

For more information about the Delta Caucus, contact Adam Horn at (916) 319-2011.

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Annual Antioch Coastal Cleanup this Saturday, Sept. 16

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

Looking for volunteers

The 33rd Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day, the state’s largest volunteer event, is going to take place this Saturday, September 16, 2017 from 9 AM to Noon. The Kayak trip will be on Friday, September 15 (Click here for details).

The event is expected to draw more than 70,000 volunteers who will combat marine debris at over 800 locations throughout the state by removing the trash that has accumulated on California’s beaches and inland shorelines over the past year.

Get out there, join the effort in Antioch. There are three locations to choose from: Antioch Marina, Prewett Park and Fulton Shipyard. Select your location when you complete your registration on the City’s website

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4th Annual Kayak Cleanup this Friday, September 15, 2017 at the Antioch waterfront

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

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City of Antioch files second lawsuit against the Delta tunnels project

Friday, September 1st, 2017

Proposed route of the California WaterFix (i.e. Delta Twin Tunnels). From YouTube video on californiawaterfix.com

Claims state in breach of 1968 agreement with City

On August 25, 2017 the City of Antioch filed a second action in the Sacramento Superior Court this month against the California Department of Water Resources (“DWR”) relating to the proposed California WaterFix Project – e.g. the Delta Twin Tunnel Project. The City previously filed an action challenging the WaterFix Project’s Final Environmental Impact Report. (See video on the WaterFix, here).

In its most recent action, the City contends that DWR breached the 1968 agreement between DWR and Antioch intended to protect the City’s water supply from the impacts of the State Water Project. The 1968 agreement contains a specific provision known as the “me-too” clause requiring DWR to provide Antioch with terms substantially similar to any terms granted to any other agency in the Delta. In 2016, DWR entered into a new agreement with Contra Costa Water District containing terms substantially more favorable than those granted Antioch in its 1968 Agreement. Despite numerous attempts by Antioch to work with DWR to amend the 1968 Agreement, as legally required, DWR has refused to offer Antioch terms similar to those granted to Contra Costa Water District.

Notably, the terms of the 2016 Contra Costa Water District agreement acknowledge the adverse impacts to water quality that will result from the WaterFix Project in the Delta near Antioch. That agreement also directed DWR to “diligently” pursue negotiations with Antioch regarding the adverse impacts of the WaterFix Project – which DWR has failed to do.

Antioch believes that DWR is improperly selecting “winners and losers” with respect to the adverse impacts of the proposed twin tunnels project on municipal water suppliers in the Delta. The City contends that this is exactly the situation that the “me-too” clause in the City’s 1968 Agreement was intended to prevent.

Antioch as a city depends on the Delta for its quality of life, its drinking water supply, recreation and economic future. As one of the largest cities located entirely in the Delta, Antioch has been closely aligned with the protection of the Delta and its restoration. WaterFix and its unmitigated adverse impacts are in conflict with both of these critical goals.

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Antioch files lawsuit challenging Delta tunnels project

Saturday, August 26th, 2017

On August 17, 2017, the City of Antioch filed an action against the California Department of Water Resources challenging the Final Environmental Impact Report for the proposed California WaterFix Project – e.g. the Delta Twin Tunnel Project. The City’s action alleges the Final Environmental Impact Report violates the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

In the action, the City describes some of the significant impacts from the Project to Antioch’s water supply and notes that such impacts remain unmitigated. Among the unmitigated project-related adverse impacts to Antioch are increased salinity levels at Antioch’s intake in the Delta.

The City’s Petition further describes how the WaterFix Project’s proposed operations remain largely undefined, making it difficult to determine the full extent of the impacts from the Project on the Delta. The City further contends that the WaterFix Project violates the dual goals of the Delta Reform Act of 2009 which required projects to reduce reliance on the Delta. Instead, the WaterFix Project, as presently proposed, will allow for the diversion of more water from the Delta including the diversion of much fresher Sacramento River water before it ever flows into the Delta.

Antioch as a city depends on the Delta for its quality of life, its drinking water supply, recreation and economic future. As one of the largest cities located entirely in the Delta, Antioch has been closely aligned with the protection of the Delta and its restoration. WaterFix is in conflict with both of these critical goals.

The City expects to work closely with other public agencies and environmental groups in opposing the Final Environment Impact Report for the WaterFix Project.

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New County Sustainability Commission to help Supervisors make Contra Costa cleaner, healthier

Saturday, August 26th, 2017

Includes one Antioch resident; next Mmeting Monday, August 28

The Contra Costa County Sustainability Commission will hold its second meeting on Monday, August 28, 2017, 5-7 p.m., at 30 Muir Road, Martinez. The Board of Supervisors created the Sustainability Commission earlier this year to advise the Board and County staff on how to make Contra Costa County healthier and reduce pollution, important goals of the County’s Climate Action Plan.  The agenda for the meeting can be found here.

Thirty-five people applied for the 10 seats on the Sustainability Commission. Given the high level of interest and the opportunity to include more voices, the Board of Supervisors created an additional At-Large seat and allowed each Supervisor to appoint an alternate from his or her district. The 15 members and alternates of the Sustainability Commission appointed to date come from across the County and represent a range of interests and professional experience.  The members include:

Nick Despota, Member, District 1. Nick Despota, a longtime resident of Richmond, has served on numerous commissions and non-profit boards. His professional career has included video production, writing for educational media, and web design. After retiring in 2016, he began volunteering with an environmental organization to develop its online media presence. Nick currently leads the communication team for the Alameda Chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby. 

Victoria Smith, Member, District 2. Victoria Smith is the former Mayor of Orinda and longtime City Council Member. Victoria served as Chair of the Central Contra Costa Solid Waste Authority, RecycleSmart, which provides recycling, reuse and garbage services to the cities of Orinda, Lafayette, Moraga, Walnut Creek, Danville, and central Contra Costa County.  Victoria is a graduate of UC Berkeley and UC Hastings College of the Law, and practices real estate law.

Reid Edwards, Alternate, District 2. Reid Edwards is a retired senior public affairs executive who worked for many years on all aspects of energy and environmental issues, both locally and in Washington, D.C. He resides in Lafayette and has lived in Contra Costa County, with short interruptions, since 1963. He currently volunteers with a number of local institutions including White Pony Express and the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. 

John Sierra, Member, District 3. John Sierra teaches AP Environmental Science and was the Freedom High School teacher of the year in 2013.  He is actively involved with multiple community organizations and frequently takes his students on adventures near and far including Yosemite and Nicaragua.  John is dedicated to protecting natural resources while creating a healthy living environment for all.

Gretchen Logue, Alternate, District 3. Gretchen Logue is dedicated to community civic engagement, and has a lifelong passion for environmental sustainability.  She is the co-founder of the Tassajara Valley Preservation Association, an organization dedicated to the sustainability of Contra Costa County.  In addition to serving as a board member on the Tassajara Hills Foundation, fundraising for educational programs, this mother of three is also a California Naturalist.

Wes Sullens, Member, District 4. Wes Sullens, LEED Fellow, is the Director of Codes Technical Development at the US Green Building Council.  Prior to joining USGBC, Mr. Sullens worked for a local government agency in Alameda County, California (StopWaste), where he provided green codes advocacy, building and product standards development, and green building policy support. Previous to StopWaste, he was an energy and sustainability consultant at a prominent firm in the US.

Travis Curran, Alternate, District 4. A lifelong environmentalist, Travis Curran has spent the past 11 years working in adult mental health.  The Administrator at Crestwood Healing Center in Pleasant Hill, Travis led a sustainability project that transformed facility practices, saving over 2 million gallons of water, and earning a green certification and multiple green awards in the process.  Travis is passionate about waste reduction, and the preservation and protection of our state and national parks.

Charles Davidson, Member, District 5. Charles was the lead community organizer for MoveOn East Bay during the housing crisis. He then became involved with 350BayArea and helped found the Sunflower Alliance, organizing for climate and environmental justice issues, opposing multiple planned large-scale toxic tar sands refinery expansion projects, and lobbying for Community Choice Energy and a fossil-free and inexpensive clean energy future.  Charles has studied cancer biology and medical physics at the graduate school level and holds a US patent in advanced medical imaging. 

Mark Thomson, Alternate, District 5.  Long-time Martinez resident Mark Thomson is Co-President of the John Muir Association, which works closely with the National Park Service to share the legacy of John Muir.  Mark is also Co-Facilitator of Thousand Friends of Martinez, an organization dedicated to defending parks, creeks, wetlands, open space and historic elements in the Martinez area. Mark has previously volunteered with the Boy Scouts, Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center, and other organizations. His professional background is in Information Technology.

Howdy Goudey, At-Large, Community Group.  Howdy Goudey has an Engineering Physics degree from UC Berkeley and has worked for 24 years in the research and development of energy efficient buildings, particularly windows, at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He has also been a member of the City of El Cerrito Environmental Quality Committee for 9 years, as well as a volunteer with community gardens and native habitat restoration.

Harry Thurston, At-Large, Community Group.   Antioch resident Harry Thurston is committed to furthering sustainable resource usage by Contra Costa County and the municipalities within. He received formal training in sustainable resource usage from Humboldt State University, receiving a BS in Forestry. He put this knowledge into practice as a Peace Corps volunteer, followed by 10 years of Commercial Forestry practice, receiving California certification as a Registered Professional Forester.  Most recently, over the last several years, he has been leading the East Contra Costa effort to implement a Community Choice Energy program for the County’s unincorporated area and for the incorporated municipalities within the County. Harry is a member of the Contra Costa Clean Energy Alliance.

Kathy Cutting, At-Large, Business.  Kathy Cutting is a Bay Area native, settling in Oakley in 1989, where she raised her family.  Over the last 20 years she has enjoyed working as a residential landscape designer promoting sustainable land options for homeowners.  As an alumna of Cal State East Bay, Kathy now works at the University’s Concord Campus, where she is a liaison for all sustainability programs within the Concord campus community. 

Nicholas Snyder, At-Large, Business. Nicholas Snyder is a Senior Analyst at Tierra Resource Consultants, an energy and natural resource consulting firm in Walnut Creek.  Most recently, he has served as a lead on the funding and financing of energy efficiency, renewables, and energy storage.  Before joining Tierra, he interned at Contra Costa County Climate Leaders and the Energy Division of the California Public Utilities Commission, where he supported regulatory oversight of the Energy Watch, Regional Energy Network, and Community Choice Energy programs.

Doria Robinson, At-Large, Environmental Justice.  Doria is third generation resident of Richmond, California and the Executive Director of Urban Tilth, a community based organization rooted in Richmond dedicated to cultivating urban agriculture to help the community build a more sustainable, healthy, and just food system. Doria is trained as a Watershed Restoration Ecologist, and is a Certified Permaculture Designer, Certified Bay Friendly Gardener, a Certified Nutrition Educator, and a Certified Yoga Instructor and the founder of Sanctuary Yoga. She was recognized as Environmental Advocate of the Year for Contra Costa County and as Woman of the Year for Contra Costa County in 2010. In 2011, she was presented with a Community Resiliency Leadership Award from Bay Localize.

Scott Warfe, At-Large, Education.  Scott Warfe is an Assistant Professor of English and Developmental Education Lead at Los Medanos College. In addition to work in the English Department, Scott is also one of the founders of the LMC Food Pantry and volunteers with The Trinity Center, which serves homeless and working poor people in East Contra Costa County. 

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Restore the Delta prepares for litigation after DWR’s filing of WaterFix tunnels NOD

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

Stockton, CA – As anticipated, the California Department of Water Resources issued the Notice of Determination (NOD) for CA WaterFix on Friday, July 21.

Executive Director for Restore the Delta Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla issued the following statement:

“We are not surprised that the Notice of Determination has been issued. The Brown Administration will celebrate this document as a type of victory regarding the advancement of CA WaterFix. But it’s not. The EIR and the plan for the tunnels are deeply flawed as the project will not create water supply reliability in a world with increased and prolonged droughts, but perhaps up to 75 years of debt to be paid back by water ratepayers as recently proposed by Goldman Sachs representatives.

“We, other environmental organizations, and other parties in the Delta are preparing for litigation. We will expand our fight in the court of public opinion. We are considering all possible legal and political options to stop the project.”

Supplementary Documents:

FINAL Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program for the California WaterFix

CEQA Findings of Fact and Statement of Overriding Considerations

DWR Notice of Determination Items

DWR Official Press Release

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