News

Pleasanton pulls plug on Parkside recycled water station after neighbors complain

City Council agrees with concerns over traffic, environment, youth safety

The parking lot at the 5997 Parkside Drive location was under consideration to be used as a recycled water fill station but the Pleasanton City Council rescinded from the agreement on Aug. 16. (Photo by Christian Trujano)

Dozens of Parkside residents packed inside the City Council chamber on Tuesday celebrated as council members voted against constructing a recycled water fill station in their neighborhood.

There were 21 people who spoke out during the council meeting against the proposed agreement to build 16 to 17 filling stalls at the corner of Parkside Drive and Hopyard Road in Pleasanton where the former Zone 7 headquarters is located.

"We are not opposed to recycled water projects. We support recycled water usage," said Larry Kriegbaum, a 38-year Parkside resident. "We do not support moving water from such a facility that's a viable commercial site to a residential neighborhood."

The agreement between Pleasanton and Livermore, Dublin San Ramon Services District and Zone 7 Water Agency was to use the city-owned parking lot at 5997 Parkside Drive as the proposed location to help residents with household irrigation in light of the current drought.

Council members unanimously approved to enter the agreement during its June 21 meeting, but after it sent out notice letters to the neighborhood, several Parkside residents told the council they were not happy with the proposed location during the July 19 meeting and asked to bring the item back for reconsideration.

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That led to Tuesday's meeting where council members listened to more residents express concerns regarding traffic safety, noise and air pollution, and overall discomfort with not being a part of the conversation.

"I worked in law enforcement for over 20 years. I spent 10 years in the traffic division and we always planned for the worst and hoped for the best," said Gregory Swartz, who lives on Arthur Drive in Parkside. "You guys are doing the exact opposite. You're counting on the best and hoping the worst doesn't happen."

Apart from people like Swartz who were concerned about their streets becoming congested with lines of cars, others were mainly worried about the fact that they felt they were not a part of the decision making process in choosing the location in their backyard.

Lynn Kriegbaum said that she has received several cards in her mail about the proposed cricket field the city wants to put in the Ken Mercer Sports Park, but she said she only received one notice for the fill station -- after the council already voted into the agreement.

"I'm disappointed to learn that you've been working on it for a year and we were not brought into this conversation," Kriegbaum said.

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Mary Smith, a 31-year Parkside resident, added to that saying she would have brought up the safety concerns regarding children crossing to get to the park or walking around the neighborhood.

"We've been included in everything until I got a little yellow postcard in the mail talking about what we're talking about tonight," Smith said. "And then I found out it had already happened and this is something that was happening in my front yard and how could you?"

The lack of communication, insight on safety concerns, and input on traffic mitigation added to the reasons why council members decided to rescind from the agreement.

"I think a lot of the issues that were brought up were very, very valid concerns with traffic issues, noise issues, pollution issues, and also the safety of kids," Vice Mayor Valerie Arkin said. "Safety of kids is of utmost importance to me so I really do understand the concerns that were brought forth."

Councilmember Kathy Narum also apologized for not getting more feedback from residents when they first looked to approve the agreement in June.

"I remember after the meeting, we all kind of looked at each other and said, 'Gee, I'm surprised we didn't have any residents. I wonder why,' " Narum said. "I think we all want the ability to access recycled water. It's just a question of doing it in the right manner and in the right location."

One question a few residents asked was why the council decided to not use the property owned by DSRSD in Dublin on Gleason Drive, which was the original plan in April.

The property is a large parcel of undeveloped land near a recycled water pipeline, which is what feeds the pumps at a fill station -- the reason the Parkside location was viable is because of the recycled water line across the street that supplies the Ken Mercer Sports Park.

Construction at the Gleason site was first projected to cost about $970,000, but wound up costing somewhere between $1.46 million and $1.74 million after the bidding process ended, causing Pleasanton to back out from the agreement.

Councilmember Jack Balch pointed out that the Gleason location was not going to be permanent and had a five-year time limit, which was something he and the council felt was not financially reasonable to pursue.

Apart from that location, the main question in mostly every resident's mind was, why not use the DSRSD wastewater treatment plants

The Tri-Valley agencies did consider other locations before choosing Parkside including the Livermore and DSRSD plants and other city-owned properties.

These sites were not deemed viable based on a variety of factors, including the high cost of construction to install a fill station. For the DSRSD site, the specific reasons the agency gave were safety and security concerns as well as "adverse operational impacts to their operations."

In 2014, DSRSD developed and implemented a residential recycled water fill station at their regional water wastewater treatment plant. Then in 2017, they had some construction there and the board decided to shut down the recycled water station in order for the construction to continue.

Since then, DSRSD has expressed to the Pleasanton council that it does not want to use the plant because that location has chemicals not safe to be around people and the influx of traffic caused injuries and other safety issues.

"This was a treatment plant, it was never designed for a combination of that many vehicles," said Dan Repp, managing director of utility and environmental services. "It's a hazardous environment for lots of reasons and the major concern that the district has had has been related to safety and operations consistency for their plant."

Community development director Ellen Clark also pointed out how that location is not owned by the city of Pleasanton, and because the DSRSD relationship with the city is strictly on a customer level, if the agency doesn't want to use the location it has every right to do so.

So what happens now?

With the water year ending in October, it would be too much of a challenge to rush building a water fill station for this year, Clark said. So for now, city staff will be acting on the council's motion to work with the other agencies to find a new location for next year.

The city is also now responsible for termination costs in the agreement and must pay the initial design costs that staff estimated to be $25,000, which Clark said is probably going to be lower than that.

"You support recycled water for irrigation, which is important, and so what we need to do is go back and work with our partner DSRSD or work with other sites ... and we need to find a better site that we can support," Mayor Karla Brown said.

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Christian Trujano
 
Christian Trujano, a Bay Area native and San Jose State alum, joined Embarcadero Media in May 2022 following his graduation. He is an award-winning student journalist who has covered stories in San Jose ranging from crime to higher education. Read more >>

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Pleasanton pulls plug on Parkside recycled water station after neighbors complain

City Council agrees with concerns over traffic, environment, youth safety

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Fri, Aug 19, 2022, 1:46 am
Updated: Fri, Aug 19, 2022, 11:32 am

Dozens of Parkside residents packed inside the City Council chamber on Tuesday celebrated as council members voted against constructing a recycled water fill station in their neighborhood.

There were 21 people who spoke out during the council meeting against the proposed agreement to build 16 to 17 filling stalls at the corner of Parkside Drive and Hopyard Road in Pleasanton where the former Zone 7 headquarters is located.

"We are not opposed to recycled water projects. We support recycled water usage," said Larry Kriegbaum, a 38-year Parkside resident. "We do not support moving water from such a facility that's a viable commercial site to a residential neighborhood."

The agreement between Pleasanton and Livermore, Dublin San Ramon Services District and Zone 7 Water Agency was to use the city-owned parking lot at 5997 Parkside Drive as the proposed location to help residents with household irrigation in light of the current drought.

Council members unanimously approved to enter the agreement during its June 21 meeting, but after it sent out notice letters to the neighborhood, several Parkside residents told the council they were not happy with the proposed location during the July 19 meeting and asked to bring the item back for reconsideration.

That led to Tuesday's meeting where council members listened to more residents express concerns regarding traffic safety, noise and air pollution, and overall discomfort with not being a part of the conversation.

"I worked in law enforcement for over 20 years. I spent 10 years in the traffic division and we always planned for the worst and hoped for the best," said Gregory Swartz, who lives on Arthur Drive in Parkside. "You guys are doing the exact opposite. You're counting on the best and hoping the worst doesn't happen."

Apart from people like Swartz who were concerned about their streets becoming congested with lines of cars, others were mainly worried about the fact that they felt they were not a part of the decision making process in choosing the location in their backyard.

Lynn Kriegbaum said that she has received several cards in her mail about the proposed cricket field the city wants to put in the Ken Mercer Sports Park, but she said she only received one notice for the fill station -- after the council already voted into the agreement.

"I'm disappointed to learn that you've been working on it for a year and we were not brought into this conversation," Kriegbaum said.

Mary Smith, a 31-year Parkside resident, added to that saying she would have brought up the safety concerns regarding children crossing to get to the park or walking around the neighborhood.

"We've been included in everything until I got a little yellow postcard in the mail talking about what we're talking about tonight," Smith said. "And then I found out it had already happened and this is something that was happening in my front yard and how could you?"

The lack of communication, insight on safety concerns, and input on traffic mitigation added to the reasons why council members decided to rescind from the agreement.

"I think a lot of the issues that were brought up were very, very valid concerns with traffic issues, noise issues, pollution issues, and also the safety of kids," Vice Mayor Valerie Arkin said. "Safety of kids is of utmost importance to me so I really do understand the concerns that were brought forth."

Councilmember Kathy Narum also apologized for not getting more feedback from residents when they first looked to approve the agreement in June.

"I remember after the meeting, we all kind of looked at each other and said, 'Gee, I'm surprised we didn't have any residents. I wonder why,' " Narum said. "I think we all want the ability to access recycled water. It's just a question of doing it in the right manner and in the right location."

One question a few residents asked was why the council decided to not use the property owned by DSRSD in Dublin on Gleason Drive, which was the original plan in April.

The property is a large parcel of undeveloped land near a recycled water pipeline, which is what feeds the pumps at a fill station -- the reason the Parkside location was viable is because of the recycled water line across the street that supplies the Ken Mercer Sports Park.

Construction at the Gleason site was first projected to cost about $970,000, but wound up costing somewhere between $1.46 million and $1.74 million after the bidding process ended, causing Pleasanton to back out from the agreement.

Councilmember Jack Balch pointed out that the Gleason location was not going to be permanent and had a five-year time limit, which was something he and the council felt was not financially reasonable to pursue.

Apart from that location, the main question in mostly every resident's mind was, why not use the DSRSD wastewater treatment plants

The Tri-Valley agencies did consider other locations before choosing Parkside including the Livermore and DSRSD plants and other city-owned properties.

These sites were not deemed viable based on a variety of factors, including the high cost of construction to install a fill station. For the DSRSD site, the specific reasons the agency gave were safety and security concerns as well as "adverse operational impacts to their operations."

In 2014, DSRSD developed and implemented a residential recycled water fill station at their regional water wastewater treatment plant. Then in 2017, they had some construction there and the board decided to shut down the recycled water station in order for the construction to continue.

Since then, DSRSD has expressed to the Pleasanton council that it does not want to use the plant because that location has chemicals not safe to be around people and the influx of traffic caused injuries and other safety issues.

"This was a treatment plant, it was never designed for a combination of that many vehicles," said Dan Repp, managing director of utility and environmental services. "It's a hazardous environment for lots of reasons and the major concern that the district has had has been related to safety and operations consistency for their plant."

Community development director Ellen Clark also pointed out how that location is not owned by the city of Pleasanton, and because the DSRSD relationship with the city is strictly on a customer level, if the agency doesn't want to use the location it has every right to do so.

So what happens now?

With the water year ending in October, it would be too much of a challenge to rush building a water fill station for this year, Clark said. So for now, city staff will be acting on the council's motion to work with the other agencies to find a new location for next year.

The city is also now responsible for termination costs in the agreement and must pay the initial design costs that staff estimated to be $25,000, which Clark said is probably going to be lower than that.

"You support recycled water for irrigation, which is important, and so what we need to do is go back and work with our partner DSRSD or work with other sites ... and we need to find a better site that we can support," Mayor Karla Brown said.

Comments

Just Concerned
Registered user
Walnut Hills
on Aug 19, 2022 at 9:44 am
Just Concerned, Walnut Hills
Registered user
on Aug 19, 2022 at 9:44 am

Another example of government bureaucracy getting in the way of a needed project. Just like the bond issues passed years ago for extended water storage, nothing gets done. Now we face an extended drought with no plan in sight, just talk, debate and more regulations. What a sorry state of affairs.


Ron
Registered user
another community
on Aug 19, 2022 at 10:35 am
Ron, another community
Registered user
on Aug 19, 2022 at 10:35 am

The Livermore Water Reclamation Plant at 101 West Jack London Boulevard, Livermore is offering recycled water for Livermore residents. Why can't DSRSD and the City plan an arrangement with Livermore to include Pleasanton residents!?


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