Pleasanton's water supply is back on the City Council agenda with staff presenting an update on the city's water supply alternatives study during Tuesday's public meeting including a comprehensive list of options to produce the city's groundwater pumping quota.
Over the last couple of years, city staff have been working to address finding PFAS, otherwise known as forever chemicals, in the city's groundwater water wells. These wells supply approximately 20% of the city's annual water supply, while the remaining annual water supply is purchased from the Zone 7 Water Agency.
The council had originally begun looking at constructing a water treatment and rehabilitation facility, known as the PFAS Treatment and Wells Rehabilitation Project, to treat and rehabilitate wells 5, 6 and 8 in Pleasanton and to create a new centralized treatment facility for PFAS treatment, disinfection and fluoridation.
However, the council voted to push pause on that project on Sept. 6, 2022 in order to evaluate other options, mainly due to a $46 million price tag on the project.
Since then, a water ad hoc subcommittee was formed; the council established a new water supply alternatives study capital project and contracted with Brown and Caldwell -- an engineering and construction firm focused on water and environmental sectors -- so that the city has different options to address the issue at hand.
According to the staff report, the Water Ad Hoc Subcommittee has been meeting every month since last October with Brown and Caldwell to provide feedback and direction.
The firm has also collected and reviewed data from the city and from the Zone 7's groundwater model to develop a comprehensive list of water supply alternatives, which will be presented to the council during Tuesday's update.
"(Brown and Caldwell) developed a list of water supply alternatives, which was reviewed and confirmed by the Water Ad Hoc Subcommittee and shared with Zone 7 for feedback," according to the staff report. "This list was intended to be comprehensive and alternatives that were not feasible or that had greater cost and lower benefit relative to the PFAS Treatment and Well Rehabilitation Project were eliminated through an initial screening step."
Some of the alternatives on the list include modified treatment only for Well 8; building a new well on the west part of the city outside of PFAS plume; having Zone 7 pump from the existing wells or purchasing 100% of the city's water from the agency; or constructing a joint, regional treatment facility with Zone 7.
After Tuesday's update, city staff will be looking to complete a technical analysis of alternatives and evaluating those options based on evaluation criteria set by the ad hoc committee over the summer months, as well as finalizing any cost estimates.
A final draft and report will be then presented to the council in September.
The City Council meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday (May 16). The full agenda can be accessed here.
In other business
* While the city works on developing those water supply alternatives, there's still the issue of supplying the city with water in the meantime.
That's why city staff will be separately recommending that the city monitor its water capacity and use wells 5 and 6 as necessary to meet maximum demand periods as a short term solution.
"Reinstating the use of wells 5 and 6 as necessary during the summer season (June-October) would provide the necessary water supply and lessen the flow and pressure requirements through Zone 7 turnouts without significantly impacting distribution reliability," according to the staff report. "All potable water delivered by the city meets and/or exceeds all regulated federal and state drinking water guidelines."
However, staff have also provided the council with an alternative to keep the wells shut off and instead, adopt a resolution declaring a stage two water shortage.
If the council decides to go with the alternative, it would also include a mandated 15% reduction in water usage as compared to 2020 and would reactivate the stage 2 water shortage rates -- the city had these rates and 15% mandate in effect up until a few weeks ago when the city and Zone 7 ended their drought state of emergencies that went into effect in late 2021.
"The lifting of the state and local drought emergency declarations and accompanying 15% conservation mandates, coupled with anticipated increased usage during warmer weather, necessitate using the city's wells 5 and 6 to meet water usage during summer maximum demand periods," the staff report states.
* The council will once again be reviewing its two-year operating and capital budget as well as its four-year capital improvement program (CIP) in preparation for final budget adoption scheduled on June 6.
Last month, the council provided staff with various comments on what Mayor Karla Brown called the "tightest budget I've had" -- and according to the staff report, it's only getting tighter.
"This report includes a set of recommended adjustments to the proposed budget," the staff report states. "While the proposed budget and the CIP documents were being finalized in late April, staff became aware of a few cost increases."
Some of the cost increases will be in the city's general liability insurance premium amount, which is scheduled to increase by 31.6% to almost $4.3 million during the next fiscal year.
Another increase will be in the city's legal costs for the next two years, which are expected to be more than budgeted.
Other comments that came from the council's budget workshop meeting on April 18 were in regards to the city's reserve policy, which staff have updated to add clarity on the use of excess fund balance.
"The revised policy also clarifies that the general fund reserve should be calculated using the next fiscal year's budget or the current fiscal year budget if next year's budget is not available," according to the staff report.