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Debate on future of water in Pleasanton erupts as council reviews plan for treating PFAS contamination in city wells

Original post made on Jun 21, 2021

A presentation on cleaning up Pleasanton's contaminated groundwater wells to the tune of $46M morphed into a discussion about finding regional alternatives and maintaining local control over water sources at the City Council meeting.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, June 20, 2021, 7:36 PM

Comments (9)

Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 21, 2021 at 8:30 am

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Californians drained about 125 million acre-feet of groundwater (about 41 trillion gallons) from the Central Valley between 1920 and 2013, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. California is sinking at a record pace - one farmer in the Central Valley reported his land sank more than 18 inches last year. As the below ground aquifers are drained, the land sinks to partially fill the space left by the removed water. Scientists call this subsidence.

It will take fifty years for the Central Valley's aquifers to naturally refill, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. But that is only if everyone stopped pumping groundwater immediately. That is because aquifers naturally refill at a rate of about 2 million acre-feet a year (650 Billion gallons) as rain and snow melt from the mountains seep underground.

California has permanently lost 18 million acre-feet (96 trillion gallons) of water during the past century, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Aquifers partially collapsed as they were drained and forever reduced the states capacity to store water underground. So even if the aquifers were miraculously refiled, it will be with 6 trillion gallons less.

California now is pumping water that is 20,000 years old. Ground water levels have been at historic lows in most of the state since 2008. People are drilling deep to find water - sometimes thousands of feet. No one knows how much groundwater California has left. No one knows how much water the state is pumping from the ground. Every time Californians drains its aquifers during a drought, it makes the next drought even worse. The electricity needed to pump groundwater now is about 5 percent of the states total energy use.

Posted by been there
a resident of Del Prado
on Jun 21, 2021 at 11:29 am

been there is a registered user.

This is a project worth doing soon. Dependence on Zone 7 has its many challenges. Protecting our water is and has been a priority for Pleasanton. Trusting Zone 7 to look out for our best interests is probably not the smartest position.

Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 21, 2021 at 1:29 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

I agree with a multiple sourced approach - very wise.

Posted by David
a resident of Birdland
on Jun 21, 2021 at 2:57 pm

David is a registered user.

For about 10-12 million dollars you could install a 5 stage reverse osmosis drinking water filter in every household in Pleasanton. These filters virtually eliminate all PFAS, and also all other groundwater contaminants. The filter replacements are about 50 dollars a year per household. I hope someone considers this as it is not reasonable to keep filtering our municipal water to truly healthy drinking water standards, as most of it is used in landscaping and flushing down the toilet. This would get us all much better drinking water for less cost.

Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 22, 2021 at 12:41 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

I like the point of use approach as you can really focus purpose and limit expense , but ownership would have to be on homeowners and we have people that can’t maintain a yard let alone a filtration system.

Posted by keeknlinda
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jun 23, 2021 at 4:10 pm

keeknlinda is a registered user.

The point of use approach may have merit. So far as we know, it hasn't been examined by either staff or council members. When it comes to maintenance, each house has a sophisticated "smart" meter, monitored and maintained by city Operations Department. Why not use the same approach with a filtration vessel, which is what is being proposed. Somewhat akin to the refrigerator filters many of us already have. Only installed at between the meter and the line into the house.
With a $20 million price tag, it seems all avenues should be investigated thoroughly. And we've heard no talk of this one.

Posted by David
a resident of Birdland
on Jun 24, 2021 at 7:40 am

David is a registered user.

I have been using a reverse osmosis filter for 6 years now. It takes about 10 minutes a year to change the filters. I would propose that the city could offer a service to those who cant handle it, for the elderly, etc and we would still come out ahead and healthier. What no one is going to recognize is that even with all the proposed upgrades we wont really be getting truly pure water, just water that meets "standards." Not good enough for my family.

keeknlinda- this type of system needs to be inside the house and used for drinking water only. It would not be appropriate to put outside the house as then it would still be filtering other domestic uses. These filters are not very efficient in that they are slow and produce waste water.

Posted by Shpcapt
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Jun 27, 2021 at 5:54 pm

Shpcapt is a registered user.

Pleasanton has one of the worst tasting water in the Bay Area. I have tried calling and talking to the City and Zone 7 but they say they cannot do anything about it due to our sources. Plus our water is terribly hard as we use water from the wells. I have a water softner for the whole house and a RO for drinking. But I feel guilty as both the systems waste a lot of water for flushing. I would say that we should look at other better sources of water.

Posted by Rich Buckley
a resident of Livermore
on Sep 9, 2021 at 10:35 am

Rich Buckley is a registered user.


There are so many factions in Energy Production and Water.

The trend in water is to control top down through regulation and privatize all supply sources. Now here's the catch I personally would rather have a municipal system serving me clean water of digging my own well --- up to a point.

My preference for convenience is somewhat in conflict with water’s nature. But I will adapt as changes become apparent.


Furthermore, water has different energy levels depending on how it reaches your body. The best water for the healthiest life giving energies, the holy grail of water, is high terrain rain water that has flowed, trickled, percolated, through the ground, through the marshes, grasses, small streams, before you drink it fresh from the stream.


My recommendation is to bring in big science to use Small Modular Reactors (SMR's) built with the walkaway-safe Thorium Salt fuel, to be balanced back into the holy grail of water for maximum health and nutrition. The big science, Walkaway Safe, Molten Salt, Small Modular Reactors (SMR's), reactors with recyclable Thorium for reuse, seems to be a perfect vehicle for our US Energy grid (and globally as well) offering energy producers enough energy to provide (1) regional Desalination Plants to augment our water systems and (2) drive pumps 24/7/365 to filter and purify local bodies of water (3) Feed into the electric power grid for commercial uses supplementing existing energy sources.


Furthermore SMR’s are scalable from 1.5 - up to 750-Megawatts and can be done on modest size land portions under 100 acres.

Industrial Solar requires an order of magnitude of 1000 times more precious land.

End Geoengineering and beaming microwave water globally and let the Earth rebalance.

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