GSD Upgrades Seismic Plans for Contact Chamber

Garberville Sanitary District water treatment facility

Garberville Sanitary District water treatment facility [Photo by Kelley Lincoln]

At the Garberville Sanitary District meeting April 24th, a resident of the district expressed interest in being appointed to the empty board seat, there were questions about the contact chamber, and the solar array will not likely be purchased due to the District’s east facing exposure.

The GSD board meeting began with a closed session for the personnel evaluation of the General Manager. The report out from the closed session by Board President was “the General Manager received a very positive evaluation.”

Julie Lyon of the Summer Games and the Southern Humboldt Unified School District attended the meeting. Lyon is expressing an interest in joining the GSD Board, but no public discussion occurred during this meeting. Lyon said, in a conversation after the meeting, she has served on the SHUSD Board and has time in her life to serve the GSD District.

The Need for the Contact Chamber

The District is moving forward with its purchase of the contact chamber. Emerson explained the District’s need for the contact chamber saying,

The reason we are replacing the tank is because we are required to replace the tank per building the treatment facility in the first place.

It was part of the design, so we are putting something back in place that was already there…. If we don’t have the contact chamber in place, then the state can tell us how much chlorine to add and what the residual has to be at different points.

It becomes a real difficulty for the Operators. And also, if we increase the gallons per minute, there is the possibility we are not going to meet our disinfection requirements for the State.

It’s up to the State. They are going to tell us what to do.

And if that’s the case, we issue a boil water order. So the entire town, we will recommend they don’t drink the water.

I don’t think anyone wants that to happen, but that is the scenario, the real scenario that may take place if we can’t get a contact chamber installed before the high water demands hit the district and we can’t meet it.”

Seismic Considerations

The above ground contact chamber is a baffled 1,000 gallon tank shaped like a traditional propane tank, long and low. Water weighs 8.35 lbs per gallon, so the tank will weigh just over four tons. Thousand gallon water tanks are plentiful in the hills of Southern Humboldt, but nonetheless, above ground water tanks can represent a physics challenge during high magnitude seismic events. Velocity times mass indicates the sloshing momentum that will work on the tank, its foundation and the straps and anchors that hold the tank down during earthquakes.

Board Member Thompson and retired Caltrans Engineer asked, “What have we learned about the earthquake design for the foundation?”

Emerson said,

…they wanted additional monies, to do the testing [with] their engineer back east, and we felt it was more advantageous for us to have a California engineer approve that for California. And the dollar amount that they were going to require, our engineer, Andy Sundquist, [of Candor Rock LLP] says he has somebody who can do it for less. And he is confident it will pass. So we are going to have the seismic [calculations] done by the California engineer who works with our engineer before the tank arrives, before it is completed.

We are also looking at putting in additional support in the middle, as you had mentioned previously. Spreading out the weight over a larger area, but also having the support in the middle that will go down to something hard. Our engineers are working on a design that would have something going below the saddles down deeper into the soil so there’s something harder that its resting against

…[P]art of our design for the slab that will be under the contact chamber [is] having an additional wall or saddle built underneath it to where we have three supports on the tank instead of just two. It’s easier for us to do that than to have the delays with the tank company.

A neighbor of the district, Christine Vogel, asked a long list of questions. One was if a reason for the contact chamber’s failure had yet been determined. Emerson said it had not.

Vogel also asked how this tank came to be chosen over the options that have already been approved by the State of California.

Everson answered,

Some of it had to do with cost. We wanted something above ground, I didn’t want anything underground again because we cant maintain it. So those were the factors we looked at. Our engineers felt, after researching this company, that this was something they have great success with back east, so we felt that with the cost for the maintenance,….it was felt that this was the best option for our needs.

The Board voted unanimously to move forward with this project.

GSD Property Faces East

Back in December, Greenwired Renewable Energy Solutions presented information about the possibilities of GSD building a solar array that could offset half the District’s $57,000 annual power bill. It seemed the project might pay for itself via the energy cost savings.

While no decision has ever been made in public, the District seems to have moved away from that idea. In April, Emerson reported Redwood Coast Energy Authority is looking to lease land for solar energy production. Emerson said the District has submitted paperwork for that program. However, staff noted the District’s available land is primarily east facing.

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12 comments

  • I take it, since you pulled my post, you are correcting the inaccurate statements in this article?

  • Lets try this again!

    Just to set the record straight, the proposed GSD chlorine contact chamber (CCC) is not a “1,000 gallon tank”, its 20,000 gallons. And the water weight would be 83 tons, not “just over four tons”! Since we don’t know the net weight of the new tank (dry) the public has no idea of the total gross weight of the foundation, tank and water where this CCC is proposed to be placed and constructed:

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=12_FU-Lex1hWq2umOIXupFVGAGAIF0R4j

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1LubRyAJyLjLZthNDBlylN4rHnL4mk0aD

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Dq9EgXMZsTi03r_JwRsjKVx4al5u7p-p

    As to my other issues:

    Here’s the thing, Ralph Emerson cannot justify, rationalize, substantiate or even legitimize the CCC replacement! Why? Because the original CCC was only incorporated into the new water treatment plant to serve future development for neighboring property directly off the GSD water treatment plant, i.e. APN 222-091-011 (McKee), 222-091-015 (Southern Humboldt Community Park), 222-091-009 and 222-241-010 (Dazey). All 3 of these property owners have development planned with the County. In the case of McKee, he already has an agreement with GSD; GSD will provide the property owner 4 new 3/4″ metered water connections at NO COST (except water usage) for their “Planned Unit Development”(PUD). And the Park only needs to be annexed into the GSD District Boundary to have one 3/4″ residential metered water connection with no connection fee and restricted to 2999 cubic feet per month.

    The CCC is only critical for the neighboring properties and their private development schemes; they are too close to the GSD water treatment plant, there is no contact time with chlorine and water disinfection; unlike the 8” water line that either goes up to Garberville or down to Kimtu from the water treatment plant that does have adequate chlorine contact time and chlorine residual as per the State Division of Drinking Water.

    Emerson cannot even tell the public the cause and failure of the CCC back in November 2017 when he was asked during the April 24th GSD BOD meeting! Nor could he state the cost to replace the CCC for insurance, or if the insurance will cover any of that replacement cost!

    Emerson also likes to use the word “required”. However, when asked, Emerson cannot provide any documentation showing who is requiring GSD to replace the CCC. The State Division of Drinking Water or the Health Department is not requiring GSD to replace the CCC.

    It’s called fear mongering and using a straw man argument. Emerson wants the public to think, if GSD doesn’t replace their CCC, no one can safely drink GSD water, unless they boil it first. And with nothing in writing to support Emerson’s claim, even when asked during the GSD BOD meeting.

    Why can’t Kelley Lincoln disclose what Barry Sutter (State Division of Drinking Water) stated to her, in a phone interview concerning the GSD CCC? Because if she did, it would prove my point and save GSD ratepayers approx $250,000.00. GSD should make these developers pay for it, since its only intended for their private use and development plans. However, who said GSD has the water for all this new development anyway?

    GSD is already using 90% or more of their state water diversion license and permit. Where will they get all the water from for all this new development? Including cannabis/ag water, hotels, restaurants, public restrooms, swimming pools and spas? I guess that’s why GSD wants to have an emergency water connection with Redway Community Services District, so they can comply with the state required fire flow? The last so-called water consumption study made by GSD was 2013, during the very large GSD annexation. And at that point they were using 70 million gallons a year, out of the 80 million a year from their state license and permit. Wonder how much more water GSD had been divierting since 2013, and how much will be left in the South Fork Eel after all is said and done?

  • kelley lincoln

    mr emerson did say, to the best of my ears’ ability to hear, that the tank would be 1,000 gallons. clearly these documents show 20,000 gallons. i continue to take people at their word.
    yes, that is 83 tons of water to create momentum leading to force in a seismic event. the tank and the foundation do not contribute to momentum much.

    what did Mr. Sutter say about the contact chamber that im not disclosing?
    the point i thought was relevant, i have made: without that contact chamber being replaced, the chlorine residual has to be very high. which means peoples’ water will taste and smell pretty strongly of chlorine. And some people fear chlorine isnt that good for them in higher amounts. but if he said something i am forgetting, let me know.

    “during the very large gsd annexation?” would you give us more detail on that? I didn’t see one of those.

    also, Ron Copenhafer, the long time operator at GSD, said the gsd water right is a percentage of flow, not a gallons per year limit.

    • Thanks Kelley. That information about the CCC tank size was included in the April 24th GSD meeting agenda and Board packet.

      yes, that is 83 tons of water to create momentum leading to force in a seismic event. the tank and the foundation do not contribute to momentum much.

      First rule: An object will remain at rest or in a uniform state of motion unless that state is changed by an external force.

      Second rule: Force is equal to the change in momentum (mass times velocity) over time. In other words, the rate of change is directly proportional to the amount of force applied.

      Third rule: For every action in nature there is an equal and opposite reaction.

      As to your last question; I already stated it in my post, re: “the original CCC was only incorporated into the new water treatment plant to serve future development for neighboring property directly off the GSD water treatment plant”.

      GSD has a copy of the annexation and so does Humboldt LAFCo.

      You should read GSD’s State license and permit yourself, its online @:

      https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/ewrims/index.html

      Sorry I don’t have the info in my phone.

    • Here Kelley, it’s the GSD Annexation and on page 17, the water consumption study that was given to Humboldt LAFCo for their annexation. Hope this answers your question? I’m not home, only have my cell phone, sorry, I just googled it and found it…

      http://humboldtlafco.org/wp-content/uploads/8A_Preview-of-GSD-Annexation.pdf

    • “yes, that is 83 tons of water to create momentum leading to force in a seismic event. the tank and the foundation do not contribute to momentum much.”

      How would you know that, if you don’t know the mass weight of the tank and foundation, combined with the weight of the water? That tank is made of 1/2″ steel (10′ diameter x 36′ length) with 1/4″ steel plate baffles, fittings, fasteners and welds. I would say the tank empty weights 10 to 15 tons (minimum). And that is going to be one hell of a concrete pad they are putting it on. Have no idea how many cubic yards of concrete are involved (more than 8 cubic yards, less than 20 cubic yards) and at 2 ton per cubic yard its not lite either. I guess you went to a completely different engineering school than I did.

      Maybe you misunderstood Ron Copenhafer, like you did about the actual size of the new CCC tank. Didn’t you think $96,000.00 was just a little to high for a 1,000 gallon tank?

      And did you notice, in that link to the GSD annexation water consumption, it states 80 million gallons a year, with their state license and permit. The flow Ron is talking about is the restrictions with DF&W, over and beyond the state water board license and permit, which is 80 million gallons per year or 10 % of the flow…

    • Kelley or Kym? As nice as it might sound, “i continue to take people at their word”, the fact remains the story or reporting is incorrect and should be corrected.

      Here are the State Water Rights license and permit for GSD. Please note its per year, i.e. January 1 thru December 31 each year:

      https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/ewrims/appropriative/docs/a029981.pdf

      https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/ewrims/appropriative/docs/a009686.pdf

      Now with that being said, I think I have answered all your questions and provided you with all the facts to substantiate my claims. Now it’s your turn, if you don’t mind…

    • “the point i thought was relevant, i have made: without that contact chamber being replaced, the chlorine residual has to be very high. which means peoples’ water will taste and smell pretty strongly of chlorine. And some people fear chlorine isnt that good for them in higher amounts. but if he said something i am forgetting, let me know.”

      Kelley, unless this article is an “opinion” piece and not a local news article, why would you only include what you think is “relevant”, instead of sticking to the facts or what was stated? Just like the headline for this story, it was not the topic or conversation at the meeting. IMHO, it seems you don’t care if the facts in your story are misleading or not?

      Just so you know, the chlorine level or residual has been the same at GSD since before the old CCC blew up. It fact it was higher than what was recommended by DDW , i.e. 0.9 vs 1.7. So unless you know the numbers or ask people that do know, I would suggest you stick to the facts and not what you think is “relevant”. What’s relevant are the facts!

      Also, what Thompson is concerned about is how unstable where the water treatment plant is located, e.g. landslide/mudslide, i.e. like the mudslide they already had after it was built. And the fact the water treatment plant was built on-top of an active wetland, always moving and fluid! He was concerned about it sinking and being unstable, not an earthquake. Did you record the meeting?

      Maybe ask GSD for the “Chlorine Contact Time” test results and report they submitted to DDW recently…

  • Emerson is quoted to say:

    We wanted something above ground, I didn’t want anything underground again because we cant maintain it.

    Who will GSD hire that is small enough to get inside that new above ground tank? I thought GSD had a pipe scope, so they can look into pipes and maintain them or fix them?

    And my other question; how much of the old chlorine contact chamber (CCC) was damaged; just one section of pipe, all sections of pipe? And that was a 30″ diameter pipe, right? How did GSD exceed the 100 psi rating of that pipe, since you only operate that system at between 30 to 35 psi?

    I also noticed that new CCC tank is only rated at 125 psi. Since there was no pressure relief valve on the old CCC (rated at 100 psi), will GSD include one on the new tank?

  • Dear GSD BOD and Staff,

    How many feet of 30″ pipe made up the old chlorine contact chamber (CCC)?

    Looking at the hole that was made to remove the old CCC pipe this week; my best WAG is approx 240 feet of 30″ pipe. Which would make the total volume of water (in gallons) for a 30″ X 240′ pipe (old CCC) = 8812.75 gallons.

    Now, according to what Ralph Emerson (GSD GM) stated during the April 24, 2018 GSD BOD meeting and quoted by Kelley Lincoln:

    “The reason we are replacing the tank is because we are required to replace the tank per building the treatment facility in the first place.”

    “It was part of the design, so we are putting something back in place that was already there….”

    With that being said, the new replacement above ground CCC tank is 10′ X 36′ = 21,150 gallons. Which would equal 576 feet of 30″ pipe. So the replacement CCC tank would be 2.4 times larger (water volume) than what you are replacing!

    BTW, whom is requiring GSD to replace the old CCC?

    Will GSD sell the salvage CCC pipe to the public?

    And the $96,000 question would be; why are you “putting something back” that is nothing like (size, shape, scope) what was built or installed in the first place?

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