Wednesday, April 23, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

GDPUD contemplates drought response

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From page A1 | February 14, 2014 | 25 Comments

The recent storm may have brought an estimated 12 inches of rain to the divide, but it did little to allay the concerns of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District (GDPUD) as its board contemplated a response to the ongoing drought.

Tuesday night’s meeting drew a large crowd as the board listened to what steps the district may have to take if additional rain doesn’t raise the water level in the Stumpy Meadows Reservoir to at least 17,000 acre feet.

Interim General Manager Gary Hoffmann reported that at the end of January, the reservoir stood at 12,094 acre feet, with the weekend storm adding another 1,000. The reservoir has a capacity of 20,000 acre feet.

Hoffmann said state drought conditions are unprecedented with 2013 proving to be the driest year on record, and with drought conditions continuing into this year.

He noted that Gov. Jerry Brown has already declared a drought state of emergency with residents asked to voluntarily cut back water use by 20 percent. Brown’s declaration directed all local water suppliers to implement local water shortage contingency plans. In addition, the State Water Board was asked to put water right holders on notice that they may be directed to cease or reduce their water diversions.

The El Dorado Irrigation District has enacted a stage two drought emergency, said Hoffmann. In addition, the El Dorado Water Agency has convened a drought inter-agency coordination committee which includes EID, GDPUD, Grizzly Flats and the water agency. Subsequently they activated a drought advisory committee that is composed of key stakeholders from different customer sectors. Hoffman said they will be meeting later this month.

Urging the board to take action now was Dave Eggerton, general manager of the El Dorado County Water Agency, who spoke at the meeting. “Being responsive to statewide calls for 20 percent conservation is a good idea,” he said. Eggerton added that the water agency is currently applying for funding for different water conservation projects in the county and being proactive would help in the competition for funds.

As the discussion continued, some people called for the district to immediately move to Stage 2 of its drought plan. However Eggerton and others advised the board to consult with their counsel first.

The board ended deliberations by directing Hoffmann to prepare a resolution addressing the drought. It will be taken up at a future meeting. More public outreach will also be used to inform customers of what to expect if the drought continues.

Cross-connection control program

In other board actions, Hoffman reported that the district’s potable water supply was in danger of contamination from potential or existing cross-connection or back siphonage. A program controlling for the potential hazard is required by the California Code of Regulations.

Hoffmann said such a program requires a system-wide assessment in which each water service is evaluated for potential hazards or risks to the potable system. Regulations require the installation of backflow prevention assemblies, where potential hazards exist, and the annual testing of assemblies by certified testers.

Properties that use an auxiliary water source such as untreated irrigation water or an on site well must have a backflow protection assembly device installed at the water meter. Historically the district has not conducted a system wide hazardous assessment, has not required the installation of backflow prevention assemblies, nor has it required that they be tested, he said.

Director Norm Krizl commented that the district did have such a program but asked if it was not up to standard. Hoffmann said the program was mostly paper in that it existed on paper but very little had been implemented. No system wide hazardous assessment has ever been conducted and there has been no testing of devices that have already been installed by property owners, he added.

In response to a question about who pays for such a program, Hoffmann said typically the assemblies, their installation and testing is the responsibility of property owners and not the district. But Hoffmann noted that 99 percent of  residential owners would not be affected. Instead the program mostly affects those using treated irrigation water and commercial businesses.

Hoffman proposed including the cost for the program and assessment in next year’s budget.

The board also approved GDPUD’s participation in a Water Energy/Nexus study to evaluate water losses from water meters in the district’s water system. The study is being funded by PG&E. The program will provide funding for 17 water meters to be installed as well as field testing and data analysis, billing records searches and preparation of a final report. The district’s contribution to the study will be the labor to install the new meters and assisting the consultant with the records searches. The district will keep the meters once the study is completed. Installation of the meters and initiation of the study is tentatively scheduled for March 2014.

It was reported that the board is in the process of selecting an executive recruitment firm to search for a permanent general manager. It previously conducted interviews with three firms and additional firms may be interviewed. The board also approved going out to bid for an auditor and CPA.

In a final item, the board reviewed some of the accomplishments of the last year including changes to the plans for the Auburn Lake Trails Water Treatment Plant, reduction in office staff and the start of a new meter reading system and online billing and bill payment system.

Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or dhodson@mtdemocrat.net. Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.

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Discussion | 25 comments

  • Phil VeerkampFebruary 13, 2014 - 7:11 pm

    ". . . Director Norm Krizl commented that the district did have such a program but asked if it was not up to standard. Hoffmann said the program was mostly paper in that it existed on paper but very little had been implemented. . . . " WOW! ~~~ GDPUD is catching up to where EID was in the cross connection/backflow compliance in 1992.

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  • R. Keenan - Pilothill, CAFebruary 19, 2014 - 12:04 pm

    Just more evidence that past GDPUD GMs were lazy and incompetent and previous boards chose to go on junkets and spend like drunken sailors than have oversight over their district. Thank you to the "gang of 3" for getting a GM who actually reads and shares with the Board the State reports on their district!

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  • No longer surprisedFebruary 19, 2014 - 2:26 pm

    Let me guess, GDPUD has no written policy on how to handle a flipping drought. Good lord.

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  • Daniel SilvaFebruary 20, 2014 - 2:08 pm

    The title of this article should be that past GDPUD GM's and Boards didn't give a rats ass about water safety for their district. This is a blatant attempt by writer Dawn Hodson and GDPUD Director Norm Krizl to whitewash the serious situation at GDPUD. Article 17 has been in place since mid 1990s and GDPUD has risked the safety of their water supply by not being in compliance. It took a new board majority who hired a new competent interim GM to expose this gross criminally gross negligence of past Boards and GMs. Hear the transcript of the meeting at gd-pud.org. or here is my transcript from Feb 11 Part A starting at time-code 48:53 . Hoffman: I’ve reviewed the Districts operations and it become apparent to me that the district does not have a comprehensive cross connection control program in place as required by Title 17 of the CA code of regulations. As a result the districts water potable supply is at risk of contamination from potential or existing cross-connections. An appropriate cross connection control program involves system-wide hazard assessment in which each water service is evaluated for potential hazards to risk to the potable system. And the regulations further require that installation of back-flow prevention assemblies be done where identified potential hazards exist; and that annual testing of the assemblies are done by certified testers. For example these Title 17 regs actually have a table in them which list what types of situations where potential hazards exist and what type of backflow protection needs to be installed. For example Title 17 requires that properties that use an auxiliary water source such as untreated irrigation water or properties that have an onsite well must have a back-flow protection assembly device installed at the water meter to protect the potable supply from any backside pollutants into the potable system. My review noted that historically this district has not conducted the system-wide hazard assessment nor has it required back-flow prevention assembly installations or testing of devices that are out there, there are a few but not system wide where they need to be. Now the CDPH inspection report that was issued last year made a minor reference to this issue and made the comment that District’s did not meet title 17 requirements and the overall program is defective resulting in poor water works practices. So a robust cross-connection control program is essential to ensuring the districts potable water supply and In the budget for 2014-15 I’ll be recommending that the district hire a certified cross control special to develop the districts cross control program and conduct the required system-wide hazard assessments to bring us into compliance Krizl: I was under the impression that in fact that we did have a cross-connection control program. And are you saying that we don’t have one up to speed or up to standard? You’re not saying we don’t have one. What you’re saying is a pretty strong criticism. I know we’ve talked about our cross connection control program and we do have one and what you’re saying is that we have to bring it up to current standards. Hoffman: We have one that’s on paper and even the paper program is incomplete, but it was never implemented. No system-wide hazard assessment was ever done that. The field staff was not aware of one ever being done. McLane: when did the state notify the district? Hoffman: in the inspection report made last year. They made a small reference and looked into it. Further investigation it became obvious, apparent. Otermat: when did Title 17 go into effect, when should have we started this. Hoffman: when I was in chair of the CDPH cross control program committee that was in the mid-90’s. Otermat: Wow.

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  • No More Yellow JournalismFebruary 20, 2014 - 2:17 pm

    Here's a pretty good sampling of Dawns blantatly biased yellow journalism; regarding GM's response to Norms attempt to state it has been implemented but not up to standard. Dawn's version: "very little had been implemented" Actual recording: "it has NEVER been implemented" Richard Esposito when will you do the public the favor and getting this Hodson nutcase off the back of those that want fair reporting.

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  • Dink LaneFebruary 20, 2014 - 2:33 pm

    Dawn: You do know that Norm was NOT the only Board Member there? ......

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  • Carol S.., Garden Valley, CAFebruary 20, 2014 - 2:34 pm

    So let me get this right - our senior board member of 10 years Norm Krizl would rather go to Palm Springs and have us ratepayers pay for his $420 Ruth Criss steak dinner than be reading CA Dept of Public Health inspection reports and providing oversight regarding the safety of our potable water supply. Thanks a lot NORM, that's the jerk who should have a recall. I did listen to the audio and it was very insightful as to which Directors are actually working and which are covering their butts and pouting. Krizl votes no to even uncontroversial agenda topics such as approve an agenda (without comments or suggested changes), just to pout that he is not happy he's not in the majority good 'ol boys club. Seriously. Grow up. I encourage anyone interested in GDPUD issues to attend meetings or listen to meeting records. Have to agree that Dawn's continuous pro-Krizl, anti-new majority is so predictable that I come just for the others comments to get a fairer view of GDPUD issues. What's even more telling is why the editor allows this? Hmmmm. Must be some connection somewhere.

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  • R. Keenan - Pilothill, CAFebruary 20, 2014 - 2:48 pm

    Dink, good point. If you read Danie's transcript, you'll see that Directors McLane and Otermat asked for more info (when was this inspection report? when did title 17 go into effect?) whereas Krizl tried to influence the topic into saying it was implemented but not up to part. Interim GM Gary Hoffman sees right through Krizl's attempt and in the most even-kelled professional tone, tells it like it is. I know the interim GM Hoffman has saved GDPUDs butts by working to get the ALT treatment plant into compliance but it looks like he's doing what any competent GM should have been doing, assessing the District, finding areas that need work (like out of cimpliance with Title 17) and reporting this info back to the Board with recommendations to fix. And to think we wasted $250K per year on Hank White for 12 years, supported to this day by current Director Krizl and former GDPUD Directors who allowed this overpaid, truly incompetent GM to put the district in a financial and operationally precarious state. If you happen to hear comments made by former Directors (Joann Shepherd comes to mind) saying the new majority is ruining this district, don't back the horse that is trying to deflect from participating on a board who provided no fiscal or management oversight. More and more is being exposed about former GM White and former directors, it's about time. If you listen to the meeting audios, the new majority are actually working to save the district with the class not to stoop to Krizl and Sheperds or their henchmen's low levels. Thank you ladies.

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  • Foaming at the MouthFebruary 20, 2014 - 3:47 pm

    Heads will explode when the discontented GPUD customers find out how much it costs to comply with state law. And when well owners are told they have to install back flow devices or have their GPUD water shut off, the screams will be audible from here.

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  • R. Keenan - Pilothill, CAFebruary 20, 2014 - 4:13 pm

    Foaming - you are absolutely right (first time I've agreed with you I think). GDPUD customers and Mtn. Democrat readers deserve accurate reporting by Dawn Hodson such as property owners such as those with onsite wells will be required to pay for these devices out of THEIR pocket. But no, Dawn tries to sweep it under the carpet. The facts from this exposed gross mismanagement should have been the headlines, not some buried paragraph related to drought. Mr. Esposito what is your take on this?

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  • Heard it With My Own EarsFebruary 20, 2014 - 4:18 pm

    Does this reporter ever comment on her own story or does she prefer to hide because she has nothing to justify her blatant misreporting? Same with the Editor and Publisher? How do you get "very little had been implemented" from the ever so damning words said by interim GM Hoffman "it has NEVER been implemented"? Please Dawn, answer your ever so dwindling readership.

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  • Daniel SilvaFebruary 20, 2014 - 4:30 pm

    R. Keenan and Foaming are correct. Property owners affect by this requirement will be shocked to find out what they will be financially responsible for. You'd think responsible journalism would have been initiated by Hodson, not by the watchdogs. Here's the audio time-code - 54:36: Audience member: For those that have the potential of cross contamination who’s responsible for adding in those processes, is that a homeowner expense or a GDPUD expense. Hoffman: Typically, all the water districts that I’m familiar with and like I said it’s a requirement the cost of the assembly, the installation and the testing of those is the responsibility of the property owner.

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  • Fly on the WallFebruary 20, 2014 - 5:44 pm

    I just read the transcript submitted here by Daniel Silva and it is so refreshing to read intelligent words spoken by a professional experienced knowledgeable (interim) General Manager Gary Hoffmann. In comparison, if asked questions by the lady Directors, the best former GM Hank White could come up with is "why the harassment?". You'd think at $250K per year, White could tolerate a few requests for information by his boss the Board. Ah, yes, absolutely refreshing to have competency at the helm. It's too bad that most of Hoffman's time is spent fixing the negligence of former GM's and a lazy ignorant Board as well as current long-time Director Krizl who's doing his best to cover his arse. My MS Radar is high whenever Krizl speaks and Dawn reports. The Mountain Democrat should be embarrassed by Hodson's feeble attempts to mislead her readers.

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  • Fly on the WallFebruary 20, 2014 - 5:54 pm

    Correction: "BS" radar, not MS radar!

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  • James E.February 20, 2014 - 6:43 pm

    Carol, regarding Ruths Chris dinners, one person would be hard pressed to have a $420 single plate dinner. Guess you could get to $420 solo if you had a really expensive bottle of wine.

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  • Carol S.., Garden Valley, CAFebruary 20, 2014 - 7:49 pm

    James - I've seen the receipt, dinner for Director Krizl and wife, Director Diekon and wife and GM Hank White (he paid for it with his credit card. I've read the limits for public servants dinner and it's $35. Would be absolutely OK if they had paid for the wives and the differences in their meals but they put the whole bill on the backs of us ratepayers, while jacking up our rates. At that time it would have taken me 2 years of rates to pay for their one dinner. And I understand White only submitted the total not the itemized receipt so we could see how much wine and liquor we paid for. Any other public servants out there who would know if this would be considered misuse of public funds or reported as a gift on their Form 700?

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  • James E.February 20, 2014 - 7:54 pm

    Carol, now I'm confused -- the bill for five people was $420? Or, was it $420 for two or $420 for one?

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  • James E.February 20, 2014 - 7:56 pm

    But, if you can only spend $35 for your meal, stay out of Ruths Chris

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  • Carol S.., Garden Valley, CAFebruary 21, 2014 - 9:50 am

    James, sorry for the confusion. My apologies. $420 for 5 people (1 GM, 2 Directors 2 Directors Spouses), GDPUD should have only been responsible for $105 and the difference paid by the participants. My husband's a former GOA auditor and would love to go in to see what other totally inappropriate, illegal expenditures GDPUD's former GM and Directors made the public pay for. To him, this example and the lack of written policies would have triggered a forensic audit.

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  • Daniel SilvaFebruary 21, 2014 - 10:51 am

    Carol and James - don't forget that if you look at GDPUD's audits since 2006 (under Finances at gd-pud.org), the auditors noted under Significant Deficiences - No Accounting Policies. Dawn Hodson, Director Norm Krizl and the former flunky Directors and their allies love to slam the new majority for actually working to make policies when other Boards worked to take the word "significant" out of the finding. You can sure get away with gross mismanagement when you don't have policies to be accountable for. The ratepayers are fortunate that since 2010 new directors started asking for information and have exposed and continue to expose the incredible dereliction of duties the prior Boards and former GM Hanke White have burdened the District with.

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  • EvelynFebruary 21, 2014 - 11:27 am

    KUDOS to all the GDPUD rate-payers/commenters who do the hard work of BEING INFORMED.

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  • R. Keenan - Pilothill, CAFebruary 21, 2014 - 1:33 pm

    Yes Evelyn, It is a time commitment to sit and listen to hours and hours of meeting recordings and reading and highlighting budgets and audits. It is obvious that most of the commenters here have done more work to be informed than former Board members. And it does make a difference to have an interim GM who actually shares information with the Board instead of chastising them for asking for documents that are reasonable for oversight of the District. I can honestly say I would not have an insight into the real issues at GDPUD had I not invested the time (plus printer ink and paper). I can tell which commenters are ignorant and whose only information is the very biased, misleading information on GDPUD provided by Dawn Hodson. Thank you to the growing number of my fellow informed GDPUD ratepayers.

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  • EvelynFebruary 21, 2014 - 2:22 pm

    R. Keenan: The Mt Dem's omissions & distortions are inexcusable.

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  • Daniel SilvaFebruary 21, 2014 - 1:40 pm

    Just read this in an online brochure from San Jose Water Company re: cross connection control. "Do these backflows really occur?Yes. Recognizing this hazard, the CaliforniaLegislature in 1987 amended Title 17 of theState Administrative Code to require waterpurveyors such as San José Water Companyto protect the public water system against cross connections and backflow. TWENTY-SEVEN (27) years of incompetent GMs and lazy Boards have left another fine mess for a professional interim GM and new Board majority to handle. If Norm Krizl had it his way he'd say "it's been implemented just needs to be tweaked". Sorry Norm, you've got no GM or Board under your thumb anymore to sweep your laziness under the rug.

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  • Kelly WarrenMarch 07, 2014 - 7:33 pm

    You all is morons. This is old news. There is no accounting for when Hank White was here. Norm Krizl could give a s%it about this and has been heard laughing and bragging about how ignorant 'people on the divide' are. Yet, some how you walk by him on the street, you see him driving around and don't say a thing. You, and if you pay a water bill to GDPUD, YOU and YOUR WIFE and YOUR KIDS paid for Norman Krizl, Henk White and their families to eat out at a place none of us could likely ever afford. And the thanks we get? A bunch of lies from a smug a-hole pot grower and cover up for what we already know are countless other meals and who knows what. If you want to see some real fraud, go look at what was paid to that lawyer. See how this works? They take it until it's gone and then they leave. Who wants to bet Norman will leave in the next year? Oh, and who will he blame? Don't be morons. And don't pass by this a-hole without standing in the way.

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