Friday, April 3, 2015

Million Gallon Tank

Southern California Edison officials have decided against shipping water from the Million Gallon Tank in Two Harbors to the Wrigley Reservoir that serves Avalon until a city-employed consultant has tested the water. Southern California Edison wants to relocate water from a tank in Two Harbors to the Avalon water supply.

After the Tuesday, March 3 Avalon City Council meeting, SCE decided not to transfer water from the Million Gallon Tank to the Wrigley Reservoir until after the city’s consultant gets test results showing the water doesn’t contain PCBs and is safe to drink. SCE’s consultant, Geosyntec, has been doing monthly sampling of drinking water leaving the tank for about a year, and all of the results show “non-detect” for PCBs. Geosyntec was brought in to test the consumption safety level before Edison Company moved the water to the Wrigley Reservoir.

City officials doubt the water is safe to drink. The Catalina City Council does not want any water delivered from the Million Gallon Tank to the homes of Avalon people until the testing is done.

It seems a bit odd to us here at the CIB that the City Council does not trust the company responsible for supplying safe drinking water to the city with supplying safe drinking water to the city. This sort of distrust breeds a negative relationship that is not necessarily good for the city. What motive would SCE have for providing Avalon residents with drinking water contaminated with PCBs?

Sample results show insignificant traces of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contaminants in the water currently sitting in the so-called Million Gallon Tank in Two Harbors, according to Southern California Edison. A company representative presented the test results to the City Council at the meeting.

City Hall

Avalon will conduct its own independent study prior to Edison continuing with its project. The council approved its own independent sampling and testing of the water in the tank but Avalon has no jurisdiction over stopping Southern California Edison from continuing its ongoing project. The only way to stop Southern California Edison is through a court order [the lawyers will be happy with this]. The council has not hired a specific company to test the water.

Edison has assured the council that the appropriate sampling and testing has been done and that PCB contaminant levels are far below federal and state mandated maximum contaminant levels if present at all.

PCBs have the potential, if consumed in large amounts over long periods of time, to “cause cancer, as well as a variety of other adverse health effects on the immune system, reproductive system, nervous system, and endocrine system,” according to the California Environmental Protection Agency’s website.

The reason for the water transfer is because Edison Company wants to refurbish the Million Gallon Tank. The tank is in need of repair.

Part of the water supply system on Catalina uses the Million Gallon Tank that was constructed in 1967. The tank was constructed to meet the fire and drinking water needs of the University of Southern California (USC) Marine Biology Laboratory located in Fisherman's Cove, now known as the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies (USC Wrigley Institute).  The tank was constructed to hold 900,000 gallons of fire water storage with an extra 100,000 gallons of storage capacity to provide water to residents and visitors of the Isthmus area.  (The Catalina Island, 3/6/2015, Vicki Rogers Notice)

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