First Tarantulas of Season Seen at LV
The first hairy tarantulas or the season have been seen at Los Vaqueros this week.
Outdoor Photographers Jean Douglas and Carol Gonzalez spotted this guy earlier this week, the first we've heard of this year.
Tarantulas spend most of there lives in solitude, living in holes and eating bugs or small lizards that happen by.
But in the fall, the males begin their sometimes fatal quests for mates. It's not unusual for the females to eat their mates.
Jean and Carol saw this guy on Los Vaqueros Road, not too far from the Marina. They got out of their car, took some photos, and made sure he made it safely to the other side.
Male tarantulas can live up to about 10 years, females up to 40 years.
"There will be a talk and hike" on tarantulas at LV on Friday, Sept. 19 at the John Muir Interpretive Center starting at 5 p.m.
Statewide Organization Quickly Mobilizes Water Help For Napa
It was Sunday afternoon, just hours after the 6.1 earthquake hit, when CCWD was asked by a statewide organization to provide help rebuilding Napa's water system.
Senior Engineer Joe Piro said the District is part of a group called "CalWARN" that organizes agencies to help in times of disaster.
CalWARN (California Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network) takes care of all the paperwork, notification procedures and insurance needs of different agencies well in advance. When disaster strikes, they can respond quickly, as they did this week.
In Napa, in addition to CCWD; EBMUD, Alameda County Water District and City of Fairfield are the major water agencies working on repairing leaks and water main breaks. Their crews started working on Monday, just one day after the earthquake hit.
Joe said the organization -- made up of water and waste-water agencies -- was formed after the Loma Prieta Earthquake and later the Oakland Hills fire.
It's believed this is the first time CalWarn has called CCWD for assistance.
Napa Earthquake Response Teaching Lessons for CCWD
Trevor Spady and Kris Leffle, right, of the Contra Costa Water District repair a broken water main on Oak St. in Napa on Monday in this San Jose Mercury News photo. We expect to receive photos from CCWD employees, and will publish them
Employees working on earthquake damaged Napa said they've learned lessons the District can apply when a disaster hits here.
CCWD employees have been working long and hard hours in Napa as part of a region-wide effort among water agencies to restore the city’s earthquake-damaged water mains.
CCWD's crew is expected to stay in Napa until Friday evening.
More than 100 water lines were damaged during Sunday’s 6.1 earthquake, and people in Napa have sporadic service and low water pressure. Residents are still being advised by the city to use bottled water for drinking and cooking.
“It has been a learning process,” said Crew Leader Reggie Harris, He is spending the week in Napa.”We can prepare ourselves a lot better.”
He saw ways the District can organize itself when there is a disaster, and have more equipment available. He talked to other crews from other agencies and saw how their trucks were outfitted with tools, parts and equipment. He would also like to see more active planning for a disaster, with meetings held regularly.
Reggie and his first crew of Utility Worker Trevor Spady and Multi-Skilled Equipment Operators Johnny Esskew and Kris Leffle did everything from repair leaking water mains with clamps to replacing large six- to seven-foot sections of pipe and install blowoffs.
They brought with them a leak repair truck, two pickups, a dump truck, a backhoe tractor and lots of spare parts.
“We did whatever they needed us to do,” said Trevor. “Every job was different.”
Trevor and Johnny returned to CCWD on Wednesday night and were replaced by Robert Wolverton and Randy Anduza Thursday morning.
Sunday morning’s earthquake didn’t turn the mostly older iron pipes in Napa into spaghetti. But in most cases, it caused the kind of damage routinely seen here, though Reggie said there were a lot of sink holes.
The crews from agencies throughout the Bay Area report to the city at 7 a.m. each day and are given their assignments, maps and a safety briefing.
Then they would work until late into the night. Napa city workers would turn off valves, and the crews would get to work making repairs. Napa would send spare parts, even sandwiches, to their work site.
Once the water mains were repaired, the CCWD crew moved onto another leak, and a different crew came in behind them to fill in the hole and replace asphalt, reopen valves and test the water. “A job we normally would do in a day, we did five to six times in a day,” said Reggie.
He said as each day progressed, Napa’s organization of this massive repair effort improved, and gave him ideas on how CCWD can learn from the experience.
Trevor and Reggie both said the people of Napa were very appreciative of their efforts. “They are so thankful for us for doing our jobs,” said Reggie.
The city of Napa sent out a message on Twitter thanking the District: “The City of Napa says thanks to Contra Costa Water District for mutual aid assistance in our time of need.”
On Tap Newsletter Emphasizes Drought, Saving Water
CCWD's Fall On Tap newsletter -- emphazing saving water -- is now being sent to residents throughout the District.
The two-page newsletter thanks customers for their efforts to save water, and also has suggestions for saving water outside.
"We don't know when the drought will end," state's the newsletter. "It is extrememly important that everyone continue to conserve water throughout the fall and winter."
CCWD Has Tips For Storing Water In Your Earthquake Kit
Since you work at CCWD, you may be asked about storing water in a home earthquake kit.
You can direct your friends to the CCWD emergency water page, where there are all kinds of tips for safely storing water for use during an emergency.
You can safely store tap water for up to six months, or buy bottled water that you can store for up to a year.
Keep your water in a cool, dry place and out of the sun.
Department Managers Appreciate Efforts Throughout the District
8/22Below are partial notes from the Aug. 21 Department Managers' Meeting.
Look here to see the complete notes.
• Willows Shopping Center Gas Line Hit: Pete Schoemann reported that they are currently focused on follow-up and on ways to reduce the potential for similar incidents in the future. O&M is working with Engineering to analyze the cause. Working safely is the first priority, even if it means finishing the job behind schedule or when being pressured by a third-party contractor. Management has and will continue to support employees in this type of situation.
• Tool Drawer Injury: An employee’s thumb got caught in a heavy tool bin drawer, nearly severing the thumb. The equipment design is being reviewed and new tool bins will be considered.
On behalf of the Engineering Department, Rachel Murphy passed on the following recognition:
• Run Chen thanked Dan Jones for assisting on hydraulic modeling for an applicant project at 11200 Marsh Creek Road.
• Peter Stabb thanked Ken Swenson for assisting with electrical design criteria for the temporary modular buildings and the standby generator for the server room relocation for the District Center Seismic Improvements project. Peter would also like to thank Jim Morton and James Yeom for continued technical oversight and development of the IS systems relocation plan.
• James Larot acknowledged and thanked the East County Maintenance and Operations teams that supported the successful modification of PRV solenoid power for the 24” bypass pipeline at Pumping Plant 4, in particular: Lance Hartung, Jamie Barajas, and Luke Swann.
On behalf of Water Resources, Leah Orloff thanked the following employees:
• Brett Kawakami, Calvin Liu, Gayle Ross, Julie Tessener, and James Larot for speaking to the DWR Municipal Water Quality Investigations Program tour of CCWD’s water quality lab and the Canal construction.
• Stephen Sandberg for his help with the weather station data logging
• Ralph Peterson and Stephen Sandberg for quickly restoring lost files so that the District could get the BDCP comment letter out.
• Luis Llamas and Dan Jones for helping to find the documents for LV water right licensure.
• Fran Garland, Peter Colby, Dino Angelosante, and Doug Coty for their part in drafting some very hard-hitting comments on the BDCP Draft EIR/EIS.
• Everyone who made the ACWD transfer a success including: Jimmie Abbott, Jennifer Allen, Desiree Castello, Doug Coty, Tom Cranmer, Dave Huey, Helen Ng, Jeff Quimby, Richard Racette, Pete Schoemann, Mark Seedall, and Oliver Symonds.
On behalf of the Watershed and Lands Department, Peter Colby thanked Fran Garland and Pat Panus for assisting on the RFP for real estate services related to disposition of the Planchon property.
Desiree Castello thanked Sonja Stanchina for her support in multiple recruitment efforts underway in Finance. She also thanked Rachel Murphy for her participation on a two-day interview panel.
Mary Neher thanked:
• Wendy Chriss for providing vacation coverage in July and noted that Wendy did an excellent job.
• Tracie Keith for having the Board Room wheel chair lift repaired before the August 6 Board meeting.
• Faith Martinez for her outstanding assistance with an extremely large District contract review project, and Margaret Ramirez and Sharon McNulty for providing staff resources for the District contract review project.
District Passes Safety Milestone with 100th and 101st Reports Online
The District passed a safety milestone this week, publishing its 100th and 101st incident reports since 2009.
The latest reports are about an employees’ thumb being caught in a tool box drawer, and a breathing device that left an employee feeling sick after using it during a demonstration.
Safety Officer Spiro Zapantis said the reports are designed to provide lessons from past incidents. “The goal is to have lots of near misses reported and reviewed but have very few injuries to review.”
The reports analyze close calls, injury-producing accidents or split second decision-making that kept people from getting hurt. The reports also make recommendations and requires actions to be taken to ensure these types of incidents don’t happen again. By publishing the reports on the employee website, they’re available for every employee to read.
The variety of ways employees got hurt, or almost get hurt, is amazing. Everything from chasing runaway ATVs to slips on the carpet, finger pinches, people falling down stairs and near-electrocutions. Office workers and field workers have had incidents that require reports to be written, even guests on tours of District facilities.
In 2013, 28 reports were written. The most in any one year. So far in 2014, only 13 have been produced.
Flipping through the reports of the last five years is an emotional roller coaster. Some reports leave the reader with a gut-curdling feeling on one page -- such as scaffolding falling off the top of a reservoir tank, a nasty deep cut from a rusty ladder in the canal, 300-volt electric shock and canal drowning.
Other reports leave a feeling of appreciation for smart action that saved lives – the wise caution of crews working on a water line next to an identical-appearing gas line or an employee warning others of possible electrocution during a flood.
Safety Stars Awarded To Cheryl Berndt, Diana Salas, Sal de la Madrid, Jason Todd & Jan Polewaczyk
The District Safety Committee gave Safety Stars, CCWD's highest award, to Cheryl Berndt, Diana Salas, Sal de la Madrid, Jason Todd, and Jan Polewaczyk, it was announced yesterday.
"Each of these employees demonstrated safety leadership by not only identifying areas that required improvement, but taking the initiative to identify and implement the needed solutions," said Chair Ryan Freeborn.
Read about their good works here.