Voting Ward 2
In 2019 the West County Wastewater District was divided into voting wards. The goal of dividing into voting wards was to ensure the racial population was equally distributed and thus represented by directors equally. Gender was not considered. The 2010 consensus demographics were among the factors used to determine ethnicity distribution. This division was a result of work completed by a professional outside firm.
The voting wards are divided equally within a certain allowable variation of racial differences.
The total overall demographics are:
Non-Hispanic White 21%
Non-Hispanic Black 19%
Non-Hispanic Asian 19%
Nuestra comunidad hispana es dos veces más grande que cualquier otro grupo. Su voz debe ser escuchada.
Here is a link to a map of the new voting ward 2. https://www.wcwd.org/vertical/sites/%7B0E70FC86-94C4-415E-93F9-225012BA8824%7D/uploads/WCW_District_Division_2_adopted_1-15-2020.pdf
Roughly voting ward 2 is West of Giant Highway and the railroad tracks, down south to the Shields-Reid park area and North to just below the Parchester neighborhood and crosses the railroad tracks along the Richmond Parkway along the City of Richmond and the City of San Pablo border and encompassing San Pablo by traveling on the West side of San Pablo Blvd to Road 20 crossing over Rumrill and traveling over to Parr Blvd.
The entire sewer service area must work together as one entity because it is generally not possible to separate one neighborhood from another as the sewer system is an interconnected mostly gravity-based system. If one part of the system is disrupted, it affects other parts of the sewer and we often have to divert sewage while work is being done nearby.
It is not possible to discriminate who uses our sewer system; we have no way of knowing who individually flushes a toilet. Additionally, sewer pipe replacement is determined by several factors, including age and pipe conditions. The racial or economic make-up of any community is not a factor in determining the priority of pipe replacement nor is that information collected.
The West County Wastewater District staff, under the direction and approval of the board of directors, ordered an extensive professional study of our sewer pipes a couple of years ago and it was recently completed. Based on that report the 240 miles of pipes within our service area have been inspected for areas of heavy Infiltration/Inflow (I/I) zones. Those zones have been assigned colors to identify which areas within our system were contributing the most excess flow to our system.
What is an Infiltration/Inflow (I/I)? Inflow and Infiltration or I & I are terms used to describe the ways that groundwater and stormwater enter into dedicated wastewater or sanitary sewer systems. ... [Water entering sanitary sewers from inappropriate connections is called inflow. Typical sources include sump pumps, roof drains, cellar drains, and yard drains... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infiltration/Inflow] [Infiltration is groundwater that enters sanitary sewer systems through cracks and/or leaks in the sanitary sewer pipes.]
"Stormwater pollution is ... regulated by authorized state agencies under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)...
When precipitation falls onto the ground and impervious surfaces, such as a parking lot, rooftop, or street, it drains as stormwater runoff... stormwater runoff can accumulate microbial and chemical pollutants.. stormwater runoff can result in the contamination of surface water and groundwater...[when] stormwater runoff ... enters a publicly owned treatment works (POTW) [it] becomes the responsibility of the POTW..."
And thus, why we care.
Discharged wastewater is also accountable to the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). During rainy winters we have the dual issues of increased capacity and increased pollution from stormwater to contend with. The NPDES was established by the Clean Water Act of 1972 with the goal of making all waters of the United States “fishable and swimmable.”
Additionally, modern sewer systems are developed to deal with the treatment of sewage and many of us use bugs to assist us in processing our sewage, excess Infiltration/Inflow causes dilution in sanitary sewers. Dilution of sewage decreases the efficiency of treatment and may cause sewage volumes to exceed design capacity which makes our job more difficult, forcing us to discharge treated wastewater into the bay and also risk violating our NPDES permit if we overflow.
So what to do?
By identifying where are most heavy Infiltration/Inflow (I/I) zones are and replacing and possibly redesigning our sewer pipe system in those zones if conditions have changed over time and encouraging local residences to have their private laterals inspected and repaired or replaced as needed, we can reduce the impact of I&I.
The entire board has received the professional report and has approved the priority set by that two-year inspection.
Sewer treatment 101. This is a simple explanation and not specifically of our treatment facility or process.
This explanation is to show what a sewer treatment facility does as a first step, so all that stuff that was flushed down the toilet that doesn't belong, is removed at this stage. When a pipe has a hole, a crack, or is broken, debris enters our pipes and can cause clogs or overflows. Mix a bunch of wet wipes with household grease and we've got a big nasty thing blocking the flow of our sewage. Help us to provide you with a service we all benefit from and take that extra step to place items into your garage receptacle for removal by the garbage company, not your toilet.
To remove...solids, the wastewater enters a building called the Headworks and passes through large screen filters that removed this material. The solids are then placed in a dumpster and taken to the landfill. This is the only byproduct of wastewater treatment that is not recycled!
Primary treatment removes material that will either float or readily settle out by gravity. It includes the physical processes of screening ... grit removal, and sedimentation. Screens are made of long, closely spaced, narrow metal bars. They block floating debris such as wood, rags, and other bulky objects that could clog pipes or pumps. [including the wipes used for babies or cleaning and other objects not intended for sewers]...
Grit chambers are long narrow tanks that are designed to slow down the flow so that solids such as sand, coffee grounds, and eggshells will settle out of the water. Grit causes excessive wear and tear on pumps and other plant equipment... [dump your coffee grounds and eggs shells into your worm or composting pile or green recycling garbage can]
Suspended solids that pass through screens and grit chambers are removed from the sewage in sedimentation tanks. These tanks, also called primary clarifiers, provide about two hours of detention time for gravity settling to take place. As the sewage flows through them slowly, the solids gradually sink to the bottom. The settled solids—known as raw or primary sludge—are moved along the tank bottom by mechanical scrapers... Mechanical surface-skimming devices remove grease and other floating materials. [fats, oils & grease may be disposed of in your green garbage container for composting and/or recycling]
The staff of the West County Wastewater District is putting the finishing touches on a program and the board has voted to fund it. The program will provide a financial grant per property up to 50% to replace or repair laterals if those laterals meet certain criteria.
What is a lateral?
"A sewer lateral is the underground pipe that connects a residence or business to the main sewer line. Local governments often consider all or part of the sewer lateral to be the property and responsibility of the homeowner or business owner."
The total expense will depend on whether a full replacement is needed or only a section repair and other factors such as length, depth, sidewalks, and trees. Over time cracks occur in pipes and sometimes holes, which allow additional rainwater to enter our sewer system and other debris which does not belong in our sewer system. The additional water stresses our treatment ability and debris exposes our system to the risk of damage or creates additional work to remove.
If you would like more information about the lateral program please call the West County Wastewater District at 510 222-6700 and ask to be connected to someone who can answer your questions about our yet to be unveiled "PIPES" program. Please keep in mind with Covid-19 there will probably be a delay returning your call as many of our employees are working from home.
Click on the box above to be redirected to the League of Woman's site to see your ballot, issues and candidates.