Biosolids Hearing Transcript







Reported By: Pamela J. Cardona, CSR No. 7739



4 AL WAGNER, Chief of Staff

5 STEVEN McCALLEY, Director 

6 Kern County Environmental Health Department:

7 JIM BECK, Asst. General Manager

8 Kern County Water Agency:

9 PAUL GIBONEY, Ranch Soil Scientist, Agronomist

10 Kern Food Growers Against Sewage Sludge:

11 Riverside County: MICHELLE RANDALL, Member, Biosolids Advisory Committee

12 City of Los Angeles: DIANE GILBERT, Sanitation

13 Engineer, IV

14 Orange County Sanitation District: LAYNE BAROLDI, Biosolids Program Manager

15 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: LAUREN V. FONDAHL

16 Environmental Engineer, Clean Water Act Compliance Officer

17 DOUG PATTESON, Senior Engineer

18 Regional Water Quality Control Board,

19 Central Valley Region:

20 Public Comment: Gene Lundquist
Steve Stockton
21 Rupinder Jhaj









2 MONDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2004; 6:00 P.M.



5 SENATOR FLOREZ: Let's go ahead and start.

6 It is 6:03. And we want to move through the agenda as

7 quickly as possible.

8 I would like to call this hearing of this of

9 the Senate Select Committee on Air Quality in the

10 Central Valley to order. This evening we are going to

11 focus in on the use of biosolids in the San Joaquin

12 Valley.

13 I would like to say that this hearing is on

14 the record. I probably don't have to tell you that.

15 And it will be transcribed and available on the Senate

16 website.

17 Pam, when do you think the transcript will be

18 completed?

19 THE COURT REPORTER: Approximately in two

20 weeks.

21 SENATOR FLOREZ: So give us two weeks. So if

22 you're interested in the transcript of this particular

23 hearing, I would urge you to go on-line and pull that

24 transcript down.

25 I also say that so everyone can pick their





1 words carefully as you are giving us public input.

2 Before I begin, I definitly want to thank all

3 of the local representatives, the Agency

4 representatives, the business people, and, of course,

5 the residents for being here this evening to discuss

6 the land application of biosolids in the Central

7 Valley, and particularly a thank you to the City of

8 Bakersfield for allowing us to use these very highly

9 advanced City Council Chambers. Very, very nice.

10 Very good for slides. And we appreciate any

11 presentations you will be giving us tonight.

12 Obviously, we are dealing with an issue of

13 great interest to many groups, the issue of biosolids.

14 And, obviously, we have heard a lot of stories in

15 terms of land applicators doing their best to

16 basically run responsible operations in terms of the

17 reuse of biosolids. And we also have heard stories on

18 the other side in terms of potential contamination to

19 groundwater and soil.

20 My overall thought is there tends to be, at

21 least from our perspective, a lack of information

22 about what is in the sludge, or at least conflicting

23 information.

24 Tonight we are going to be asking three

25 questions related to those particular concerns: One,





1 are we threatening our groundwater supplies with the

2 current biosolids land application operations in

3 Kern County; two, do we have sufficient enforcement,

4 regulation, and laws to protect our natural resources,

5 particularly groundwater and public health from

6 biosolids reuse or disposal, and, if not, what more

7 needs to be done; and three, is Kern County being

8 unfairly burdened with other municipalities' wastes.

9 To answer these questions, we will hear from

10 representatives from local agencies, the U.S. EPA,

11 Central Valley Water Quality Control Board, as well as

12 farmers and community members.

13 I hope by the end of the night we will have a

14 better idea of how we should handle biosolids coming

15 into the Valley and its current and future sources.

16 With that being said, let's go ahead and get

17 started. And let's start with defining the problem.

18 We have Steve McCalley, Kern County

19 Environmental Health Department.

20 Steve, thank you for being with us.

21 MR. McCALLEY: Good evening, Senator. It's

22 my pleasure to be here this evening. And this is

23 about a topic that has long been in the mind of

24 Kern County residents, and certainly our governing

25 bodies, the Board of Supervisors.





1 I'd like to take a moment, if I might, and

2 share a few of the high points of our biosolids

3 ordinance that has been one, actually, that has

4 evolved over a number of years, since the concern was

5 expressed in the mid '90s with respect to biosolids.

6 It's fair to say that biosolids snuck up on

7 Kern County and, I think, snuck up on all of us in

8 California. We have also sought some leadership from

9 the State, probably, six, seven years ago, that was

10 not taken up by the folks at that time.

11 Kern County's biosolids ordinance is intended

12 to promote the general health, safety, and welfare as

13 those -- as there are unanswered questions on

14 biosolids.

15 The U.S. EPA defines AEQ biosolids as a

16 product. However, based upon broad concerns,

17 Kern County Board of Supervisors has taken a very

18 conservative view with land application of biosolids,

19 which must be done under permit with the County.

20 Our ordinance has evolved. And I mentioned

21 Class AEQ, and, actually, in Kern County we

22 characterize it as Kern County AEQ because we have

23 added two additional constituents -- dioxins and

24 PCBs -- that the Board has directed us to be concerned

25 about and have as part of our analytical data that's





1 presented.

2 Any biosolids land application must receive

3 prior approval with a permit and fee. The permit and

4 fee must be paid to the Environmental Health Services

5 Department. Soils in all fields must be sampled and

6 analyzed prior to application. Minimum sampling is

7 defined with the confirmation of AEQ, Kern County's

8 version thereof, at the staging area.

9 Samples are taken by an independent sampling

10 party and then an independent individual sent to

11 independent State-certified laboratories for

12 evaluation.

13 The permit may be revoked at any time for

14 cause. And the permits are on an annual basis.

15 There's a significant number of management practices

16 designed to prevent degradation of water, both surface

17 and subsurface, and to minimize nuisances such as

18 flies, dust, odors, et cetera.

19 The management plan must be submitted

20 annually to the Department identifying the fields to

21 be used, the process to assure that the biosolids meet

22 Kern County's definition of AEQ, and to mitigate

23 off-site flows of water such as flooding from rain,

24 et cetera.

25 There are a number of site restrictions that





1 specify the distance to roadways, water wells,

2 residents, and other sensitive receptors. And

3 monitoring and record keeping is done on a routine

4 basis.

5 The ordinance we have today is quite a bit

6 simpler than the ones that were earlier passed by the

7 Board. But as the quality of biosolids was raised to

8 AEQ, which is characterized as a product that can

9 be -- that is part of the components that may be

10 purchased at a garden store, we believe that the Board

11 has taken a very conservative approach and has

12 appropriate standards in place.

13 It's fair to say, though, that the Board has

14 directed County staff with the Water Resources

15 Committee to take additional looks with

16 representatives from the water industry, et cetera.

17 And as an outgrowth of that, the recent RFP by the

18 Kern County Water Agency is a part of that. And I

19 think there will be a speaker on that later.

20 So that's a real thumbnail overview of our

21 ordinance, Senator. And I would be happy to answer

22 any questions that you might have.

23 SENATOR FLOREZ: Thank you. I do have a

24 couple of questions.

25 Now, you mentioned that the biosolids issue





1 kind of -- I will use your words -- "snuck up on us."

2 So how did it sneak up on us? That's a real --

3 MR. McCALLEY: Well, the standards were

4 established out of the Clean Water Act that prevented

5 or diverted the disposal of the sludge. And it was

6 thought initially, you know, the standards were

7 developed by the UPA, and there was some application

8 of biosolids in Kern County, really, before we became

9 aware of it because there was no protocol in place for

10 County ordinances, et cetera. It was handled through

11 the Regional Board and the EPA.

12 SENATOR FLOREZ: Okay. And is it fair to

13 say, then, that prior to the EPA, in essence,

14 categorizing this, that no farmers had any trouble

15 with this stuff being applied even before there was an

16 issue -- biosolids? It was just a common practice?

17 MR. McCALLEY: Well, actually, I think the --

18 as I understand, the practice of applying the

19 biosolids was a result of the effort to keep it out of

20 the oceans, out of the landfills, and to provide an

21 appropriate beneficial use which, in this case, was

22 thought to be an agricultural crop reduction.

23 SENATOR FLOREZ: Okay. And you also

24 mentioned, as a follow-up to that comment, that then,

25 at least at the state level, help wasn't taken up.





1 And I'm trying to get an understanding of what that

2 meant.

3 MR. McCALLEY: Well, many counties

4 individually, I think, beginning with Merced County in

5 the early '90s, developed local ordinances.

6 The challenge with county ordinances is the

7 fact that each county may be a bit different or a bit

8 more or less restrictive. And it creates sort of an

9 opportunity for movement to -- by the producers and

10 appliers, and that may not be under standard

11 conditions. That has been addressed in recent times

12 by the Regional Water Quality Control Board, the State

13 Water Quality Control Board.

14 SENATOR FLOREZ: Okay. So I'm trying to

15 understand it.

16 Are you arguing for the State being a

17 statewide standard that would apply equally to every

18 county in terms of biosolids.

19 MR. McCALLEY: I think initially, Senator,

20 that would have been an appropriate response. Today,

21 however, with what we know in Kern County and the

22 concerns that have been expressed, we believe that the

23 standards developed by the regional boards are not

24 stringent enough. And the Board, in that regulatory

25 vacuum, took action years ago to address this problem.





1 SENATOR FLOREZ: Okay. And given the County

2 has a standard, have we looked at other counties in

3 terms of their standards, particularly Riverside

4 County, in terms of the way that they categorize their

5 various uses of the biosludge?

6 MR. McCALLEY: It's my understanding that

7 Riverside County had an ordinance years ago. And in

8 recent years it has been resurrected for further

9 review based upon development.

10 I think we, in Kern County, believe that

11 there's merit to look elsewhere. But our Board,

12 wanting to take a conservative approach in recognizing

13 the concerns of the local community, took that effort,

14 looked broadly at other ordinances, but developed the

15 one that we have in place today.

16 SENATOR FLOREZ: And I guess what I would

17 hear with the State, is it fair to say that the County

18 cannot ban sludge outright?

19 MR. McCALLEY: That's my understanding. Yes.

20 SENATOR FLOREZ: But we can regulate it?

21 MR. McCALLEY: Yes.

22 SENATOR FLOREZ: Okay. And that regulation,

23 if we were to indeed regulate it, we have the ability

24 to do that through the enforcement of land

25 application? Is that how we do it?





1 When we say "regulate it," how are we

2 regulating it?

3 MR. McCALLEY: Well, we regulate and permit

4 the material that can be applied under the broad

5 powers of the Board for health safety.

6 SENATOR FLOREZ: Okay. So we can't ban it,

7 but we can set a standard as in -- let's say in

8 Riverside's case, it would be so high that it would,

9 in essence, ban it?

10 MR. McCALLEY: I suppose that would be the

11 case. Yes.

12 SENATOR FLOREZ: Okay. And you also

13 mentioned that -- in your comments that we have taken

14 samples. And I am wondering when you say "taken

15 samples," what does that mean to the County?

16 When you take a sample, where? How close and

17 what does the sample mean?

18 MR. McCALLEY: The standards require that the

19 biosolids meet Class AEQ, exceptional quality, and

20 have the chemical standards consistent with that.

21 In looking at the sampling protocol, we

22 modeled it to a certain extent after drinking water

23 standards, that sampling protocol where those are

24 taken to an independent laboratory for testing, taken

25 out of the producers, if you will, out of their





1 laboratories, and added a little bit of strength to

2 that by requiring an independent sampler also take

3 that, that it not be an employee of that producer --

4 it could be an employee of the independent

5 State-certified laboratory -- to provide that

6 arms-length confidence that the sample that was taken

7 was an independent sample.

8 Going through the lab -- I'm sorry.

9 SENATOR FLOREZ: Who set the parameter for

10 where the sample is taken?

11 MR. McCALLEY: It needs to be taken at the

12 staging area set in the ordinance, or prior to that,

13 if the material is produced and comes over to

14 Kern County in the AEQ standard.

15 SENATOR FLOREZ: And how often is that

16 enforced?

17 MR. McCALLEY: Well, we receive quarterly

18 reports. And, likewise, we receive monthly reports on

19 the material. And we have the ability, at any time,

20 to certainly verify what's in that by taking

21 independent samples. We have not done so.

22 SENATOR FLOREZ: Right. I was going to ask

23 you how many times have you done that?

24 MR. McCALLEY: We have not done that. Based

25 upon the samples we have received, they're typically





1 well below the maximum standards. And I have quite a

2 bit of confidence in the independent laboratory.

3 SENATOR FLOREZ: Okay. And you mentioned,

4 also, that these can't be revoked for cause. Have we

5 ever had that opportunity to revoke?

6 MR. McCALLEY: We have temporarily suspended

7 permits for paperwork violations, things of that

8 nature. Typically those are readily rectified.

9 SENATOR FLOREZ: Okay. Has there been any

10 complaints at all in terms of the Green Acres

11 facility?

12 MR. McCALLEY: Well, I think it's reasonable

13 to say that there have been complaints on all the

14 biosolids application. Certainly, the Green Acres

15 facility is the one that we're most aware of in the

16 metropolitan Bakersfield area. And we've had

17 complaints over the years on flies and odors and

18 things of that nature. But, typically, upon

19 investigation, we have not been able to confirm them

20 as the responsible party for those.

21 SENATOR FLOREZ: Okay. And can you tell

22 us in terms of the monitoring that you mentioned

23 earlier -- you got the quarterly monitoring reports;

24 is that correct.

25 MR. McCALLEY: Yes.





1 SENATOR FLOREZ: And then you do inspections

2 as well?

3 MR. McCALLEY: Yes.

4 SENATOR FLOREZ: But you said we haven't done

5 very many inspections?

6 MR. McCALLEY: Actually, we do very frequent

7 inspections and don't pull samples.

8 SENATOR FLOREZ: And those applications, you

9 are testing for nitrates?

10 MR. McCALLEY: We are testing for heavy

11 metals and other constituents to assure that they meet

12 the 503 regulations for AEQ. Nitrogen would be one of

13 those constituents.

14 SENATOR FLOREZ: But it also includes heavy

15 metal?

16 MR. McCALLEY: Yes. That's the predominant

17 area it's in.

18 SENATOR FLOREZ: Okay. And I guess the

19 question I get constantly on this issue is: What is

20 the benefit that Kern County is receiving for taking

21 this from Los Angeles?

22 I mean, what -- you know, the average person

23 out there that's, you know -- I assume that we'll

24 sometimes send water to L.A., and they seem to be

25 sending us biosludge back.





1 So the question I have is: What are we

2 getting for that? What benefit are we --

3 MR. McCALLEY: Typically, the biosolids are

4 used for fertilization and crop reduction. And, I

5 think, as far as linkage to benefit to Kern County

6 would be that, as agricultural production may be

7 increased, we would have some income -- broad income

8 opportunities, a few jobs, and that sort of thing.

9 Likewise, there was some marginal land that

10 was utilized -- where biosolids was utilized to put it

11 back into production. And I think it's reasonable to

12 suggest when you can enhance --

13 SENATOR FLOREZ: Let me --

14 MR. McCALLEY: -- crop-productive land.

15 SENATOR FLOREZ: And how long have we been

16 doing this?

17 MR. McCALLEY: It's been applied since '94.

18 SENATOR FLOREZ: Okay. Through '94. So we

19 are getting near, a little past 10 years.

20 MR. McCALLEY: Approaching 10 years.

21 SENATOR FLOREZ: And how much marginal land

22 in that 10 years has been created? How much has been

23 made better?

24 MR. McCALLEY: I don't know.

25 SENATOR FLOREZ: And how many jobs have we





1 created in those 10 years?

2 MR. McCALLEY: I don't know.


4 MR. McCALLEY: I think it's reasonable to say

5 that the benefit is negligible.

6 SENATOR FLOREZ: So, again, what benefit are

7 we creating in Kern County?

8 What can I tell the average person that says,

9 "Sending water, getting this back, what benefit are we

10 getting in the County?"

11 MR. McCALLEY: I think it's -- has to be

12 viewed as a broader issue, a statewide issue,

13 certainly. And working together with other counties

14 to look at how we are handling waste in general --


16 MR. McCALLEY: -- where we can identify

17 beneficial uses.

18 As far as what you can say to the

19 community --

20 SENATOR FLOREZ: "We're helping L.A. out."

21 MR. McCALLEY: Effectively. And then we may

22 be helping them out by --

23 SENATOR FLOREZ: And we're getting no Dodger

24 tickets or anything for that; right?

25 MR. McCALLEY: Right.





1 SENATOR FLOREZ: The cost for a permit, let

2 me try to quantify this.

3 What is the cost for a permit?

4 MR. McCALLEY: It's $8,000 a year.

5 SENATOR FLOREZ: And how was that amount

6 decided upon?

7 MR. McCALLEY: That amount was established by

8 the Board of Supervisors based upon staff time and

9 their consideration of the issue in general.

10 SENATOR FLOREZ: When was the last time that

11 the fee was amended, either up or down?

12 MR. McCALLEY: I believe it was amended in

13 2002.

14 SENATOR FLOREZ: Up or down?

15 MR. McCALLEY: I believe it went up a bit.

16 SENATOR FLOREZ: Okay. And is it keeping up

17 with the inflationary costs, the additional staff and

18 the things that you just mentioned?

19 MR. McCALLEY: I think it covers our costs,

20 yes.

21 SENATOR FLOREZ: So this does cover your

22 costs?

23 MR. McCALLEY: Yes.

24 SENATOR FLOREZ: So is it fair to say that

25 what is coming in is covering exactly what it is your





1 department is doing in terms of this particular site?

2 MR. McCALLEY: Yes.

3 SENATOR FLOREZ: Does the department, your

4 particular department, feel that the regulations

5 currently are sufficient to protect groundwater?

6 MR. McCALLEY: That is an issue that

7 certainly has been under a great deal of scrutiny.

8 We believe that, based upon our experience

9 with the lower quality biosolids, the information we

10 had was it sufficiently utilized, were tied up by the

11 soil.

12 However, the Board, as I mentioned, in

13 pursuing that more conservative issue, has taken and

14 asked the Water Resources Committee to take a closer

15 look at that, which they have been doing. And I think

16 it's not unreasonable based upon the stringent

17 ordinance that we have, that the Board has expressed

18 concern for resources. And when that information --

19 tangible information that suggests that there is a

20 reasonable concern for groundwater, that we would take

21 the steps to protect it.

22 SENATOR FLOREZ: Okay. And in terms of that

23 water committee you just mentioned, looking -- are

24 they looking closer at the types of industrial wastes

25 that come in with biosolids and things one might call





1 pharmaceuticals -- these types of items?

2 MR. McCALLEY: Those have been the topics

3 that have been looked at. Although the committee has

4 been in a bit of a hiatus, awaiting the activities

5 that I mentioned briefly with respect to the

6 Kern County Water Agency.

7 SENATOR FLOREZ: So they are waiting for the

8 RFP to be completed?

9 MR. McCALLEY: Perhaps to see if that is

10 successful.

11 Certainly, all those other issues are on the

12 table. And many of the -- candidly, many of the

13 issues that you might find in biosolids are of equal

14 concern with sewage upflow, as well.

15 SENATOR FLOREZ: Let me just go through this

16 a little slower while I have you here, because the

17 next speakers will come and I won't get you back up

18 here again.

19 The Water Committee is made up of who? When

20 you say the "Water Committee" --

21 MR. McCALLEY: It's made up of

22 representatives. It's a committee of Board

23 appointees -- Board of Supervisors' appointees from

24 various water districts, appointments at large by the

25 Board of Supervisors' community members, and those





1 that are responsible for their various water districts

2 in the county.

3 SENATOR FLOREZ: And when is the last time

4 that group met?

5 MR. McCALLEY: I believe it was about a year

6 ago, maybe a bit more or less.

7 As the water agency started to pursue the

8 RFP, it seemed reasonable to allow them to -- an open

9 playing field to try to move that forward.

10 SENATOR FLOREZ: Did this group get to

11 discuss the RFP at all?

12 MR. McCALLEY: No.

13 SENATOR FLOREZ: Is it fair to say that the

14 groups who are pushing the RFP are probably members of

15 this committee here and there, maybe not formal

16 members, but they all participate?

17 MR. McCALLEY: I think they have a role as a

18 member, not -- I wouldn't say they are functions of

19 the majority of that group.

20 SENATOR FLOREZ: What do you think of the

21 RFP?

22 MR. McCALLEY: I think it's a reasonable

23 further cautionary step that might be taken.

24 Certainly many of the programs that our department and

25 other state and county agencies enforce -- underground





1 tanks, landfills, and et cetera -- are all designed to

2 protect the very valuable commodity which is our

3 groundwater. We all need it. And it certainly

4 supports our growth and our agriculture.

5 SENATOR FLOREZ: And given that in the

6 10 years that we have been dealing with the biosolids

7 issue, has there been any substantial amendment to

8 reflect these newer concerns in terms of what we are

9 doing? Or are we waiting for the RFP process to be

10 concluded?

11 MR. McCALLEY: Well, I think in terms of

12 progressively more restrictive ordinances that the

13 Board has passed, we certainly went from a

14 no-regulation environment to a regulated

15 environment -- to one that was allowing Class B to now

16 class AEQ, Kern County's version. The acreage has

17 decreased substantially, from application on as many

18 as 24,000 acres that were permitted down to under

19 8,000.

20 So I think that the actions taken by the

21 Board have reduced the potential threat if one is

22 determined to exist.

23 SENATOR FLOREZ: And do you think from a --

24 and maybe the technical folks are here or not -- but

25 from a ranking point of view, I know there was debate





1 at the County Board. A few years ago we went to a

2 two-tier A/B type system.

3 Is that fair to characterize it that way in

4 terms of this sludge, or does the analysis go further

5 than those types of systems?

6 MR. McCALLEY: Well, effectively there were A

7 and B. And we've chosen the more restrictive or the

8 more conservative one, the higher quality, if you

9 will, being AEQ, Exceptional Quality, with a couple of

10 slight modifications, as I have mentioned.

11 SENATOR FLOREZ: And B would be what to you?

12 MR. McCALLEY: B has some higher metal, it

13 has some -- it doesn't have quite the conservative

14 approach with respect to pathogens.

15 SENATOR FLOREZ: And B is effectively banned

16 here at the County?

17 MR. McCALLEY: That's correct.

18 SENATOR FLOREZ: Is there room within that

19 "go, no go" scenario for various other types of

20 classifications beyond A, or is A going to be the

21 highest quality?

22 MR. McCALLEY: Kern County AEQ --

23 SENATOR FLOREZ: Is there a higher bar?

24 MR. McCALLEY: No.

25 Kern County AEQ is as high as its





1 classification under -- my understanding under the

2 503 regulations.

3 SENATOR FLOREZ: Just two more questions.

4 In terms of the -- you mentioned the EPA had

5 kind of weighed in on this. The EPA is now where on

6 this biosolid issue from your vantage point, 10 years

7 hence?

8 MR. McCALLEY: There was -- there had been

9 controversy at the EPA over some of the science that

10 established the standards.

11 The National Academy of Science, I believe,

12 took another look at it. There is still a bit of

13 concern around the country. And I believe, at this

14 point, that study is ongoing addressing some of the

15 issues that you raised with respect to

16 pharmaceuticals.

17 SENATOR FLOREZ: Is it fair to say that the

18 EPA has changed its stance from supporting land

19 applications to, in essence, taking a neutral

20 positions, neither/nor, not saying land application is

21 a bad thing, and they are not saying it's a good thing

22 either?

23 MR. McCALLEY: I believe the regulations

24 stand in providing that opportunity. So I think

25 there -- although there may be ongoing further study,





1 the fact that the regulations stand providing a

2 vehicle for land application even up to and including

3 that on food crops, I don't believe the EPA has made a

4 substantial change at this point.

5 SENATOR FLOREZ: Do you believe there is

6 better alternatives than land application?

7 MR. McCALLEY: Well, certainly the -- there

8 should be some that are explored. Land application

9 has some merit under certain circumstances.

10 I think the concern where you have another

11 resource that may be impacted by that is certainly

12 worthy of consideration, such as groundwater.

13 Certainly incineration has been considered.

14 Further production into certain fertilizers has been

15 considered and has been done.

16 So I think part of it is growing the markets

17 and growing the science and growing the opportunities

18 for a steady opportunity for disposal on those large

19 producers.

20 SENATOR FLOREZ: Okay. If we do

21 incineration, we'd better run out to the Convention

22 Center and have the next hearing; right?

23 MR. McCALLEY: Yeah. I think certainly the

24 air quality issues are one. Although that has been

25 discussed, and there are some entrepreneurial folks





1 that suggest that to be a good alternative.

2 SENATOR FLOREZ: Steve, thank you very much.

3 MR. McCALLEY: My pleasure.

4 SENATOR FLOREZ: Very helpful. I appreciate

5 the testimony.

6 Let's have Jim Beck, Kern County Water

7 Agency.

8 Jim, thank you for joining us. I appreciate

9 it.

10 Again, we are defining the problem. I think

11 Steve did a real good job. And if we can kind of

12 continue on that vein, that would be very helpful.

13 MR. BECK: Senator Flores, I appreciate the

14 opportunity to speak to you today on the issue of

15 biosolid use in Kern County.

16 This is an issue of significant interest by

17 our Board of Directors and one that we've spent

18 considerable time, energy, and resources in trying to

19 resolve this issue in an equitable fashion.

20 To begin with, I want to say that I

21 appreciate all the interaction we have had with both

22 the regulator Steve McCalley; the Kern County Board of

23 Supervisors have been very helpful in working through

24 this; the generators have been, as a group, a very

25 excellent partner in this in helping us come to





1 understand their needs and issues, and appreciate

2 their openness in discussing their operations in

3 dialoging with us. It's been very helpful in trying

4 to come up with a solution that works for all of us.

5 To begin with, I wanted to give a background

6 on why this is such an important issue to the

7 Kern County Water Agency. And to do so, give a quick

8 background of some of the issues related to biosolids

9 that impact Kern County.

10 First of all, most of you are very familiar

11 with the importance of water in Kern County. On this

12 particular PowerPoint slide, you can see that in the

13 blue area here is an outline of the general usable

14 groundwater basin within our area. That's an

15 important asset to the County. And it's an

16 agricultural community.

17 We have about 860,000 acres of irrigated

18 land. And we typically rank third or fourth in the

19 state's production in agriculture.

20 This next slide shows you the importance of

21 crop per acreage. We have 54 percent of our crops

22 that are edible. And of that percentage, fruits,

23 nuts, and vegetables made up 43 percent in 2002. And

24 I don't think we've seen significant differentiation

25 of that since 2002.





1 Water is an important resource for us. It's

2 one of the life blood that keeps Kern County what it

3 is, and it has made it the economic powerhouse that it

4 is. The Kern County Water Agency is the largest

5 agricultural contractor in the state project. We have

6 an entitlement for about one million acre feet, and we

7 contract for about 25 percent of the project. And

8 maintaining the ability to use that water is an

9 important part of our ongoing efforts at the water

10 agency.

11 This next slide begins to dial in on why we

12 are particularly concerned about biosolid use. Our

13 gross water needs in the San Joaquin portion of the

14 County total about 3.2 million acre feet per year.

15 And that's split between the various surface water

16 supplies that you see there. The Kern River State

17 Water Project and the Central Valley Project Surface

18 Water Supplies all play an important role of water

19 management and water development in Kern County.

20 But really one of the driving assets that

21 makes Kern County what it is is our valuable

22 groundwater supply, which makes up about 43 percent of

23 the water needs in Kern County. It means much of the

24 urban demand within our areas met through groundwater

25 use.





1 So with that valuable asset at hand in the

2 1960s, we begin to see that overdraft was about

3 800,000 acre feet. We were beginning to tax our water

4 resources. And, again, we began to implement some

5 measures to deal with drought situations like that

6 that occurred in the early 1990s where we saw

7 Kern County receive no water from the State Water

8 Project in 1991 and suffer some pretty significant

9 impacts which led to $850 million in loss in 1991

10 alone. 11,000 jobs were lost in 1991.

11 Those efforts led us to begin to take

12 considerable investment at the local level. We had

13 been working at the State and Federal levels to try

14 and gain additional water supplies and reliability

15 through our participations in those projects, that we

16 realized that in order for Kern County to continue to

17 grow and be the vibrant, economic area that it is, we

18 needed to take matters into our own hands.

19 So we began to develop local groundwater

20 banking programs. And as you can those programs on

21 the slide ticked off and the highlighting on the map.

22 From 1987 through current, we had a whole slew of

23 groundwater banking projects developed over the basin.

24 In order to avoid future shortages, we needed

25 to rely on our local asset, our real valuable





1 resource, the groundwater basin, where we could bring

2 water in in extremely wet years, store it in the

3 underground aquifer, and recover it in dry years,

4 therefore stabilizing our water supply.

5 Those programs were highly successful and are

6 the envy of not just the State of California but the

7 entire nation. We have areas throughout the country

8 that come to Kern County in order to be educated on

9 how to develop appropriate groundwater banking

10 programs.

11 In addition to providing an opportunity for

12 us to meet our local water supply needs, those banking

13 programs have provided us an opportunity to partner

14 with other urban interests like Metropolitan Water

15 District, whose partnerships are depicted in this

16 slide in the gold or dark brown areas, where we had

17 Metropolitan investing heavily with their local

18 partners -- Kern Delta Water District, Arvin-Edison,

19 North Kern, and Semitropic Water Storage District --

20 where they were able to finance infrastructure within

21 those water districts and exchange for the ability to

22 regulate their water within those areas. It provided

23 facilities and opportunities for our local districts

24 while providing a service to Metropolitan Water

25 District, which is a real win-win partnership.





1 In order for those types of programs to

2 continue and to be able to be operational, it depends

3 on groundwater quality. This graph depicts on how

4 groundwater banking works and what years you recharge

5 water in basins which are located in portions that are

6 previously agricultural areas. We recharge the

7 underground aquifer. And then in the dry year we have

8 a number of wells that will deliver that groundwater

9 to surface water conveyance facilities like the Cross

10 Water Canal for agricultural and urban water needs.

11 And in order to maintain those programs, we

12 need to be able to guarantee the quality of water that

13 we produce in those groundwater banking areas meets

14 the requirements of the downstream users.

15 Multiple sources are the key for us to be

16 able to provide the dynamic water supply management

17 opportunities we have in Kern County. This graphic

18 shows the shortage of the water supply that we have

19 here -- the Kern River, the Friant-Kern, and the State

20 Water Project.

21 We are able to take advantage of water supply

22 opportunities that occur on either of -- any of these

23 three systems and recharge areas that are located

24 along the Kern River fan, which is our concern fan

25 groundwater banking project areas. The Green Acres





1 Facility is located immediately south of that at the

2 end of this arrow. And then we also have areas of

3 Semitropic Water Storage District and areas that are

4 also adjacent to the Friant which rely on the ability

5 to deliver high quality groundwater back to the

6 surface water conveyance facilities.

7 If the groundwater quality does deteriorate,

8 it will impact our ability to manage waters through

9 this program. So we feel that it's incumbent upon our

10 local water management directors to continue to

11 provide that high quality water.

12 Our water that is recovered is delivered back

13 to those surface water facilities like the

14 State Aqueduct and the California Aqueduct on the west

15 side of Kern County. And that quality of water

16 ultimately can be received by downstream users like

17 Metropolitan Water District which receives water

18 coming through A.S. Edison Pumping Plant. And that

19 same water supply can also be delivered to the urban

20 Bakersfield area.

21 Metropolitan Bakersfield receives about

22 one-third of its drinking water supply from the

23 surface water plants that are located at the end of

24 the Cross Valley Canal and operated by the Kern County

25 Water Agency and the City of Bakersfield.





1 So when we are operating as recovery

2 programs, we do want to make sure that the quality is

3 adequate to meet those uses.

4 This map depicts the downstream areas that

5 could receive water from Kern County. And you can see

6 that primarily is the service district of the

7 Metropolitan Water District.

8 We have a large urban population that will be

9 impacted by any water quality issues that may arise in

10 Kern County. So they are concerned about that water

11 quality. And the Department of Water Resources has

12 developed a very stringent set of guidelines that

13 dictate the types of programs that can be operated and

14 how they are coordinated with overall use of the

15 California Aqueduct.

16 When we are in a mode of delivering water to

17 the Aqueduct, we have to do testing each and every

18 day, or we do molding each and every day of test

19 results that we do on a regular basis to make sure

20 that we operating guidelines of the State project.

21 The downstream recipients are very sensitive

22 to any variations in water quality. We want to make

23 sure that the water that they treat is suitable for

24 their end use.

25 And like I said, urban Bakersfield is just as





1 concerned about that type of water quality issue as

2 the downstream Southern California areas.

3 Our large-scale banking projects must be able

4 to produce high quality groundwater. The impacts of

5 the drought have reduced our reliability on our State

6 and Federal projects to a degree that they are a

7 backbone of our water management system.

8 The Metropolitan Water District spent

9 $2 billion on Diamond Valley Reservoir. For us to

10 construct a similar facility would cost over $13

11 billion if it were the same size as our groundwater

12 banking facility.

13 In addition, we banked enough water in there

14 that's over several billion dollars. So we've got a

15 multi-billion-dollar asset that we've invested in to

16 ensure that our way of life in Kern County continues

17 and that water management continues to be able to be

18 done in a reasonable fashion.

19 Kern and its downstream partners rely on

20 these facilities to be able to do our job. We feel

21 that, in looking at the biosolids issue, our primary

22 concern is to make sure that the operation of those

23 facilities do not impact our groundwater quality and

24 surface water management opportunities. And we

25 believe that there are viable options to prevent





1 future problems.

2 Our solution, recommended solution, was to go

3 to a request for a proposal we sought to relocate the

4 currently existing biosolid users from outside the

5 generally accepted area of usable groundwater to

6 portions of Kern County outside that generally

7 accepted area where you have lower quality water and

8 less ability to impact the large-scale operations of

9 the groundwater basin.

10 Our preference was to see them leave

11 Kern County altogether. But we realized that this was

12 an intermediate step for existing applicators. It may

13 make sense for them. And we are willing to pursue

14 opportunities and would afford them that opportunity.

15 SENATOR FLOREZ: Do you know what senate

16 district that green portion is?

17 MR. BECK: Yes, I understand very well whose

18 senate district that is. And we are --

19 SENATOR FLOREZ: I just wondered.

20 MR. BECK: When we get into RFP, I will

21 explain the process that we are going through to make

22 sure they're viable.


24 MR. BECK: We currently have three

25 permittees, and I think they are all represented here





1 in the audience. And I want to say that our

2 perspective of their operations is not one of pointing

3 a finger. We feel that they have been very

4 responsible in following the regulations that are in

5 place. We haven't detected any impacts to our basin

6 from the monitoring we have seen.

7 And this issue for our Board isn't about a

8 current problem but of a future threat. And we are

9 looking at avoiding future problems for our county.

10 Those sites impart about 368,000 wet tons of

11 biosolids each year. And to put things in

12 perspective, our local production of biosolids ranges

13 from 20- to 30,000 wet tons for our county; so it's

14 quite a large portion relative to what we produce

15 within Kern County.

16 As you heard Steve say, the current ordinance

17 allows AEQ to be used anywhere within the county.

18 This map depicts the current application

19 areas. The Green Acres site is the largest. And it's

20 immediately south to some of the current banking

21 projects.

22 We have got, also, the city of Oxnard's

23 facility located in this portion of the county. And

24 the Orange County site is located right on our county

25 line.





1 The relocation area was a generalized line

2 that identified potential areas that would be

3 considered for potentially viable projects to relocate

4 those.

5 This is a quick timeline of how we got to

6 where we were. We met with Supervisors McQuiston and

7 Watson in December of last year to brief them on our

8 proposed approach to try and address the biosolid

9 issue.

10 We then had a follow-up meeting that was

11 hosted by Ron Gestellum, the CEO of Metropolitan Water

12 District in Los Angeles. Ron has been an active

13 participant in biosolid management throughout his

14 career and was very valuable in pulling us all

15 together.

16 We met in that meeting to discuss the issue

17 of the generators. Many of the slides that you have

18 seen today were presented to them so they had a feel

19 for where we were at. And, again, it wasn't about

20 indicting them for their current operations but rather

21 to avoid future problems.

22 We developed the idea that we'd go out with a

23 concept of an RFP that would request proposals from

24 landowners or other entities that had options for

25 removing biosolids outside the groundwater basin.





1 Our preference was, again, to move them

2 outside of Kern County. But we felt that it was

3 appropriate to consider proposals that would put them

4 at a relocation zone and were viable. And by viable,

5 part of our concern with viability dealt with a whole

6 variety of the issues -- economic viability, water

7 supply, outfit with the local land use areas and

8 residential areas were certainly things that we would

9 consider in determining whether or not a project was

10 viable.

11 We released the RFP into the public on

12 September 23rd and allowed two, three months for

13 comments. Again, that was some of the summaries of

14 what we were doing with our proposal.

15 And go to the next timeline. We released it

16 on September 23rd. Proposals were due last Wednesday

17 where we received five responses. They were varying

18 natures of detail. And, currently, we have begun the

19 local review of those proposals to determine which

20 ones are viable.

21 At this point they're very preliminary

22 analyses. We haven't begun any detail on those. And

23 our intent is to meet with other local agencies and

24 review those proposals with their staff late in this

25 year or early in January.





1 As we committed to in our meetings with the

2 generators, our plan was to forward any proposals that

3 we felt were viable to the proponents and to begin to

4 work with them on a plan for implementation of any

5 viable programs.

6 SENATOR FLOREZ: Let me ask a question on the

7 last slide, if we can go to it real quick.

8 You mentioned five responses received at the

9 December 15th --

10 MR. BECK: Yes.

11 SENATOR FLOREZ: When you say "received," the

12 RFP parameters for responses were what? So who gets

13 to respond back?

14 MR. BECK: We didn't limit the type of entity

15 that could respond. Most of the responses or all the

16 responses were private parties or private

17 corporations, some were agricultural.

18 SENATOR FLOREZ: Okay. Are they within

19 smaller cities, or are they within unincorporated

20 areas of the county?

21 MR. BECK: We didn't get any responses that

22 were within the urban area of any of the smaller

23 cities. They were all outside those.

24 SENATOR FLOREZ: Are they three miles from a

25 city, or are they on the boarder of a city?





1 The reason I say that is that you know there

2 has been a lot of issues regarding dairies and

3 counties placing things within three or two miles near

4 a quote "smaller city" without the smaller city in

5 essence having the opportunity to input. And I am

6 just kind of wondering, of the applications that

7 you're looking at --

8 MR. BECK: Senator Florez, I don't recall the

9 specific locations of those. If you'd like, I could

10 have Lloyd Friar of our staff join me, and he could

11 answer that. And I know that that is a very sensitive

12 issue. And we are looking for projects that --

13 SENATOR FLOREZ: I am just trying to save you

14 some trouble because I think talking early is always

15 better. Sometimes a little -- a mile or a half or

16 whatever -- makes a big difference.

17 MR. BECK: And I can say that when we issued

18 the RFP, we did have a number of comments from areas

19 that were concerned about potential location of

20 biosolids. So we will incorporate all of our comments

21 that we receive during the RFP process in considering

22 what will be viable.

23 SENATOR FLOREZ: Okay. Thank you.

24 MR. BECK: And in 2005, we hope to meet with

25 the generators to come up with some viable options





1 with them, to discuss the implementations plan with

2 them. It's a pretty aggressive schedule.

3 And, again, I appreciate the interest that

4 we've seen from the County and State officials. The

5 County Board of Supervisors have been very supportive

6 and helpful working through this process. And the

7 generators have been very open minded to some of the

8 approaches we have taken, although we recognize they

9 have some specific concerns that they would like to

10 see addressed in anything that we come up with.

11 I think that's the end of my selection.

12 SENATOR FLOREZ: Let's pick up right where

13 you left off if I could.

14 You mentioned some of the concerns of the

15 generators. How would you characterize those

16 concerns?

17 MR. BECK: I think, from a business practice,

18 they have looked at the amount of money that they have

19 invested in their facilities and the costs that they

20 already got sunk into either the land or the contracts

21 that they have with the various operators. And I know

22 that their concern is that any option not provide a

23 significant financial hardship and that as best can be

24 accomplished by a revenue-neutral operation.

25 SENATOR FLOREZ: Okay. And that would





1 include -- obviously, the transportation is critical

2 or they wouldn't be coming to this county -- right? --

3 they would just be going straight to Kings County?

4 MR. BECK: Yes. I think that certainly

5 transportation and location of facilities that are

6 proximate to freeway access is something they had been

7 after. And we hope that by working with them, we can

8 provide some certainty to the future operation that

9 would be attractive to them.

10 SENATOR FLOREZ: And in the dissemination of

11 the RFP, were any sent to, like, the desert, the east

12 side of the county?

13 MR. BECK: I don't believe we did send any to

14 the desert.


16 MR. BECK: I double-checked with Lloyd Friar

17 and he says that no, that we did not send any.

18 SENATOR FLOREZ: And why not?

19 MR. BECK: We targeted landowners that had

20 property within the potential relocation area. And we

21 also were contacted secondhand through other

22 out-of-state and out-of-county areas. So we did not

23 do mass mailing. The only mass mailing we did was to

24 landowners within the relocation area.

25 We felt that was appropriate from a two-part





1 perspective: One, to let landowners in that area know

2 of our intention; and, two, to solicit entrepreneurial

3 people in those areas to make proposals.

4 SENATOR FLOREZ: The only reason I ask, I

5 know that part of the process for you in doing this

6 is to -- and I'm sure we'll hear from other generators

7 and others later -- but, you know, that particular

8 west side issue of whether the water is usable or not

9 I think ultimately drove a good portion of the

10 decision.

11 And this, of course, we are just a

12 representative of the people. You know, the average

13 person on the website says, "What's wrong with the

14 desert?" "What's wrong with the desert?"

15 And so the question that I would pose to you

16 as the average person is, "What's wrong with the

17 desert?"

18 MR. BECK: We'd certainly be willing to

19 consider the desert. And that may be the follow-up

20 that we do after we review the viable options, that we

21 locate ways that we can expand the targeted

22 opportunities for relocating biosolids.

23 SENATOR FLOREZ: It's more of a question, I

24 think, of the generators' preference.

25 I understand the constraints. You have a





1 whole host of economic issues for them to make it

2 attractive. And I appreciate your efforts to, in

3 essence, move, if you could, this away from any

4 potential water basin that could be jeopardized. And

5 I assume that after my discussions with Ron Gestellum,

6 as well, and Al Wagner and I both met with him, that

7 the MWD feels somewhat -- feels very optimistic about

8 your particular endeavor.

9 But as a representative of the west side of

10 Kern County, of course, you know, we always want to

11 make sure that when RFPs are sent out, they are sent

12 out as broadly. And, of course, I would, you know,

13 encourage anything else in, you know, as broadly as

14 possible to be from a generator's point of view to be

15 considered, particularly the east side. That's not to

16 say I want to send it to the east side, because, of

17 course, that's a whole other can of worms.

18 But I think, from a fairness RFP perspective,

19 it would seem to me that, you know, if there was

20 somebody in the east who wanted to make a bid, if you

21 will, and to give the generators some sort of economic

22 incentive that might make it transportation-wise

23 workable, would that be something that you would

24 consider?

25 MR. BECK: Certainly. Our goal in addressing





1 this issue is to come up with a workable solution from

2 the residents of Kern County.

3 SENATOR FLOREZ: Yes. I understand.

4 MR. BECK: And we understand that's for all

5 of Kern County. And if there's other areas that are

6 viable and that we should consider, we are certainly

7 open to -- we really see a desire. Our mission at the

8 water agency is to come up with a solution that

9 protects our groundwater resource.

10 SENATOR FLOREZ: Boron is a long way away,

11 huh?

12 MR. BECK: Boron is a good hauling distance

13 from Los Angeles.

14 SENATOR FLOREZ: Let's go through some of the

15 science, if we could. Because that's really what I'm

16 interested in terms of the problem.

17 Let's talk about the Green Acres facility in

18 general. Is it fair to say that the water -- the

19 Kern County Water Agency is looking out for the future

20 in terms of not having found a problem; is that

21 correct? So in other words --

22 MR. BECK: That's correct.

23 SENATOR FLOREZ: -- you haven't found any

24 contamination? There is no thought that -- well,

25 what's leading this? I mean, you've actually taken a





1 big step in terms of let's actually actively figure

2 out how to move this away from the potential --

3 MR. BECK: Yes. That's certainly our message

4 to the generators and to the public at large as far as

5 water quality issues. We are to address any future

6 potential problems.

7 We've seen significant advances in the

8 ability to measure and monitor water quality

9 parameters over my career. My background is one of a

10 very technical one. By trade I'm a chemist. So I

11 understand the importance of detection limits and what

12 that does.

13 I also have a public health background. So I

14 understand the potential impacts that even low levels

15 of some of the constituents can cause and health

16 effects and also drinking water problems.

17 SENATOR FLOREZ: And the Department of Water

18 Resources has a very high criteria; is that correct?

19 MR. BECK: Yes. Their criteria for delivery

20 of water to the Aqueduct is that it does not increase

21 above the ambient conditions in the Aqueduct.

22 So for example, if you raise the water

23 quality in the Aqueduct, your water has one part per

24 billion higher than what the current arsenic standard

25 is. That causes some additional difficulty in being





1 for well water.

2 Our concern on water quality is a future one.

3 We are looking at heavy metals, some of the endocrine

4 disrupters. The pharmaceuticals that we are seeing in

5 greater and greater quantity is a result of increasing

6 technological advances that allow us to measure lower

7 levels, but nonetheless do raise concern about

8 long-term health effects associated with those and

9 have driven the regulatory environment to a place

10 where those become significant impediments in being

11 able to manage water.

12 SENATOR FLOREZ: Are you part of the water

13 committee that was mentioned earlier?

14 MR. BECK: I am not but our staff is. And we

15 have Stuart Pyle, our former general manager, is on

16 that committee.

17 SENATOR FLOREZ: Do you know when Green Acres

18 was, in essence, bought out of bankruptcy and moved in

19 that direction? Was the water committee consulted on

20 that? I mean, were there some discussions on the

21 various concerns that you mentioned now?

22 MR. BECK: I am not aware of any discussions

23 that may have occurred. They may have, Senator,

24 before and I am not aware of them.

25 SENATOR FLOREZ: I guess the reason I ask is





1 I know that when the County was debating this, I know

2 that there were some farming operations that were very

3 concerned, extremely concerned. And they were, you

4 know, obviously, from some of the marketability issues

5 of biosludge, were well to be concerned about it.

6 But on the water front, would you say that we

7 are -- I guess how do I put it? -- were you a part of

8 that push, or was this kind of led by some of the

9 other entities?

10 MR. BECK: The Kern County Water Agency

11 wasn't involved in any coordinated effort to deal with

12 the water issues on the Green Acres site. But I know

13 that certainly we were privy to some of the general

14 discussion. But again, I am not aware of any.

15 SENATOR FLOREZ: And again, why now, then?

16 MR. BECK: Why now? I think that's a fair

17 question and one that the generators have asked us.

18 Why now? We have watched the growing debate

19 on this issue. I think Steve McCalley alluded to that

20 the state addressed the question he had about the EPA

21 issue.

22 And as we weighed into this and listened to

23 the discussion that some of our agricultural interests

24 have brought to us, and again, some of our groundwater

25 banking interests have brought to us, we waded through





1 the volumes of scientific evidence that has been

2 developed on this and the scientific studies.

3 And our assessment and, again, from a

4 technical background, was that I think there's a good

5 body of evidence on both sides of this issue. There

6 is good science that's been done on behalf of the

7 generators. There's good science on the other side.

8 We feel that as that body of evidence is

9 increased, that the future concern or the concern for

10 future contaminants has really grown and been made --

11 we have become much more aware of the liability

12 associated with that. And as we look at that, we feel

13 that when you have such a balance of evidence on both

14 sides, that the prudent action of Kern County is to be

15 very conservative with such a valuable resource.

16 SENATOR FLOREZ: Right. And I applaud you

17 for standing and trying to move, if you will,

18 potential, because I think it's something that we are

19 really concerned with.

20 Just two other questions, if I could. No. 1,

21 in terms of the west side, to go back to the west

22 side, sufficient water resources, from your vantage

23 point, bear and touch the biosolid issue or not?

24 MR. BECK: I think it's one of the largest

25 impediments to move it to the west side as much of the





1 areas that are -- actually would be appropriate areas

2 for relocating biosolids have some very expensive

3 water costs associated with them.

4 But we feel, though, that we'll look at

5 those, look at the opportunities that are present.

6 And it may be that water costs associated with that,

7 or other options, merit the movement of the facilities

8 to areas in the west side.

9 SENATOR FLOREZ: So you still have a lot of

10 analysis to do once you look at that.

11 MR. BECK: We are very early. And that water

12 supply, as we understand, is an important part of that

13 analysis.

14 SENATOR FLOREZ: And your slide reflected

15 that. I wanted to make sure. You said 2005 working,

16 and you were going to be working through that process.

17 MR. BECK: Yes.

18 SENATOR FLOREZ: In terms of the alternative,

19 I asked Steve earlier, are there alternatives that you

20 see out there in terms of appropriate movement out

21 there beyond what we are discussing tonight?

22 MR. BECK: Well, we believe that there are

23 portions of the San Joaquin Valley that would be

24 appropriate for land application. They would be

25 located over less usable groundwater, no groundwater





1 areas. And there are portions -- areas, Kings and

2 Tulare County, where biosolids are being used where we

3 feel are appropriate areas.

4 I think the issue that we look at, and

5 frankly I know the generators' issues, is the costs.

6 It's all about money. And there's expenses associated

7 with going to any other option for the generators.

8 And we're sensitive to that.

9 We think there are viable options and

10 locations. Part of the decision to go to biosolids

11 was driven by economics and their opportunities in

12 Southern California being increasingly more expensive,

13 look for their next lowest cost option, which happened

14 to be Kern County. That's not an indictment of the

15 generators. That, in our mind, was a good business

16 decision. We are not sure we like that good business

17 decision to continue.

18 SENATOR FLOREZ: We bought an island in

19 Kern County, and here we are.

20 MR. BECK: Again, I don't fault the

21 generators for doing that.

22 SENATOR FLOREZ: No. It's a business

23 decision; right?

24 MR. BECK: It has an impact on how we manage

25 our water.





1 SENATOR FLOREZ: The City of Bakersfield, as

2 we're sitting here, they are sending effluent to

3 Green Acres now; is that correct?

4 MR. BECK: That's correct.

5 SENATOR FLOREZ: Do you have concerns with

6 that?

7 MR. BECK: Sure. We've -- and, again, I have

8 had the opportunity to speak several times on this.

9 But we understand that Kern County, the City of

10 Bakersfield, and all our valley towns, are all going

11 to face a similar issue.

12 What do we do with the effluent from

13 increasing the urbanized area?

14 We haven't had to face this problem before in

15 the San Joaquin Valley, particularly in Kern County.

16 Where the City of Bakersfield will go with

17 this sewage effluent is an issue of concern. But

18 it's -- in the magnitude of issues, we feel it's a

19 smaller issue when we've got 380,000 tons coming in

20 from the heavily urbanized area. Let's do that one

21 first. And then we'll move to our local issues and

22 use our local resources to deal with our local

23 problems.

24 SENATOR FLOREZ: So maybe to paraphrase your

25 slide, that's 20,000 versus 360,000 --





1 MR. BECK: Yes.

2 SENATOR FLOREZ: -- plus. So 15 times more

3 created outside our area than we are creating

4 ourselves?

5 MR. BECK: That's correct.

6 And we feel -- again, we're not -- we

7 understand we need to get our own house in order. And

8 that certainly is our intention. But we feel we need

9 to, you know, tackle the larger issues first.

10 SENATOR FLOREZ: And as a follow-up to that,

11 for the City of Bakersfield, if Green Acres is moved,

12 then what does the City of Bakersfield do?

13 MR. BECK: You know, the long-term use of

14 sewage effluent there could be studied. There could

15 be programs that would actually move that sewage

16 effluent to other more suitable areas. And it may be

17 more costly. But we have to look at the long-term

18 cost benefit of significant capital investment now to

19 relocate some of the sewage effluents versus potential

20 costs associated with long-term cleanup of a

21 contaminated aquifer, which there are some significant

22 costs associated with that.

23 SENATOR FLOREZ: Okay. My last question, and

24 I'm going to add a little commentary in it, I asked

25 Steve earlier, and it's a question I am probably going





1 to ask every single person tonight because it's a

2 question that people are asking Kern County, and that

3 is: What's the benefit to Kern County? And maybe you

4 can answer it. But what I've heard so far is that in

5 10 years we don't know how many jobs we've created

6 from this, we really don't know how much land has

7 actually been improved by this, and we know it's an

8 inexpensive fertilizer, but yet we are not quite sure

9 how to quantify that.

10 I know that we bank a lot -- what's the value

11 of the water that we bank for MWD?

12 MR. BECK: I don't have the number offhand.

13 But we have banked about $2 billion worth of

14 groundwater from --

15 SENATOR FLOREZ: Well, I know the value we

16 are giving L.A. So the question is: What is the

17 value we are getting back?

18 MR. BECK: Senator Florez, we haven't done

19 that study. Our value would be the same that Steve

20 said, that there's some economic value and some

21 agricultural value to those that are using the lower

22 cost fertilizer; there are some business opportunities

23 that you may have some opportunity for the public

24 comment to hear from the specific applicators. They

25 can explain that.





1 But we haven't really gotten into that in any

2 detail and would be unable to really detail any real

3 long-term, economic value. That's one of the reasons

4 we are very concerned. It is an intangible. And we

5 are only trying to look at it from not, maybe, the

6 specific enterprises, but a broad-base benefit for the

7 County.

8 SENATOR FLOREZ: I'm just keeping a little

9 score card here. So I can put you in the "Not Much"

10 category; right?

11 MR. BECK: I think that's a fair comment.

12 SENATOR FLOREZ: I have got "A Lot" and "Not

13 Much." And I think I'll put Steve in "Not Much." But

14 I'm just trying to -- with all of us working on it,

15 I'm just saying I'm trying to keep a little tab on it.

16 MR. BECK: And I think you may have some

17 folks that can give you more detailed answer on that

18 question.

19 SENATOR FLOREZ: Yes. Thank you so much for

20 your presentation. You were very, very helpful, and

21 we appreciate it.

22 Okay. Let's go on to Part B of this -- of

23 defining this problem.

24 We have Paul Giboney, Kern County Growers

25 Against Sewage Sludge. And after that we'll have





1 Michelle Randall, member of the Biosolids Advisory

2 Committee in Riverside County.

3 Paul, thank you for joining us.

4 MR. GIBONEY: Good evening, Senator.

5 SENATOR FLOREZ: If I could just jump into

6 some questions, what prompted the formation of this

7 particular group?

8 MR. GIBONEY: What precipitated it was we

9 became aware of the ordinance-building process as it

10 was occurring in '98. And I attended one of those

11 meetings. And a number of the growers became

12 concerned, and so we formed our own group in order to

13 encourage the County to develop an ordinance that

14 would be more protective of our resources and our

15 reputation.

16 SENATOR FLOREZ: Now, this is in '98. So

17 this started happening in '94. So, as has been

18 mentioned, was there a lag or you just decided that it

19 was getting to a level that Kern County couldn't

20 sustain this biosludge coming in, or what was the

21 deal?

22 MR. GIBONEY: Some of us may have been

23 vaguely aware of the practice going on. But what

24 really brought it to our attention was the ordinance

25 process that had begun. And I think one of the things





1 that had precipitated that was an event that had

2 happened in the Mojave area where an individual by the

3 name of Slick Gardner had been applying a lot of

4 sludge. And there were floodwaters that -- and he was

5 not applying according to EPA guidelines. It was not

6 cultivated on a crop or anything. And floodwaters

7 actually carried that into people's homes and their

8 yards. And that was in Supervisor Steve Perez'

9 district.

10 SENATOR FLOREZ: I guess my concern is: Who

11 would approve an application with the word "Slick" on

12 it? I mean, that would be my first red flag, I guess.

13 "Slick Gardner."

14 In terms of the concerns, if you could

15 just -- you've heard where we've been going with some

16 of the testimony.

17 We have two categories tonight. And it's a

18 real simple question: How does Kern benefit? Either

19 a lot or not much. And where would you put yourself,

20 in what category, and why? And you can maybe outline,

21 if you could, some of the benefits or the non

22 benefits.

23 MR. GIBONEY: As far as the Kern growers are

24 concerned, the food growers, we don't really see any

25 benefits at all that warrants the kind of risks that





1 we're putting ourselves under.

2 There's the perception risk, that people may

3 think that food crops are being treated with this

4 material. There is the very real risk to introducing

5 pathogens into wildlife populations. Organisms,

6 diseases, heavy metals, and organic chemicals could

7 find their way into animal feed and end up with cattle

8 herds and so forth. That is a potential problem.

9 Groundwater contamination is a problem. Human health

10 risks. It's easy to move pathogens around by wildlife

11 workers, to take these -- to take pathogens home to

12 their families.

13 So, for a lot of different reasons, we don't

14 think it's a very good idea at all.

15 SENATOR FLOREZ: In terms of the -- let's

16 talk about the EPA for a moment.

17 You know, we have been talking tonight about

18 whether or not there has been any detections,

19 pharmaceuticals, metals?

20 Are you comfortable that the tests that they

21 are actually doing are actually looking and finding

22 that, or do we need to go to a more extensive system?

23 MR. GIBONEY: No, I am not comfortable at all

24 with the testing procedures as they are.

25 And, two, I don't know that we ever could be





1 comfortable with an adequate testing procedure.

2 First, there's the problem of detection and

3 appropriate methods of detecting, for instance, the

4 wastewater contaminants. And then what is the

5 threshold -- what is an allowable threshold for these

6 materials where they would not present a risk? There

7 has been no studies.

8 For instance, the Toxics Release Inventory

9 mandates that over 650 chemicals be reported to the

10 EPA as to their disposal. And I don't think that all

11 650 of those chemicals are currently being tested for

12 in the sludge, not to mention all the others that are

13 not on the list.

14 As a matter of fact, the United States

15 Geological Service recently stated that, "Biosolids

16 and products derived from biosolids are a potential

17 source of pharmaceutical and other emerging

18 contaminants. Thus, biosolids may be an important and

19 a widespread source of emerging contaminants to

20 surface and groundwater."

21 And to substantiate that even further, some

22 work has recently been done, work that even five years

23 ago had not been done, where -- there was one paper

24 that had begun to address the issue a few years ago

25 that stated:





1 "A large number of organic compounds may

2 intrude the wastewater system and subsequently

3 have potential to enter the food supply via

4 sewage sludge for many compounds. Physical

5 chemical data sets may be at best limited or

6 worst not available."

7 Simply put, we don't know how these chemicals

8 will behave in the environment or what kind of risk

9 they present, either singly or in combination with

10 other chemicals.

11 And to carry that a little bit further, in

12 substantiating some of those concerns, again, the

13 U.S. Geological Survey, the National Water Quality

14 Laboratory stated that:

15 "The presence of organic wastewater compounds

16 in sludge has not been evaluated as a source of

17 contamination to surface or groundwater. And

18 there are more than 35 organic waste

19 contaminants that were found in sludge. They

20 include pharmaceuticals, fragrances, sterols, and

21 other industrial chemicals."

22 And there was a survey that was conducted in

23 2000 where organic wastewater compounds were found in

24 90 percent of 47 groundwater sites across 18 states in

25 a well-sampling survey.





1 Forty-six different organic waste compounds

2 were found. The depth of these wells ranged from 6 to

3 1,000 feet.

4 Now, the source of this particular study --

5 or the source of contamination may not have been

6 determined at the time. But it does demonstrate that

7 these chemicals do move through the soil profile to

8 contaminate groundwater.

9 So when you look at combinations of materials

10 and how they are going to behave, detection-type

11 technologies, we just don't see that the benefit to

12 Kern County or society in general is worth the risk of

13 applying any kind of sludge, regardless of

14 classification, over groundwater.

15 SENATOR FLOREZ: What, ultimately, would you

16 say your group is looking for in two categories --

17 three: Outright ban? simple regulation? course of

18 movement of this from one part of the county to the

19 other?

20 MR. GIBONEY: Ideally, we'd like to see an

21 outright ban. Realistically, they need -- regardless

22 of what happens, these guys need to move from over the

23 groundwater -- from over any groundwater. Like I

24 said, the risk is too great.

25 SENATOR FLOREZ: When you say





1 "realistically," why do you use the word

2 "realistically"?

3 Does that mean that three out of the five

4 members of the Board would have to vote a different

5 way? Is that realistically?

6 What does "realistically" mean?

7 MR. GIBONEY: Realistically refers to how

8 well we are able to come to agreement, or how well an

9 ordinance would be able to stand up in court.

10 Kern County has been challenged relentlessly

11 in court. There has been several lawsuits challenging

12 our ordinance as it was formulated even though it

13 still allowed these guys to come in and apply an EQ.

14 They still wanted us to lower the standards and

15 protect our citizens even less.

16 SENATOR FLOREZ: Do you believe it's worth

17 the fight?

18 MR. GIBONEY: What we have achieved so far

19 has been a step forward, but certainly it has not been

20 what we need to do.

21 Even the issue of pathogen reduction is still

22 of concern with the EQ due to inadequate testing

23 procedures. Again, USGS has seen that a lot of these

24 micro-organisms are nondetectible but viable. And

25 when they are out in the environment again, they are





1 able to come back to life, so to speak, and are

2 capable of increasing and contaminating groundwater.

3 And this has actually occurred in Arizona.

4 So even EQ is not a good answer in terms of

5 protecting population or the groundwater from

6 pathogens, let alone heavy metals and the other

7 contaminants.

8 And I'll talk about that for a moment if you

9 don't mind.


11 MR. GIBONEY: One of the problems, one of the

12 gaping holes that we have is the agronomic rate.

13 Definition: It is very dangerous because

14 this is what determines the amount of sludge to be

15 applied which is based on the amount of nitrogen they

16 had assumed the crop would use.

17 However, in EQ, there's very little vicogen.

18 So a lot more sludge is being applied.

19 EQ has the heavy metals and the organic

20 wastewater contaminants. So in order to meet the

21 nitrogen needs, we are piling on a whole lot more of

22 these other contaminants which are being irrigated.

23 And one could see how these would easily be leached

24 into the groundwater.

25 And this is an extremely serious loophole





1 that really needs to be dealt with.

2 SENATOR FLOREZ: How about composting of

3 sewage sludge? Where is your group on that?

4 MR. GIBONEY: It lessens the risk from a

5 pathogen standpoint temporarily. But, again, they are

6 only looking at one or two indicator organisms which

7 may not be reflective of the other pathogens that are

8 present and present a risk. So composting is really

9 not an adequate answer.

10 SENATOR FLOREZ: Paul, is there anything else

11 that you would like to add that I did or may not have

12 asked you?

13 MR. GIBONEY: Yes, a couple of points.

14 One, EPA has no mechanism for reporting and

15 tracking sludge-related complaints. So people of the

16 pro sludge parties will say there has never been a

17 problem. That's because no one is out there tracking

18 them.

19 I have a concern and a question regarding

20 CERCLA. I have a document:

21 "Los Angeles and Orange County sanitation

22 districts had been among those accepting

23 Superfund site wastes among POTWs contracted for

24 for information. L.A. County, in addition, had

25 sought indemnification against filing of





1 potential citizens' suits under CERCLA."

2 This is all according to a Colorado Open

3 Records Act, a letter that was obtained by

4 Adrienne Anderson from Metro Wastewater Reclamation

5 District in Colorado.

6 There was a letter from 1987 written by

7 Unocal Corporation and their chemical division. And

8 they were looking for POTWs that would accept CERCLA

9 wastes.

10 And it stated, quote:

11 "In general, CERCLA wastes are being accepted

12 by other POTWS, and that the criteria for organic

13 influent limitations varies widely."

14 And so the question is: Are the POTWs still

15 accepting CERCLA or Superfund wastes, as is the case

16 in Colorado with the Lowry Landfill incident, where

17 CERCLA wastes are going to the POTWS there. I think

18 this is another issue that we need to be concerned

19 about.

20 SENATOR FLOREZ: Thank you, Paul, very much.

21 I appreciate it.

22 Let me check in with the most important

23 person here tonight.

24 Pam, are you doing okay? Do you want to take

25 a break?






2 SENATOR FLOREZ: Why don't we take just a

3 two-minute break.

4 Well, how many minutes do you need, Pam?

5 THE COURT REPORTER: Two minutes is good.

6 SENATOR FLOREZ: We will just take a

7 two-minute break, and we'll start again.

8 (Recess taken from 7:19 to 7:25.)

9 SENATOR FLOREZ: We are continuing on

10 defining the problems.

11 Michelle Randall, who has traveled here from

12 Riverside, has joined us here today.

13 Thank you so much for joining us. It's very

14 much appreciated. Thank you for your time. And if

15 you can pull that mike just a little closer to you so

16 we can hear you for the record.

17 Let me start by asking you some questions, if

18 I could, or do you have a statement?

19 MS. RANDALL: No. That's fine. I'd rather

20 answer your questions.

21 SENATOR FLOREZ: Great. Okay. And anything

22 that I don't ask you, maybe you can catch up with me.

23 First of all, how have you been involved with

24 the biosludge issue in Riverside County?

25 MS. RANDALL: I began by being involved in





1 composting issues. I established a limited degree of

2 credibility with the County. And when the land

3 application issues came up, our director of public

4 health asked me if I would sit on the Bioslids

5 Advisory Committee for Class B sludge.

6 SENATOR FLOREZ: Okay. In terms of the

7 Biosludge Advisory Committee, can you give us a little

8 background on why and how this committee was formed.

9 MS. RANDALL: Riverside County is a lot

10 different from Kern County. And we are becoming -- we

11 are filling up with people, for better or for worse.

12 And the farmlands are having more and more

13 subdivisions come in on the edges of them. And as

14 they come in, people have begun to complain about the

15 sludge application on the farmlands.

16 And, finally, the Department of Health

17 decided that they should revisit the existing

18 ordinances

19 SENATOR FLOREZ: And who directed the

20 Department of Health to do that? Was it the Board?

21 MS. RANDALL: Probably the Board of

22 Supervisors.

23 SENATOR FLOREZ: And in terms of the

24 recommendations that that particular committee made to

25 the Board of Supervisors, can you kind of outline some





1 of those?

2 MS. RANDALL: The first recommendation that

3 was made was that Class B sludge be banned. And we

4 banned Class B sludge and then went back and revisited

5 Class AEQ sludge and found a lot of loopholes in the

6 original ordinance that were permitting problems.

7 We had an open system where sludge could be

8 land applied for every crop. And that left it open to

9 plant a crop, sludge the field; plant a crop, disk the

10 crop, sludge the field, plant a crop, disk the crop --

11 all in one year.

12 And so, clearly, that needed to be -- that

13 loophole needed to be closed.

14 There were also a lot of anecdotal problems

15 associated with odor. And some of the farmers felt

16 that they had the right to farm and would pass so

17 close that they would sludge people's patios. So

18 distance from houses needed to be addressed.

19 We ended up doing a four-tier system with the

20 new ordinance. And I really like it because it -- it

21 allows people to choose.

22 SENATOR FLOREZ: Meaning it allows people to

23 choose in what way?

24 MS. RANDALL: Well, there are various methods

25 of making EQ sludge class A sludge. And some of them





1 are -- you know, some of them are horrific. And so

2 the producers can choose what process they want to

3 follow as far as producing the Class A if they want to

4 land-apply in Riverside County.

5 SENATOR FLOREZ: So there's a choice there.

6 But given that four-tier program, has there been any

7 application for class A sludge in Riverside County?

8 MS. RANDALL: No, there hasn't. It just went

9 into effect a couple of months ago. And we just had

10 the first meeting of the Product Review Committee,

11 which essentially was ironing out details of how we

12 were going to look at material.

13 But the other thing the ordinance does is it

14 puts the -- it takes the onus off -- proving nuisance

15 off of the neighbors and puts it onto the producers.

16 So the first tier for material that is

17 totally inoffensive, you can put it down right to

18 people's houses and right to the roadway.

19 The second tier, you have to move back 500

20 feet from the houses and 50 feet from the roadways.

21 The third tier goes back 1,000 feet.

22 And the fourth tier is way out in the desert,

23 if anywhere.

24 SENATOR FLOREZ: And the effect of that has

25 been?





1 MS. RANDALL: The effect of it has been that

2 we're waiting for the producers to get their test

3 spots together. And then the Product Review Committee

4 will review it.

5 But the effect temporarily has been that

6 sludge application in Riverside County has virtually

7 stopped.

8 SENATOR FLOREZ: And we have heard some

9 discussion earlier about the ability of a county

10 to ban -- you used the word "ban," I will use your

11 word -- ban sludge.

12 Now, is that the technical way you look at

13 it, or is it through the application of this four-tier

14 process that it effectively led to that, or was it

15 just an outright ban?

16 MS. RANDALL: It wasn't an outright ban.

17 Outright bans, you get into things like interfering

18 with Interstate Commerce. It becomes this huge,

19 massive lawsuit that probably couldn't be won.

20 But, really, there is no ban in Riverside

21 County. They just have to comply with the ordinance.

22 And we're fine with it. They have to -- "Farmers and

23 producers have to be good neighbors," is pretty much

24 what the ordinance says.

25 SENATOR FLOREZ: Do you have any thoughts in





1 terms of the way you've seen other counties do this,

2 or is this just you've been focused in on Riverside

3 County?

4 MS. RANDALL: I've been pretty much focused

5 on Riverside County.

6 When the EPA, in its infinite wisdom, decided

7 that sewage sludge was not hazardous waste because we

8 were now going to put it on the land, it has taken

9 about 20 years for people to develop control of this

10 industry. And I've been making my own efforts in

11 Riverside County.

12 SENATOR FLOREZ: Just a last question. I'd

13 ask you to add anything more that you have.

14 Just from your perspective, do you believe

15 that these local ordinances as we are doing them

16 throughout the state is the way to go, or do you think

17 the State ought to have an equalized standard, county

18 by county, that would, in essence, deal with this

19 biosludge issue?

20 MS. RANDALL: The State of California doesn't

21 have the resources to deal with each locality.

22 As far as being in general for water quality

23 and in general for air quality, that's fine. But each

24 locality understands its own groundwater, its own

25 fractured granite; how many people you have or how





1 many people you don't have.

2 These are all things that have to be done

3 county by county. Absolutely. And, also, the county

4 can put much more stringent regulations on this issue

5 than the State and the Federal government.

6 One of the big problems we've had in

7 Riverside County is the idea of control. We have the

8 "Oops" theory.

9 Now, what if we dumped 500 wet tons more on

10 that five acres than was supposed to be there? "Oops,

11 must have been the trucker." "Oops, must have been

12 the generator." "Oops, we don't know."

13 Well, you know what? That's a misdemeanor.

14 The State of California says that if the County

15 prosecutes them to the best of its ability, they can

16 collect $100 for the first "Oops," and $200 the second

17 "Oops." So this has been a big problem.

18 SENATOR FLOREZ: I think Skip Burrow

19 mentioned that we have laws on the books, but whether

20 or not we enforce them --

21 MS. RANDALL: Well, it's not caused --


23 MS. RANDALL: -- to enforce them. And the

24 people who understand the system can just run circles

25 around it.





1 SENATOR FLOREZ: Thank you very much. Is

2 there anything else you would like to add?

3 MS. RANDALL: No, sir. Thank you.

4 SENATOR FLOREZ: Thank you very much.

5 Appreciate it.


SENATOR DEAN FLOREZ: Let's get to the disposers in Kern County. We have Diane Gilbert, Sanitation Engineer for the city of Los Angeles. Thank you for joining us.

DIANE GILBERT: Good evening. My name is Diane Gilbert. I'm the biosolids regulatory liaison for the city of Los Angeles. And I thank you for the opportunity to be here this evening to talk to you about the city of Los Angeles biosolids management program.

What are biosolids? Biosolids are the nutrient-rich organic material that's produced at the wastewater treatment plants that comes from the primary and secondary processes. This material can be beneficially used on farmland as a soil amendment; it can be used to make compost material, or other recyclable products.

The city of Los Angeles produces approximately 257,690 wet tons of Exceptional Quality Biosolids per year. That's about 706 wet tons per day, which equates to about 23 to 25 truckloads of biosolids per day.

What are Exceptional Quality Biosolids? And I will give you the definition of the EPA, but Kern County has a different definition for exceptional quality. They are more restrictive than the EPA.

Exceptional Quality Biosolids is Class A biosolids and the destruction of pathogens. Most of the pathogens have been destroyed in Class A biosolids. Also, the metal concentration, it meets or exceeds the most stringent limits for the U.S. EPA 503s.

The city of Los Angeles current biosolids reuse options are land application, and we currently apply, in Kern County and also in Arizona. And we have a small composting facility in Griffith Park that uses about .6 percent of what we produce.

SENATOR FLOREZ: Can you go back to that last slide? I'm sorry. Thank you.

So, 99.4 percent is Kern County and in Arizona?


SENATOR FLOREZ: And .6 percent is in within your borders?

MS. GILBERT: Correct.

SENATOR FLOREZ: That's on a daily basis?

MS. GILBERT: Well, no. Because at the compost facility they only get, like, one truckload per week.

SENATOR FLOREZ: Okay. So minusing composting, the 25 trucks that are produced in L.A., every day, where is it going?

MS. GILBERT: To Kern County and/or to Arizona. We have the option to go to Arizona, as well. So we can divert sometimes to Arizona.

SENATOR FLOREZ: And then you say, you have the option. How many times has it gone to Arizona?

MS. GILBERT: For this year, three times.

SENATOR FLOREZ: How many trucks?

MS. GILBERT: I think probably two trucks on each of those days.

SENATOR FLOREZ: So two trucks, two days, for the entire year?



MS. GILBERT: Before there was a….this was only Class-A biosolids that's currently going to Kern County. Before we had the option of doing Class A and Class B.

I'm going to give you a little history of the Green Acres Farm that we currently apply on.

Since 1988, reclaimed water has been used on the site.

Since 1989, a private farmer began farming on the site.

Since 1990, we have collected groundwater data at the site.

Since 1994, biosolids have been applied at the site.

In 2000, the city purchased the site.

And in 2003, we started producing and applying Exceptional Quality Biosolids.

SENATOR FLOREZ: And where did the city purchase this site from?

MS. GILBERT: From a local farmer in the area.


MS. GILBERT: This is just a map location of the Green Acres site, which is bordered by Highway 119 and the I-5.

Since the city has been applying biosolids and started its program back in 1989, we have been in compliance with all federal, state, and local regulations. And most of those regulations, we have exceeded beyond what the requirement is.

These are the particular agencies that we currently have permits with: the United States Environmental Protection Agency; the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board; the Air Quality Management District; the California Integrated Waste Management Board; and Kern County.

We also have a permit with the state of Arizona. Because that's on our contingency plan, it's not listed for the state.

Currently these agencies monitor groundwater and biosolids: The City of Bakersfield; the Kern Delta Water District; the Kern County Water Agency; the California Department of Water Resources….they all monitor groundwater at this site….the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board does biosolids; the Kern County Environmental Health Services—biosolids; the U.S. EPA Region IX-biosolids; and also, the city of Los Angeles.

What types of things do we monitor for that are part of either the requirements, or a permit condition? For the biosolids we monitor metals, pathogens, which include fecal coliform and salmonella, for the Kern County Ordinance, and also, dioxins and PCBs for the Kern County Ordinance.

Groundwater parameters—we monitor the electrical conductivity, nitrates and nitrogen, chloride, and then depth to groundwater.

We currently do a lot of site management practices on our facility that go beyond regulations or requirements that we actually do on our site in order to follow best management practices for applying biosolids.

We have public access restrictions which allows us to control who comes on the site; who has access to the site. We have locked gates that are locked in the after hours. And, also, anyone that enters the site has to have permission to be on the site.

We have setbacks to surface waters and wells. And what this is, is there are requirements that we have generated for our site specifically concerning the wells and how far we apply to those wells, and, also, existing surface waters.

There's also requirements for setbacks to homes and schools that we will not apply up to or close to locations of the homes and schools.

We also have daily incorporation requirements that we do. Currently the current ordinance allows you 24 hours before you have to incorporate the biosolids. But, the city of Los Angeles has a practice of incorporating the biosolids within six hours after it enters a site.

We also have an extensive odor and dust control program, where we're constantly monitoring for odors and making sure that we're incorporating the biosolids to prevent any odors. And also, we have dust control measures where we're constantly watering our roads. And, we've also paved roads at the sites to deal with dust control.

There's also some groundwater monitoring requirements that we do per the Regional Board requirements. And we also do daily truck inspections at our site to make sure that we aren't having any biosolids on our trucks leaving the site. We do have washing stations at the site, so each truck is washed before it leaves the site.

These are some general conclusions about our existing site.

The groundwater is monitored yearly. And based upon that data, we feel that the general depth to groundwater starts at 66 feet and goes as far as 133 feet.

Based upon regulatory requirements, we're well within those parameters. Some of the regulatory requirements concerning the EPA is that you have to be within three to six feet. The California Department of Health Services, their requirement is 10 feet.

Currently, in the Class A EQ ordinance, Kern County does not have a requirement, nor does the Central Valley Regional Board have a requirement for depth to groundwater.

None of the existing groundwater samples, since we've been monitoring the site since 1999, exceeds the primary or secondary maximum contaminant drinking water standards. We are well below those standards.

Also, there is no indication of groundwater quality degradation due to any of the onsite activities. Since applying biosolids, we haven't seen that there's been any impact to groundwater. And, actually, since applying in 1994, we've seen that the groundwater quality has improved.

Also, the city meets or exceeds all federal, state, and local regulations regarding biosolids land applications. Since we started our program in 1989, we have met or exceeded all those requirements.

Also, since we've been doing EQ, since 2003, all the metal and pathogen levels are well below the regulatory limits. We exceed the requirements by the EPA and also by Kern County.

And also, there's routine inspections at the site. The city of Los Angeles does weekly inspections. And the Kern County Environmental Health Services does inspections, as well.

Because the city of Los Angeles owns the site, we have done various improvements at the site. And we're doing these improvements for two reasons: One is to make sure that we have a viable farm there, and to make sure that it looks like a farming operation. And also, to make sure that we are following best management practices.

We've hired an onsite farm manager, so now there's someone always at our site during the day for people to have access to, or to ask questions to And that's a local Bakersfield resident that we've hired.

Also, we've hired a local farmer. We have a local farmer who is actually doing our farming at our site. And we have a three-year contract with that farmer. And he's actually a Bakersfield farmer.

We recently opened a conference center, and we opened this conference center for public relations efforts. And also, so that when people come out to tour our facility, which we provide tours on a regular basis, that people would have a place to sit down and talk about the facility, ask questions. And also, because if you're being on a farm and you're touring the farm all day, you know, you may have dust in your hair or whatever. So we wanted to have a facility. Especially for me, because I know women, we like to not get back in our cars from being dusty all day.

Also, the city took a concerted effort because of some of the South San Joaquin Air Quality rules and some of the requirements. We know that you guys have rules for air quality regulations in the area that we've paved roads. We've spent over $250,000 in paving roads—the ingress and egress at our facility, and we're currently paving more roads at the facility. And this was to help with dust control in our facility, especially during the summer months when it's very dry and hot.

And this is a program that the city is actually very proud of. This is a voluntary program. It's a nationally certified biosolids environmental management system. We were the second agency in the country to actually participate in this voluntary program. We spent over $350,000 to develop this program.

And what this program does, is that it provides information about your biosolids management system that is available to the public. We created a website to help us with making sure that all our information concerning our biosolids management program was available. It also allows that any changes you make, or any program goals, or anything that you're doing concerning your biosolids program, that the citizens will be made aware of that and that they will be able to provide input.

We've identified, in Kern County, some interested parties. And the way we did that was that people that worked with us in the ordinance process, we identified them as interested parties. Also, any of our neighbors within a one-mile radius of the farm site has been identified as an interested party.

And, anyone can actually be an interested party. If you would go to the website, or either call our hotline and just request information. And what being an interested party entails is that whenever we make program changes or whenever we're going to do anything that affects the biosolids management program, whether it's at our treatment plant, or in Kern Country, that we would allow you to be involved in the process. That you could be able to help us set goals for the program and come up with new strategies of how we would manage the biosolids, or any major changes that we're making to the system.

Also, what it does is that we provide periodic updates to our interested parties and to the public. We do that via the email, through websites, and personal mailings.

And what happened was, was that our program was audited by an independent auditor. They came in, in 2003. They audited our program. It was an eight-day process. They went through every inch of our program—records, documents….came to the Green Acres site and certified that we were following best management practices in our program.

And that concludes my presentation.

SENATOR FLOREZ: Thank you. Okay. Thank you for coming. And I appreciate it.

Just a couple of questions.

First and foremost, I just wanted to kind of key in on some of the things that you said. And I was just writing notes paraphrasing you, and you said, One, it actually looks like a farming operation, was one thing you said. And the other was, There's actually a farmer that does this. And I was wondering, is it a farm to you or not?

MS. GILBERT: It is a farm.

SENATOR FLOREZ: It is. And what does it farm?

MS. GILBERT: An agricultural area and/or…

SENATOR FLOREZ: I know. But what product….what agricultural….a farm normally produces something.

MS. GILBERT: Yes. Uh-huh.

SENATOR FOREZ: What does it produce?

MS. GILBERT: We produce corn, wheat. We grow sedan grass. We have milo grass—different types of feedstock.

SENATOR FLOREZ: And the question I've asked, I think, every witness fairly tonight is: What benefit does Kern County gain by this particular site? Can you outline….I know you outlined….we have a farmer, we have a conference room, and we have paved entrances. Beyond that, what else do we have?

MS. GILBERT: Well, first of all….not first of all, but, we have a facility there that provides a benefit to the local dairies in the areas of being able to use the crops for feed livestock. It's adjacent to some of the dairies, so that saves in the transportation and, also, air quality, and having to be able to come just directly next door to receive the product.

SENATOR FLOREZ: So the air quality of trucks coming into the valley, 25 or so a day, is improved, versus the east/west traffic of farmers transporting their own goods?

MS. GILBERT: No, it's not improved. What I'm saying is it helps to keep down the air quality issues if you can have a local dairy that has access to a product that's directly next door to them than having to travel distances to get the crop.

SENATOR FLOREZ: Okay. And then what else would be the other benefit?

MS. GILBERT: The other benefits is that we have the local residents in the area do work for our trucking company. Some of them do work for the trucking company that we hire to transport the biosolids.

We have hired a local farmer there, and it's an actual family that lives in Bakersfield. And they have X employees on their staff that are working on the site. And also, our workers on the site are from the Bakersfield area.

SENATOR FLOREZ: Okay. How much does the city of L.A. save by sending your sludge here?

MS. GILBERT: I'm not sure what you mean, how much we save.

SENATOR FLOREZ: If you were to dispose of it yourself, versus bringing it to Kern County, what's the economic benefit?

MS. GILBERT: Well, we wouldn't dispose of it. We have a policy that we would not dispose of it.

If we had to take it to a landfill, it would be double our cost. If we would have to go to composting, it would be about three times our cost. And so it just depends on what the management option would be.

SENATOR FLOREZ: And you say you had to….you can't do that because you have….and what is the….why can't you? What…

MS. GILBERT: We have a policy that we would not landfill any biosolids because of the economic benefits, and also the environmental benefits of biosolids. And, also, it would go against ABA 939 criteria that we have, that we would reuse all recycled products.

SENATOR FLOREZ: Okay. And you mentioned….just to focus in on the second point—the environmental concerns. That L.A. wouldn't let you do it because of environmental concerns. What would be different from the environmental concerns in L.A. that we would have an equally severe air basin which is Kern County? I get that, you know, we've got…

MS. GILBERT: I don't know if I said environmental concerns. I think I said environmental benefits.

SENATOR FLOREZ: Okay. Is the city of L.A. doing this because there are environmental impediments from disposing of this yourselves?

MS. GILBERT: Well, first of all…

SENATOR FLOREZ: AQMD allow you to do this?

MS. GILBERT: AQMD would allow us to land apply?


MS. GILBERT: There are no regulations from AQMD concerning land appllying.

SENATOR FLOREZ: Air Board doesn't have any concerns with this at all, your particular air board that you're under?


SENATOR FLOREZ: Not AQMD, but the air board, the local air board?

MS. GILBERT: No, not land application. They have regulations for composting.

SENATOR FLOREZ: Okay. And so, there is no environmental concerns? The only reason you're bringing it here is?

MS. GILBERT: I'm not sure of your question.

SENATOR FLOREZ: The only reason you're bringing 25 trucks, 99.9 percent of your waste to Kern County is?

MS. GILBERT: Well, first of all, it's an environmental benefit for the farmers here. They don't have to use chemical fertilizers. And also, it's an economic benefit for us in managing our biosolids. It allows us to be able to reuse a product in an area that needs it. You know, they wouldn't be able to farm on these areas if they did not use biosolids. And that was shown in the past before we started applying in 1994, that lands did not allow them to be able to grow crops that were productive. And so now what's happened, is that now we have usable agricultural land that's being used because of the benefits of the biosolids.

SENATOR FLOREZ: So the biosolids are creating, if you will, a much better….and I think you heard the earlier testimony: In 10 years we really can't quantify that. Would you disagree with that?

MS. GILBERT: Well, yes, I would because…

SENATOR FLOREZ: Land improvement?

MS. GILBERT: Yes, because before we started applying on that site, the farmer was not able to get anything to grow there. He could not get a productive crop. And in the other areas, as well, that I know of, that the other generators are applying on, as well. So that land would probably be still in a state that it would be no crops growing there, or it would still be like the area adjacent from our farm now.

SENATOR FLOREZ: Yes. Are you paying the farmer to grow the crop?

MS. GILBERT: We have a contract with the farmer. He grows the crop. You know, we get crop revenue from that, as well.

SENATOR FLOREZ: So he's obligated to grow a crop?

MS. GILBERT: Yes. That's a requirement, that he has to grow a crop.

SENATOR FLOREZ: So therefore, there is a crop?

MS. GILBERT: Yes, there is a crop.


MS. GILBERT: Come to our site in April, and the whole facility will be green with all types of crops.

SENATOR FLOREZ: Uh-huh. In terms of the land application rates, just so I'm clear, how do those work, in terms of what you're actually applying? I mean, we had some folks earlier talking about some of the agronomics of this. I mean, how do you deal with that from your perspective?

MS. GILBERT: Well, _agronomic rate______ is that you have to apply the biosolids based on agronomic rates of how much nitrogen that the crop would need? What we would do is, depending on what field we would plant in, we have a farm management plan for the whole site, and we determine what crops will be planted. And based upon where that field is, we would take a soil analysis. We would determine how much nitrogen is needed. We would determine….we already know what crop is going to be planted there. And based upon the content of the biosolids, we would calculate how much biosolids would be applied. And that's done per crop per field.

SENATOR FLOREZ: And in terms of the….you mentioned some of the benefits. Also, you said you spent about $250,000 for…

MS. GILBERT: Paving the roads.

SENATOR FLOREZ: Paving the roads to the facility?

MS. GILBERT: Yes, to the facilities. All of our roads that enter into our facility are paved.

SENATOR FLOREZ: And you pay the county $8,000 a year for your permit; is that right?

MS. GILBERT: Yes, for the biosolids permit. But we also had to pay for the permit to get the roads there, as well. And then we did, of course, we pay property taxes.

SENATOR FLOREZ: Okay. So the entire cost that the county is, in essence, charging you is about $8,000 for this particular permit, though; is that correct?

MS. GILBERT: Yes. For the biosolids permit, correct.

SENATOR FLOREZ: And is there any thought of….is that the least you're willing to pay? Look, 25 trucks over the same mile is the equivalent of 600 cars over that same mile. We have a lot of road issues in terms of our highways. And I'm just kind of wondering, do you think that's a fair payment given….I understand you paving the entrance to your road, but how about the travel from the Tejon Ranch sign all the way down to your facility? I mean, is there any thought of giving county additional dollars for roads, or even….I mean, how do you make up for the mitigation, if you will, of the additional wear and tear of 25 trucks per day?

MS. GILBERT: Well, first of all, we went through the process with the county and that was the, you know, number that the county came up with. And I'm pretty sure had the number been, you know, $10,000 for a permit, we would have looked at that and said, you know, if that's was sufficient for the permit, as well. So we're paying based upon what the county says concerning that fee.

SENATOR FLOREZ: How much are you willing to pay for your….to bring sludge here?

MS. GILBERT: I don't have an answer to that question.

SENATOR FLOREZ: Uh-huh. No, I'm just wondering, because….what would L.A. do with it if indeed we said no?

MS. GILBERT: Well, that's a good question. And we're looking at options all the time concerning our biosolids production. And we have looked at various different options. We've had requests for proposals that go out. And we could take our biosolids to Arizona. But of course, we're still getting into the costs for doing that. We have looked at composting, but the viable options in the south coast region is very costly for us to do that, as well.

So we are constantly looking to diversify our program.

SENATOR FLOREZ:  So if we were to make our permit process, given the wear and tear of the mitigation issues, the things that….the air quality issue, the things that the county really has to pay for in some way or another, if we were to make that, in essence, to equalize our costs and it was high enough for you to look at other places, you would have to make that calculation; is that correct?

MS. GILBERT: Well, if it's based on a regulation. Of course, we will look at the regulation if we wanted to comply with that, you know, in a particular county, then we would do that. Yes.

SENATOR FLOREZ: Okay. And in terms of the, if you will, the measures in terms of contamination, if the groundwater is contaminated, for whatever reason, does the city of L.A. take liability for that, or is it the county of Kern?

MS. GILBERT: I knew he was going to ask me that question.

First of all, the city is doing everything within its power in trying to make sure that we're not impacting the groundwater. We have a lot of management practices in place. We're looking at the data from the city of Bakersfield that they take constantly, and all the other monitoring data that we have. And based upon that data, we see that the potential of that is very low in our eyes.

We are very concerned with the issue with Kern County. We're not looking, you know, at that issue as if there was a moot point. And if there was found, based upon all the evidence and the research, that biosolids was the cause of it, of course the city would do everything they could in order to address the issue.

SENATOR FLOREZ: Okay. So you would take liability for that?

MS. GILBERT: We would….based upon if the regulatory agencies deemed that it was the city that was responsible, we would do everything to mitigate that and to follow up, cleanup, whatever the requirements are, the violations would be that we have to mitigate.

SENATOR FLOREZ: Okay. And you know how much agriculture costs, or how much value it creates in the valley? And if the water, we can't, in essence, participate in the California….in some of the water projects and other things because of contamination, you would understand the damage that would incur?

MS. GILBERT: Of course. The city of Los Angeles is part of the Metropolitan Water District Agency, so we an interest in that, as well.

SENATOR FLOREZ: Okay. What do you think of the RFP thus far in terms of the potential to, in essence, move you east or west? Is that something you're seriously considering? Does the economics have to work out for you? Is there a number in your mind that would make it work?

MS. GILBERT: We've looked at the RFP, and we've told the Kern County Water Agency that we're willing to work with them on the issue. That we have never said that we would not move. That we know what all the issues are. We fully understand what their concerns are. And that we would have to look at the issues and the proposals that came through. And that we would work with them through the matter.

We have met with them on several occasions. We've provided them with all the investments and all of the things that we have done on our site, and what things we would be looking for in order to move. Because it's not just managing the biosolids; there's a lot of issues involved, such as the city of Bakersfield water, and also the improvements that we've done to the facility.

So we are willing to work with the Kern Water Agency, and have provided that information to them.

SENATOR FLOREZ: Okay. I'm no sure, I think I sent you a letter today prior to the hearing on a draft report dealing with emission profiles. Did you get that fax?

MS. GILBERT: Actually, I was on my way here. Maria called me on my cell phone. And I'm aware that you did request that. I was not able to get a copy of that report for you. But I told her that we'll look for that report and get it to you after this hearing is over.

SENATOR FLOREZ: Could you tell us what that report was about so everyone is on the same page here?

MS. GILBERT: The South Coast Air Quality District was coming up with some compostable material regulations concerning PM-10s and emissions in the area. So they were looking at providing some regulations for controlling compostable materials which included compost facilities that used all types of amendments.

And so, the Southern California Alliance of POTWs was involved in a research project and looked at the emissions from various compost facilities. And that's what that program was about. To find out if there were actual emissions coming from those facilities, and how much it was, and what type of regulations they would have to control emissions from those facilities.

SENATOR FLOREZ: Okay. Let me just ask you just one question I've asked everyone: You see the….maybe from my vantage point only….but, you know, I kind of look at, we are sitting on a lot of…billions of dollars worth of water for L.A. and MWD, particularly, and that's about probably the biggest investment for your city as it is, you know, for us. And, yet, we have our water agency on the cautious side saying, Let's figure out a way to work with you and move your facility east or west. And so that there is no potential for, in essence, contamination, even though you may say that there's a slight possibility….no possibility to do that. And MWD, when Ron Gestellum was still….I'm not sure if he's gone yet or not…

MS. GILBERT: No, he's gone.

SENATOR FLOREZ: When he was there, was very concerned, as well. How do we work this out? I mean, how do we….how are we able to, in essence, meet the mutual goal of protecting the valley's most precious resource, and I think for the future of Los Angeles, the water supply, how do we do that in a way but for this little acreage farm that is somewhat moveable….I'll use your words, right? It's a consideration. I mean, how do we work that out? How do we approach that? Is the RFP the best method to do that, or is it….you know, how do we do that?

MS. GILBERT: Well, we worked with the county and they talked about the Water Resources Committee. And we were part of that committee and provided information. And we actually sent them some recommendations of some additional things that we would be willing to do as part of the ordinance process. We talked about some additional testing; we talked about additional monitoring; doing some additional hydrology at the facility. And so, we are engaged in the process of trying to come up with recommendations, as well.

And as I stated before, with the Kern County Water Agency RFP, we are willing to work with them. If they can find an area and, you know, if all the ingredients work together and all the issues are addressed, then we will be willing to move.

So the city has never said that, We're going to stay here just because we own that facility" that we are willing to work with all the agencies in making sure that we are addressing their concerns as well as our concerns.

SENATOR FLOREZ: Let's leave on the high note. So I appreciate your comments. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

MS. GILBERT: Thank you.

SENATOR FLOREZ: Thank you for coming down, as well.


22 Okay. Let's get to Orange County Sanitation

23 District. We have Layne Baroldi.

24 Thank you for joining us.

25 MR. BAROLDI: Very good. Thank you. Thank





1 you, Senator. And thank you for the opportunity to

2 speak today.

3 SENATOR FLOREZ: You got it.

4 MR. BAROLDI: Diane has done a great job.

5 And I know the hour is getting somewhat late; so I am

6 not going to define biosolids again, monitoring

7 requirements, or the regulatory agencies and the

8 oversight of the monitoring requirements.

9 I want to also share in some of the pride

10 that Diane shared, that we have gone what we consider

11 the extra mile and been certified by the National

12 Biosolids Partnership which includes the Environmental

13 Protection Agency on the Environmental Management

14 System on biosolids.

15 The Kern County Water Agency map shows

16 acreage on the very northern portion of Kern County as

17 being Orange County's facility, because you're looking

18 at 2,700 acres outside the area and also 1,100 acres

19 within the area. That happens to be a farmer that we

20 do -- a farmer owns it that we do business with. So I

21 just wanted to make sure that was clear first. That

22 doesn't change any of the things that I'm going to say

23 today.

24 I know we treat it as if it's -- Orange

25 County has its own land. We manage our biosolids





1 there.

2 Orange County, like L.A. County, produces

3 quite a bit of biosolids. We produce about 650 wet

4 tons per day of biosolids on a seven-day-a-week basis.

5 We've got a program of diversification of

6 biosolids management. We don't have everything going

7 to the same location -- not that that isn't a prudent

8 way to do things. You know, if you have a great

9 option, you should do that.

10 Approximately half of our material is going

11 to Kern County right now being management at Tully

12 Ranch. We also have 30 percent of our material being

13 land-applied as Class E biosolids in Arizona and in

14 both Yuma County and Maricopa County; composting

15 10 percent of our material in LaPaz County, Arizona;

16 and 10 percent of our material to Ms. Randall in

17 Riverside County -- I apologize for that.

18 But we try to diversify it. And we are

19 trying to find options within our own area to manage

20 our biosolids in Orange County.

21 It is extremely different to do it with the

22 types of crops. I think there's a postage-stamp sized

23 area that still grows oranges in Orange County; so

24 there's not much agriculture going on right now.

25 We are in the process of reviewing proposals





1 to a recent Request for Proposals for biosolids

2 management which included higher technologies,

3 specifically pelletization, composting, production of

4 energy, and drying the soil, retorted soils from the

5 cleanup site, where they heat the soil to high

6 temperatures and mix the biosolids with it.

7 And the reuse policy that we have is somewhat

8 similar to L.A. City's policy of beneficial reuse.

9 Our Board of Directors, which consists 25 elected

10 officials within the County of Orange, pretty much

11 within the north and central part of the county, have

12 a beneficial reuse policy that our agency follows

13 right now.

14 In our RFP process, our Request for Proposal

15 process, it is not a bid process; so we don't have to

16 go to the lowest bidder. We go to what we consider

17 the lowest -- the sustainable and most responsible

18 proposer is not based solely on price. I just wanted

19 to clarify that.

20 And I am here, obviously, to answer any of

21 the additional questions. Your office submitted

22 16 questions to me. And I hope those questions were

23 answered to your satisfaction. I would like to

24 expound on any of those if you do have any questions.

25 SENATOR FLOREZ: Great. Thank you very much.





1 The very first question, obviously, is: Why

2 don't you dispose of the biosolids in Orange County?

3 MR. BAROLDI: We're looking at that right

4 now. And we, frankly, have a proposal in to the

5 Orange County Integrated Waste Management Department

6 to develop a composting facility to shape the landfill

7 in the San Clemente/Capistrano area.

8 We are working closely with the South Orange

9 County Clean Water Agencies. The facility would be

10 in excess of 100 wet tons per day of biosolids for

11 the purpose of aerated static pile composting in

12 Orange County.

13 SENATOR FLOREZ: Maybe just from a numbers

14 point of view, we saw that L.A. has 99 point --

15 whatever it is, maybe 100 percent in some years, two

16 trucks two days a year went to Arizona.

17 But what's the percentage of stuff coming

18 from your county here?

19 MR. BAROLDI: It's roughly 50 percent.

20 SENATOR FLOREZ: 50 percent. And that's

21 growing every year? Is that population based?

22 MR. BAROLDI: We anticipate that the trucking

23 will decrease come 2008 through 2010 just due to the

24 efficiencies in drying the biosolids. Because I know

25 one of your concerns is emissions from trucks.






2 MR. BAROLDI: So our best attempt is to dry

3 the biosolids out more in order to make less emissions

4 from the truck traffic.

5 SENATOR FLOREZ: And in terms of the issues

6 of moving sites -- obviously we are talking about

7 Los Angeles -- but is there a consideration that you

8 would be willing to move your site, as well?

9 MR. BAROLDI: Absolutely. We have instructed

10 our farmer to work closely with the Kern County Water

11 Agency in their effort to address the concerns about

12 the use of biosolids over usable groundwater.

13 One of the five proposals, and maybe I'm

14 talking about school, was from our farmer,

15 specifically requesting the County of Kern Water

16 Agency's assistance to move the portion of his land

17 that's objectionable to them into an area that's

18 acceptable.

19 SENATOR FLOREZ: Orange County obviously has

20 a coast; is that right?

21 MR. BAROLDI: That's correct.

22 SENATOR FLOREZ: No consideration about

23 dumping any of that stuff into the ocean, though;

24 right?

25 MR. BAROLDI: Unfortunately, that's illegal.





1 We had a Ph.D. in science at our facility that said

2 we're starving the fish. But I guess that was his

3 opinion.

4 SENATOR FLOREZ: It's illegal out there, but

5 it's okay here?

6 MR. BAROLDI: Well, with the additional

7 regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency --

8 and it may be a good segway into Lauren Fondahl --

9 they have determined that through risk assessment,

10 that this is a safe --

11 SENATOR FLOREZ: Land application; right?

12 MR. BAROLDI: Absolutely.

13 -- along with the State Water Resources

14 Control Board which, in their recent environmental

15 impact report, considers land application the most

16 sensitive and an environmental alternative.

17 SENATOR FLOREZ: How often do you see the

18 State Water Resource Board? What would you say in

19 terms of their particular enforcement?

20 MR. BAROLDI: Well, since they've delegated

21 this type of activity to the Regional Board, that's --

22 the Regional Board would be who we interface with more

23 frequently.

24 SENATOR FLOREZ: How often do you see them?

25 MR. BAROLDI: Our Regional Board in the





1 Santa Ana region I see at least quarterly, and a

2 regulatory update that we have with the executive

3 officer from the Santa Ana River region.

4 SENATOR FLOREZ: Now, you say you see them.

5 And you are not here, though. You see them in

6 Orange County?

7 MR. BAROLDI: That's in Orange County,

8 that Regional Board. I have contact with

9 Jared Ramsey Lewis and Mr. Patteson here on occasion.

10 Infrequent I'd say.

11 SENATOR FLOREZ: And when was the last time

12 you saw them here?

13 MR. BAROLDI: Probably in August.

14 SENATOR FLOREZ: In August? And when was the

15 last time you saw them before that?

16 MR. BAROLDI: It's hard to say. I'd have to

17 look back at my Date Planner. But it is an infrequent

18 occurrence.

19 SENATOR FLOREZ: Once a quarter?

20 MR. BAROLDI: I would say not.

21 SENATOR FLOREZ: Once a year?

22 MR. BAROLDI: Probably.

23 SENATOR FLOREZ: So the enforcers once a

24 year?

25 MR. BAROLDI: Yeah. The actual land





1 application is carried out by the farmer. And any

2 inspection, being that I am in -- out in the valley,

3 would be done with our agents, the farmer, the

4 inspection by the Regional Board.

5 But if they give me an opportunity, I would

6 gladly meet them at the site if I got enough notice on

7 a surprise inspection.

8 SENATOR FLOREZ: Notice on a surprise

9 inspection?

10 MR. BAROLDI: That's why I don't see them.

11 SENATOR FLOREZ: That's probably why you

12 dont' see them.

13 So no hesitation in terms of the moving of

14 the operation. And in terms of the actual, if you

15 will, farmer who's in charge, that is a resident, or

16 is that somebody who lives here?

17 MR. BAROLDI: He lives in a county north of

18 here. I don't know exactly where. I think it's up

19 in -- north of Fresno where he lives. His business is

20 in both Kings and Kern County.

21 SENATOR FLOREZ: So he manages -- he's the

22 farm manager?

23 MR. BAROLDI: Absolutely.


25 MR. BAROLDI: Well, he's the owner of the





1 farm. He has staff that lives in Wasco/Pond area that

2 is the farm manager.

3 SENATOR FLOREZ: What are your thoughts in

4 terms of what you have heard tonight thus far in terms

5 of potential water contamination for this area?

6 MR. BAROLDI: Oh, I can absolutely understand

7 why there is the conservative nature. I mean, you

8 would think that -- you could look back at, perhaps, a

9 U.S. Geological Survey Study in '92 through '95 which

10 showed there was some, you know, farming operations

11 within the Central Valley that had had impacts on

12 groundwater.

13 But I think you've heard quite frequently

14 from the books here about the agronomic rate and the

15 risk assessment and the regulations and the rules on

16 this agricultural fertilizing product, that there is

17 not only federal, but state and local scrutiny put on

18 it to make sure that it's being done properly to

19 protect the groundwater resources.

20 SENATOR FLOREZ: If Riverside's particular

21 ordinance were in effect in Kern County, would that

22 impact you?

23 MR. BAROLDI: Probably not. And I think

24 Ms. Randall hit it on the head. What they have is a

25 four-tiered system based on nuisance potential.





1 And one of the key factors when Orange County

2 Sanitation picked the facility it went to was out of

3 concern to impacting citizens of your county here.

4 And I can honestly say that there probably isn't a

5 resident within 10 miles of the facility. It's very

6 remote. And when we picked it, it was kind of an

7 anecdotal story. It's the only area within my AT&T

8 cell plan between the 99 and the 5 that didn't have

9 the service area. So that was a pretty good sign.

10 SENATOR FLOREZ: So you can't put a tower on

11 that land?

12 MR. BAROLDI: I'd love to. Might be the only

13 valuable use after this.

14 SENATOR FLOREZ: All right. Thank you very

15 much. I appreciate it.

16 MR. BAROLDI: My pleasure.

17 SENATOR FLOREZ: Thank you.

18 Let's go to our last two witnesses and then

19 we will go to our public comment. We have

20 Lauren Fondahl, U.S. EPA. And then after that,

21 Doug Patteson, senior engineer, Regional Water Quality

22 Control Board.

23 Thank you for joining us.

24 MS. FONDAHL: Thanks. I had some nice person

25 put "Dr." in front of my name, but I can't state that





1 I am. But any way, it's just Lauren.

2 SENATOR FLOREZ: Okay. Thanks for joining

3 us.

4 MS. FONDAHL: I was given several questions

5 by Marie to answer. And see -- I can go through

6 these.

7 The first one was: "How does Part 503 aim to

8 protect groundwater and air quality?"

9 And regarding groundwater, they're based --

10 the standards are based on conservative exposure

11 consumptions for chemicals. The exposure models the

12 EPA used assumes a minimal depth of 3.3 feet between

13 the sewage sludge and the soil mixture and the top of

14 the aquifer from which water is to be withdrawn. It

15 assumes a worst-case soil, which is sandy lome, for

16 transmission of pollutants to the aquifer. And this

17 is like a worst-case scenario.

18 Most soils have far more retentive

19 capabilities. And the biosolids, themselves, in many

20 cases, improve the water retention capability of the

21 soil. And so EPA, to date, has felt that the -- these

22 conditions adequately protect groundwater.

23 The groundwater had not been a limiting

24 pathway for the -- when doing the risk assessments for

25 any of the pollutants that we looked at so for.





1 The primary pollutant of concern, of course,

2 is nitrate. And we do have an agronomic weight

3 requirement. This applies to Class B sewage sludge,

4 and it doesn't automatically apply to Class A. And

5 this was because, originally, the Class B sewage

6 sludge has about 5 to 6 percent nitrogen, whereas the

7 traditional Class A products had 1 to 2 percent, like

8 composting and so on.

9 Now, the city of L.A., and a few other

10 agencies, have Class A that do have 5 to 6 percent

11 nitrogen. And we have put in permits, and, also, the

12 Regional Water Quality Control Board and the counties,

13 including Kern County, have put in agronomic weight

14 requirements for these.

15 The California -- State Water Resource

16 Control Board, in their general order, also requires

17 pre and post application groundwater monitoring to

18 verify if the agronomic weight is being calculated

19 correctly. And they have the option, and the Regional

20 Board is going to impose additional requirements.

21 With respect to air quality, in performing

22 the risk assessment for the first round of the 503

23 standards, those which came out in '93, EPA evaluated

24 two air pathways for exposure to pollutants:

25 Inhalation of particulate matter over a lifetime by a





1 tractor driver tilling a field, and the human lifetime

2 installation of pollutants that volitize to air.

3 These pathways were not the limiting pathways for the

4 pollutants analyzed.

5 In rounds 2 and 3, EPA used a new

6 probabilistic risk assessment to assess the potential

7 air pathways of concern. And, to date, the air

8 pathways have not been found to be the limiting

9 pathways for any of the pollutants looked at so far.

10 EPA is now beginning to develop a microbial

11 exposure and hazard assessment methodology and will

12 develop a pathogen risk assessment to further define

13 and characterize the risks from airborne pathogens

14 exposure to residents adjacent to sewage sludge

15 application sites.

16 In response to the recommendations of the

17 National Research Council to develop further data on

18 potential impacts of airborne pathogens, EPA has

19 committed to several additional studies: Development

20 of a human health incident reporting, tracking, and

21 follow-up response system to investigate human claims

22 of human health impacts.

23 In cooperation with other stakeholders, EPA

24 is going to plan and execute a series of field studies

25 to measure model emissions from land-applied sewage





1 sludge at sites in proximity to residential areas.

2 EPA will conduct an exposure measurement

3 workshop to develop methods for quantifying exposure

4 to pollutants at land-applied sewage sludge to nearby

5 residents.

6 Let's see, the second question was: "Does

7 the National Biosolids Partnership require groundwater

8 monitoring and pathogen reduction?"

9 The partnership, of course, isn't a

10 regulatory agency. It does encourage its members to

11 develop environmental management systems such as the

12 City of L.A. and Orange County Sanitation District

13 described.

14 The third question was: "How does EPA

15 respond to ongoing concerns about public health and

16 quality of life concerns?"

17 In December 2003, we published the results of

18 our review. We are required to do this every two

19 years. And we hadn't done this since '93, but we

20 published another evaluation.

21 We did an assessment for dioxins and the

22 dibenzofurans and coplanar PCBs. And, then, the next

23 round we published a proposal in 2003. As part of

24 this round, we commissioned the National Research

25 Counsel to independently review the technical basis





1 and come up with recommendations, which it did in

2 2002.

3 As a part of this review, we started a number

4 of additional measures such as additional work in

5 developing means for pollutants that we now have

6 detection limits for that we didn't five years ago,

7 and developing risk assessments based on that.

8 We are working on developing a national

9 incidence tracking system to determine health effects.

10 We're working on better characterizing the odors

11 involved in chemicals and bio aerosols that may be

12 emitted from land-application sites and evaluation of

13 the effectiveness of current sewage sludge practices.

14 SENATOR FLOREZ: Let me interrupt you.

15 Let's, No. 1, submit your answers for the record. Let

16 me ask you about four questions.

17 MS. FONDAHL: Okay.

18 SENATOR FLOREZ: Maybe that will get through

19 part of it.

20 MS. FONDAHL: Yes.

21 SENATOR FLOREZ: And I appreciate your

22 responses. And I think you and your staff have been

23 very diligent in offering that.

24 So, Transcriber, we'll submit that, and maybe

25 you can include it as part of the record. Okay.





1 Let me ask you a couple of questions

2 specifically.

3 I guess what I'm hearing is we are going to,

4 and I guess what I am interested in right now is,

5 given the current standards and what you have heard

6 tonight, what is it that we can do know in terms of

7 some of the issues, particularly the agronomic and

8 some of the, if you will, land application issues that

9 seem to be years behind where we should be today.

10 So I hear we are waiting for 2005. I hear

11 that we -- at least the samples you've mentioned were

12 nitrate very strongly. And I forgot, I didn't hear

13 you say anything about pathogens or heavy metals.

14 What are we doing about that today?

15 What can we do about that today?

16 That's the reason we are here. It's the

17 groundwater; so I am kind of wondering what we can do

18 about that today.

19 MS. FONDAHL: I think the practices in

20 Kern County do have a number of safety factors in

21 place. Our standards were based on worst-case

22 scenarios where you're going to be growing food crops

23 in the near future, or you are, in fact, growing food

24 crops. And you have much lower setbacks. And what

25 exists in Kern County today is there are substantial





1 setbacks from population areas and so on.


3 MS. FONDAHL: I think with respect to the

4 groundwater, you know, it's something that needs to be

5 looked at as we look at new chemicals, at the

6 biosolids that are applied and incorporated within six

7 to eight inches of the soil --


9 MS. FONDAHL: -- with the possibility that

10 others would percolate down is -- at this point, it

11 doesn't appear to be a real problem. It's something

12 that needs to continue to be looked at. But the

13 monitoring is in place now.

14 SENATOR FLOREZ: And I think the issue -- the

15 reason I ask you that is I think just about every

16 single person tonight is referencing you as, if you

17 will, the standard. "The EPA only says we have to do

18 this." "The EPA only tells us this is allowable."

19 And I guess I am wondering, I think you heard

20 me mention earlier that the EPA seems to have reversed

21 its position from promoting, if you will, the

22 beneficial uses of biosolids.

23 When did that change occur, and why did it

24 occur?

25 MS. FONDAHL: I think it depends on who you





1 talk to as to whether we do or don't promote.

2 SENATOR FLOREZ: Where are you on it? You

3 are the EPA tonight.

4 MS. FONDAHL: I think -- I wouldn't promote

5 it. I think it's a good option in some areas. In

6 other areas it's -- you have to look at the overall

7 situation: What's the distance that you're going to

8 have to truck it, and how much impact are you going to

9 have from that and --

10 SENATOR FLOREZ: And are you offering us any

11 guidance in that regard?

12 MS. FONDAHL: I think it -- you know, it is

13 up to the County to make the calls from a

14 quality-of-life stance as to just how much they want

15 to go above and beyond --

16 SENATOR FLOREZ: Okay. So you're just the

17 minimum?

18 MS. FONDAHL: We're the minimum, yeah.

19 And like Riverside County, you know,

20 certainly did make the quality-of-life call on just

21 how to protect itself from nuisances.

22 SENATOR FLOREZ: Had to stop it; right?

23 MS. FONDAHL: Uh-huh.

24 SENATOR FLOREZ: So the quality-of-life bar

25 is nebulous and important, but yet provides some sort





1 of, if you will, not a ban but a way to regulate and a

2 way that kind of avoids --

3 MS. FONDAHL: So they can make the call,

4 "this isn't too much of a nuisance."

5 SENATOR FLOREZ: Gotcha. Right. And they

6 make that call.

7 In terms of the EPA research, you mentioned

8 that you are going to be doing quite a bit; is that

9 correct?

10 MS. FONDAHL: Yeah.

11 SENATOR FLOREZ: When does it all conclude?

12 What years?

13 I know that you've mentioned a couple of

14 different things. But at what point can we expect

15 some guidance from the EPA?

16 MS. FONDAHL: I think, like any EPA program,

17 it never concludes. Or, you know, as our detection

18 limits improve, we find that there are new chemicals

19 and then -- that can be detected and then in

20 analyzing, are they a risk?

21 SENATOR FLOREZ: When is the next round?

22 MS. FONDAHL: The next -- the current round,

23 there were 15 pollutants proposed in 2003. They were

24 going to have them evaluated in the next couple of

25 years. After that there will be another round of





1 pollutants and so on. And this is the same with

2 drinking water or anything else. There's, you know,

3 new pollutants being analyzed continuously.

4 SENATOR FLOREZ: You mentioned or I may have

5 heard another witness talk about this National

6 Certification Program. Is that EPA'S program?

7 MS. FONDAHL: I think that's the

8 Environmental Management System.

9 SENATOR FLOREZ: Is that a voluntary program?

10 MS. FONDAHL: Yeah, that's a voluntary

11 program.

12 SENATOR FLOREZ: And are you a part of that

13 process at all?

14 MS. FONDAHL: Not really.

15 When the entities develop their program, then

16 the EPA is one of the agencies that may comment on it.

17 But it's just one of many agencies that may comment on

18 it.

19 SENATOR FLOREZ: And has the EPA ever thought

20 about making this a kind of a mandatory process in

21 terms of this type of certification?

22 MS. FONDAHL: I don't think EPA has. I --

23 some of the state agencies have looked at, you know,

24 should they take the conditions and actually put them

25 into a permit to improve the performance of the





1 facilities.

2 SENATOR FLOREZ: I see. Thank you very much.

3 And thank you for your written testimony. We will

4 submit it for the record.

5 Okay. Doug.

6 It's Central Valley Regional Water Control

7 Board; correct?

8 MR. PATTESON: Correct.

9 SENATOR FLOREZ: And let me just start where

10 we left off.

11 It is a thought, particularly in this county,

12 that we don't see you as frequently, not you per se

13 but your agency, as much as we should.

14 Why is that, particularly as enforcer?

15 MR. PATTESON: Well, we have several hundred

16 sites in the area. And I have five people who come to

17 those sites. So we don't -- we try to get it at least

18 once a year.

19 SENATOR FLOREZ: So once a year is about,

20 kind of, when we could except?

21 MR. PATTESON: Yeah. We review submittals,

22 though, throughout the year.


24 MR. PATTESON: And monitor them.

25 SENATOR FLOREZ: And that means you are





1 actually -- when you say "submittals," take me through

2 what it is you do.

3 MR. PATTESON: They have -- biosolids

4 applicators submit a preapplication report saying

5 where the proposed field that they are going to apply

6 biosolids is and what the previous loadings have been,

7 what the capacity left is. And then following

8 application, they submit a post application report

9 that summarizes what took place and....

10 SENATOR FLOREZ: And what type of monitoring

11 does the Board do in relation to the Green Acres site?

12 MR. PATTESON: We require independent samples

13 taken by the applicator of biosolids as well as -- I

14 think relative to the City of Bakersfield's disposal

15 of effluent groundwater monitoring. The groundwater

16 monitoring I don't think is required for the biosolids

17 permit.

18 SENATOR FLOREZ: And given that, there were

19 reports created?

20 MR. PATTESON: Correct.

21 SENATOR FLOREZ: How regular are those

22 reports?

23 MR. PATTESON: It varies depending on how

24 often they go to a particular field. But monthly. We

25 give reports every month.





1 SENATOR FLOREZ: Every month.

2 And you say we have maybe one visit per year?

3 MR. PATTESON: Right. Site inspection.

4 SENATOR FLOREZ: So that one report every

5 year per site?

6 MR. PATTESON: Well, the Regional Board

7 generates.

8 SENATOR FLOREZ: Okay. And in terms of the

9 agronomic rates that we were talking about, any

10 violations that you have found in terms of that

11 particular standard?

12 MR. PATTESON: No, not really. It's -- it is

13 totally clear; so I think there is room for

14 improvement in the reporting that we require, not

15 necessarily what the applicators do but what the

16 permit requires.

17 SENATOR FLOREZ: And in terms of the action

18 if, indeed, there is a violation found, what actions

19 does your Board, you, take? I mean, do you send a

20 letter and then that's it, or what specific actions --

21 MR. PATTESON: Typically we would send a

22 Notice of Violation which states the problem, requires

23 a solution, a fix, by a certain date. If that's not

24 done, then we will escalate enforcement.

25 SENATOR FLOREZ: Have you ever escalated





1 enforcement on one of these facilities?


3 SENATOR FLOREZ: Do we ever require any

4 testing when we find a violation?

5 MR. PATTESON: Actually, there are -- the

6 main violations that we have noted are monitoring

7 deficiencies. And, typically, those are corrected

8 right away.

9 SENATOR FLOREZ: And I mentioned the

10 agronomic rates. And how do we, in essence, regulate

11 those particular rates. And how does your agency deal

12 with that?

13 MR. PATTESON: Well, we look at the acreage

14 of the area being applied to, what crop's grown, what

15 its nitrogen requirement is. And then based on

16 analytical samples of the biosolids, the nitrogen

17 content, calculate an allowable loading.

18 SENATOR FLOREZ: And when was the last time

19 you were at Green Acres?

20 MR. PATTESON: It was this year, early this

21 year, the spring.

22 SENATOR FLOREZ: And prior to that when was

23 the last time you were here?

24 MR. PATTESON: I couldn't tell you. I have a

25 staff person who comes down here. I think -- I would





1 say it was within a year of that.

2 SENATOR FLOREZ: Those are all the questions

3 I have. Thank you very much.

4 Okay. This will be the time for public

5 comment. And if anyone has any public comment, please

6 feel free to come on up. And if you could just

7 identify yourself for the record, that would be great.

8 MR. LUNDQUIST: Senator Florez, I am

9 Gene Lundquist. I am the director of the Kern County

10 Water Agency, Board of Directors, and I am serving

11 this year as president of the Board.

12 You have heard earlier from Jim Beck, our

13 general manager elect. And he explained some of the

14 agency's concerns with the current situation of about

15 368,000 tons of sewage sludge being imported into the

16 county each year and deposited over the groundwater

17 basin.

18 I just want to emphasize that the agency's

19 staff is pursuing this issue with the full and

20 complete support of the Agency Board of Directors.

21 We recognize that the generators and the

22 entities that they have operating and hauling sewage

23 sludge to their designated properties are operating

24 within the legal and regulatory parameters.

25 However, operating within legal parameters





1 does not guarantee that groundwater will not be

2 polluted sometime in the future.

3 Witness the fact that 50 years ago, state

4 regulators thought that they knew how to manage

5 perchlorate, which is a component of rocket fuel, in a

6 safe manner.

7 Today, however, there are numerous news

8 stories of perchlorate showing up not only in

9 groundwater but also in drinking water, in milk, and

10 even lettuce. This isn't on the lettuce, it's in the

11 lettuce, from Imperial Valley; Yuma, Arizona; and

12 Texas.

13 People just didn't know the dangers of

14 perchlorate contamination in groundwater. I think

15 some of that leaked into the Colorado River 150, 200

16 miles upstream from Imperial Valley, and eventually

17 made its way to those areas, including Yuma.

18 Add to the fact that today we are discovering

19 things in biosolids in greater quantity --

20 pharmaceuticals, organic compounds.

21 I think Mr. Giboney made the point several

22 times that, in essence, biosolids today are kind of a

23 bad suit. And these compounds can come together in

24 new combinations that we didn't expect.

25 As has been pointed out, the Kern County





1 water banking facilities are literally a multi-

2 billion dollar resource which is really growing more

3 valuable every day. And, obviously, we are very

4 concerned with protecting this resource from

5 contamination from any source.

6 Kern County's underground water basin

7 contains about 40 million acre feet of high quality

8 water. We are unique in that we have this aquifer

9 here in our county and that we have soil conditions

10 that enable us to bank water in it in wet times and

11 extract it in dry times.

12 We are the envy of the state in terms of

13 being able to manage our water resources. And as has

14 been pointed out already, both Kern County citizens

15 and citizens of Southern California depend on our

16 aquifer. Metropolitan Water Agency has water stored

17 in the Kern water bank. So maintaining the purity of

18 our water is important to many people.

19 This is probably the most important point

20 that I am going to try to make: We believe that it

21 makes no sense to risk what can be considered one of

22 the most precious, if not the most precious, resource

23 that we have to even the possibility of contamination

24 by continuing to operate these sites over the

25 groundwater basin, especially when there is an





1 alternative. And I think the agency's trying to be

2 very reasonable in moving these off the groundwater.

3 I know that the generators, and Ms. Gilbert

4 has said this, believe that they're doing everything

5 that they can possibly do, that what they're doing is

6 completely safe, that there's no possibility that

7 biosolids can reach the groundwater aquifer.

8 And what I say, though -- and I use the

9 personal pronoun deliberately -- is that no one can

10 know that contaminants from biosolids will not reach

11 the basin.

12 Even though the generators are following the

13 law, they are not providing us with assurances or

14 guarantees that future contamination from sewage

15 sludge will not occur.

16 I believe that we must be more diligent in

17 protecting our resources, not only this year or for

18 five years or fifty years, or a thousand years from

19 now, but from now on. We owe this to all of the

20 generations that will come after us.

21 I believe that those of us who are leaders at

22 the local level of government need to be in the

23 forefront of issues like this one. And that doesn't

24 mean that we're radical environmentalists. It just

25 means that we're using common sense and that we have





1 an obligation to present-day citizens as well as to

2 our children and our children's children.

3 Beyond the safety question, I would ask the

4 same question that you've been asking all evening, and

5 that is:

6 What benefit is County of Kern getting for

7 allowing sewage sludge to be deposited over the

8 groundwater aquifer as compared to the risk of

9 allowing human waste into the county?

10 We do not see a benefit that is that large,

11 but rather we see a big risk, a risk that we simply do

12 not have to take.

13 We have looked at the websites for the

14 various generators. Orange County contracted for a

15 comprehensive biosolids management study, which must

16 have cost a bunch because it was about that thick.

17 And that study was by CH2 M Hill, a respected

18 engineering company. That study identified several

19 biosolids management options that could occur off the

20 aquifer such as composting and energy production.

21 And, incidentally, I want to segway right

22 there.

23 Contained in that study was the statement --

24 and I'm paraphrasing now; I don't have this on my

25 paper here -- but it references back to an earlier





1 comment.

2 Their study indicated that it cost $35 a wet

3 ton. And in order to change their current practices,

4 the cost would have to go to $50 to $75 a ton, wet

5 ton, in order to change their practices. To me, that

6 just means that it's going to keep coming here for the

7 foreseeable future.

8 The Los Angeles City Hiperion Plant

9 discontinued using biosolids for on-site energy

10 production, I believe, in around 1996. This is where

11 they were at that time disposing of some of their

12 sewage sludge.

13 Their own studies did not show that moving

14 biosolids to Kern County was more sustainable than

15 their current practice or safer; rather, it was not

16 mentioned at all. What it did show was that

17 depositing sewage sludge in Kern County was cheaper.

18 As you know, the Agency has just completed a

19 Request for Proposals to move Orange County, Oxnard,

20 and the City of Los Angeles deposit sites off of the

21 groundwater to places where there is no risk of

22 contamination. We are examining these now and we will

23 be meeting with the generators after we find out if we

24 have valid proposals. And I think that we do.

25 We are asking that the generators consider





1 these proposals and voluntarily, though, not only to

2 help Kern County's groundwater but, also, to limit

3 their own liability.

4 Further, we are not trying to shove what we

5 consider a problem to some other county's groundwater

6 basin.

7 Wherever this sewage sludge goes, and it

8 certainly has to go somewhere, it most certainly

9 should not be placed over another valuable aquifer.

10 I want to segway once more from my prepared

11 statement here, referring back to some things that

12 were said earlier.

13 Groundwater monitoring. And I will just

14 reference the Green Acres farm. You can set, in my

15 opinion, monitors out there. But in questioning the

16 Agency's hydrologist, an expert in that field, No. 1,

17 if it is detected, it's going to be too late; No. 2,

18 those soils out there and, virtually, anyplace, are

19 not just monolithic.

20 If you put water or biosolids on one spot,

21 it's not going, necessarily, to go straight down. The

22 soils are variable. The sand conditions might start

23 here and go sideways and end up four to six miles away

24 from the site. As I said, our hydrologist had

25 indicated that it's certainly possible for





1 contamination to reach the aquifer eventually.

2 When the City of Los Angeles Sanitation

3 Department had their open house at their hospitality

4 center, a number of us in this room attended. I was

5 one of them. And I asked the farmer who was in charge

6 of growing the crops what the soil conditions were

7 like. He said they vary. There are spots where it is

8 absolutely sandy and totally permeable. There are

9 other spots where it is kind of a medium texture, more

10 difficult to percolate. And there's spots where it is

11 extremely tight and would be difficult to go down.

12 But the point is there. It is not a

13 monolith.

14 So, Senator Florez, we appreciate you delving

15 into this important issue. I think your highlighting

16 it is extremely valuable. And we are asking for your

17 assistance in stopping the placement of sewage sludge

18 over our groundwater basin.

19 Thank you very much.

20 SENATOR FLOREZ: Very well put.

21 Any other comments?

22 Yes, come on down.

23 MR. STOCKTON: I will try to be as specific

24 as I can.






1 MR. STOCKTON: My name is Steve Stockton. I

2 am vice president of Responsible Biosolids Management.

3 We are the contractors that apply the biosolids at the

4 Green Acres farm.

5 I'm just paying attention so I can answer a

6 couple of questions. One of them is, first off: The

7 wear and tear. We don't use County roads. We come in

8 on the state highways and interstate highways. And we

9 made special cutouts so that we don't have to use

10 County roads and take the beating that they do.

11 Those roads are coming apart, as anybody

12 knows, and -- because of the dairies and everything

13 else that gets hauled around there.

14 Secondly, you want to know how the County

15 benefits. Between our employees, which are mostly

16 farm employees, the employees that are involved in the

17 trucking contractor, which is a local contractor with

18 drivers and so on, the farmer that's local, you are

19 probably, at any given time, have somewhere between 70

20 and 100 people that are working.

21 Now, this job is a 365-day-a-year job.

22 This -- these guys work all the time. What they are

23 allowed to do, when they have a permanent job like

24 that, is do some things that normally a farm laborer

25 doesn't get to do such as, maybe, buy a new car or buy





1 a house. You know, our guys get to do that. They

2 also get paid a little bit more because of -- working

3 with the City of Los Angeles, it's one of the

4 requirements. They doubted us a little bit. They got

5 to get a living wage. All right?

6 So we probably -- this is just off the cuff;

7 I don't want to be held to this -- but we probably

8 bring somewhere between $8 and $9 million into the

9 County in net revenues. And I can't tell you about

10 the taxes.

11 Also, on my way over here, I drove right by a

12 rocket fuel testing facility. Somebody was just

13 telling me about perchlorate. Boom, there's a whole

14 new facility out there. And it was just roaring away

15 when I drove through.

16 I also drove right by a refinery that sits

17 right next to the river. You know, it seems to me

18 there's other things that need to be cleaned up pretty

19 quickly. And all of us that are in the farming

20 business know that anything that we apply to the soil,

21 it's possible, it's somehow possible that that can run

22 off, get into a canal, a river, a lake, percolate

23 through. That is possible somehow. Every farmer has

24 to look out for that. Every farmer is looking out for

25 pesticides. Every farmer is relying on the best





1 science. That's a mantra that we all chance. We rely

2 on the best science, and we think we have the best

3 science available right now.

4 Regarding the Regional Board. They don't

5 come around very often, and they don't tell us when

6 they're coming. I wish they'd give us a call, but

7 they don't. We find out they've been there, you know?

8 And, secondly -- again, I'm going to talk to

9 the farmers who are in this room, too. How many of

10 them think that you want to tangle with the Regional

11 Water Quality Control Board. You know, a cease and

12 desist is a pretty scary thing. And it doesn't take

13 very long and they can put you out of business real

14 quick.

15 And, also, I will I have to say, I do the

16 technical work for our company, and I am in contact

17 with an engineer at the Regional Board at least once a

18 week, usually twice a week, where we discuss loading

19 rates, what we're doing, what our plans are,

20 et cetera, et cetera.

21 And I'm going to let you off the hook with

22 that.

23 SENATOR FLOREZ: Thank you very much.

24 Any other comment from the public?

25 Come on up.





1 MR. JHAJ: Mr. Senator, my name is

2 Rupinder Jhaj. I own the store over there close to

3 Interstate 5 and 119, 43 and 119.

4 I bought that store four years ago. After

5 next year, they start dumping the sludge next door to

6 me. It is almost a lake. My sales dropped down more

7 than $8,000 a month.

8 They're talking about the fees for 8,000 a

9 year. My store's drop down more than $8,000 a month.

10 And when they dump, it smells so bad and so

11 many flies comes over there, you can't even believe

12 it. And the people going to the lake, they have the

13 same problem, too. They don't want to go to the lake

14 anymore. Their business dropped, too, because of the

15 odor and the flies.

16 I never thought that the County will allow to

17 dump their sewer next door to me. But I thought

18 because -- and they try with this. They can't do it

19 too much, you know, because the Los Angeles County has

20 with so many years to dump over there. Eventually

21 they will stop. I want to know when they will stop.

22 And I think they're making their money over

23 there. They're sending their sludge cheaper over

24 here. They're paying taxes over here, too. I think

25 we should end this. That's my response.





1 SENATOR FLOREZ: Thank you very much.

2 Any other public comment?

3 Okay. No. 1, we are just almost at three

4 hours.

5 And I do appreciate, No. 1, Pam. Thank you

6 for your work. Three hours of transcribing this

7 hearing is quite a bit of work. So I wanted to thank

8 you.

9 THE COURT REPORTER: You're welcome.

10 SENATOR FLOREZ: And I do want to thank

11 everyone who participated, particularly the panelists

12 who helped our staff tremendously in terms of the

13 information you provided.

14 I will say that we will make most of what you

15 didn't say part of the record and make sure that it's

16 incorporated within the record.

17 And as I mentioned, the transcript,

18 hopefully, should be available within two or three

19 weeks on-line. And we would encourage you to go back

20 and read it. And we would, of course, encourage you

21 to write back to the Committee if we missed anything

22 after reading the transcript.

23 I very much appreciate all of the hard work

24 that my staff did, as well: Marie Liu to my right who

25 is our consultant to the Senate Select Committee on





1 Air Quality; and, of course, Al Wagner, who has been

2 at about every single hearing we have done. And there

3 have been many.

4 Let me also say that this is an issue, and I

5 meant it with all sincerity to the City of

6 Los Angeles, that we really need to work this out. We

7 really need to, rather than point fingers -- and it's

8 not that L.A. isn't welcomed in Kern County. I think

9 the issue is simply what it is that you bring, what

10 gifts you bear, and what we actually hold for you in

11 terms of the water that is so precious to all of us in

12 both regions.

13 And I think if we could continue along the

14 path that the Water Agency is on, I think it's a good

15 path, I think it's a start, I think it moves us in the

16 right direction. And, you know, I can only tell you

17 from my vantage point that we -- obviously, the

18 average person in Kern County, you know, as we

19 highlight these issues, we get lots of calls. And I

20 am always interested in kind of gauging what, if you

21 will, some people say. And I do appreciate the last

22 comment made by the operator.

23 But I can tell you that we really do have to

24 do the economic benefit. We really do have to figure

25 out whether or not the $8,000 per year is actually





1 high enough and whether or not, you know, this is

2 something we really want long-term in County of Kern.

3 That's just my opinion.

4 And I do want to thank Gene Lundquist. I

5 think he just about said everything I wanted to say in

6 my closing. So I will just paraphrase his closing.

7 I think there are some very, very important

8 issues that it's going to take cooperation, absolute

9 cooperation, to figure out how to make this work for

10 both parties.

11 Given that, thank you all for coming. And

12 more importantly, thank you for sticking around. I

13 know a three-hour hearing is a very long hearing. And

14 I do appreciate your comments.

15 Anything we may have missed, please submit

16 via e-mail or to our staff, and we'll make it part of

17 the record, as well.

18 So with that, I will adjourn this hearing of

19 the Senate Select Committee on Air Quality.



22 EPA Region 9 responses to Senator Florez's questions

23 on biosolids December 16, 2004.

24 1. How does Part 503 aim to protect groundwater? Air

25 quality?





1 Regarding protection of groundwater from

2 pollutants, EPA's Part 503 Standards are based on

3 conservative exposure assumptions. The exposure model

4 that EPA uses to estimate the groundwater exposure

5 pathway assumes a minimal depth (3.3 feet) between the

6 sewage sludge soil mixture and the top of the aquifer

7 from which water may be withdrawn. The exposure model

8 also assumes a reasonable worst-case soil (sandy loam)

9 for transmission of pollutants into the aquifer. The

10 vast majority of sewage sludge land application sites

11 in the United States have characteristics with greater

12 distance to groundwater and more retentive soils than

13 the site characteristics assumed by EPA in its

14 exposure model. Because the standards are based on

15 these conservative, worst-case assumptions, they

16 adequately protect groundwater and drinking water from

17 the leaching of chemical pollutants from land-applied

18 sewage sludge. In many cases, biosolids have been

19 shown to increase water retention capabilities of

20 soils by addition of organic matter.

21 The primary pollutant of concern with respect

22 to groundwater is nitrate. Part 503 requires

23 application not to exceed an agronomic rate; i.e the

24 rate designed to provide only as much nitrogen as the

25 crop to be grown will take up. Land appliers applying





1 Class B biosolids are required to demonstrate to EPA

2 and State and local regulators that they are applying

3 at agronomic rates, and face penalties under the Clean

4 Water Act for over-application. Class B biosolids

5 typically have a nitrogen content of 5 to 6%.

6 Part 503 does not automatically require that

7 Class A "exceptional quality" biosolids be applied at

8 an agronomic rate. This is in part due to the fact

9 that traditional Class A treatment processes

10 (composting, alkali addition, drying) reduce nitrogen

11 levels to 1 to 2%, so that when applied they are

12 unlikely to leach in significant quantities to

13 groundwater. For Class A biosolids such as the

14 thermophilically digested biosolids produced by the

15 City of Los Angeles, which do have nitrogen contents

16 in the 5% range, EPA has put conditions in permits

17 requiring applications of Class A biosolids not to

18 exceed the agronomic rate (EPA issues NPDES permits in

19 conjunction with the Regional Water Quality Control

20 Board to large Southern California ocean dischargers).

21 The State of California's General Order for

22 biosolids and Kern County also impose agronomic rate

23 requirements for both Class B biosolids and certain

24 types of Class A biosolids. The SWRCB defines

25 agronomic rate as "the nitrogen requirement of a plan





1 needed for optimal growth and production, as cited in

2 professional publications for California by the County

3 Agricultural Commissioner or recommended by a

4 Certified Agronomist or Certified Soil Scientist."

5 The Order requires pre and post-application

6 groundwater monitoring when depth to groundwater is

7 less than 25', or as specified by the Regional Board.

8 With respect to air quality, in performing

9 the risk-assessment for the first round of the 503

10 standards, EPA evaluated two air pathways for exposure

11 to pollutants: Inhalation of particulate matter over

12 a lifetime by a tractor driver tilling a field, and

13 human lifetime inhalation of pollutants that volatized

14 to air. These pathways were not limiting pathways for

15 the pollutants analyzed. In rounds 2 and 3, EPA used

16 a probabilistic risk assessment to assess potential

17 air pathways of concern for pollutants. To date, air

18 pathways have not been found to be limiting pathways.

19 EPA is developing microbial exposure and

20 hazard assessment methodologies, and will develop a

21 quantitative pathogen risk assessment to further

22 define and characterize the risks from airborne

23 pathogen exposure to residents adjacent to sewage

24 sludge land application sites.

25 In response to the recommendations of the





1 National Research Council to develop further data on

2 potential impacts of airborne pathogens to human

3 health, EPA has committed to several additional

4 studies:

5 1. The development of a human health

6 incident reporting, tracking, and

7 followup/response system for the investigation of

8 claims of human health impacts from the land

9 application of sewage sludge. EPA is

10 accomplishing this through its participation in a

11 multi-stakeholder Incident Tracking Workshop to

12 be convened and facilitated by the Water

13 Environment Research Foundation (WERF) in January

14 2005;

15 2. In cooperation with other stakeholders as

16 well as in self-initiated studies, the planning

17 and execution of a series of field studies to

18 measure and model the emissions from land-applied

19 sewage sludge at sites in close proximity to

20 residents;

21 3. Conducting a multi-stakeholder exposure

22 measurement workshop to develop methods of

23 quantifying exposure of pollutants in

24 land-applied sewage sludge to nearby site

25 residents;.





1 EPA is also following studies being conducted

2 by researchers in the academic and research community.

3 For example, researchers at the University of

4 Arizona's Water Quality Center have measured the

5 emissions of numerous pathogens from sewage

6 sludge-amended fields and have modeled ambient air

7 concentrations of these pathogens. The results to

8 date have indicated that nearby residents of these

9 fields, if they resided at these locations, would have

10 extremely low risks from pathogen exposures.


12 - Does the National Biosolids Partnership require

13 groundwater monitoring? Appropriate pathogens?

14 The National Biosolids Partnership is not a

15 regulatory agency. The Partnership is working with

16 its members to develop Environmental Management

17 Systems that go above and beyond the regulatory

18 requirements, including additional monitoring to

19 satisfy the public, and address quality of life issues

20 as well.


22 2. How is the EPA responding to the on-going concerns

23 about public health and quality of life concerns from

24 the land application of biosolids?

25 In December 2003, EPA published the results





1 of its review of regulations under the Clean Water Act

2 governing sewage sludge (68 FR 75531). The Clean

3 Water Act requires that EPA review the sewage sludge

4 regulations every two years for the purpose of

5 identifying additional toxic pollutants and

6 promulgating regulations for such pollutants

7 consistent with the requirements. As part of this

8 review, EPA commissioned the National Research Council

9 (NRC) of the National Academy of Sciences to

10 independently review the technical basis of the

11 chemical and microbial regulations applicable to

12 sewage sludge. The NRC in July 2002 published

13 "Biosolids Applied to Land: Advancing Standards and

14 Practices" in response to this request.

15 EPA expects to complete or begin 14

16 activities identified in the December 2003 action plan

17 within the next 3 years. These projects will

18 strengthen the program by improving our ability to:

19 1. Develop means for measuring pollutants of

20 interest.

21 2. Determine risks posed by new contaminants

22 identified as potentially hazardous.

23 3. Bring various stakeholder groups together to

24 develop a national incidence tracking system to

25 ultimately determine health effects following land





1 application.

2 4. Better understand and characterize the odors,

3 volatile chemicals, and bioaerosols that may be

4 emitted from land application sites.

5 5. Better understand the effectiveness of sewage

6 sludge processes and management practices to control

7 pathogens.

8 6. Improve inspection and compliance initiatives

9 7. Improve stakeholders' involvement in EPA's

10 sewage sludge program.

11 EPA is working with the Center for Disease

12 Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop a system for

13 collecting, tracking, and analyzing reports of human

14 health problems associated with the land application

15 of sewage sludge. At the Regional level, EPA

16 coordinates with the County Public Health officials to

17 track reports of health problems when complaints

18 arise.


20 3. Should we be using E. Coli as an indicator rather

21 than fecal coliform, as is done in drinking water

22 standards?

23 EPA is looking into use of E. Coli as an

24 indicator, but does not yet have a database to draw a

25 correlation between E. Coli and fecal coliform, or





1 between E. Coli and treatment processes in sludge.

2 The fecal coliform test is a conservative one, and E.

3 Coli are a sub-set of fecal coliform.


5 4. Are there best management practices for nutrient

6 loading and run-off established by the EPA?

7 EPA provides guidance on agronomic rate

8 calculations, and helps put land appliers in contact

9 with agricultural extension agents in order to

10 determine the agronomic rates most suitable for a

11 given geographic area.

12 EPA places conditions in those NPDES permits

13 which we issue, and gives recommended NPDES

14 boilerplate language to state agencies, that require

15 the installation of adequate facilities to divert

16 surface runoff from adjacent areas, protect site

17 boundaries from erosion, and prevent conditions that

18 would cause drainage to escape from the site.

19 The SWRCB General Order requires an

20 evaluation of, and erosion control plan for, slopes

21 greater than 10%. It requires structures to control

22 tail water, and additional setbacks from primary

23 agricultural drainage ways, underground aqueducts,

24 marshes, water supply wells, and other surface and

25 groundwater sources. Additional measures are required





1 by the Regional Water Quality Control Boards through

2 Waste Discharge Requirements where deemed necessary.

3 5. Are we taking enough precautionary measures to

4 protect us from the unknown risks in biosolids?

5 The Clean Water Act requires EPA to review

6 existing sewage sludge regulations every other year to

7 identify additional pollutants that may need to be

8 regulated. EPA recently did such a review in 2003.

9 EPA first reviewed the most recent available

10 information on the occurrence of pollutants in sewage

11 sludge. This information includes sewage sludge

12 concentration data, environmental properties such as

13 mobility and persistence, available human health bench

14 marks, and available effects data on ecological

15 species. In this round, EPA identified 40 pollutants

16 for which adequate data exists to run valid exposure

17 and hazard assessments for human health and ecological

18 impacts. 15 pollutants were identified that needed

19 further evaluation to determine if numerical 503

20 standards should be proposed. EPA is now conducting a

21 similar process for Biennial Review 2005.

22 EPA will design and conduct a targeted

23 national survey of certain pollutants in sewage sludge

24 in 2005. The results of the survey of targeted

25 pollutants will provide pollutant concentration values





1 that EPA will then use in a more refined risk

2 assessment and risk characterization. Based on the

3 results of these refined analyses, EPA will proposed

4 as soon as practicable new regulations under CWA

5 Section 405(d) for any pollutants that are determined

6 to potentially be present in sewage sludge in

7 concentrations that may adversely affect public health

8 or the environment. The Agency believes that its

9 Action Plan projects (68 FR 75531), the regulatory and

10 non-regulatory components of the multi-year plan, can

11 help reduce the persistent uncertainty related to

12 exposure to sewage sludge and help strengthen the

13 sewage sludge program.

14 The current biosolids rules have provided a

15 useful benchmark for the development of rules for

16 other organic wastes. In 1995, the California

17 Integrated Waste Management Board incorporated the

18 pollutant standards in 503, and related monitoring

19 requirements, into its rules for other composts. This

20 has helped to identify pollutants of concern such as

21 high selenium in some manure composts, and high lead

22 levels in some greenwaste composts.

23 EPA published regulations and guidelines for

24 Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations in 2003 that

25 now require applications not to exceed agronomic





1 rates, and give methods of calculation similar to

2 those used for biosolids. The Central Valley Regional

3 Board is now drafting a CAFO permit which will require

4 the development of nutrient management plans,

5 establishing agronomic rates. While neither EPA's

6 CAFO rule or the Central Valley permit address

7 pathogen reduction at this point (manure contains many

8 of the same pathogens as raw sludge, such as e-coli,

9 salmonellae, campilobacter jejuni, yersinia,

10 micobacterium, reoviruses, rotaviruses, adenoviruses,

11 giardia lamblia, cryptosporidium, and ascaris

12 lumbircoides, projects for anaerobic digestion of

13 manure are now under development.)


Committee Address