Chloramine contract on Tulsa water board agenda today

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The Tulsa Metropolitan Utility Authority (TMUA), which operates the City of Tulsa's water system, will vote today whether to approve a contract for $925,600 with Crossland Heavy Contractors for "Chloramines Modifications" at Tulsa's two water treatment plants, A. B. Jewell and Mohawk.

(See the TMUA agenda here.)

The meeting will be held at 2:30 p.m., Wednesday, November 16, 2011, in Conference Room 10 South.

If you're concerned, as many are, about the health effects of chloramine in our drinking water, this meeting might be a good opportunity to express those concerns to the people entrusted with the stewardship of our water system.

MORE: The Tulsa City Council Urban and Economic Development Committee Meeting dealt briefly with the chloramine issue on Tuesday, at the request of Councilor Jim Mautino, who asked questions of city public works employee Clayton Edwards. The 20-minute video of the meeting begins at 10 minutes into the clip at this link.

The video includes an excerpt of TMUA vice chairman Rick Hudson at the October 27, 2011, City Council meeting, defending the choice of chloramine as a water disinfectant and informing the City Council that the TMUA has the final decision over the use of chloramine. Hudson said on October 27 that he'd be glad to have chloramine expert Bob Bowcock, a member of the American Water Works Association, at the next meeting.

You can watch the full October 27, 2011, City Council agenda item about chloramine here, including Bob Bowcock's presentation and comments from Hudson. The agenda item starts at 1:30:00.

At Tuesday's committee meeting, city director of environmental services Clayton Edwards said that Bowcock will be on TMUA's December 14 agenda. The TMUA board could opt, Edwards said, to delay the contract award until they hear from Bowcock, but once approved it would be binding.

Mautino noted an interesting article on the website of RL Hudson -- TMUA vice chairman Rick Hudson is the president and CEO of the company -- about the effects of chloramines in our water supply:

So how do chloramines affect the seals and other elastomeric parts within the water distribution chain? With anecdotal evidence suggesting that chloramines hasten elastomer failure in devices ranging from toilets to faucets to fire sprinklers, the American Water Works Association Research Foundation (AWWARF) conducted a study. The results indicate that chloramines do indeed pose a significant threat to many of the most widely used elastomeric materials, including natural and synthetic isoprenes, styrene butadiene (SBR), chloroprene (CR), and nitrile (NBR).

In side-by-side tests with chlorine, chloramines caused more material swell, deeper and denser cracking, faster loss of elasticity, and greater loss of tensile strength. In a susceptible material, chloramines appear to attack the polymer's cross-links, the connections that give the material a resilient, three-dimensional structure. Cracks develop and water flows in, swelling the material and resulting in a marked loss of other physical properties. Degradation becomes more pronounced as temperatures increase.

How to cope with this chemical that degrades the rubber and plastic parts in our plumbing systems? RL Hudson has a solution: "If your application requires it, we at RL Hudson can help you find compounds that will withstand chloramines."

Toward the end of the exchange between Mautino and Edwards, there's a discussion of elevated lead levels in the blood in Washington, D. C., related to the use of chloramines in their drinking water. Edwards acknowledged that that had been a problem but thought that Washington had taken steps to mitigate it.

It's evident that Councilor Mautino has done his homework on this issue. Tulsans should be grateful that Mautino is willing to continue to delve into this issue, despite being a lame duck since his defeat in September's primary. You may not miss him now, but you will in a few months.

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8 Comments

Bob said:

Michael:

You are performing an immense service to the citizens of Tulsa warning us of this impending chloramine catastrophe.

Is Dewey Junior's legacy to destroy both the substance and the health of those who he lords over?

He's the architect pushing a TARE sponsored bid-rigging to favor mega-corporation Waste Management, Inc. in the upcoming 14-year trash hauling contract, that will reduce the frequency of our trash pickup by half, but increase our cost AT LEAST two-fold.

How could that be smart?

And, his TMUA water board wants to change over a half century of safe, sanitary chlorinated water practices with a new chemical that will destroy the elastomeric parts in our public and home water systems, to-wit:

"Chloramines hasten elastomer failure in devices ranging from toilets to faucets to fire sprinklers, the American Water Works Association Research Foundation (AWWARF) conducted a study. The results indicate that chloramines do indeed pose a significant threat to many of the most widely used elastomeric materials, including natural and synthetic isoprenes, styrene butadiene, chloroprene, and nitrile."

This catastrophic damage to home water delivery systems will have the harmful side effect of causing lead solder in older houses (and there are tens of thousands of such homes in Tulsa), to leach lead into the home water supply.

So, we get the collateral effects of a permanently damaged home water delivery system, and lead-poisoning to boot?

Again, I have to ask with regards our city government: Are the inmates running the insane asylum?

I note further that my recent water bill reflects an 8.7% increase in the water rate, and an 8.9% increase in the sewer rate, after back-to-back raises the previous two years as well.

Dewey, Junior's legacy will be felt for many, many years after he is long gone, but unfortunately NOT forgotten.

Just as Mayor Taylor's tenure resulted in 30-year bad deals on an unnecessary baseball stadium downtown, a 30-year bad deal on financing a new city hall, and an attempted sales tax increase on Kaiser River Tax I, all three transactions which benefit or would have benefitted King Kaiser and his Bank of Kaiser.

Just as Mayor Bob LaFortune left us with a 13-year bad deal sales tax increase to fund Vision 2025, with bond underwriting provided courtesy of Bank of Kaiser.

Just as Mayor Susan Savage left us with the continuous financial wound of the Tulsa Police car take-home policy, and the city streets policy that virtually discontinued street maintenance in favor of re-builds and gave us the third-world ambience to our destroyed city streets. And, she tried mightily two times to soak us with a new sales tax to fund the Arena that finally got passage with Vision 2025.

Come Clean said:


Thank You Michael Bates for bringing light to this issue.

Anyway you look at this the chloramine conversion is bad.
Bad for health,bad for home and out of pocket costs,and bad for the environment.Not only for Tulsa folks,but any town or city that will buy or serve Tulsa water will have this same problem.
BA,Jenks,Bixby,Glenpool,Berryhill,Sperry,Skiatook,Owasso,Washington 3.

This is not isolated,and it is not only going to effect Tulsa water drinkers,bathers and recreational water users.Water rates do not even reflect the conversion increases yet,look for more increases in 2012.

If all the time,money and energy used to promote,plan and execute this conversion would have only gone to update and invest in what Tulsa water treatment plants already have in place,the cost would have been way above and beyond the expense of the chloramine conversion = safe water and a safe way to disinfect the water.

Thank You TMUA (Tulsa Metropolitan Utility Authority)hand selected board by none other than Mayor Dewey Bartlett himself.

Of course for those private companies who have already profited and who will profit from the conversion it is a good business decision and bottom line dollars in the bank!

Bob said:

Regarding former Mayor and land attorney Bill LaFortune, I left out his 40-year fixed rate BAD water deals with the cities of Bixby and Owasso, which fuel their growth at Tulsa's expense. LaFortune also peopled the city water board with creatures like Cameron and Reynolds. And, they are still there....

Roy said:

Almost 3 decades ago as an engineer I coordinated ordering production parts from RL Hudson. I learned lots about a large variety of seals and found Hudson's company an excellent source of information. I have little doubt that if they think they could, then Hudson could provide seals to resist chloramine.

Furthermore, I expect local hardware suppliers would recognize and meet a market demand for (pardon the expression) solutions for leaky faucets. In the normal course of maintenance one eventually replaces such seals. Eventually the city would transition into a chloramine resistant infrastructure. Way to go, free market.

It's nice to know that could happen if necessary. Thinking about this and making predictions so that one can choose among alternatives is a big part of what makes engineering valuable. I can even envision the transition not having precipitous (sorry, can't get away from drips) costs.

At least concerning the seals, that is.

The other tradeoffs in a chlorine to chloramine transition bother me a lot. The medical info alone ought wash away (sorry again) the idea. It appears that to gain a slight savings the transition will likely result in big costs. Not an engineering, but a political decision.

George said:

Anyone that is concerned about the potential health and physical plant (plumbing fixtures) damage of chloramines to the water users of the City of Tulsa should attend the next TMUA meeting on December 14.

I presume it occurs as a monthly 2nd Wednesday meeting, and presume it will again be held at 2:30 p.m. in OTC.

Check the City of Tulsa website to confirm date and time.

Prompted by Michael Bates' very timely advisory of today's meeting and agenda, I attended today's meeting.

I was allowed by the Chairman to speak concerning Agenda Item 4a: "Chloramines Modifications", albeit against repeated interruptions by TMUA attorney Jim Unruh.

In summary, I advised against proceeding with any contract arrangement due to the health and physical plant damage that chloramines are believed to cause.

For support, I cited TMUA member Rick Hudson's own company website concerning damage that chloramines can cause.

Nonetheless, the TMUA approved the entire agenda, including item 4a, as written.

I also noted with alacrity under Item 5c., that Margaret Frette a.k.a. Margaret Erling was awarded a $40K Professional Services contract. For consultation services.

I also noted that iconic legends of the TMUA, Mssrs. Cameron and Reynolds, with many, many years of service to the TMUA, were in attendance.

Laramie Hirsch said:

If this newly "treated" water is going to wear away at synthetic seals, how will it WEAR AWAY at our esophagus? Stomach? Intestines and arteries?

Does anyone know what measures a family can take to avoid ingesting the new poison they intend to pump to us? Will Culligan Water stations at Wal-Mart and Akins still filter it out? Seriously, folks; what can individuals do to avoid this crap?

(I wonder what detrimental effects this crap will have on our gardens.)

Come Clean said:

There are NO NSF certified filters which remove chloramine.Chloramine stays in the water for a long time.While sitting,in your hotwater tank or in a home for an extended period of time (realtors and sellers of houses)it created dangerous byproducts nitrates that are very dangerous and cause health effects while leaching lead into your home.If you live in an apartment building or assisted living that type of filtration system is so expensive,in the thousands of dollar market that it is too costly to do for tennants.

So combined with the health,plumbing,and if there is a major water leak much like one I saw just a couple of weeks ago in midtown Tulsa.If it flows into your pond,water feature,yard,garden it will kill all aquatic life,earthworms,frogs,etc...

You cannot boil this out folks.Try not to be the one who turns on the faucet in the morning and gets a big caraf of water to fill your coffee pot,you will more than likey get a big gulp of lead that has leached from your homes pipes and not to mention all the goodie by products.

Brita and other filters claiming to remove chloramines do not fully remove it from the water.The best you can do is an entire home filtration system with reverse osmosis paired with carbon filter simultaneously and only then some of the chloramine will be reduced.

The bottom line is stop this before it happens!
You think there are city issues that are of the utmost importance right now.Just wait until the gel like red goo comes out of your faucet when the city decides to do a burn and flush out the system and the pipes because there is so many by products in the distribution system.
Just wait....

It is ludicrous to ignore the fact that we have the capability to meet EPA standards,use the resources that we have now in place with GAC carbon and reactivating it at our plants,and use the safe alternative that has served Tulsa well for over half a century.

Tulsa is not Texas,Denver,Oklahoma City,or any of these other cities that keep being cited as "converting to chloramine".Tulsa I always thought was an innovator and not a follower.

Simply put,the water we use in our lives is now being looked at as a means for companies and individuals to make a profit at taxpayers expense.

Look at the water leases,the same states which have converted to chloramine want Oklahoma water so we have to have the same consistency in order to sell it to these cities and states.Connect the dots ...So far having to sell our water to Texas has been stopped in court, but it's one of many attempts to take water for growing metropolitan cities who need more water and will pay plentifully for it.

Water is life and if the TMUA has their way it will have a price tag attached to it as well.So who really pays in the end?

I would say our Tulsan's with health conditions that are comprimised,diabetics,auto immune,cancer survivors,asthmatics,allergy suffers,cronic illness suffers,homeowners,renters,landlords,tennants,gardners,pet stores and owners,people who own pools,spas,koi ponds,etc.....

While other Tulsan's will profit by selling chloramine resistant products,home repairs and plumbing to fix infrastructure,health care and a means to solve your new symptoms of rash,respiratory and digestive problems,..need I go on...

Stop it before it starts, TMUA please reactivate the GAC carbon filters that are already at the two water treatment facilities and quit wasting prescious time and money to finish creating the monster that chloramine will undoubtably become.

Jan Thomas said:

Amen to that last statement about Mautino. I miss him already. I am going to contact Mullin plumbing about this question and see what they know. So is the AWWA taking the stance that it is good or bad? Going to find that out too. We make valves used in municipal water systems, so I am very interested in seeing what effects chloramine will have on the rubber goods in our valves.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on November 16, 2011 12:36 AM.

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Tea Party Debt Commission hearing today, 1 pm Central (UPDATE: Report released; hearing forced out of the Capitol!) is the next entry in this blog.

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