By Ted AYALA
At Tuesday’s council meeting Glendale Water & Power proposed an initiative to conduct a pilot scale study to surmise the possibility of removing nitrates from the water well in the Rockhaven property purchased by the city in 2008 under the aegis of former councilmember John Drayman. Peter Kavounas, assistant general manager of Water Services for the GWP, explained that the GWP would contract an outside firm (WQTS, Inc. of Canoga Park) to assess the use of ground water from Rockhaven and to determine how to remove nitrates in the water.
“The pilot is necessary to prove that the process will work,” said Kavounas.
Kavounas came under heavy questioning from Councilman Rafi Manoukian concerning the costs of the pilot as well as the ultimate costs of extracting water from the Rockhaven well.
“How much is it going to cost to provide this water to the community?” asked Manoukian.
“It’s difficult to tell exactly how much it will cost. The indications from the Rockhaven well is that we’ll be able to save the residents of Glendale somewhere in the order of half a million dollars a year once the well goes into production,” Kavounas replied. “We expect that the drilling, the equipment of the well, and any treatment will cost $1.5 million to $2 million. So we expect to get our money back in four years’ time.” He added that the well would have a life of about 50 years. The project was approved unanimously by the council with Councilman Ara Najarian absent.
Amendments to the city’s conservation ordinance were also discussed by Kavounas.
“The severity of [California’s] drought has been seriously reduced,” he reported. “Things have changed very rapidly. It’s been a long, wet winter,”
He also said that the plan now was to change the effort to promote using water wisely.Councilman Frank Quintero voiced his hesitance to lift the water restrictions on usage.
“Isn’t it too soon?” asked Quintero. Mayor Laura Friedman sought to conserve parts of the water ordinance with an eye towards future water shortages. Kavounas cited the examples of Pasadena and other neighboring cities as examples of cities that have successfully managed to set aside mandatory water conservation.
Citizen Mike Mohill appeared on the council dais to “reward” Glendale for its success in water conservation.
“We have high unemployment in this city, landlords are getting two months’ free rent, housing values have dropped 25%. … Why don’t we reduce the [water] rate by 3.8%? That should be our reward for being good citizens of Glendale. We were penalized before. Let’s be compassionate.”
Ultimately, the council voted unanimously, with the exception of the absent Councilman Najarian, to vote to remove the mandatory water conservation ordinance.