JAMES ROBERT DEAL, ATTORNEY

PO Box 2276 Lynnwood WA 98036-2276

425-771-1110 425-776-8081 (fax)

 

REQUEST FOR DOCUMENTS UNDER THE PUBLIC RECORDS ACT

 

July 31, 2008

 

Everett Utilities

3200 Cedar Street

Everett WA 98201-4516

Attention: Tom Thetford

 

Alderwood Water District

3626 156th St SW
Lynnwood  WA  98037

Attention: Donna J. Cross, President

 

Sent by Certified Mail

 

Dear Water Commissions,

 

This letter constitutes a Request for Documents under the Public Records Act.

 

The Public Records Act, RCW 42.56.080, Washington’s version of the federal Freedom of Information Act, requires that all agencies make public records available for copying and provide copies of public documents at a reasonable charge. These statutes are worth rereading when you answer a request such as this. For your convenience, I am quoting from the Public Records Act:

Public records shall be available for inspection and copying, and agencies shall, upon request for identifiable public records, make them promptly available to any person including, if applicable, on a partial or installment basis as records that are part of a larger set of requested records are assembled or made ready for inspection or disclosure. Agencies shall not deny a request for identifiable public records solely on the basis that the request is overbroad. Agencies shall not distinguish among persons requesting records, and such persons shall not be required to provide information as to the purpose for the request except to establish whether inspection and copying would violate RCW 42.56.070(9) or other statute which exempts or prohibits disclosure of specific information or records to certain persons. Agency facilities shall be made available to any person for the copying of public records except when and to the extent that this would unreasonably disrupt the operations of the agency. Agencies shall honor requests received by mail for identifiable public records unless exempted by provisions of this chapter.

Notes:

[2005 c 483 § 1; 2005 c 274 § 285; 1987 c 403 § 4; 1975 1st ex.s. c 294 § 15; 1973 c 1 § 27 (Initiative Measure No. 276, approved November 7, 1972). Formerly RCW 42.17.270.]

     Reviser's note: This section was amended by 2005 c 274 § 285 and by 2005 c 483 § 1, each without reference to the other. Both amendments are incorporated in the publication of this section under RCW 1.12.025(2). For rule of construction, see RCW 1.12.025(1).

     Intent -- Severability -- 1987 c 403: See notes following RCW 42.56.050.

 

Intent -- 1987 c 403: "The legislature intends to restore the law relating to the release of public records largely to that which existed prior to the Washington Supreme Court decision in "In Re Rosier," 105 Wn.2d 606 (1986). The intent of this legislation is to make clear that: (1) Absent statutory provisions to the contrary, agencies possessing records should in responding to requests for disclosure not make any distinctions in releasing or not releasing records based upon the identity of the person or agency which requested the records, and (2) agencies having public records should rely only upon statutory exemptions or prohibitions for refusal to provide public records. Further, to avoid unnecessary confusion, "privacy" as used in RCW 42.17.255 is intended to have the same meaning as the definition given that word by the Supreme Court in "Hearst v. Hoppe," 90 Wn.2d 123, 135 (1978)." [1987 c 403 § 1.]

 

These statutes say that delivery of documents should be comprehensive and not limited an any way except as provided by specific statutory exceptions. The underlying philosophy behind this law is that I and people like me voted for the people who hired you. You therefore work for me and people like me. “We the people” have the right to take a look at what you are doing.

 

I live in the Alderwood Water District, but Alderwood buys water from Everett Utilities, and so I am sending this to both of you. I have no objection if the two Commissions cooperate in answering this Request. In some cases Alderwood will have no records to deliver, because Everett fluoridates the water, and you should simply say so.

 

When I refer to the “agency” I am referring to Everett Utilities and Alderwood Water District. When I refer to “documents,” I am referring to documents, reports, letters, memos, e-mails, or other writings or photographs or diagrams in the possession of your staff, your experts, or the experts you hire to test Water District drinking water and fluoridation materials; documents and reports you receive or are accessible to you from municipalities, agencies, other jurisdictions, laboratories, and suppliers of fluoridation materials. The term documents includes any web sites or documents on web sites which you rely on regarding fluoridation, pipe maintenance, and water treatment in general.

 

Please provide the following documents:

 

1.       Provide documents identifying the commercial source or sources from which your agency purchases or has purchased fluoridation materials in the last five years, including the names of companies providing said materials, their addresses, their telephone numbers, their e-mail addresses, and the names of contact persons who represent said companies.

 

Answer

1) PDF files of bundled Purchase Orders, Certificates of Analysis, and shipping paperwork.

 

2.       Provide documents identifying the specific content of fluoridation materials which your agency adds to our drinking water, indicating which specific minerals, compounds, and trace elements are contained in the fluoridation materials.

 

Answer:

2) Hydrofluosilicic Acid Bid Specification and Analysis of June 2007 delivery.

 

3.       Provide documents identifying the cost of and annual budget for fluoridation materials and equipment purchased over the last five years and the initial cost of equipment to fluoridate the system.

 

Answer:

3) Not WFP Document

 

4.       Provide documents identifying, quantifying, and/or discussing any increase or decrease in the cost of repair and maintenance of equipment resulting from fluoridation over the past five years and in the future.

 

            Answer:

4) There have been no changes in repair costs due to fluoridation.

 

5.       Provide documents identifying the means by which fluoridation materials have been delivered to the agency over the past five years, including bills of lading, bills of shipping, billing documents, and all correspondence, memos, and other documents relating to the transportation and delivery of fluoridation materials, including documents relating to spill prevention and cleanup.

 

5) Emails regarding shortage of HFS. Fluoride facility Operations and Maintenance manual. 1992 letter to Sno-County Health regarding design criteria to assure safe delivery of fluoride. 1990 pre-engineering report by to plant operators who visited a number of fluoridation facilities to determine what works and what doesn’t.

 

6.       Provide documents identifying the locations where the agency inserts fluoridation materials into water.

 

                Answer:

6) Schematic of plant showing chemical feed points.

 

7.       Give me and my associates a tour the facilities where fluoridation takes place so that we can take observe the fluoridation process and take photographs. The law says that “public records shall be available for inspection,” and the fluoridation facilities themselves are “public records” in the broadest sense of the term.

 

                Answer:

7) No public tours will be conducted until early 2010 due to major construction activity at the plant.

 

8.       Provide documents identifying the protocol for adding fluoridation materials to drinking water, including but not limited to mixing and dispensing fluoridation materials into drinking water and keeping the fluoridation materials uniformly mixed over time and distance. Provide documents discussing any instances where fluoride content has not been consistent throughout the water system.

 

Answer:

8) See #6. HFS, soda ash, and liquid sodium hypochlorite are added into a weir box just prior to entry into the 5 million gallon clearwell. They are mixed as they tumble over the weir and are further dispersed through diffusion and flow patterns in the clearwell. As the rate of flow through the clearwell increases, more mixing energy is generated. Depending on plant production, the treated water takes from 20 minutes to two hours to traverse the clearwell. At the extremely low concentrations at which treatment chemicals are fed, they are completely dissolved.

 

The only time that I am aware of that the fluoride residual in the Everett water supply area has varied significantly is during chemical supply shortages which have prevented feeding the required amount of fluoride (0.8 – 1.3 mg/L). When the fluoride feed is halted as a result of a chemical outage, the fluoride residual of the system gradually declines. Depending upon the length of the interruption, it may decline to “zero” (non detectable level) or to some intermediate level. When the feed resumes the residual gradually increases back to the required level as the lower residual water is consumed and higher residual water moves out into the distribution grid. The rate of increase/decrease is location and water usage (water demand) dependant. The only reports or documents about shortage or maintenance generated shut downs of the fluoride feed system that I know of are emails informing Everett and EWSA (Everett Water Service Area) systems staff of either outages or a return to normal operation of the system.

During the restart of fluoridation operations following a shut down due to chemical shortage in August 2006, the EMC group did monitor fluoride as tracer at numerous locations in Everett to determine water age patterns within the distribution system. This data tracks the rate (in 24 hour increments) at which the fluoride residual returned to the required range (0.8 -1.3 mg/L) at the selected monitoring locations.

 

9.       Provide documents which show the presence of all elements and chemicals in fluoridation materials, that is assays made of drinking water immediately after fluoridation materials have been added to drinking water.

 

Answer:

9) Not WFP Document

 

10.     Provide documents which show the presence of all elements and compounds in raw fluoridation materials, that is assays made of raw fluoridation materials as they come out of the tanker, before they are added to drinking water and are diluted.

 

          Note: I am not asking just for results of tests done on the water after fluoridation materials are added, but also tests or assays done on the fluoridation materials themselves before they are added to the water. An assay done on raw fluoridation materials right out of the tanker truck can do a much more accurate job of identifying and quantifying the many elements and chemicals in fluoridation materials. Various reasonably priced tests are sensitive only down to certain concentration levels, so a test done on raw fluoridation materials will reveal trace minerals and chemicals with much greater accuracy than one done on fluoridation materials after they are diluted in drinking water.

 

Answer:

10) Cascade Columbia or LCI are the primary sources for this information. Analysis of a June 2007 delivery was made to trouble shoot a crystallization problem that was occurring in the HFS metering pump. This has been included on the CD-ROM.

 

11.     Provide documents which would indicate whether there are any trace amounts of aluminum, arsenic, antimony, asbestos, cadmium, lead, mercury, radium, radon, polonium, barium, beryllium, thallium, or uranium included in said fluoridation materials and the quantities and concentrations of them.

 

Answer:

11)  See #10

 

12.     Provide documents listing the specific contaminants, elements, and compounds for which your agency or your sub-contractors currently test and have tested for over the last five years, along with your protocols for testing.

 

Answer:

12) Not WFP Document

 

13.     Provide documents indentifying the levels of various contaminants, elements, and compounds for which you test and have tested over the last five years (the levels below which elements or compounds, even if present are not reported as being present, and which are typically marked “u” on assays) along with the maximum level which you consider and have considered acceptable.

 

Answer:

13) Not WFP Document

 

13) Information on acceptable levels of contaminants.

Note: Everett operates according to the requirements and regulatory guidance on contaminant levels from the state and federal government. We rely on the federal, state and county health officials, agencies, and epidemiological scientists for direction on matters related to health effects. Method detection limit information can be obtained from each specific laboratory (see Laboratory contact information section of this list).

USEPA website with listings of regulated contaminants and their limits (MCL & MCLG).

http://www.epa.gov/OGWDW/contaminants/index.html

Washington State Dept of Health, Office of Drinking Water webpage with link to the state regulations governing drinking water quality (WAC-246-290) in Class A systems. See “Part 4, Water Quality” for contaminant level standards.

http://www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/dw/Publications/Group_A_Regulations.htm

 

14.     Provide documents prepared over the last five years showing the results of tests done by your agency for the contaminants, elements, and compounds referred to in the previous two paragraphs.

 

Answer:

14) Not WFP Document

 

15.     Provide documents identifying: the materials added to control acidity or pH levels of drinking water, the quantity of such materials added, the pH level sought by adding such materials, the pH level obtained throughout the water system as a result of adding such materials, the means by which the pH level is monitored, where the pH level is monitored, and how frequently the pH level is monitored.

 

Answer:

15) Soda ash Purchase Orders are included on the disc. We target a pH of 7.4 to 8.0 leaving the plant. We are out of compliance with State requirements if our pH is below 7.4 for more than 5% of the daily averages. This minimum pH target was established during studies conducted by an engineering firm prior to implementation of the Copper-Lead Rule. Distribution pH’s run higher due to contact with transmission and distribution piping.

 

15) pH levels throughout the distribution system can be found at 26 sites on the Distribution System worksheet. This sampling program was started in 3/2005.

 

16.     Regarding materials added to lessen acidity of drinking water, produce documents identifying the specific materials added and discussing efforts taken or planned to keep these materials disbursed evenly throughout the drinking water system.

 

Answer:

16) See #8, #15

 

17.     Provide documents identifying any mechanisms known to the agency by which materials added to lessen acidity of drinking water can be or are precipitated out or rendered less effective at reducing the acidity of the fluoridated water.

 

Answer:

17 – 29) Not WFP Document

 

TO: File.

FROM: Mark Weeks, Process Analyst.

DATE: September 22, 2008.

SUBJECT: Item #17 PIA request, Mr. James Deal.

The City of Everett is not aware of any mechanism or operational practice that reduces the effect of soda ash addition,

 

18.     Fluoride dissolves lead. The use of lead and lead solder in plumbing was not outlawed until 1986. In light of this fact, provide documents identifying or discussing lead levels in the water system, including lead levels in the water in buildings built before 1986, including school buildings built before 1986.

 

Answer:

17 – 29) Not WFP Document

 

19.     Provide documents identify homes and buildings in the area served by the Water District known to have lead plumbing or plumbing containing lead solder.

 

Answer:

17 – 29) Not WFP Document

 

20.     Provide documents comparing lead levels in raw untreated water, lead levels in fluoridation materials, and lead levels the water in buildings built before 1986.

 

Answer:

17 – 29) Not WFP Document

 

21.     Provide documents giving any explanation you may have for why lead levels in water in the pipes in buildings built before 1986 is or would be higher than in raw water and fluoridation materials. See: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/291566_lead08ww.html.

 

Answer:

17 – 29) Not WFP Document

 

22.     There are scientific and scholarly reports which conclude that fluoride is harmful to fish or repels fish. Provide documents which address this issue.

 

Answer:

17 – 29) Not WFP Document

 

23.     Provide the written order or prescription in your possession or available to your agency from a medical or other professional which authorizes the Water District to add fluoridation materials to Water District water, and/or which specifies the amount to be added, and/or which specifies the specific fluoridation chemical to be added.

 

Answer:

17 – 29) Not WFP Document

 

24.     Provide the written order or prescription in your possession or available to your agency from a medical or other professional which grants written assurance to the Water District that the addition of fluoridation materials to the water is safe for the general population and for special populations such as babies and those with thyroid and kidney disease.

 

Answer:

17 – 29) Not WFP Document

 

25.     Provide documents identifying agencies, laboratories, or other organizations from which you obtain on an ongoing basis or have obtained in the past or which you now can obtain information pertaining to the requests and questions posed in this document.

 

Answer:

17 – 29) Not WFP Document

 

 Items 25 and 26. Information about fluoridation and drinking water.

Snohomish Health District webpage on water fluoridation:

http://www.snohd.org/snoOralHealth/ohFluoridationWtr.htm

DOH Office of Drinking Water homepage

http://www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/dw/

USEPA Office of Groundwater and Drinking Water homepage

http://www.epa.gov/OGWDW/

American Water Works Association homepage

http://www.awwa.org/index.cfm

American Water Works Association Research Foundation homepage

http://www.awwarf.org/

Centers for Disease Control fluoridation webpage (also can be linked from SHD webpage listed above)

http://www.cdc.gov/OralHealth/

World Health Organization

http://www.who.int/en/

NSF

http://www.nsf.org/

http://www.nsf.org/Certified/PwsChemicals/ (link to Std 60)

Analytical Laboratories

Note: Except for the EEL for which method detection limit (MDL) data was provided, contact the contract laboratories directly to obtain their MDL data.

Everett Environmental Laboratory (EEL)

4027 4th NE

Everett, WA 98201

425-257-8230

http://www.everettwa.org/default.aspx?ID=832

Edge Analytical Laboratory

http://www.edgeanalytical.com/pages/services/drinking_water/

1620 S Walnut Street

Burlington WA 98233

(800) 755-9295 toll-free

(360) 757-1400 main

(360) 757-1402 fax

Montgomery Watson Laboratories

http://www.mwhlabs.com/testList.asp

MWH Laboratories

750 Royal Oaks Drive #100

Monrovia, CA 91016

(800) 566-LABS

Fax: (626) 386-1101

mwhlabs@mwhglobal.com

LabCor, Inc. (Microbiological analysis for Giardia and Cryptosporidium)

http://www.labcor.net/microbiological/#Crypto

Lab/Cor, Inc.

7619 6th Avenue NW

Seattle, WA 98117

Phone/Fax:

Phone: 206-781-0155

Fax: 206-789-8424

Email:

General email: mail@labcor.net

Information on Analytical Methods

USEPA Analytical methods

http://www.epa.gov/safewater/methods/

Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater; American Water Works Association/Water Environment Foundation/American Public Health Association (AWWA/WEF/APHA)

http://www.standardmethods.org/

 

26.     Provide a copy of NSF/ANSI Standards 60 and 61.

 

Answer:

17 – 29) Not WFP Document

 

27.     Provide copies of insurance invoices showing how much the Water District paid for insurance for the last two years and provide copies of policies covering the Water District, showing policy limits, endorsements, and exclusions.

 

Answer:

17 – 29) Not WFP Document

 

28.     Provide any documents relating to how the decision was made to fluoridate our water, including who campaigned in favor of and against fluoridation.

 

Answer:

17 – 29) Not WFP Document

 

29.     Provide any written communications between Alderwood Water District regarding water fluoridation going back to when the decision was made to fluoridate our water.

 

Answer:

17 – 29) Not WFP Document

 

I am willing to pay fees for this request up to a maximum of $40.00. If you estimate that the fees will exceed this limit, please inform me first. I request a waiver of all fees for this request. Disclosure of the requested information to me is in the public interest.

 

In order to reduce copy costs and save paper and time, I request that the documents sought be provided as much as possible on a CD-ROM, instead of on paper.

 

You may call me at 425-771-1110, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., if necessary, to discuss any aspect of my request.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

James Robert Deal

Counselor at Law

 

Notes:

 

Follow-up questions regarding the answers to this information request should be directed to Mark Weeks, 425-257-8878, mweeks@ci.everett.wa.us.