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If Sierra Madre Yellow Water is damaging pipes, What is it doing to the residents?

August 18th, 2014 by Temple City Tribune

By Terry Miller
This is only one of the many nagging questions Sierra Madre resident Earl Richey has for the City Manager, Elaine Aguilar. Richey says that he and other residents in town are noticing holes in their pipes and suffering some serious leaks as a result. Richey is also questioning the actual amount of water Sierra Madre actually has. And why is Arcadia so different? Mr. Richet told Beacon Media that: “Denise, Rachelle and Harabedian were given Elaine’s response and agreed to support me. No one had the backbone to say a word (at council meeting Tuesday).”
In point of fact, Richey has filed many public records requests with the city and hasn’t exactly been pleased with the response from the hallowed halls of Sierra Madre city.
In fact this is how our friend, John Crawford over at The Tattler put it this morning on his blog:
“Speaking of Arcadia, the topic of why they still have plenty of that fine mountain water in their wells while we, who used to get our stuff from the very same source, have very little, did arise. Bruce Inman, called upon to reply, brought up his bedrock theory again, something that has been met with skepticism in certain quarters of this community. Barbara Leigh, in one of those classic asides she is so famous for, quipped: “I am surprised to hear that Sierra Madre and Arcadia have different water tables.”
The Tattler also added this:
“Earl Richey rose to speak about his Public Records Requests and the belief that they have not been honored to the full spirit of the law by City Hall. While I have to admit that Earl has an unfortunate tendency for going off half-cocked at times, I too have had a similar experience with these kinds of City Hall records requests.
Elaine Aguilar replied to Mayor Harabedian’s questions about Earl’s accusations by stating he was given the option of coming down to City Hall and picking up copies (at .06 cents a pop) of the applicable documents. Sounds reasonable, right? However, what this actually means is that when you get down there you will be shown into a room largely filled with boxes of documents, the vast majority of which having nothing to do with your request. Or perhaps even all of them. Who can tell?
Faced with the burden of spending 8 hours at City Hall searching through a lot of inconsequential stuff for something that might not have even been made available to you, most would just pack it in and give up. Earl should just bite the bullet and hire a lawyer. Nobody deserves to be treated like this.”
Richey’s request for Public Records is on-going and an email request for comment from city hall by this newspaper has not been received as of press time.
John Crawford’s , always entertaining and very often highly amusing take on council meetings also took a nice dig at a developer (Todd Bowden…presumably of the Fred Bowden Development Co.) who would like to develop despite the moratorium recently issued. Here’s what The Tattler said:
“The comedic highlight of the evening came courtesy of a developer by the name of Todd Bowden. Like many who are attempting to make some major bank in real estate insane Sierra Madre, he wishes to take a single lot and magically double his pleasure by splitting it into two. Kind of like an amoeba. Much to his chagrin, Mr. Bowden has lately discovered that he will not be able to get a water hook up for one of his reproductive plots. Or maybe both. I can’t exactly remember those details at this moment.
But where Todd really rocked the planet was with his claim that by pulling down old homes and replacing each with a couple of new ones, it would actually save water. Kind of a version of the old “development is green” canard…”
And so it goes, in Sierra Madre.


Public Works Director Bruce Inman DID respond to our request for more information, but unfortunately it came after we printed the paper. Here are the questions we posed and the subsequent responses from Mr. Inman. I would also like to point out that in our Print Edition we said: “Richey’s request for Public Records is on-going and an email request for comment from city hall by this newspaper has not been received as of press time.” We did not mean to imply or infer that Sierra Madre Weekly made a public Records request and was turned down. This was an error.. When we ask for information from the city manager’s office, the response has always been prompt. It just so happened that we did not receive the reply to questions posed in time for our print edition: As far as Mr. Richey’s multiple Public Records Requests, that remains to be seen.

Sierra Madre Weekly: I understand than construction was supposed to start yesterday on Mountain Trail to replace the 1920’s era pipes….However, being there this AM I saw no sign of the work other than a few pipes along the side of the road.

City of Sierra Madre Response:

Yesterday, the 12th, the contractor was completing the saw-cutting of pavement in preparation for excavation. As of this morning at 6:30 when I came in, there was no other sign of activity; they cannot start work until 7. By 2:00 today the first 300 feet of pipe have already been laid. This contractor is fast.

Sierra Madre Weekly: Has the project been delayed, and who is paying for this?

City of Sierra Madre Response:
The project was delayed due to having to re-bid the project once, and prior to that it was delayed because the federal funding agency had to review the plans and specifications. There were no additional costs incurred because of the delay.

Sierra Madre Weekly:
There is rumbling that the city gets Federal (maybe state) funds for this, is this accurate, If so, how much is this phase of the infrastructure repair costing and when is scheduled completion date?

City of Sierra Madre Response:

The total cost of the project, as awarded by the City Council, is $698,500. Of that amount, $242,500 is funded through a federal EPA grant originating from the 2007 Water Resources Development Act. The project is anticipated to be completed by October 8.

Sierra Madre Weekly:

Oh, additionally I’ve had a few emails from people about the yellow water causing some pin holes and other leaks in homeowners’ pipes in Sierra Madre causing expensive repairs, according to one.

City of Sierra Madre Response:

There are a number of factors influencing the performance of plumbing materials. Type of plumbing material, age of the system/pipes, water chemistry, and pH all play a part.

Sierra Madre Weekly
Is the city testing this water? I would think if the water really is causing damage to the pipes it might not be terribly good inside human beings.

City of Sierra Madre Response:

The city is testing the water on a regular basis. The water meets all State water quality guidelines for tap water. This water is the same water being served all over Southern California, from San Diego to San Fernando. Millions of people are using this water on a daily basis.

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