It’s a big night for environmentalism at the upcoming City Council meeting.
While water use and conservation takes up the bulk of the agenda items, City Hall will also tackle greenhouse gas regulation.
Water discussions begin with the Council’s Consent Calendar that included a potential agreement between the schools and the city.
Staff are recommending the city fund water audits and retrofits for the school district at a cost of $300,000 for one year, with two additional one-year renewal option(s) totaling $549,000 for a total amount not to exceed $849,000 over a three-year period.
According to the staff report, only five inches of rain fell in the last rainy season as compared to the 14 inches the region averages or the 30 that were expected due to El Niño.
“As of July 2016, citywide water use has been reduced 19.6% compared to 2013, however water use has been increasing in all sectors since the start of the year. Therefore, it is prudent to install permanent water savings infrastructure such as toilets, urinals, and irrigation equipment at SMMUSD schools and administrative offices within the City of Santa Monica,” said the report. “The total water savings potential at SMMUSD facilities will not be known until the audits are completed, but based on audits of similar facilities they are expected to reduce water use by 20% or more and result in significant ongoing cost savings.”
Environmental action will continue with a rule for groundwater in the city.
No city or state rules currently prohibit construction of private wells for irrigation purposes. The only restriction is a drilling permit from the County Health Department.
“Given the City’s experience with past contamination events, current drought conditions, and required compliance with newly enacted State Groundwater Management law, among other reasons, staff believes it is appropriate for Council to consider adopting a new ordinance to establish a permit for private wells in the City,” said the staff report. “It would require submission of information to the City which would be beneficial to future groundwater management efforts by the City, including depth, volume and water quality data.”
A mandatory report about the city’s water system continues the theme.
The State of California requires public water systems with more than 10,000 customers to file a report every three years that describes elements in the water above Public Health Goals (PHG’s) or the equivalent Maximum Contaminant Level Goals (MCLG’s). Staff have prepared that report per the state’s rules and a public hearing will be held on Tuesday to receive public comments and accept the report.
According to the staff report,
“For the period from 2013 to 2015 in Santa Monica, Public Health Goals were exceeded for seven unique elements: Lead, Copper, Arsenic, Uranium, Radionuclides, Bromate, and Chromium VI. Further details about each of these element’s characteristics, health risks, and treatment technologies are presented in the full Public Health Goals Report. Although these elements exceed Public Health Goals, Santa Monica’s drinking water meets all State and Federal drinking water standards. Substances in the City’s water supply are below the applicable MCLs required by these regulatory agencies and no additional actions are recommended for the treatment of the City’s potable water supply at this time. As both treatment technology and health risk assessments evolve, standards for these elements may be altered in the future, but Santa Monica continues to meet or exceed the state of the art levels of water purity.”
The Public Health Goals are set by the State Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment and Maximum Contaminant Level Goals are set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Moving away from water, but keeping the green discussion alive will be an item potentially curbing emissions.
Council will be asked to continue the City’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint.
In 2013, Council adopted a short-term plan to reduced greenhouse gasses by 15 percent below 1990 levels by 2015. Santa Monica surpassed the goals of the 15×15 Climate Action Plan and emissions are now 20 percent below the threshold.
Council authorized the development of a new plan in 2016 to guide long-term efforts
On February 26, 2013, Council adopted the 15×15 Climate Action Plan, which was a short-term, action-based plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 15% below 1990 levels by 2015. Implementation of the 15×15 Climate Action Plan was completed at the end of FY 2015. Monitoring and evaluation reveals that the City surpassed its greenhouse gas emissions reduction target. Compared to 1990, Santa Monica’s annual emissions are now 20% below baseline.
According to the staff report, in January of this year, “Council authorized the hiring of a consultant to develop a new Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP) to guide continued reductions and mitigation efforts to meet the City’s long term emission reduction goals and to develop adaptation strategies to expected local impacts of climate change. Development of this plan is underway and it is scheduled to be delivered to Council in 2017.”
City Hall wants to reduce emissions by 30 percent by 2030 and 80 percent or more by 2050.
The Council will be asked on Tuesday to review and comment on the 15X15 Climate Action Plan Final Report. They are also being asked to direct staff to complete a feasibility and financial impact analysis for achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 or sooner, and return to Council with recommendations.
Aside from the environmental theme, council will also consider formalizing its commitment to Los Angeles’ 2024 Olympic Bid. Council will debate two letters on behalf of the bid.
Olympic organizers have made presentations to local boards and developed a preliminary plan for the city’s venues. They will develop more detailed plans if the bid is successful.
The LA 2024 Exploratory Committee (LA 2024) is seeking both a venue use guarantee letter from Santa Monica to stage beach volleyball on Santa Monica State Beach and a separate letter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) agreeing to certain assurances as part of the Los Angeles Candidature Questionnaire.
The first, is a guarantee letter that provides “conceptual approval on the part of the venue owner and agreement to minimum terms that would form the basis of the Venue Use Agreement that would be executed in the future, should LA be successful in winning the bid,” said the report.
According to the report the city would commit to an exclusive use period of April 1 to Aug. 18 for the beach and beach lots. Fees would be approximately $3.7 million based on current rates.
The second letter “provides a number of commitments by the City such as not staging major public events during the Games, protecting the marketing rights of the Organizing Committee for the 2024 Games (OCOG), providing basic public services during the Games, and working cooperatively with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which is charged with providing security during the Games,” said the report.
Staff are recommending the City Manager submit both letters.
A potential school/city partnership will cap the night with a request by Councilmember Kevin McKeown for a future discussion item to debate a pilot program offering reduced cost bus passes for school students.
Council meets on Sept. 13 at City Hall, 1685 Main Street. Closed session begins at 5:30 p.m. Visit www.smgov.net/departments/clerk/agendas.aspx to see the entire agenda.
BY MATTHEW HALL