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Second Appeal Letter
PA ID# 111-72016; City of Simi Valley
DSR ID# DSRs 15379 and36700; Tapo Water Canyon Water Treatment Plant
December 22, 2008
Governors Authorized Representative
Governors Office of Emergency Services
Response and Recovery Division
3650 Schriever Avenue
Mather, CA 95655
Re: Second Appeal City of Simi Valley, PA ID 111-72016, Tapon Canyon Water Treatment Plant,
FEMA-1008-DR-CA, Damage Survey Reports (DSRs) 15379 and 36700
Dear Mr. McCarton:
This letter is in reference to my April 11, 2008 second appeal determination that denied the City of Simi Valleys (City) request for a time extension to April 2009 to complete construction of the Tapon Canyon Water Treatment Plant. The City recently requested that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reconsider its second appeal determination because the City stated that the second appeal letter contained errors of fact. Specifically, the City stated that the following statements were incorrect:
the Applicant had not made substantial progress towards completing its project in the previous three-year period.
(2) The development of a Salts TMDL had no direct impact on the Applicants construction project.The Project
Following the Northridge Earthquake in 1994, FEMA determined that the City was eligible for $509,087 to repair damage to its existing water treatment plant. The City proposed to construct a new water treatment plant. Therefore, FEMA designated the project an Improved Project and capped funding at the estimated amount of $509,087. The Applicant designed the new plant to use a nanofiltration membrane process that would reduce the hardness in the groundwater to allow it for potable use. However, the process would also produce a concentrate waste flow that would contain very high levels total dissolved solids (TDS) and sulfate (SO4). The concentrated waste flow would discharge into the municipal sewer and be treated at the Simi Valley Water Quality Control Plant (SVWQCP). Because of the high levels of TDS and SO4 in the water treatment plants concentrated waste flow, the City was concerned that the concentrated waste flow would adversely affect the quality of the effluent from the SVWQCP. The City delayed construction of the water treatment plant until all watershed dischargers could agree on the quality of discharges in the streams in the watershed (Total Maximum Discharge Level (TMDL) for TDS and SO4).
I will address each point that the City raised.The Applicant has not made substantial progress towards completing its project.
The City has stated that FEMA did not appropriately review all the information that the City provided with its second appeal. The City determined in 2002 that it was prudent to delay construction of the water treatment plant until it knew what the established TMDLs for TDS and SO4 were. The City acknowledged that it had not initiated changes to its 2001 design of the water treatment plant prior to the expiration of the FEMA-approved time extension in 2006. However, the City stated that it was actively engaged with a watershed management group to establish TMDLs for salts. The watershed management group consisted of stakeholders Federal, state, and County agencies, groundwater management agencies, agricultural interest, and environmental groups. The watershed management group met monthly and worked extensively with the Regional Water Quality Control Board to establish TMDLs. The Regional Water Quality Control Board approved and adopted TMDLs for TDS and CO4 in 2007.The development of a Salts TMDL had no direct impact on the Applicants construction project.
The City stated that this statement is not correct. The sole reason for delaying construction of the water treatment plant was the lack of established TMDLs for TDS and SO4. The City chose not to construct a water treatment plant that would potentially put the Citys Water Quality Control Plant in violation of State and Federal discharge requirements. The Regional Water Quality Control Board approved and adopted TMDLs for TDS and SO4 in 2007.CONCLUSION
FEMA is now aware that it administratively erred in considering the facts that the City presented with its second appeal. After re-reviewing all information the City originally provided with its second appeal, we have determined that we overlooked facts that provided sufficient justification to support the Citys request for a time extension to April 2009.
Because of this administrative error, I request that the Regional Administrator reinstate $509,087 for the Tapon Canyon Water Treatment Plant.
Carlos J. Castillo
Disaster Assistance Directorate
Cc: Nancy Ward
FEMA Region IX