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Pico Rivera Approves Contract for PFAS Treatment of City Wells

By Brian Hews

April 21, 2022~The Pico Rivera City Council, at its last meeting, addressed the city’s water quality in regards to perfluorooctanioic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctaniesulfonic acid (PFOS), two compounds within the PFAS family of “forever chemicals.”

In May of 2019, the state required the Pico Rivera Water Authority (PRWA) to monitor its wells for the forever chemicals.

Like many other cities in the basin, the results showed that the levels for PFOS and PFOA had exceeded the notification levels set for PFOS at 13 parts per trillion and PFOA at 14 ppt. 

In Aug. 2019, the city was notified by the state regarding the exceedance of the notification level. On May 5, 2020, the state told the PRWA to monitor the wells beginning in the third quarter of 2020. If the wells exceed the levels for PFOA and PFOS, the PRWA may be required to remove a well from service.

Consequently, at the meeting, the city council approved plans for PFAS treatment on plants 1, 2 and well 5. The city awarded a construction contract for $4.7 million to Metro Builders & Engineers Group Ltd. (Metro Builders) for the PFAS treatment systems. 

The city anticipates the construction to start within the next few weeks, with a completion date in a little over 13 months.

“The health and safety of our residents is a top priority for the mayor and the city council,” said Councilmember Gustavo Camacho. “While our water supply remains in compliance, exceeds all State and Federal drinking water standards and remains safe to drink, this action will bring us one step closer to meeting our goal of delivering a steady supply of improved, safe and reliable water to our residents.”

Pico Rivera Secures $22M to Replace Telegraph Bridge

Residents can get ready for some significant renovations in Pico Rivera and Santa Fe Springs along the bridge on Telegraph Rd.

Pico Rivera has landed nearly $22 million in grants from Metro and the feds to build a new bridge on Telegraph Road over the Gabriel River.

Built in 1916 and rebuilt in 1937, the concrete tee beam is currently 423 feet long and 43 feet wide but will be widened to six lanes.

“This project will replace and widen the bridge to reduce existing and future congestion from the 605 freeway,” City Manager Steve Carmona wrote in the staff report.

The last available inspection report of the bridge was in December 2018 and indicated the average daily traffic was 44,300; of that, 3% were trucks.

The superstructure condition was rated good, but the structural appraisal was described as, “basically intolerable requiring high priority of corrective action.” 

Construction will take two years and might not start for three years.

Half of the bridge is likely to remain open for traffic during construction, Carmona said.

Councilmember Gustavo Camacho told HMG-CN, “I’d like to commend city staff for securing major funding for building a new bridge on Telegraph Road over the Gabriel River,” said Councilmember Gustavo Camacho. “These funds will allow us to provide for better traffic flow and alleviate congestion for residents coming from the 605 freeway. Additionally, I am very pleased we are prioritizing our surplus funds to emphasize access and transparency for residents, address climate change, provide improved public works services and stimulate economic development.”

Camacho is talking about the council’s discussion on what to do with an $8 million surplus. The recommended funding allocations of $8,025,393 will provide for critical needs identified by city staff.

Under City Manager Carmona’s recommendations, several needs were identified, including $1 million to replace 13 vehicles and equipment for Public Works to prevent delays in daily work and $340,000 for City Hall Council chambers rehab and audio, visual and broadcasting system upgrades.

According to the report, the audio system crashes, the sound is substandard, and equipment malfunctions frequently occur, disrupting the quality of live streaming to viewers. 

Monies would also be earmarked for accessibility upgrades, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) required improvements and replacement of furniture. 

Another $100,000 would go to a Climate Action Plan Sustainability Initiative. Over 181 California cities have adopted Climate Action Plans (CAP) to meet the state’s emission reduction goals. CAPs are roadmaps for cities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through activities that can achieve the greatest GHG emission reductions.

$450,000 would be allocated for the Whittier Boulevard Specific Plan. Among the corridors in the city, Whittier Boulevard presented the greatest potential for revitalization, given the cultural and historical significance within the region. The city developed a program and has secured over $2.2 million in grant funds for the corridor. 

Finally, $225,000 will go to city street fests and other community events including: $100,000 for the popular City Summer Street Fest Concerts; $50,000 for the City’s Parks and Recreation “Leadership Conferences” focused on promoting leadership among participants residing in Pico Rivera and $75,000 to cover the costs of holding a 4th of July event.