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Community Update for October 18, 2011

Dear Richmond neighbors,

On Tuesday, October 4th, Veolia Water staff began the start-up process of digester #1 at the Richmond Wastewater Treatment Plant, located at 601 Canal Boulevard.
For the past 11 months, Veolia Water and its Richmond project team have worked toward this point in time with the collective goal of providing the most comprehensive procedures, practices and staff training to operate the digesters safely. The start-up of any new biological wastewater system is a process and unique to each plant. There are several stages to the process, which uses naturally occurring bacteria with heat to start the digestion process. Operators slowly feed the system with seed and feed sludge to begin the biological process.

On Sunday morning, October 9th, we experienced a system anomaly related to the Dystor digester gas holder (Dystor) during the start-up process.Operations and maintenance staff responded and the system was stabilized.

At no time was health and safety at risk, as the safety, alarm and response systems functioned effectively. The City's real time monitors at the plant north and south fence lines did not measure excessive levels of H2S during the time frame of these events. It is important to note that there was minimal digester gas production occurring at the time due to the system being at an early stage in the start-up process.

Technical personnel from the Dystor supplier (Siemens Water Technologies) arrived on site in Richmond on Monday afternoon, October 10th.After reviewing the Dystor components, Siemens advised putting the digester into a "hold" position.Veolia plant personnel made the recommended changes and discontinued the digester start up, the process completed on the morning of Wednesday, October 12th. Veolia continues to work with the supplier and has been assured that they are committed to resolving the issue so that the digester start-up process can resume as soon as possible.
Veolia received a preliminary report from Siemens on Friday, October 14th.Discussions indicate defects with the membrane covers which occurred during manufacture. It appears certain the Dystor system will need to be replaced.

As part of Veolia's operational protocol, Veolia staff notified the City and officials from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) and the company continues to work closely with these officials at this time.A BAAQMD was on site at the Richmond wastewater treatment plant on Wednesday and Thursday, October 12th and 13th.
Although the digester start-up process is on hold pending the resolution of the issue, wastewater treatment operations at the plant continue for Richmond and residents will not experience any interruption to their services.

If you have any questions, please contact us at (510) 412-2001 or visit our web site at
Please note that actual odor complaints are best directed to Veolia's odor complaint hotline at (510) 412-2001 (odor complaint cell phone (510)778-5421), the City of Richmond Fire Department or the BAAQMD 24 hour toll-free complaint hotline (1-800-334-ODOR (6367)).In this manner odors issues can best be properly and most efficiently logged and investigated.

Aaron Winer
Project Manager