Community Updates
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Veolia Launches Community Update to Address Concerns

Community Update #1

Dear Point Richmond residents,

We understand the recent frustration over odors and the timeliness of our response. It is clear we have much work to do to address the concerns you’ve raised and to regain your trust. It is a personal disappointment to me when we do not perform up to our own standards – let alone the expectations of the community.

But that doesn’t change the fact that many of you are frustrated. We hear you, and with this in mind, we wanted to keep you in the loop on the most up-to-date data and activities at the treatment plant and in the collection system.

We are sincerely committed to addressing the concerns you’ve raised and we’ll continue to keep you updated on the facility. If you have a concern in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact John Hart at the treatment plant. He can be reached at 412-2001, or by e-mail at

*If you would like to opt-out of these communications, please let us know and we’ll remove you from the chain.


  • BioMax, the City’s industrial hygiene consultant, has started independent odor monitoring in the community. They conducted additional monitoring on Wednesday to track any odors in the hauling process.
  • The BioMax data is available at this link:


  • A routine odor patrol has been instituted, covering both critical locations in the plant and in Point Richmond using a sensitive ppb meter which was ordered in response to community request. This patrol is monitoring three times a day.
  • Odor patrol logs are attached to this email.
  • Some key findings from that odor patrol are: INSERT
  • Earlier this week, CAL-OSHA conducted a surprise investigation. The inspector indicated final results would be available within the next 2-3 months. The preliminary feedback from the inspector was that he found no violations.
  • The odor monitoring standard operating process (SOP) is being revised and tested to incorporate the lessons we’ve learned the last few weeks from the community and others.


  • We received three odor complaints this week.
  • The first report occurred at 7:31 a.m. on Tuesday morning. An investigation was sent into the community and a report sent by certified mail. The finding was INSERT.
  • The second report came at INSERT in response to REFINERY. An investigation was made in the community and a report sent by certified mail.
  • The third complaint came at INSERT but did not leave a name, number or address so it could not be investigated.
*As a reminder: If you smell something you think may be coming from the plant, please call us at INSERT with the time the odors occurred. This helps immensely in pinpointing sources of odors.


  • We are replacing the old manhole covers in Point Richmond with modern ones to further protect against odors. We’ve already replaced all of the covers near Washington Elementary.
  • NUMBER of covers remain and our plan is to replace them all by the end of November.
*This process requires minimal digging in and around the manhole. For this reason, you are likely to see some work crews during the middle of the day working in the street until the end of November when this project is scheduled for completion


  • The two digesters are currently being repaired. The cover of digester #2 has been repaired and all holes are patched. The digesters will not be put back into operation until the appropriate regulatory permission to do so has been received.
  • New and upgraded cover systems will be installed on the digesters. The first of those is expected to be completed and put into operation by mid-February of 2011.
  • On Tuesday, we started hauling the sludge to a nearby facility equipped to accept it on a temporary basis until the digesters are repaired.
*The trucks hauling the sludge will travel up and down Canal to the 580 entrance. There is no reason for them to travel on any other surface streets. If for some reason you notice otherwise, please contact us and we will have it stopped.


  • We’ve tentatively scheduled the installation of a biofilter for the headworks, on November 29. This will also help to further reduce odors.
  • We are implementing new, mechanized odor monitoring procedures at the treatment facility.
  • Two continuous H2S monitors are being purchased by Veolia which will be installed at the treatment plant. This data will feed directly to SCADA for trending and analysis.
  • CAL-OSHA will make its data available in 2-3 months.
  • All affected manhole covers in Point Richmond are scheduled to be replaced by end of November.
You may have noticed people coming in and out of the plant. We are bringing in specialists from across the organization to resolve the situation in Richmond, and we will continue to keep you apprised of ongoing activities at the facility as we work to resolve this issue. Please do not hesitate to contact me or John Hart with any questions during this process.

James L. Good
VP, Operations
Veolia Water West