Hinkle Creek Nature Area - Kerri Howell Social Media Post ~September 18, 2019
On September 10, 2019, after five years of research and analysis, the City Council voted 3-2 to accept the recommendation of the Hinkle Creek Working Group to protect our park and ensure the sewer line is properly maintained. On September 17 there was a back-up in the Hinkle Creek sewer line that was quickly resolved by the city’s sewer maintenance team. Following the back-up we saw the post below from Kerri Howell the Mayor of the City of Folsom. Our first thought was to let it go, as we didn’t think a social media war would be productive. However, we thought it was important for us to document a response for those who were curious if there was any truth in Kerri’s “Facts”.
We want all to know that our group is absolutely convinced that following the plan approved by the City Council is the right plan to ensure the sewer line performs properly and there is minimum negative impact on our beautiful nature area.
Here is Kerri’s post and our response including the real facts!
Kerri’s “Facts” from the post above are underlined and our factual response with supporting data points follow
Kerri Fact – the $760,000 was spent on design of the replacement of the pipelines that are failing. False.
This assertion has two false facts.
The first is: “the $760,000 was spent on design of the replacement of the pipelines
The second is that the pipelines are failing is handled below.
Truth – the $776,189 were spent to provide “access” = design a road not to fix the sewer line. The quote below is from Marcus Yasutake’s report to the Folsom City Council September 10, 2019:
“On February 11, 2014, City Council approved Resolution No. 9309 authorizing the City Manager to execute an agreement with Quincy Engineering to investigate various sewer access alternatives, in order to provide vehicular access for sewer maintenance and emergency response, which includes vactor truck access, to existing sewer lines and manholes that are currently inaccessible in three different locations, which includes the sewer main near Hinkle Creek behind several homes located on Canyon Rim Drive.”
Truth – In February 2014 the Director of Environmental & Water Resources was authorized to provide vehicular access for vactor trucks to the sewer line. The authorization was to design a road, not fix a sewer line! This was the fatal flaw that set the city off on a wild goose chase to build a road which at the end of the day wasted $776,189! Rather than realizing this was a pristine nature area that needed to be protected, without thinking through any alternatives to a bulldozer, they decided that 199 oak trees in the nature area had to go in order to maintain the sewer line that had been serving 27 homes for 40 years!
Wager – We bet you cannot find a single document from 2014 which outlined the alternatives they had considered before deciding to build a road and completely trash our nature area.
Truth – Note that resolution 9309 in 2014 states that access (a road) was required for vactor truck. In the June 2017 at the city council meeting, the Director of Environmental & Water Resources was asked why he needed the road. Answer was vactor truck access was required by the State Water Board. Mayor Morin asked if he had spoken with the State Water Board about the Hinkle Creek sewer line. Answer No. The City Council instructed him to verify that vactor truck assess was required. On September 6, 2017 we received a letter from the City Manager confirming that the State Water Board did NOT require vactor truck access. The outcome is that: 1) in 2014 the sewer team determined they needed a road in the Hinkle Creek Nature Area 2) they needed the road for vactor track access required by the State Water Board – but never verified this requirement 3) September 2017, after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to design a road, they find out they don’t need a road! The initial plan impacted about 200 oak trees. If the community hadn’t opposed this thoughtless approach, today the Hinkle Creek Nature area would have a 3,400 foot road in the park that carved a 40 foot swath and in the process impacted 200 oak trees. Does this turn your stomach? Certainly does ours!
Truth - What do municipalities, in other jurisdictions such as Lake Tahoe, do when they have a sewer line in a pristine nature area that needs to be maintained? We checked with them .. very simply they start the project with the objective to ensure the sewer line operates properly with minimum impact on their nature area. A starting point of building a 12 foot wide road wiping out over 40 feet of the surface of their protected land was not even on their list of options to consider!
Kerri Fact – the option to clean was rejected as ineffective in solving the problems in the pipelines in question
Truth – their decision was made without assessing the condition of the sewer line. Yes, it is true, the option to clean the line was rejected … actually it was never considered!
Truth – it wasn’t until August 2016, after a lot of hard work by the community, that the City decided to outsource the camera inspection of the line. The results of the camera inspection and cleaning was that 2,400 feet of the sewer line were in good shape and only 1,000 feet needed mitigation. So two years after they decided to bulldoze our park, they finally got the facts on the status of the sewer line.
Kerri Fact - The spill was not found by a jogger or someone who happened to be on the trail False
Truth – A member or our team, John Combs, is the runner who discovered the manhole was full. He called in the report at 6:02 pm, Chris called him back at 6:12 pm to gather more information, Glenn showed up on site at 6:22 pm and concluded that very little sewage had escaped the manhole, 6:29 pm the vactor truck pulled up, they ran the hose to the manhole in the backyard of a homeowner, before 7 pm the blockage was removed and the crew was heading home. The response of the City’s team to this blockage was very impressive! Well done to all involved!
Some important facts to keep in mind:
Truth – Our recommendation was to clean/camera the line annually. This line has not been cleaned since August 2016 – over 3 years ago!
Truth - We recommended an Early Warning Flow Monitors to be installed. They would have provided ample time to completely mitigate the overflow.
Truth – The first person on site from the city inspected the area around the manhole: All dry so we caught it before it negatively impacted the park and never reached Hinkle Creek.
Truth – this incident was never posted on the State Water Boards web site as an overflow. https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/sso/sso_map/sso_pub.shtml
Kerri Fact - the overflows (yes 2 manholes) were the result of root intrusion and clogs because the pipeline is of insufficient diameter, offsets and joints – meaning the pipeline is leaking because it is NOT PHYSICALLY CONNECTED and has been leaking. False
Truth – We have personally reviewed the videos of this section of the sewer line. The camera operator notes all defects they see which are noted on the video. This section of the line had zero root intrusion, zero offsets, zero defective joints and the entire line was physically connected
Truth – Standard practice to mitigate minor sags is to increase the frequency of cleaning/camera inspection from every 5-6 year to every 2-5 years, not replace the line. Our recommendation was to clean, and camera inspect every year!
Wager – We would be willing to wager that the sags didn’t suddenly happen to this section of the line but have been there since the line was originally constructed. It has worked for 40 years, not sure why it wouldn’t continue to function properly given the video inspection.
Truth – We thought Kerri was an engineer. She should know that a sewer line diameter of 6 inches is ample capacity to serve 27 households. If it wasn’t enough capacity, the City of Folsom should never have approved the construction of the sewer line.
Keri Fact – this section of sewer line needs be replaced False
We could have saved you a lot of time by telling you that virtually everything Kerri listed in her post was false. But we didn’t, because we thought you would like to see the details behind our statement.
We welcome your thoughts and comments. We also encourage you to support the three council members who “Saved the Hinkle Creek Nature Area” Roger Gaylord, Mike Kozlowski, and Ernie Sheldon
Hinkle Creek Working Group
SAVE HINKLE CREEK
Please join our fight to save the nature of Hinkle Creek