El Dorado County Breach of the Public Trust

From: “Cheryl Bly-Chester” <cherylblychester@aol.com>
To: RAO@dtsc.ca.gov
Cc: “Peck Ha” <Peck.Ha@usace.army.mil>, rditto@waterboards.ca.gov, “Karen Smith” <Karen.Smith@cdph.ca.gov>, “carol oz” <carol.oz@wildlife.ca.gov>, “Marie McCrink” <Marie.McCrink@waterboards.ca.gov>, “wampler david” <wampler.david@epa.gov>, MarineNews@wildlife.ca.gov,edcwatchdog@hotmail.com, “kristin brinks” <kristin.brinks@edcgov.us>
Sent: Thursday, March 17, 2016 1:33:13 PM

El Dorado County has failed to take proper action protective of public health and have been downplaying the hazardous waste threat in what is a public health communication debacle directly endangering pubic safety. In the public notice below, the County Environmental Management (CUPA) carefully words the notice to avoid saying “Hazardous Waste”, when they know that any solution with a pH of 12.5 is hazardous to human health and pH above 8.5 affects water quality. Despite knowing that “casual contact” with such high pH should be addressed immediately, the County posted on their website the following:


The pH in a limited area of this water has tested above 12.5, which is highly alkaline; however, due to the type of substance causing the elevated pH, the water presents a low health risk. The County advises that casual contact with this water is not likely to produce any harmful effects. It would take extended or repeated exposures to irritate the skin. Eyes are more sensitive and would be irritated sooner.

This Public Communication directly contradicts the CDC warnings about calcium hydroxide:

CDC Warning
CDC Warning about calcium hydroxide

At the time of the press release, El Dorado Environmental Management also knew of more than one “limited area” and had taken no public protection precautions at all in those other locations In a March 14, 2016 telephone conversation with El Dorado County Environmental Management Department (CUPA) official Barbara Houghton, she admitted that she knew the pH went far higher with colder water and she obviously knows that during winter mornings the temperature in Placerville is often at or below freezing. She also agreed that a cap was forming on the waste water indicative of a calcium hydroxide saturated solution.

At freezing, the pH of saturated calcium hydroxide solution is greater than pH 13.4 (http://www.lime.org/documents/lime_basics/lime-physical-chemical.pdf)

Barbara Houghton agreed in the telephone conversation that by definition 12.5 pH is hazardous to human health. She said that curiosity drove her to put this rainwater in her mouth. If the public cannot trust El Dorado County Environmental Official to protect their own safety, how can they be trusted to protect the safety of the public?

Barbara Houghton said that the decision on what measures to take to protect human health and the environment was “out of my hands, that’s all I can say” and that it was coming from above her office – from the County Counsel (Robyn Truitt Drivon) or the County Chief Administrator’s Office (Larry Combs) – so the CUPA does not appear to be acting independently as an agent of CalEPA, but rather at the mercy of El Dorado County’s very controversial politically influenced leadership.

This whole oversight and investigation and remediation needs to be elevated to the state level, out of El Dorado County’s hands.  Thank you for your consideration in this important public safety matter. – Regards, Cheryl Bly-Chester

Cheryl Bly-Chester, P.E, MBA, DM
Managing Principal Engineer
1079 Sunrise Bvld, Suite 168
Roseville, CA 95661
(916) 721-8557 (Pacific Time)
(916) 721-8339 (Fax)
(916) 747-2293 (Mobile)

To see the original post with documentary video and related documents, click here:  saveourcounty.net/2016/02/15/coverup/


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