A family of Canadian geese were rescued from Etiwanda Reservoir (which was being dewatered for maintenance) and relocated to Lake Skinner. Photo by Bill Wagner.
A weekly newsletter by and for Metropolitan employees
September 9, 2019
Assessing the Impact of PFAS in the Region
PFAS – the shorthand name for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances – is all over news headlines these days.

With growing concerns about the potential health impacts of the family of chemicals, used for decades in many household products, Metropolitan is working with our member agencies to assess the presence of PFAS in the region’s water supplies. 

To learn what Metropolitan and regulators are doing to address these chemicals, read our new fact sheet and FAQs .

PFAS are a family of more than 4,500 different chemicals widely used in products that resist heat, oils, stains and water, and in fire-fighting foam. Two types – Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) – are the most commonly used and studied PFAS in the United States.

PFAS don’t break down easily and can accumulate over time, leading some scientists to dub them “Forever Chemicals.”

The chemicals have not been detected in Metropolitan’s source or treated water. The chemicals have, however, been found in some groundwater wells in Southern California.

Metropolitan’s Water Quality staff has launched a survey of our member agencies to determine the impact on their supplies of new notification levels and anticipated revised response levels for PFOA and PFOS that were issued by the State Water Board.

As always, Metropolitan stands prepared to handle any increased demands for its imported water to help offset the potential loss of any affected local supplies.
Maximizing Deliveries Through a Cyclic Program
A frustration for water resource managers is having too much water in a surplus year and not enough capacity for storage.

Following a wet winter, Metropolitan is maximizing deliveries to Diamond Valley Lake and groundwater storage programs, storing Colorado River supplies with Desert Water Agency and Coachella Valley Water District, and in Lake Mead. But even with all that, Metropolitan will not be able to capture and store all available supplies in 2019.

At least 35,000 acre-feet of available supplies are at risk of loss this year, according to latest estimates.

The answer may lie in an innovative new program called the Cyclic Cost-Offset Program. Participating member agencies agree to take the water now, and purchase it over time, no longer than five years. The maximum cost offset is $225/acre-foot, a benefit which escalates each year. The offset is intended to cover the additional costs incurred for member agencies to capture additional supplies.

The program began issuing credits on August 1 and there are agreements with 14 of our member agencies. In wet years, cyclic accounts allow Metropolitan to pre-deliver water to the member agency groundwater basins or surface water reservoirs. In dry years, the member agency could use the water in their cyclic account to help meet their water needs.

Program manager Kira Alonzo lauded the program’s success. “In addition to more than half of our member agencies developing agreements for participation, we continue to receive inquires from others for future participation.”
Moving and Mentoring
For a Better Today
When Silvia Perez immigrated to the United States from Mexico at 12 years old, she embraced every opportunity, an approach that has served her well during her 28-year career at Metropolitan.

Silvia began at Metropolitan as an intern in 1990, and was hired as a temp engineering aide in the Field Services Unit. Her career then led to a position as an engineer on the Hydroelectric Engineering and Maintenance Team, and she was later promoted to manager of that team.

“I enjoy coaching and mentoring others because we all need a support structure to flourish,” she said. “This is what led me from a technical career path to management.”

Currently serving as interim manager of the WSO’s Power Equipment & Reliability Unit at Weymouth, Silvia previously spent four years as manager of the Manufacturing Services Unit, also known as the La Verne Shops.

Her interest in engineering began shortly after she arrived in the United States with her mother and seven siblings. Despite the challenges of beginning a new life and learning a new language, she flourished in a math magnet school where she discovered her future career path.

“My mother left Mexico under very difficult circumstances with children in tow, she said. “Once in the US, we had to work at a sewing factory to help put food on the table. It was here where Mom pointed out the importance of a higher education. It was not hard to get the message!”

After graduating from Garfield High School, Silvia earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Cal State L.A. and a master’s degree in business administration from Loyola Marymount University. 
New hires, transfers, promotions & retirements are posted here each month.
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