Monday, August 12, 2013

YouTube Videos from the August 8, 2013 Special Baker City public meeting on Cryptosporidium outbreak

[Editted 8/13/13]  Below are the YouTube Videos from the August 8, 2013 Special Baker City public meeting on the Cryptosporidium outbreak. If you have already viewed some of them on YouTube, please note that I have attempted to renumber them according to their order of occurrence at the meeting. I have finally been able to find the time to process, describe, tag, and upload them all (very time consuming). Again, these videos were taken with poor stage lighting and with no additional illumination, but they are generally acceptable for viewing and the sound is OK if you set your computer to full volume. They are best viewed on YouTube. To watch on YouTube you can click on the title link for the segment. The YouTube embed feature wasn't working for me earlier and the images create a long blog download for people with limited connection speeds, so I've only used two embedded video.

Sometimes the most interesting comes last, so you might want to view the last segment first.

Baker City Crypto Meeting Part 1: Intro, Baker City, OR 080813
Mayor Langrell opened and explained the nature of the meeting before turning it over to City manager Mike Kee who presented the agenda and provided a summary timeline that was similar to the information in his August 2, 2013 Weekly Update. He also provided the results of the Cryptosporidium tests that have occurred during the Crypto "crisis."
Somewhat dim and grainy due to low light on Baker City High School auditorium stage but best video possible under the conditions.

Baker City Crypto Meeting Part 2 Alicia Hills, from the Baker County Health Department 

Alicia Hills, from the Baker County Health Department, spoke about the 15 confirmed Crypto cases and the "About Cryptosporidiosis" flyer that has been made available to residents and visitors which lists recommendations and suggestions for staying safe during Baker City's Crypto crisis

Baker City Crypto Meeting Part 3: Michelle Owen's Report 080813 

Michelle Owen, Baker City's Public Works Director, adds details to Cryptosporidium timeline and offers additional information at the Baker City Crypto Meeting 080813.

Baker City Crypto Meeting Part 4: Heidi Dalton Discusses Pool Safety and Reasons for Pool Closure

Heidi Dalton explains the rationale behind the decision to keep the Sam-O-Swim pool facility closed, i.e., the risks spreading Cryptosporidium infection by keeping it open were too high. They will do the usual September maintenance during the current closure period.

Baker City Crypto Meeting Part 5: Bill Goss Talks About Boil Water Order in Baker City 080813

 In talk to residents about the Boil Water Order issued for Baker City. OR, Bill Goss from the Drinking Water Program at the Oregon Health Authority says that "No one is to be blamed for this event" and that "It's going to take a bit of time to really figure out exactly what happened and how to resolve it.."  In order for the state issued boil water order to be lifted, he said "We would need two consecutive samples from each of the drainage intakes that are in use, and also two consecutive samples that show no oocysts from the three locations in the distribution system. So we're looking for water with zero detections of of Cryptosporidium (Crypto).

He also says the state and city will develop an ongoing monitoring program for Cryptosporidium. [Crypto had been found in small numbers during required monitoring back in 2010-2011, but the city quit monitoring for Crypto in 2011 because they were no longer required to do so.--Chris]

He talked about the fact that approved treatments (including UV and filtration) would remove 99.9% of Crypto oocysts but that treatments do not "completely eliminate the risk of exposure" but does meet drinking water standards. While talking about what people can do to be safe, he reiterated that ". . . There is no way to completely eliminate the risk of exposure to this parasite" and said that "Boiling is the only way to kill all Cryptosporidium cysts."

Baker City Crypto Meeting Part 6: Michelle Owen Talks About Water Treatment Solutions 080813 

Baker City Public Works Director Michelle Owen speaks to residents about several proposed solutions for providing safe drinking water for Baker City, Oregon during a public meeting. These include Long-term, Mid-term, and Short-term solutions.

Long-term:  The city is moving forward with an expedited schedule for installing the UV water treatment facility to remove 99.9% of Cryptosporidium oocysts from our water.  This plan meets current standards and was approved by the state of Oregon.

Mid-term:  Drilling or acquiring supplementary wells for additional water sources to meet contingencies. Well water is normally free of Cryptosporidium and would provide clean additional back-up water that would be helpful in emergencies.

Short-term:  People can by home filtration systems to provide additional safety, currently and in the future. Additionally, the city is contemplating borrowing portable membrane or UV filtration systems to treat sizable quantities of water to provide for citizens until the current emergency situation is resolved.

Baker City Crypto Meeting Part 7: Brian Black of HDR Talks About UV Treatment Facility 080813 

Brian Black of HDR Engineering told the audience at the special Baker City meeting on the Cryptosporidium outbreak about the accelerated schedule for installing the already planned UV treatment facility for the Baker City drinking water supply. He noted that due to the accelerated schedule, decisions have to be made rather quickly by both the state and the city so that things can get going in August (this month).

The schedule consists of:
- Have design completed and "have construction contractors bid on the work in early spring--march of next year."
- Have UV plant "under construction in the summer."
- "facility would be ready for operation in the summer of 2015."
- Will work with city to attempt to "get the entire project completed before these dates.

Baker City Crypto Meeting Part 8:; Q and A Segment 1; 080813

1st segment of a long question and answer period at the Baker City Cryptosporidium Meeting, 

This segment begins with a statement By Public Works Director Michelle Owen that we do not have the money available to pay for accelerated construction of the UV treatment plan. [Remember that our City Councils have been piddling away available dollars on underground utilities for the businesses on Resort Street, the Scenic Vista water tanks, the golf course, and etc. -- Chris]

Mayor Richard Langrell asks questions derived from the written questions residents had turned in at the beginning of the meeting. He says the number one question is "What is the city planning to do to compensate for hospital stays, loss of work, or damages done to businesses. . . ." City Manager Kee stated that is is a "Council Decision" and discusses insurance issues. He says that ". . .insurance won't accept claims for interruption of business or emergency room business. . . ."

There were questions about communication issues like the reverse 911 system to notify citizens about the presence of Crypto in the water. Mike Kee said that the system allowed them to "reach 58%" of people registered in the system, and Michelle owen said that folks can sign up at

Councilor Mosier asked whether we were likely to reach the zero oocysts in the water requirement given that "most often some oocysts exist in the system." Bill Goss from the OHA Drinking Water Program essentially says that it may take a considerable amount of time to reach the zero oocyst requirement, although the 2010-2011 testing met that requirement most of the time. Mike Kee comments on difficulties and that the city will submit a plan to the Oregon Health Authority. Mayor Langrell addresses questions about city water quality testing and explains that they had continued testing, but not for Cryptosporidium [after required testing ended in 2011]. He explains that the city is going to look at getting UV "online a little quicker."

And more. . . . 


Baker City Crypto Meeting Part 9 Q and A Segment 2; 080813

This is the second segment of questions and answers before Mayor Langrell opens up live questioning from the assembled residents at the Baker City meeting on the Cryptosporidium outbreak.

In response to a question from Councilor Button, Bill Goss of the Oregon Health Authority Drinking Water Program states that actual valid crypto testing recovery rates vary between 13 to 111 percent--". . . the results frankly have a pretty big margin of error, so you might find one or two cysts by the tests method, but there could be quite a few more that were not detected. That's one reason why we're also looking for zero in the samples, because even at zero, there could be one or two cysts that didn't get detected. . . ."

Mayor Langrell then talks about economic damage to the community and some rumors he's encountered about the mountain goats in the vicinity of Goodrich Reservoir.

Baker City Crypto Meeting Part 10 Q and A Segment 3; 080813

Residents at the Cryptosporidium Baker City meeting ask questions to city staff and Councilors. If the questions aren't in quotes they are paraphrased.

Jennifer Johnson: Asked "How are you going to assure our children are safe?"

Jim Thomas: Wanted to know why the city hasn't done anything about installing treatment sice they have known about it since at least December 2009 and why it hasn't been important enough to get something done "before suddenly we've got people sick." Also wondered "how prepared is this city to deal with a lawsuit?"

Milo Pope, lawyer, retired Judge and former City Councilor:  Asked why, if his statement of facts is true, which included that our engineering firm, HDR, had recommended to install UV treatment to handle drinking water disinfection, that in in Council votes, the Council majority, led by Dennis Dorrah and Roger Coles, had previously always voted against installing it.

Baker City Crypto Meeting Part 11 Q and A Segment 4; 080813
Residents at the Cryptosporidium Baker City meeting ask questions to city staff and Councilors.

Residents asking questions if I could hear or understand what they said were:
[again, questions paraphrased]

Linda Ross: Asks what significance is attached to finding 913 oocysts at the Elkhorn Diversion to the water supply

Ed Shorts asked additional questions on the life cycle and life span of Cryptosporidium in or out of the water, and Bill Goss and Mayor Langrell answer.

Vernon Hull asks questions about a seeming delay in the County Health Department notifying the City.

Mel Conaway wanted to know how Crypo in the water affects garden produce and fruit trees and if any precautions need to be taken.

City Planning Commissioner Wayne Wall Stated that "As a community, I think we're looking for somebody to say "Yeah, it's our fault. I think we are looking for some kind of culpability." He also noted the length of time we've been aware of the problem and need, and asked--"Why didn't we have a filtration system in place so that we don't have to deal with this?"

Stephanie shared that she and members of her family had been sick for several weeks but didn't go to the hospital because she couldn't afford the insurance co-pay. She asked "If the city knew about it, . . . why was the city not taking the proper precautions. . . to prevent this type of thing." She knew hundreds of people who were ill. "Why weren't you trying to prevent it--Be a little bit pro-active."

Len (or Glen?) Green had questions about calls to Alicia Hills and due diligence at County Health about the actual numbers of people that are ill. Alicia Hills explained efforts they are taking. He also asked "How many samples do you take weekly and at how many intakes?" Jake Jones answers the questions. Mr. Green also asked about whether there will be continuing monitoring for Cryptosporidium now and Bill Goss, from the Oregon Health Authority Drinking Water Program, explained that we are in the process now of developing a sampling schedule for Cryptosporidium that will last until treatment is operational.

Baker City Crypto Meeting Part 12;  Q and A Segment 5; 080813
Residents at the Cryptosporidium Baker City meeting ask questions to city staff and Councilors.

Names of residents asking questions, if I could hear or understand what they said, were
[again, questions paraphrased]:

Jason from Water Works in La Grande: Talks about some affordable certified household water filters and mentions that Water Works also drills and works on wells.

Sarah Pelcha wanted to know what people can do to [clean and disinfect] once it is already in their home.

Michelle had questions about how crypto can be spread person to person. She mentioned that Elkhorn Drilling is a local well driller.

Judith Head asked "Is this a crisis?" "What can we do about it now?" She shared that she had been sick for three weeks and wanted to know if she could be reinfected. She told the audience that 6 pills for treatment of Cryptosporidiosis cost $164.00 and that her insurance only paid up $57.00.

Answers were provided by Alicia Hills from the County Health Department, Mayor Langrell and City Staff.

Baker City Crypto Meeting Part 13  Q and A Segment 6; 080813
Residents at the Cryptosporidium Baker City meeting ask questions to city staff and Councilors.

Names of residents asking questions, if I could hear or understand what they said, were
[again, questions paraphrased]:

Alicia Hills addresses last question from Judith Head at the end of last video.

An unidentified woman from the audience asked County Health Department what do you do if we have it. . . tell us to go to the doctor and get pills we can't afford because we don't have money. . . .

Another unidentified woman from the audience asks about help from the state and Governor.

An unidentified woman from the audience again brought up that some people can't afford to go to the doctor or pay for medication, and asked what do you do then? Mike Kee responded that the pills don't do any good unless the patient is compromised. Mayor Langrell offers that the hospital is basically telling people to go home and are treating it a lot like they would the flue [if the patient is otherwise healthy I presume].

Others in the audience had questions about the health safety of children at school. One asked "How are we going to make sure that the children don't have it before they go to school?"

Sam Bass made a statement that the city staff :had been working their butts off" and "Some little bug comes along, slips in, 14 people get sick, and the whole town panics." He noted that he drinks the water, 6 glasses a day, and he doesn't have any problem.

Councilor Downing spoke about the people he had knowledge of and about the existence of other diseases in town that also cause health issues. He noted that while he sympathized with people who had become ill from Crypto, "We need to remember. . . that we need to treat this just like any other flu epidemic, any other cold epidemic, especially with the kids going to school. . . ." like his.

Linda Wall shared that she had gotten sick and asked the audience how many had experienced Crypto symptoms. She indicated after the meeting that her estimate of hands raised was between one quarter and one third.

Jeff Strom, asked several questions about UV treatment and also about effective portable water purification systems in town and in businesses and markets, that the state had shut down. Also on budget issues. He noted that previous Council should have  been taking the initiative and been requiring Crypto testing of the water. Bill Goss responds that the state was being overly cautious due to the situation. Mayor Langrell agreed and said that now there would be some serious crypto testing. The Mayor noted that after working with the state about disposing off our sewage affluent, the state has changed their mind about how to proceed.

A state Department of Agriculture representative, the department that regulates the grocery stores and food processors, explained that out of an abundance of caution they had decided to shut down some of the water filtration filters used by business. They had spoken with Safeway and in a joint decision on the side of safety ("they would rather be safe than sorry") they decided to take the actions they did. She said that she was not aware of whether the water bottling stations in those facilities (I think Jeff was referring to portable water filtration machines like Glacier Water and Sterilox) are safe or not.

Another unidentified woman in the audience complimented the city on providing clean fresh water for the public.

Baker City Crypto Meeting Part 14 Q and A Segment 7; 080813

Last segment. Residents at the Cryptosporidium Baker City meeting ask questions to city staff and Councilors.

Mike Kee speaks to the safety of Baker City Restaurants and says the inspector says all of our restaurants are safe.

A woman who spoke so fast I couldn't understand her name asked Councilor Coles why "back in 2001 you knew that there was Crypto in Baker City water, and you and Mr. Dorrah in particular, were adamant about asking for a variance from the state, and otherwise we would potentially already have the UV plant on line now."

Mr. Coles responded that he doesn't believe "that UV is the total answer, and that has pretty much been said. 99.9%, I just don't buy into it. There was really no support for filtration. Really filtration is the end result down the road, and the other reason is that I won't rubber-stamp just because staff sends something across the desk--I won't do it--and I'm not going to jump on the first wagon in town. Now just this week we have found out, there is (sic) some comments being made through a website about sand filtration, which I was gonna ask our state man. .... The mayor covered it, and I don't know how many of you folks read the paper last night. I'm rather outspoken and that's the way it is." Councilor Coles goes on to say he was dissatisfied that our water wasn't tested and quotes the article which says that, unlike Baker City, Bend, OR employees continued to do Crypto monitoring every month since 2008 even though it wasn't required because they though it would be the best management practice and satisfy requirements for due diligence. Coles goes on to say that Bend is in the "same situation as the city of Baker, so I'll go back and say, like I did, I'm not sold on UV". [Well the same situation sort of. Both have a relatively clean water supply and both have some Crypto, but, according to Wiki, "Bend recorded a population of 76,693 at the time of the 2010 US Census, up from 52,029 at the 2000 census. The estimated population of Bend as of 2012 is 79,109." Ours, according to Census Quick Facts is 9,696. So they use probably 7 to 8 times the amount of water we use, and they have 7 to 8 times as many people to pay for it. Their tax base is huge with, according to Zillow, a median home price in June of $350,000, while Baker City's median home price was $159,000 in June. According to the census, our median income was $35,458 for the period 2007-2011, and Bend's was $52,596 for the same period. So, water quantity needing disinfection is massively different, they have many more people, who are much wealthier, and they have a larger tax base with higher property values--all of which gives them economies of scale and more and better options when it comes to choosing and paying for water treatment. Also, its not clear how Bend's testing relates to why Councilor Coles isn't "sold on UV."-Chris]

Don't miss the important statements by Bill Goss of the Oregon Water Authority later in the segment. They announce a state review of our water treatment options and the review has the potential TO CHANGE EVERYTHING and make it impossible for Baker City to install the UV system that has, as of now, been presented as an affordable and effective water treatment option for Baker City!

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