A group concerned about public health is holding a town-hall meeting next week to inform Bay Point residents about potential changes to the community water supply and rates.
The East County Environmental Justice Collaborative scheduled Monday’s meeting on short notice because residents need to be educated about the proposed changes by Golden State Water Co. before the deadline to lodge protests, event organizers said. The meeting will start at 6 p.m. at Bay Point First 5.
The state Public Utilities Commission required the private water supplier to submit a plan to fluoridate Bay Point’s water as a condition allowing it to raise rates by 6.18 percent to improve service quality earlier this year.
A Sept. 29 letter from Golden State to the PUC described how much it would cost for fluoridation and reducing chlorine byproducts — the other issue raised during community meetings in 2007 — along with possible rate increases to recover the costs. Studies have linked the byproducts, known as trihalomethanes, to higher rates of miscarriage and cancer risk.
Golden State’s letter calls for a significant rate increase, and deals with issues that “have nothing to do with fluoridation,” said Angel Luevano, executive director of TODOS UNIDOS, which is part of the collaborative.
“It needs to be reviewed separately, and there should be more meetings and hearings,” Luevano said.
Golden State officials say the two issues are intertwined, and it would cost more in the long run to handle them separately.
The options considered by Golden State are fluoridating the water itself or purchasing treated water from the Contra Costa Water District on a full-time basis, said John Dewey, Golden State’s community education manager.
Golden State is proposing raising rates by 22 percent or 29 percent depending on which option is used. Tapping into the district’s supply is more cost-efficient, Dewey said.
The public has until Tuesday to comment on the proposal. An extension was filed to delay the comment period to that date.
Once the comment period expires, the PUC will consider whether Golden State’s request is reasonable. The proposal can be granted, partially accepted or rejected, PUC policy analyst Kerrie Evans said, adding there is no time frame for this analysis.
Golden State is planning to hold a community meeting at 7 p.m. Nov. 13 to discuss Bay Point water issues at the Ambrose Community Center.
Bay Point residents pay the most for water in central and eastern Contra Costa, even though a third of its residents live below the poverty line, county health officials said. They also say Bay Point has the worst water quality in East County.
Water rates in Bay Point are higher than neighboring communities, company officials have said, because the company’s approximately 5,000 customers there must bear all facilities and operating costs. Bay Point is the only community in the Contra Costa Water District served by a private, investor-owned supplier.
IF YOU GO
• WHAT: Bay Point Town Hall Meeting held by East County Environmental Justice Collaborative to discuss proposed changes by Golden State Water Co. to add fluoride and reduce chlorine byproducts from Bay Point water.
• WHEN: 6 p.m. Monday
• WHERE: Bay Point First 5, 3225 Willow Pass Road
• MORE INFORMATION: Call 925-313-6849. Information is available in both English and Spanish