tv [untitled] December 2, 2013 7:00am-7:31am PST
hattahoochee river, which also provides water to many downstream communities. but its infrastructure is dangerously old, without outdated facilities and combined sewer overflows polluting the watershed. the city faces strict consent decrees and lawsuits, along with a severe lack of funding. man: when i started working for the city of atlanta in the late '70s, we were approaching that point in time where a lot was going to be needed, in terms of rehabilitation and upkeep. most of the very large pipes were at least 80 years old. we had needs that were identified in the '50s and in the '60s and in the '70s that were deferred. woman: we are urging that we all try to find a way to overcome the obstacles and limitations that might exist. woman: when i was running for office, i met someone who knew mayor hartsfield, who, in the late 1960s, said, "i don't know who the next mayor will be,
"but i know they'll have to fix the water and sewer infrastructure." woman: the city had chronic sewage overflows into the chattahoochee and its tributaries. fecal coliform bacteria levels were in the millions of colonies per hundred milliliter, which was a significant public health threat. and this had been occurring for decades. but neither the federal epa nor the epd back in the '90s were willing to take action under the clean water act to make the city fix its plumbing. so in 1994, we started upper chattahoochee river keeper. we filed a clean water act lawsuit. in 1997, we won. and so for the past decade, the city has embarked on a program to clean up the river. now, with 1,800 miles of sewer system, three sewage plants and combined sewer overflows, it took a number of years to figure out what would be the solution. we are facing a crisis in infrastructure.
bethea: a huge change came about when mayor shirley franklin became the mayor of atlanta. we're having to choose how to spend our money. i named myself "the sewer mayor," and i wear that title very proudly, because, without wastewater infrastructure and drinking water infrastructure, the economy will stop. we did a major outreach. we trained an outreach team, who went to every community meeting, to educate people on how bad the crisis was. not only did i tell people that we'd have to raise rates, i told them we'd have to tear up the city to repair this infrastructure. man: you can't simply say, "i won't use any water, it's too expensive." we have about 25% of our population that's at or below the poverty line, so you have to look at rate structures that are tiered so the people can pay their bills. franklin: we would love to have something like 75% federal money. we do get some federal aid and we are thankful, but on the other hand, we're paying for this
primarily with new rates. we have increased our rates to among the highest in america. but not nearly as much as if we hadn't passed a one-cent sales tax dedicated to water and sewer infrastructure. hunter: that sales tax counts for about a third of the revenue of the department right now. franklin: we got 75% of the voters to agree to tax themselves so that their children and their children's children could have clean water because we're investing in it now. hunter: there were no alternatives. the infrastructure was in dire straits. a lot of people didn't want to believe it had to be done, but it had to be done. what came out of those lawsuits by the upper chattahoochee river keeper were two consent decrees, focused on overflows. the intent is, city of atlanta, you need to keep the flows in the pipe. narrator: with the help of the funding the city raised, atlanta has been implementing an asset management plan
that evaluates and addresses their infrastructure issues. hunter: it's a continuum. at one end, you have your regular maintenance that you do every day on the system, and at the other end, long-term planning so that every year we're repairing, replacing the right things, and we don't have to do it all at once, which is, quite frankly, what we're having to do in atlanta now. griffin: we have thousands of assets that we have to keep track of. we have to always know their condition and continuously plan for their refurbishment at the right time. one of the things we're required to do under the consent decree is inspect our system. we're trying to find where there's leaks. so we blow smoke into the sewer pipe. man: we're locating places where water from the surface to the ground is running into the sewer pipe and overloading the system. hunter: we have 1,600 miles of sewer. we are evaluating every linear foot of that system. is the pipe leaking; are you having a lot of
infiltration or inflow? thornell: every time it rains, water will come down, go into the pipe, enter the sewer system. it's very easy to repair this defect and get all that water out of the system. griffin: with our closed-circuit tv inspection, we record cracks, holes, pipes that are partially collapsed. hunter: we literally will have a digital video of every foot of our sewer that in the future, we can go back and do a comparison. what's changed? is it degrading? what do we need to do? at what rate is this happening? griffin: to really improve these systems, you need to deploy the latest technology. woman: the pipe bursting process is designed to replace an old pipe without digging an entire trench. the old pipe has cracks and displaced joints and openings in it. we try to stop, not only infiltration, but exfiltration, where sewage would actually leak out of the pipe.
the head is larger, so it breaks away the old pipe and allows the new pipe to come in behind it. griffin: we are saving about 67% of the cost of actually digging old pipe up. clyne: it's less invasive than an open-cut process, where you would open the whole trench up and replace the pipe. it's called "trenchless" technology, so... that's as good as it gets. griffin: we don't have to dig up everyone's yard, and we refurbish that pipe at a much-reduced cost. another technique, the cured-in-place lining. it's equivalent to putting a large sock through the existing sewer. we form a new pipe inside the old pipe, and therefore we seal up all of the defects that allow rainwater to come in. hunter: we repair about 730 leaks a month in our system.
griffin: the improvements that we've made will make the environment better. we had approximately 1,000 overflows occur in 1999. today, we've reduced overflows by 45% to 50%. and it's going to continue to improve as we go forward with the rehabilitation program that's required under the consent decree. narrator: an important piece of the program is the construction of an 8-mile-long storage tank that will significantly decrease combined sewer overflows. man: right now, we're at the bottom of the rockdale construction shaft. we're 310 feet below grade, deep under atlanta in hard rock. in the downtown area of atlanta, the sewer system and the stormwater system are combined and there are overflows during storm events, and so the purpose of this system
is to relieve that flow, take it into the tunnel, transport it to a brand-new treatment plant, clean up the chattahoochee river. narrator: instead of the combined sewage overflowing into the river, it will flow into this tunnel that acts as a storage tank. the water will then slowly empty into the new plant for treatment before it's released back into the river. man: the system in total is about 8 1/2 miles, 27 feet in diameter. most of the time it will be dry. the only time it will fill is when the sewer system is overwhelmed by the storm. it is a massive project. our budget was $210 million. we've worked about a million and a half man-hours. hunter: it is an incredible amount of work. our capital program right now is $3.9 billion. over a period of less than 10 years. franklin: so it's very expensive.
the bottom line is, we, as atlantans, as georgians, don't have a choice to protect the river. we need to leave it better than we found it, and it's really been a political advantage for me, not a disadvantage. people laugh about me being the sewer mayor, but they remember what i'm doing. griffin: we want people to understand, when they see one of our work crews out working on the mains, that that work is necessary in order for them to have good clean drinking water or to have a good, functioning wastewater system. franklin: you don't put a roof on the house one time. you don't fix the plumbing one time, any more than i get my hair done one time. if we don't continue to invest for the next 20 years, we'll find ourselves back at the same point that we were in the late '90s. if we don't protect water, we will be without water. we will be without industry, we will be without jobs,
we will be without a healthy economy, and our people will be sick. so we don't really have a choice. we're going to find out why that's important. it's a question of, who's going to pay, how much you're going to be willing to pay in order to ensure that your children live the kind of life that we as americans have promised them. woman: and what we're going to do is get a marble to travel through your pipe. child: keep still! keep still! woman: aw, there's a clog in the drain. oh, there it is. [ laughing ] narrator: in the 19th century, foresighted leadership and innovative engineering established drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure that supported the growth of the nation. through much of the 20th century, we continued to invest, to ensure our public health, safety, and economy.
but now, in the 21st century, we face the need to revisit our commitment to the buried assets and infrastructure that for so long have provided for our way of life. johnson: infrastructure across this country needs to be addressed and it needs to be addressed now. hunter: what we need is responsible stewardship. we just can't turn a blind eye and say that they're going to continue to work for another 50 or 100 years. franklin: we can't be embarrassed to tell our congresspeople that we want something different. kelly: it's going to take state officials, it's going to take federal assistance, it's going to take all of us to get this united states back where it belongs. we're not there yet, but we can be there. grumbles: water is america's greatest liquid asset. and citizens and governments all need to be reminded of that from time to time. woman: what can individuals do to make a difference? allbee: we need to accept the responsibility that future generations need to be able to rely on those assets to have the same quality of life that we have.
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everybody off limits and then we cut the ribbon and then stuff happens. you can't stop them. you can only hope to contain them in there so we're going to let everybody continue to play. so, it's been said that, that success has many, many, many parents and there are many parents, many people who have contributed to this outstanding, outstanding effort. we are so, so proud of this project and so thrilled to be able to give a new face to lafayette park. this park has tremendous history, from a city attorney who claimed ownership of 12 acres in the 1860s, holiday hill, how many know about holiday hill? right? where the city attorney actually thought he owned a piece of this. to a professor who set up the first astronomical observatory on the west coast here in 1879. to the hundreds of people who call this park home after the
1906 earthquake, to controversial mind troops. to controversial park renovations. lafayette park has many stories to tell. but its views, locations and one of the city's most desirable neighborhoods in the city, it has -- this park has a way of igniting people's passions about green space. and we've got the permit appeals to prove it. yea! >> it is this passion that made la fay it park what it is today. and i want to talk about the community and partnership involved. so, in 2008 san francisco voter displayed their passion for this park by approving an $185 million bond to improve parks, rec centers and play grounds like this one all across the city. more than $10 million of that bond were invested here in lafayette park and you're going to see even more improvements around the city as we start implementing the 2012 parks bond. yeah. (applause)
>> by the way, if you're wearing a rec and park sticker today, raise your hand. yeah, woo, look at that. but government can't do it alone, we know that, right? and it's the passion of groups like the friends of lafayette park and the friends of lafayette park playground (applause) >> which has been with us every step of the way offering leadership, guidance, and support throughout the process. the friends group stepped up to help us make this beautiful, beautiful playground a reality and other you're going to be hearing more about that in a little bit. but it's also people like jeff miller who contributed all of the architectural services for this gem pro bono. [cheering and applauding] >> but it's also the passion of our elected officials on the state and local level who you're going to hear from in a little bit including senator leno, assemblyman phil king, our mayor. (applause)
>> our recreation and park commissioners megan levitt son is here. our district 2 supervisor mark farrell. [cheering and applauding] >> our district 8 supervisor and park champion, tallest park champion in the city, scott wiener. (applause) >> our district 11 supervisor and another park champion extraordinary narc, john avalos. (applause) >> our city treasurer who does his work to make sure we've actually got the funds to pull this off, jose cisneros. (applause) ~ >> but it's the passion of all of us. and i also want to give a big shout out to the entire city family for their role, mohammed nuru and folks at department of public works had a role, lindsay hirsch. (applause) >> with all due respect to dpw and everybody else who is here,
the hardest working staff in government is rec and park. gk, construction manager, mary hobson, project manager. [cheering and applauding] >> director of capital planning, don. our great operations staff, zach taylor, judy auberry who is here, and everyone else who has contributed to this incredible project. so, at rec and park, we're encoloneling people to get out and play. that's our tag line, get ready, 1, 2, 3. >> get out and play. >> we say that because of the importance of keeping our families active and healthy. this is a real serious issue. according to the center for disease control, childhood obesity has more than doubled in our children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years. in 2010 more than one-third of our children were overweight or obese. it is important that we get our kids outside.
our children today average over 7-1/2 hours behind a screen. listen to that. 7-1/2 hours behind a screen, less than 30 minutes a day outside. that has to change. and this playground helps get it done. and i wanted to just offer a quick quote from richard lu who is the author of a book called the nature principle which encourage uz us to reconnect with nature and create a balance between nature and the ever evolving world of technology. ~ he says imagine a world in which all children grow up with a deep understanding of the life around them, where obesity is reduced through nature play, where children experience the joy of being in nature before they learn of its loss. where they can lie on the grass on a hillside for hours, and watch clouds become the faces of the future. where every child and every adult has a human right to a connection to the natural world and shares the responsibility for caring for it. that's the community, that's the world, that's the park that all of you have created today.
and i want to say that while we're here looking at this amazing playground which, by the way, has the world's -- i'm not kidding -- the world's longest monkey bars. >> woo-hoo! >> and as the father of a daughter who has broken not one, but two arms on monkey bars, i'm extremely fired up about that. (applause) >> but this park is more than just the playground. for those of you who are here with your kids and you're here for the playground opening, make sure you take a stroll up the hill. the view corridor that has been created as a result of this incredible park design, lindsay, and this incredible work, mary, it's stunning. you can see all the way -- today you can see all the way into marin. you can see the entire bay. the tennis courts, the area, the amphitheater where the mime troop historically performed, the off-leash dog area, the
benches on our hillside. we have created together a park that is truly extraordinary. it is a piece of art. and we are just also proud that we've been able to do this together. so, give yourselves a big, big round of applause. (applause) >> so, i'd like -- i'm going to get back up and introduce some other speakers and we have some gifts we're going to present in a little bit. but i'm going to start -- i'm going to kick the program off by bringing up our state senator. everybody here knows mark leno. but what you may not know is how committed and how tireless mark is to fighting for kids and families and parks and open spaces. it's not always on the front page of the paper. he's often doing it behind the scenes in ways that not everybody knows. mark is a true advocate for families. he is a true advocate for parks. a true advocate for green space. and it is my great pleasure to bring him up now. (applause)
>> thank you, phil. let's hear it for parks cheer leader and chief phil ginsberg. (applause) >> it is a real pleasure to be with everyone here today. it takes a village and the village is out. it's not often we get to say the words "our tax dollars at work" with a smile on our face. but we're doing it today. because voters really knew what they were doing a few years back when we passed that $185 million parks bond, neighborhood parks bond and the $10 million invested into lafayette park. i used to live at hyde and geary my first four years when i moved to san francisco, now 36 years ago, and this was my neighborhood park. and i've loved it ever since. the combination of the palms and the pines and everything in between, this is a jewel of a park. and when i saw the fences go up i got a little nervous because, well, it was going to be closed for a while. and i saw on some of the signs that some trees were going to
come down which always makes me a little uncomfortable. but now seeing the result, it is magnificent. and, so, i want to thank all the folks who have invested their time and their efforts to make sure that the tennis courts got their renovation and the pathways were upgraded, the a-d-a improvements, of course, this extraordinary playground for our kids, the improved lighting which will make it all safer. and i'm glad, phil, that you mentioned the fact of this epidemic of childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes. you know, one in eight of us today will experience type 2 diabetes, but a generation from now that means kids here today, if we don't change course, 1 in 3, there are predictions in every californian will have diabetes by 20 50 which will completely overwhelm our already taxed health care system. so, get out and play is more than just some words. it's something we must do. it's for us to make sure that
our little ones have the benefit of parks like these all over the city. so, to carina jones who led the fund-raising for the playground and lynn new house seigel who led the fund-raising for the friends of the park, and folks at dpw mohammed nuru, phil, your team. it's a thrill to be with my colleagues on the board of supervisors who lead the charge every day to make san francisco a better place. i've got proclamations for all the folks i just mentioned. thanks again for being here and celebrate this beautiful day here at lafayette park. (applause) >> so, mark, we have a little parting gift for you to commemorate this great day. and to encourage you to get out here and take this and play with us. we have a lafayette playground sign and a rec and park picnic blanket for you to enjoy. congratulations. (applause) >> thank you. next time we need a park bond. while you go to the voters, i'm
going to call sean parker. [laughter] >> thank you, mark. all right. i mentioned there are a variety of city departments here. i want to give a shout ought to battalion chief williams from station 38. where are you, chief? there she is. (applause) >> and i think we have some activities going on over there. i also want to give a big thank you to fire commissioner and lafayette park champion don. where is don? (applause) >> he's actually playing on the swings. [laughter] >> all right. next up, it does take great leadership from our elected leaders and another true example at the state level for us has been phil king. also he's on the state assembly. he's that young dad with two kids and uses our parks and play grounds all the time. he couldn't be here, but i have [speaker not understood] to say a very brief word to present a proclamation. thank you. >> thank you so much, phil. i'm here on behalf of assembly member tang as phil mentioned.
this is a wonderful park truly an effort on behalf of the community. we're here on behalf of the state assembly to present proclamations to the friends of lafayette park, rec and park, dpw, and carina as well. thank you so much, bill, and we'll be handing these out. >> thank you all. clap lap (applause) >> all right. ~ next on the line up, batting third, if you l he's the district 2 supervisor. he's a dad, he's a playground lover. he's a half decent athlete and he is a true, true, true advocate for our parks. representing the board and mark what i think i'm going to do is give you the mic and have scott and john join you to say a few quick words after you're done. our board of supervisors has been terrific. even in the toughest times they have been working with us and fighting with us to find financial resources for our parks. something i know is going to continue in this budget cycle, mr. budget chair. [laughter] >> we are really, really thrilled with the support we've
gotten from the board of supervisors for or parks and play grounds and rec centers. so, mark, come on up. let's give him a big round of applause. (applause) >> how about a huge round of applause for the best recreation and park general manager in our country today, mr. phil ginsberg. (applause) >> i don't think we appreciate how amazing phil is and how lucky we are as a city to have him. but today how lucky are we to be san franciscans standing here today? (applause) >> you know, today i have a number of thank yous i want to go through. but first i really want to comment about our parks and our support for our parks not only in city hall, but with the voters of san francisco. you know, we fight that battle every year in city hall with our budget and we're going through it right now to make sure we prioritize our parks for our families, for our children, for our seniors, for everyone. and the voters of san francisco have done it year in and year out. and parks are for everyone. they're for young people and
old people. they're for large people and small people. they're for dogs, they're for everyone that we care about here in san francisco. i see a number of seniors here today. i know one month old emma is here today. this is for everybody and my three children are playing somewhere. we lost them twice already today in the playground. but we are so lucky to have a great recreation park system here in s. let's make the commitment every neighborhood in san francisco has a lafayette park in their own neighborhood. (applause) >> and, so, for a few thank yous, i mentioned phil ginsberg. i want to thank all our other elected officials, leno, wiener, cisneros, we have so many commissioners here as well. but i want to thank you in particular and i think we need a big round of applause. you realize the people here past 10 o'clock last night cleaning up. our recreation park department
staff that made this happen today. (applause) >> these are the unsung heroes that don't get recognized very often, but they are what make our parks work and look the way they do and we are so lucky we have one of the most beautiful parks now right in the middle of pacific heights. but there are two people -- i want to thank a few folks. stefan franz as well, and our friends from prozac that represent our parks department and represent all that we believe in in our neighborhood. thank you for all that you do. and i really in particular today want to single out two folks. phil mentioned the friends of lafayette park and we have certificates of honor for them. but this playground behind us would not have happened without one of the best friends of parks groups in our city of san francisco, and that's the friends of lafayette park. they raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. the plaques are around here and all the people that contributed to it, but there are two people that had the biggest leadership
in this, and i want to bring them up. so, lynn and carina, come on up. [cheering and applauding] >> these are our neighborhood leaders for lafayette park. (applause) >> and there is not enough applause that we can give them, but we need to give it up in a very big way. thank you so much for all that you've done and please know that all of us are so thankful for your individual efforts. and we wouldn't be here without you. so, thank you so much to both of you. (applause) >> we're going to bring lynn and carina up in a brief second. why don't you speak now. that will work, right? but i also wanted on behalf of the department to thank you both of you. lynn, since you've been the lafayette champion a long time, there is your official lafayette park sign