Committee Comments

Yakima Health District 2013 Outreach Contract
Received date: 4/29/2014
Received from: Jean Mendoza
On June 25, 2013 Yakima County contracted with the Yakima Health District to administer a survey of health providers regarding nitrate issues on behalf of the Groundwater Management Committee. Task 2 of that contract states:
1. The HEALTH DISTRICT shall distribute Survey No. 3, with cover letter, methemoglobinemia fact sheet and GWMA program map to the health providers within the GWMA area (Attachment C)
2. Estimated Cost – There are approximately 600 health providers in the GWMA area, It is estimated this effort will cost approximately $1,000 which includes labor, telephone, mailing and postage, etc.
3. Deliverables:
a. Completed survey forms (Attachment C)
b. Information described above
c. Any mutually agreed upon reports
The Yakima Health District did not mail out the survey as agreed upon. They simply faxed information to 248 addresses. According to their records 300 (not 600) primary care providers are employed at these addresses. Some addresses employed 20 or more physicians but only one survey was sent. Many, many other physicians never received the information. There were no returned surveys. Targeted recipients included pharmacies, laboratories, dentists, optometrists, ambulance services, one out of three nursing schools, and even a medical supply store. YHD was paid $1,000.

Response date: 5/9/2014
Response from: Vern Redifer
Response text:
In regards to the first issue, the Health District did what they said they would do and did it in a manner that is based on direction they’ve received from healthcare providers. Those healthcare providers have instructed YHD to send health alerts, surveys etc. to their offices. Office staff then distributes the information to its providers. Accordingly, the distribution of information to the approximately 250 healthcare provider offices reaches about 600 individual healthcare providers.
In regards to the second issue, you and Lisa had email conversations on December 4, 2013 where you included a paper titled History of Nitrate Contamination & Health in the Yakima Valley that included the statement “The Yakima Health District has made no effort whatsoever to communicate the problem. Now they are sabotaging the GWMA efforts to educate.” It is that statement and your request to discuss it at the upcoming EPO meeting that Lisa remanded back to the GWAC via Penny. It is my understanding that you addressed this issue directly with the Health District Board at a meeting in late 2013 and that they responded to your criticisms and concerns. They are the proper authority to address this issue, not the GWAC.

Procedural Concerns Regarding the Lower Yakima Valley Groundwater Management Area
Yakima Health District 2013 Outreach Contract

Item 1:
In Sept of 2012, I met with the Yakima County Commissioners to discuss issues related to drinking water in the lower Yakima Valley. During that discussion the commissioners noted that they needed to spend more time in the lower valley talking to people who live in that area. I took this seriously and spent considerable time and effort over the next weeks and months setting up a meeting with people from Radio KDNA. Rand Elliott agreed to talk with us regarding effects on the Hispanic community. A meeting was set up for Dec. 7. and three very busy women took three hours off from their morning work to attend. When the commissioner did not arrive we called and learned from his secretary that the meeting had not been put on his schedule and he “forgot”. I am unaware of any follow up from the commissioner.

Item 2:
On January 30, 2013 I sent a polite e-mail to Penny Mabie and Lisa Freund asking them to add Eric Anderson, Alternate for Friends of Toppenish Creek and Wendell Hannigan, Alternate for Community Association for the Restoration of the Environment (CARE) to the GWAC mailing list, since they were the only alternates not receiving messages.
Lisa Freund acknowledged the message.

In a February 20, 2013 e-mail to Penny Mabie I repeated the request since no corrections had been made.

On March 1, 2013 I sent the following e-mail to Penny Mabie, Rand Elliott and Charlie McKinney:
I see that this e-mail has gone out to all the committee members and alternates with the exception of the alternates for Friends of Toppenish Creek and the Community Association for the Restoration of the Environment. The e-mail was even sent to an employee of the U.S. Geological Survey who filled in when neither the primary nor the alternate could attend. I have already brought this to your attention twice. How can I go about lodging a formal complaint?
On March 20, 2013 I received this reply:

Hi Jean,
Thanks for the notes below. We will make the edits to the summary you suggest. Also, regarding the alternates for Friends of Toppenish Creek and the Community Association for the Restoration of the Environment being omitted from emails, Daniel and I did some back-tracking on our distribution lists. We went as far back as October 2012, and noted that Jim Dyjak has been sent all GWMA GWAC communications (email) If you have a specific example of him being missed it would be helpful for me, so we could research how it happened.
Regarding your alternate, Eric Anderson, we did find that while he was added to our Excel spreadsheet contact list at the end of January, his name did not get added to the Outlook distribution list we have been using to send emails. Our apologies to you and to Eric. We have cross-checked and fixed all our various distribution lists now, to ensure that Eric will be included.
Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

I responded, saying that Jim Dyjak is not the alternate for CARE. Wendell Hannigan is that alternate.
Corrections were made. I do not believe that Mr. Hannigan ever received an apology. To my knowledge the U.S. Geological Survey is the only group that has been allowed to choose two alternates and to add that third person to the mailing list.

On May 9, 2013 this message was sent to members of the Livestock/CAFO work group, as well as a number of others. Some had attended previous workgroup meetings but several had not.
Good morning,

Charlie has asked me to inform the Livestock/CAFO Work Group members of the meeting with Dr. Bob Stevens and to invite the Irrigated Ag Work Group. The meeting with Dr. Stevens is on Thursday, May 23, 2013 from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM at KDNA Granger.

Thank you.

Three representatives from the environmental community, Jim Dyjak (alternate for Concerned Citizens of the Yakama Reservation), Larry Fendell and Kathleen Rogers were not informed, in spite of the fact that they had attended previous workgroup meetings and signed in with contact information.
Thank you for filing these concerns.
Jean Mendoza