Friday, 19 July 2024


Smoke testing of the Southeast Regional Wastewater Collection System is taking place in Clearlake and Lower Lake, Calif. Photo courtesy of Lake County Special Districts.




CLEARLAKE – In an effort to improve the Southeast Regional Wastewater Collection System, Lake County Special Districts reported this week that it's conducting smoke testing on sections of the system.

The agency, which provides water service and wastewater treatment in many areas of Lake County, said it has so far completed several weeks of smoke testing for 200,000 lineal feet of the sewer collection system in sections of Clearlake and Lower Lake.

Testing involves use of non-toxic liquid smoke that leaves no residual and pinpoints potential leaks in sewer lines. Leak detection and subsequent repairs may have a significant impact on minimizing spills next winter.

Miksis Services Inc. specializing in leak detection, and Special Districts crews are introducing smoke under pressure into manholes.

“Smoke is introduced into the system approximately every 400-800 feet,” said John Thompson, Special Districts systems compliance coordinator.

“If there is a leak in the sewer line including service lateral, smoke will appear out of the ground,” he explained. “Smoke is also visible where there are leaks such as private cleanouts that are open and not capped properly. We’ve seen many cleanouts that are not capped off.”

Another common problem detected is rain gutters and roof vents that are illegally connected to the cleanout to avoid flooding yards, Thompson said. All these holes contribute to excess rain water entering the collection system.

Additionally, if a building waste drain system is faulty, smoke may appear in the building, Thompson said.

“It’s difficult to quantify the exact savings resulting from smoke testing but we do know that any preventive measures taken now will reduce inflow the amount of storm water treated at the wastewater treatment plant,” said Thompson. “This method of regular inspection ensures continued proper operation of the collection system.”

In addition, homeowners are encouraged to do their part.

That includes inspecting the rain gutters on your house to see if the downspout connects to a sewer line.

Such connections are illegal. If the gutter downspouts are connected to the sewer line, have them disconnected – the large amount of water from the roof can cause a sewage spill. The rainwater needs to be directed onto your lawn and/or to the storm drain system.

Also, look for and check your sewer cleanout. The cleanout is usually a small pipe, about 4 inches in diameter, outside your house that is used to access the sewer lateral for cleaning. You will normally find it near the house (where the sewer lateral comes out) and/or near the property line (where the sewer lateral connects to the main sewer line).

Make sure the cap to the cleanout pipe is not missing and has not been damaged – such as by a lawn mower. Replace missing caps so that rainwater cannot get into the sewer line.

Check to see that outdoor patio, deck or yard drains are not connected to the sewer. Also, be sure that pool or pond overflow drains are not connected to the sewer. These connections are not allowed by the Lake County Sewer Use Ordinance.

“Special Districts is appreciative of the cooperation shown by the community during the testing which will resume over the next few days in the Clearlake and Lower Lake area,” Thompson said. “Residents are taking an active interest while observing the procedure, asking questions and taking time to explore potential corrective actions on their property.”

Any individuals with questions about smoke testing of sewer lines are encouraged to contact the administrative office at 707-263-0779.

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LAKEPORT – The Lakeport Senior Center is preparing a day of fun for the whole family and an opportunity to help continue the Meals on Wheels program that currently provides 150 meals per day to homebound seniors in the community.

The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Saturday, July 31, at the Lakeport Senior Center, 527 Konocti Ave.

There will be a massive rummage, with many great items already donated and more still being accepted.

In addition, the barbecue grill will be fired up with top quality hot dogs for sale.

The day will include fun and games for all age, including face painting for children; an appearance by McGruff the Crime Dog and the California Highway Patrol; Francis Ford, an advocate for senior aging in place will speak; and Shari Koch and the Lake County Line Dancers will perform.

The Lake County Veterans Service Office will be on hand to share information, identification kits for children will be available, and there will be information booths on health and safety.

Other events will include a drawing of the winners of the 50/50 progressive raffle that has been running for two months. The first place prize currently is more than $1,400 and will continue to grow until the winner is drawn at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

With continuing budget cuts and increasing expenses the program can only be continued through the generous donations and involvement from the many volunteers that faithfully support it, as well as fundraisers like this.

This event is only possible by the countless hours of help from volunteers and the generous support of local businesses.

Sentry Market recently contributed to the Meals on Wheels program with an industrial meat slicer that gets daily use in preparation of the home delivered meals.

Safeway and Bruno’s Market continue their faithful support in donations and discounts making a huge impact on the centers ability to continue its services.

Come out Saturday, have fun for the whole family, and help make a difference in your community.

Call the Lakeport Senior Center at 707-263-4218 to get involved or for more information.

Jonathan Crooks is the assistant director at the Lakeport Senior Center.

LAKEPORT – Following months of trading allegations, one of two unions involved in an election that had been scheduled to take place this week for Sutter Lakeside Hospital employees abruptly pulled out on Tuesday.

Between 130 and 140 Sutter Lakeside Hospital employees in a variety of categories – including lab technicians, certified nursing assistants, pharmacy, housekeeping, supply, and medical, surgical and acute care – were expected to cast their ballots Wednesday to either stay with Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West or go with the newly formed National Union of Healthcare Workers.

“We are looking forward to our employees having a choice and expressing their will as a group,” Sutter Lakeside Hospital Chief Executive Officer Siri Nelson said on Monday.

But on Tuesday morning NUHW abruptly called off the election. NUHW accused Sutter Lakeside of teaming with SEIU-UHW “to get rid of the strong union that management has been fighting with for years.”

“There's no election. It's over,” said Amanda Cooper, a spokesperson for SEIU-UHW, noting the outcome was a victory for the workers.

While the Sutter Lakeside election was off, elections for more than 500 other employees at three facilities – Sutter Medical Center in Santa Rosa and two Daly City nursing homes – were continuing as scheduled, according to NUHW spokesperson Sadie Crabtree.

The Daly City polls closed Tuesday evening and Santa Rosa's election is set for Aug. 2, Crabtree said.

NUHW is led by Sal Rosselli, former president of SEIU-UHW, and other former officials of that union who allege that they were ousted from the group.

Cooper said the group of ousted officials “really wreaked some havoc in the organization” on their way out, leaving many contracts open, with SEIU-UHW needing time to get back on its feet.

Sutter Lakeside's employees – represented by SEIU-UHW for more than a decade – ratified their contract this past Feb. 24, said Cooper, with new negotiations set to start in 2012.

“If they go to a new union right now, they would need to renegotiate with management for a new contract,” Cooper said, noting the union worked hard to get the employees a great contract and that putting them back into negotiations would have been a terrible thing to do to the workers.

Even with the election canceled, the accusations between the two groups continued.

Cooper alleged that NUHW has withdrawn “dozens of times” from elections at the last minute. “They only run elections they think they can win,” she said.

Of the 77,000 SEIU-UHW members, 72,000 have elected to stay with the union rather than going with NUHW, said Cooper. “There's a trend here and they're on the losing side of it.”

For its part, NUHW blasted Sutter, calling it “one of the most anti-worker health care employers in the state,” and accusing the nonprofit organization of partnering with SEIU-UHW, which it called “one of the most anti-worker unions.”

“For years, workers have protected patient care at Sutter Lakeside by using pickets and job actions to hold Sutter accountable and stop management's race to the bottom,” NUHW said in a statement issued to Lake County News.

NUHW alleged that when SEIU-UHW took over the union last year, they actually helped Sutter managers fire the most vocal caregivers – which it said was documented in rulings by the National Labor Relations Board but did not involve the Sutter Lakeside facility – and settled a contract with significant takeaways.

“The National Labor Relations Board has said Sutter's preference for SEIU is clear,” NUHW's statement explained.

This spring NUHW – which claimed a series of “landslide” victories in union elections in January – had accused SEIU of blocking elections in 58 nursing home and 19 hospitals – including Sutter Lakeside.

In response, Cooper said that after the ouster of SEIU's former leaders, the National Labor Relations Board agreed that it wasn't a good time to do elections because the union wasn't stable. Now, however, with SEIU stabilized it's pushing forward with elections.

With the Sutter Lakeside election done for now, and with the rhetoric still going back and forth, Cooper suggested, “It's time for this divisiveness to go.”

NUHW reported that it's continuing to pursue elections affecting thousands of workers, including 44,000 in the Kaiser health care system.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

LAKE COUNTY – Despite ample rainfall and higher lake levels this summer, the blue-green algae that last year proved troublesome for several shoreline areas on Clear Lake has reemerged.

The algae blooms recently have been observed in the same general areas as last year, mainly in the southern sections of the lake where prevailing winds tend to cause localized accumulation of the algae, in the form of a filmy layer or mats on the surface of the water, health officials reported Thursday.

As in the bloom last year, the predominant genera of this blue-green algae bloom is known as lyngbya. The Lake County Health Department and Department of Water Resources said that recent tests of water in Clear Lake have not detected toxins.

Precautionary health advisories have been posted at a few southern beach locations where the blue-green algae has accumulated, per state guidelines that call for the posting of areas where there is visible film or mats.

The affected public areas are currently limited to Austin Park, Highlands Park and Redbud Park, the county departments reported. The majority of the lake remains open for recreation.

Health officials said avoidance of contact with water in the immediate vicinity of algae accumulations is prudent. Because of the potential for harmful substances to be present in dense accumulations of blue-green algae, people and pets are advised to avoid swimming, wading and drinking water in the immediate vicinity.

For more information about the algae bloom and efforts to mitigate its impacts, contact the Lake County Department of Water Resources at 707-263-2344.

For health-related questions, contact the Lake County Health Services office at 707-263-1164.

For more information regarding blue-green algae, visit

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THE GEYSERS – A 3.3-magnitude earthquake was reported near The Geysers geothermal steamfields on Wednesday afternoon.

The earthquake was reported at 3:37 p.m. Wednesday, according to the US Geological Survey.

Its epicenter was one mile north northeast of The Geysers, 15 miles southwest of Clearlake and 25 miles miles north of Santa Rosa, with the quake recorded at a depth of 2.1 miles, the survey reported.



The US Geological Survey received seven shake reports from six zip codes, ranging from Middletown, Geyserville, Santa Rosa and Calistoga, to Sacramento and even Eureka, the latter being 248 miles away from the epicenter.

A 3.4-magnitude quake was reported near Lake Pillsbury on Tuesday, as Lake County News has reported.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .



LAKE PILLSBURY – A 3.4-magnitude earthquake was reported in the Lake Pillsbury area on Tuesday afternoon.

The quake, which occurred at 2:21 p.m., was centered 11 miles northwest of Lake Pillsbury, 25 miles north of Ukiah, 35 miles east of Fort Bragg and 45 miles northwest of Clearlake, the US Geological Survey reported.

Survey instruments measured the quake at a depth of three miles.

The US Geological Survey received 11 shake reports from four zip codes – Potter Valley, Willits, Redwood Valley and Ukiah.

Three more quakes centered in the same area – and ranging between magnitude 1.5 and 2.5 – followed over a two-hour period, survey records showed.

The last time a quake measuring magnitude 3 or above was reported near Lake Pillsbury was last December, when a 3.0-magnitude quake was reported 17 miles north northeast of the lake, as Lake County News has reported.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

LAKE COUNTY – Pacific Gas & Electric reported that it's planning an outage for some of its Lake County customers on Sunday, and the company is requesting a conservation effort the previous day in preparation.

Over the weekend PG&E crews will be working to improve reliability at its Konocti Substation in Lake County, according to a report from spokesperson Brandi Ehlers.

Areas affected by the planned outage will include Kelseyville, Middletown, Soda Springs Anderson Springs, Hidden Valley, Hidden Valley Lake and surrounding areas, Ehlers said.

Approximately 3,300 customers will be de-energized from midnight to 7 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 1, to allow for reliability work at the substation as well as some line work to be completed. Ehlers said all customers affected by the early morning planned outage have been notified through the mail.

In an effort to help with this planned work, PG&E is requesting customers in Lake County to conserve energy on Saturday, July 31, from 7 a.m. to midnight, prior to the planned outage.

Conservation tips including setting the air-conditioner thermostat at 78 degrees or higher, health permitting; avoiding the usage of large appliances Saturday including dish washers, washing machines, electric driers or the vacuum cleaner; and turning off unnecessary lights and appliances during the day and overnight until the power is restored.

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KELSEYVILLE – Sheriff's officials are asking community members for information about a series of vandalisms to Kelseyville businesses that occurred last week.

On the morning of July 18, sheriff’s deputies responded to the area of downtown Kelseyville to investigate multiple acts of vandalism to businesses in the area, according to Capt. James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

He said several businesses and other locations were spray painted with suspected gang related graffiti the previous night.

When deputies arrived in the area, they were contacted by several business owners and throughout the morning they found graffiti sprayed in silver paint at the Kelseyville Senior Center, Studebakers Grocery and Deli, the Earmite, Curves for Women, Rosa D’Oro Winery, the Nail Nook, a US Postal box and the bathrooms at Pioneer Park, Bauman said.

Several Hispanic males were reportedly seen spray painting businesses in the early morning hours and Bauman reported that deputies were able to develop some leads on at least two suspects. One of the subjects was wearing all white and another was seen wearing a blue LA Dodgers jacket.

The case is pending further investigation into the identities of those suspects and anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to contact the Lake County Gang Task Force at 707-262-4200.

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MENDOCINO NATIONAL FOREST – A 24-year-old transient was shot and killed by Mendocino County Sheriff's deputies on Tuesday after he allegedly confronted them at the scene of several illicit marijuana grows in the Mendocino National Forest.

Sheriff's Capt. Kurt Smallcomb identified the man who was fatally shot as Angel Hernandez Farias.

The shooting occurred at 6:45 a.m. Tuesday on the Boardman Ridge area of the Mendocino National Forest near Covelo, Smallcomb reported.

Deputies were in the area investigating a large marijuana growing operation on forest lands when they encountered Farias, Smallcomb said.

Smallcomb said Farias was pronounced dead at the scene and the cause of death is pending completion of the autopsy and toxicology investigation.

Mendocino County Sheriff's deputies assisted by the state's Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) were called in and eradicated 11,635 marijuana plants from the three gardens at the scene, he reported.

Investigators with the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office, with assistance from the California Department of Justice, are continuing the investigation, Smallcomb said.

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Upcoming Calendar

07.20.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
07.23.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
07.24.2024 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
ReCoverCA Homebuyer Assistance Workshop
07.27.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
07.30.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
08.03.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
08.06.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
08.10.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
08.13.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
08.17.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile

Mini Calendar



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