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City sends water truck to douse dust at DeBenedetti Park

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Posted: Wednesday, October 28, 2009 12:00 am

Having just cleaned his pool this weekend, Doug Hauser stood in his backyard on Heavenly Way watching large, thick clouds of brown dust blow through the air.

His house backs up to DeBenedetti Park, which has recently been torn up to grade for the first stages of the park, which includes a drainage basin and three soccer fields.

With nothing to hold the dirt in place, Tuesday's winds, at times gusting at more than 40 mph, whipped up large dust clouds affecting residential neighbors and Ellerh Larson Elementary School, which has about 700 students.

While Hauser understands that the city needs to work on the park, he wishes they would do something, such as planting grass seed right now, to keep the dust down.

"If they don't start planting something when the rain comes, it will start eroding the soil again, and you are going to have to go back and regrade it again," he said.

Larson's secretary, Nancy Sheehan, said the school kept students inside all day, including gym class.

"Before school started, we already had them inside," she said. "There is dust and dirt everywhere."

The school contacted the city to see if there was anything the city could do, she said.

The city did respond to the multiple complaints by sending out a water truck in the afternoon to wet down the 13 acres next to the school's property line, said Steve Dutra, Lodi parks superintendent.

The city is working on the park in stages, Dutra said. It can be a hard balancing act because the city wants to provide a new park to the community, but in order to do that, the community has to also deal with the park's construction.

"The benefit to all this conversation is we are aware of the concerns and addressing them. … We hope the community will bear with us as we do the best we can," Dutra said.

The Lodi City Council voted in May to do the work to install the storm drainage basin and the three soccer fields. The park will eventually also include baseball fields and a neighborhood park.

This winter and into the spring, the city will plant hydroseed in the drainage basin to help stabilize the bank and also help control dust, Dutra said.

The city then has plans to plant grass for 15 acres of sports turf in the summer of 2010 with the fields being ready for play by spring 2011. Also, TreeLodi will be planting 200 trees next fall around the sports field.

While dust could continue to be a concern until the rest of the improvements are under way, the city will continue to have a dialogue with concerned residents.

"We don't control Mother Nature; this is an unusual wind occurrence. … We did respond appropriately," Dutra said.

While he is pleased to see the city making improvements to DeBenedetti, Hauser said it adds to his frustration that it has taken the city so long to start the project. He has been dealing with dust blowing over his fence in the winter since he moved in during 2003.

He hopes a park is built by the time he plans to retire and sell the house six years from now.

While he can't say if he would still move in if he knew the park would take so long to complete, he said he would have thought more about it.

"I'd think about whether I'd want to tolerate the nuisance of it," he said.

Contact reporter Maggie Creamer at maggiec@lodinews.com. or read her blog at www.lodinews.com/blogs/citybuzz.

Winds continuing through tonight

There will be sustained winds between 15 to 25 mph, at times gusting through the 30s today, said meteorologist Carl Erickson of AccuWeather.com, a private forecasting service.

By the evening, the wind will drop off to more normal speeds of 7 to 15 miles per hour and then continue to weaken.

Wind Events
Here is a comparison of the two wind events this month. The Oct. 13 wind event was accompanied by record rain fall of 2 to 3 inches in the valley.
Oct. 13
Oct. 27
Wind Direction Gust (mph) Time Wind Direction Gust (mph) Time
Sacramento Executive Airport Southeast 48 3:52 p.m. Northwest 41 4:37 a.m.
Sacramento International Airport Southeast 54 10:42 p.m. Northwest 41 5:21 p.m.
Redding Airport Southeast 55 1:14 p.m. Northwest 30 12:46 a.m.
Red Bluff Airport Southeast 53 3:51 p.m. Northwest 35 1:58 a.m.
Marysville Airport Southeast 53 5:23 p.m. Northwest 43 4:14 p.m.
Vacaville Airport Southeast 48 10:28 a.m. Northwest 44 10:49 a.m.
Stockton Airport Southeast 52 2:21 p.m. Northwest 49 2:38 p.m.
Modesto Airport Southeast 47 1:08 p.m. Northwest 47 3:28 p.m.
Source: National Weather Service

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  • posted at 9:49 am on Thu, Oct 29, 2009.


    E, should those that live on the other side of Century have to pay for the maintanence of the park as well. You know that ones living in older homes, duplexes and apartments. Not all of us out here getting dust blown on us are living in "estates". Or are we only going to charge those who make a certain ammount of money the upkeep for a park that everyone will use?

  • posted at 3:22 am on Thu, Oct 29, 2009.


    Rodie--Possibley? But think of this. When those houses were marketed as "exclusive estates" , the developer knows they are made of nothing but wood, nails, stucco slapped up production style. Perceived house value is primarily based on location, location, locationbThe only things that are exclusive about this area is the dust, dirt, bloated prices and rediculous sounding names. The developers know exactly what they are doing and they should pay to mitigate the problems that they knew were there before building the first box. Lets call the developnment a new name? How about "Dusty Flats". See these absolutely gorgeous estate homes nestled in between a major roadway and a regional flood control basin.I don't think they would sell many houses if they told the truth. Most people don't realize that a single family dwelling (house) is a CONSUMABLE not a capital investment---except for the developers, builders and bankers.Left sitting alone without periodic maintenance a house is on the way to becoming a Detroit fixer. The only question is: How fast?

  • posted at 2:53 am on Thu, Oct 29, 2009.


    If it was going to be a neighborhood park i might agree with you, E. But this park is to help with the lack of play fields we have in Lodi so people from all over town will be using it.

  • posted at 6:29 pm on Wed, Oct 28, 2009.


    Rhodie--good thoughts! In addition--we should study whether the rtesidential housing developers should pay the bill. With expansive inaccurate street names like "Heavenly Way" and Vintage oaks, I am sure the megaprofits from these McMansions, euphemistically called "estates" with "huge" .25 acre lots can afford to rectify the problem. The profit on one or two of them would pay for the whole environmental mitigation efforts.

  • posted at 5:29 pm on Wed, Oct 28, 2009.


    "Plans for a new pump station are in design. Once complete, it will be put out to bid with installation expected to be completed before next winter."My understanding is that this park has been in the plans for twenty years. why is the pump plans just now going to design? It seems to me that any well run organization would have this kind of thing planned BEFORE construction starts so there are no financial surprises. Now anyone makng the bid knows the park is in process and waiting for the next step and can add a few bucks to their estimates since the city has commited to this action.Can you imagine if a business ran this way? Start a renovation and once it starts THEN get bids for the next step. Seems like flawed thinking to me. There may have been a reason to wait until the project is started but for me, being a budget minded person this seems illogical.

  • posted at 4:05 pm on Wed, Oct 28, 2009.


    This is news worthy of a front page headline? NOT.

  • posted at 12:35 pm on Wed, Oct 28, 2009.


    According to Jeff Hood, plans for a new pump station are in design, and if I understand correctly will be in place by next winter. Evidently the standing water in the lower park will remain all winter with no way of removing it. A marvelous plan of engineering to not have installed the pumps at the present time. I also would question the angle of grade from the pond to the back of the existing houses. There are rules and regulations to be followed. If the angle is within the legal limits, no problem. Without anything to hold the soil back, huge ruts are already forming and just might work their way back to the fences of the property owners, another headache for the city to ponder.

  • posted at 11:18 am on Wed, Oct 28, 2009.


    Jeff Hood: The city should have an erosion control plan at the job site. There is a section in the CASQA manual EC-5 that talks about soil binders to help with wind erosion at construction sites. the city should be following this or other approved methods to minimize the dust storms. I am not an adjacent property owner but if I were I would be filing a complaint with the SJ air control board for starters till the city does something to fix the mess.

  • posted at 10:58 am on Wed, Oct 28, 2009.


    DeBenedetti Park is currently a work in progress. The storm drain basin grading was completed in August, and the new drain pipe contract of $362,168 was awarded by the City Council on October 7. That will result in replacing the existing drain pipes at the facility. Plans for a new pump station are in design. Once complete, it will be put out to bid with installation expected to be completed before next winter. No grass was planted on the field at this time to avoid having it destroyed during installation of the drain pipe. The bid awarded on Oct. 7 consists of installing approximately 870 lineal feet of 72-inch storm drain pipe, 42 lineal feet of 42-inch storm drain pipe, one weir structure, three outfall structures, and other incidental and related work.

  • posted at 10:02 am on Wed, Oct 28, 2009.


    dogs4you: That is a city staff job, that is all I have to say.

  • posted at 8:21 am on Wed, Oct 28, 2009.


    On one side of the yet to be completed project we have a dust storm, the other to the south end of the park there is a pond which was half full thanks to the recent storm. As I see it, the pipe allowing the water in is 5' above the bottom of the pond, one of the intake pipes is already out of the water meaning the concrete pipe at the east end of the park ( pond ) will be asked to pump the remaining water out. Unless there is a pipe on the bottom of the pond the water will remain until the sun evaporates it, nice job planning. As a rule of thumb goes, when cutting to form a setback, it`s either 1' up and 2' back, or 2' back and 1' up depending on soil conditions, it is very steep and at the top is 5' from existing homes. Who engineered that mess, I would guess the city had something to do with it.

  • posted at 3:28 am on Wed, Oct 28, 2009.


    you have to remember the city does not have to play with the same rules as others. if this was a private development then the city would of made the project spray a product like dirtglue which has been used in lodi before and works really good. you can always file a complaint against the city by calling (800) 281-7003 it is the number to the san joaquin air pollution control district.

  • posted at 3:07 am on Wed, Oct 28, 2009.


    "We don't control Mother Nature; this is an unusual wind occurrence."Wait, "unusual"? Isn't this area known for the "Delta Breeze"? Gusts like this come through here every year, so how was this an unusual occurance?I don't know how many of you were in that area but at times in the moring the dust was as thick as fog. From Larson we couldn't see Century street.The construction doesn't bother me. It's that they dug up everything that was out there and now it's been sitting for quite sometime again. By time they start with the next phase the old weeds may resurface. I am looking forward to having a park in the neighborhood that I can play catch with my kids at since the schools won't let people play on their grass.

  • posted at 2:16 am on Wed, Oct 28, 2009.


    There is absolutley no physical way to water down 13 acres with a water truck. Whoever sent out a city owned water truck to complete this task should be fired! The only way to perfrom such a task would be to immediately put the enitre 13 scres under sprinkler irrigation which would have required sprinkler pipe and pump rental with charges in the thousands. Besides I am guessing nobody at the City of Lodi has ever laid out sprinkler irrigation pipe.



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