Paul’s Note – June 17, 2022

Many of you probably read about László Veres’s retirement from conducting the Tucson Pops Orchestra, a job he’d held for the last 30 years. 

My office heard from him and there is some good news for those of us in Ward 2: he plans to continue to manage and conduct the Arizona Symphonic Winds. The Arizona Symphonic Winds have been giving free concerts at Udall Park (at the amphitheater named for László) since 1990. As of the end of this last Spring’s season, he and the Winds have performed 252 concerts. 

The man loves music and loves his audiences. I look forward to his continuing to perform for our community. 

László’s 85th birthday is this Sunday and he told one of my aides that he has the energy to keep going at least until he’s 90. 

Happy birthday László. 

– 

There are some new developments regarding PFAS (per- and polyflouroalkyl substances) in our water. PFAS is a class of chemical products that take a long time to break down and can be found in the bloodstream for years. They were used until very recently for purposes ranging from firefighting foam to stain resistant fabrics. 

Recent studies have linked PFAS to liver damage, thyroid disease and reproductive issues. Because of that, we’ve taken the issue very seriously. My colleagues and I ended the use of PFAS by our fire department a few years ago, and other agencies, including the US Air Force, have done the same. 

Over the last few years, Tucson Water has been monitoring wells to look for PFAS. We set an aggressive target number far lower than many water authorities were checking for (18 parts per trillion) and closed a number of wells, mostly around Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.  

The EPA announced on Wednesday a new target number that’s so low that our equipment would be unable to detect it. We have taken that to mean any level that we detect will be unacceptable. 

As part of the latest infrastructure bill, there is federal money available for clean-up. For contamination issues in the past (for example, TCE & 1,4 dioxane) we have, as a city, fronted the money and gone after the entities responsible for the contamination. We will still be pursuing those responsible, but with the money available from what’s being called the Water Infrastructure Financing Authority, we hope to not have to spend local tax dollars on this. 

Regardless of the outcome of our lawsuits and the success of our grant-writing, I and the Tucson City Council remain unequivocally committed to serving healthy, safe and clean drinking water to our customers.  

– 

It’s been hot out. I probably don’t need to tell you that. When it gets this hot, it’s easy to forget that monsoon season is right around the corner. 

Most of our annual rainfall comes in monsoon season. As a native Tucsonan, I know better than to ever complain about rain, but it can still be a problem for our streets. 

Protecting the public on city streets during Tucson’s summer thunderstorm season is the objective of the Tucson Department of Transportation and Mobility’s (DTM) Operation Splash campaign. With Wednesday, June 15, being the first official day of the monsoon (for record-keeping purposes), crews from DTM’s Streets Maintenance Division have barricades ready to go at hundreds of dip crossings throughout the City. DTM staff is on-call 24/7, through mid-September. As washes flood, crews will close roadways at dip crossings and washes using the more than 500 barricades that have been delivered and placed on the side of the roadways, near the crossings. Also, for the seventh consecutive year, DTM will assist residents concerned with flooding by offering free self-serve sandbags in the east parking lot of Hi Corbett Field, 700 S. Randolph Way, at Reid Park. This location will be open 24/7. Sandbags will be placed in the east parking lot of Hi Corbett Field ahead of the first forecast storm. Follow DTM on social media for updates on when sand will be delivered. Residents should bring their own shovels. Sand and sandbags will be provided by DTM staff. To accommodate as many residents as possible, there is a limit of 10 sandbags per vehicle. 

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