Sebastopol: Rethink smart water meters

Years of support for reducing EMF’s in Sebastopol evaporated in October 2021, when the city council unanimously approved smart water meters. In February 2022, the Sebastopol city council approved a pay to opt-out fee of  $18.75. We have hired attorney Ariel Strauss and are pursuing legal action.  Please donate to support our legal efforts. 

Beware of Climate Washed Smart Water Meters!

Why did Sebastopol, who banned smart meters in 2013, do this?  Syserco, a registered contractor for PG&E, sold the 2.2 million dollar project to Sebastopol as a water and energy savings initiative. Council members promoted the meters as a climate action solution. When asked to provide clarifying information on the purported savings, Syserco wrote:

“…there has never been a claim that the new meters “save energy, save water and reduce greenhouse gas emissions”.

The real reason for the new meters according to Syserco is money.  However, Syserco did claim the meters would save water and were energy efficient, and the staff report called the meters a “green initiative”. This is climate-washing, the use of deceptive marketing spin. 

By approving the smart water meters the city failed to comply with: 

  • Sebastopol’s 2013 Ordinance 1057  that banned smart meters for “matters of public health, safety and consumer protection…”. This ban was referenced in a letter to PG&E signed by Mayor Neysa Hinton in 2019.
  • Sebastopol’s 2016 General Plan Community Health and Wellness Goals call for minimizing EMF’s and community wide opt out of public utility smart meters.
  • 2019 Telecommunications Ordinance 1123 which requires a conditional use permit for utility antennas, including:  notice and  public meeting to vet the cost and technical specifications prior to a planning commission review.
  • California Environmental Quality Act as referenced in the General plan and Telecommunication Ordinance 1123.
  • Sebastopol’s Zero Waste Sonoma Purchasing Policy which calls for purchasing products that minimize environmental impacts, toxins, pollution and hazards to worker and community safety, as well as to purchase durable and long lasting products. (The meter batteries are non-replaceable. The entire unit will need to be replaced if/when the battery fails.)
  • CA Government Code 4217.12 (a) “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a public agency may enter into an energy service contract and any necessarily related facility ground lease on terms that its governing body determines are in the best interests of the public agency if the determination is made at a regularly scheduled public hearing, public notice of which is given at least two weeks in advance, and if the governing body finds:…”  (Two weeks notice was not provided to the public.)

How you can help:

EMF Safety Network recently hired attorney Ariel Strauss and we are moving forward with legal action.  Please donate to support our efforts: 

Paypal has a credit card option. Click on the Donate button. (Online donations are not tax deductible)

The EMF Safety Network is a sponsored project of Ecological Options Network (EON) a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization. Donations of $100 or more are tax deductible. Make check payable to EON, and mail to EMF Safety Network PO Box 1016, Sebastopol CA 95473.

 Community health effects of increasing EMF radiation

Smart water meters will harm the EMF aware and injured community. They will harm our quality of life, disturb our sense of safety and peace and create a nuisance throughout our city.  You can’t opt out of a “smart city”.

Adding 3002 smart water meters will increase EMF radiation in our community. Peer reviewed published studies find EMF radiation threatens nature and causes a wide range of health impacts: “Effects include increased cancer risk, cellular stress, increase in harmful free radicals, genetic damages, structural and functional changes of the reproductive system, learning and memory deficits, neurological disorders, and negative impacts on general well-being in humans.” https://www.emfscientist.org/

Dr. David Carpenter, a Harvard trained physician and director of the Institute for Health and the Environment wrote a letter opposing smart water meters and said:

“Governments should be reducing RFR exposures, not increasing them.”

He warns that the greatest risk from exposure to radiation (RFR) is cancer, and there’s growing evidence for brain and reproductive impacts. He writes, “Some people develop a condition called electro-hypersensitivity (EHS). These individuals respond to being in the presence of RFR with a variety of symptoms, including headache, fatigue, memory loss, ringing in the ears…” among many symptoms. He further warns, “exposure to smart meters is a trigger for development of EHS.” 

“It is time to recognize ambient EMF as a novel form of pollution and develop rules at regulato- ry agencies that designate air as ‘habitat’ so EMF can be regulated like other pollutants.” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34047144/

More background information!

The public process on the smart water meters decision was limited, deficient and confusing. Technical details about how the water meters worked were sparse and the issue was hidden under energy efficiency. Staff purchased the software before the meters were approved, and they ordered the meters before the financing was approved. They approved a 5 million dollar project in one late night meeting!

In February of 2021 the Sebastopol Public Works director said they were testing 56 new digital water meters. He said they would be manually read and that they did not have a radio transmitter. A few months later the city started a survey asking if the community wanted “cellular” water meters.  What if they had asked, “do you want a smart water meter?” or, “do you want a city wide radar installation for water meters?” There were 329 responses to their water meter survey. 54.7% of respondents approved, 31% opposed, and 14.3% were undecided. Nearly half were opposed or undecided! The survey is an unreliable source of community input, because people were not given any details about the cost or how the meters work. Anyone could have taken the survey including the company who will profit from the sale.

  • Smart water meters are two way radios that collect granular data about customers water use.
  • Smart water meters use sound waves, batteries and transmit EMF radiation.
  • Santa Fe is using Badger meters and they say their system will use 4G and 5G frequencies.
  • Scientists are warning against 5G:  http://www.5gappeal.eu
  • Sebastopol is borrowing over 5 million dollars to pay for improvements to city infrastructure. Included in that cost is over 2 million dollars for smart water meters. In order to pay back the money it was proposed that the city raise water rates by 4% a year for 15 years. See Sebastopol city council video to see their financial plan starting at 2:42:00
  • For the past fourteen years the Sebastopol City Councils have been given many independent peer reviewed studies on the risks and harm from EMF radiation smart technologies to people and nature.
  • Sebastopol has taken action by writing letters to officials, banning smart meters, defending senior residents at the mobile home park from PG&E smart meters, and getting lower kelvin LED streetlights.
Sebastopol’s 2016 General Plan Community Health and Wellness Goals calls for minimizing EMF’s, including:
  • Minimize unsafe EMF radiation levels near sensitive areas such as schools, hospitals, playgrounds, high density residential, and libraries when planning for electrical transmission facilities repair and new construction.
  • Promote community education and awareness on EMF health information and stay abreast of current research and regulations.
  • Explore programs and legal remedies available to the City in order to reduce unsafe EMF exposure to the greatest extent allowed by State and federal law.
  • Advocate that all new major electrical transmission projects and telecommunications facilities evaluate EMF as part of the project’s environmental review pursuant to CEQA.
  • Request from PG&E and wireless telecommunications facilities providers, public disclosure of existing and proposed electrical transmission and wireless telecommunications facilities projects in the vicinity of Sebastopol and their anticipated EMF levels in the Sebastopol Planning Area.
  • Maintain data regarding the location, size, strength, and EMF levels of major cell and radio towers, public power facilities, including transmission and distribution lines, and other substantial public or community EMF sources in the Sebastopol Planning Area, to the extent that data and information is available.
  • Support efforts to approach and encourage the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to allow the City to opt out of public utility wireless data transmission systems (such as smart meters).

On Dec 21, 2021 the Sebastopol city council approved the financing for smart water meters, which were already ordered! The vote was 3-2. Sarah Gurney and Una Glass opposed.  Diana Rich, Mayor Patrick Slayter and Vice Mayor Neysa Hinton approved. At this meeting the Superintendent of the Water Department dismissed evidence presented by a council member that the smart water meters transmitted a signal every 4 seconds as a “typo” and he evaded the Mayor’s question about the meter’s use of 5G technology. Meeting video here (starts at 4:55:02)

Timeline

The following is a timeline of information found in 933+ pages of emails on the smart water process:

  • Oct. 2018:  Syserco stated the water meters could be drive-by or AMI and that AMI meters transmitted every 4 seconds at 1 watt of power and additional repeaters and collectors would need to be installed.
  • Oct. 2020: water meters could be drive-by or touch stick.
  • Jan. 2021: the options for RF transmissions were none, touch, drive-by or remote.
  • Feb 22, 2021 EMF Safety Network director emailed the city with questions about the 56 water meters being tested.  The Public Works Director wrote to Syserco and Badger meter asking for a “standard reply” to our inquiry. At that time we were told the meters were digital, but there were no RF emissions from the water meters.
  • Feb 24, 2021 city staff suggested a survey and wrote that customers support radio read meters and sent some “useful information” about EMF concerns that included a page on EMF protections products and smart meter papers from CCST, EPRI, UTC, FDA, (ie government assurances that smart meters are safe.)
  • Feb 25, 2021 the city manager advised the Public Works Director to say the city has no plans for wireless water meters.
  • Feb 25, 2021 the Public Works Director supports a survey to gather a representative tally of residents desires, and not just the opinion “of a few anti-EMF voices that frequent city council meetings”.
  • Feb 25, 2021 the Public Works Director writes the water meters transmit “a minimal ping of information every 15 minutes”.
  • May 2021 the Public Works Director wants to poll the council on using radio read [wireless] meters.
  • June 14, 2021 the Public Works Director repeats the water meters transmit “a minimal ping of information every 15 minutes”.
  • July 6, 2021 at a late night city council meeting the idea of a one question survey is discussed but approved by the council and they are told the water meters transmit a “small ping 4 times a day. “
  • Oct.19, 2021 the Sebastopol City Council approved a $5 million dollar “energy efficiency” project, which included 3002 smart water meter antennas in the sidewalks. 5-0 vote.
  • Dec.9, 2021 Sebastopol signed a contract with Syserco
  • Dec. 16, 2021 City staff places a purchase order with Syserco for the water meters
  • Dec. 21, 2021 Council approved the financing in a 3-2 vote.
  • Dec. 23, 2021 EMFSN filed a PRA with Sebastopol on how the technology worked and  sent this APPEAL to the city. We were told we cannot appeal, instead our only legal recourse is to sue.
  • Jan. 2021 Hired Mitch Maifeld, RF engineer to review and explain the RF emissions from water meters.
  • Feb. 7, 2022 Syserco denied the water, energy and greenhouse gas savings claims for smart water meters
  • Feb.15, 2022 Council discussed a pay to opt out of water meters and this issue will return to council for final approval. EMFSN comments sent to the city council asking for an OPT-IN:  smart meter opt-in.
  • Feb. 17, 2022 EMFSN filed second PRA with Sebastopol
  • May 6, 2022 EMFSN hires attorney Ariel Strauss of Greenfire Lawfirm in Berkeley CA.

How the Orion Badger Smart Water Meters work

An RF engineer, Mitch Maifeld, reviewed the RF information from Badger Meters and the FCC. This is what we understand to be true about how the meters work..

Sebastopol ordered 3002 Badger Orion E series water meter “endpoints”. An endpoint houses one antenna.The 56 test meters Sebastopol trialed last year did not include endpoints. 3002 Badger water meters collectively transmit approximately 12,000 times a day unless they are in activation or troubleshooting mode when each meter can transmit every 15 seconds. They transmit in the 902-928mHz range. This is the same frequency range the Navy used for radar. The meters transmit pulsed radiation and use a frequency hopping system. The meters can emit spurious emissions in the 30 mhz-40 ghz range. These are created by harmonics and reflections within the action of the meter. The meters work with infrared signals. The maximum power output per meter is 1/4 watt which would add 750 watts throughout the city. The antennas are isotropic, meaning they radiate out in all directions. Water absorbs radiation. One meter can transmit about 1/2 mile, depending on factors like how tall the cell tower is, interference in the area, buildings and trees etc. They work with the internet of things cellular network and are smart city ready. No new repeaters are used.  The RF engineers report for the Badger smart water meters can be found here.  Here’s a comparison chart for water, electric and gas smart meters.

 

 

 

 

 

This post was updated on 5/19/2022

Landmark 5G study by New Hampshire legislative Commission recommends reducing wireless exposure

The state of New Hampshire established a legislative commission to study the environmental and health effects of 5G wireless technology in 2019.  They recently completed their final report which includes 15 recommendations to raise awareness, educate, promote oversight, and reduce radiofrequency radiation (RF, also known as wireless).

The commission met between September 2019 and October 2020 and included 13 members with backgrounds in physics, engineering electromagnetics, epidemiology, biostatistics, occupational health, toxicology, medicine, public health policy, business, law, and a representative from the wireless industry.

They were tasked with answering 8 questions which included: why the insurance industry has exclusions for RF damages; why cell phone manufacturers have legal advice warning about distance between cell phones and the body; why 1,000’s of peer-reviewed RF studies that show a wide range of health affects, including DNA damage, brain and heart tumors, infertility, and many other ailments, have been ignored by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC); why the FCC guidelines do not account for health effects of wireless; why the FCC RF limits are 100 times higher than other countries; why the FCC is ignoring the World Health Organization (WHO) classification of wireless as a possible carcinogen; why when the world’s leading scientists signed an appeal to protect public health from wireless radiation nothing has been done; and why the health effects of ever-growing numbers of pulse signals riding on the electromagnetic waves has not been explored.

Early on in their research the Commission learned that they could not discuss 5G without including all things wireless “…the Commission concluded that all things emitting radio frequency (RF) radiation needed to be considered together because of the interaction of all these waves.” At the heart of their discussion was whether or not RF affects humans, animals and nature. The introduction states:

There is mounting evidence that DNA damage can occur from radiation outside of the ionizing part of the spectrum.

The Commission heard from ten experts in physics, epidemiology, toxicology, and public policy. Everyone except the telecom representative acknowledged the large body of science showing RF-radiation emitted by wireless devices can effect humans, especially children, animals, insects, and plants.

The Commission endorsed 15 recommendations. “The objective of those recommendations is to bring about greater awareness of cell phone, wireless and 5G radiation health effects and to provide guidance to officials on steps and policies that can reduce public exposure.”  

The following is a summary of their recommendations. Only exact wording is quoted and italicized. See their final report for exact wording for all their recommendations.

  1. Engage the US government to require the FCC to do an independent review of the RF standards and RF health risks;
  2. Require NH state agencies to include links on their website(s) about RF-radiation from all sources, including 5G, and showing how to minimize exposure, as well as public service announcements warning of RF health risks especially to pregnant women and children.
  3. Require eye-level signage for every 5G antenna in the public rights- of-way.
  4. “Schools and public libraries should migrate from RF wireless connections for computers, laptops, pads, and other devices, to hard- wired or optical connections within a five-year period starting when funding becomes available.” [please note, we support hard-wired connections, but as far as we know optical connections, such as Lifi, have not been proven safe. It is unfortunate that it’s included in this recommendation.]
  5. Collect signal strength measurements including worst-case conditions for all wireless facilities, including when changes are made, and make that information public. If measurements exceed radiation thresholds, the municipality can take the facility offline. Measurements taken by an independent contractor and the cost paid by the installer.
  6. Establish new protocols for measuring RF to better evaluate signal characteristics, taking into account the high-data-rate radiation known to be harmful to human health. Enable the summative effects of multiple radiation sources to be measured.
  7. Require that any new wireless antennae be set back from residences, businesses, and schools.
  8. Upgrade the educational offerings by the NH Office of Professional Licensure and Certification (OPLC) to include RF measurements.
  9. The State of New Hampshire should develope a continually updated map of RF exposure levels across the state.
  10. “Strongly recommend all new cell phones and all other wireless devices sold come equipped with updated software that can stop the phone from radiating when positioned against the body.”
  11. “Promote and adopt a statewide position that would strongly encourage moving forward with the deployment of fiber optic cable connectivity, internal wired connections, and optical wireless to serve all commercial and public properties statewide.”
  12. “Further basic science studies are needed in conjunction with the medical community outlining the characteristics of expressed clinical symptoms related to radio frequency radiation exposure.”
  13. “Recommend the use of exposure warning signs to be posted in commercial and public buildings. In addition, encourage commercial and public buildings, especially healthcare facilities, to establish RF-radiation free zones where employees and visitors can seek refuge from the effects of wireless RF emissions.”
  14. “The State of New Hampshire should engage agencies with appropriate scientific expertise, including ecological knowledge, to develop RF-radiation safety limits that will protect the trees, plants, birds, insects, and pollinators.”
  15. “The State of New Hampshire should engage our Federal Delegation to legislate that under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) the FCC do an environmental impact statement as to the effect on New Hampshire and the country as a whole from the expansion of RF wireless technologies.”

This is a model of exemplary action by a state government. Please consider reading and sharing this landmark report with decision makers in your community and state in order to begin the reductions needed to protect people and nature from increasing exposure to RF radiation.

A minority report written by Senator James Gray, David Juvet (Business and Industry rep) and Bethanne Cooley (telecommunications rep) is included since they did not agree with the majority opinion. This minority report parrots the language of the telecommunications industry and exposes their agenda to ignore science and continue to confuse the public.

Special thanks to Cece Doucette, Theodora Scarato, the Environmental Health Trust, and the Senators, experts and committee members who collaborated on this important effort.

Dr. Thomas Cowan on Coronavirus and 5G

Thomas Cowan, M.D. hypothesizes that Coronavirus may be history repeating itself and linked to 5G. It was filmed at the Health And Human Rights Summit in Tucson, Arizona on March 12, 2020.

You Tube has removed his video stating it violated You Tube’s terms of service. It was re-posted and and also removed from Invidio.

Dr. Cowan is anthroposophical holistic medical doctor in San Francisco CA. He is the author of “Human Heart, Cosmic Heart”, “Cancer and the New Biology of Water”, “How (and Why) to Eat More Vegetables”, principal author of “Fourfold Path to Healing” and co-author of “The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Child Care”.

Dr. Cowan’s article references the work of Dr. Martin Pall: Massive Predicted Effects of 5G in the Context of Safety Guideline Failures.

There is much discussion in the EMF science community about the relevance of this theory. Some are dismissive, others are not. There are many unanswered questions on how 5G interacts with human health.  Studies show wireless frequencies affect the immune system. Seems like it’s an important time to demand answers, and especially protect children from untested widespread technology use! Stay tuned!

Make your own Stop 5G sign!

From Europe to USA!

Thank you to graphic artist Valérie Jacquemet from Switzerland who designed this symbol of resistance to 5G.  Her goal is to imagine fun solutions to raise awareness of  the problem of 5G.

How to make a double sided 8 inch round sign.  Print out both images below full size on card stock letter size paper. You can also use regular paper but you will need to reinforce it with card stock in between the images.  Cut the circles out. Find a small stick and tape it halfway to the backside of the image, then using a glue stick paste the images together.

This sign could also be used as a mask.  Imagine many people holding this over their face at a council meeting!

 

 

 

UK Prime Minister on Smart City Risks

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson Calls for ethical and responsible technology

Excerpts from his speech to the United Nations:

“You may keep your secrets from your friends, from your parents, your children, your doctor, even your personal trainer, but it takes real effort to conceal your thoughts from Google. And if that is true today, in future there may be no where to hide.”

“Smart cities will pullulate with sensors all joined together by the internet of things.”

“This technology could also be used to keep every citizen under round the clock surveillance.”

“Your mattress will monitor your nightmares, your fridge will beep for more cheese.” 

“A giant dark thundercloud [of data] waiting to burst.” 

“Data is the crude oil of the modern economy”

“Can these algorithms be trusted with our lives and hopes? Should the machines, and only the machines, decide whether or not we are eligible for a mortgage or insurance or what surgery or medicines we should receive. Are we doomed to a cold and heartless future in which computer says yes or computer says no with the grim finality of an emperor in the arena? How do you plead with an algorithm?”

“I believe governments have been simply caught unawares by the unintended consequences of the internet- a scientific breakthrough- far more reaching in its everyday psychological impact than any other invention since Gutenberg…like nuclear power- in that it’s capable of both good and harm.”

“HOW we design the emerging technologies behind these breakthroughs and what values inform their design will shape the future of humanity. That is my point to you “

“At stake is whether we bequeath an Orwellian world, designed for censorship, repression and control, or a world of emancipation, debate and learning, where technology threatens famine and disease, but not our freedoms.”

“The mission of the United Kingdom and all who share our values must be to ensure that emerging technologies are designed from the outset for freedom, openness and pluralism with the right safeguards in place to protect our people.”

Read a transcript of his speech here: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-speech-to-the-un-general-assembly-24-september-2019

City of Seaside CA denies 5 cell towers

On September 19, 2019, the City of Seaside California denied four 4G “small cell” towers and another cell tower on a church. The reasons for denial were primarily based on visual/view shed impacts and their municipal code that states projects will not adversely impact the character of the community and its rights of way.
A council member stated they should not violate the investment that residents make in their homes and also that the Public Rights of Way are for the PUBLIC and therefore the public needs to be heard.
The Verizon attorney stated (at 3:38:33), “We need 4G as a backbone for 5G.”
The hearing starts at 1:34:57 and goes till the end of the video.

Interview with Dr. Martin Pall on the health impacts of 5G

This is a great 9 minute interview by Full Measure TV with Martin Pall, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Basic Medical Sciences in the School of Molecular Biology at Washington State University.

Excerpts:  “Chances are you haven’t met many people like Professor Martin Pall.  Sharyl: Is it true that you do not carry a cell phone? Martin Pall: Yes, I don’t carry a cell phone…But before you make the mistake of writing off Pall as a nutty professor, you should know he’s considered one of the world’s pre-eminent scientists on Electro Magnetic Fields.”

“Sharyl: Is it your feeling that mobile phone use and 5-G in the future have been and are causes of chronic disease epidemics in this country?

Pall: I believe that the exposures we already have are producing major effects already on our health. And that 5-G will be vastly worse than anything that we, we are already exposed to.”

“Sharyl: How do you explain them saying the science doesn’t exist, that there’s nothing that gives us cause for concern?

Pall: It’s all corruption. There’s no other explanation. I think they’re at least 25 different reviews that have been published on this over the years.”

“Pall: We need to dramatically decrease exposures. We’re taking risks of the sort that no rational society can possibly take. We’re doing it blindly, and in my judgment with absolute stupidity.”