Water quality labs at Jardine and South purification plants

Brandon Smith filed this request with the City of Chicago, Department of Water Management of Chicago, IL.
Tracking # 16-080499
Status
Completed

Communications

From: Brandon Smith

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (5 ILCS 140/1 to 11), I hereby request the following records:

1. a list of pieces of equipment used in the testing of water in each of the quality control and quality assurance laboratories operated by the department of water management.

2. readouts from all tests run on the machines in the above list from June 1, 2014 to August 19, 2016.

3. all emails sent by the City of Chicago email account of Hassen Saleh from June 1, 2016 to August 19, 2016

4. all emails exchanged between (to or from) Hassen Saleh and users at the domain epa.gov (an example is an email address that fits this format: XXXXX@epa.gov) from January 1, 2014 to August 19, 2016. If there are fewer than 50 emails, please provide the 50 most recent emails exchanged between these addresses.

5. All emails exchanged between (to or from) Hassen Saleh and users at the domain epa.illinois.gov (an example is an email address that fits this format: XXXXX@epa.illinois.gov) from January 1, 2014 to August 19, 2016. If there are fewer than 50 emails, please provide the 50 most recent emails exchanged between these addresses.

6. all emails sent by the City of Chicago email account of Rashida Gaither from June 1, 2016 to August 19, 2016

7. all emails exchanged between (to or from) Rashida Gaither and users at the domain epa.gov (an example is an email address that fits this format: XXXXX@epa.gov) from January 1, 2014 to August 19, 2016. If there are fewer than 50 emails, please provide the 50 most recent emails exchanged between these addresses.

8. all emails exchanged between (to or from) Rashida Gaither and users at the domain epa.illinois.gov (an example is an email address that fits this format: XXXXX@epa.illinois.gov) from January 1, 2014 to August 19, 2016. If there are fewer than 50 emails, please provide the 50 most recent emails exchanged between these addresses.

9. all emails sent by the City of Chicago email account of Alan Starks from June 1, 2016 to August 19, 2016

10. all emails exchanged between (to or from) Alan Starks and users at the domain epa.gov (an example is an email address that fits this format: XXXXX@epa.gov) from January 1, 2014 to August 19, 2016. If there are fewer than 50 emails, please provide the 50 most recent emails exchanged between these addresses.

11. all emails exchanged between (to or from) Alan Starks and users at the domain epa.illinois.gov (an example is an email address that fits this format: XXXXX@epa.illinois.gov) from January 1, 2008 to August 19, 2016. If there are fewer than 50 emails, please provide the 50 most recent emails exchanged between these addresses. If there are more than 400 emails, you may provide only the most recent 400 emails.

12. all emails exchanged between Alan Starks and Scott Sider of Region 5 USEPA (no beginning or end date to this request.)

13. all emails exchanged between Rashida Gaither and Scott Sider of Region 5 USEPA (no beginning or end date to this request.)

14. all emails exchanged between Hassen Saleh and Scott Sider of Region 5 USEPA (no beginning or end date to this request.)

15. all memoranda issued to any employee (including memoranda issued to all employees) of the testing labs at Jardine or South purification plants (or both) from January 1, 2008 to August 19, 2016.

16. all inspection reports from USEPA and IEPA for both of these plants’ labs from January 1, 2004 to July 29, 2016. “All inspection reports” necessarily include (but are not limited to) “proficiency reports” and reports from the “quality assurance program.” Some inspections happen only every couple years, while other types may happen more than once a year.

17. All documentation of actions taken in response to USEPA or IEPA inspections in the above list.

18. a list of all companies the labs use to service lab equipment (This would necessarily include Perkin-Elmer Labs/NTD, among possibly other companies)

19. All invoices from companies on the list directly above, including all descriptions of services performed and their cost to the lab/water department, from January 1, 2008 to August 19, 2016.

20. A list of all companies that the city water department hires (or has hired) to test water samples taken by employees of the labs at Jardine or South, or samples prepared at said plants

21. All invoices from companies on the list directly above, including all descriptions of services performed and their cost to the lab/water department, from January 1, 2008 to August 19, 2016.

22. The full text and metadata (including to/from and date/time sent) of any workplace complaint filed by an employee of the testing labs at Jardine or South purification plants. The date range of this request is January 1, 2004 to August 19, 2016.

23. The results, including pages with signatures, of all proficiency tests completed by employees who test water at the Jardine or South purification plants, between January 1, 2008 and August 19, 2016.

24. PDF copies of all brochures/pamphlets distributed to the public that refer to the quality of the water in Chicago. They are usually produced about once per year.
25. All revisions of the Quality Assurance Program of the water purification lab, chemistry unit, from January 1, 2009 to August 19, 2016.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 5 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Brandon Smith

From: DWMFOIA

Brandon Smith:

Enclosed please find my request for an extension to your Freedom of Information Act Request to the Department of Water Management.

There is one document attached, if it is missing or if you’re have any problems accessing the document please let me know by phone or e-mail as soon as possible.

Gary Litherland
Freedom of Information Act Officer
Department of Water Management
City of Chicago
312-742-1027

From: Brandon Smith

Hi Gary,

I very much appreciate your assistance with this request and grant your extension. That gives your office until the end of the business day on September 2.

All best,
Brandon Smith

From: DWMFOIA

Brandon Smith:

Enclosed please find my response to your Freedom of Information Act Request to the Department of Water Management.

There are 9 documents attached if any of the documents are missing, or if you have any problems accessing the documents please let me know by phone or e-mail as soon as possible.

Gary Litherland
Freedom of Information Act Officer
Department of Water Management
City of Chicago
312-742-1027

From: MuckRock

Hello, Gary.

I respectfully appeal the FOIA search your agency performed. I ask that you:

1. search again, and 2. provide me with a list of places and/or ways you searched for documents responsive to each of the numbered requests in my initial request. Sometimes this is called "processing notes."

I appreciate your time and effort on this matter.

Sincerely,
Brandon Smith

From: Brandon Smith

Hello, Gary.

I respectfully appeal the FOIA search your agency performed. I ask that you:

1. search again, and 2. provide me with a list of places and/or ways you searched for documents responsive to each of the numbered requests in my initial request. Sometimes this is called "processing notes."

I appreciate your time and effort on this matter.

Sincerely,
Brandon Smith

From: Access, Public

Please clarify why you are sending this to us.
Thanks,

Mary Jo
Administrative Clerk

From: Brandon Smith

This email is attention Gary Litherland, who assisted me with my previous request.

Dear Mr. Litherland,

I appreciate your time in assisting me with my previous request. Since about a month has elapsed, feel free to consider this a new request, simply situated in the context of the old one so as to ease the burden on your office. Where it could be helpful, I copy here the text of the previous requests. Elsewhere, I alter my previous requests and present the altered versions.

Thank you for your service.

Sincerely,
Brandon Smith

1. While FOIA does not compel a public body to produce documents, it would have been courteous of you to interpret this request as "documents sufficient to show a list of pieces of equipment...". As of this email, I am requesting such documents. To minimize the burden on your staff, feel free to include the full list (likely within a spreadsheet) of equipment possessed by the quality control and quality assurance laboratories, regardless of whether a particular piece of equipment is used directly in the testing of water.

2. To narrow this part, I request two parts:

a. The readouts from any machines for the following samples on the date of Dec. 31, 2009: 9c7248, 9c7287, 9c7291, 9c7382. This will necessarily include the results for these samples on the ICP mass spectrometer, and ICP atomic absorption machines. I also request documents sufficient to show the calibration curves that were used to obtain all results responsive to this request.

b. The readouts from all tests for aluminum on the calendar date of January 7, 2010, and documents sufficient to show the calibration curves used to obtain those samples.

c. The readouts from all water tests at labs at Jardine and South treatment plants on the calendar date of October 3, 2016, and documents sufficient to show the calibration curves used to obtain those samples.

3. Part a: I request the email address of DWM employee Hassen Saleh.
Part b: I request the last email, as of Oct. 3, 2016, sent from the address in (a) to the full lab staff at Jardine and South purification plants.
Part c: I request all emails sent from the address in (a) to the group of recipients in (b) sent between January 1, 2015 and Oct. 3, 2016. PLEASE NOTE: if an email was sent to more addresses than just these two groups, I still request the email if it goes out to the full groups.

4. I maintain that DWM's FOIA office is required under FOIA to perform a search of all emails from a particular account to any other account at a particular domain (in this case, @epa.gov). That is because most email clients' search functions allow one to search a domain and retrieve all correspondence to users on that domain. Here is the request again in full: "All emails exchanged between (to or from) Hassen Saleh (response 3a) and users at the domain epa.gov (an example is an email address that fits this format: XXXXX@epa.gov) from January 1, 2014 to October 3, 2016. If there are greater than 30 emails, please provide the 30 most recent emails exchanged between these addresses."

5. I repeat my claim that this type of search falls within an Illinois public body's FOIA burden, because of the ease of search. Here is the request again in full: "All emails exchanged between (to or from) Hassen Saleh (response 3a) and users at the domain epa.gov (an example is an email address that fits this format: XXXXX@epa.illinois.gov) from January 1, 2014 to October 3, 2016. If there are greater than 30 emails, please provide the 30 most recent emails exchanged between these addresses."

6. Part a: I request the email address of DWM employee Rashida Gaither.
Part b: I request the last email, as of Oct. 3, 2016, sent from the address in (a) to the full lab staff at Jardine and South purification plants.
Part c: I request all emails sent from the address in (a) to the group of recipients in (b) sent between January 1, 2015 and Oct. 3, 2016. PLEASE NOTE: if an email was sent to more addresses than just these two groups, I still request the email if it goes out to the full groups.

7. Please see my response in (4) and perform the search in the same manner, using the email of Rashida Gaither (response to 6a) and the domain @epa.gov, between January 1, 2014 and October 3, 2016. If there are greater than 30 emails, please provide the 30 most recent emails exchanged between these addresses. Thank you.

8. Please see my response in (4) and perform the search in the same manner, using the email of Rashida Gaither (response to 6a) the domain @epa.illinois.gov, between January 1, 2014 and October 3, 2016. If there are greater than 30 emails, please provide the 30 most recent emails exchanged between these addresses. Thank you.

9. Part a: I request the email address of DWM employee Alan Starks.
Part b: I request the last email, as of Oct. 3, 2016, sent from the address in (a) to the full lab staff at Jardine and South purification plants.
Part c: I request all emails sent from the address in (a) to the group of recipients in (b) sent between January 1, 2015 and October 3, 2016. PLEASE NOTE: if an email was sent to more addresses than just these two groups, I still request the email if it goes out to the full groups.

10. Please see my response in (4) and perform the search in the same manner, using the email of Alan Starks (response to 9a) the domain @epa.gov, between January 1, 2014 and October 3, 2016. If there are greater than 30 emails, please provide the 30 most recent emails exchanged between these addresses. Thank you.

11. Please see my response in (4) and perform the search in the same manner, using the email of Alan Starks (response to 9a) the domain @epa.illinois.gov, between January 1, 2014 and October 3, 2016. If there are greater than 30 emails, please provide the 30 most recent emails exchanged between these addresses. Thank you.

12. Part a: Please search the email account of Alan Starks for emails with the search term "Sider" in them.
Part b: If a result to (12a) includes an email from a staff member at USEPA with the name "Scott Sider," please provide Mr. Sider's email address.
Part c: Please provide all emails exchanged between Alan Starks (response to 9a) and Scott Sider (response to 12b) between January 1, 2013 and October 3, 2016.

13. Please provide all emails exchanged between Rashida Gaither (response to 6a) and Scott Sider (response to 12b) between January 1, 2013 and October 3, 2016.

14. Please provide all emails exchanged between Hassen Saleh (response to 3a) and Scott Sider (response to 12b) between January 1, 2013 and October 3, 2016.

15. I hereby narrow my request: All memoranda issued to *all* employees of the testing labs at Jardine or South purification plants (or both), in the calendar years 2008 and 2015. PLEASE NOTE: if a memoranda was sent to more than just these two groups, I still request the memoranda if it goes out to the full groups.

16-17. Thank you for your previous response.

18-21. Thank you for your response.

22. I did not see a response to this request. Please provide a response. The request, again, is "The full text and metadata (including to/from and date/time sent) of any workplace complaint filed by an employee of the testing labs at Jardine or South purification plants. The date range of this request is January 1, 2004 to August 19, 2016."

23. Thank you for your response.

24. Thank you for your response.

25. Thank you for your response.

From: Access, Public

Please clarify why you are sending this to us.

Mary Jo
Administrative Clerk

From: DWMFOIA

Brandon Smith,

Documents have been provide as requested however you will need to narrow your requests as stated in my previous response and again here. Also please note FOIA does not require DWM to provide information.

Please note that FOIA requires the City to produce documents. See 5 ILCS 140/3(a) (“Each public body shall make available all public records, except as otherwise provided in section 7 of this Act.”) FOIA does not require the public body to provide answers to questions or create documents. In fact, 5 ILCS 140/3.3 provides that FOIA “is not intended to compel public bodies to interpret or advise requesters as to the meaning or significance of public records. The Court, in Kenyon v. Garrels, 184 Ill. App. 3rd 28 (4th Dist. 1989) noted that FOIA “does not compel the agency to provide answers to questions posed by the inquirer.”

Gary Litherland

From: Brandon Smith

This email is attention Gary Litherland, who assisted me with my previous request.

Dear Mr. Litherland,

I received two responses to my October 4 email narrowing and clarifying my request. One was from Mary Jo, Administrative Clerk, asking "please clarify why you are sending this to us." Seeing as how you answered later that day, it should have been clear: I was narrowing and clarifying my initial request, in response to your first response. (Which you included as an attachment again for my reference.)

But the second response, your response later in the day on October 4, exhibits a misunderstanding of my request. You say that I need to narrow it. I have, in fact, narrowed it in many of the sections that you suggested were problematic. If you'll see below (I've copy-pasted for your reference), I have responded to YOUR responses, again in a numbered fashion.

If you look closely at each of my numbered responses, you will see that, in fact, none of them asks your office a question. Each of them only demands certain documents in possession by the Department of Water Management, which is a public body under FOIA--ie. not exempt--and therefore required under to respond to requests for documents.

Sincerely,
Brandon Smith

1. While FOIA does not compel a public body to produce documents, it would have been courteous of you to interpret this request as "documents sufficient to show a list of pieces of equipment...". As of this email, I am requesting such documents. To minimize the burden on your staff, feel free to include the full list (likely within a spreadsheet) of equipment possessed by the quality control and quality assurance laboratories, regardless of whether a particular piece of equipment is used directly in the testing of water.

2. To narrow this part, I request two parts:

a. The readouts from any machines for the following samples on the date of Dec. 31, 2009: 9c7248, 9c7287, 9c7291, 9c7382. This will necessarily include the results for these samples on the ICP mass spectrometer, and ICP atomic absorption machines. I also request documents sufficient to show the calibration curves that were used to obtain all results responsive to this request.

b. The readouts from all tests for aluminum on the calendar date of January 7, 2010, and documents sufficient to show the calibration curves used to obtain those samples.

c. The readouts from all water tests at labs at Jardine and South treatment plants on the calendar date of October 3, 2016, and documents sufficient to show the calibration curves used to obtain those samples.

3. Part a: I request the email address of DWM employee Hassen Saleh.
Part b: I request the last email, as of Oct. 3, 2016, sent from the address in (a) to the full lab staff at Jardine and South purification plants.
Part c: I request all emails sent from the address in (a) to the group of recipients in (b) sent between January 1, 2015 and Oct. 3, 2016. PLEASE NOTE: if an email was sent to more addresses than just these two groups, I still request the email if it goes out to the full groups.

4. I maintain that DWM's FOIA office is required under FOIA to perform a search of all emails from a particular account to any other account at a particular domain (in this case, @epa.gov). That is because most email clients' search functions allow one to search a domain and retrieve all correspondence to users on that domain. Here is the request again in full: "All emails exchanged between (to or from) Hassen Saleh (response 3a) and users at the domain epa.gov (an example is an email address that fits this format: XXXXX@epa.gov) from January 1, 2014 to October 3, 2016. If there are greater than 30 emails, please provide the 30 most recent emails exchanged between these addresses."

5. I repeat my claim that this type of search falls within an Illinois public body's FOIA burden, because of the ease of search. Here is the request again in full: "All emails exchanged between (to or from) Hassen Saleh (response 3a) and users at the domain epa.gov (an example is an email address that fits this format: XXXXX@epa.illinois.gov) from January 1, 2014 to October 3, 2016. If there are greater than 30 emails, please provide the 30 most recent emails exchanged between these addresses."

6. Part a: I request the email address of DWM employee Rashida Gaither.
Part b: I request the last email, as of Oct. 3, 2016, sent from the address in (a) to the full lab staff at Jardine and South purification plants.
Part c: I request all emails sent from the address in (a) to the group of recipients in (b) sent between January 1, 2015 and Oct. 3, 2016. PLEASE NOTE: if an email was sent to more addresses than just these two groups, I still request the email if it goes out to the full groups.

7. Please see my response in (4) and perform the search in the same manner, using the email of Rashida Gaither (response to 6a) and the domain @epa.gov, between January 1, 2014 and October 3, 2016. If there are greater than 30 emails, please provide the 30 most recent emails exchanged between these addresses. Thank you.

8. Please see my response in (4) and perform the search in the same manner, using the email of Rashida Gaither (response to 6a) the domain @epa.illinois.gov, between January 1, 2014 and October 3, 2016. If there are greater than 30 emails, please provide the 30 most recent emails exchanged between these addresses. Thank you.

9. Part a: I request the email address of DWM employee Alan Starks.
Part b: I request the last email, as of Oct. 3, 2016, sent from the address in (a) to the full lab staff at Jardine and South purification plants.
Part c: I request all emails sent from the address in (a) to the group of recipients in (b) sent between January 1, 2015 and October 3, 2016. PLEASE NOTE: if an email was sent to more addresses than just these two groups, I still request the email if it goes out to the full groups.

10. Please see my response in (4) and perform the search in the same manner, using the email of Alan Starks (response to 9a) the domain @epa.gov, between January 1, 2014 and October 3, 2016. If there are greater than 30 emails, please provide the 30 most recent emails exchanged between these addresses. Thank you.

11. Please see my response in (4) and perform the search in the same manner, using the email of Alan Starks (response to 9a) the domain @epa.illinois.gov, between January 1, 2014 and October 3, 2016. If there are greater than 30 emails, please provide the 30 most recent emails exchanged between these addresses. Thank you.

12. Part a: Please search the email account of Alan Starks for emails with the search term "Sider" in them.
Part b: If a result to (12a) includes an email from a staff member at USEPA with the name "Scott Sider," please provide Mr. Sider's email address.
Part c: Please provide all emails exchanged between Alan Starks (response to 9a) and Scott Sider (response to 12b) between January 1, 2013 and October 3, 2016.

13. Please provide all emails exchanged between Rashida Gaither (response to 6a) and Scott Sider (response to 12b) between January 1, 2013 and October 3, 2016.

14. Please provide all emails exchanged between Hassen Saleh (response to 3a) and Scott Sider (response to 12b) between January 1, 2013 and October 3, 2016.

15. I hereby narrow my request: All memoranda issued to *all* employees of the testing labs at Jardine or South purification plants (or both), in the calendar years 2008 and 2015. PLEASE NOTE: if a memoranda was sent to more than just these two groups, I still request the memoranda if it goes out to the full groups.

16-17. Thank you for your previous response.

18-21. Thank you for your response.

22. I did not see a response to this request. Please provide a response. The request, again, is "The full text and metadata (including to/from and date/time sent) of any workplace complaint filed by an employee of the testing labs at Jardine or South purification plants. The date range of this request is January 1, 2004 to August 19, 2016."

23. Thank you for your response.

24. Thank you for your response.

25. Thank you for your response.

From: DWMFOIA

Brandon Smith:

Enclosed please find my request for an extension to your Freedom of Information Act Request to the Department of Water Management.

There is one document attached, if it is missing or if you’re have any problems accessing the document please let me know by phone or e-mail as soon as possible.

Gary Litherland
Freedom of Information Act Officer
Department of Water Management
City of Chicago
312-742-1027

From: City of Chicago, Department of Water Management

A first set of responsive documents from the agency, with more to be sent at a specified date.

From: Brandon Smith

Greetings. I am requesting a timeline for the rest of the documents you intend to give me.

Thank you for your time.

Brandon Smith

From: Brandon Smith

I would also like to bring attention to Mr. Litherland that my request #5 is not a duplicate of request #4, as he asserts in his last response. Upon a close inspection, request #4 is for emails to and from the *state* EPA whereas request #5 is for emails to and from the *federal* EPA. I would like to note that the same type of request (for both federal and state EPA offices) was made for city employees Saleh, Gaither, and Stark. After reviewing the responses, and as evidenced by Mr. Litherland's interpretation of these requests as "duplicates," I can only assume that emails to and from the *federal* EPA have not been searched or provided. I hereby request this, whether as a "followup" or as a "new" request under Illinois FOIA.

From: DWMFOIA

The search criteria for both #4 and #5 were included in the same search all records responsive were provided in the response.

Gary Litherland
Freedom of Information Act Officer
Department of Water Management
City Of Chicago

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