The Salton Sea is steadily disappearing, and communities near it are literally being left in the dust. California’s largest body of water — located in Imperial County near the Mexico-U.S. border — has been sinking for years, and dust clouds containing heavy metals, agricultural chemicals and fine particulates connected to asthma and other diseases are harming young people in that area.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recently reached settlements with two Southern California plastics manufacturers over federal Clean Water Act violations. Under the terms of the settlements, both companies will take steps to prevent plastic materials they manage from washing into local waterways. Combined, the companies will pay more than $35,000 in penalties. During inspections at the two facilities in 2016, EPA found inadequate containment measures that allowed plastic materials, including pellets known as “nurdles,” to enter local waterways.
Effluent from Tijuana’s broken sewage system coming ashore in the United States has become a routine part of life on San Diego County’s southern coast. … It is this ugly history — and the sluggish reaction to it by the International Boundary and Water Commission, a joint U.S.-Mexico agency that oversees water treaties — that demands state and federal leaders respond with a sense of urgency.
The state Attorney General has joined San Diego’s regional water regulators in pressuring the White House to do more to address sewage from Tijuana that routinely spills over the border fouling beaches as far north as Coronado. The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board, with the backing of Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office, on Monday filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue the federal government for violations of the Clean Water Act.
The ubiquitous plastic straw has become the focus in recent years of increasingly intense scrutiny from environmental advocates and policymakers, who have raised concerns about the huge amounts of plastic, single-use food-ware products ending up in landfills and the oceans.
The top United States official at the international agency charged with overseeing efforts to stem ongoing water pollution in the Tijuana River Valley stepped down on Friday. The departure of Edward Drusina, former commissioner of the U.S. section of the International Boundary and Water Commission, or IBWC, comes as the agency continues to face legal attacks from South Bay cities that routinely shutter beaches due to pollution from south of the border.
Advocates gathered in Merced, and similar demonstrations were held around the state, according to advocates, to get elected officials to support Senate Bill 623, which aims to provide a stable source of funding to implement California’s Human Rights to Water, Assembly Bill 685 from 2012.
A Santa Fe Springs chemical company, cited for multiple safety violations and potentially responsible for contaminating the groundwater that became a Superfund site, recently received temporary approval to process liquid hazardous waste using a new steel tank not authorized in its original permit.
A long-contaminated Orange County site is getting increased federal attention after the court-ordered release of emails showing that conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt set up a meeting between controversial EPA chief Scott Pruitt and attorneys for the Orange County Water District, which is seeking federal oversight of the cleanup process.
When a contaminated aquifer in Orange County made U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s list of top-priority sites for “immediate, intense action,” the local water district was quick to highlight the announcement. But questions of political favoritism are swirling over Pruitt’s decision in December to prioritize cleaning the Orange County North Basin groundwater pollution plume beneath Anaheim and Fullerton using the federal Superfund program.
Gaps in funding for water treatment are a major problem in California. Water providers operate independently, relying virtually entirely on customer fees to cover costs. For agencies with scale, money and access to quality water sources, this model works well. But absent those resources, contamination persists for years without resolution.
From The Sacramento Bee, in a commentary by Linda S. Adams and Karen L. Hathaway:
As early as next month, the State Water Resources Control Board could take up the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board’s recommendation for the maximum level of copper particulates allowed in Marina del Rey, one of the largest man-made harbors in the world.
“California legislators have recycled a bill aimed at making the state the first in the nation to ban plastic grocery bags — and the new effort gained momentum Wednesday despite fierce industry opposition and passionate appeals from workers who say the measure threatens their livelihoods.”
“Six days after dead fish began appearing on the surface of Menifee Lake, little has been done to clean up the private water body. And baring any public health issues, government officials say they have little – if any – control over it.”