Topic: Water Quality

Overview

Water Quality

Water quality in California is regulated by several state agencies, including the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) and its nine regional boards, which enforce clean water laws and the Department of Public Health.

Water quality concerns are also often involved in disputes over water rights, particularly in situations involving endangered species or habitat.

The State Water Board administers the Clean Water Grant Program that funds construction of wastewater treatment facilities. The State Water Board also issues general permits for municipalities and construction sites that try to prevent contaminants from those sources from entering municipal storm sewers.

Drinking water standards and regulations are developed by federal and state agencies to protect public health. In California, the Department of Public Health administers the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, which regulates drinking water quality in the United States.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Trump administration names former oil spokesman as EPA chief for West Coast

The Trump administration on Friday named Mike Stoker, a Santa Barbara County attorney and former oil company spokesman who some credit with coining the “lock her up!” chants against Hillary Clinton at the Republican Convention in 2016, as the new West Coast head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Stoker will lead the U.S. EPA Region 9 office, which is based in San Francisco.

Aquafornia news The Orange County Register

Concerns swell over Trump’s proposed end of funding for beach water-quality tests

Concerns are growing over the Trump administration’s plans to eliminate ocean quality grants used by coastal communities to determine whether the water poses a hazard to beach goers. The EPA stopped requesting the $10 million in annual funds in 2013, saying that states, counties and cities were adequately equipped to continuing the monitoring on their own.

Aquafornia news KCRA Channel 3, Sacramento

Prop. 68 promises billions for California parks, clean water

Supporters argue that Prop. 68 is good for parks and good for improving water quality statewide. … Critics like state Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, believe the debt payments on the bond will be anything but small.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Head of federal water agency overseeing efforts to combat Tijuana sewage steps down

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.

Aquafornia news Merced Sun-Star

Is your drinking water clean in Merced County?

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.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego fighting alone for $400,000 to cover water testing for lead at schools

San Diego is the only city in California seeking state reimbursement for testing the toxic lead levels in water at local schools, which has cost the city’s water agency more than $400,000. … The requirement, which came in response to a national outcry over lead in drinking water at schools in Michigan, immediately prompted complaints from water agencies that it was an unfunded mandate by the state.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

California considers charge on utility bills to create safe water fund

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.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Pressure mounts to solve California’s toxic farmland drainage problem

Many Americans know the name Kesterson as the California site where thousands of birds and fish were discovered with gruesome deformities in 1983, a result of exposure to selenium-poisoned farm runoff. Thirty-five years later, it is one of the oldest unresolved water problems in the state.

Aquafornia news Western Water

Latest Western Water examines how California strives to protect water amid a ‘green rush’ of legal cannabis

Western Water writer Gary Pitzer explored how California water regulators are trying to address the impacts on water quality and supply from this newly regulated industry, how federal officials are approaching it and what other states that have legalized marijuana have done. And he addressed the question that remains on many minds: Will growers that have operated in the shadows for years accept the new regulations or shrug them off as too burdensome.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: California voters will consider two water bonds this election cycle

Two different water bonds are set to appear on the California ballot this election season, after a $9 billion measure gathered enough signatures to qualify in November, according to the Secretary of State’s Office on Wednesday.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Oakland, East Bay Municipal Utility District fined $360,000 over sewage discharge

The city of Oakland and East Bay Municipal Utility District must pay more than $360,000 for violating the Clean Water Act by allowing untreated sewage into the San Francisco Bay, officials said Tuesday. In 2014, EBMUD and seven East Bay communities it serves, including Oakland and Berkeley, paid $1.5 million in civil penalties for past sewage discharges.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California voters should expect to decide on an $8.9-billion water bond in November

A proposal to borrow $8.9 billion for improvements to California’s water quality systems and watersheds and protection of natural habitats is eligible for the statewide ballot in November, Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced in a press release Wednesday.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Trump’s EPA proposes to block regulators from considering a wide range of scientific studies

The Trump administration launched an attack on the science behind many of the nation’s clean air and clean water rules, announcing a proposal Tuesday that would in effect prevent regulators from considering a wide range of health studies when they look at new regulations.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Eastern Coachella Valley gains influence on water politics

[Arcelia] Duarte is the owner of the Duarte Mobile Home Park near Thermal as well as one of its residents. As normal as her family’s home may appear to visitors, the park’s residents are faced with an issue most of California’s urban dwellers would struggle to fathom: Their water, which comes from a local well, is contaminated by naturally occurring arsenic and bacteria.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

America before Earth Day: Smog and disasters spurred the laws Trump wants to undo

A huge oil spill. A river catching fire. Lakes so polluted they were too dangerous for fishing or swimming. Air so thick with smog it was impossible to see the horizon. That was the environmental state of the nation 50 years ago.

Amid ‘Green Rush’ of Legal Cannabis, California Strives to Control Adverse Effects on Water
State crafts water right and new rules unique to marijuana farms, but will growers accustomed to the shadows comply?

A marijuana plant from a growing operationFor decades, cannabis has been grown in California – hidden away in forested groves or surreptitiously harvested under the glare of high-intensity indoor lamps in suburban tract homes.

In the past 20 years, however, cannabis — known more widely as marijuana – has been moving from being a criminal activity to gaining legitimacy as one of the hundreds of cash crops in the state’s $46 billion-dollar agriculture industry, first legalized for medicinal purposes and this year for recreational use.

Western Water Jennifer Bowles Jennifer Bowles

EDITOR’S NOTE: Assessing California’s Response to Marijuana’s Impacts on Water

Jennifer BowlesAs we continue forging ahead in 2018 with our online version of Western Water after 40 years as a print magazine, we turned our attention to a topic that also got its start this year: recreational marijuana as a legal use.

State regulators, in the last few years, already had been beefing up their workforce to tackle the glut in marijuana crops and combat their impacts to water quality and supply for people, fish and farming downstream. Thus, even if these impacts were perhaps unbeknownst to the majority of Californians who approved Proposition 64 in 2016, we thought it important to see if anything new had evolved from a water perspective now that marijuana was legal.

Tour Dan Scott

Lower Colorado River Tour 2018
Field Trip (past) April 11-13

Lower Colorado River Tour participants at Hoover Dam.

We explored the lower Colorado River where virtually every drop of the river is allocated, yet demand is growing from myriad sources — increasing population, declining habitat, drought and climate change.

The 1,450-mile river is a lifeline to 40 million people in the Southwest across seven states and Mexico. How the Lower Basin states – Arizona, California and Nevada – use and manage this water to meet agricultural, urban, environmental and industrial needs was the focus of this tour.

Hampton Inn Tropicana
4975 Dean Martin Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89118
Aquafornia news Associated Press

Mine company says EPA is worsening Colorado water pollution

A mining company accused the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday of failing to operate a treatment plant at full capacity, allowing a huge volume of polluted mine wastewater to reach a southwestern Colorado river.

Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

Pruitt takes Clean Water Act decisions away from regional EPA offices

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, who has been methodically weakening air pollution rules over the past year, is now taking control of key decision-making on the protection of streams and wetlands from the agency’s regional administrators, an internal memo shows. At issue is something known as “geographic jurisdiction,” agency speak for which bodies of water do, or do not, fall under the Clean Water Act.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

When it comes to California water, nothing is easy

First put forward as Senate Bill 623, then later slipped into the governor’s 2018-19 budget as a trailer bill, the [Safe and Affordable Drinking Water] fund’s purpose is to cover an estimated $140 million each year in improvements and ongoing maintenance in water systems that are out of compliance with water quality standards. The proposed Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund is fueling increased debate in California’s water community and in the Capitol.

Western Water Gary Pitzer California Water Bundle Gary Pitzer

Statewide Water Bond Measures Could Have Californians Doing a Double-Take in 2018
Two bond measures, worth $13B, would aid flood preparation, subsidence, Salton Sea and other water needs

San Joaquin Valley bridge rippled by subsidence  California voters may experience a sense of déjà vu this year when they are asked twice in the same year to consider water bonds — one in June, the other headed to the November ballot.

Both tackle a variety of water issues, from helping disadvantaged communities get clean drinking water to making flood management improvements. But they avoid more controversial proposals, such as new surface storage, and they propose to do some very different things to appeal to different constituencies.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

After deadly wildfire, a new problem for Santa Rosa: contaminated water

When a wildfire leveled a whole neighborhood in Santa Rosa, California, in October, it was just the first disaster for this Wine Country city. A second disaster is now unfolding after chemical contamination was detected in the city’s drinking water following the fire.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin school fountain closed amid lead contamination tests

Testing is in progress at schools throughout Marin for lead in drinking water, and one fountain has been shut down because of contamination. The testing is being conducted in accordance with Assembly Bill 746. It requires campuses built before Jan. 1, 2010, to receive the testing for lead contamination by July 2019.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Spending bill rejects Trump effort to gut water cleanups

A $1.3 trillion spending package approved Thursday by the House and early Friday by the Senate includes nearly $448 million for Environmental Protection Agency programs benefiting regional waters degraded by pollution, overdevelopment and exotic species invasions. … Aside from the Great Lakes, those staying at their current levels include Chesapeake Bay, San Francisco Bay …

Aquafornia news Detroit News

EPA chief wants to eradicate lead from drinking water

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency says eradicating lead from drinking water is one of his top priorities three years after the Flint water crisis, and he’s worried Americans aren’t “sufficiently aware” of the threat.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Regional water board debates lawsuit, seeks scrutiny of contaminated flows from Mexico

Members of the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board gathered in a closed session on Monday afternoon, debating whether to file a lawsuit against the federal government to stem the cross-border flow of sewage, sediment and other contaminants from Tijuana to San Diego.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: New fees proposed to pay for California’s contaminated water problem

As part of his final budget proposal, Gov. Jerry Brown wants new fees on water to provide clean and affordable drinking water to the approximately 1 million Californians who are exposed to contaminated water in their homes and communities each year. … About 100 state residents who lack access to clean drinking water will head to the Capitol today and join with several lawmakers to support Brown’s proposal … 

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Around 100,000 San Joaquin Valley residents live without clean water; study suggests access is close

There are almost 100,000 San Joaquin Valley residents living without access to clean drinking water. This is according to a new UC Davis study, which suggests that permanent solutions aren’t that far away.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Trump plan ends research on uranium mining near Grand Canyon

U.S. scientists studying the effects of uranium mining around the Grand Canyon say they are lacking information on whether the radioactive element is hurting plants, animals and a water source for more than 30 million people. And they would not get to fully gather it if President Donald Trump’s 2019 budget proposal is approved.

Researchers Aim to Give Homeless a Voice in Southern California Watershed
NOTEBOOK: Assessment of homeless water challenges part of UC Irvine study of community water needs

Homeless encampment near Angel StadiumA new study could help water agencies find solutions to the vexing challenges the homeless face in gaining access to clean water for drinking and sanitation.

The Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA) in Southern California has embarked on a comprehensive and collaborative effort aimed at assessing strengths and needs as it relates to water services for people (including the homeless) within its 2,840 square-mile area that extends from the San Bernardino Mountains to the Orange County coast.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Toxin forces order to stop eating recreationally caught shellfish in Bay Area

An unseasonably warm winter is putting a pause on the Bay Area’s recreational seafood catch, bringing elevated levels of a toxin found in shellfish much earlier in the year than usual.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

San Diego-area governments sue to stop Mexican sewage flow

The cities of Imperial Beach and Chula Vista and the Port of San Diego said the International Boundary and Water Commission’s U.S. section has failed to meet obligations under the federal Clean Water Act to treat the runoff from Tijuana, allowing toxins and bacteria to spread in the Tijuana River Valley and out to the Pacific Ocean.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Sand replenishment begins at Cardiff State Beach

Sand replenishment began last week at Cardiff State Beach, one of the first milestones in a $120 million, four-year effort to restore the San Elijo Lagoon. Improved water quality, greater wildlife diversity, more public recreational trails and a greater resilience to environmental change are among the long-term goals of the restoration, which has been planned for decades.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: EPA chief’s clean-water rollback shaped by secrecy, luxury travel and handpicked audiences

As Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt jetted around the country last year, regularly flying first or business class at hefty taxpayer expense, his stated mission was often a noble one: to hear from Americans about how Washington could most effectively and fairly enforce the Clean Water Act.

Aquafornia news Reuters

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: U.S. Supreme Court rejects challenge to EPA water regulation

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday turned away a challenge led by states and environmental groups to an Environmental Protection Agency regulation that lets government agencies transfer water between different bodies, such as rivers and lakes, without needing to protect against pollution.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: California AG launches environmental justice unit focused on poorer communities

Besides challenging federal deregulation, the Bureau of Environmental Justice will prioritize pollution cases that threaten public health, [California Attorney General Xavier] Becerra said. The attorneys will seek to compel businesses and government agencies to clean contaminated drinking water, reduce exposure to lead and other toxins and prevent illegal waste discharges in communities burdened disproportionately by pollution.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Here are the places that struggle to meet the rules on safe drinking water

To ensure that tap water in the United States is safe to drink, the federal government has been steadily tightening the health standards for the nation’s water supplies for decades. But over and over again, local water systems around the country have failed to meet these requirements.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Trump budget again targets regional water cleanup programs

It [proposed 2019 budget] would remove all EPA funding of cleanup programs for the Gulf of Mexico, Lake Champlain, Long Island Sound, San Francisco Bay, Puget Sound and South Florida, including the Everglades and Keys.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California officials, protesters fight offshore drill plans

Commissions that oversee coastal lands and water pushed the Trump administration to leave California out of plans to expand offshore drilling, saying the state will throw up any barriers possible to prevent pumping and transportation of oil. The warning came weeks after Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said he wants to open nearly all U.S. coastlines to offshore oil and gas drilling.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

U.S. courts issue contradictory rulings on groundwater and the Clean Water Act

The Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility, on the Hawaiian island of Maui, pumps 3 million to 5 million gallons of treated sewage a day down four wells on its property. Once underground, the water does not stay put. It seeps through porous lava rock and then flows into the Pacific Ocean, a half-mile to the southwest.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Supreme Court: Water rule suits should begin in trial courts

Opponents of an Obama administration rule aimed at protecting small streams and wetlands from development and pollution now know which courts should be hearing their lawsuits.

Aquafornia news Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting

California is preparing to defend its waters from Trump order

In its first act to shield California from the Trump administration’s repeal of regulations, the state’s water board has prepared its own rules protecting wetlands and other waters. The proposed new rules, scheduled for a vote by the board this summer, could insulate the state from President Donald Trump’s executive order to roll back the reach of the Clean Water Act.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

‘Raw water’ is the latest health craze. Here’s why drinking it may be a bad idea.

Hold your canteen under a natural spring and you’ll come away with crystal clear water, potentially brimming with beneficial bacteria as well as minerals from the earth. … But by shunning recommended water safety practices, experts warn, raw water purveyors may also be selling things you don’t want to drink — dangerous bacteria, viruses and parasites that can make you sick.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

EPA delays lead and copper rule again, promises ‘war on lead’

The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency pledged that lead regulations will be a prominent feature of the agency’s work in 2018 — but that work will take longer than anticipated. The agency expects that a revision to federal rules that are designed to reduce the risk of lead in drinking water will be published in draft form in August 2018, a seven-month delay from a timetable announced this summer.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

EPA chief defends spending on travel and soundproof booth

Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt on Thursday defended his frequent taxpayer-funded travel and his purchase of a custom soundproof communications booth for his office, saying both were justified. Pruitt made his first appearance before a House oversight subcommittee responsible for environmental issues since his confirmation to lead EPA in February.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Q&A: Portable treatment systems to create first ‘virtual water district’

It can be very expensive, for instance, to build a new water treatment plant or connect with one in the next closest town. … Now a team of engineers and students at the University of California, Los Angeles, has developed a water treatment system that fits in a 40ft shipping container.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

US officials drop mining cleanup rule after industry objects

President Donald Trump’s administration announced Friday that it won’t require mining companies to prove they have the financial wherewithal to clean up their pollution, despite an industry legacy of abandoned mines that have fouled waterways across the U.S.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

As Western governors gather, wildfires and disasters are big part of agenda

U.S. Forest Service Chief Tony Tooke said nearly 80% of the country’s forest system resides in the West. Tooke, who became head of the agency in September, addressed the [Western Governors Association] conference Friday and said that in the years ahead his No. 1 goal is to increase efforts that prevent wildfires and reduce community risks — such as mudslides and contaminated water — from burn areas.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Monsanto fails to shake city of San Diego in water pollution lawsuit

The city of San Diego recently cleared a major legal hurdle in its effort to force chemical giant Monsanto to pay tens of millions to clean up local waterways polluted with a class of cancer-linked chemicals, known as polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs. Federal and state regulators have in recent years tightened standards for cleaning up PCBs in bays, rivers and creeks.

Aquafornia news KPBS Public Broadcasting, San Diego

Groups sue California to get cleaner water

State officials are under fire for not keeping up with legal requirements to track waterways that are polluted or have other problems that affect using those waterways for activities including fishing and swimming. San Diego Coastkeeper is one of three clean water groups suing the state in an effort to get better water quality.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Fire retardant use explodes as worries about water, wildlife risk grow

Chemical fire retardants are considered a vital wildland firefighting tool, helping to slow the spread of flames while ground crews move into position. But as their use increases, the harmful side effects of these chemicals are coming under increasing scrutiny. The chemicals, usually dropped from low-flying aircraft, largely consist of ammonia compounds, which are known toxins to fish and other aquatic life.

Tour Dan Scott

Headwaters Tour 2018
Field Trip - June 28 & 29

Headwaters tour participants on a hike in the Sierra Nevada.Sixty percent of California’s developed water supply originates high in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Our water supply is largely dependent on the health of our Sierra forests, which are suffering from ecosystem degradation, drought, wildfires and widespread tree mortality. Join us as we head into the foothills and the mountains to examine water issues that happen upstream but have dramatic impacts downstream and throughout the state. 

GEI (Tour Starting Point)
2868 Prospect Park Dr.
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670.
Tour Dan Scott

Lower Colorado River Tour 2018
Field Trip - April 11-13 (Sold out, please sign up for the waitlist in case tickets are available)

Lower Colorado River Tour participants at Hoover Dam.

Explore the lower Colorado River where virtually every drop of the river is allocated, yet demand is growing from myriad sources — increasing population, declining habitat, drought and climate change.

The 1,450-mile river is a lifeline to 40 million people in the Southwest across seven states and Mexico. How the Lower Basin states – Arizona, California and Nevada – use and manage this water to meet agricultural, urban, environmental and industrial needs is the focus of this tour.

Hampton Inn Tropicana
4975 Dean Martin Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89118
Tour Dan Scott

Northern California Tour 2018
Field Trip - October 10 - 12

Explore the Sacramento River and its tributaries through a scenic landscape as we learn about the issues associated with a key source for the state’s water supply. All together, the river and its tributaries supply 35 percent of California’s water and feed into two major projects: the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project. This year, special attention will be paid to the flood event at Oroville Dam and the efforts to repair the dam spillway before the next rainy season. 

This 3-day, 2-night tour travels across the Sacramento Valley and follows the river north from Sacramento through Chico to Redding and Lake Shasta, where participants take a houseboat ride.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

Coffee tasting stimulates discussion on water quality as EPA cuts loom

Not only does Nevada’s naturally hard water cloud the taste of coffee, experts say — it also requires steady monitoring, even if lawmakers approve cuts to a federal agency that monitors quality. An Oct. 9 coffee tasting at UNLV served as a platform to discuss potential budget cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency while illustrating how Nevada’s hard water can affect flavor.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Risks grow for deadliest U.S. drinking water hazard

In the weeks after Labor Day, one dozen people who live in or visited Anaheim, California fell ill with a common set of symptoms: fever, chills, and coughing. Ten of the 12, all between the ages of 52 and 94, required treatment at a hospital and were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, a pneumonia-like illness that attacks the lungs. One person died.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Opening arguments in Measure Z trial

Attorneys on all sides began presenting their cases on the first day of the Measure Z trial on Monday, arguing over whether the voter-approved initiative establishing some of the nation’s toughest oil and gas restrictions is preempted by federal and state authority. … They [oil industry attorneys] argued the Measure Z campaign had misled voters into believing the central issue was fracking and water protection without fully addressing other aspects of the initiative.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Imperial Beach shoreline closure lifted after water tests

San Diego County authorities have lifted a closure of the Imperial Beach shoreline that was impacted by sewage-contaminated flows from the Tijuana River entering the United States.

Aquafornia news KCRA Channel 3

Lead, arsenic, copper found in drinking water at some NorCal schools

Water tests at school drinking fountains across Northern California found dangerous levels of lead and other metals, prompting school officials to shut down the fountains. However, thousands of schools across California have not participated in a state-funded program to test their drinking water, according to an investigation by KCRA 3.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: $300 billion war beneath the street: Fighting to replace America’s water pipes

Bursting pipes. Leaks. Public health scares. America is facing a crisis over its crumbling water infrastructure, and fixing it will be a monumental and expensive task. Two powerful industries, plastic and iron, are locked in a lobbying war over the estimated $300 billion that local governments will spend on water and sewer pipes over the next decade.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Q&A: New policy sets rules for marijuana growers to protect California

On October 17, the California State Water Resources Control Board adopted new environmental policies to regulate how marijuana growing operations will impact California’s already limited water resources. … Cannabis cultivation can impact local water by reducing flows in streams and creeks or polluting waterways with pesticides and other agricultural chemicals.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Extreme level of lead at San Francisco school gym fountain, among 30 taps failing test

A growing list of schools across the state are posting high levels of lead flowing out of faucets after the water crisis in Flint, Mich. — in which corrosion of pipes led to leaching of lead into the city water supply — led California officials to push for testing, especially in schools.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Rain in forecast shifts Sonoma County cleanup to stream banks

The specter of rain washing potentially toxic ash from thousands of burned homes into sensitive Sonoma County watersheds has injected a new sense of urgency to local fire cleanup efforts, with the immediate focus shifting to erosion control needed to safeguard water quality.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Lead contamination found in water at Oakland schools

Children at an Oakland elementary school have been exposed to water with lead levels four times higher than allowed under federal guidelines, test results obtained Thursday by The Chronicle show. … The district began testing school taps in August in advance of new state requirements, but the results have not been well-publicized. 

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Arsenic reductions in drinking water tied to fewer cancer deaths

The Environmental Protection Agency’s revised rule on arsenic contamination in drinking water has resulted in fewer lung, bladder and skin cancers.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Health officials say testing San Diego River for hepatitis A would waste resources

Health officials in San Diego County said Monday they won’t be looking for hepatitis A in the San Diego River and that such an effort wouldn’t be a wise use of resources.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Toxic ashes and charred forests threaten water after North Bay fires

For many homeowners in Sonoma and Napa counties, nothing could have been more welcome than the splashing of rain that fell on Northern California last Thursday – the first significant precipitation in about five months.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Why has the EPA shifted on toxic chemicals?

For years, the Environmental Protection Agency has struggled to prevent an ingredient once used in stain-resistant carpets and nonstick pans from contaminating drinking water.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

California hepatitis outbreak has killed 19 people

In response to a hepatitis A outbreak that was incubated in unsanitary conditions among the homeless, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a public health emergency last week to contain an epidemic that has killed 19 people this year in California. … Access to adequate sanitation is presumably a component of the state’s human right to water law, which was passed in 2012.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

California mobile home park residents face barriers to clean water

Many of the more than one million Californians who live in mobile home parks drink water that is more polluted and more likely to be cut off than residents who get water from other municipal utilities, according to the most detailed research to date on water access in California trailer parks.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego County supervisors join brewing legal battle against feds over Tijuana sewage spills

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to join the growing legal campaign to force the federal government to do more to stop sewage from spilling over the border from Tijuana that routinely fouls South Bay beaches. “Enough is enough,” Supervisor Greg Cox, whose district includes border region with Mexico, said in a statement.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Folsom Lake and Lake Natoma had high E. coli readings. Should the public be warned?

Environmental advocates are calling on state officials to notify the public about past tests showing high levels of E. coli in Folsom Lake and Lake Natoma, two of the region’s most popular areas for open water swimming and boating. But officials responsible for recreational use on the lakes say the test results cited are too old, while the agency that conducted the tests says it has no responsibility for public notices.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Water board reports highlighted health risk before hepatitis outbreak

San Diego officials were informed repeatedly of the dangers of disease-carrying runoff from homeless encampments into area waterways, as far as a decade before the current hepatitis A crisis spurred action.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

FDA reversed its position on Nestlé bottled water, documents show

The federal government has strict rules about water that can be bottled and sold as “spring water,” and regulators recently changed their position on whether the water that Nestlé pipes out of the San Bernardino National Forest meets those requirements. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Water-related government jobs bud as legal pot looms

Planned hiring into 2018 covers a range of state agencies: Fifty people are bound for the Public Health Department, 65 are slated to join the Water Resources Control Board … Environmental scientists will be responsible for developing standards for pot grows near streams, to make sure fertilizer or pesticides do not taint the water or harm fish.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Cities, port take step to sue feds over border sewage spills

Imperial Beach, Chula Vista and the Port of San Diego took the first step toward suing the federal government to stop wastewater and raw sewage from continually pouring over the border from Tijuana into San Diego County. … On Thursday, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, as the chair of the State Lands Commission, announced his support for the efforts by local officials in San Diego to address the situation.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

With rats and frogs in Camp Pendleton water supply, base agrees to federal decree

Camp Pendleton officials swear that the water consumed by 55,000 Marines and their families is safe, despite a pair of scathing state and federal investigations indicating chronic problems in the treatment systems at the sprawling military base.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino Sun

Feinstein contends Cadiz project would contaminate water supply

As the Cadiz project seems increasingly likely to go forward, Sen. Dianne Feinstein issued a statement contending the underground desert water could ultimately contaminate much of Southern California’s water supply.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

1,741 districts violated drinking water rules in 2016

Public drinking water systems in California violated state and federal regulations more than 4,700 times in 2016. This database contains every violation from that year.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Sonoma County to remove warnings at Russian River beaches

Signs at Russian River beaches warning of the potential for harmful blue-green algae in the water were being taken down Thursday, after tests failed to detect the presence of algae-related toxins in recent weeks. Only highly diluted concentrations of an algae-produced toxin were found in the river this summer even when tests sporadically came back positive, health officials said.

Aquafornia news East Bay Times

Santa Clara County bans commercial marijuana grows

[Santa Clara] County supervisors have approved a 45-day moratorium on marijuana growing operations that can be extended for two years while they consider next steps in what officials called a changing landscape, as the state drafts its own regulations on recreational pot cultivation. …  “The environmental damage we’ve seen is very disturbing,” [Deputy County Executive Sylvia] Gallegos said.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego quake could kill 2,000, inflict $40 billion in property damage

San Diego’s Rose Canyon fault is capable of producing a magnitude 6.9 earthquake that could kill 2,000 people and inflict $40 billion in property damage, according to a preliminary study sponsored by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute. … The shaking would break scores of water and sewer lines, possibly causing wastewater to spill into San Diego and Mission Bays.

Aquafornia news Reuters

Banned pesticides from illegal pot farms seep into California water

Toxic chemicals from illegal marijuana farms hidden deep in California’s forests are showing up in rivers and streams that feed the state’s water supply, prompting fears that humans and animals may be at risk, data reviewed by Reuters show.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Billions are drinking water contaminated with plastic — and US has it the worst, study finds

If you drink tap water, you’re probably also ingesting potentially dangerous microscopic plastic fibers. And you’re not alone: That’s likely the case for billions of people across the world, according to a new study from Orb Media.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Cross-border sewage spill? No, the flow came from U.S. side

The initial report by the U.S. International Boundary and Water Commission told of a 212,000-gallon spill from Mexico into the Tijuana River channel.

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

Toxic algae detected in some Tahoe Keys waterways

Residents and visitors in certain areas of the Tahoe Keys are being warned of the presence of potentially poisonous algae.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Lower American River contains unsafe levels of e. coli, tests show

Levels of E. coli bacteria found in the lower American River exceed the federal threshold for safe recreational use, in part due to human waste from homeless camps, state regulators say. The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board has proposed adding the bacteria to a list of pollutants that make the lower American River a federally designated impaired water body.

Aquafornia news East Bay Times

Antioch files challenge to final approval of Twin Tunnels impact report

The city [Antioch] has challenged the state Department of Water Resources’ approval of the Twin Tunnels project, alleging that the city itself will still see more salt in the water it uses as a drinking supply.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Did McClellan Air Force Base poison their water? Lawsuits revive neighborhood fears

The [McClellan] Air Force has consistently denied that toxins have escaped the base boundaries and contaminated drinking water supplies, but a series of new lawsuits by two area water districts seeking $1.4 billion in damages has renewed concerns among some who spent years drinking water from area pipes and wells.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Billions in new spending for housing, water, parks and more could be on 2018 ballot

Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers are considering five proposals that would finance new homes for low-income residents, build parks in neighborhoods without them and restore rivers, streams and creeks among dozens of other projects.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Drinking lead—why California may force all schools to test their water

When a therapy dog refused to drink at a San Diego grade school, it was the first clue that something was wrong with the water. Tests revealed why the pup turned up its nose—the presence of polyvinyl chloride, the polymer in PVC pipes that degrade over time. But further analysis found something else that had gone undetected by the dog, the teachers and students of the San Diego Cooperative Charter School, and the school district: elevated levels of lead.

Aquafornia news East Bay Times

Oakland, Fremont: Lakes reopen after toxic algae wanes

Two popular swim spots — Lake Temescal in Oakland and Quarry Lakes in Fremont — will reopen Saturday after blooms of toxic blue-green algae finally cleared up, the East Bay Regional Park District announced Friday.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Record heat in 2016 broke lake temperature records too

An annual analysis of the planet’s climate reaffirms what researchers knew was the case: that 2016 was the hottest year since at least 1880, when reliable global measurements were first kept. … The atmosphere is not only the place with incremental warming: the world’s freshwater lakes are also heating up.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Blue-green algae-related toxin warnings remain at Russian River beaches

The Russian River tested clean this week for a toxin related to blue-green algae that prompted cautionary signs at 10 popular beaches last month and in each of the past two summers. The river remains open to swimming and other recreation.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

McClellan base polluted drinking water supply, districts say

In a sweeping legal fight that could affect drinking water supplies for thousands of Sacramento-area residents, two water districts near the old McClellan Air Force Base are suing the federal government for $1.4 billion to clean up the cancer-causing chemical hexavalent chromium from the area’s groundwater supplies.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin, other U.S. water supplies targeted by advocacy group over safety

Marin’s utilities were among nearly 50,000 public water systems examined in the nationwide study by the Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Working Group. The group acknowledged that Marin and other water suppliers meet government standards, but it says the water frequently contains contaminants in concentrations that exceed levels scientists say pose potential health risks over the course of a lifetime.

Aquafornia news KQED Public Media for Northern California

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: How much drinking water has California lost to oil industry waste?

California survived its historic drought, in large part by using groundwater. It was a lifeline in the Central Valley, where it was the only source of water for many farmers. California regulators are charged with protecting that groundwater, but for years they failed to do so.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Why California tossed drinking water limit on ‘Erin Brockovich’ chemical

California’s water agency Tuesday agreed to eliminate the cap on hexavalent chromium in drinking water, the toxic chemical made famous in the movie “Erin Brockovich.” The State Water Resources Control Board said it removed the cap after a Sacramento judge ruled in May that its regulation was invalid.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Warming to worsen dead zones, algae blooms choking US waters

Projected increases in rain from global warming could further choke U.S. waterways with fertilizer runoff that trigger dead zones and massive algae blooms, a new study said.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Sonoma County issues toxic algae warning for Russian River beaches

Sonoma County officials posted caution signs at beaches up and down the Russian River on Wednesday alerting visitors to positive test results for a potentially dangerous, naturally occurring neurotoxin linked to harmful algae, a problem surfacing around Northern California this summer.

Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco Bay Area

‘Insidious’ drinking water carcinogen has California water customers facing rate hikes

More than one million people across 16 California counties have excessive levels of a potent carcinogen in their drinking water, and customers are now facing huge rate increases to help pay for water agencies’ compliance with newly-adopted standards. … Beginning January 2018, all drinking water in the state will be required to have TCP levels of no more that 5 parts per trillion (ppt).

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Tahoe transportation plan works to improve lake clarity and end gridlock (with audio)

The population at Lake Tahoe swells by up to five times its year-round population on busy summer weekends. The influx of tourists taxes an infrastructure designed for fewer people.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Feds OK new mercury protections in California waters (with audio)

The rules were approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. They’re intended to help inform people about levels of mercury in salmon, bass, sturgeon, trout and other fish.

Aquafornia news NBC Bay Area

State Water Board sets limit for cancer-causing chemical

California took its first step Tuesday toward addressing a dangerous, cancer-causing chemical that 1 million residents across the state could be drinking in harmful amounts. The State Water Resources Control Board voted unanimously to implement a maximum contaminant level in drinking water for a chemical known as 1,2,3-TCP, used primarily as a degreasing solvent and pesticide ingredient.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Point Reyes ranching threatened in lawsuit settlement

A settlement in a lawsuit that targeted dairy and beef cattle operations in the Point Reyes National Seashore now threatens the future of ranching in West Marin. … The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, also asserted that cattle were causing erosion, polluting waterways with manure and harming endangered salmon and other species, while blocking public access.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Trump’s ‘drill, baby, drill’ energy policies are being met by ‘sue, baby, sue’

Since [President] Trump took office, environmental groups and Democratic state attorneys general have filed more than four dozen lawsuits challenging his executive orders and decisions by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Interior Department and other agencies.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Getting to the roots of California’s drinking water crisis

If you ask Californians who live in communities with unsafe drinking water how bad things are, they will tell you in no uncertain terms that the situation is a crisis. But unlike the nation’s most visible water crisis in Flint, Michigan – where 98,000 people were drinking water tainted with high lead levels for two years before the full story came to light – California’s drinking water problems do not exist in one central location or involve one culprit contaminant. 

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: California hones drinking water affordability plan

Nearly five years ago, the California Legislature declared that the state’s residents have a right to “safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water.” Passage of the landmark law provoked a practical question that has always dogged the noble ideals of the right-to-water movement: how does a state government or municipal utility ensure clean and affordable water for all? … Staff members at the California Water Resources Control Board are now taking a full swing at the affordability component of the right-to-water legislation.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Daily News

With just a drip of funding for stormwater capture, Los Angeles County weighs property tax

Looking to tap property owners, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved moving forward with a plan to consider a parcel tax to help fund an ambitious stormwater capturing system to bolster local drinking water supplies. … The county and its 85 cities are required to develop programs to build stormwater capture and clean-up projects as part of Federal Clean Water Act compliance. 

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: EPA remains top target with Trump administration proposing 31 percent budget cut

Under the White House’s latest budget proposal, released Tuesday, the EPA would fare worse than any other federal agency. … The White House also proposes nearly halving categorical grants, which support state and local efforts to address everything from pesticide exposure to air and water quality, to $597 million.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Agency-by-agency look at Trump’s budget

How President Donald Trump’s proposed $4.1 trillion federal spending plan would affect individual government agencies.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Congress budget deal protects water programs

The Trump administration’s talk of slashing environmental programs in fiscal year 2018 did not translate into big cuts in a 2017 spending agreement negotiated by Congress. President Trump signed a budget deal on May 5 that keeps the government operating through September 30. Notably, the agreement does not include huge cuts to water and environment programs — elimination of rural water grants, for instance, or a one-third cut to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — that the president targeted in his 2018 budget proposal. 

Aquafornia news The Associated Press

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: EPA asks what rules to cut, gets earful about dirty water

The Trump administration got an earful Tuesday from people who say federal rules limiting air and water pollution aren’t tough enough, even as it was seeking suggestions about what environmental regulations it should gut.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

23 environmental rules rolled back in Trump’s first 100 days

President Trump, with help from his administration and Republicans in Congress, has reversed course on more than a dozen environmental rules, regulations and other Obama-era policies during his first 100 days in office.

Aquafornia news KQED Public Media for Northern California

California proposes strict limit on toxic chemical in drinking water

California regulators are proposing a strict limit on a toxic man-made chemical that has contaminated water supplies throughout the state, particularly in its vast agricultural heartland. California would be the second state, after Hawaii, to establish a threshold for the former pesticide ingredient and industrial solvent known as TCP (1,2,3-trichloropropane) in drinking water.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

What IS that in Modesto-area canals?

Water has been turning red in Modesto Irrigation District canals, thanks to a dye that tracks aquatic herbicides. The sight might be jarring — a crimson tint to this life-sustaining resource — but MID said it’s a safe way of dealing with algae and weeds that could clog the system.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Trump stumbled on healthcare and immigration, but on the environment he’s been ‘a wrecking ball’

In a Trump administration beset by lost opportunities, muddled strategies and frequent missteps in its first 100 days, one area stands out for its disciplined approach and early successes: the multi-front assault on environmental regulations. … Planned action on climate change has been shelved, national monuments are imperiled, clean air and water rules have been eroded. 

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Rain, snowmelt have filled Tuolumne River with debris

Modesto and Turlock farmers are thankful that record storms have boosted to capacity Don Pedro Reservoir, which holds water needed for crops. But excessive rain and snowmelt also have washed huge amounts of debris into the Tuolumne River upstream from the reservoir.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Trump budget would gut science, environment programs

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget would gut programs for science and the environment, reflecting the Republican’s rejection of mainstream science.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

From arts to prisons, Trump budget means big cuts for California

The conservative California farmers who have long sought to eliminate the Legal Services Corp. would get their wish fulfilled under the Trump administration’s bare-bones budget outline made public Thursday.

Aquafornia news Fresno Bee

EPA says Fresno water complies with federal lead rules

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has notified the city of Fresno that its water system continues to comply with state and federal rules over lead in the drinking water supply.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Trump’s EPA budget cuts would eliminate funding for some California programs (with audio)

The White House is proposing to slash a quarter of the EPA budget and eliminate grants to programs that help protect clean air and water in California.

Aquafornia news San Diego Union-Tribune

Huge sewage spill was perhaps far bigger: 230 million gallons?

Standing next to the [Tijuana] river valley for a news conference Monday, Rep. Scott Peters said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency now suspects that discharges may have totaled 230 million gallons, up from an initial figure of 143 million gallons.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Clean water rule repeal cannot come at a pen stroke

When he ordered two federal agencies to review an Obama administration rule that defined which water bodies are regulated by the Clean Water Act, President Trump inserted himself into a debate that has churned for more than three decades. If the president hopes for a quick resolution through an executive order, he is mistaken, according to law experts.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

California set to regulate carcinogen in water for decades

Carlos Arias is asked by many residents in the small town of Del Rey, California, if the water is safe to drink. He is the district manager of Del Rey’s community services district, which is tasked with providing drinking water and other services to its 2,000 residents. … Del Rey, in Fresno County, is one of dozens of communities in the San Joaquin Valley with wells that contain 1,2,3-trichloropropane.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Climate, other programs get deep cuts in EPA budget proposal

The Trump administration would slash programs aimed at slowing climate change and improving water safety and air quality, while eliminating thousands of jobs, according to a draft of the Environmental Protection Agency budget proposal obtained by The Associated Press.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Water rule rollback gives growers what they wanted from Trump

To hear John Duarte tell it, farmers knew the cavalry was coming to their rescue on election night. … On Tuesday, Trump ordered his new head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, to scale back the agency’s interpretation of the Clean Water Act.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Trump orders review of Obama rule protecting small streams

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order mandating a review of an Obama-era rule aimed at protecting small streams and wetlands from development and pollution, fulfilling a campaign promise while earning the ire of environmental groups.

Aquafornia news New York Times

Trump plans to begin EPA rollback with order on clean water

President Trump is expected to sign an executive order on Tuesday aimed at rolling back one of former President Barack Obama’s major environmental regulations to protect American waterways, but it will have almost no immediate legal effect, according to two people familiar with the White House plans.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Trump ordering review of Obama rule protecting small streams

President Donald Trump will sign an executive order Tuesday mandating a review of an Obama-era rule aimed at protecting small streams and wetlands from development and pollution.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

New EPA chief delays mining rule after industry objects

The Trump administration has delayed consideration of a proposal to require companies to prove they have the financial wherewithal to clean up polluted mining sites after a pushback from industry groups and Western-state Republicans.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California lawmakers vow to protect federal environmental laws (with audio)

California senate Democratic leaders announced proposed legislation aimed at strengthening environmental regulations that they say President Donald Trump could weaken.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

State Sen. McGuire pushes environmental protections for state

On Thursday, North Coast state Sen. Mike McGuire was part of a group leading the way in state environmental protection measures it hopes will counter potential changes to federal law.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Lawmakers propose adopting federal environmental protections they fear President Trump will drop

Fearing a federal rollback of longstanding protections for air quality, clean water, endangered species and workers’ rights, California Democrats are pursuing legislation that would cement those environmental and labor regulations in state law.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Senate OKs Pruitt at EPA: How deeply will he scale back agency he sued?

The U.S. Senate on Friday confirmed President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, giving Trump a lieutenant poised to make deep cuts to the EPA and transfer some if its enforcement responsibilities to states and localities.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Winter storms pour pollution into San Francisco Bay, Delta

The heavy storms that washed away California’s drought this season have come with a side effect: large slugs of pollution and sewage washing into San Francisco Bay and the Delta.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

After controversy, Stockton’s water safer

In the end, the much-maligned chloramines did their job. One year after the city of Stockton began treating the north side’s drinking water with the new chemical, levels of a cancer-causing byproduct have plummeted nearly 70 percent, on average, and are now well within federal standards.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Advocates consider nitrate fees to fund clean water (with audio)

Clean water advocates want state leaders to create a safe and affordable drinking water fund for hundreds of communities throughout California.

Aquafornia news Fresno Bee

Worrying and still waiting for safe drinking water after cancer claimed her daughter

For years, Rebecca Quintana had been a highly visible activist in the fight for safe drinking water, speaking regularly with reporters, rallying residents and helping to spark an unprecedented United Nations inspection in northern Tulare County. … Across a wide, rural swath of the San Joaquin Valley, people have long been unnerved about drinking the sporadically contaminated tap water.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

AP explains: what is the EPA, and why is it in the hot seat?

The former head of President Donald Trump’s transition team at the Environmental Protection Agency says he expects the new administration to seek significant budget and staff cuts for the department.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Sacramento State shuts off water fountains, sinks after high lead levels found

The high lead levels were found by students and professors working on a research project during their tests of 449 sinks and fountains on the campus over a three-day period earlier this month.

Aquafornia news Best Best & Krieger

Legal Commentary: WOTUS rule on hold in sixth circuit; Challenge to EPA’s Waters of the U.S. rule delayed pending Supreme Court review

Today [January 25], the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a request to hold the pending challenge to EPA’s Waters of the United States rule in temporary suspension. The case will be on hold while the Supreme Court decides whether challenges to the WOTUS rule should be brought first in the federal District Courts or whether the Sixth Circuit has jurisdiction to hear the case.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Gag order, freeze put on EPA, other federal agencies

The Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Interior are among the agencies reportedly facing at least temporary gag orders, as the new administration takes over and begins what is expected to be a dramatic remaking of policy and an easing of environmental regulations.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

EPA contract freeze, media blackout leave states confused

A Trump administration freeze on new Environmental Protection Agency contracts and grant awards raised fears that states and other recipients could lose essential funding for drinking water protection, hazardous waste oversight and a host of other programs — while a communications blackout left them dangling in uncertainty.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

California announces voluntary lead testing in schools

California schools can receive free lead testing for their drinking water under a new short-term initiative meant to address safety concerns. … The  initiative announced by the State Water Resources Control Board keeps lead testing at schools voluntary.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California schools can now ask water supplier to test for lead on campus (with audio)

California schools can now ask their water supplier to test for lead on campus. … Flint, Michigan served as a warning to everyone on the dangers of lead in the water system.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Livermore oil driller seeks larger underground disposal area

Amid greater scrutiny of oilfield contamination threats to California’s groundwater, state officials will hold a hearing Wednesday on a proposal to expand the aquifer area where a Livermore driller is permitted to dispose of oily wastewater.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

EPA: 540 tons of metals entered Animas River in Colorado mine spill

Nearly 540 tons of metals – mostly iron and aluminum – contaminated the Animas River over nine hours during a massive wastewater spill from an abandoned Colorado gold mine, the Environmental Protection Agency said Friday in a new report on the 2015 blowout that turned rivers in three states a sickly yellow.

Aquafornia news Whittier Daily News

There’s still a lot we don’t know about blue-green algae toxins in California

No patterns, lots of blooms and more to learn. … For the first time, the state tracked outbreaks of cyanobacteria, commonly known as blue-green algae, confirming reports of blooms in approximately 40 different lakes, rivers, streams and other water bodies across the state, including Lake Elsinore, Pyramid and Silverwood lakes and lakes at the El Dorado East Regional Park in Long Beach.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

EPA turns away from CAFO water pollution

Federal inspections of cattle and hog feedlots, turkey houses, and other animal feeding operations dropped for a fourth consecutive year, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data. The number of fines and orders to change management practices for those same facilities fell for a fifth consecutive year. 

Aquafornia news Fresno Bee

Clovis wins $22 million against Shell Oil over toxic drinking water

The city of Clovis won its more than three-month-long civil trial against chemical manufacturing giant Shell Oil Co. over the cleanup of a toxic chemical found in drinking-water wells around the city of 108,000 people. The chemical is 1,2,3-trichloropropane, or TCP, which is a waste product from making plastic.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Orange County children’s dental clinic closed after bacteria found in new water system

Orange County health officials have ordered the closure of a children’s dental office in Anaheim after lab tests found bacteria in its new internal water system, which had replaced a system blamed for an earlier outbreak of bacterial infections.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California illegal marijuana grows killing wildlife, damaging environment (with audio)

The environmental damage from illicit marijuana operations in California is getting worse. Experts say illegal growers are killing wildlife by diverting water from streams, using pesticides, fertilizers and poisons.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

California’s small water utilities struggle with safety

Californians relying on small water utilities to bring drinking water into their homes, or who work or go to school in places providing their own water, are far more likely to be exposed to lead, according to a new analysis of Environmental Protection Agency data by The Desert Sun and USA TODAY.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Trump names climate change skeptic and oil industry ally to lead the EPA

Donald Trump picked Oklahoma Atty. Gen. Scott Pruitt to run the Environmental Protection Agency, signaling the president-elect will deliver on his vow to disassemble President Obama’s landmark effort to fight climate change.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino Sun

Why the Rialto water district is building a different type of perchlorate-eating plant

Having made environmental clean-up history with a specialized plant that breaks apart perchlorate using bacteria, management at West Valley Water District is now focused on creating another type of plant to attack this harmful water pollutant.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Tunnels spawn algae worries

The governor’s proposed Delta tunnels could worsen toxic algae blooms like the one that stunk up Stockton’s downtown waterfront this year, according to testimony last week from an expert offered by San Joaquin County.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Dungeness crab season to start Saturday – with one caveat

Although the crabs have been cleared for consumption by the California Department of Public Health, it has issued a warning against eating the internal organs of crab caught north of Point Reyes.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Appeals court upholds review of Lake Tahoe development plan

An environmental review of a development plan for the Lake Tahoe region adequately addressed concerns about the lake’s water quality, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Water district to test cheaper treatment to remove chromium-6 from drinking water

Four months ago, the Coachella Valley Water District’s managers approved a plan they described as their costliest infrastructure project ever: the construction of small water treatment plants at nearly a third of the district’s 92 wells.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Discolored water: Testing of Fresno pipes underway at Virginia Tech

A university professor in Virginia is conducting tests on pipe and water samples from Fresno in search of solutions to discoloration and lead contamination issues in tap water in northeast Fresno.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

San Luis Reservoir toxin advisory goes from ‘caution’ to ‘warning’

A cautionary notice on the water toxicity in San Luis Reservoir has become more severe, the California Department of Water Resources reported Tuesday.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Watchdog: EPA delayed for 7 months in Flint water crisis

The Environmental Protection Agency had sufficient authority and information to issue an emergency order to protect residents of Flint, Michigan, from lead-contaminated water as early as June 2015 — seven months before it declared an emergency, the EPA’s inspector general said Thursday.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Supervisor seeks to clear out abandoned boats littering Sacramento-area waterways

On a quiet stretch of the Sacramento River – a short ride from downtown – a decaying houseboat serves as a homeless man’s weekend getaway.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Experts test idea for keeping pesticides from drifting

Pesticides can drift off the edges of orchards and end up in streams that provide drinking water and fish habitat. A promising solution: Use a fan to blow the chemical back into the trees as the spray rig moves along.

Aquafornia news U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

News Release: U.S. EPA to oversee $4 million groundwater study in northern Orange County water basin

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today [Oct. 5] announced it has reached an agreement with the Orange County Water District to conduct a remedial investigation and feasibility study to address a large area of groundwater contamination in Northern Orange County known as the “North Basin.” The work required by the agreement is expected to take up to two years to complete and is estimated to cost up to $4 million.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

EPA announces national wastewater nutrient pollution census

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency calls nutrient pollution the “single greatest challenge to our nation’s water quality.” Rising concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus in waterways, the agency reports, are a significant threat to human health, ecosystems, and local economies.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

‘Extensive’ toxic algae bloom found in south Delta

Tests have confirmed the presence of toxic cyanobacteria — also known as “blue-green algae” — in south Delta waterways, state officials said Thursday. The “extensive” bloom is present in Old River and Grantline Canal, along Fabian Tract not far from Tracy and Mountain House, the State Water Resources Control Board announced.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Warm Pacific Ocean ‘blob’ facilitated vast toxic algae bloom

A new study finds that unusually warm Pacific Ocean temperatures helped cause a massive bloom of toxic algae last year that closed lucrative fisheries from California to British Columbia and disrupted marine life from seabirds to sea lions.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno wants to pay two experts to tackle its rusty-water problem

The city of Fresno wants to hire two national experts on corrosion in municipal water systems to reduce the odds that discolored-water problems now plaguing northeast Fresno will repeat themselves when a new water treatment plant opens in 2018.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

Drinking water of some Californians exceeds limit for ‘Erin Brockovich’ chemical

When Erin Brockovich went after PG&E for poisoning groundwater in the desert town of Hinkley, California — a campaign that later became a film starring Julia Roberts — the toxic chemical was a heavy metal called hexavalent chromium.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

State official: Growth potential for toxic algae getting worse

Cooler temperatures seem to have finally subdued Stockton’s stinky algae monster for 2016, but an expert warned the Delta Protection Commission this week that, in general, toxic blooms are getting worse.

Aquafornia news East Bay Times

Monterey Bay red tide and accompanying foam not toxic, expert says

The good news for humans and other mammals, said UC Santa Cruz professor Raphael Kudela, is that the stink and clingy nature of the foamy water at beaches around Monterey Bay is the worst of it, because the algal bloom is not producing a toxin.

Aquafornia news East Bay Times

Toxic algae troubles many California lakes and waterways

California’s five-year drought created ideal conditions for brewing toxic levels of the naturally occurring bacteria, which multiplies rapidly in hot temperatures, low water flows and stagnant water choked with fertilizers and nutrients.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Too many California towns have arsenic in tap water, group says

An environmental group said Monday that 55,000 people statewide are at risk of drinking tap water contaminated with arsenic, and many of the communities are poor, mostly Latino towns in the San Joaquin Valley.

Aquapedia background

Runoff

Runoff is the water that is pulled by gravity across land’s surface, replenishing groundwater and surface water as it percolates into an aquifer or moves into a river, stream or watershed.

Aquapedia background

Potable Water

Potable water, also known as drinking water, comes from surface and ground sources and is treated to levels that that meet state and federal standards for consumption.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Primary Drinking Water Regulations establish maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for various contaminants

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Annual Lake Tahoe Summit puts spotlight on water quality (with audio)

President Barack Obama will shine a national spotlight on environmental issues facing Lake Tahoe at the 20th Annual Lake Tahoe Summit.

Aquafornia news ProPublica

California and EPA poised to expand pollution of potential drinking water reserves

As the western United States struggles with chronic water shortages and a changing climate, scientists are warning that if vast underground stores of fresh water that California and other states rely on are not carefully conserved, they too may soon run dry.

Aquafornia news KQED Public Media for Northern CA

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Poisonous algae blooms threaten people, ecosystems across U.S.

Serious algae outbreaks have hit more than 20 states this summer. … And water managers are rattled.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: California high court upholds ban on dredges to extract gold

California’s ban on the use of suction dredges to extract gold from rivers is legal and not overridden by a 19th century federal law that allows mining on federal land, the California Supreme Court ruled Monday.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California court to decide fight over gold mining technique

The [California Supreme] court is set to rule Monday on the legality of the state’s ban on the use of suction dredges to extract gold from rivers.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Expert: Red water part of galvanized pipe; some lead fears overblown

One of the nation’s leading experts in corrosion problems in public water supplies said that despite considerable concern over discoloration of water coming from galvanized pipes in a growing number of northeast Fresno homes, “at present there’s really no indication at all that there’s a lead problem” in the city’s water under federal law.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

No oil leaks reported in Lake Tahoe boat fire

Firefighters protected Lake Tahoe’s famously clear water as they quickly snuffed out flames shooting from a docked tourist cruise boat, preventing any fuel or oil leaks, the U.S. Coast Guard said Wednesday.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Wary residents hear Fresno’s update on water problems

A noted national expert in water-system engineering said Fresno still has considerable work ahead of it as it deals with persistent water problems in the northeast part of the city.

Aquafornia news Whittier Daily News

See where harmful algae toxins have been detected in California this summer

A new interactive map on the California Water Quality Monitoring Council’s website shows the more than 30 lakes and rivers across the state where blooms of cyanobacteria, commonly known as blue-green algae, have developed.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California’s summer of slime: Algae blooms muck up waterways across state

Surrounded by barren brown hills and cracked, dry clay, San Luis Reservoir was so empty this week that the nearly milelong, meandering path from the old high-water mark to the waterline could have doubled as a set in the post-apocalyptic “Mad Max” film franchise.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

No toxic algae in Russian River, latest tests show

Kelly Bertoli debated Thursday whether to take her dog to the Russian River, where signs at beaches warn visitors about potentially toxic blue-green algae lurking in the water.

Aquafornia news NPR

Where lead lurks and why even small amounts matter (with audio)

Lead problems with the water in Flint, Mich., have prompted people across the country to ask whether they or their families have been exposed to the toxic metal in their drinking water, too.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno water complaints were hidden from city officials, Mayor Ashley Swearengin says

A former Fresno water plant operator used a private email server and cell phone to hide complaints of discolored or tainted water from his bosses, city officials said Thursday. … The complaints also were not made public to the state, which is required under state law.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno enlists experts to investigate northeast water concerns

Two recognized experts in drinking water contamination and water chemistry – including the professor who led the investigation into lead contamination in Flint, Mich. – are working with the city of Fresno to find solutions to the corrosion of galvanized residential plumbing in the northeast part of the city.

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