A bright blue machine that resembles a cross between a bulldozer and side-wheel paddleboat is busy cleaning up a big mess Mother Nature left this year at Spring Lake. The 32-foot-long aquatic harvester operated by a Windsor company is traversing the lake, collecting more than a ton of a floating weed called Azolla in its 8-foot-wide steel mouth on each foray over the 72-acre recreational lake.
Californians this year will vote on not one but two water bond measures totaling $13 billion. Given that the state still hasn’t spent all of the $7.5 billion from the Proposition 1 water bond passed in 2014, it raises a crucial question: Does California really need another $13 billion in water bonds?
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.
Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration is nearing completion of the country’s strictest drinking water rules for lead, a plan that would eventually result in the replacement of all 500,000 lead service pipes in Michigan despite opposition from municipalities and utilities.
We all can agree every Californian should have access to safe drinking water. But too many — nearly 800,000 people — do not. … Assembly Bill 2050, the Small System Water Authority Act of 2018, is expected to be heard Wednesday in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. A broad coalition of California water agencies is behind this effective, affordable plan and it has growing support in the state Capitol.
Is it too difficult to plant in Napa, or not difficult enough? That’s now a matter of considerable controversy, as county residents prepare to vote in June on Measure C, a ballot initiative that would curb further vineyard development on Napa’s hillsides to preserve oak trees and water sources.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Early-bird tickets end May 28. Our Headwaters Tour, June 28-29, travels through two national forests and around California’s most iconic lake – Lake Tahoe – to visit rivers, forests and meadows. We will visit a meadow restoration site and the King Fire burn site, and learn about efforts to protect the upper watershed. Speakers will address a wide range of topics, including forest management, California’s widespread tree mortality, water quality, energy production, stormwater and sediment runoff, Sierra Nevada geography and history …
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.
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.
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.
For years, Californians have mismanaged the aquifers that supply the state with about 40 percent of its water supplies. Declining water levels from over-pumping have left less water for agriculture, urban, and other uses in many areas of the state. But the problems do not stop with groundwater users.
The federal Farm Bill has a powerful impact on the cost of farming—both organic and non-organic. A version of the bill introduced by the House Agriculture Committee would cut existing programs for organic farmers and increase their costs, while at the same time continuing to use taxpayer dollars to artificially lower the costs of non-organic food. Organic farmers shoulder expenses that their conventional counterparts push onto the public, like the costs of keeping air and waterways clean and protecting wildlife.
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.