Air quality may be the most pressing issue, but scientists say that ultimately water — another human necessity — is in danger, too. Ash, burned soil and toxic residue from incinerated houses, businesses and machinery can make their way into lakes, rivers and reservoirs, said Carmen Burton, a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey’s California Water Science Center in San Diego.
As students head back to class across California this month, many will sip water from school fountains or faucets that could contain high levels of lead. That’s because two-thirds of the state’s 1,026 school districts have not taken advantage of a free state testing program to determine whether the toxic metal is coming out of the taps and, if so, whether it exceeds federal standards.
City personnel have removed a group of homeless encampments along the Upper Truckee River. The abandoned homeless camps, which according to the city consisted of trash and other debris, were located in the Truckee River Meadow area behind Motel 6.
Lauren Woeher wonders if her 16-month-old daughter has been harmed by tap water contaminated with toxic industrial compounds used in products like nonstick cookware, carpets and fast-food wrappers. … Tim Hagey, manager of a local water utility, recalls how he used to assure people that the local public water was safe. That was before testing showed it had some of the highest levels of the toxic compounds of any public water system in the U.S.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Thursday ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to remove chlorpyrifos from sale in the United States within 60 days. … As a result of its wide use as a pesticide over the past four decades, traces of chlorpyrifos are commonly found in sources of drinking water.
On Sept. 8, an ungainly, 2,000-foot-long contraption will steam under the Golden Gate Bridge in what’s either a brilliant quest or a fool’s errand. Dubbed the Ocean Cleanup Project, this giant sea sieve consists of pipes that float at the surface of the water with netting below, corralling trash in the center of a U-shaped design.
Adam Feinberg had no sooner made a bright yellow thin sheet of plastic than he had to shred it into little pieces. He chose an “I”-shaped mold for the logo of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he is a chemist. Then, he filled it with the plastic bits and stuck it in a hot oven.
The U.S. Navy knew as far back as 1993 that the tap water at its former shipyard in San Francisco contained dangerous amounts of lead, but didn’t tell local officials, visitors or people who worked there, including hundreds of police employees stationed at the site since 1997.
E&B Natural Resources, which purchased the oil field in 2007, had reapplied for two 10-year conditional use permits in January that were approved in May. The decision was challenged by two environmental advocacy groups, the Center for Biological Diversity and Livermore Eco Watchdog, because of perceived risks to Livermore’s groundwater.
Someone had a water balloon fight on Ocean Beach on a recent Saturday, just under the sand dunes across from Lincoln Way. Someone else peeled the wrapper off their new pack of cigarettes and lit up. And at some point in the past few months, someone enjoyed a coffee in a Styrofoam cup, probably on a damp, foggy morning like this one.
Plastic straws are designed to be used once, but they remain in the environment nearly forever, contributing to the ocean plastic pollution crisis. In recent weeks, multinational corporations like Starbucks, Bacardi, Marriott, American Airlines, Alaska Airlines and other name brands have pledged to eliminate or phase out single-use plastic straws.
Hernán Bedoya, a land rights activist in Colombia, was riding home on his horse last December when he was shot 14 times and killed. The community leader was working to protect farmers and forests from illegal land grabs by companies investing in palm oil, banana plantations, and ranching in Chocó, on the country’s west coast. Bedoya’s assassination capped a deadly year for environmental campaigners.
The depletion of California’s aquifers by overpumping of groundwater has led to growing interest in “managed aquifer recharge,” which replenishes depleted aquifers using available surface waters, such as high flows in rivers, runoff from winter storms, or recycled waste water. At the same time, there is growing concern about contamination of groundwater supplies with nitrate from fertilizers, septic tanks, and other sources.
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.”