The last thing California needs is another tax. But that’s what Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed – a regressive water tax that will hit financially challenged Californians hardest. … Yet California’s taxpayers have been working so hard they have showered the state with a $22 billion surplus. Spending a fraction of that would take care of the clean water problem.
Legionnaires’ disease bacteria that killed one inmate and sickened another is more widespread than expected in a California state prison, officials said Wednesday, citing new test results. Preliminary results found the bacteria in the water supply at a prison medical facility in Stockton and at two neighboring youth correctional facilities… The bacteria weren’t detected in the Stockton city water supply, though the city supplies water to the state facilities.
Tri-Valley residents can expect better tasting and smelling water from the tap when the expansion and upgrades at the Zone 7 Water Agency Patterson Pass Water Treatment Plant are completed. The decade-plus plan to increase capacity and improve water conditions at the plant in eastern Livermore finally broke ground at a ceremony last week…
The extent of the latest crisis unfolding in Paradise is yet unknown: The deadly fire may also have contaminated up to 173 miles of pipeline in the town’s water system with cancer-causing benzene and other volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. Preliminary results have shown contamination in about a third of the lines tested, though only about 2 percent of the entire system has been sampled.
The State Water Board was given the power to force a larger, better run utility to absorb a smaller neighbor that consistently fails to deliver clean water. They would like South Kern to connect to Bakersfield’s system, which serves high-quality water to 144,000 people. … The three sides have been in negotiations for two and a half years, a struggle between one of the largest cities in California’s Central Valley, state officials, and two tiny water suppliers that is the first significant test of the four-year-old statute.
The campus of Sonoma State University has been cleared to lift a preventative water safety measure, a Boil Notice, that was implemented on Monday. … Ultimately, the water was deemed safe, though officials note that the water may be slightly cloudier in appearance, as the pressure drop may have kicked up sentiment.
Only some parts of the world have safe drinking water almost ubiquitously, and only in the last century. (We lucky few!) In these countries, drinking water safety relies on a complex portfolio of actions and accountability by individuals, industries, and diverse layered units of government. The provision of safe drinking water is another example of portfolio approaches to water management.
The water system at the Rohnert Park campus lost pressure over the weekend, increasing the possibility that sediment contaminated the water. No one has been sickened, but for two days, the school community has been advised to use anti-bacterial sanitizer after bathing or washing their hands with tap water.
As the Marin Municipal Water District gears up to consider another rate and fee hike this year, some of the public debate has turned to whether the district is paying too much in salaries and benefits to its employees.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, wants to create a tax on water customers to fund a safe drinking water program in disadvantaged communities. But a rival proposal by a lawmaker from his own party seeks to tap into the state’s record budget surplus instead.
Antioch’s plan to build a long-awaited brackish desalination plant got a major boost this week when the City Council officially accepted a $10 million state grant that will pay toward design and construction. The city’s grant was one of three statewide to be awarded in March 2018 from the Department of Water Resources for desalination projects under Proposition 1…
Too often considered a problem confined to the Central Valley and agricultural communities, the fact is that lack of access to safe, clean drinking water in school water fountains and home faucets affects every region of our state. This is a situation Gov. Gavin Newsom has rightly called a “disgrace” and has made it a priority to fix the crisis. In this life-saving endeavor, he has the support of Silicon Valley’s most innovative companies.
The city is suiting up for construction of a new facility later this year that will purify recycled water to create a new, local source of drinking water for residents by 2022. Pure Water Oceanside is a water purification system that aims to reduce the city’s reliance on imported water, improve groundwater resources, increase local water supply and strengthen the city’s resiliency to drought and climate change in an environmentally sound process.
Brown and former first lady Anne Gust Brown, in their first public appearance since he left office in January, spoke to about 100 attendees about the daunting challenges they face living on a self-sustaining farm: installing solar panels for power, collecting water from a well, and tending to an olive tree orchard.
Five years ago, the Sweetwater Authority paid one of its engineers $175,000 to drop a lawsuit against the water district if he agreed to never work there again. Now, the engineer, Hector Martinez, is one of seven board members in charge of running the district.
The problem started on Feb. 17, when Paonia’s water operators noted a loss of water in a 2 million gallon storage tank. A team went out looking for a leak, but could not locate it. As the leak continued, the town’s water system lost enough pressure that the state of Colorado imposed a boil order. In response, town officials declared a state of emergency.
The announcement by Mayor Eric Garcetti last month that Los Angeles will recycle all the wastewater produced at the Hyperion plant by 2035 signals an end to the era of addressing water shortages by importing water from far-flung places and initiates a long-anticipated era of reusing locally available supplies. The shift will require L.A. residents to understand both the necessity of the plan and the technology that will produce safe water.
Working under a less-than-four-year deadline, Soquel Creek Water District is fine-tuning the ‘where’ of its planned water recycling plant construction. On Tuesday, district officials will recommend the board split the Pure Water Soquel project between two sites, with tertiary treatment at the city of Santa Cruz’s Wastewater Treatment Facility and advanced purification at the controversial new site in Live Oak.
Although Santa Monica may be the most aggressive Southern California water provider to wean itself from imported supplies, it is hardly the only one looking to remake its water portfolio.
In Los Angeles, a city of about 4 million people, efforts are underway to dramatically slash purchases of imported water while boosting the amount from recycling, stormwater capture, groundwater cleanup and conservation. Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2014 announced a plan to reduce the city’s purchase of imported water from Metropolitan Water District by one-half by 2025 and to provide one-half of the city’s supply from local sources by 2035. (The city considers its Eastern Sierra supplies as imported water.)
The cheering is for a governor who has brought attention to a problem that’s almost unfathomable in wealthy urban regions. No Californian in 2019 should have to endure third-world drinking-water conditions. But there’s ample reason to give the governor the raspberries, too. That’s because Newsom’s solution comes right out of former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s “you never want a serious crisis go to waste” playbook.
Earlier this month the Environmental Protection Agency released its enforcement data for fiscal year 2018, and in many key areas data continued to show a downward trend in the civil and criminal punitive measures meted out to large polluters. And on Tuesday the House Committee on Energy and Commerce announced it will hold a hearing next week to investigate the Trump EPA’s “troubling enforcement record.”
Newsom has embraced an idea that has previously failed to gain traction in Sacramento: new taxes totaling as much as $140 million a year for a clean drinking water initiative. Much of it would be spent on short- and long-term solutions for low-income communities without the means to finance operations and maintenance for their water systems. … But the money to change that — what’s being called a “water tax” in state Capitol circles — is where the politics get complicated.
The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday unveiled what officials called a historic effort to rein in a class of long-lasting chemicals that scientists say pose serious health risks. But environmental and public health groups, some lawmakers and residents of contaminated communities said the agency’s “action plan” isn’t aggressive enough and that the EPA should move more quickly to regulate the chemicals in the nation’s drinking water.
Three new directors representing the cities of Fullerton and Santa Ana, and the Inland Empire Utilities Agency were seated today on the board of directors of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.
Back in 2015, the city of San Diego expected it would get about a third of its drinking water from recycled sewage within 20 years and could do so for about $3 billion in construction costs. Now, the city is looking to spend no less than $4.8 billion and perhaps as much as $9 billion on the project, according to city financial documents, including previously undisclosed internal estimates from the Public Utilities Department.
Low-income Californians can get help with their phone bills, their natural gas bills and their electric bills. But there’s only limited help available when it comes to water bills.
That could change if the recommendations of a new report are implemented into law. Drafted by the State Water Resources Control Board, the report outlines the possible components of a program to assist low-income households facing rising water bills.
In September of 2018, the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) released the report, “Managing Drought in a Changing Climate: Four Essential Reforms”, which asserted there are five climate pressures affecting California’s water… The report recommends four policy reforms: Plan ahead, upgrade the water grid, update water allocation rules, and find the money.
San Diego is in the midst of spending roughly $3 billion on a massive new water treatment system, but city officials can’t or won’t tell customers how that will affect their water bills. New water recycling plants will eventually purify enough sewage to provide a third of the city’s drinking water. In December, Voice of San Diego asked the city to estimate how much customers’ bills will increase because of the Pure Water project. The city, after weeks of delay, finally declined last week to offer any estimate because “there is no simple calculation” they could perform.
Governor Newsom’s first proposed state budget, released earlier this month, addresses several critical water and natural resource management challenges. Here are highlights from his plans to mitigate problems with safe drinking water, improve forest health and reduce the risk of wildfires, and encourage healthy soils to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase drought resilience.
Water customers in Chico and Oroville could soon be paying more. California Water Service is asking the Public Utilities Commission to approve a rate hike. … Cal Water says the extra revenue is needed to improve infrastructure, including replacing water main piping.
The Santa Clara Valley Water District made a grave miscalculation in suing the State Water Board over the Bay Delta Water Quality Control Plan. By alienating the remnants of the environmental community who have supported them in recent years, they are jeopardizing future projects and funding measures that will require voter approval.
The Alameda County Water District is proposing to raise customers’ bills 8 percent over the next two years to cover infrastructure costs as well as salary increases, benefits and pensions for its employees. The district also wants to create an emergency pricing schedule that kicks in during water shortages, such as in droughts.
One in seven Americans drink from private wells, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Nitrate concentrations rose significantly in 21% of regions where USGS researchers tested groundwater from 2002 through 2012, compared with the 13 prior years. … “The worst-kept secret is how vulnerable private wells are to agricultural runoff,” says David Cwiertny, director of the University of Iowa’s Center for Health Effects of Environmental Contamination.
State water quality officials cautioned the public not to drink or cook with untreated surface water from streams throughout the Camp Fire burn area after bacteria and other contaminants were detected in water samples. … Laboratory analyses of surface water samples found concentrations of bacteria (E.Coli), aluminum, antimony and some polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that exceeded water quality standards for drinking water.
The budget specifically calls out funding for Safe and Affordable Drinking Water. It discusses the need to find a stable funding source for long-term operation and maintenance of drinking water systems in disadvantaged communities, stating that existing loan and grant programs are limited to capital improvements.
A bipartisan bill in Congress would designate PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances under the Superfund program, allowing federal agencies to clean up sites contaminated by harmful fluorinated compounds. Health officials have said continued exposure to certain PFAS chemicals in drinking water could harm human health. Studies link exposure to developmental effects on fetuses, cancer and liver and immunity function, among other issues.
A day after proposing a tax on drinking water, Gov. Gavin Newsom took a “surprise” road trip to meet with Stanislaus County residents in a community known for having unsafe wells. Newsom and his cabinet made their first stop at the Monterey Park Tract in Ceres, where he held a roundtable discussion with people who for years had to use bottled water for drinking and cooking because their community’s two wells were long-contaminated with nitrates and arsenic.
Tackling what promises to be a controversial issue, Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed a tax on drinking water Thursday to help disadvantaged communities clean up contaminated water systems. Newsom’s plan for a “safe and affordable drinking water fund,” included in the new governor’s first budget proposal, attempts to revive an idea that died in the Legislature last year.
This month’s second annual Cuyamaca College Center for Water Studies “Women in Water – Exploring Career Pathways” symposium will provide a good opportunity for women and girls to learn about a career in the field. Cuyamaca’s Center for Water Studies opened in the fall of 2018. A renovated complex with new classrooms, it also has a water quality analysis laboratory and a workshop, and offers related skills-based courses. Last year’s event drew nearly 200 participants. This year’s all-day conference starts at 8 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 17.
Cloud seeding has existed for decades, and has significant traction in other western states such as California, Idaho and Wyoming. Colorado has only recently joined the cloud seeding game as the state’s snowpack has declined and the Colorado River runs dry.
Los Angeles resident Cindy Baker claimed in her April 2018 federal class action lawsuit that the Switzerland-based company intentionally and recklessly concealed facts about the quality and purity of its Pure Life purified water. U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips said in a seven-page order that Baker’s concerns about water quality and microplastics in Nestle water should be addressed by the Food and Drug Administration, not by the courts.
As more people build homes in fire-prone areas, and as climate change and other factors increase the frequency of fires, there is a growing risk to life and property throughout the West — and a lesser known risk to the region’s already endangered water supply. At least 65 percent of the public water supply in the Western U.S. comes from fire-prone areas.
At issue is the proper interpretation of the law’s central provision barring the discharge of “any pollutant to navigable waters from any point source” without a permit. The term navigable waters, broadly defined as “waters of the United States,” does not generally include groundwater.
The announcement finalizes prioritization of 458 basins, identifying 56 that are required to create groundwater sustainability plans under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. For most basins, the results are a confirmation of prioritizations established in 2015. Fifty-nine basins remain under review with final prioritization expected in late spring.
At stake is an important rule that defines which waters are protected under the Clean Water Act. It’s also poised to be a year of reckoning on the Colorado River, which supplies water to 40 million people and 5.5 million acres of farmland. And it could also be a landmark year for water management in California, with several key issues coming to a head.
Last month, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management released a scoping report on hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas development on approximately 400,000 acres of BLM-administered public land and 1.2 million acres of federal mineral estate lands on tribal and privately held lands in Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare and Ventura counties.
Calls for the federal government to regulate polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, have been unsuccessful. Last year the Trump administration tried to block a study urging a much lower threshold of exposure. Harvard University researchers say public drinking-water supplies serving more than 6 million Americans have tested for the chemicals at or above the EPA’s threshold — which many experts argue should be far lower to safeguard public health.
For two decades, the Hutchinsons and their neighbors in this rural enclave of Banning Heights tucked above the I-10 freeway have fought to have Southern California Edison repair a century-old system that carries water down the San Gorgonio mountains to their homes.
When the water was still fluoridated in Juneau, Alaska, kids on average had about 1 1/2 cavity-related procedures per year. After fluoride was gone, that went up to about 2 1/2 procedures a year. And that got expensive.
The tenth annual performance report evaluates what the state water boards do and how the environment is responding to its actions. The report presents numerous performance measures for specific outputs and outcomes.
The report issued by California’s State Water Resources Control Board marks a key step in a decade-long effort to remove four hydroelectric dams and restore the health of the Klamath River. The dam-removal project is part of a broader effort by California, Oregon, federal agencies, Klamath Basin tribes, water users and conservation organizations to revitalize the basin, advance recovery of fisheries, uphold trust responsibilities to the tribes, and sustain the region’s farming and ranching heritage.
Some drinking-water wells on the northeast side of Madera are being idled or abandoned because of fluctuating water levels and significant plumes of groundwater contamination by the agricultural chemical DBCP, a powerful pesticide suspected to cause sterility and cancer.
Montgomery is known for fostering collaborative relationships among stakeholders and as a leader in protecting and restoring water quality within California and throughout the Southwest and the Pacific Islands. He is currently serving as the Assistant Director of the Water Division in the US Environmental Protection Agency (Region 9).
There’s every reason to expect that 2019 will be far better, largely because of Measure W, which was passed by voters in November. The initiative imposes a Los Angeles County parcel tax that will generate $300 million per year to reduce pollution from runoff and capture storm water to add to the water supply.
CANCELED: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will hold one hearing to provide interested parties the opportunity to present data, views, or information concerning the proposed rule changes affecting wetlands and ephemeral waters.
The Trump administration is expected to put forth a proposal on Tuesday that would significantly weaken a major Obama-era regulation on clean water, according to a talking points memo from the Environmental Protection Agency that was distributed to White House allies this week.
California voters on Tuesday rejected a water bond for the first time in almost 30 years, disregarding pleas from its backers that the money would fix crumbling infrastructure, bring clean drinking water to disadvantaged communities and kick-start badly needed environmental restoration projects.
Losses by green groups in Alaska, Colorado, and Montana contributed to a 2018 election in which water-related policies and funding were on the ballot in at least a dozen local and state initiatives. In two other high-profile decisions, voters in Baltimore backed a first-ever municipal ban on privatization of a city water utility while Californians uncharacteristically rejected an $8.9 billion bond for water projects.
State officials on Wednesday removed the elected board and general manager of a water district that for years has been accused of serving brown, smelly water to its customers in Compton. With a 22-page decree, the State Water Resources Control Board abolished Sativa Los Angeles County Water District’s five-member board of directors and ousted its manager.
A San Francisco woman who tested her tap water with a store-bought kit and got a positive reading for pesticides, then posted the results to social media, has prompted the city to step up water testing not just near her home in the Sunset District but across the city. Officials at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission insisted Tuesday, for the second day in a row, that municipal supplies are safe to drink.
Americans across the country, from [BarbiAnn] Maynard’s home in rural Appalachia to urban areas like Flint, Mich., or Compton, Calif., are facing a lack of clean, reliable drinking water. At the heart of the problems is a water system in crisis: aging, crumbling infrastructure and a lack of funds to pay for upgrading it.
A Compton water district that could be abolished for delivering brown water is waging an eleventh-hour campaign for its survival. The push comes after legislation sailed through the state Assembly and Senate last month that would dismantle the Sativa Los Angeles County Water District’s five-member elected board of directors and install a new general manager by year’s end.
An effort to impose a “voluntary” water tax on residents to pay for safe drinking water projects died in the Legislature on Friday. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said “a piecemeal funding approach” to the problem “won’t work.”
Karen Lewis knows about water problems. The 67-year-old lives in Compton, where the water coming out of her tap is tinged brown by manganese, a metal similar to iron, from old pipes. The water is supplied by the troubled Sativa Los Angeles County Water District. … Now, in the wake of the state’s prolonged drought and the notorious water crisis in Flint, Mich., a number of new solutions have been proposed in California, including a consumer water fee that people could decline to pay.
Five years ago, California became the first state in the nation to recognize the human right to safe, clean, affordable and accessible water. Today, we look at how the state is working to ensure that right and where the biggest concerns for Californians are.
Families across California unhappy about the condition of their drinking water will hold protests at the Capitol each day until the end of session. They are calling on the Legislature to pass Senate Bills 844 and 845.
Plastic trash is littering the land and fouling rivers and oceans. But what we can see is only a small fraction of what’s out there. Since modern plastic was first mass-produced, 8 billion tons have been manufactured. And when it’s thrown away, it doesn’t just disappear. Much of it crumbles into small pieces.
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.
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 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.
You can buy water with electrolytes, minerals or completely “purified.” You can buy it with the pH changed to make it alkaline. You can purify your own tap water or even add nutrients back into it. … As it turns out, scientists say that most tap water in the U.S. is just as good as the water in bottles or streaming out of a filter.
The U.S. drinking water standard for nitrate was set decades ago at a level to prevent infant deaths. But recent research suggests that the standard, decided in 1991, is out of date. Scientists are accumulating evidence that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s nitrate limit may need to be lowered because it does not account for potential long-term health damage, including the risk of cancer, that harms people into their adult years.
A federal watchdog is calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to strengthen its oversight of state drinking water systems nationally and respond more quickly to public health emergencies such as the lead-in-the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.
The California company that sells Crystal Geyser bottled water has been charged with illegally disposing of arsenic-tainted wastewater, federal prosecutors said Thursday. The charges don’t allege that CG Roxane LLC sold tainted water, but that it illegally shipped and disposed of the toxic waste filtered from well water.
More than a decade in the making, an ambitious plan to deal with the vexing problem of salt and nitrates in the soils that seep into key groundwater basins of the Central Valley is moving toward implementation. But its authors are not who you might expect.
An unusual collaboration of agricultural interests, cities, water agencies and environmental justice advocates collaborated for years to find common ground to address a set of problems that have rendered family wells undrinkable and some soil virtually unusable for farming.
Residents of working-class neighborhoods in Compton and Willowbrook have long fought an uphill battle against their local water district, which over the years has been accused of mismanagement, nepotism, bad service and, most recently, sending brown, smelly water through their taps. Still, Sativa Los Angeles County Water District managed to stay in business.
Authorities in Salem, Oregon, lifted a drinking water advisory on July 3 that had been in place for children and the elderly since Memorial Day weekend, when algal toxins were discovered in the city’s water system. How many other water systems are at risk from the toxin-producing scum that grows in rivers and lakes, particularly in the warmer months?
Frustrated by discolored drinking water pouring from their taps, four Compton residents filed a class-action lawsuit late Monday against their water provider, Sativa Los Angeles County Water District. … It comes days before a crucial decision by county oversight officials on whether to dissolve the small public water district.
For its litany of problems, it’s been hard to kill the tiny Sativa Los Angeles County Water District. … Across California, there are about 3,000 water agencies, remnants of an archaic system that until about two decades ago allowed anyone with a water source that could serve 15 or more people to seek a permit to create a community water system.
California’s corrections department is spending $46,000 a month to buy bottled water for inmates and staff at a prison in Tracy where it opened a state-of-the-art water treatment plant eight years ago.
The U.S. Forest Service has granted Nestle a new three-year permit to continue operating its bottled water pipeline in the San Bernardino National Forest. The agency announced the decision Wednesday, saying the permit has been offered to the company “with measures to improve the watershed’s health” along Strawberry Creek.
U.S. officials offered Nestle, the maker of Arrowhead bottled water, a three-year permit on Wednesday to keep taking millions of gallons of water from a national forest in Southern California — but with new restrictions designed to keep a creek flowing for other uses.
The general manager of a small public agency under fire for delivering brown, smelly water to parts of Compton and Willowbrook has been placed on administrative leave effective immediately, the water district board’s attorney announced Thursday night.
Residents of Compton have complained about brown, smelly water coming out of their taps for more than a year. And when officials began talking about dissolving the troubled local water district, the area’s congresswoman scheduled a town hall meeting so community members could weigh in.
The California budget doesn’t include it, but Gov. Jerry Brown is not done pushing for a new charge on water users, which would fund clean drinking water in rural areas of the state that currently have unsafe tap water.
At a town hall Monday, Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán alleged that people were paid to pose as residents to speak out in support of an embattled water district, marking a strange twist in the ongoing controversy over discolored water pouring out of taps in Compton and Willowbrook.
In California’s San Joaquin Valley, one of the most productive farming regions in the nation, an estimated 150,000 people are stuck living with contaminated drinking water. … The good news: Help is available to many of these small community water systems, provided they can merge with a neighboring utility that has clean water.
A proposed tax on California’s drinking water, designed to clean up contaminated water for thousands of Californians, was abandoned by Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders Friday as part of the compromise on the state budget. Lawmakers and Brown’s office scrapped the “Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Act,” which would have taxed residents 95 cents a month to raise millions for cleaning toxic wells.
In what conservation groups are calling a major win, environmental activists and the U.S. Forest Service have reached a settlement in a legal fight over the permit that allows Nestlé to pipe water out of the San Bernardino National Forest to bottle and sell it.
The Trump administration, after heavy lobbying by the chemical industry, is scaling back the way the federal government determines health and safety risks associated with the most dangerous chemicals on the market, documents from the Environmental Protection Agency show.
An estimated 360,000 Californians are served by water systems with unsafe drinking water, according to a McClatchy analysis of data compiled by the State Water Resources Control Board. … Now, after years of half solutions, the state is considering its most comprehensive actions to date. Gov. Jerry Brown has asked the Legislature to enact a statewide tax on drinking water to fix wells and treatment systems in distressed communities.
More than half a dozen bills aimed at plastic pollution were introduced in Sacramento this year alone — by both coastal legislators and more moderate inland colleagues who see the potential damage not just in oceans but also rivers, lakes and the state’s water supply. No one, they said, wants to drink a glass of water and wonder if they’re also downing a glass of plastic.
Soaring numbers of water systems around the country are testing positive for a dangerous class of chemicals widely used in items that include non-stick pans and firefighting foam, regulators and scientists said Tuesday. The warnings, and promises by Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt of official action to confront the related health risks, came in a summit with small-town and state officials increasingly confronting water systems contaminated by the toxic substances.
The controversy over Nestlé’s bottled water operation in the San Bernardino National Forest has prompted a review of the company’s federal permit, a lawsuit and an investigation by California regulators. Now, Nestlé’s continued piping of water out of the San Bernardino Mountains has become an issue in a congressional campaign.
Lassen Peak had been rumbling for days. Glowing hot rocks bounded down the slopes. Lava was welling up into a freshly created crater. Then, on this day 103 years ago, it exploded in a way California would never forget.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Joaquin Esquivel learned that life is what happens when you make plans. Esquivel, who holds the public member slot at the State Water Resources Control Board in Sacramento, had just closed purchase on a house in Washington D.C. with his partner when he was tapped by Gov. Jerry Brown a year ago to fill the Board vacancy.
Esquivel, 35, had spent a decade in Washington, first in several capacities with then Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and then as assistant secretary for federal water policy at the California Natural Resources Agency. As a member of the State Water Board, he shares with four other members the difficult task of ensuring balance to all the uses of California’s water.
A 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.
A 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.
Less than 1 percent of recent drinking water samples at California’s public schools showed elevated lead levels. But thousands more campuses still need to be tested, state officials said last week. A new law, AB 746, took effect in January requiring those tests at public schools over the next 16 months.
Norma Sanchez took a quick break from watering her East Porterville front yard, bent the garden hose and reflected on years of being without reliable water. Now, she has water, pressure and along with it problems with the new delivery system residents waited so long to get.
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.
With the comment period now over, state officials have begun their review of 30 separate filings in response to an investigation of Nestlé’s withdrawal of millions of gallons annually from springs in the San Bernardino National Forest for its Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water brand of bottled water.
Seven cities and community services districts have backed the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District’s appeal of a controversial Mercer-Fraser Company project that seeks to build a cannabis manufacturing facility along the Mad River near Glendale.
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.
Nestlé is disputing the findings of an investigation by California water regulators, arguing the company is entitled to keep piping water out of the San Bernardino National Forest — even more water than it has been bottling and selling in the past few years.
A partnership of state and local agencies working to help homeowners affected by California’s multi-year drought finished connecting 755 homes to a safe, reliable, permanent water supply. All households participating in the East Porterville Water Supply Project have now been connected to the City of Porterville’s municipal water system.
Eleven Democratic state attorneys general on Tuesday sued President Donald Trump’s administration over its decision to delay implementation of an Obama-era rule that would have expanded the number of wetlands and small waterways protected by the Clean Water Act.
The deadline for filing comments about the State Water Resources Control Board’s controversial ‘Report of Investigation’ for Nestlé’s water mining in the San Bernardino Mountains has been extended to Feb. 9, from Thursday, Jan. 25, allowing environmental groups, individuals and Nestlé more time to perfect arguments in an effort to shape the direction of the final report.
Fro California Governor Jerry Brown and his administration, 2017 was a water year to remember, and one that would figure into the drafting of the state’s 2018-19 budget, which was released early this month. The $190 billion proposed spending plan names California’s drought and the “extreme natural events of 2017” as determining factors in how the cash was divvied up.
The governing board for Humboldt County’s main water supplier is set to decide Wednesday whether to appeal the construction of a Glendale cannabis edibles and concentrates manufacturing facility that would be located near one of its drinking water pumps on the Mad River.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will replace Obama-era carbon and clean water regulations and open up a national debate on climate change in 2018, part of a list of priorities for the year that also includes fighting lead contamination in public drinking water.
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.
Nestle, which sells Arrowhead bottled water, may have to stop taking millions of gallons of water from Southern California’s San Bernardino National Forest because state regulators concluded it lacks valid permits. The State Water Resources Control Board notified the company on Wednesday that an investigation concluded it doesn’t have proper rights to about three-quarters of the water it withdraws for bottling.
California water regulators told Nestlé that the company doesn’t appear to have valid water rights for all of the water it’s been piping out of the San Bernardino National Forest and selling as bottled water. Regulators at the State Water Resources Control Board notified Nestlé of their findings following a 20-month investigation, recommending the company limit its use of water from the namesake source of Arrowhead 100% Mountain Spring Water unless it can show it has valid rights for all of the water it’s been taking.
As Congress debated a tax cut that would transfer an enormous amount of wealth from America’s poor and middle classes to its rich, a United Nations expert was visiting people already pushed over the edge by poverty. … [Philip] Alston’s findings also reflect how the widening gap between rich and poor in the United States worsens the country’s challenges for drinking water access, sanitation, and health.
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.
Remember the days when you could just bring a bottle of water from home to the plane? The days before airport security, which allows you to carry liquids only in containers of 3.4 ounces or less? Until recently, your only options were a fountain, probably with low water pressure, or a $5 bottle of water from the cafe near your gate.
Recognizing widespread public concern over drinking water contamination, Congress approved a five-year, $7-million study of the human health consequences of perfluorinated compounds, a class of chemicals that came to national prominence in the last two years amid detection in the water of hundreds of communities, households, and military bases.
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.
Stanford researchers have found that Californians’ views on recycled water depend heavily on how that water is eventually used. The study, which appeared in the August 2017 issue of Water and Environment Journal, revealed that psychological resistance to using treated effluent can be reduced, to some extent, by explaining the treatment process to people and informing them of an existing program in Orange County.
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.
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.
At the end of an unpaved road that snakes through the San Bernardino National Forest, you come to Strawberry Creek, which flows down from the mountains through a rocky canyon. Head upstream and you’ll clamber over boulders and through the brush until you arrive at a fork in the creek.
Residents in the Larkfield area north of Santa Rosa were urged not to drink tap water there for the foreseeable future, as the devastating Tubbs fire ravaging the region has damaged storage tanks and a pumping station, officials said Monday.
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.
Despite having endured lead-laden tap water for years, Flint pays some of the highest water rates in the US. … But in a town [Evart] of only 1,503 people, there are a dozen wells pumping water from the underground aquifer.
Just because drought-ravaged California has spent years urging residents to conserve water doesn’t mean it wants people to actually stop drinking the stuff. When a Gatorade cellphone game suggested doing just that state Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a complaint accusing the popular thirst-quenching drink’s maker of false advertising.
Though the nation’s first state law to assure the human right to safe water and sanitation was enacted in California in 2012, not much happened immediately afterward. The law existed in a dormant state, like a seed waiting for a storm. The storm eventually came, but, as it happened, it was a lack of rain that brought the seed to flower.
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.
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.
Nestled in thick brush high in the San Bernardino Mountains, bunker-like structures protrude from the rocky slopes. Built with stone and concrete and secured with metal doors and padlocks, these vaults are connected to a series of stainless steel pipelines that run down the mountainside like veins.
Environmental groups seeking to stop Swiss-based Nestlé from pumping millions of gallons of water from the San Bernardino National Forest, for little more than $500 a year, have prevailed in an effort to obtain documents from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Porterville, California, a town of about 50,000 people, lies nestled at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, near the gateways to Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks. It’s an idyllic setting, but in the nearby rural communities of East Porterville, Poplar, Terra Bella and Ducor, many residents get their drinking water from private wells that are rarely tested for contaminants.
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.
Even after the Flint scandal reawakened the nation to the dangers posed by lead drinking water pipes, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency appears to be in no rush to strengthen federal health standards.
The Trump administration’s latest environmental rollback is an unusual one, but with a familiar feature: It benefits big business. The National Park Service announced Wednesday that, effective immediately, it will no longer allow parks to ban the sale of plastic water bottles, which have long been criticized for littering lakes and forests.
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.
Tom Steyer, the San Francisco billionaire and environmentalist, promised his support Tuesday for a proposed safe and affordable drinking water fund to help communities with contaminated water in the San Joaquin Valley. … Steyer met with about a dozen water advocates at the nonprofit Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability in downtown Fresno who urged him to throw his clout behind Senate Bill 623.
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.
A bill making its way through the state Legislature is seeking to improve quality and access to drinking water quality by creating a new state fund, but some local entities are opposing how the bill plans to raise money for this goal.
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.
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).
Fresh Sierra mountain snowmelt would make a better drink of water for rural Tulare County folk who currently rely on wells tainted by fertilizers, leaky septic systems and decades-old pesticide residues. Nobody argues with that here in California’s San Joaquin Valley. The problem is obtaining even a tiny fraction of the average 1.7 million acre-feet of Kings River snowmelt that heads mostly to farm fields each year.
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.
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.
It’s expected to cost area agri-businesses about $1 million to provide bottled water to lower-income Salinas Valley residents whose water supply has been contaminated by nitrates in the first year of a pilot program.
A five year survey released by the California Department of Water Resources reveals half of the levees that guard California cities from a major flood don’t meet modern standards, and if a levee were to break in the wrong place, it could cut off the drinking water supply to the Bay Area for months or even years.
At the behest of the International Bottled Water Association, Congress is preparing to approve a must-pass budget bill that includes language aimed at restoring the sale of water in disposable plastic bottles in all national parks. For nearly six years, national parks have had the option of banning bottled-water sales as a way to reduce plastic litter and waste management costs.
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.
A little after 1 p.m. Sunday, a steady stream of cars began pulling off Highway 18 at Lake Gregory Drive, parking on the south side of the highway and their occupants darting across during breaks in traffic to take up their posts on a dirt lot next to Grotewolds Carpet Station.
The city of Vacaville is facing pressure to clean up its water supplies after an environmental group sued this week over the amount of chromium-6 in groundwater. … Vacaville is among several California cities that have been wrestling with the carcinogen since 2014, when the state adopted the nation’s first chromium-6 rules.
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.
San Francisco’s famously pure High Sierra water is about to be served with a twist. Starting next month, city water officials will begin adding local groundwater to the Yosemite supplies that have satiated the area’s thirst since the 1930s and made the clean, crisp water here the envy of the nation.
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.
Erin Brockovich parachuted into Stockton one year ago to condemn the city’s use of a common method to treat the drinking water. But sitting on a stage before a raucous crowd of 1,200, in the heart of a region deeply opposed to Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed Delta tunnels, the celebrity activist won enthusiastic applause when she accepted a new challenge.
A statewide program that began under a 2015 law to help low-income people with their water bills would cost about $600 million annually, a public policy expert told the California State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) at a meeting last week.
More than 100 people, both from mountain communities and the valley below, attended a public meeting Sunday to discuss Nestle Waters North America’s controversial withdrawal of spring water from a remote canyon in the San Bernardino National Forest.
Nestled among the soaring peaks of the San Bernardino Mountains, the community of Forest Falls spreads out alongside Mill Creek, which cascades down from the rugged slopes and flows through a boulder-strewn canyon on its journey toward the valley below.
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.
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.
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.
Three environmental and community-based groups have given their notice of intent to appeal a federal court’s ruling allowing a subsidiary of Nestlé to continue to remove millions of gallons of water annually from the San Bernardino National Forest.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnels could harm the quality of Stockton’s drinking water to the extent that water rates would need to be doubled or tripled, a city official testified on Thursday. … [Bob] Granberg’s brief testimony on Thursday came as the state board holds extensive hearings to determine if any water users with legal rights — including Stockton — would be harmed by the operation of the tunnels.
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.
A federal judge has ruled that a permit allowing Nestle to pipe water out of the San Bernardino National Forest is valid, despite the fact that the permit listed 1988 as the expiration date and was never renewed.
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.
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.
Directly detecting harmful pathogens in water can be expensive, unreliable and incredibly complicated. Fortunately, certain organisms are known to consistently coexist with these harmful microbes which are substantially easier to detect and culture: coliform bacteria. These generally non-toxic organisms are frequently used as “indicator species,” or organisms whose presence demonstrates a particular feature of its surrounding environment.
Tania Ramirez stepped into her family’s front yard Friday morning, leaned down toward a pipe protruding from the garden, and twisted a spigot. For the first time in three years, water came pouring out.
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.
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.