A vocal and growing number of residents in northeast Fresno are
convinced water from the city’s Surface Water Treatment
Facility is primarily responsible for corrosion in their pipes,
causing discolored water – and in several dozen instances, lead
contamination – to flow from their household faucets.
Fresno leaders will be sending direct-mail fliers this week to
every water customer in the northeastern area of the city,
substantially expanding the scope of an investigation into
discolored water coming from faucets in hundreds of homes as
well as lead contamination in about 40 homes.
Hundreds of homes in northeast Fresno have discolored water –
and, in some cases, excessive levels of toxic lead – coming
from their faucets. And while homeowners clamor for answers
about why and what to do about it, those answers are in
painfully short supply.
I’ve [T. Christian Miller] received a lot of questions
about applying investigative reporting techniques to figuring
out whether your water is safe — the stuff in your taps, the
stuff in your rivers, the stuff at the beach. … The
difficulty is partly due to the complexity of the topic. Water
is not simple.
Because Nestle North American Waters did not provide requested
information, its permit related to water withdrawals in the San
Bernardino National Forest has lapsed, plaintiffs contend in a
brief filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Riverside.
A ballot initiative created by a group of concerned citizens
aims to alter groundwater management in Siskiyou County.
Chapter 13 of the Siskiyou County Code governs the withdrawal
and transport of groundwater, and section 3-13.301 does not
allow the unpermitted transport of water from the county;
however, “commercial water-bottling enterprises” are exempt
from requiring such a permit.
Teflon and related brands Gore-Tex, Scotchgard, and Stainmaster
— all prized for their water-repelling, stain-protecting, and
mess-preventing attributes — seem to contain magical
properties. … Last month, seven years after it issued the
first health guidelines for PFOA/PFOS in drinking water, the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lowered the recommended
level in drinking water to 0.07 parts per billion combined.
A federal judge Monday said he needed more information before
he can determine if the government has erred in allowing Nestle
to continuously withdraw millions of gallons of water annually
from Strawberry Creek — 28 years after the company’s permit
Activists who are challenging Nestle’s bottling of water from a
national forest attended their first hearing in federal court
on Monday, arguing the Forest Service has violated the law by
allowing the company to continue piping out water using a
permit that lists an expiration date of 1988.
The state Water Resources Control Board has launched an
investigation into Nestle’s water rights in the San Bernardino
National Forest, adding a new layer of scrutiny to the growing
public outcry into the water bottler’s operations during a
A recent article, “Behind the Lawsuit to Turn Off Spigot to
Nestle,” showed one perspective on the U.S. Forest Service
(USFS) process to renew Nestle Waters’ special-use permit to
transport water through the forest. Here is another. First,
Nestle Waters holds senior water rights dating back to the
1880s in the San Bernardino National Forest.
Activists who are trying to block Nestle’s bottling of water
from a national forest have questioned the company’s claim that
it holds water rights dating to the 1800s. Now California
regulators are conducting an investigation to get to the bottom
of the dispute.
In response to a number of community complaints and a request
from a Los Angeles city councilman, the Department of Water and
Power said Tuesday that it will investigate why murky brown
water has been intermittently flowing from taps in and around
Watts in recent months.
Teachers handed out bottled water to hundreds of students at
Grape Street Elementary School on Wednesday amid concerns about
murky, discolored water flowing from taps and fountains at that
school and four others in South Los Angeles.
Nestle is objecting to the U.S. Forest Service’s terms for
issuing it a new permit to continue piping water out of a
national forest, saying the agency is overstepping its
authority and infringing on the company’s water rights.
The U.S. Forest Service’s proposal to grant Nestle a new permit
to continue piping water out of a national forest for bottling
has drawn a flood of written comments from the public,
including a petition with more than 280,000 names demanding the
agency “turn off the spigot.”
Nestle extracted 36 million gallons of water from a national
forest in California last year to sell as bottled water, even
as Californians were ordered to cut their water use because of
a historic drought in the state.
The room contained about 100 people migrating from station to
station, looking at poster boards and talking to specialists
about fault lines, water drainage and other environmental
concerns of Nestlé’s tap into a San Bernardino Mountains creek.
A growing distaste and distrust of tap water has prompted many
school districts to spend thousands of taxpayer dollars on
heavily marketed filters — some of which use a process that
discards some water as waste — even though the schools say
there’s nothing wrong with what’s currently flowing from their
San Bernardino National Forest officials will host an open
house Thursday to answer questions and discuss the process for
environmental studies of Nestlé water bottling operations in a
rugged canyon north of here.
Before you take a gulp of water, try to mentally trace where
that water that just gushed out of your taps has been: How did
it go from that weird-tasting raindrop to the clear, odorless
water that is sitting in your glass now?
This railroad town promotes its ties to Abraham Lincoln, Ronald
Reagan and the poet Carl Sandburg. But Galesburg’s long history
also shows in a hidden way: Aging pipes have been leaking lead
into the drinking water for decades.
In a deal stirring up new waves about the governor’s twin water
tunnels plan through the Delta, a water supplier for 500,000
Contra Costa County residents has dropped its protest against
the project in exchange for a new source of higher-quality
water from the Sacramento River.
The presence of a metallic element that at high levels has
been linked to kidney and liver damage in Coachella’s
drinking water could cost the city millions of dollars a year
as it works to comply with new state regulations.
[Los Angeles Unified School District] LAUSD’s effort to
eliminate lead contamination in tens of thousands of school
water fountains is complete at 60 schools, while District
officials say it will take another year-and-a-half to finish
the process on all 986 L.A. Unified campuses.
A Siskiyou County group wants to put a measure on the November
ballot that would require any business that wants to pump
groundwater that would be exported from the county — including
bottled water — would need an extraction permit.
An initial round of testing for toxic lead in north Stockton’s
drinking water has revealed levels far below federal standards
and nowhere near what experts found in Flint, Michigan. …
Environmental activist Erin Brockovich compared Stockton to
Flint during her visit here in early February.
The cost of drinking water and sewer services in the United
States, rising on average at twice the rate of inflation, is
giving birth to a new civil rights movement, one based on
access to water and sanitation for the poor.
The Forest Service is conducting an environmental review of
Nestle’s controversial bottled water operation in the San
Bernardino Mountains, and could require the company to monitor
the impacts of its withdrawals, officials said Friday, March
It’s a bar that serves nothing but tap water. For free. The
concept, developed by two Minneapolis artists, started as
pop-ups across the country, ranging from an event at a North
Carolina artists’ space to a waterfront fundraiser in Chicago
to a four-month run at an art museum in Arkansas.
Nestlé’s bottled water division will have to go through a
thorough environmental review of its long-expired permit to
draw water from the San Bernardino Mountains for its Arrowhead
brand, the U.S. Forest Service said Friday.
For two years, the students at Orange Center Elementary School
outside of Fresno have been told not to drink the water.
… This week US Senator Barbara Boxer, a Rancho Mirage
Democrat, introduced a bill to add lead-contaminated drinking
water to the federal government’s definition of a disaster,
allowing the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other
federal agencies to become involved in the Flint
When it comes to water, only about half of Americans are very
confident in the safety of what’s flowing from their tap,
according to an Associated Press-GfK poll, which found that
trust is even weaker among minorities and people with lower
Fears of lead contamination swept through the town of
Healdsburg this week after parents and officials learned that
water at an elementary school contained elevated levels of the
toxic metal late last year.
High levels of lead have been discovered in drinking fountains
at Healdsburg Elementary School’s main building, county school
and public health officials said Wednesday. The lead
contamination first was detected over Thanksgiving break.
She received a hero’s welcome in Stockton, was lauded on social
media and gave a passionate speech before a huge crowd. … But
as good as she is at rallying the people, some critics say
[Erin] Brockovich falls short when it comes to science.
The Tulsa City Council meeting was already an hour and a half
old when out-of-town water consultant Bob Bowcock stepped to
the podium and gave his spiel on the dangers of chloramines in
the drinking water.
Stockton is not the first city to attract controversy for the
use of chloramines, with flare-ups in Vermont, Washington and
San Luis Obispo County, among other places. … Federal,
state and local authorities, including the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency and Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, all say chloramines are safe at levels used in
San Joaquin County’s top health expert has no problem with the
city of Stockton’s switch to chloramines to treat the drinking
water. … His comments came one day after a town hall forum
featuring environmental activist Erin Brockovich attracted more
than 1,200 people to the Atherton Auditorium at San Joaquin
Local water activists Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla and Bill
Jennings spoke before [Bob] Bowcock and [Erin] Brockovich. Both
suggested to the audience there are more significant issues
facing Stockton and the region than chloramines, most notably
the proposed Twin Tunnels project in the Delta.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials were in Carlsbad
on Wednesday to announce more than $182 million in federal
funding that will be funneled to drinking water and wastewater
infrastructure improvements throughout California.
The recent addition of chloramines to treat Stockton’s drinking
water is not on Tuesday night’s City Council meeting agenda,
but a rally on the hot-button issue is scheduled nonetheless
late in the afternoon outside City Hall.
Over several years, the plan to put chloramines in north
Stockton’s drinking water was vetted in public by the City
Council and by a citizen oversight group. … But it was a
Facebook post late Saturday by renowned environmental activist
Erin Brockovich that turned a mostly non-controversial issue
into a firestorm of public outrage.
The U.S. Forest Service said officials have started
assessing the renewal of a 1978 permit that Nestle has
long been using to pipe water out of the San Bernardino
National Forest to produce Arrowhead brand bottled water.
Armed with evidence captured by surveillance cameras,
California regulators have ordered a business to stop tapping
Sierra Nevada spring water that is later bottled and sold in
stores, officials said Wednesday.
Neighbors and activists in Mount Shasta have been pressing
Crystal Geyser Water Co. for months to conduct a full
environmental review before opening a bottling plant just
outside the small Northern California town.
The “drinkable book” combines treated paper with printed
information on how and why water should be filtered. Its pages
contain nanoparticles of silver or copper, which kill bacteria
in the water as it passes through.
State agencies are currently assessing potential impacts to
Scotia’s drinking water system after three separate incidents
at the Humboldt Redwood Company sawmill caused water
contaminated with woody materials to infiltrate into the town’s
drinking water system on the Eel River.
High in the San Bernardino Mountains, on a steep slope covered
with brush and ferns, a bunker-like stone structure protrudes
from the mountainside. Behind its locked metal doors, water is
collected from wells and flows into a pipe to fill bottles of
Arrowhead 100% Mountain Spring Water.
Nearly one-fifth of the raw groundwater used for public
drinking water systems in California contains excessive levels
of potentially toxic contaminants, according to a decade-long
U.S. Geological Survey study that provides one of the first
comprehensive looks at the health of California’s public water
supply and groundwater.
Nearly a year and a half after East Porterville’s first dry
well was reported, residents and experts say not having running
water and breathing increasingly dusty air is worsening their
pre-existing health issues and contributing to the development
of new ones.
The Environmental Protection Agency, in a draft report
numbering more than 900 pages, said that while fracking
operations “have not led to widespread, systemic impacts on
drinking water resources, there are potential vulnerabilities
in the water lifecycle that could impact drinking water.”
Hydraulic fracturing to drill for oil and natural gas has not
caused widespread harm to drinking water in the United States,
the Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday in a report
that also warned of potential contamination of water supplies
if safeguards are not maintained.
The acrid tap water that flowed for several days last month
into thousands of East Bay homes, prompting a flurry of
complaints about its bad taste and smell, will be making an
extended comeback starting next week — perhaps through the
year, or longer.
As Californians face deepening cuts in water usage because of
the drought, critics are raising concerns about tens of
millions of gallons of Sacramento municipal water being tapped
by a local plant that bottles and resells it at a profit.
East Bay residents first noticed a bitter taste in their tap
water on Saturday. … It turns out the taste, and a foul odor
associated with it, comes from algae in the Pardee Reservoir,
which supplies most of the drinking water for East Bay
Municipal Utility District customers.
National forests support some of the most pristine groundwater
and springs in the country – at least that’s what the most
successful water bottling companies advertise. Current policies
leave these springs exposed to exploitation, especially during
droughts, which are becoming more
intense. … According to an article in the Desert
Sun, the Forest Service has not investigated how pumping water
from Strawberry Creek will affect the environment or downstream
water users or required reporting of water use.
Some lawmakers are raising questions about the impacts of
bottled water companies on water supplies in California after a
Desert Sun investigation found little government oversight of
the amounts of water being tapped or the effects on the
Miles from the nearest paved road in the San Bernardino
National Forest, two sounds fill a rocky canyon: a babbling
stream and the hissing of water flowing through a stainless
steel pipe. From wells that tap into springs high on the
mountainside, water gushes down through the pipe to a roadside
In two days, the city’s Board of Estimate would hold a hearing
on one of the most contentious issues of the Cold War: whether
to begin fluoridation of New York’s drinking water, which the
Board of Health had urged more than a year earlier to fight
Assembly Bill 434, introduced this week by state Assemblyman
Eduardo Garcia, would authorize point-of-use filtration systems
as a way to help solve the elevated levels of arsenic in the
Clean drinking water is something many Americans take for
granted, but in areas such as south Kern County access to safe
water is not guaranteed. A new program called Agua4All is
attempting to address that.
An ever-growing number of trains carrying a particularly
volatile form of light crude oil through the Feather River
Canyon has a worried Butte County asking for help and training
to deal with a potential catastrophic derailment. … John
Scott of Butte Valley claimed a derailment that spilled the
light crude into the Feather River would end up polluting the
water in Lake Oroville.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sees a connection
between cleaning up the air and water and helping the economy
grow, says Gina McCarthy, who leads the federal government’s
environmental guardian. … The EPA leader said federal and
state officials are working together to provide money for
drinking-water fixes in the Valley.
As I traveled across the country this year, there’s one thing I
could count on everywhere I went: tap water that’s safe to
drink. Drinking water is essential for healthy families,
thriving communities, and strong local economies. And this
month we’re proud to celebrate an important milestone as
December 16, 2014 marks the 40th anniversary of the Safe
Drinking Water Act.
Cloudy tap water may have a greater effect on California’s
rural immigrants than merely leaving behind a bad taste,
according to a new policy brief released by the Center for
Poverty Research at UC Davis.
This week we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Federal Safe
Drinking Water Act knowing more Americans enjoy safe drinking
water than ever before. Nowhere can you find more protective
drinking water regulations than in California.
Sonoma County supervisors on Tuesday approved a trio of actions
aimed at improving dental health in Sonoma County, including a
contract to complete a study on fluoridation of the county’s
Despite heated opposition, Sonoma County health officials are
building their case that adding fluoride to public water
supplies is the most effective way to prevent tooth decay and
reduce costs of dental care for the greatest number of Sonoma
County residents — a strategy some fluoridation proponents said
could translate into broader political support of the additive.
This card includes information about the Colorado River, who uses
the river, how the river’s water is divided and other pertinent
facts about this vital resource for the Southwest. Beautifully
illustrated with color photographs.
This 25-minute documentary-style DVD, developed in partnership
with the California Department of Water Resources, provides an
excellent overview of climate change and how it is already
affecting California. The DVD also explains what scientists
anticipate in the future related to sea level rise and
precipitation/runoff changes and explores the efforts that are
underway to plan and adapt to climate.
20-minute DVD that explains the problem with polluted stormwater,
and steps that can be taken to help prevent such pollution and
turn what is often viewed as a “nuisance” into a water resource
through various activities.
Many Californians don’t realize that when they turn on the
faucet, the water that flows out could come from a source close
to home or one hundreds of miles away. Most people take their
water for granted; not thinking about the elaborate systems and
testing that go into delivering clean, plentiful water to
households throughout the state. Where drinking water comes from,
how it’s treated, and what people can do to protect its quality
are highlighted in this 2007 PBS documentary narrated by actress
A 30-minute version of the 2007 PBS documentary Drinking Water:
Quenching the Public Thirst. This DVD is ideal for showing at
community forums and speaking engagements to help the public
understand the complex issues surrounding the elaborate systems
and testing that go into delivering clean, plentiful water to
households throughout the state.
This 30-minute DVD explains the importance of developing a source
water assessment program (SWAP) for tribal lands and by profiling
three tribes that have created SWAPs. Funded by a grant from the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the video complements the
Foundation’s 109-page workbook, Protecting Drinking Water: A
Workbook for Tribes, which includes a step-by-step work plan for
Tribes interested in developing a protection plan for their
This 15-minute video explains in an easy-to-understand manner the
importance of groundwater, defines technical terms, describes
sources of groundwater contamination and outlines steps
communities can take to protect underground aquifers. Includes
extensive computer graphics that illustrate these groundwater
concepts. The short running times makes it ideal for
presentations and community group meetings. Available on VHS and
A companion to the Truckee River Basin Map poster, this 24×36
inch poster, suitable for framing, explores the Carson River, and
its link to the Truckee River. The map includes Lahontan Dam and
Reservoir, the Carson Sink, and the farming areas in the basin.
Map text discusses the region’s hydrology and geography, the
Newlands Project, land and water use within the basin and
wetlands. Development of the map was funded by a grant from the
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Mid-Pacific Region, Lahontan Basin
This beautiful 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, displays
the rivers, lakes and reservoirs, irrigated farmland, urban areas
and Indian reservations within the Truckee River Basin, including
the Newlands Project, Pyramid Lake and Lake Tahoe. Map text
explains the issues surrounding the use of the Truckee-Carson
rivers, Lake Tahoe water quality improvement efforts, fishery
restoration and the effort to reach compromise solutions to many
of these issues.
This 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, illustrates the
water resources available for Nevada cities, agriculture and the
environment. It features natural and manmade water resources
throughout the state, including the Truckee and Carson rivers,
Lake Tahoe, Pyramid Lake and the course of the Colorado River
that forms the state’s eastern boundary.
Water as a renewable resource is depicted in this 18×24 inch
poster. Water is renewed again and again by the natural
hydrologic cycle where water evaporates, transpires from plants,
rises to form clouds, and returns to the earth as precipitation.
Excellent for elementary school classroom use.
As the state’s population continues to grow and traditional water
supplies grow tighter, there is increased interest in reusing
treated wastewater for a variety of activities, including
irrigation of crops, parks and golf courses, groundwater recharge
and industrial uses.
The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to Integrated Regional Water
Management (IRWM) is an in-depth, easy-to-understand publication
that provides background information on the principles of IRWM,
its funding history and how it differs from the traditional water
The 28-page Layperson’s Guide to Groundwater is an in-depth,
easy-to-understand publication that provides background and
perspective on groundwater. The guide explains what groundwater
is – not an underground network of rivers and lakes! – and the
history of its use in California.
The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to California Water provides an
excellent overview of the history of water development and use in
California. It includes sections on flood management; the state,
federal and Colorado River delivery systems; Delta issues; water
rights; environmental issues; water quality; and options for
stretching the water supply such as water marketing and
The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to the Delta explores the competing
uses and demands on California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Included in the guide are sections on the history of the Delta,
its role in the state’s water system, and its many complex and
competing issues with sections on water quality, levees, salinity
and agricultural drainage, and water distribution.
Finding and maintaining a clean water supply for drinking and
other uses has been a constant challenge throughout human
Today, significant technological developments in water treatment,
including monitoring and assessment, help ensure a drinking water
supply of high quality. The source of water and its initial
condition prior to being treated usually determines the water
treatment process. [See also Water Recycling.]
The federal Safe Drinking Water Act sets standards for drinking
water quality in the United States.
Launched in 1974 and administered by the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency, the Safe Drinking Water Act oversees states,
communities, and water suppliers who implement the drinking water
standards at the local level.
The act’s regulations apply to every public water system in the
United States but do not include private wells serving less than
According to the EPA, there are more than 160,000 public water
systems in the United States.
This printed issue of Western Water, based on presentations
at the November 3-4, 2010 Water Quality Conference in Ontario,
Calif., looks at constituents of emerging concerns (CECs) – what
is known, what is yet to be determined and the potential
regulatory impacts on drinking water quality.
This printed copy of Western Water examines the challenges facing
small water systems, including drought preparedness, limited
operating expenses and the hurdles of complying with costlier
regulations. Much of the article is based on presentations at the
November 2007 Small Systems Conference sponsored by the Water
Education Foundation and the California Department of Water
This issue of Western Water looks at some of the issues
facing drinking water providers, such as compliance with
increasingly stringent treatment requirements, the need to
improve source water quality and the mission of continually
informing consumers about the quality of water they receive.
This issue of Western Water examines PPCPs – what they are, where
they come from and whether the potential exists for them to
become a water quality problem. With the continued emphasis on
water quality and the fact that many water systems in the West
are characterized by flows dominated by effluent contributions,
PPCPs seem likely to capture interest for the foreseeable future.
This issue of Western Water examines the problem of perchlorate
contamination and its ramifications on all facets of water
delivery, from the extensive cleanup costs to the search for
alternative water supplies. In addition to discussing the threat
posed by high levels of perchlorate in drinking water, the
article presents examples of areas hard hit by contamination and
analyzes the potential impacts of forthcoming drinking water
standards for perchlorate.
Drawn from a special stakeholder symposium held in September 1999
in Keystone, Colorado, this issue explores how we got to where we
are today on the Colorado River; an era in which the traditional
water development of the past has given way to a more
collaborative approach that tries to protect the environment
while stretching available water supplies.