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
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
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.
For years, Californians have mismanaged the aquifers
that supply the state with about 40 percent of its water
supplies. Declining water levels from over-pumping have
left less water for agriculture, urban, and other uses
in many areas of the state. But the problems do not stop
with groundwater users.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Potable water, also known as
drinking water, comes from surface and ground sources and is
treated to levels that that meet state and federal standards for
Water from natural sources is treated for microorganisms,
bacteria, toxic chemicals, viruses and fecal matter. Drinking
raw, untreated water can cause gastrointestinal problems such as
diarrhea, vomiting or fever.
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.
A study by UC Berkeley and Harvard University researchers
finds a firefighting foam containing highly fluorinated
chemicals is contaminating drinking water supplies around many
of the nation’s military bases, airports and industrial sites.
The city of Fresno is banning the use of galvanized pipe for
plumbing in new construction and remodeling projects as signs
point to the venerable material as a prime culprit in concerns
over discoloration and lead contamination of water in homes
across northeast Fresno.
Fresno City Councilman Lee Brand, who is campaigning to be the
city’s next mayor, is proposing two major policy initiatives
after a large number of residents, almost exclusively in his
northeast district, have complained about discolored and
The chief of Fresno’s water operations has been placed on
administrative leave over discrepancies in the reporting of
water quality issues. … The action is related to an ongoing
controversy over problems with discolored water in several
hundred homes in northeast Fresno and issues of lead
contamination in water coming from residents’ faucets in
several dozen homes.
In California, cyanotoxins have become more of a problem amid
the drought and the same toxin that shut down Toledo’s water
supply has been detected in lakes, reservoirs and streams
across the state. But because standard treatment processes
usually get rid of cyanotoxins, water officials say it’s
unlikely a similar crisis would unfold here.
Activists arguing that Nestle’s bottling of water from
the San Bernardino National Forest is illegal due to a
long-expired permit gathered Saturday at Sprouts Farmers Market
locations across the U.S., including one in La Quinta, in
order to protest the chain’s sale of
Nestle Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water.
The state is currently investigating whether it is feasible to
develop standards for direct potable reuse, which would allow
treated wastewater to be sent direct to customers for drinking
without first being stored in a reservoir or aquifer.
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.