Topic: Pollution

Overview

Pollution

The natural quality of groundwater in California depends on the surrounding geology and on the source of water that recharges the aquifer.

Aquafornia news The Conversation

Gold rush, mercury legacy: Small-scale mining for gold has produced long-lasting toxic pollution, from 1860s California to modern Peru

The extraction methods that these operations use today are not drastically different from processes that miners employed in the California gold rush in the mid-1800s. Today we see history repeating itself in places like the Peruvian Amazon, where small-scale gold mining threatens to leave behind long-lasting social, economic and environmental consequences.

Aquafornia news Legal Planet

Blog: California should lead the nation in controlling agricultural pollution

Agricultural runoff is one of the largest sources of pollution in the nation’s waterways. In recent years, scientific journals and the media have been filled with reports of toxic algae blooms and dead zones near and far… Unfortunately, in today’s highly politicized federal climate, it is unlikely that an effective solution to this problem will emerge from the U.S. EPA – at least not at the moment. So efforts by state regulators are particularly important.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: COVID-19 pandemic and need for clean water at rural homes

As the world continues to grapple with the most devastating public health crises in modern history, the San Joaquin Valley has been hit particularly hard, resulting in mass disarray. Small rural regions and underserved communities are now experiencing threefold the challenges that existed prior to the pandemic.

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Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Orange County water districts consider massive lawsuit over PFAS contamination

Nine Orange County water agencies have retained a legal team to study whether to file suit to recoup the $1 billion or more it could cost to purify drinking water in local wells contaminated with PFAS chemicals and to pay for more expensive imported water in the interim.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Seville turns on the taps for the first time in 5 years

For the first time in five years, Seville residents can safely drink and cook with the water that flows from their taps. The small agricultural community of about 500 nestled at the scenic base of the Sierra Nevada has been ground zero for Tulare County’s water crisis for more than a decade.

Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

FDA: Grazing cows likely cause of E. coli outbreaks linked to Salinas Valley romaine lettuce

Outbreaks of E. coli illness that sickened 188 people who ate romaine lettuce grown in California probably came from cattle grazing near the farms, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said in a report released Thursday. … Investigators concluded that the illness was centered on ranches and fields owned by the same grower and that were located downslope from public land where cattle grazed.

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Thursday Top of the Scroll: PFAS limits in drinking water to take more than a year, EPA says

The EPA won’t be able to set drinking water limits for two PFAS chemicals in the next year, agency administrator Andrew Wheeler told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Wednesday.

Aquafornia news Legal Planet

Opinion: California should lead the nation in controlling agricultural pollution

Agricultural runoff is one of the largest sources of pollution in the nation’s waterways….In California alone, more than a quarter million residents in largely agricultural areas are served by water systems with degraded groundwater quality.

Aquafornia news U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

News release: EPA takes next step to implement PFAS legislation

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took the next step to implement an important per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) requirement of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NDAA added 172 PFAS to the list of chemicals required to be reported to the Toxics Release Inventory and established a 100-pound reporting threshold for these substances.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Trump EPA’s targeting of San Francisco pollution may bring investigation

The nation’s environmental watchdog may investigate federal enforcement of water policy in California after Democratic lawmakers accused the Trump administration of “irregular” interference targeting San Francisco, according to a letter sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

9 states sue EPA for ‘blanket waiver’ as nation fights pandemic

Nine states have sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for curtailing enforcement of rules on air and water pollution during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying the pullback puts the public at even greater risk.

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: Developments in regulating PFAS in water

Recently, I participated in the Environmental Law Institute’s Master Class, PFAS: From Common Use to Concern … which included a discussion of the environmental and human health impacts of PFAS contaminated waters, as well as the best approaches to regulate, establish and enforce cleanups and safe drinking water standards. … Some of the main take-aways from our presentation included:

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Opinion: Safe drinking water must be part of coronavirus response package

Access to water must be included as part of the next major federal legislative package. We cannot expect to halt the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic without water for handwashing and basic sanitation.

Aquafornia news Fox 5 San Diego

Settlements reached in lawsuits alleging manufacturer contaminated groundwater in El Cajon

The lawsuits concern the alleged contamination via manufacturing process materials stored by Ametek, which manufactured aircraft engine parts for more than 20 years at 790 Greenfield Drive in El Cajon. Plaintiffs allege the materials contaminated groundwater, soil vapor and indoor air at nearby properties.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California sues EPA for suspending pollution enforcement during coronavirus pandemic

California, along with eight other states, sued the Trump administration Wednesday over the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to stop requiring companies to monitor and report air and water pollution during the coronavirus pandemic.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

EPA opts against limits on water contaminant tied to fetal damage

The decision by Andrew Wheeler, administrator of the EPA, appears to defy a court order that required the agency to establish a safe drinking-water standard for perchlorate by the end of June…[S]tates like California and Massachusetts regulated the chemical in the absence of federal action.

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Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Plastic pollution threatens marine life, humans and ecosystems. Enter FRED, a future vacuum of the ocean

A spring storm had retreated inland during the night, leaving a canopy of unbroken clouds over San Diego’s Mission Bay. About 20 engineering students and others gathered in the morning chill to launch a cockeyed-looking vessel, mechanical guts fully visible, into the still water.

Aquafornia news Torrance Daily Breeze

Lomita receives grant to remove chemical from drinking water

A grant of up to $2 million will allow Lomita to install a filtration system that removes a potentially carcinogenic chemical from its drinking water, allowing the community to resume using groundwater instead of more expensive imported supplies. The small city had taken its sole well offline last year and drained its 5 million gallon reservoir after the levels of benzene discovered in its groundwater exceeded state drinking water standards.

Aquafornia news The Hill

EPA’s independent science board, critics push for stronger lead rule

The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to address lead in water isn’t as aggressive as it could be, the agency’s independent Science Advisory Board, as well as outside groups, said Monday. … In its latest report, the board came out against the proposed trigger level, saying it “adds unnecessary complexity resulting from having to make lead management decisions” while not enacting stricter limits that recognize there is no safe level of lead.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Opinion: California must keep small water systems from failing

In a pandemic when hand-washing could be a matter of life or death, everyone must have access to clean water as a public health issue and a basic human right. But what if you can’t afford your water bill?

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

California appeals court revives water pollution lawsuit

A California appellate court has revived a lawsuit Wednesday from the city of Riverside who claim Black & Decker and several other companies contaminated the local drinking water with chemicals used to make explosive cartridges, flares and rocket fuel.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Senate panel moves major water bills, adding PFAS actions

The Senate’s environment panel pushed through two major water infrastructure bills Wednesday, rejecting a GOP member’s attempt to give Western states more authority over water supplies but agreeing to direct the EPA to set drinking water limits for “forever chemicals” known as PFAS.

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Aquafornia news NOAA Marine Debris Program

Blog: No silver bullet: Addressing shotgun wad debris in San Francisco Bay

The survey data indicated that shotgun wads, the plastic piece inside a shotgun shell that separates the shot from the powder, are one of the top ten most commonly found plastic items on all surveyed beaches. These shotgun wads likely come from waterfowl hunting, year-round shooting ranges, and target shooting fields along the San Francisco Bay and Delta.

Aquafornia news National Law Review

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Regulating microplastics in drinking water: California retains its vanguard status

The California State Water Resources Control Board is poised to become “the first regulatory agency in the world to specifically define ‘microplastics in drinking water.’”

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: Federal and state evolving PFAS regulations and standards

PFAS are ubiquitous and can be found in a variety of everyday products, including stain- and water-resistant fabrics and carpeting, cleaning products, cookware, paints, and fire-fighting foams. The Environmental Protection Agency warns that exposure to at least some PFAS “can lead to adverse health outcomes in humans.”

Aquafornia news ABC News Bakersfield

California allocates $5 million for lead testing in child care centers

The State Water Resources Control Board has executed an agreement to provide approximately $5 million in grant funds for testing and remediation of lead in drinking water at licensed Child Care Centers in California.

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Aquafornia news The Hill

Lawmakers push for inclusion of ‘forever chemical’ regulation in future stimulus bill

A group of more than 80 members of Congress is pushing for the inclusion of provisions to regulate a class of cancer-linked chemicals in future stimulus legislation dealing with infrastructure. The chemicals, known as PFAS, are also sometimes called “forever chemicals” because of their persistence in both the environment and the human body.

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Coronavirus causes delay in EPA’s rule for managing wastewater

The EPA has been too busy responding to the deadly coronavirus to work on its long-awaited proposal to manage huge volumes of pathogen-infested sewage and stormwater during heavy rains, the agency’s top wastewater official said Wednesday.

Aquafornia news Fox 5 San Diego

South Bay leaders call for emergency repairs to Tijuana sewage system

South Bay leaders are once again calling for action to fix cross border pollution. … Tuesday, Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina told FOX 5 that the Tijuana sewage system has collapsed and is spewing about 60 million gallons of untreated sewage each day in the river.

Aquafornia news ABC 7 News

Coronavirus impact: Reduced traffic means lower water pollution levels in San Francisco Bay

One unintended side effect of the novel coronavirus crisis could provide much-needed relief for the San Francisco Bay, according to David Lewis, executive director of the environmental group, Save the Bay. Lewis says that cars contribute to pollution in the bay in ways that aren’t always obvious, and the reduction in traffic from the COVID-19 shelter-in-place order could help.

Aquafornia news The Atascadero News

Water company finds PFAS in five Atascadero wells

In February 2020, the Water Board adopted new, lower Response Levels for PFOA and PFOS of 10 ppt and 40 ppt, respectively. Four of wells previously sampled under the Water Board’s order now had had PFOA levels above this newly adopted Response Level of 10 ppt. Atascadero Mutual Water Company immediately took these wells out of service.

Aquafornia news NBC Bay Area

East Bay’s new rain gardens, an old-school pollution control

Just days before Covid-19 spurred a vast quarantine-at-home in California, a crew of workers in downtown Oakland was busily planting dozens of potted grasses, shrubs and trees in a newly sculpted garden bed in what had been a gutter and a row of parking stalls a block from City Hall.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Supreme Court: Kavanaugh takes cues from Scalia in groundwater ruling

Justice Brett Kavanaugh was one of six justices who said permits are required if the pollution at issue amounted to the “functional equivalent” of a direct discharge (Greenwire, April 23). But instead of just signing onto the majority opinion written by Justice Stephen Breyer, Kavanaugh penned his own concurrence saying he agreed with the majority opinion “in full.”

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Aquafornia news American Rivers

Blog: Clean water in a time of coronavirus: Tackling the crisis in California

In many areas of the Central Valley and Central Coast, decades of intensive agriculture has resulted in groundwater too polluted to drink, and wells that have gone dry from over-pumping. More than one million people in these regions lack a source of clean water in their homes. This is a hardship even in the best of times, but it puts communities at extremely high risk during this time of crisis.

Aquafornia news NOAA

Blog: How microplastics travel in the Southern California Bight

Although it is clear that river discharge is the major source of plastic pollution entering the oceans, there remains uncertainty around how plastic pollution is transported through rivers and coastal marine waters. How important is stormflow for delivering plastic pollution from rivers to the coastal ocean? How are microplastics transported through coastal environments? How much is eventually sinking and settling on the seafloor?

Aquafornia news Food and Environment Reporting Network

Coronavirus forces California farmworkers to scramble for safe drinking water

Some 1 million residents of California farmworker communities have relied for years on bottled water because their tap water is tainted with nitrate and other agricultural pollutants. Now, as stores ration water to prevent hoarding during the coronavirus crisis, these residents are relying on friends and family, or driving many miles to bigger towns in search of water

Aquafornia news KQED News

California floater mussels take fish for an epic joyride

Ecologist Jonathan Young steered his rowboat alongside a rectangular container that was floating between two bright orange buoys. He reached under a plastic mesh covering and pulled out a large black and brown object the size of his fist that looked a lot like a clam. “These are the underdogs of water quality,” he said. “And also, unfortunately, on their way to extinction.”

Aquafornia news Associated Press

White House moves to weaken EPA rule on toxic compounds

The Trump White House has intervened to weaken one of the few public health protections pursued by its own administration, a rule to limit the use of a toxic industrial compound in consumer products… Documents show the White House Office of Management and Budget formally notified the EPA last July that it was stepping into the crafting of the rule on the compound, perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, used in nonstick and stain-resistant frying pans, rugs, and countless other consumer products.

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Aquafornia news Water & Wastes Digest

PFAS in potable reuse: Crisis or non-issue?

Given the recent impact of PFAS on other aspects of the water and wastewater industry, it is important to determine the consequences potential new regulation andnew public awareness of PFAS will have for potable reuse projects.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Green groups sue after EPA suspends enforcement of pollution monitoring due to coronavirus

Environmental groups are suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over a March memo signaling that the agency would not seek penalties against companies that do not monitor their pollution during the coronavirus outbreak.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California says it will fill gaps in lax EPA enforcement

California’s top environmental agency said it would “fill any enforcement gaps” left by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision last month to relax oversight in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Aquafornia news The Guardian

Major blow to Keystone XL pipeline as judge revokes key permit

A federal judge in Montana ordered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to suspend all filling and dredging activities until it conducts formal consultations compliant with the Endangered Species Act. The ruling revokes the water-crossing permit needed to complete construction of the pipeline, and is expected to cause major delays to the divisive project.

Aquafornia news California Ag Today

Helping dairy operators protect groundwater

Over the last 20 years, UC research has shown that dairies in the San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys are potentially major contributors of nitrate and salts in groundwater. To maintain the quality of this irreplaceable natural resource, the California Water Resources Control Board has ramped up regulations to ensure that diary manure and wastewater application isn’t contaminating the aquifer.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

EPA delaying some Superfund work to limit coronavirus spread

The Environmental Protection Agency issued guidance on Friday specific to Superfund cleanup actions. The agency’s regional offices have decided, and may continue to decide, to slow or stop some work because of social distancing restrictions, travel restrictions, and ill employees, the agency said in its memo.

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Aquafornia news Truthout

As US reels from COVID-19, the PFAS pollution crisis is quietly growing

Now, as the nation reels from a fresh public health crisis caused by the novel coronavirus, new research suggests that more than 2,500 industrial facilities located in virtually every congressional district could be discharging PFAS into the air and water in the absence of federal regulations.

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Aquafornia news KQED News

After 9-month pause, California issuing fracking permits again

State oil and gas regulators have granted permits for hydraulic fracturing, the controversial drilling technique known as fracking, for the first time since last summer. The California Geologic Energy Management Division, or CalGEM, last week issued permits to Aera Energy, a joint venture of Shell and ExxonMobil, for “well stimulation” work in two Kern County oil fields.

Aquafornia news Military Times

Here’s the latest count of suspected bases with toxic “forever chemicals” in the water

Cancer-linked per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, collectively known as PFAS, have been confirmed at 328 sites, according to Pentagon data analyzed by Environmental Working Group, and are suspected on about 350 more Defense Department installations and sites.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

How do you study microfibers? Get creative

Three years ago, Dimitri Deheyn noticed intensely blue stringy shapes as he examined jellyfish samples through a microscope in his marine biology lab at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego.

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Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: Tightening lead leaching standards for new drinking water fixtures

We have a legacy of lead in our pipes, our paint, and our soil. These are the most significant sources of human lead exposure and, therefore, draw most of the attention and resources because they are costly to fix. … For that reason, EDF has sought, as part of our larger efforts, to reduce the amount of lead that leaches from new plumbing devices such as faucets and fountains.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Fracking in California gets green light after 9-month pause; Aera Energy receives permits

California regulators on Friday issued fracking permits for the first time in nine months, saying federal scientists had given clearance for 24 permits to Aera Energy for oil well stimulation in Kern County. … Last July, Gov. Gavin Newsom fired the state’s oil and gas supervisor a day after The Desert Sun reported that the number of fracking permits issued during his first six months in office had doubled compared to the same period under his predecessor…

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

EPA’s relaxed enforcement amid virus draws mixed state reaction

State regulators are giving mixed responses to the EPA’s relaxed enforcement on a range of environmental obligations by facilities affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The Environmental Protection Agency said this week it wouldn’t seek penalties for violations covered by the emergency policy. … The California Environmental Protection Agency said its enforcement authority “remains intact” in spite of the EPA memo.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

San Onofre treatment plant problem leads to release of 7,000 gallons of partially treated sewage into ocean

In an alert to state regulators, Southern California Edison, which operates the power station, said an unexpected surge of wastewater led to an “upset” at the treatment plant that morning, triggering an alarm but allowing the sewage to flow through a 6,000-foot pipe out into the ocean before workers could turn off the pumps.

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Aquafornia news CNN

Designing an end to a toxic American obsession: The Lawn

While many residents across the US may want a traditional patch of green carpet, Jodie Cook, a landscape designer from San Clemente, California, explained over email that West Coast homeowners are growing increasingly aware of how innovative models for lawns can benefit natural ecosystems, while providing a new dimension to the family home.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

California eyeing regulation of 1,4-Dioxane in drinking water

California is moving closer to setting a drinking water limit for the solvent 1,4-dioxane, which EPA has said is a likely carcinogen. The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment announced Friday it was working to set a public health goal for the emerging contaminant.

Aquafornia news The Revelator

Blog: Freshwater species are disappearing fast — this year is critical for saving them

We’ve all seen photos of clear-cut forests with swathes of razed trees or deep scars in the ground from an open-pit mine. The damage to the species that live in these habitats isn’t hard to imagine. But the damage we’ve done to freshwater ecosystems isn’t so visible. In rivers or lakes, trouble often lurks out of view beneath the surface of the water …

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Friday Top of the Scroll: Virus-related delays cause states to rethink water permit compliance

States around the country say they won’t penalize water and wastewater utilities for failing to meet Clean Water Act permit requirements due to delays caused by the deadly coronavirus if those delays are justified and documented. Delays, for example, could be caused by utility staff who test and monitor water quality—or lab workers who analyze it—being quarantined with Covid-19.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

7,000 gallons of sewage from San Onofre nuclear plant spills a mile into the ocean

A sudden influx of water at the sewage treatment facility at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station early Wednesday morning led to about 7,000 gallons of partially treated wastewater being released about a mile into the Pacific. Officials at Southern California Edison, the plant’s operator, said the sewage amounted to a “non-radiological release”…

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: New Klamath TMDLs: An impossible standard?

During a week full of COVID-19-related uncertainty, a pair of new lawsuits are a reminder of one constant: disputes over Klamath Basin water. This past week, PacifiCorp and Klamath Water Users Association each filed petitions for review of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for temperature in the Upper Klamath and Lost River subbasins.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Family’s 18-year fight with county over water rights tossed

Sealing a baffling fight over a ditch that involved dead cows, helicopters and a criminal trial, a federal judge ruled Tuesday that a California county didn’t trample a rural cattle rancher’s rights in its curious attempt to sabotage his water rights permit.

Aquafornia news California Healthline

California isn’t testing enough children for lead, prompting legislation

In some parts of California, a higher percentage of children who were tested had elevated levels of toxic lead in their blood than in Flint, Michigan, during the height of that city’s water crisis.

Aquafornia news The Tribune

Santa Maria oil spill in Cuyama River mostly contained

Most of the 6,000 gallons of crude oil that was spilled into the Cuyama River in Santa Maria has been contained. … A tanker truck carrying more than 6,000 gallons of crude oil overturned and crashed into the Cuyama River east of Santa Maria on Saturday, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump pushes legal limits with virus disaster declaration

President Trump has become the first U.S. president to declare a health epidemic a “major disaster” in his recent decisions to approve requests for that designation from the governors of California, New York and Washington in their battles against COVID-19. … Trump’s determinations could open the door for FEMA to step into a wide range of future events including droughts, extreme cold weather and the contamination of drinking water.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Tanker truck spills 6K gallons of oil near California dam

A tanker truck overturned down an embankment Saturday, spilling up to 6,000 gallons of crude oil into a river that flows into a dam and reservoir near the city of Santa Maria, authorities said.

Aquafornia news Daily Californian

Addressing arsenic problems in rural California

Arsenic is one of the most toxic elements in the Earth’s crust. It is widely distributed, and under certain geochemical conditions, it dissolves into groundwater, which then gets pumped out for human use. Arsenic presents the highest cancer risk of any regulated carcinogens among drinking water contaminants when the risk from each is ranked at its maximum allowable concentration.

Aquafornia news North Bay Business Journal

California now requires storm water permits for certain business licenses: Here’s what you need to know

In an effort to reduce the amount of pollution entering surface waters, the state of California requires industries with an identified potential of discharging pollutants in storm water runoff to obtain and implement an industrial storm water permit. A new state law, effective Jan. 1, requires applicable businesses to provide proof of coverage under the industrial storm water permit in order to obtain or renew their business license with a city or county.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Microplastics found in a quarter of San Diego estuary fish

In a sampling of fish from a creek that flows into San Diego Bay, nearly a quarter contain microplastics, according to a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE. The study, which examined plastics in coastal sediments and three species of fish, showed that the frequency and types of plastic ingested varied with fish species and, in some cases, size or age of fish.

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Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Groups bring suit over secret approval process for PFAS chemicals

The Environmental Protection Agency has allowed hundreds of new PFAS chemicals to enter commerce under the Toxic Substances Control Act since 2006, continuing to do so in recent years even as new research about the dangers of PFAS emerges.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Coronavirus: California issues warning about disinfecting wipes

Wipes and paper towels do not break down like toilet paper does in water. They are stronger, and many wipes include plastics and materials like nylon. That means bad news for sewer systems, some of which already are experiencing problems during the coronavirus crisis.

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Aquafornia news Geographical Magazine

The unexplored consequences of wildfires reaching water

There is now plenty of evidence that as the atmosphere warms, the planet is experiencing more wildfires. … Understandably, much of the media surrounding these incidents focuses on the immediate damage to forests, homes, people and wildlife, but one potentially dangerous long-term impact has received less attention – the effect of fires on water.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Meet the lead bullet ‘miners’ of the Santa Ana River

The park has hosted sport shooters since the mid-1960s, but the business did little to stop lead, which is toxic to humans and wildlife, from entering the ephemeral waterway until 2013. … For much of its history, the site fell through the cracks among various regulatory bodies tasked with guarding the environment and public health. In their absence, a small-scale mining economy has sprung up in the legally protected river.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Military sees surge in sites with ‘forever chemical’ contamination

The military now has at least 651 sites that have been contaminated with cancer-linked “forever chemicals,” a more than 50 percent jump from its last tally. The information was released Friday in a report from the Department of Defense (DOD), part of a task force designed to help the military remove a class of chemicals known as PFAS from the water supply near numerous military bases.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Senate Democrats unveil $20B bill to battle ‘forever chemical’ contamination

A new bill from Senate Democrats would roll out $20 billion in funding to remove cancer-linked “forever chemicals” from water as it contaminates supplies across the country.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Photographer William Bay tackles water pollution in new solo exhibition

Already a well-regarded landscape and portrait photographer, Bay set out to bring more attention to the issue. The avid surfer admits that he initially wasn’t sure how best to convey what he saw as an environmental emergency. Then, one day, he says he was visiting the Tijuana River mouth and stumbled upon an idea.

Aquafornia news KHTS Radio

Santa Clarita Valley Water closing 13 additional wells to comply with new PFAS rules

The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency (SCV Water) has announced that they are set to voluntarily shut down 13 additional wells in compliance with new state PFAS regulations, officials said Friday. The levels of PFAS found are above the state-mandated response level, according to Kathie Martin, public information officer for Santa Clarita Valley Water.

Aquafornia news Santa Maria Sun

CalGEM public hearing held in Santa Maria allows locals to opine on proposed expansion of Cat Canyon oil production

People flanked by handmade signs spill out of a charter bus that just arrived from UC Santa Barbara. They join a growing rally outside the Veterans Memorial Center in Santa Maria, chanting, “Health, not oil,” and, “No new oil, keep it in the soil!” A microphone passed around gave different folks and organizations a chance to lead the rally cries.

Aquafornia news Lompoc Record

Orcutt Hill oil company ordered to reduce polluted runoff, pay $115K to watershed fund

A settlement was reached Wednesday in a federal lawsuit filed by an environmental group accusing Pacific Coast Energy Co. of illegally discharging polluted water from an Orcutt oil facility into northern Santa Barbara County waterways and threatening endangered species.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Tijuana River sewage pollution shutters beaches as far north as Coronado

Beaches were closed on Tuesday from the Mexico border to Coronado as rain flushed sewage-contaminated runoff from Tijuana into the San Diego region. “Things have gotten worse than ever,” said Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina.

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Aquafornia news NBC Palm Springs

Leaders come together to tour public health crisis at Salton Sea

State and federal leaders came together to tour the Salton Sea and understand the impending health issues the public continues to face. NBC Palm Springs joined officials to get a glimpse of what is being done to help restore an area that was once a relaxing summer destination.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Reporter

“A witch’s brew”: State EPA says Simi nuclear site must be cleaned up

On Feb. 13 in Simi Valley, a group called the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL) Work Group held a community meeting regarding the failure of Boeing, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to adequately clean up the radioactive and carcinogenic chemicals left at the site…

Aquafornia news KSBY

Santa Maria community meets on the future of oil drilling

People on both sides of the oil argument met Wednesday night in Santa Maria, sharing their opinions about the future of oil drilling on the Central Coast. The meeting was one of 10 that the California Department of Conservation’s Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) is hosting.

Aquafornia news Mountain View Voice

Lawsuits against Mountain View and Sunnyvale allege sewage water leaking into creeks and Bay

An environmental watchdog group has filed lawsuits against the cities of Mountain View and Sunnyvale alleging that the cities’ aging sewer systems are leaking bacteria from human feces into stormwater drainage systems, contaminating local creeks and ultimately the Bay.

Aquafornia news Chico News & Review

‘They’re failing us’

The preserve [inside the Neal Road Recycling and Waste Facility near Chico]—which is overseen by California Open Lands, a local nonprofit land trust—also has been a focus of the State Water Resources Control Board’s Office of Enforcement, which is investigating the landfill for allegedly discharging last winter about 24 million gallons of waste-contaminated stormwater into the preserve and a neighboring watershed.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

California wants limit for Erin Brockovich chemical in water

The State Water Resources Control Board Tuesday adopted its 2020 priorities, which include setting a maximum contaminant level of the heavy metal, also known as chromium-6. A proposed rule setting the limit could come in early 2021.

Aquafornia news KPBS

California wants feds to address cross-border sewage

The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board issued an investigative order in February that requires more monitoring of sewage-tainted cross-border flows. The order requires the International Boundary and Water Commission to monitor more than a dozen locations over an 18-month period.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Paradise water testing wraps up more than a year after contamination first confirmed

Paradise Irrigation District has completed sampling service lines to all standing structures in the town for possible water contamination and is expecting to finish repairs by the end of spring. The completion of the testing marks a milestone in the area’s recovery after the Camp Fire.

Aquafornia news KPBS

Protesters gather at Mexican consulate, demand end of cross border sewage spills

A handful of protesters marched outside the Mexican Consulate in Little Italy, protesting cross border sewage flows. They want Mexico to do more to fix the problem. Polluted water has routinely flowed from Mexico into the United States since December. “We feel like we’re not getting heard,” said Mitch McKay, president of Citizens for Coastal Conservancy.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Military may be bound by state laws on ‘forever chemicals’

The Pentagon may be forced to follow new state environmental pollution standards for a family of manmade “forever chemicals” that may have been spilled at hundreds of military sites in the U.S., Defense Secretary Mark Esper told lawmakers. Esper was pressed Wednesday at a House Armed Services Committee hearing over the military’s use of widely used firefighting foam containing chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, that never degrade.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

U.S. considers recycling more wastewater, including from oil and gas fields

Some environmental groups eye the effort suspiciously, fearing the Trump administration will use the project to allow businesses to offload hazardous wastewater in ways that threaten drinking water sources and otherwise risk public health. Businesses including oil and gas developers have urged the Trump administration to allow them more ways to get rid of their increasing volumes of wastewater.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

EPA handling multiple PFAS-related criminal investigations

The EPA is involved in multiple PFAS-related criminal investigations, the agency said Wednesday, adding another knot to an already complex legal landscape for “forever chemicals.” The Environmental Protection Agency acknowledged the probes in a new progress report on its 2019 PFAS Action Plan.

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Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin group joins fight over Clean Water Act changes

Joining 12 other conservation groups from throughout the country, the Olema-based Turtle Island Restoration Network alleges the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did not attempt to weigh the potential impacts to endangered species when it removed millions of acres of waterways and habitat from Clean Water Act protections in January.

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Aquafornia news Laguna Beach Independent

Laguna Beach moves to hike sewer rates in wake of Thanksgiving spill

A sewage spill that occurred a day before Thanksgiving last year prompted the Laguna Beach City Council to move forward with a one-time sewer rate increase Tuesday that will account for the financial fallout. Pending the result of a protest vote by ratepayers, the 10% increase ups bills for single-family homes to $800 annually, or $66.67 per month. The hike could take effect as early as July 1.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Court tosses environmental approval for 72,000 Kern County oil wells

A California appellate court on Tuesday threw out a Kern County law that allowed major oil producers to rely on a single, blanket environmental approval for 72,000 new oil wells, instead of facing scrutiny of each new project’s potential impact on air quality, drinking water, wildlife and other concerns.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Revamped lead rule ignores concerns raised in EPA memo

EPA proposed its revamp of the Lead and Copper Rule last fall. That revision addresses many elements of the regulation then-acting Region 5 Administrator Robert Kaplan critiqued. But it does not follow one key recommendation: that the agency establish health-based limits on lead in drinking water.

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Aquafornia news The Recorder

Opinion: California takes the lead in regulating PFAS chemicals in drinking water

California finds itself once again taking the lead by setting regulatory standards stricter than the rest of the nation. At issue is the nearly ubiquitous presence of certain PFAS chemicals in drinking water, a problem being addressed to varying degrees by many states and federal regulators.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer to leave more than $1 billion in polluted rivers, flood issues to successor

For years, city auditors warned elected leaders that San Diego’s stormwater needs were being dramatically underfunded, leaving the city vulnerable to lawsuits and hefty fines from state regulators. Still, the mayor’s office has yet to take on the political challenge of securing enough new funding to fix the situation, something that would likely require a voter-approved tax hike.

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Aquafornia news The Oregonian

Scientists gather to study risk from microplastic pollution

This week, a group of five-dozen microplastics researchers from major universities, government agencies, tribes, aquariums, environmental groups and even water sanitation districts across the U.S. West is gathering in Bremerton, Washington, to tackle the issue. The goal is to create a mathematical risk assessment for microplastic pollution in the region similar to predictions used to game out responses to major natural disasters such as earthquakes.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Toxic Superfund cleanups decline to more than 30-year low

The federal government wrapped up cleanups at six Superfund sites around the country in the 2019 budget year, the fewest since three in 1986, EPA online records showed. The Superfund program was born out of the 1970′s disaster at Love Canal in New York, where industrial contaminants poisoned groundwater, spurred complaints of health problems and prompted presidential emergency declarations.

Aquafornia news E&E News

What remains in high court’s environmental lineup

By this summer, the justices will have decided a case that could more clearly establish the scope of the Clean Water Act and a challenge that could more firmly define states’ role in federal Superfund cleanups. The court has so far been slow to issue opinions while Chief Justice John Roberts was spending half of his days at impeachment trial proceedings across the street on Capitol Hill.

Aquafornia news Forbes

Mystery of malformed fish in California solved by analyzing ‘ear rocks’

More than 800 specimens of Sacramento splittail (Pogonichthys macrolepidotus) were collected, still alive, but showing malformations of the spine. Toxic metals can cause such growth anomalies.

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Aquafornia news The Hill

EPA moves to limit financial pressure on ‘forever chemical’ manufacturers under cleanup law

A proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would absolve the nation’s manufacturers of cancer-linked “forever chemicals” from broad financial responsibility for cleaning up their product as it leaches into the water supply across the country. The class of chemicals known as PFAS, which are noted for their persistence in both the environment and the human body, are used in a variety of nonstick products.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

EPA closer to regulating PFAS in drinking water

The EPA has made an initial determination that it will eventually set legal limits for levels of two key PFAS chemicals in drinking water, the agency announced Thursday. … That announcement could still be months away.

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Aquafornia news ABC30

Water worries for residents as dead fish float on Fancher Creek

Dozens of dead fish are floating to the surface along a Fresno County waterway and people living nearby are worried about their water. Fancher Creek flows from Pine Flat all the way into Fresno, mostly to let farmers get irrigation water. But fish also use the water, except right now, for about 200 yards, all of them are dead.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Nearly half the country working on PFAS rules as EPA drags feet

More states are stepping up to protect people from drinking water contaminated with “forever chemicals” in the absence of federal enforcement. Twenty-three states are writing their own guidance, regulations, or legislation that would address drinking water contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS.

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Aquafornia news KPIX

San Jose residents say it took months to be notified of tainted well water

11,000 households in San Jose’s Willow Glen and Williams Road neighborhoods received letters in the mail beginning in late January from the San Jose Water Company warning that the wells that provide them with drinking water tested positive for elevated levels of per-flouro-octane sulfonic acid, known as PFOS.

Aquafornia news MyValleyNews.com

Local water supplies impacted by new state guidance on PFAS

Though sampling indicated levels of PFOS and PFOA in a couple of local sources of water, Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District is currently not producing drinking water from impacted sources. EVMWD is evaluating options to meet these new regulations including importing water to offset local supplies and in the long term, considering construction of treatment systems if water sources exceed state mandated response levels.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Opinion: Time to act is now on California’s water system

Access to reliable, clean drinking water should be a fundamental human right for all Californians. Unfortunately, many disadvantaged communities throughout the state lack access to clean drinking water, and our aging water delivery infrastructure threatens water reliability for millions of California residents.

Aquafornia news Circle of Bue

Who pays? PFAS lawsuits, legislation raise question of pollution liability

A potential lawsuit in North Carolina and legislation in Congress have together surfaced an under-the-radar debate about who shoulders the burden of preventing contamination of waterways with toxic PFAS chemicals.

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Aquafornia news Half Moon Bay Review

Schools plan to improve safety of drinking water

In response to concerns about lead in the water at schools in Cabrillo Unified School District, the district is moving forward with a plan to get 25 filtered water bottle filling stations installed across Cabrillo campuses.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Toxic sites in Hoopa Valley awaiting cleanup as Trump’s EPA budget cuts loom

Celtor Chemical Works and the Cooper Bluff Mine are part of a priorities list for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund program. The mine was formally added to the list last year, while the processing facility is scheduled for re-assessment after officials discovered more toxic waste linking back to it. But the Trump administration this week proposed reducing the EPA’s budget by 26%, cuts that would include $113 million slashed from the Superfund program’s allocation.

Aquafornia news Merced Sun-Star

Cleaning Atwater’s contaminated water is city’s highest priority, says council

The Atwater City Council this week unanimously declared its highest priority public improvement project to be restoring the city’s clean water. The urgent resolution came after a carcinogenic chemical, 1,2,3-Trichloropropane (TCP), was found in several Atwater wells — and in quantities exceeding state-approved maximum contaminant levels.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Sewage in creeks prompts lawsuits against Sunnyvale, Mountain View

A Bay Area environmental group has sued the cities of Sunnyvale and Mountain View, saying they are in violation of the federal Clean Water Act for discharging raw sewage and polluted storm water into creeks, sending bacteria pollution to levels more than 50 times legal limits.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Experts criticize EPA lead and copper rule revisions

Experts and advocates on Tuesday criticized the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule to combat lead in the water supply, calling for the agency to require that service lines containing lead be replaced.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Water bill designed to help bring clean water to Central Valley gets Republican opposition

A bill that could help disadvantaged Central Valley towns including ones in Tulare County provide safe and affordable drinking water is facing opposition by Republican critics, including GOP representatives from California. In December 2019, Rep. TJ Cox (D-Fresno) unveiled a $100 million proposal to make improvements in small towns suffering from contaminated drinking water.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Synthetic chemicals in soils are ‘ticking time bomb’

A growing health crisis fueled by synthetic chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, in groundwater has garnered much attention in the last few years. The reported levels could be “just the tip of the iceberg,” as most of the chemicals are still migrating down slowly through the soil, according to Bo Guo, University of Arizona assistant professor of hydrology and atmospheric sciences.

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Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

In wildfire’s wake, another threat: Drinking water contamination

Wildfire poses layers of risk to drinking water that unspool over time and geography, with some effects emerging years later, sometimes outside the burn zone… Water utility managers, engineers and scientists have only recently begun to grapple with the aftereffects of fires that consume entire neighborhoods and towns—as they did in California—and that in the process, release dozens of manmade pollutants into water lines.

Aquafornia news Daily Pilot

Company will help clean up Huntington Beach shores following settlement over industrial runoff, EPA says

The EPA announced Monday it has reached a settlement with Airtech International… For about four years, the EPA said, Airtech violated the federal Clean Water Act by allowing industrial stormwater runoff to flow into the Bolsa Chica channel without a stormwater discharge permit from the California State Water Resources Control Board.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Opinion: Stop farmers’ poisoning of Bay Area drinking water supply

The Central Valley Regional Water Board has issued a 25-year permit for toxic discharges of agricultural wastewater into the San Joaquin River and Bay-Delta… Fishermen and environmental groups have appealed the water board’s decision to the state of California, leaving the future of this permit uncertain.

Aquafornia news Fox 5 San Diego

State officials ask EPA for action on cross-border pollution

The State Lands Commission and State Controller pleaded with the Environmental Protection Agency in a letter Friday asking for immediate action to stop the flow of 50 million gallons per day of polluted water into the Tijuana River Valley. That polluted water flow has created significant and ongoing beach closures in Imperial Beach and Coronado.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: How oil & gas states did (and did not) protect land and water in 2019

Regulating the day-to-day details of an oil and gas operation can be a complex task, with both regulators and operators working hard to prevent leaks, explosions and other threats to worker safety, community health and the environment. … That’s why we track what states are up to on a consistent basis.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Unlikely allies push the White House to back cleaning pollution from the Tijuana River

With the backing of an unusual mix of local Democrats, Republicans, Border Patrol agents and environmental groups, House Democrats leveraged their support for the trade bill — one of Trump’s highest priorities — to secure the administration’s rare backing for an environmental project. Each group played a part.

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Aquafornia news Orange County Register

‘Forever chemicals’ trigger widespread closures of water wells

The state lowered the acceptable levels for two PFAS toxins in drinking water on Thursday, triggering the closure of wells throughout the California — including 33 in Orange County, which has been particularly plagued by the so-called “forever chemical.”

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Aquafornia news Desert Research Institute

Blog: People-powered research: Citizen science makes microplastics discovery at Lake Tahoe possible

In fall of 2018, Desert Research Institute scientists Monica Arienzo, Zoe Harrold, and Meghan Collins were formulating a project to search for microplastic pollution in the surface waters of Lake Tahoe and in stormwater runoff into the lake. But the team was not satisfied in seeking to identify the presence of microplastic alone—they also wanted to make connections with community members at Tahoe.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California’s multibillion-dollar problem: the toxic legacy of old oil wells

Across much of California, fossil fuel companies are leaving thousands of oil and gas wells unplugged and idle, potentially threatening the health of people living nearby and handing taxpayers a multibillion-dollar bill for the environmental cleanup.

Aquafornia news KMJ Radio

California’s attorney general joins 18 states urging EPA for protection from “forever chemicals”

California’s Attorney General is part of a multi state coalition – urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to protect communities from what they say are dangerous chemicals. Attorneys General from 19 states, including California’s Xavier Becerra are urging the EPA to proceed with rulemaking to cover the entire family of PFAS chemicals.

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Land bureau may exempt plans from environmental review

The Bureau of Land Management may stop studying how its long-term blueprints for millions of acres of public lands would affect the environment, according to a document shared with Bloomberg Environment. … The BLM may propose a land use planning rule that will “remove NEPA requirements from the planning regulations,” referring to the National Environmental Policy Act,

Aquafornia news City News Service

Petition warns of possible radioactive geysers at San Onofre State Beach

As Southern California Edison begins its eight-year process of decommissioning and dismantling the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, a local watchdog group has filed a petition to put a halt to actions at the seaside plant. Public Watchdogs, a nonprofit advocacy group, claims that if the facility is flooded with rain or ocean water, the proposed method of disposing nuclear waste could lead to explosive radioactive steam geysers.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez bill would outlaw fracking by 2025

A bill introduced last week by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) helped craft would ban fracking nationwide by 2025, according to its newly unveiled text. The legislation would immediately prevent federal agencies from issuing federal permits for expanded fracking, new fracking, new pipelines, new natural gas or oil export terminals and other gas and oil infrastructure.

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Aquafornia news Claremont Courier

Sustainable Claremont: Our clean water future

In November 2018, more than two-thirds of voters passed Measure W, a comprehensive plan to address how we capture water and how to reduce our reliance on imported water. Now called the Safe Clean Water Program, this annual 2.5 cent per impervious square foot tax for all non-exempt property owners will fund over $250 million dollars annually to build and maintain projects that capture rainfall and storm water…

Aquafornia news KQED Science

On the environment, Trump is getting trounced in the courts. At least, so far…

California’s win rate shows that lawyers in its attorney general’s office are bringing strong cases, says legal scholar Buzz Thompson, founding director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.

Aquafornia news The Hill

EPA re-approves key Roundup chemical

The agency is doubling down on its claims that the chemical, glyphosate, doesn’t pose a danger to humans despite thousands of lawsuits that attribute cancer to Roundup.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump administration eyes changes to environmental enforcement

The White House issued a notice [Thursday] seeking input on efforts to “reform enforcement” — a potential boon for the energy industry. … [Thursday's] memo, which appears in the Federal Register, states that federal enforcement has ballooned in recent decades but protections for defendants has not.

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Aquafornia news KQED Science

On the environment, Trump is getting trounced in the courts. At least, so far…

California’s win rate shows that lawyers in its attorney general’s office are bringing strong cases, says legal scholar Buzz Thompson, founding director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Dairy farmer in Turlock area fined over manure rules

The valley’s massive dairy industry routinely mixes manure-tainted wastewater into the irrigation supplies for corn and other feed crops. The state requires that the volume not exceed what the crops can take up as nutrients.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego leaders say $300M in new federal cash will help build U.S. facility to capture Tijuana River pollution

The San Diego region has secured $300 million in federal funding for a new U.S. facility to capture Tijuana sewage spills before they foul South Bay shorelines, elected leaders said Friday.

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Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Friant-Kern, drinking water reviewed: Subcommittee hearing on two Cox bills

Congress began the process of providing relief to the San Joaquin Valley when it comes to the Friant-Kern Canal and clean drinking water in rural communities when a subcommittee held a hearing on two bills sponsored by T.J. Cox.

Aquafornia news Healdsburg Tribune

Cal fish and wildlife monitoring effects of Healdsburg wine spill

Despite the spill, California Department of Fish and Wildlife representatives say that there looks to be no immediate negative environmental impact.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Opinion: California industrial companies—your business license now depends on stormwater permitting

A new law in California took effect Jan. 1 and requires industrial business owners applying to a city or county for a new or renewed business license to demonstrate enrollment in a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System stormwater permit, if it’s required. … Failure to comply will result in delay or denial of a business license, effectively prohibiting the business from starting its operations.

Aquafornia news Valley Voice

Local ag warns Corcoran: Suit against Curtimade dairy will have statewide consequences

It was standing room only as supporters of Curtimade Dairy lined the walls of Corcoran City Council chambers during last night’s city council meeting. Corcoran is currently suing the Curti family for $65 million dollars for damages incurred when their dairy allegedly contaminated the city’s water supply at the height of the drought in 2015.

Aquafornia news The Log

Newport Beach water wheel project moving forward

The Newport Beach Harbor Commission got an update on the proposed water wheel project at their Jan. 8 meeting… The water wheel would be a floating stationary solar and hydro-powered trash interceptor in San Diego Creek…

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Thursday Top of the Scroll: ‘Our voices are not being heard’: Colorado town a test case for California PFAS victims

When Wendy Rash was diagnosed in 2005 with a thyroid disorder, chronic fatigue and other ailments, her doctor couldn’t explain her suddenly failing health. … It wasn’t until 2016 that scientists tested the tap water they had been drinking and found it was contaminated with man-made chemicals known as per-fluorinated compounds, part of a family of chemicals called PFAS.

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Aquafornia news AgAlert

Farmers welcome new federal rule on water quality

Farmers and ranchers expressed support for a new federal rule to protect navigable waters under the Clean Water Act, saying the rule should offer certainty, transparency and a common-sense approach about how the rule would apply on the farm.

Aquafornia news ABC30

City of Corcoran sues well-known dairy company for $65 million

The city of Corcoran and Curtimade Dairy have been neighbors for more than 100 years. But about four years ago, their relationship turned contentious. The city said it planned to sue the dairy for contaminating its drinking water wells with nitrates, a contaminant that if consumed, can interfere with the ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen to body tissues.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Chevron official tells California lawmakers repairs caused 2019 oil spill

A senior Chevron official told California lawmakers on Monday a 2019 incident that spilled over a million gallons of water and oil into a creek bed was likely caused by its attempts to patch up a shuttered well.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

With some oil drilling on hold, lawmaker wants state to do more to prevent releases

The moratorium has led state officials to place on hold 58 permit applications for high-pressure cyclic steam wells, according to Don Drysdale, a spokesman for the Department of Conservation, which oversees the division now known as the California Geologic Energy Management Division, or CalGEM. A Southern California lawmaker who has launched an inquiry into the steam injection wells says CalGEM’s new rules don’t go far enough.

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Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

California oil and gas wells could cost $9 billion to plug, clean

Cleaning up the tens of thousands of oil and gas wells scattered across California — which includes plugging them, removing surface infrastructure and cleaning the soil — could eventually cost more than $9 billion if they fall to the state to handle, a new report commissioned by state oil regulators says.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

New film highlights fight for clean drinking water in Valley

Yolanda Cuevas saw herself on the big screen for the first time during the Saturday premiere of “The Great Water Divide: California’s Water Crisis” in Exeter. The short documentary focuses on Tooleville, a hamlet in eastern Tulare County where children can’t wash their hands, dishes or vegetables without supervision because the water is tainted with multiple contaminants.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Russian Riverkeeper works to protect, restore Russian River

Rivers are vital. Like life-giving arteries, they deliver water for drinking and irrigation and fertile soil for vineyards and farms. They support watersheds teeming with life. But humans are hard on rivers. We crowd their banks, dump waste in them and take out water, fish and other resources. … When that happens, who speaks for the river?

Aquafornia news North Bay Business Journal

Water regulators seek $4M fine for millions of gallons discharged at Healdsburg hotel, housing project

Nearly a year after construction was halted a second time at a large resort project at the north end of Healdsburg when water-quality regulators allegedly found millions of gallons of sediment-filled stormwater running off into Russian River tributaries, the agency announced it is pursuing a $4.9 million fine against the developer.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Up to 96,000 gallons of wine spills at Rodney Strong Vineyards, most leaks into Russian River

The Russian River flowed with a cherry red tint Wednesday after tens of thousands of gallons of fresh cabernet sauvignon wine poured into the largest tributary in Sonoma County. The wine — enough to fill more than 500,000 bottles — spilled from a Rodney Strong Vineyards’ storage tank at the Healdsburg winery…

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Aquafornia news Reuters

U.S. drinking water widely contaminated with ‘forever chemicals’: environment watchdog

The findings by the Environmental Working Group show the group’s previous estimate in 2018, based on unpublished U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data, that 110 million Americans may be contaminated with PFAS, could be far too low.

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Aquafornia news Reuters

California water utility sues U.S. over PFAS contamination from Air Force base

The California-American Water Company accuses the Air Force of having acted negligently by contaminating a water well in Sacramento County with perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which is found in firefighting foam it used at a base.

Aquafornia news Bay Crossings

King Tides sound a pollution alarm in the Bay

Last month, high tides in San Francisco Bay washed up onto the shoreline of a large former pharmaceutical company in Richmond. A few hours later, the outgoing tide pulled contamination—including pesticides, toxic chemicals and radioactive waste—off the industrial land and into the Bay.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: To protect children, schools must lead the effort to prevent lead poisoning

Fresno County contains eight of the top 50 census districts in California with the highest numbers of kids with lead poisoning, according to a recent article in The Fresno Bee. This is completely unacceptable.

Aquafornia news Siskiyou Daily News

Supervisors extend state of emergency for marijuana-related problems

Siskiyou County supervisors last week supported Sheriff Jon Lopey’s assessment that illegal marijuana grows are detrimental to the health and well being of local residents and approved the extension of a local state of emergency through 2020.

Aquafornia news Environmental Health News

Weed and water woes in the legendary Emerald Triangle

In the early days, these pot farms were small and scattered. But in recent years the industry has intensified. A wave of newcomers planted larger farms, using greenhouses and artificial lights to extend the growing season and yield up to three marijuana crops in a single year. The cannabis boom has polluted waters with fertilizers, fuels and pesticides, triggered erosion that buries the rocky habitats where salmon and trout spawn and grow, and drained streams of water in the dry season.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Two Tulare County towns will be testing ground for ‘innovative’ arsenic-tainted water treatment

A $30,000 grant will bring together 20 high school students from Allensworth and Alpaugh to learn about safe drinking water, conduct hands-on testing of arsenic treatment, and present findings… The students will work with a UC Berkeley lab to test the technology, Electrochemical Arsenic Remediation…

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California sues to block Trump administration fracking plans

California increased its efforts Friday to keep the federal government from allowing oil and gas drilling on more than 1 million acres of public land, suing to block the Trump administration from issuing new permits in the central part of the state.

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Aquafornia news FishBio

Blog: Stream to sea and back again: Modeling the fall-run Chinook salmon lifecycle

The Central Valley fall-run population is a fraction of its historic size and continues to face challenges as a result of factors that range from loss of habitat and changing ocean conditions to pressures from predation and harvest in freshwater and the ocean. Even under good environmental conditions, fall-run Chinook face a slew of challenges over the course of their lives.

Western Water Douglas E. Beeman Layperson's Guide to Groundwater Douglas E. Beeman

Water Resource Innovation, Hard-Earned Lessons and Colorado River Challenges — Western Water Year in Review
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK-Our 2019 articles spanned the gamut from groundwater sustainability and drought resiliency to collaboration and innovation

Smoke from the 2018 Camp Fire as viewed from Lake Oroville in Northern California. Innovative efforts to accelerate restoration of headwater forests and to improve a river for the benefit of both farmers and fish. Hard-earned lessons for water agencies from a string of devastating California wildfires. Efforts to drought-proof a chronically water-short region of California. And a broad debate surrounding how best to address persistent challenges facing the Colorado River. 

These were among the issues Western Water explored in 2019, and are still worth taking a look at in case you missed them.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

West Marin coalition aims to boost Walker Creek fish habitat

West Marin ranchers and a local conservation group are teaming up to plan habitat restoration projects along Walker Creek to restore the once bountiful, but now diminished, runs of coho salmon and steelhead trout. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife awarded the Point Reyes Station-based Marin Resource Conservation District a nearly $350,000 grant this month…

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California eyeing lower standard for perchlorate in drinking water

Water suppliers across the state must test for perchlorate down to 4 parts per billion. In February, the board expects to seek comment on reducing that threshold down to 2 parts per billion…

Aquafornia news East Bay Express

The coming national water-quality crisis

New California testing guidelines that take effect this month are expected to reveal widespread groundwater contamination from the chemicals associated with Teflon.

Aquafornia news Politico

Trump set to gut water protections

The Trump administration is preparing to further dismantle environmental regulations by vastly reducing the reach of federal protections for streams and wetlands — delivering a major win for farmers, developers, miners and oil and gas producers.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Experts fear Trump’s weakening of environmental policy could expose North Coast to drilling

A move by the Trump administration to roll back landmark environmental policy intended to ensure vigorous scrutiny of federal infrastructure projects has struck alarm in the hearts of California conservationists, particularly those striving to safeguard North Coast waters from offshore energy exploration and production.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Discover Magazine

Microplastics are everywhere, but their health effects on humans are still unclear

How pervasive is that plastic exposure, and is it bad for your health? Scientists don’t yet know, but they have some working theories. Here’s what we know so far about these tiny, prevalent plastic particles.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Striped bass: An important indicator species in the Delta

The factors causing the decline of many fish and fisheries in the upper San Francisco Estuary have made their management controversial, usually because of the correlation of declines with increased water exports from the Delta and upstream of the Delta… To address this problem better, the California Fish and Game Commission is developing new policies for managing Delta fish and fisheries, with a special focus on striped bass.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

House passes PFAS chemicals bill to push water standards

House lawmakers passed a bill Friday for U.S. regulators to designate chemicals found in cooking spray, cosmetics and other grease-resistant products as health hazards. Known as polyfluoroalkyl and perfluorooctanoic substances (PFAS and PFOS), the chemicals have been found in groundwater sites across the nation.

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Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: Save the San Joaquin? Fresno County should reject Cemex proposal for deeper gravel mine

Yes, aggregate mining on the San Joaquin has been going on for more than a century. But with production tapering off and newer operations opening on the nearby Kings River, it was generally assumed the poor San Joaquin would finally be given a break… Unfortunately, a proposal by Cemex threatens to dash those hopes while ensuring another century of heavy industry on California’s second-longest river…

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Forever litigated ‘forever chemicals’: A guide to PFAS in courts

Court dockets are ballooning with litigation over PFAS, a vexing family of chemicals used in many consumer and industrial products. … Lawyers have compared the legal onslaught to litigation over asbestos, tobacco, and lead paint. Here’s a rundown of key cases.

Aquafornia news City Watch LA

Opinion: Dirty water – dirty politics

Who can deny the value of potable water to every living thing in this city, this county, this state? Four million residential and industrial customers in 43 cities in the Los Angeles, San Gabriel and San Fernando Basins are dependent on multiple water sources – groundwater pumped from below them, by aqueduct from the Colorado River, the Sierra Nevada snowpack, Mono Lake, the Owens Valley and recycled from wastewater treatment plants.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Opinion: A harsh dose of reality amid movement toward border pollution solution

The increasing spills that have polluted the Tijuana River Valley and ocean off Imperial Beach have resulted in frustration and anger in recent years, but also triggered broad political collaboration at the local, state and federal level that has put the region on the brink of real action.

Aquafornia news Daily Pilot

Name that trash barge: Lots of public engagement possible for Newport’s planned water wheel

Newport Beach has the preliminary engineering, environmental review and startup funding for its long-planned trash-collection vessel for Upper Newport Bay. Now it’s looking forward to the final design, construction and giving the water wheel a personality.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Friday Top of the Scroll: California has protections against Trump rollback of environmental rules

The Trump administration’s sweeping plan to ease environmental review of highways, power plants and other big projects may be less consequential in California, where state law puts checks on new development. By no means, however, would California go unaffected.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Daily News

Owners of former Warner Center Rocketdyne site have a plan for cleanup, but activists push back

Recently, property owner United Technologies Corp. has asked the state to change cleanup requirements of the property from residential to commercial standards, according to the documents filed with the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, which oversees the remediation efforts.

Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Valley Signal

Santa Clarita Valley Water releases report on wells

The majority of groundwater wells drawing water for Santa Clarita Valley Water contain enough of a non-stick chemical, which is a suspected carcinogen, that water officials are now required by the state to notify the county about the find. Of the agency’s 45 operational wells, 29 of them were found to contain tiny amounts of of perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid. 

Related article:

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Water company pleads guilty to hazardous waste violations

A California company that produces Crystal Geyser bottled water pleaded guilty Thursday to illegally storing and transporting hazardous waste and agreed to a $5 million fine, federal prosecutors said. The waste was produced by filtering arsenic out of Sierra Nevada spring water at CG Roxane LLC’s facility in Owens Valley, authorities said.

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Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

NAFTA replacement deal won’t curb pollution, environment groups say

When lawmakers in the House of Representatives approved the Trump administration’s new trade deal with Mexico and Canada last month, they authorized $300 million to help fix failing sewer systems that send raw sewage and toxic pollution flowing into rivers along the U.S.-Mexico border. … But environmental groups are condemning the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, saying it fails to establish binding standards to curb pollution in Mexico’s industrial zones.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

1.4 million California kids have not received mandatory lead poisoning tests

More than 1.4 million children covered by California’s Medicaid health care program have not received the required testing for lead poisoning, state auditors reported Tuesday, and the two agencies charged with administering tests and preventing future exposure have fallen short on their responsibilities.

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Aquafornia news East Bay Express

California’s salmon barely survived the 20th Century. Will they vanish before the next one?

Since 2015, the state’s commercial fishermen have reported nearly record-low catches. Fish hatcheries produce most of the salmon caught in California today, and with much of their inland habitat badly degraded, truly wild salmon are scarce. But a small circle of biologists and fishermen believe they can revive California’s legendary Chinook to something resembling its historic glory.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Thursday Top of the Scroll: ‘Multiheaded hydra’ of PFAS products under California scrutiny

The state this year could require rug and carpet makers to come up with safer alternatives for their stain- and water-resistant products. After-market treatments with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that help consumers protect their boots, clothes, and other textiles from rain, snow, and grease could also face the same fate. So, too, could food packaging items, even as bans on PFAS in single-use bowls, plates, and utensils take effect Jan. 1 in San Francisco and other cities in the state.

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Aquafornia news The Hill

Trump officials voice opposition to ‘forever chemical’ bill

The White House announced Tuesday that President Trump would likely veto legislation designed to manage a class of cancer-linked chemicals leaching into the water supply. The chemicals, known by the abbreviation PFAS, are used in a variety of nonstick products such as raincoats, cookware and packaging and have been found in nearly every state in the country.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

‘A slow-motion Chernobyl’: How lax laws turned a river into a disaster

The river is a powerful example of Mexico’s failure to protect its environment: A New York Times analysis of 15 years of efforts to clean up the Santiago found that attempts floundered in the face of legal loopholes, deficient funding and a lack of political will.

Aquafornia news California Healthline

Fecal bacteria In California’s waterways increases with homeless crisis

San Francisco officials were quick to dispute Trump’s claims. But some of California’s most prized rivers, beaches and streams are indeed contaminated with levels of fecal bacteria that exceed state limits, threatening kayakers, swimmers — and the state’s reputation as a bastion of environmental protection.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Trash creates massive stormwater clog in Tijuana, and fixing it could mean a mess for San Diego

It started with last month’s heavy rains that brought an unprecedented volume of debris tumbling down Tijuana’s Matadero Canyon: old mattresses, used furniture, discarded construction material. That led to a clogged storm drain by the border fence, authorities said, and the flooding of a nearby sewage pump station. The resulting pool of trash and sewage-contaminated water has now been raising fears in San Diego.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Merkley facilitates follow-up summit on sucker recovery

Federal agency representatives on Friday night kept the conversation going with U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley about continued efforts to save two Klamath Basin sucker species from extinction. … Merkley has delivered $23.5 million to the Basin since 2013 to find a way toward a solution. He recently secured $11 million for sucker recovery efforts, including $5.1 million for the Klamath River.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Broad-ranging PFAS chemicals bill on House floor next week

A bill that would require the EPA to regulate PFAS, an emerging family of chemicals contaminating U.S. municipal and private water supplies, is slated to be the first major legislation that the House will take up in 2020.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Providing safe drinking water in the face of disasters: Lessons from Lake County

Climate change is already affecting water management across the state. Small rural communities with ongoing drinking water challenges are especially vulnerable to greater extremes brought on by a warming climate. We talked to Jan Coppinger, a special district administrator from Lake County, about how the county’s small water systems have dealt with an especially devastating string of natural disasters.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Andrew Wheeler says EPA doesn’t have a ‘war with California’

The Trump administration has stripped away its regulatory authority, threatened to cut its highway funding and called its dirty waterways a “significant public health concern.” But it isn’t picking a fight with California. That’s what Andrew Wheeler, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, claimed about actions his office has taken recently when it comes to air and water pollution in the big blue state.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Groups fight against opening up 1 million acres for drilling, fracking

Environmental groups say they plan to fight a Trump administration decision that cleared the way for new oil and gas leases on more than 1 million acres in California. … The final supplemental environmental report released recently said the BLM found no adverse impacts of hydraulic fracturing that could not be alleviated. Several groups and state officials, however, disagree and have called the analysis flawed.

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Aquafornia news The Guardian

Rainwater in parts of US contains high levels of PFAS chemical, says study

New data shows that rainwater in some parts of the US contains high enough levels of potentially toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to possibly affect human health and may, if found in drinking water, in some cases be high enough to trigger regulatory action.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

$2.24 million settlement: South Bay mushroom farm fouled waterways with manure

The company, Watsonville-based Monterey Mushrooms Inc., was accused of polluting a South Bay creek with manure for years, despite orders and warnings dating back to the 1980s. The judgment, the largest for a water pollution lawsuit in county history, will be used in part to restore the damaged Fisher Creek…

Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

Replacing asbestos concrete water pipes

The Rosamond Community Services District will replace the last large areas of asbestos concrete water pipes in a project slated to start early next year. On Wednesday, the Board of Directors awarded a contract to California Compaction for $2.3 million to complete the pipe replacement project.

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