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 KTVU 2 - Los Angeles

Tribe, environmentalists oppose mining project in Santa Clara County

The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band is calling on Santa Clara County to stop a project they say will destroy hundreds of acres of sacred land. A private company wants to build a sand and gravel mining plant there and will need the county’s approval to do it. It’s not just the tribe that’s against this project. The tribe has the support of San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, the ACLU and environmental groups like Green Foothills. They all say the risks far outweigh the benefits and once the damage is done, there’s no turning back. … [E]nvironmentalists also say digging pits hundreds of feet into the soil will have devastating effects on the groundwater table and interrupt the migration patterns of animals that live there.  

Aquafornia news Salon.com

Can the California plastics law solve our plastic problem?

Thanks to a law in California signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom this past June, there could be much less plastic waste in California within a decade, serving as a potential pilot for this legislation being enacted elsewhere. The landmark legislation requires that all packaging in the state be compostable or recyclable by 2032, and sets guidelines for increasing the levels of recycling of plastic packaging in the state by the same year. By signing SB 54 into law, Newsom seeks to hold polluters responsible, shifting the burden of responsibility for plastic pollution from consumers to the plastics industry.

Aquafornia news Carson City Nevada News

South Lake Tahoe leads the way as city council approves water bottle ban

In 2016, the City of San Francisco was the first American municipality to ban the sales of water that comes in plastic bottles. At the time it was called a bold move that was building on a global movement to reduce the huge amount of waste from the billion-dollar plastic bottle industry. South Lake Tahoe was an early adopter of the single-use plastic bag ban, as well as bans of single-use plastic, styrene, and straws. … Plastic bottles break down into tiny pieces (microplastics) that can be found in the lake and water bottles are the most commonly sold in South Lake Tahoe. At this time, soda bottles and other beverages sold in plastic will still be available. Water sold in reusable cans and boxes is becoming more popular, and they will still be allowed.

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Aquafornia news Beyond Pesticides

Blog: Neonicotinoid insecticides keep poisoning California waterways, threatening aquatic ecosystems

According to a September 15 Environment California press release, California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) data confirm more bad news on neonicotinoid (neonic) contamination: nearly all urban waterways in three counties show the presence of the neonic imidacloprid at levels above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) chronic benchmark for harm to aquatic ecosystems; in five other counties, well over half showed its presence at similar levels. Neonic use is strongly correlated with die-offs and other harms to a variety of bees and pollinators, and to other beneficial organisms.

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Aquafornia news ABC30 - Fresno

Valley farmer calling on state to increase water source

The devastating drought is continuing to ravage the Central Valley and is creating more of a water crisis for farmers. Right along the edge of West Fresno County sits miles and miles of uprooted almond trees. Farmer Joe Del Bosque says he’s never seen it like this. … Del Bosque says they’ve done everything to be efficient with their water. He says every orchard and field has water-saving technology. But that’s not enough. Now, he’s calling on lawmakers to increase their water storage to be able to save more water in the future.

Aquafornia news Bay Nature

Meet the ‘flying potato’ of an alga that killed so many Bay fish this summer

At times this summer, the shores of San Francisco Bay looked like a piscine battlefront — strewn with dead white and green sturgeon, leopard sharks, striped bass, bat rays, smelt, anchovies, and other fish. It started in late July in Alameda and expanded throughout the entire Bay. By late August, some 10,000 fish had reportedly died at Oakland’s Lake Merritt alone. … The murk came from the sheer density of the culprit, which was multiplying in the millions: a miniscule organism called Heterosigma akashiwo — akashiwo means “red tide” in Japanese. 

Aquafornia news Forbes

California’s water emergency: Satisfying the thirst of almonds while the wells of the people that harvest them run dry

In just the past month, as California temperatures soared during a drought so severe some experts say it hasn’t been this parched in 1,200 years, about 250 wells, mostly in the state’s bread basket, have gone dry. They’re part of the more than 1,100 California wells that have dried up so far this year, a 60% increase from 2021. While that may not seem like a lot, given that California has 274,000 wells, it’s an ominous sign and a personal tragedy for the one million Californians who struggle for clean water. In many cases, it also pits hugely important agricultural producers, who rely on underground water for their crops, against their own workers, who need it to drink.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Opinion: Toxic chemicals are everywhere. California can limit our exposure

Most parents take extra precautions to protect their children from toxic chemicals — from locking cabinets of cleaning supplies to scrutinizing ingredient labels. But some toxic chemicals are near impossible to limit their exposure to. California can change that. Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS, are a class of over 9,000 industrial compounds that are added to everyday products to repel stains, water or oil. … Commonly referred to as “forever chemicals,” they do not break down in the environment — ever. … According to the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, these chemicals may be contaminating the drinking water of up to 200 million Americans.

-Written by Rebecca Fuoco, science communications officer at the Green Science Policy Institute; and Arlene Blum, founder and executive director of the Green Science Policy Institute and a research associate in the Cell and Molecular Biology Department at UC Berkeley.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Examiner

As California begins monitoring microplastics in water, experts brace for health impacts

Microplastics, or the small fragments of plastics and polymers from clothing, packaging and cosmetics, are now found virtually everywhere on Earth — from the highest peaks to the depths of the ocean. At five millimeters long or less, these tiny specks are also cropping up in the air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink. Microplastics have been detected in commercially farmed shellfish and, recently, in beef and pork, with little known about how much plastic we’re ingesting — or the impacts of this material on our health or the health of the planet. That’s why this month, California took the first step in regulating microplastics in its municipal water supplies, making it the first government agency in the world to do so.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Examiner

California’s Coastal Clean-Up Day brings nearly 30,000 volunteers to the shorelines

On a windswept morning, dozens of volunteers scattered along the rocky shores of the Oakland estuary, donning yellow safety vests and wielding orange trash grabbers. Others pushed kayaks into the water, paddling to nearby beaches with trash bags stuffed into life jackets. They came to collect the forgotten remnants of people’s lives: plastic Easter eggs, cannabis containers, the rusted skeleton of a bicycle and hundreds of plastic bottle caps washed up on the shoreline. Saturday marked California’s 38th Coastal Clean-Up Day, which brought nearly 30,000 volunteers to the state’s shorelines to pick up the trash that ends up here. This year, residents collected over 220,000 pounds of trash and an additional 29,702 pounds of recyclable materials statewide.

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Aquafornia news KQED - San Francisco

SF supervisors unhappy with city’s lack of action to protect Bayview-Hunters Point residents from toxic sea level rise

A committee of San Francisco supervisors Thursday challenged Mayor London Breed’s assertion that the city understands the risk of climate change-related flooding in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood. Members of the Government Audit and Oversight Committee reviewed a June report from the San Francisco Civil Grand Jury that confirmed what Bayview-Hunters Point residents have been saying: The city is not acting fast enough on how sea level rise could surface legacy toxic contamination and spread it in neighborhoods near the Cold War-era naval shipyard. 

Aquafornia news KSBW - Monterey

Pesticide found in surface water in California over past decade

Contaminated water has been found in urban areas in California, including the affects to the Central Coast, according to data released by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. Imidacloprid is a neonicotinoid (or neonics), a pesticide that is also linked to bee die-offs. These pesticides are shown to disrupt the nervous system of bees, other insects and songbirds causing paralysis and death. … According to the CDPR, this insecticide can remain in the soil for long periods of time and be transported by rain or irrigation systems, which leads to contamination in California’s water.

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Aquafornia news Nossaman LLP - JDSupra

Blog: California becomes first government in world to require microplastics testing for drinking water

On September 7, 2022, California became the first government in the world to require microplastics testing for drinking water, an emerging contaminant that is found throughout the environment. The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) approved a policy handbook that details how it will implement a four-year plan, including testing logistics as well as how it will select the public agencies that will be required to test. Microplastics represent an emerging contaminant of concern for which there are still a number of unanswered questions.

Aquafornia news Daily Kos

Blog: SF Bay fish kill update – Recovery of long-lived species like sturgeon could take decades

Starting in late August of this year, the San Francisco Baykeeper and state and regional authorities began receiving increasingly frequent reports of unprecedented numbers of dead fish in the path of a massive “red tide” algae bloom on San Francisco Bay. The fish included large sturgeon, sharks, bat rays, and striped bass, as well as big quantities of smaller fish such as gobies and anchovies, in the water and along the shoreline of the bay. As a investigative reporter who has focused on fish, water, environmental justice and regulatory capture issues for 40 years, the images of the dead fish and other marine organisms were particularly devastating, since I’ve spent thousands of hours fishing on and reporting on the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary.

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Aquafornia news High Country News

California’s algae bloom is like a ‘wildfire in the water’

Lake Merritt, in the center of Oakland, California, is a tidal estuary connected to the Pacific Ocean. It usually teems with life, both human and marine. In early September, its 3-mile shoreline was bustling with joggers. But in the sunset-blackened waters, the gleaming white corpses of thousands of decaying fish bobbed along in the gentle tide and piled up in mounds along the lagoon’s edges. In late July, an algae bloom began spreading in San Francisco Bay, which stretches 60 miles north to south.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Monsanto’s Roundup, linked to cancer, is a wine controversy

One of the most hotly debated issues in California wine these days involves a chemical that can be found in every Home Depot in America: Roundup. Monsanto’s high-profile herbicide is the go-to method of weed control for many California vineyards. … But Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, is probably a carcinogen, according to the World Health Organization. … That revelation has spurred a new outcry in the California wine industry. Some winegrowers who farm according to organic, biodynamic or regenerative protocols — which prohibit the use of glyphosate and other synthetic chemicals — are speaking out against Roundup with renewed fervor, calling for an end to its use in vineyards.

Aquafornia news Politico

‘Forever chemicals’ are everywhere. The battle over who pays to clean them up is just getting started.

State and local governments across the country are suing manufacturers of toxic chemicals that are contaminating much of the nation’s drinking water, aiming to shield water customers and taxpayers from the massive cost of cleaning them up. These pervasive “forever chemicals,” known as PFAS, are linked to a variety of health hazards, including cancer. Now, as state lawmakers and federal regulators get serious about removing them, scores of governments and water suppliers are in pitched court battles over who is on the hook for hundreds of billions of dollars in damage — the companies that created the chemicals or the customers who are drinking them. … In Orange County, Calif., water managers found PFAS in dozens of wells that draw from a vast groundwater basin that supplies 2.5 million people.

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Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Editorial: Point Reyes water plan must instill confidence

Point Reyes National Seashore’s leadership could have done a lot better in responding to water tests that show unacceptable pollution levels. The park declined our request for comment, citing ongoing litigation seeking to derail the park’s new ranch and elk management plan. That plan, to its credit, includes measures to reduce ranches’ possible role in pollution levels – some of which far exceeded state health standards for E. coli bacteria – and resumption of regular testing. The recent report was conducted by an environmental engineering firm hired by environmental organizations, among them the Olema-based Turtle Island Restoration Network, part of which includes the Salmon Protection and Awareness Network, or SPAWN. 

Aquafornia news KQED - San Francisco

‘A lesson in discrimination’: A toxic sea level rise crisis threatens West Oakland

Toxic waste lurking in the soil under West Oakland neighborhoods is the next environmental threat in this community already burdened by pollution. The stability of buried contamination from Oakland’s industrial past relies on it staying in place in the soil. But once the rising waters of San Francisco Bay press inland and get underneath these pockets of chemicals and gases, a certain amount of that waste will not stay in place. Instead, it will begin to move. More than 100 sites — colorless gases in dirt under schools, flammable chemicals buried in shallow soil near parks, petroleum in pockets of groundwater from iron manufacturing — lie in wait.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Dried up: In Utah, drying Great Salt Lake leads to air pollution  

Air pollution in Salt Lake City was so bad last year it set off the fire alarms in Elizabeth Joy’s clinic. Joy, a family and sports medicine doctor, said that her patients had to be evacuated as part of the emergency response. Yet in sending the patients outside, the alarms actually put people in an even more dangerous position given the city’s air quality at the time — which was judged to be the worst in the world on that particular day. … Cars and wildfires contribute to Utah’s air pollution, but the Great Salt Lake is a less obvious but important contributor. Sitting just northwest of Salt Lake City, the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere is drying up because of water use and drought amid a changing climate, sending dust with toxic metals — including arsenic — in the air of a metro area with approximately 1.2 million people.

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Aquafornia news Times of San Diego

Opinion: California’s water threatened by overuse of unregulated pesticides and herbicides

The water scarcity California has been experiencing over the last two decades is the result of the worst drought to hit the American Southwest in the past 1,200 years. … [I]ssues regarding water quality arise due to the state’s high use of pesticides in agriculture, with several Environmental Protection Agency-reapproved toxic herbicides not being regulated by state legislation. From 2004 to 2015, over 2 billion pounds of pesticides have been used in California, with the most recent numbers indicating an annual use of 209 million pounds. Though it represents only 2-3% of total U.S. cropland, the Golden State uses up to 20% of all pesticides employed in the U.S.
-Written by Stan Gottfredson, CEO of Atraxia Law, a San Diego-based firm that helps agricultural workers and their families affected by paraquat exposure compile the necessary information to support their Parkinson’s disease injury claims against liable manufacturers. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Divers remove 3,000 pounds of trash from a lake near Tahoe

Scuba divers who pulled 25,000 pounds of litter and junk out of Lake Tahoe last year have just begun a similar cleanup in Fallen Leaf, a small alpine lake adjacent to Tahoe, and they’re already surprised by the amount of garbage they’re finding. … After scouring one mile of the lake’s 7-mile shoreline down to 25 feet of depth, the crew has pulled out 3,000 pounds of refuse, including about 100 car tires. … Over three days this fall, in addition to pulling up countless beer cans and glass bottles, West’s crew of 16 volunteers also discovered what they believe to be the remains of a 100-year-old Ford Model T automobile: four narrow tires, a chassis and an engine block resting on the silty lake bed.

Aquafornia news Northern California Water Association /The Advisor

Blog: Protecting Sacramento Valley waterways from pyrethroid exceedances

Protecting California’s waterways from pesticides is the joint responsibility of all Californians. These protections need to be implemented within urban as well as agricultural environments because typical watersheds are influenced by hundreds, if not thousands, of individual point sources that are associated with homes, other residential buildings, farms and right-of-ways. While it is true that one individual point source can lead to contamination of a waterway, it is often the cumulative effects of numerous point sources that leads to exceedances of pesticides.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Plan to regulate water pollution from grazing gets OK from California Coastal Commission

With water contamination at Point Reyes National Seashore at dangerous levels, the California Coastal Commission gave the green light Thursday to a strategy to regulate private ranchers and require them to stop practices that increase fecal pollution from cattle. The commission spent hours Thursday debating a second version of a water-quality strategy from the National Park Service, to address chronic water pollution caused by private ranching in the only national seashore on the West Coast.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

5,000-gallon sewage spill closes RAT Beach near Torrance

A secluded stretch of beach near Torrance and Rancho Palos Verdes was closed Wednesday morning after 5,000 gallons of sewage spilled into nearby Malaga Creek, officials said. Lifeguards with the Los Angeles County Fire Department walked along RAT Beach, just south of Torrance Beach, warning people to stay out of the water, said Kealiinohopono Barnes, a spokesperson for the department. … The spill occurred sometime Tuesday evening when a main sewer line in Rancho Palos Verdes became backed up, possibly because of tree roots, said Liz Odenhal, spokesperson for L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn’s office.

Aquafornia news San Francisco

Opinion: S.F. Bay’s toxic algae bloom makes it clear: The Bay Area needs to revolutionize its water management

San Francisco Bay is sick this summer. A toxic algae bloom, the biggest since 2004, is floating across the bay, visibly changing the color of the water and killing off tens of thousands of fish. The takeaway from this unprecedented bloom is clear: The Bay Area needs to revolutionize its water management. Algae blooms are fueled by two primary ingredients. One is higher temperatures which, as the past week’s record-breaking heat wave has shown, seems to be a guarantee going forward. The other is excess nutrients, principally nitrogen and phosphorus, which serve as a food source for algae.
-Written by Spreck Rosekrans, executive director of the nonprofit Restore Hetch Hetchy.

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Aquafornia news CalMatters

California approves microplastics testing of water sources

California water regulators [Wednesday] approved the world’s first requirements for testing microplastics in drinking water sources — a key step towards regulating tiny fragments that are ubiquitous in the environment. After years of research involving more than two-dozen laboratories, the State Water Resources Control Board unanimously approved a policy handbook for testing water supplies for microplastics over four years. Under the plan approved [Wednesday], up to 30 of the state’s largest water providers will be ordered to start quarterly testing for two years, beginning in the fall of 2023. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Poop and pee fueled the huge algae bloom in San Francisco Bay. Fixing the problem could cost $14 billion

After an unprecedented harmful algae bloom first turned San Francisco Bay a murky brown color and then littered its shores with dead fish, many people assumed it was yet another climate disaster to add to the list, along with extreme drought, wildfires and heat waves. While scientists suspect climate change played a role in triggering the bloom, what fueled it is not a mystery. Algae blooms need food to grow, and this one had plenty: nutrients originating in wastewater that the region’s 37 sewage plants pump into the bay. In other words — we wouldn’t have this problem without the poop and pee of the Bay Area’s 8 million residents.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California set to become first in nation to test drinking water for microplastics

Microplastic is everywhere. The tiny particles that shed from clothing, food packaging and tires are in the air, the soil, the ocean and, almost certainly, your drinking water. This week, California is poised to become the first place in the nation, and perhaps the world, to begin requiring water agencies to test for the contaminant. State water regulators, after years of working with more than 20 labs in seven nations to pioneer a means of monitoring microplastics, are scheduled to adopt a testing and reporting requirement Wednesday.

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Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Point Reyes water quality tests find high bacteria levels

New water quality tests conducted at several waterways in the Point Reyes National Seashore found unsafe levels of fecal bacteria, including up to 170 times the state health standard for E. coli at one site. The tests were performed by Douglas Lovell of the Streamborn environmental engineering firm in Berkeley. Environmental organizations that raised funds to hire Lovell said the test results are the latest proof that the National Park Service is not efficiently addressing water pollution caused by private cattle and dairy ranches that lease land from the park. 

Aquafornia news Daily Republic

Potentially devastating loss of sturgeon may provide insight to ancient fish

A toxic algae bloom known as “red tide” is likely the cause of fish and other sea animals dying and washing up on shores around the Bay Area – including the shores of San Pablo Bay on the west side of Mare Island. Dozens, if not hundreds of sturgeon have washed up in recent days, as well as a handful of bass. The losses among the sturgeon population have been great enough from this red tide event that state Fish and Wildlife Service officials are reportedly considering shutting down the sturgeon fishery to fishing.

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Aquafornia news Downey Brand LLP

Blog: U.S. EPA pushing ahead to designate PFOA and PFOS as superfund hazardous substances

Late last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) moved forward to list perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) (including their salts and structural isomers) as “hazardous substances” under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) (otherwise known as “Superfund”).  EPA released a pre-publication version of a proposed rulemaking that officially begins U.S. EPA’s efforts to regulate and address per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination.  

Aquafornia news Earth.Org

Blog: Top 6 environmental issues in the US in 2022

As the latest IPCC report warned, it is ‘now or never’ to limit global warming below 1.5C. Countries around the world are already bearing the brunt of climate change but the reality is that, unless we reverse this trend, the effects that we are going to experience in the near future are going to be significantly more devastating. … Here are the top environmental issues in North America and what the government is doing to tackle them. … A report released in August 2022 by California’s State Water Resources Control Board found that in the Western state alone, nearly one million people face possible long-term health conditions from drinking water containing unsafe levels of contaminants such as arsenic and nitrate.  

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Oceanside spending $7 million to improve downtown storm drainage

Oceanside is preparing to launch a $7 million upgrade of its downtown storm drain system to prevent seasonal flooding, but the California Coastal Commission has raised concerns about the plan. City officials met with the Coastal Commission staff Aug. 24 to discuss a possible 90-day extension of the city’s application for a coastal development permit needed for the project. The three-month delay should give the city enough time to resolve issues the commission has raised about what’s called the storm drain system’s “outfall,” where the water empties onto the beach at Surfrider Way, said Jonathan Smith, the project manager for the city, on Monday.

Aquafornia news New York Times

Toxic red tide kills ‘uncountable’ numbers of fish in the Bay Area

A harmful algal bloom known as a red tide is killing off “uncountable” numbers of fish in the San Francisco Bay Area, with residents reporting rust-colored waters, and piles of stinking fish corpses washing ashore. The fish, first reported dead along the San Mateo County shoreline last Tuesday, are most likely being asphyxiated as a result of the algae, said Jon Rosenfield, a senior scientist with San Francisco Baykeeper, an environmental group that is tracking the fish kill. … While such algal blooms are not uncommon, the scope and deadliness of the one in the Bay Area is concerning, Dr. Rosenfield said. Even the hardiest of fish, like the sturgeon, an ancient creature, are dying, he said. Bat rays, striped bass, yellowfin gobies and even sharks are washing ashore dead.

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Aquafornia news South Tahoe Now

Reopening of parts of the Tahoe Keys delayed due to herbicide level

The three-year-long Control Methods Test (CMT) began this summer in the Tahoe Keys. The projected mid-July reopening date of closed waterways has come and gone and it may be several more weeks until boaters, paddlers, swimmers, and pets can access those closed areas. The reason for the delay is the need for the double turbidity curtains to stay in place for waterways treated with herbicides. Per their permit with Lahontan Water Board, the Tahoe Keys Property Owners Association (TKPOA) and those hired to do the tests cannot remove the curtains until all herbicide residues from Triclopyr get below 1 part per billion. It is currently hovering around 3 parts per billion according to the TKPOA interim General Manager Mark Madison.

Aquafornia news Mercury News

Q & A: How much longer will the Bay Area’s fish kill last, and what’s the culprit?

One of the Bay Area’s largest algae blooms in recent memory could intensify with the arrival later this week of the longest, most intense heat wave of the year — creating pitch-perfect conditions for the toxic algae to potentially kill even more fish across the San Francisco Bay, experts and water regulators said Monday. The bloom — which is a chief suspect in the killing of thousands of fish across the San Francisco Bay over the last several days — appears to be affecting everything from tiny yellowfin goby to sharks, bat rays and possibly even green sturgeon, an already threatened species.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Bacteria levels spur water warnings at 4 Los Angeles County beaches

Los Angeles County public health officials issued ocean water warnings for four beaches Monday after recent tests found high bacterial levels in the water. The Santa Monica Pier, Mother’s Beach in Marina del Rey, inner Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro and Topanga Canyon Beach in Malibu are covered by the Department of Public Health advisory. Visitors to the beaches are advised to avoid swimming and other activities because bacterial levels exceeded state health standards when they were last tested.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

‘It took everything’: the disease that can be contracted by breathing California’s air

The illness that would change Rob Purdie’s life started with a headache, a terrible pain that began around New Year’s 2012 and stayed for months. It was only after several trips to urgent care facilities, multiple doctors and incorrect diagnoses – everything from sinus infections to cluster headaches – he learned what was wrong with him. The Bakersfield, California, resident had meningitis caused by Valley fever, a disease that comes from Coccidioides, a fungus endemic to the soil of the US south-west. … Valley fever is increasing in California’s Central Valley, as it has for years, and experts say that in the future cases could rise across the American west as the climate crisis renders the landscape drier and hotter.

Aquafornia news Mercury News

Thousands of dead fish found at Oakland’s Lake Merritt

Oakland residents woke up Sunday morning to find thousands of dead fish lining the shores of Lake Merritt, in what scientists say may be attributed to a sudden increase in the amount of algae in the water that are toxic for some marine life. The phenomenon — known as an algal bloom — is occurring throughout the Bay Area, from Marin County up north all the way down south to parts of Santa Clara County’s water sources. Algal blooms occur when the nutrients from wastewater treatment plants, including nitrogen and phosphorous, reach a threshold that allows for uncontrolled algae growth.

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Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

Nonprofit thrust into spotlight after finding abandoned cable in Lake Tahoe

It’s a beautiful March day out on Lake Tahoe, the sun is shining, the air is still and there are few other boats on the lake so the water looks like glass. The water is so pristine, it’s hard to imagine there can be anything ugly in the water. Looking into the water, schools of trout swim underneath a boat and about 50 yards away, bubbles are rising from two scuba divers below.  However, when Seth Jones and Monique Rydel Fortner, co-founders of Below the Blue, surface, they are dragging with them a rusted engine block that had been used as a makeshift buoy anchor. After only a few hours on the lake, which is a short day for the two who can spend whole days diving Lake Tahoe’s shores, they pulled up 650 pounds worth of discarded items.

Aquafornia news Law Street Media

Cal. landfill operator sued over runoff

The California Sportfishing Protection Alliance filed a complaint against Clover Flat Land Fill Inc., alleging the defendant violated the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA) by discharging polluted stormwater out of their Clover Flat Resource Recovery Park and Landfill industrial facility. The plaintiff is a non profit public benefit organization with the aim of protecting, preserving, and defending the environment, the complaint says; the defendant allegedly operates the Clover Flat Resource Recovery Park and Landfill. According to the complaint, since January 1 2021, the defendant has continued to violate the FWPCA, the General Industrial Stormwater Permit issued by California, and the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) general permit.

Aquafornia news NOAA Fisheries

Roadway runoff known to kill coho salmon also affects steelhead, Chinook salmon

Stormwater runoff containing a toxic compound from automobile tires that washes into streams is lethal to protected coho salmon, Pacific steelhead, and Chinook salmon, according to new research published today. In contrast, sockeye salmon seem largely unaffected by the same compounds. The newly identified risk to steelhead and Chinook salmon could help inform mitigation efforts for construction and overhaul of highways on the West Coast to ensure that future runoff is less lethal to salmon and steelhead. Some western states have already begun designing highways with inexpensive filtration measures shown to protect salmon.

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Aquafornia news NBC Bay Area

EBMUD agrees to pay $816k settlement for toxic discharge into bay

The East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) has agreed to pay a $816,000 penalty for discharging 16.5 million gallons of partially treated wastewater into the San Francisco Bay, the water board announced on Monday.  The discharge flowed from EBMUD’s Point Isabel Wet Weather Facility to Richmond Inner Harbor in the bay in October of 2021. The wastewater was released during a major rainstorm, according to the SF Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, which approved the settlement.  The discharge contained chlorine at concentrations toxic to aquatic life, the water board said. EBMUD had run out of the chemical used to remove chlorine prior to the release. 

Aquafornia news Press Democrat

Volunteers wanted for Creek Week watershed cleanups in Sonoma, Mendocino counties

A series of watershed cleanups is scheduled for next month in Sonoma and Mendocino counties, and the organizers putting them together are looking for volunteers. The cleanups are scheduled during Creek Week, which is marked by some California cities and environmental organizations during the fourth week of September. The Russian River Watershed Association announced the series of cleanups set to take place between Sept. 17 and 24, presenting opportunities for eco-conscious volunteers to connect with the community while helping to protect the drought-stricken Russian River watershed.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

U.S., Mexico pledge half a billion dollars to fight cross-border pollution from Tijuana sewage

A nearly half-billion-dollar investment in new sewage treatment facilities in Tijuana could clean up perpetually polluted beaches in San Diego, U.S. and Mexican officials say. Officials from both countries signed a treaty through the International Boundary and Water Commission that commits to funding new sanitation projects during a ceremony at the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve in Imperial Beach on Thursday. The agreement pledges about $350 million in U.S. spending and $144 million from the Mexican government to replace failing sewage treatment facilities in Tijuana.

Aquafornia news Daily Breeze

South Bay history: Montrose Chemical’s DDT production has long-lasting impact

Recent revelations in the Southern California News Group about the way DDT was dumped directly into the San Pedro Bay have caused some to wonder at how such a thing could be allowed to happen, knowing what we now know about the long-banned toxic pesticide. Looking at its history might help to explain. A German chemistry student, Othmar Zeidler, first discovered DDT — or dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane — in 1873. But it only began entering into wider use when chemist Paul Hermann Muller resynthesized it in 1936 while investigating two other pesticides.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

State officials visit Moss Landing site of contaminated water

Off an unmarked dead-end road surrounded by farmworkers harvesting strawberries just north of Moss Landing on Thursday, Ignacio Garcia stood on his cement driveway near a dozen or so five-gallon plastic bottles of water. The water is needed, he explained, because his own well is contaminated. … Garcia, who has become an advocate for his community, is far from alone. When the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board began testing wells in the area in 2018, groundwater contamination was bad enough to warrant periodic testing of 44,000 wells in the region. Back in 2014, of 1,627 domestic wells tested in some areas, more than 40% exceeded public health drinking water standards for one particular contaminant – nitrate.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Examiner

Carbon farming tackles California’s belching bovines

When it comes to climate change, cows have taken a reputational hit. These belching bovines have been villainized for releasing methane, a greenhouse gas with more than 25 times the heat-trapping power of carbon dioxide. But now, a growing number of Bay Area farmers are working to repolish the image of the humble dairy cow, recasting their role from gaseous emitters to carbon-capturing machines and powering farmers’ ability to fight the impacts of climate change. Chief among them is Albert Straus, founder and owner of Straus Family Creamery and Dairy in Marshall, an unincorporated town on the northeast shore of Tomales Bay.

Aquafornia news Bay City News Service

State leaders discuss Lake Tahoe’s future amid worsening climate conditions

U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla, D-California, and U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Roseville, made an appearance in Nevada on Tuesday to join this year’s Lake Tahoe Summit — an annual discussion among state, federal and environmental leaders on how to better the Lake Tahoe Basin. Hosted by U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nevada, this year’s conference revolved around the prompt “Protecting Lake Tahoe’s Future” — noting both the accomplishments made over the years, and how to move forward as climate change continues to bring about new or intensified challenges to the community. Many leaders mentioned water quality, forest management and wildfires as talking points.

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Could Virtual Networks Solve Drinking Water Woes for California’s Isolated, Disadvantaged Communities?
WESTERN WATER SPOTLIGHT: UCLA pilot project uses high-tech gear in LA to remotely run clean-water systems for small communities in Central California's Salinas Valley

UCLA’s remote water treatment systems are providing safe tap water to three disadvantaged communities in the Salinas Valley. A pilot program in the Salinas Valley run remotely out of Los Angeles is offering a test case for how California could provide clean drinking water for isolated rural communities plagued by contaminated groundwater that lack the financial means or expertise to connect to a larger water system.

New EPA Regional Administrator Tackles Water Needs with a Wealth of Experience and $1 Billion in Federal Funding
WESTERN WATER Q&A: Martha Guzman says surge of federal dollars offers 'greatest opportunity' to address longstanding water needs, including for tribes & disadvantaged communities in EPA Region 9

EPA Region 9 Administrator Martha Guzman.Martha Guzman recalls those awful days working on water and other issues as a deputy legislative secretary for then-Gov. Jerry Brown. California was mired in a recession and the state’s finances were deep in the red. Parks were cut, schools were cut, programs were cut to try to balance a troubled state budget in what she remembers as “that terrible time.”

She now finds herself in a strikingly different position: As administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 9, she has a mandate to address water challenges across California, Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii and $1 billion to help pay for it. It is the kind of funding, she said, that is usually spread out over a decade. Guzman called it the “absolutely greatest opportunity.”

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.

Western Water Douglas E. Beeman Layperson's Guide to Climate Change and Water Resources Gary PitzerDouglas E. Beeman

As Wildfires Grow More Intense, California Water Managers Are Learning To Rewrite Their Emergency Playbook
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: Agencies share lessons learned as they recover from fires that destroyed facilities, contaminated supplies and devastated their customers

Debris from the Camp Fire that swept through the Sierra foothills town of Paradise  in November 2018.

By Gary Pitzer and Douglas E. Beeman

It’s been a year since two devastating wildfires on opposite ends of California underscored the harsh new realities facing water districts and cities serving communities in or adjacent to the state’s fire-prone wildlands. Fire doesn’t just level homes, it can contaminate water, scorch watersheds, damage delivery systems and upend an agency’s finances.

Western Water California Water Map Gary Pitzer

A Study of Microplastics in San Francisco Bay Could Help Cleanup Strategies Elsewhere
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Debris from plastics and tires is showing up in Bay waters; state drafting microplastics plan for drinking water

Plastic trash and microplastics can get washed into stormwater systems that eventually empty into waterways. Blasted by sun and beaten by waves, plastic bottles and bags shed fibers and tiny flecks of microplastic debris that litter the San Francisco Bay where they can choke the marine life that inadvertently consumes it.

A collaborative effort of the San Francisco Estuary Institute, The 5 Gyre InstituteSan Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board and the regulated discharger community that aims to better understand the problem and assess how to manage it in the San Francisco Bay is nearing the end of a three-year study.

Western Water California Water Map

Your Don’t-Miss Roundup of Summer Reading From Western Water

Dear Western Water reader, 

Clockwise, from top: Lake Powell, on a drought-stressed Colorado River; Subsidence-affected bridge over the Friant-Kern Canal in the San Joaquin Valley;  A homeless camp along the Sacramento River near Old Town Sacramento; Water from a desalination plant in Southern California.Summer is a good time to take a break, relax and enjoy some of the great beaches, waterways and watersheds around California and the West. We hope you’re getting a chance to do plenty of that this July.

But in the weekly sprint through work, it’s easy to miss some interesting nuggets you might want to read. So while we’re taking a publishing break to work on other water articles planned for later this year, we want to help you catch up on Western Water stories from the first half of this year that you might have missed. 

Western Water California Water Map Gary Pitzer

Can Providing Bathrooms to Homeless Protect California’s Water Quality?
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: The connection between homelessness and water is gaining attention under California human right to water law and water quality concerns

A homeless camp set up along the Sacramento River near downtown Sacramento. Each day, people living on the streets and camping along waterways across California face the same struggle – finding clean drinking water and a place to wash and go to the bathroom.

Some find friendly businesses willing to help, or public restrooms and drinking water fountains. Yet for many homeless people, accessing the water and sanitation that most people take for granted remains a daily struggle.

Western Water California Water Map Gary Pitzer

California’s New Natural Resources Secretary Takes on Challenge of Implementing Gov. Newsom’s Ambitious Water Agenda
WESTERN WATER Q&A: Wade Crowfoot addresses Delta tunnel shift, Salton Sea plan and managing water amid a legacy of conflict

Wade Crowfoot, California Natural Resources Secretary.One of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first actions after taking office was to appoint Wade Crowfoot as Natural Resources Agency secretary. Then, within weeks, the governor laid out an ambitious water agenda that Crowfoot, 45, is now charged with executing.

That agenda includes the governor’s desire for a “fresh approach” on water, scaling back the conveyance plan in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and calling for more water recycling, expanded floodplains in the Central Valley and more groundwater recharge.

Western Water Gary Pitzer

California Officials Draft a $600M Plan To Help Low-Income Households Absorb Rising Water Bills
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: State Water Board report proposes new taxes on personal and business income or fees on bottled water and booze to fund rate relief program

Filling a glass with clean water from the kitchen tap.Low-income Californians can get help with their phone bills, their natural gas bills and their electric bills. But there’s only limited help available when it comes to water bills.

That could change if the recommendations of a new report are implemented into law. Drafted by the State Water Resources Control Board, the report outlines the possible components of a program to assist low-income households facing rising water bills.

Western Water Douglas E. Beeman Douglas E. Beeman

Women Leading in Water, Colorado River Drought and Promising Solutions — Western Water Year in Review

Dear Western Water readers:

Women named in the last year to water leadership roles (clockwise, from top left): Karla Nemeth, director, California Department of Water Resources; Gloria Gray,  chair, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California; Brenda Burman, Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner; Jayne Harkins,  commissioner, International Boundary and Water Commission, U.S. and Mexico; Amy Haas, executive director, Upper Colorado River Commission.The growing leadership of women in water. The Colorado River’s persistent drought and efforts to sign off on a plan to avert worse shortfalls of water from the river. And in California’s Central Valley, promising solutions to vexing water resource challenges.

These were among the topics that Western Water news explored in 2018.

We’re already planning a full slate of stories for 2019. You can sign up here to be alerted when new stories are published. In the meantime, take a look at what we dove into in 2018:

Western Water Layperson's Guide to Water Rights Law Gary Pitzer

Amid ‘Green Rush’ of Legal Cannabis, California Strives to Control Adverse Effects on Water
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: State crafts water right and new rules unique to marijuana farms, but will growers accustomed to the shadows comply?

A marijuana plant from a growing operationFor decades, cannabis has been grown in California – hidden away in forested groves or surreptitiously harvested under the glare of high-intensity indoor lamps in suburban tract homes.

In the past 20 years, however, cannabis — known more widely as marijuana – has been moving from being a criminal activity to gaining legitimacy as one of the hundreds of cash crops in the state’s $46 billion-dollar agriculture industry, first legalized for medicinal purposes and this year for recreational use.

Western Water Jenn Bowles Jennifer Bowles

EDITOR’S NOTE: Assessing California’s Response to Marijuana’s Impacts on Water

Jennifer BowlesAs we continue forging ahead in 2018 with our online version of Western Water after 40 years as a print magazine, we turned our attention to a topic that also got its start this year: recreational marijuana as a legal use.

State regulators, in the last few years, already had been beefing up their workforce to tackle the glut in marijuana crops and combat their impacts to water quality and supply for people, fish and farming downstream. Thus, even if these impacts were perhaps unbeknownst to the majority of Californians who approved Proposition 64 in 2016, we thought it important to see if anything new had evolved from a water perspective now that marijuana was legal.

Western Water California Water Map Gary Pitzer

One Year In, A New State Policymaker Assesses the Salton Sea, Federal Relations and California’s Thorny Water Issues
WESTERN WATER Q&A: State Water Board member Joaquin Esquivel

State Water Resources Control Board member E. Joaquin EsquivelJoaquin 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. 

Western Water Layperson's Guide to Integrated Regional Water Management Gary Pitzer

Researchers Aim to Give Homeless a Voice in Southern California Watershed
NOTEBOOK: Assessment of homeless water challenges part of UC Irvine study of community water needs

Homeless encampment near Angel StadiumA new study could help water agencies find solutions to the vexing challenges the homeless face in gaining access to clean water for drinking and sanitation.

The Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA) in Southern California has embarked on a comprehensive and collaborative effort aimed at assessing strengths and needs as it relates to water services for people (including the homeless) within its 2,840 square-mile area that extends from the San Bernardino Mountains to the Orange County coast.

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Pesticide Contamination

Pesticides find their way into creeks, rivers and the oceans, threatening aquatic life and the safety of drinking water.

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Microplastics

Microplastics – plastic debris measuring less than 5 millimeters – are an increasing water quality concern.  Entering the water as industrial microbeads or as larger plastic litter that degrade into small pellets, microplastics come from a variety of consumer products.

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Contaminants

Contaminants exist in water supplies from both natural and manmade sources. Even those chemicals present without human intervention can be mobilized from introduction of certain pollutants from both point and nonpoint sources.  

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Coliform Bacteria

Coliform Bacteria as Indices

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.

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Point Source vs. Nonpoint Source Pollution

Point Source Pollution

Point sources release pollutants from discrete conveyances, such as a discharge pipe, and are regulated by federal and state agencies. The main point source dischargers are factories and sewage treatment plants, which release treated wastewater.

Publication

Stormwater Management: Turning Runoff into a Resource
Published 2007

Problems with polluted stormwater and steps that can be taken to prevent such pollution and turn what is often viewed as “nuisance” runoff into a water resource is the focus of this publication, Stormwater Management: Turning Runoff into a Resource. The 16-page booklet, funded by a grant from the State Water Resources Control Board, includes color photos and graphics, text explaining common stormwater pollutants and efforts to prevent stormwater runoff through land use/ planning/development – as well as tips for homeowners to reduce their impacts on stormwater pollution.

Video

The Klamath Basin: A Restoration for the Ages (20 min. DVD)

20-minute version of the 2012 documentary The Klamath Basin: A Restoration for the Ages. This DVD is ideal for showing at community forums and speaking engagements to help the public understand the complex issues related to complex water management disputes in the Klamath River Basin. Narrated by actress Frances Fisher.

Video

The Klamath Basin: A Restoration for the Ages (60 min. DVD)

For over a century, the Klamath River Basin along the Oregon and California border has faced complex water management disputes. As relayed in this 2012, 60-minute public television documentary narrated by actress Frances Fisher, the water interests range from the Tribes near the river, to energy producer PacifiCorp, farmers, municipalities, commercial fishermen, environmentalists – all bearing legitimate arguments for how to manage the water. After years of fighting, a groundbreaking compromise may soon settle the battles with two epic agreements that hold the promise of peace and fish for the watershed. View an excerpt from the documentary here.

Video

A Climate of Change: Water Adaptation Strategies

This 25-minute documentary-style DVD, developed in partnership with the California Department of Water Resources, provides an excellent overview of climate change and how it is already affecting California. The DVD also explains what scientists anticipate in the future related to sea level rise and precipitation/runoff changes and explores the efforts that are underway to plan and adapt to climate.

Video

Salt of the Earth: Salinity in California’s Central Valley

Salt. In a small amount, it’s a gift from nature. But any doctor will tell you, if you take in too much salt, you’ll start to have health problems. The same negative effect is happening to land in the Central Valley. The problem scientists call “salinity” poses a growing threat to our food supply, our drinking water quality and our way of life. The problem of salt buildup and potential – but costly – solutions are highlighted in this 2008 public television documentary narrated by comedian Paul Rodriguez.

Video

Salt of the Earth: Salinity in California’s Central Valley (20-minute DVD)

A 20-minute version of the 2008 public television documentary Salt of the Earth: Salinity in California’s Central Valley. This DVD is ideal for showing at community forums and speaking engagements to help the public understand the complex issues surrounding the problem of salt build up in the Central Valley potential – but costly – solutions. Narrated by comedian Paul Rodriquez.

Video

Stormwater Management: Turning Runoff into a Resource

20-minute DVD that explains the problem with polluted stormwater, and steps that can be taken to help prevent such pollution and turn what is often viewed as a “nuisance” into a water resource through various activities.

Video

Drinking Water: Quenching the Public Thirst (60-minute DVD)

Many Californians don’t realize that when they turn on the faucet, the water that flows out could come from a source close to home or one hundreds of miles away. Most people take their water for granted; not thinking about the elaborate systems and testing that go into delivering clean, plentiful water to households throughout the state. Where drinking water comes from, how it’s treated, and what people can do to protect its quality are highlighted in this 2007 PBS documentary narrated by actress Wendie Malick. 

Video

Drinking Water: Quenching the Public Thirst (30-minute DVD)

A 30-minute version of the 2007 PBS documentary Drinking Water: Quenching the Public Thirst. This DVD is ideal for showing at community forums and speaking engagements to help the public understand the complex issues surrounding the elaborate systems and testing that go into delivering clean, plentiful water to households throughout the state.

Maps & Posters

Klamath River Watershed Map
Published 2011

This beautiful 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, displays the rivers, lakes and reservoirs, irrigated farmland, urban areas and Indian reservations within the Klamath River Watershed. The map text explains the many issues facing this vast, 15,000-square-mile watershed, including fish restoration; agricultural water use; and wetlands. Also included are descriptions of the separate, but linked, Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and the Klamath Hydroelectric Agreement, and the next steps associated with those agreements. Development of the map was funded by a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to Water Recycling
Updated 2013

As the state’s population continues to grow and traditional water supplies grow tighter, there is increased interest in reusing treated wastewater for a variety of activities, including irrigation of crops, parks and golf courses, groundwater recharge and industrial uses.

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to California Wastewater
Published 2013

The 28-page Layperson’s Guide to California Wastewater is an in-depth, easy-to-understand publication that provides background information on the history of wastewater treatment and how wastewater is collected, conveyed, treated and disposed of today. The guide also offers case studies of different treatment plants and their treatment processes.

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Salton Sea

As part of the historic Colorado River Delta, the Salton Sea regularly filled and dried for thousands of years due to its elevation of 237 feet below sea level.

Aquapedia background California Groundwater Map Layperson's Guide to Groundwater

Groundwater Pollutants

barrel half-buried in the ground, posing a threat to groundwater.

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

Western Water Magazine

Two States, One Lake: Keeping Lake Tahoe Blue
September/October 2013

This printed issue of Western Water discusses some of the issues associated with the effort to preserve and restore the clarity of Lake Tahoe.

Western Water Magazine

Pervasive and Persistent: Constituents of Growing Concern
January/February 2011

This printed issue of Western Water, based on presentations at the November 3-4, 2010 Water Quality Conference in Ontario, Calif., looks at constituents of emerging concerns (CECs) – what is known, what is yet to be determined and the potential regulatory impacts on drinking water quality.

Western Water Magazine

From Source to Tap: Protecting California’s Drinking Water
November/December 2006

This issue of Western Water looks at some of the issues facing drinking water providers, such as compliance with increasingly stringent treatment requirements, the need to improve source water quality and the mission of continually informing consumers about the quality of water they receive.

Western Water Magazine

Pharmaceuticals & Personal Care Products: An Rx for Water Quality Problems?
July/August 2004

This issue of Western Water examines PPCPs – what they are, where they come from and whether the potential exists for them to become a water quality problem. With the continued emphasis on water quality and the fact that many water systems in the West are characterized by flows dominated by effluent contributions, PPCPs seem likely to capture interest for the foreseeable future.

Western Water Magazine

Mercury Rising Tackling the Legacy of the Gold Rush
May/June 2004

This issue of Western Water examines the presence of mercury in the environment and the challenge of limiting the threat posed to human health and wildlife. In addition to outlining the extent of the problem and its resistance to conventional pollution remedies, the article presents a glimpse of some possible courses of action for what promises to be a long-term problem.

Western Water Magazine

Confronting a Legacy of Contamination: Perchlorate
May/June 2003

This issue of Western Water examines the problem of perchlorate contamination and its ramifications on all facets of water delivery, from the extensive cleanup costs to the search for alternative water supplies. In addition to discussing the threat posed by high levels of perchlorate in drinking water, the article presents examples of areas hard hit by contamination and analyzes the potential impacts of forthcoming drinking water standards for perchlorate.

Western Water Magazine

Thirty Years of the Clean Water Act:
November/December 2002

2002 marks the 30th anniversary of one of the most significant environmental laws in American history, the Clean Water Act (CWA). The CWA has had remarkable success, reversing years of neglect and outright abuse of the nation’s waters. But challenges remain as attention turns to the thorny issue of cleaning up nonpoint sources of pollution.