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 Los Angeles Times

NASA wants to make contaminated Santa Susana site a landmark

In what some have described as a cynical attempt by a U.S. government agency to avoid a long-promised cleanup of toxic and radioactive contaminants, NASA has nominated the Santa Susana Field Laboratory for official listing as a traditional cultural property.

Aquafornia news Waste360

Initiative to fight plastic pollution submits petitions

Supporters of an initiative to reduce plastic waste today submitted more than 870,000 voter signatures to qualify the Plastics Free California initiative for the ballot – significantly more than the 623,212 signatures required.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Utilities want to use EPA chemicals law to protect drinking water

A pair of water associations are teaming up to urge the EPA to use all its regulatory tools to safeguard drinking water as it decides whether to allow new chemicals into U.S. commerce.

Aquafornia news WaterWorld

California childcare centers get $6.1 million to test for lead in drinking water

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued $6,137,000 in grants to assist the California Department of Social Services with identifying sources of lead in drinking water in childcare centers.

Aquafornia news The Atlantic

Erin Brockovich has not slowed down

Twenty years ago, Erin Brockovich was released, and the brash, unvarnished legal assistant turned activist at the heart of the film … had the surreal experience of becoming a household name almost overnight. “Let me be the first to tell you that life takes an interesting turn when your name becomes a verb,” the real Erin Brockovich writes in the introduction to her new book, Superman’s Not Coming.

Aquafornia news Hanford Sentinel

Sen. Hurtado hopes to freshen farmworkers’ water

Contaminated water has long plagued California’s Southern Central Valley, a region home to many farmworkers. SB 974, a bill by Senator Melissa Hurtado, seeks to provide safe drinking water by exempting small disadvantaged communities from certain CEQA provisions.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Pipeline plan could mean fewer stream protections, critics say

Under the Aug. 3 proposal, companies would no longer be required to notify the Army Corps if the pipelines they lay require clearing of forested wetlands, or building access roads longer than 500 feet with fill material dredged from streams or wetlands or with impervious materials.

Aquafornia news National Law Review

Wastewater treatment plants subject to California’s new PFAS initiative

The order is one of the most far-reaching of its kind with respect to PFAS, mainly because it requires testing and reporting for 31 different types of PFAS – more than any state has regulated in water sources for PFAS to date.

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Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Are you on a private well? We’re investigating risks to drinking water and need your help

Thousands of families who rent or own homes with private wells are at risk of losing their drinking water in Madera, Fresno, Tulare and Kings counties — and some already have. The Fresno Bee is investigating the risks to private wells and proposed solutions, and we need to hear your stories and your questions to guide our reporting.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Lindsay to spend thousands to clean city’s water

Last week at the Lindsay City Council’s July 28 meeting, city services and planning director Michael Camarena presented a feasibility study. He noted that the city’s water system has been out of compliance with the Stage 2 disinfection byproduct rule for total trihalomethanes and five haloacetic acid maximum contaminant levels.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Water company to pay $5m for hazardous waste violations

A California company that produces Crystal Geyser bottled water was sentenced Wednesday to three years of probation and ordered to pay $5 million in fines for illegally storing and transporting hazardous waste, federal prosecutors said. The waste was produced by filtering arsenic out of Sierra Nevada spring water at CG Roxane LLC’s facility in the Owens Valley.

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Old mines contaminating water, soil at 5,000 California sites

California has about 47,000 abandoned mines and roughly 5,000 of those are contaminating water, soil, vegetation, and air across the state, according to a state report issued Tuesday.

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Aquafornia news InsideClimate News

Tired of wells that threaten residents’ health, small California town takes on the oil industry

In September 2018, Estela Escoto sat down with a team of lawyers and community organizers and weighed her options. Escoto’s town—Arvin, California—had just granted an oil drilling and well-servicing company, Petro-Lud, a permit to drill four new wells near a neighborhood densely packed with young families and a park where children played soccer.

Aquafornia news The Conversation

Blog: Wildfires can poison drinking water: Here’s how communities can be better prepared

Both the Tubbs and Camp fires destroyed fire hydrants, water pipes and meter boxes. Water leaks and ruptured hydrants were common. … After the fires passed, testing ultimately revealed widespread hazardous drinking water contamination. Evidence suggests that the toxic chemicals originated from a combination of burning vegetation, structures and plastic materials.

Aquafornia news U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

News release: EPA announces significant step in effort to reduce lead in drinking water

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a final rule to reduce lead in plumbing materials used in public water systems, homes, schools and other facilities. This action marks a significant milestone in implementing the Trump Administration’s Federal Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures and Associated Health Impacts.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Lawsuit challenges Trump’s overhaul of environmental-review law

A legal battle with far-reaching consequences for industry and ecosystems kicked off Wednesday with the filing of a federal lawsuit over the Trump administration’s revamp of a longstanding law that requires extensive environmental reviews for road, industry and building projects.

Aquafornia news National Public Radio

Audio: Planet Money: Scarce resources, drought and the tragedy of the commons in California

We travel to Porterville, California, where a drought has dried up residents’ wells. There’s water under their homes; they just can’t get to it.

Aquafornia news Grist.org

Friday Top of the Scroll: Democratic senators introduce comprehensive environmental justice bill

The Environmental Justice for All Act would amend the Civil Rights Act to … require federal agencies to consider health effects that might compound over time when making permitting decisions under the federal Clean Air and Clean Water acts.

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Aquafornia news Union of Concerned Scientists

Blog: Groundwater sustainability is a necessity more than ever

In a place like California’s San Joaquin Valley (SJV), Latinos account for 70 percent of COVID-19 cases, even though they represent 42 percent of the population. Improving access to clean and affordable water even as the pandemic grows more urgent, is critical to reducing the types of burdens worsened by the COVID-19 crisis.

Aquafornia news Petaluma Argus-Courier

Despite delays and limitations, volunteers keep the Petaluma River clean

After fewer than two hours walking a section of the Lynch Creek Trail Saturday morning, a group of eight river cleanup volunteers had already hit the jackpot. Their winnings? Two large black trash bags stuffed to the gills with discarded junk and detritus, culled from brambly river banks along one of the city’s most popular trail systems.

Aquafornia news Sen. Dianne Feinstein

News release: Feinstein bill would reduce border pollution, improve water quality

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today introduced the Border Water Quality Restoration and Protection Act, a bill to reduce pollution along the U.S.-Mexico border and improve the water quality of the Tijuana and New rivers.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Democrat asks for probe of Trump administration ‘forever chemical’ rulemaking

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) on Tuesday pushed for a probe into the rulemaking process used by the Trump administration regarding the regulation of a class of cancer-linked chemicals called PFAS.

Aquafornia news Engineering News-Record

House, Senate defense bills have only modest impact on PFAS chemicals

Each of the bills would provide funding for research and development on PFAS remediation methods… But environmental and public health advocates say the bills do not go far enough to address PFAS contamination. They describe the measures as lost opportunities to address PFAS pollution in a significant way.

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Aquafornia news National Science Foundation

News release: Pesticides speed the spread of deadly waterborne pathogens

The U.S. National Science Foundation-funded study … found that agrochemicals can increase transmission of the schistosome worm in myriad ways: by directly affecting survival of the waterborne parasite itself; by decimating aquatic predators that feed on snails that carry the parasite; and by altering the composition of algae in the water, which provides a major food source for snails.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Big PFAS bill likely off the table. Advocates say that’s OK

This year’s National Defense Authorization Act will almost certainly not carry broad chemical cleanup and drinking water mandates.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Forging connections to provide safe drinking water

Providing a reliable source of drinking water is a challenge for many small water systems in the San Joaquin Valley, where dropping groundwater levels, aging systems, and water quality problems are acute. … We talked to Laura Ramos and Sarge Green of Fresno State’s California Water Institute about this effort.

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Aquafornia news The Guardian

Plastic waste entering oceans expected to triple in 20 years

Plastic waste flowing into the oceans is expected to nearly triple in volume in the next 20 years, while efforts to stem the tide have so far made barely a dent in the tsunami of waste, research shows.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

DOJ limits Clean Water Act enforcement overlap with states

Some outside lawyers lauded the move for protecting against excessive enforcement, while others warned that the policy could let some polluters off easy. It’s the latest example of the Trump administration setting new rules for federal environmental enforcement.

Aquafornia news CBS Sunday Morning

Without water

Black and Latino Americans are twice as likely as White Americans to live without running water. Take East Orosi, a mostly Latino community surrounded by the fertile orchards of California’s Central Valley. To look around you’d think that water is pretty plentiful … and it is, for big agriculture. But in a neighborhood where most of those who work those fields live, there’s no central water main.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Monday Top of the Scroll: California had a plan to bring clean water to a million people. Then the pandemic hit

At a meeting this month where the State Water Resources Control Board adopted its first spending plan for what was supposed to be a $130 million-a-year investment for the next decade, Chairman Joaquin Esquivel acknowledged that the economic downturn could set California back.

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Aquafornia news The Sierra Nevada Ally

Scientists search for source of microplastics in the Lake Tahoe Basin and nearby Sierra

Over the next 3 weeks a group of League to Save Lake Tahoe citizen scientists will outfit their clothes driers with special filters to capture particles from dryer vent emissions. Dr. Monica Arienzo of the Desert Research Institute explained that unexpected results from a remote snow sample led to a curiosity in dryer emissions.

Aquafornia news The Recorder

Opinion: New study finds PFOA is carcinogenic: What are the California Prop. 65 implications?

A report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services may result in the listing of PFOA under California’s Proposition 65 as a carcinogen. Here’s what that could mean for the explosion of litigation related to the chemical substance throughout the country.

Aquafornia news The Log

State Water Board proposes plan to streamline regulation of water pollution

The plan, which is currently in draft format and available for public review, would implement and enforce waste discharge requirements, administer grant programs and collaborate with agencies on all levels (local, state and federal) to control and reduce nonpoint source pollution.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Friday Top of the Scroll: Central Valley could get federal aid for drinking water crisis. Will Trump support it?

Central Valley neighborhoods are a step closer to new money to fix broken water systems and access clean, safe drinking water — if the White House and Congress agree on an infrastructure package currently moving through the U.S. House of Representatives.

Aquafornia news The Hill

House Democrats add some ‘forever chemicals’ provisions to defense bill after spiking major amendment

House Democrats added several amendments aiming to regulate a class of cancer-linked chemicals called PFAS to a defense spending bill Monday. The additions followed the failure of the chamber to add a broader amendment that would tackle the substances.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego homes, businesses subsidize industrial wastewater polluters by millions of dollars

San Diego homes and businesses have been improperly charged tens of millions of dollars for a program that keeps toxic sewer water from being discharged into the Pacific Ocean, the City Auditor’s Office has found. A new report from Interim City Auditor Kyle Elser said the city has failed to charge Industrial Wastewater Control Program permit holders enough to cover the costs of the program.

Aquafornia news State Water Resources Control Board

News release: Monterey Mushroom, Inc. to pay $1.2m for unauthorized wastewater discharges to tributaries of Elkhorn Slough

Between Jan.8, 2017 and April 19, 2017, the company discharged 4,634,245 gallons of process wastewater and/or polluted stormwater from two mushroom growing facilities located in Royal Oaks into the tributary. The wastewater contained ammonia, excessive nutrients, and suspended and floating material, which can harm water quality and aquatic habitat.

Aquafornia news Vacaville Reporter

Federal judge rejects lawsuit saying Vacaville’s water supply is unsafe

A Sebastopol-based environmental group’s lawsuit against the city of Vacaville in connection with hexavalent chromium found in groundwater has failed in federal court, city officials announced Tuesday. On Monday, Chief United States District Judge Kimberly Mueller issued an order rejecting California River Watch’s lawsuit regarding the safety of Vacaville’s water supply.

Aquafornia news National Law Review

California microplastics in drinking water definition adopted

The California State Water Resources Control Board (Board) has adopted a definition for “microplastics” that will be used in testing of drinking water… While this development is currently focused on the testing of drinking water in California, the Board and others expect that it will form the basis of future efforts to quantify and address microplastics in the environment.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: California plans to cut detection level for perchlorate in water

Water suppliers in California currently must test for perchlorate in drinking water down to 4 parts per billion. The State Water Resources Control Board said it plans to cut that level to 2 parts per billion and then again down to 1 part per billion in 2024.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Vacaville dodges lawsuit over chromium 6-tainted water wells

A federal judge on Monday squashed environmentalists’ bid to punish a Northern California city for delivering drinking water tainted with the carcinogen that prompted the film “Erin Brockovich.” The environmental group California River Watch sued the city of Vacaville over its water supply in 2017, claiming it was violating federal hazardous waste laws…

Aquafornia news KUSI News

Mayor pro tem: Tijuana corruption audit result in Imperial Beach sewage crisis

Imperial Beach Mayor Pro Tem Paloma Aguirre joined Good Morning San Diego to discuss a new report claiming that an audit done by Baja California governor accuses big US companies of water theft and contributed to raw sewage and hazardous pollutants ending up in the Tijuana River.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Gold Rush-era mercury mine closed in 1972 is still contaminating

Nearly half a century after a Gold Rush-era quicksilver mining operation shut down in Northern California, mercury continues to flow into a nearby creek, and federal officials blame the mine’s state landmark status for cleanup delays. … By the time the mine closed in 1972, it had produced more than 38 million pounds of mercury. Today, the site is a remote ghost town 135 miles southeast of San Francisco

Aquafornia news KQED News

Water quality agency fines Phillips 66 refinery, again, for polluting Bay

State water regulators have issued a $285,000 penalty against the Phillips 66 refinery for releasing millions of gallons of industrial wastewater into San Pablo Bay early last year. The penalty is the 11th issued in the last 17 years against the Houston-based oil company. Its refinery sits on the bay shore in Rodeo, just south of the Carquinez Strait and Vallejo.

Aquafornia news Santa Monica Daily Press

River report card grades freshwater health risks in Los Angeles County

Heal the Bay today released the annual River Report Card, which assigns water quality color-grades of Red, Yellow, or Green for 28 freshwater sites in Los Angeles County based on observed bacteria levels in 2019.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Opinion: Racism is fueling disparities in access to safe water

Safe water is a human right. Yet, in 2020, the United States remains divided between those with the privilege of having clean, running tap water and those who don’t. As we reckon with systemic racism, our fight for safe and affordable water cannot be disentangled from the fight for justice.

Aquafornia news Colorado Public Radio

Colorado water officials create first-ever regulations for ‘forever chemical’ PFAS

The state’s Water Quality Control Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to enact a policy to put new limits on per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, better known as PFAS. The class of chemicals is a common ingredient in everything from nonstick pans to foam used to smother flames from jet fuel. 

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Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: California wineries take note: State water board releases draft general order for winery process water

On July 3, 2020, the State Water Resources Control Board released proposed requirements for winery process water treatment along with the draft California Environmental Quality Act Initial Study and Mitigated Declaration for public comment. The proposed order will apply statewide, and includes requirements to ensure winery operations will not adversely impact water quality.

Aquafornia news LAist.com

Environmentalists fear oil company bankruptcy could strand SoCal’s idle wells

The owner of more than 2,000 idle oil wells in Southern California declared bankruptcy this week, raising fears among environmentalists that those wells might never be properly sealed. … As those old wells sit idle and unsealed, they present a potential pollution hazard to drinking water underground and people living nearby.

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Aquafornia news Stanford News

Stanford water expert discusses slowdown in federal regulation of drinking water

Federal regulators have moved to delay assessment and action on chemicals that could contaminate drinking water. Richard Luthy explains how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and individual states approach waterborne threats.

Aquafornia news National Law Review

Wave of PFAS consumer class actions to come?

Two putative class actions recently filed in the Northern District of California—Ambrose v. Kroger Co. and Nguyen v. Amazon.com, Inc. —preview a new theory of consumer claims relating to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

Related article:

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

EPA scales back requirements for pesticide testing on fish

A wide range of public health and animal rights advocates support the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to reduce pesticide testing on animals. But an environmental group is concerned the agency is overlooking a systemic failure to control the chemicals in the environment.

Aquafornia news KPBS

Mexico says help is on the way for communities suffering from cross-border pollution flows

The Consul General of Mexico in San Diego said there are things happening in Tijuana that will help. In a written statement responding to questions by KPBS, Carlos González Gutiérrez said there are several projects underway.

Aquafornia news UCLA News

News release: Study aims to bolster California’s safe-water efforts at child care facilities

Efforts to ensure safe drinking water for children need further support to reach their intended audience, according to an analysis of California’s mandate requiring child care facilities to test their water for lead, known as AB 2370.

Aquafornia news UC Merced News

Blog: Podcast focuses on new agriculture and California’s future

On a hot June evening, UC Merced Professor Josh Viers joined farm advocate and small farmer Tom Willey on his front porch near Fresno to talk about California’s water, disadvantaged communities, agricultural production and the future as part of the new “Down on the Farm” podcast that’s now available for all to hear.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Nixon signed this key environmental law. Trump plans to change it to speed up pipelines, highway projects and more

The president’s plan to streamline the National Environmental Policy Act … would make it easier to build highways, pipelines, chemical plants and other projects that pose environmental risks. … But the proposed changes also threaten to rob the public, in particular marginalized communities most affected by such projects, of their ability to impact decisions that could affect their health, according to many activists.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: The water is contaminated. But California bottled water program isn’t helping Earlimart

The cost of buying cases of bottled water for cooking and drinking is adding up for residents of Earlimart, where a contaminated well became the main source of tap water for more than 8,000 people there in late May. The State Water Resources Control Board that is responsible for drinking water has a program to provide financial assistance for bottled water to help communities in crisis. It has not been available in Earlimart — and it is unclear why.

Aquafornia news The Hill

350 facilities skip reporting water pollution under temporary EPA rule

A total of 352 facilities, including fossil fuel companies, water treatment plants and schools, made use of the EPA’s relaxation of Clean Water Act requirements, according to a list the agency shared with The Hill. … Environmentalists are raising alarms over the number of facilities that aren’t monitoring their pollution levels, saying the damage could last well beyond the Aug. 31 expiration date of the temporary policy.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Lack of plumbing makes fighting COVID-19 difficult

For most Californians, handwashing is a matter of turning on their home faucet. And while it is no substitute for other guidelines, handwashing is a surprisingly effective measure against the coronavirus. Unfortunately, not everyone can implement this public health guidance. The state’s homeless population has difficulties, and so do residents with inadequate plumbing.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Opinion: When the ground sinks, arsenic levels in drinking water may rise

To begin, what is arsenic? It is one of the basic chemical elements found in the periodic table that shows its relationship to other elements. Arsenic is dissolved from rocks by water in areas that have groundwater pools. If you have significant levels of arsenic in your water, it can cause cancer, heart disease, diarrhea and affect your skin.

Aquafornia news Chemical & Engineering News

Why limiting PFAS in drinking water is a challenge in the US

The question of whether and how much to regulate these persistent chemicals in drinking water has spanned the administrations of US presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald J. Trump. “This is a multi-administration failure to take action on PFOA and PFOS and on the broader class of PFAS chemicals that may pose health effects,” says Melanie Benesh, legislative attorney for the Environmental Working Group…

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Governor says Baja used water as a piggy bank. Critics worry about his bigger plan

Baja California’s new governor, Jaime Bonilla, says he is battling to clean up widespread corruption that for years ate away at the state’s water agency. Even Bonilla’s critics acknowledge the corruption and the failing water system, which results in frequent sewage spills that foul Tijuana and San Diego beaches.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California’s pollution regulators go toe-to-toe with Trump. Watchdog says they come up short

A California environmental advocacy group urged the state’s air pollution regulator and agriculture department to do more for minority communities in an annual report card it published last week. That report card, compiled by the California Environmental Justice Alliance, issued environmental justice grades to eight agencies, with a statewide C average.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Local groups pause Tijuana sewage lawsuits, but solutions are still far off

The city of Imperial Beach, environmental advocacy group Surfrider Foundation and the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board agreed to put down their proverbial legal swords for a period of 12 months while the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency puts a stack of cash to work on the decades-long sewage issue plaguing the Tijuana River watershed.

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Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

What happens when a drinking water system fails? Ask Earlimart

Residents in Earlimart, California, lost water service when a 50-year-old well on Mary Ann Avenue failed in late May. When it came back on, the main source of drinking water for more than 8,000 residents became a well contaminated with a chemical from banned pesticides. And most residents didn’t know. The Tulare County town’s water system is failing, in a lot of ways.

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Aquafornia news The Guardian

US children who drink water from private wells at higher risk of lead exposure

American children whose homes rely on private wells for drinking water are 25% more likely to have high lead levels in their blood than those with access to regulated community water services, according to new research.

Aquafornia news Sierra Sun

Microplastic cleanup, research continues at Lake Tahoe

Microplastics are a widespread problem that are not only found in the ocean, but research is showing that microplastic are in freshwater lakes as well, including Lake Tahoe.

Aquafornia news Action News Now.com

California budget includes critical funding promised to the Paradise Irrigation District

The $202 billion budget signed by Governor Gavin Newsom Monday evening includes the $7.3 million promised to the Paradise Irrigation District to help sustain it following the devastating Camp Fire. The funding is considered critical to providing clean water to residents for rebuilding efforts. The money was not included in the Governor’s May revise budget proposal but was included in the final spending plan.  

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Cross-border sewage lawsuits halted in California for EPA action

The state of California, city of Imperial Beach, and the Surfrider Foundation have agreed to a 12-month stay in litigation over cross-border sewage flowing in from Mexico while the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency focuses work on the Tijuana River Valley.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Nevada mulls EPA reversal of Obama era drinking water rules

The Trump administration has decided a chemical with a notorious legacy in Nevada will not be regulated in drinking water, but state officials say the reversal of the Obama-era policy shouldn’t result in any decline in drinking water standards across the state.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Lack of perchlorate standard paves way for Superfund slowdown

The EPA’s decision not to regulate perchlorate in drinking water will slow Superfund cleanups, especially in the majority of states that lack their own restrictions on the chemical, environmental attorneys said. The Environmental Protection Agency last week announced that it wouldn’t set an enforceable limit for perchlorate, a chemical commonly used in rocket fuel.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Sentinel

Water Replenishment District receives grant to prevent groundwater contamination

The Water Replenishment District has received a $844,240 grant from the California State Water Resources Control Board to remove inactive water wells from production. This grant was made possible by California’s Proposition 1 which authorized $7.545 billion in funds for water supply infrastructure projects and was approved by voters in 2014.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Ken Manning, architect of groundwater cleanup in San Gabriel Valley, Chino Basin, retires

Mostly, the people didn’t know their groundwater was polluted.. And they didn’t know the contaminated portions shut down by federal authorities in many instances were finally being restored. Kenneth “Ken” Manning, 69, a fixture in ground-water restoration in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties, a pioneer in water recycling and a master at public-private partnerships, knew. And on June 30, Manning will retire from his most recent job, as executive director of the San Gabriel Basin Water Quality Authority.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

$10.8M grant will fund environmental justice efforts in downtown, south Stockton

The California Strategic Growth Council selected Stockton alongside the cities of Oakland and Riverside to be a part of the Transformative Climate Communities Program… The grant will provide these neighborhoods with access to clean water, fresh fruits and vegetables and clean air to breathe, Mayor Michael Tubbs said.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California cities: Monsanto settlement to fund water cleanup

Major California cities say they’ll use their share of a $650 million settlement to clean up the now-banned chemical PCB from bays, lakes and other waterways polluted for decades. The giant chemical company Monsanto announced a tentative agreement Wednesday with government entities that had filed suit since 2015 over waterways and estuaries they say were polluted.

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Aquafornia news EurekAlert

Effects from low-level concentrations of harmful chemicals preserved in three generations of fish

Fish exposed to very low levels of chemicals commonly found in waterways can pass the impacts on to future generations that were never directly exposed to the chemicals, according to Oregon State University researchers. … The study focused on synthetic (man-made) endocrine disrupting chemicals, which mimic the body’s hormones.

Aquafornia news U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

News release: EPA takes action to stop use of certain PFAS in products and protect american consumers

As part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Action Plan, EPA is issuing a final rule giving the agency the authority to review an expansive list of products containing PFAS before they could be manufactured, sold, or imported in the United States.

Aquafornia news U.S. Geological Survey

News release: Study to commence on the effects of wildfires and fire retardants in California watersheds

Each year millions of liters of fire-retardant chemicals are applied to wildfires across the nation. The use of these retardants could have significant effects on downstream nutrients. The aim of this study will be to determine which nutrients are likely to increase in concentration in areas affected by wildfire in the western U.S., and whether the use of fire retardants may exacerbate the situation.

Aquafornia news Capital & Main

Gavin Newsom hands out fracking permits to connected driller

On June 1, in the midst of the turmoil created by the coronavirus pandemic and the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration quietly issued 12 fracking permits to Aera Energy, a joint venture owned by ExxonMobil and Shell. … The fracking permits are the latest example of California’s oil industry benefiting from regulatory or deregulatory action during the COVID-19 pandemic…

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: People, agriculture, and water in California

Agriculture is California’s predominant use of managed water. Agriculture and water together are a foundation for California’s rural economy. Although most agriculture is economically-motivated and commercially-organized, the sociology and anthropology of agriculture and agricultural labor are basic for the well-being of millions of people, and the success and failure of rural, agricultural, and water and environmental policies.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: Revised national standard tightens lead leaching limits for new drinking water fixtures

Effective Thursday, the national consensus standard for plumbing devices, known as NSF/ANSI/CAN 61, was revised to require, by January 1, 2024, that manufacturers of faucets and fountains that dispense drinking water meet limits five times more protective for lead leaching than the current standard. … Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI), the trade association for the industry, tells us that its members are already gearing up to get their products certified…

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: Key PFAS regulatory standards set in california

In support of California’s efforts to investigate and evaluate the presence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the environment, the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional Board) has released interim final Environmental Screening Levels (ESLs) for two key prevalent PFAS compounds…

Aquafornia news E&E News

EPA won’t regulate rocket fuel toxin

EPA will not set drinking water limits on perchlorate, a rocket fuel ingredient linked to fetal and developmental brain damage. The agency in a final action today said it determined perchlorate does not meet criteria for regulation as a drinking water contaminant under the Safe Drinking Water Act…

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California microplastics definition sets stage for investigation

California’s top water regulator on Tuesday approved a definition of microplastics in drinking water, setting the stage for the state to investigate the extent of contamination from the tiny plastics that have been found in fish, waterways, and other habitats. … The action makes California the first government in the world to define microplastics in a drinking water regulation…

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Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Tijuana sewage runoff prompts county to extend beach closure to Imperial Beach

Water pollution from Tijuana sewage runoff has once again shuttered the Imperial Beach shoreline. The County of San Diego Department of Environmental Health on Saturday extended north the existing beach water-contact closure area at the Tijuana Slough shoreline to now also include the Imperial Beach shoreline.

Aquafornia news City News Service

Friday Top of the Scroll: San Diego and Tijuana announce plans to improve Tijuana River water treatment

Both United States and Mexican officials announced separate plans Tuesday to upgrade Tijuana River wastewater facilities. The international river has been a longtime problem for residents of Imperial Beach and Tijuana, as sewage and trash from the river have spilled into the Pacific Ocean for decades, often closing beaches near the border and damaging natural habitats along the river.

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Aquafornia news Stanford Bill Lane Center for the American West

Blog: Concern over ‘forever chemical’ PFAS is high, but remedies remain remote

Once prized as a key ingredient in fire retardant foam, non-stick pans and many everyday items, a synthetic chemical’s appearance in public water supply wells raises questions of how to protect the public from unknown health hazards.

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Aquafornia news California State University

News release: Steady streams: Bringing safe water to California communities

Over the years, much attention has been given to California’s drought, but less is known about the more than one million Californians in more than 300 communities who don’t have access to clean drinking water. To address this crisis, CSU faculty and students are performing community assessments, conducting research and assisting local engineering projects, often with support from Water Resources & Policy Initiatives. Take a look at some of the CSU’s ongoing work.

Aquafornia news State of the Planet — Columbia University

Blog: Coronavirus is improving water quality — for now, at least

Water pollution in San Francisco Bay, California has reduced significantly due to the reduction in traffic, according to a recent study in the journal Science of the Total Environment. The toxic particles emitted by cars, in fact, fall into the surrounding waters, inlets and on the coast for miles.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

PFAS cleanup backers face unexpected foe: Water utilities

PFAS chemicals have invaded the nation’s water supply, thanks mostly to discharges from manufacturers and the use of firefighting foam by the military. Utilities are concerned about being stuck with major expenses if the compounds are declared “hazardous” under the federal Superfund law. They have also resisted efforts in Congress to push what they see as overly broad enforcement limits on PFAS in drinking water.

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Aquafornia news Smart Water Magazine

PFAS forecasted to drive $12.1 billion in water utility spending over next decade

Mounting public concerns and new state regulations in the U.S. are compelling water & wastewater utilities to address health risks associated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) – a class of pervasive chemicals found in drinking water and wastewater biproducts.

Aquafornia news National Law Review

WOTUS litigation: Considerations for the regulated community

The complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief in this litigation provides a road map for the legal and regulatory challenges ahead for the regulated community and agencies implementing Clean Water Act programs that rely on the definition for “Waters of the United States” aka WOTUS. The following provides insights as to how to support a strong Clean Water Act with the new WOTUS definition.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Q&A: Ex-EPA staffer on leaked water research, ‘insane’ regs

Thirty-four years ago, Ronnie Levin’s research on lead in drinking water sounded the alarm for many Americans about risks lurking in their tap water. As the Trump administration propels forward a new rule, Levin is still fighting to make sure communities, especially the most vulnerable, have safe drinking water. … What’s at stake, she says, is the health of some of the most vulnerable communities in the nation.

Aquafornia news ScienceDaily

Something in the water: Pollutant may be more hazardous than previously thought

In a new study, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine, Vanderbilt University and the University of California, Irvine, report on the mechanism that perchlorate uses to impact and damage normal functioning of the thyroid gland. The findings, they say, suggest that an acceptable safe concentration of perchlorate in drinking water is 10 times less than previously thought.

Aquafornia news WaterWorld

Leading water associations urge EPA to expedite regulation of PFAS

The National Ground Water Association and eight of the country’s leading drinking water organizations are urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to move expeditiously as it evaluates drinking water standards for two per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS).

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Aquafornia news The Guardian

Living near oil and gas wells linked to low birthweight in babies

Researchers analysed the records of nearly 3 million births in California to women living within 6.2 miles (10km) of at least one oil or gas well between 2006 and 2015. … Active and inactive oil and gas sites create myriad environmental hazards including air and water pollutants, noise and excessive lighting, which have all been linked with poor health outcomes.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Conservative states defend water rule from California-led suit

Georgia, West Virginia, and 21 other states moved to intervene in litigation in order to help defeat challenges to the Navigable Waters Protection Rule—a joint regulation from the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers that narrows the types of wetlands and waterways subject to federal Clean Water Act restrictions.

Aquafornia news Water Well Journal

Action on revised lead and copper rule scheduled for this summer

The proposed rule revision represents the first major overhaul of the Lead and Copper Rule since 1991. The proposal includes changes for lead tap sampling, corrosion control treatment, lead service line replacement, consumer awareness and public education, new requirements for community water systems to conduct lead in drinking water testing, and public education in schools and childcare facilities.

Aquafornia news Pacific Sun

Petaluma River watershed plan scheduled for state review

A plan to set new restrictions on the levels of bacteria in the Petaluma River Watershed is nearing the next stage of approval. At a virtual meeting on Tuesday, the California State Water Resources Control Board … will consider a plan meant to cap and reduce the amount of bacteria getting into the Petaluma River Watershed.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

States, Democrats want federal help to clean up old oil wells

Fossil fuel companies going bankrupt in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic are expected to leave behind thousands of abandoned oil and gas wells, and some congressional Democrats are calling for a federal program to ensure they’re cleaned up. There are 56,000 known abandoned oil and gas wells in the U.S., leaking methane and other air and water pollutants, said Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.) …

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Opinion: San Diego and Tijuana’s shared sewage problem has a long history

U.S. policymakers understand quite well the impact of Mexico’s wastewater management on American communities. What they fail to comprehend is that the ongoing border sewage crisis is rooted in a longer history of U.S. imperialism and private enterprise in the San Diego-Tijuana region.

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Aquafornia news McClatchy Newspapers

Pentagon, industry looking at PFAS water contamination fix

Staring down a $3 billion — and growing — tab to clean up water sources at military installations across the country that are contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals linked to firefighting foam, the Defense Department is now in discussions with private firms about potential cleanup solutions that might reduce the cost.

Aquafornia news 60 Minutes

Raw sewage flowing into the Tijuana River brings toxic sludge to California

The term “crisis on the border” typically refers to immigration issues or drugs being smuggled into the country. But it has one more meaning, as we discovered, when we went to the border in early February: tens of millions of gallons of raw sewage that spill every year into the Tijuana River on the Mexican side and flow across the border right into Southern California, polluting the land, air, and sea.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

EPA announces that Oasis Mobile Home Park has clean water

The park’s 1,900 residents have been without a permanent drinking water source for months, after the EPA announced last summer that the park’s well water contained nearly 10 times the permissible level of arsenic, a toxic metal.

Aquafornia news The Grunion

Review begins for Los Cerritos Wetlands restoration’s environmental impact

Restoration of the 500-plus acres of wetlands has been a goal for literally decades of both city officials and environmental advocates. Since the discovery of oil there in 1926, combined with the channelization of the San Gabriel River, the once 2,400-acre wetlands complex has been landfilled, graded and activated as a working oil field. Much of the remaining wetlands is controlled by Beach Oil Minerals Partners (BOMP).

Aquafornia news ScienceDaily

Substantial quantities of tire particles contaminating rivers and ocean

A major UK government-funded research study suggests particles released from vehicle tyres could be a significant and previously largely unrecorded source of microplastics in the marine environment. The study is one of the first worldwide to identify tyre particles as a major and additional source of microplastics.

Aquafornia news Coastalview.com

Trump administration seeks uranium mining near Lake Casitas and approves oil drilling in Carrizo Plain National Monument

The report could revive past attempts to mine uranium in the Los Padres National Forest in San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties, including a tract of land near Lake Casitas in the Ojai Valley, a source of drinking water for Carpinteria Valley Water District. Many of the report’s recommendations will require additional action before taking effect, such as changes to agency rules or regulations, or passage of legislation.

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

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