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 CalMatters

Newsom to be sued over fracking permits

A national environmental organization is preparing to sue Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration for issuing new fracking permits, including six approved on Friday, Kassie Siegel, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute, said Tuesday.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

BPA added to California toxic chemical list despite challenge

California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment can list bisphenol A under the state’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act despite challenges regarding the lack of evidence of its harm to humans, a state appeals court said Monday.

Aquafornia news The Confluence

Blog: An artist and educator captures deeply personal stories of life without clean water

Run Dry is a story of small, rural California communities and their struggle to remain connected to the most precious resource—water. This digital media project combines short documentary films, personal stories, photographs, and data visualizations about water scarcity and contamination in the San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Groundbreaking study finds 13.3 quadrillion plastic fibers in California’s environment

The report from UC Santa Barbara found that in 2019 an estimated 4,000 metric tons – or 13.3 quadrillion fibers – were released into California’s natural environment. The plastic fibers, which are less than 5mm in length, are primarily shed when we wash our yoga pants, stretchy jeans and fleece jackets and can easily enter oceans and waterways.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Wildfire smoke can spread toxics to water, soil, and elsewhere

Wildfires leave behind more than scorched earth and destroyed homes: Rising smoke plumes can contain chemicals that disperse not only into the air but in soil, water, indoor dust, and even wildlife. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a class of more than 100 chemicals that can cause cancer and other ailments, is one of those ingredients.

Aquafornia news ABC 7 News

Oakland’s McClymonds High School safe to return to, months after chemical scare, district says

Oakland’s McClymonds High School is now safe for students and staff to return to after a months-long closure because of a toxic chemical found in groundwater on the campus. The school first closed in February, just weeks before classroom instruction was halted because of COVID-19.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Opinion: Crystal clean water? Not if Trump can help it

For most of the past 48 years, the Clean Water Act produced dramatic improvements in the quality of our nation’s rivers, lakes and coastal waters. … Unfortunately, the Trump administration’s unrelenting rollback of clean water protections is stalling progress toward fixing these problems and endangering a half-century’s worth of gains.  

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Lessons from Camp Fire could help prevent water contamination after North Complex Fire

The [Butte] county’s Forest Health Watershed Coordinator Wolfy Rougle said there is indeed reason to worry about preventing toxic runoff quickly, particularly with the magnitude of the North Complex fires’ destruction, and the county’s resources are stretched thin…So small nonprofit organizations typically have boots on the ground to do the work with concerned residents, like the Camp Fire Restoration Project.

Aquafornia news Fast Company

Opinion: PFAs and forever chemicals: Are they bad for your health?

Evidence has slowly built that some commonly used PFAS are toxic and may cause cancer. It took 50 years to understand that the happy accident of Teflon’s discovery was, in fact, a train wreck. … I am one of hundreds of scientists who are calling for a comprehensive, effective plan to manage the entire class of PFAS to protect public health while safer alternatives are developed.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

PFAS used by many industries warrant controls, scientists say

A subset of so-called forever chemicals, used to make thousands of industrial and consumer products, can’t be deemed “low-concern” despite chemical manufacturers’ arguments, a group of international scientists said in a paper released Tuesday.

Aquafornia news WaterWorld

EPA announces $108M loan to improve water quality in the California Delta

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a $108 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the Stockton Public Financing Authority to help modernize the city’s wastewater treatment facility and reduce nitrogen discharges to the San Joaquin River.

Aquafornia news Action News Now

Here’s how wildfires could affect the water in Lake Oroville

The North Complex Fire has burned a large portion of Lake Oroville’s watershed. This could lead to hazardous water quality after winter rains run all of that sediment into the lake and the effects could last decades. However, how water quality could be affected by the fire is still largely unknown.

Aquafornia news Stat

As wildfires ravage the West, contaminated water raises health concerns

Some neighborhoods in California and Oregon are already witnessing benzene levels that exceed state and federal permissible limits as evacuees return to ‘do not drink/do not boil’ warnings. “The number of water systems that we expect to see impacted could be the highest yet,” says Daniel Newton, assistant deputy director of California’s Water Resources Control Board’s Division of Drinking Water. “It is a concern.”

Aquafornia news Mt. Shasta Herald

River Exchange disbands after 25 years of stewardship in Dunsmuir

After nearly 25 years of unprecedented stewardship of the upper Sacramento River, including raising millions in grant money for everything from educational programs to the annual removal of countless tons of trash, the River Exchange is disbanding. The Dunsmuir-based nonprofit made the announcement October 1, citing funding issues and the successful completion of its mission.

Aquafornia news Philadelphia Inquirer

This California firm promises a guilt-free plastic water bottle that breaks down: It’s not easy

Cove’s sustainable and biodegradable packaging is meant to provide a less dubious retail alternative, Totterman said, as recycling programs have failed to handle what the industry generates.

Aquafornia news Holtville Tribune

Imperial County wants to help draft New River bill

Imperial County Supervisor Ryan Kelley wants the board to work with Congressman Juan Vargas, D-Chula Vista, and the county’s lobbyists in Washington, D.C., to draft a legislation to fully fund a wastewater treatment project to clean the New River.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Concerns grow about herbicide use in wildfires’ wake

The Forest Service’s use of herbicides and pesticides has raised occasional alarm from environmental groups, which point to the chemical’s potential to harm wildlife or water supplies, or to have long-term effects on people who apply them. In some regions, they say, scarcely a tree-planting project occurs without the use of chemical herbicides.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Coachella Water District breaks ground on east valley water connection

The Coachella Valley Water District broke ground Tuesday on a project that will connect the Westside Elementary School in Thermal to the water system that services much of the valley. Westside is the only school in its district relying solely on a well and has a history of water contamination….construction is advancing with money from the state water board’s Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience Program. [It is the state's first recipient under the program.]

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

California water probe finds PFAS in majority of tested wells

Sixty percent of California’s public water supply wells that were tested for so-called forever chemicals contain those compounds, according to research that the State Water Resources Control Board released Wednesday. The findings … shed new light on the presence of PFAS contamination and areas that could be vulnerable based on proximity to known sources like airports and landfills.

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Aquafornia news AgAlert

Startup uses beneficial bacteria to aid water quality

Beneficial bacteria that quickly and effectively convert tailwater nitrates into gases could help answer an environmental challenge facing farmers, according to a Salinas-based startup company.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

New state law requires an action plan for the Tijuana River

The bill, which was written by state Sen. Ben Hueso, also aims to address some of the binational challenges in managing the watershed. The plan that the California EPA is putting together will create a framework for how California can work with the Mexican and U.S. governments.

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

California tightens reporting for rocket fuel chemical in water

The federal Environmental Protection Agency earlier this year declined to regulate perchlorate, which has been linked to thyroid conditions. The unanimous vote from the State Water Resources Control Board is the first step toward tightening California’s drinking water standard, currently set at 6 parts per billion. The chemical has been found in 27 counties throughout California…

Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

Blog: From source to tap: Assessing water quality in California

Water providers in California face myriad challenges in sustainably providing high quality drinking water to their customers while protecting the natural environment. In this blog post, I explore the stresses that surface and groundwater quality challenges pose for California’s retail water agencies. 

Aquafornia news E&E News

House lawmakers call for school PFAS protections

Dozens of House lawmakers asked the Trump administration Monday to demand protections against per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS, in school drinking water.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Court: California mine operator must pay for $32M cleanup

EPA and California may recover $32 million in cleanup costs from a massive hazardous waste spill in the Sierra Nevada foothills that released toxic amounts of arsenic into local groundwater supplies, a federal appeals court ruled Monday. In a divided ruling, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the United States and California were not liable for the costs of cleaning up the Lava Cap Mine Superfund site in Nevada City, Calif.

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Aquafornia news SFGate.com

Rural California communities struggle to provide clean drinking water

Mo Mohsin has been trying to bring clean drinking water to the residents of the Cobles Corner mobile home park ever since he bought the property back in 2003. The struggle, however, has been all uphill. The water system that serves the rural Stanislaus County community of 20 or so homes has violated state drinking water standards 25 times since 2012,

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Southern California residents blast NASA plan to clean up rocket lab site

NASA announced plans Friday to clean up a Cold War-era rocket fuel testing site in Southern California — plans that have upset residents who say the space agency and the Trump administration have punted any responsibility for a full cleanup and will leave most of the area contaminated.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Unsafe to drink: Wildfires threaten rural towns with tainted water

Among the largest wildfires in California history, the LNU Lightning Complex fires killed five people and destroyed nearly 1,500 structures — including whole blocks of the Berryessa Highlands neighborhood where Kody Petrini’s home stood. Camped out in a trailer on his in-laws’ nearby lot, the 32-year-old father of two, along with all of his neighbors, was warned not to drink the water or boil it because it could be contaminated with dangerous compounds like benzene… 

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Aquafornia news KCET

Mercury in our waters: The 10,000-year legacy of California’s gold rush

If you look closely in the waters of Deer Creek, near Nevada City, Calif., something strange may catch your eye; lying in globules amongst the gravel is quicksilver, or liquid elemental mercury. Carrie Monohan, head scientist for the Sierra Fund, lives next to Deer Creek, and became concerned about mercury contamination in the waterways when she pulled liquid mercury from the water in a turkey baster.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

After wildfires stop burning, a danger in the drinking water

Wildfires, which turned skies a dim orange over cities from Seattle to Santa Cruz this year, are increasingly engulfing people’s homes, continuing to rage in California, Oregon, Washington and Colorado in recent weeks. But even when homes don’t burn, other dangers arise in the aftermath, and experts are focusing more attention on what happens to municipal water systems after a fire, when released toxins can get pulled into plumbing systems, and other damage can linger in pipes for years.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Update on the Central Valley Water Board’s Irrigated Lands Program

Runoff and other discharges from agricultural lands affect water quality by transporting pollutants including pesticides, sediment, nutrients, salts, pathogens, and heavy metals from cultivated fields into surface waters. … Sue McConnell is the manager of the Central Valley Board’s Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program.  At the September 15 State Water Board meeting, she gave an update on the implementation of Order WQ-2018-0002, hereafter referred to as the ‘petition order’.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

DuPont, Chemours, 3M sued over PFAS in California water

3M Co., E.I. DuPont de Nemours Inc., Chemours Co., and Corteva Inc. are facing a suit by Golden State Water Co. over PFAS contamination of the state water supply. The water supplier seeks to recover from 3M as the only manufacturer of perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) in the U.S. PFOS and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) are both in a family of chemical compounds known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

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Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Mexican governor, California mayor launch war of words over cross-border sewage spills

The mayor of Imperial Beach and governor of Baja California are in a public spat over cross-border sewage spills. Gov. Jaime Bonilla has held three separate press conferences this month demanding Mayor Serge Dedina apologize for his public criticisms of Mexico’s inability to stop sewage from flowing into the United States.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

EPA to promote lead testing rule as Trump tries to burnish his record

The Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to overhaul the way communities test their water for lead, a policy change that will be pitched ahead of Election Day… But a draft of the final rule obtained by The New York Times shows the E.P.A. rejected top medical and scientific experts who urged the agency to require the replacement of the country’s six million to 10 million lead service lines…

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Aquafornia news The Guardian

Why dangerous ‘forever chemicals’ are allowed in US drinking water

The Environmental Protection Agency, which regulates US drinking water, has been investigating PFAS since the late 1990s. … But despite the agency’s 20-plus years of information gathering, it still has not issued an enforceable nationwide standard on PFAS. The agency has failed to act even as more about the risks of the chemical group has become known…

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Legislation will provide environmental justice to protect communities from toxics

Communities like ours are called environmental justice communities. That’s an elaborate way of saying that – among other things – our children are suffering from asthma at abnormally high rates because they literally don’t get clean air to breathe. Our communities don’t all have safe drinking water, they don’t have parks to play and exercise in and, worst of all, they are surrounded by a high concentration of industries that have been allowed to emit toxics for too long.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Newsom aims to phase out new hydraulic fracking permits in California by 2024

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday vowed to work with the state legislature to phase out new permits for hydraulic fracking by 2024, but left untouched a more widely used oil extraction technique in the state that has been linked to hundreds of oil spills.

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Aquafornia news Phys.org

Revisions to drinking water standard tighten lead leaching allowance for plumbing products

Newly published changes to NSF/ANSI/CAN 61, the drinking water product standard required in the United States and Canada, further restrict the amount of lead that can leach from plumbing products, NSF International announced today.

Aquafornia news Noozhawk

With its beaches and creeks deemed ‘impaired,’ Santa Barbara takes steps to improve water quality

All of Santa Barbara’s beaches and creeks are designated as “impaired” under the federal Clean Water Act. … The council voted 7-0 to send its proposed changes to stormwater runoff to the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board… The list of changes are extensive, and are proposed over four tiers based on various types and levels of new construction development. They involve landscape changes and stormwater treatment for new impervious construction.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Torched towns beset by poisoned water

After a wildfire ripped through central California last month, residents in the Riverside Grove neighborhood in the Santa Cruz Mountains discovered another danger: contaminated water coursing through their pipes. Benzene, a chemical tied to cancer, leukemia and anemia, was detected in the town’s drinking water after 7 miles of plastic water piping was torched in the CZU Lightning Complex Fire south of San Francisco.

Aquafornia news UPI

Scientists publish water quality database for 12,000 freshwater lakes

Scientists have published a global water quality database detailing the health of nearly 12,000 freshwater lakes, almost half the world’s freshwater supply. Compiled by researchers at York University, in Canada, the database offers water quality information on lakes in 72 countries and all seven continents, including Antarctica.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Last minute loan keeps drinking water projects afloat

Drinking water advocates had fretted the Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) program, intended to help struggling water systems in mostly poor, rural areas, would fall victim to the pandemic-flattened economy. But a last minute loan from the Underground Storage Tank Clean-Up Fund will ensure SAFER receives its full $130 million — at least this coming fiscal year.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

California oil: Companies profit from illegal spills; the state lets them

Along with being a global leader on addressing climate change, California is the seventh-largest producer of oil in the nation. And across some of its largest oil fields, companies have for decades turned spills into profits, garnering millions of dollars from surface expressions that can foul sensitive habitats and endanger workers, an investigation by The Desert Sun and ProPublica has found….Under state laws, it’s illegal to discharge any hazardous substance into a creek or streambed, dry or not.

Aquafornia news KAZU Radio

Santa Cruz County drinking water takes a hit after wildfire

The CZU Lightning Complex Fire badly damaged seven and a half miles of water supply lines made of polyethylene, a plastic, in northern Santa Cruz County. That triggered the San Lorenzo Valley Water District, State Water Resources Control Board, and Santa Cruz County Health Department to issue a Do Not Drink - Do Not Boil water advisory for over 3,000 households in Northern Santa Cruz County in late August.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Blog: Wildfires can leave toxic drinking water behind – here’s how to protect the public

We recommend issuing “Do Not Use” orders in the wake of major fires to protect the public before water testing results are available. We believe it is acceptable to use water for fire fighting and toilet flushing, but not for purposes that involve ingestion, skin exposure or inhalation, such as bathing or cooking.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump WOTUS rewrite could backfire, lawmakers warned

A top water regulator from New Mexico yesterday warned senators that hardrock mines, wastewater facilities and other industrial entities could face stricter environmental oversight as the Trump administration’s Waters of the U.S., or WOTUS, rule takes effect.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

The consequences of spraying fire retardants on wildfires

Wildfires started burning in California early again this dry season—more than two million acres have burned so far. Larger and larger wildfires are occurring as new heat records are being broken each year. Firefighting efforts have leaned heavily on aerial spraying of fire retardants, but their environmental and health effects [including on fish and waterways] are little studied …

Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

Tri-Valley water districts tackle toxic chemicals in drinking water wells

Surrounded by lush green fields, Pleasanton often makes the top ten list of desirable places to live. But a new list just out is nothing to boast about. “I was just floored,” said Pleasanton resident Jill Buck when she found out her town made the top ten for dangerous drinking water.

Aquafornia news InsideClimate News

In a dry state, farmers use oil wastewater to irrigate their fields, but is it safe?

For decades, farmers in California’s Kern County have turned to wastewater from oil production to help irrigate their crops during extended dry spells. … But the use of the recycled water, a byproduct of oil and natural gas extraction that is mixed with surface water for irrigation, has stirred controversy.

Aquafornia news The Grass Valley Union

Protecting South Yuba River proves challenging amidst COVID-19

Every September for the last 22 years, the South Yuba River Citizens League has hosted a Yuba River Cleanup with the help of the California Coastal Commission. This year, the river’s need for some tender, loving care has only grown as the region reckons with more visitors, more single-use plastics and less accountability amidst the pandemic.

Aquafornia news Ensia.com

Across the US, millions of people are drinking unsafe water

Once a week, Florencia Ramos makes a special trip to the R–N Market in Lindsay, California. “If you don’t have clean water, you have to go get some,” says Ramos, a farmworker and mother of four who lives in the neighboring Central Valley town of El Rancho. She has been purchasing jugs of water at the small store for more than a decade now.

Aquafornia news Pleasanton Weekly

Pleasanton council mulls options to treat PFAS water contaminants

The Pleasanton City Council made headway on plans to repair a contaminated groundwater well and meet — if not exceed – future water quality standards earlier this month. In a unanimous vote Sept. 1, the council approved a $437,374 contract with Walnut Creek-based Carollo Engineers to prepare a basis of design report for per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) treatment and rehabilitating the city’s groundwater wells…

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Monday Top of the Scroll: Western wildfires damage, contaminate drinking water systems

One of the most severe examples is the San Lorenzo Valley Water District, which serves parts of inland Santa Cruz County, in central California. More than 7 miles of an HDPE plastic water supply pipeline were destroyed in the CZU Lightning Complex Fire, according to Rick Rogers, the district manager.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Oasis Mobile Home Park once again found to have arsenic in its water

The beleaguered Oasis Mobile Home Park near Thermal, home to about 1,900 largely Spanish-speaking residents living in poor conditions, has once again found dangerously high levels of arsenic in its drinking water. On Friday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency served park management with an emergency order compelling them to provide residents an alternative source of water.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Dow, Shell, other companies implicated in California TCP suit

The Olivehurst Public Utility District, which provides drinking water to Olivehurst, Calif., north of Sacramento, is seeking unspecified damages from the companies after discovering 1,2,3-trichloropropane, or TCP, in its water supply wells, according to the complaint, which was filed Sept. 9 and docketed Thursday in California Superior Court.

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Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

San Lorenzo Valley Water District rebuilds after ‘most expensive disaster in history’

Emergency repairs are underway after a historic fire in the Santa Cruz Mountains wreaked havoc on the San Lorenzo Valley’s water infrastructure. The CZU August Lightning Complex fire caused an estimated $11 million in damage to pipes, meters, mains, tanks and other San Lorenzo Valley Water District infrastructure and equipment, according to District Manager Rick Rogers.

Aquafornia news Livermore Independent

Pleasanton City Council addresses water well issue

The Pleasanton City Council … unanimously approved a contract with Carollo Engineers in the amount of $437,374 to prepare a basis of design report for Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) treatment and the rehabilitation of city-owned and -operated wells 5, 6 and 8.

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Aquafornia news Water Environment Federation

Blog: Water utilities commended for transformational programming

The Utility of the Future Today recognition program celebrates the achievements of water utilities that transform from a traditional wastewater treatment system to a resource recovery center and leader in the overall sustainability and resilience of the communities they serve.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Broad ‘fishnet’ PFAS testing worries industry, helps regulators

The test they want to use measures total organic fluorine amounts in water and can provide a broader picture of all per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in a sample instead of testing for one or a few substances at a time. By removing the need to test for individual PFAS, states may be able to speed up the process for regulating groups of the chemicals, some of which have been linked to cancer.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Proposed $171 million Central Valley groundwater bank faces TCP contamination

Irvine Ranch Water District and Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District had just begun environmental review for their joint banking project this past April when TCP reared its head. … TCP (trichloropropane) is a carcinogenic leftover from a nematode pesticide made by Shell Oil and Dow Chemical that was liberally applied to Central Valley farmland from the 1950s through the 1980s.

Aquafornia news Sonoma County Gazette

Opinion: Ways to get involved with protecting Sonoma County creeks

Creek Week (starting the fourth week of September), and California’s Coastal Cleanup Day all coincide in September to encourage public participation in keeping our water free of harmful pollutants, with a primary focus on removing trash from local waterways.

Aquafornia news U.S. Geological Survey

News release: Scientists collect water quality data prior to wastewater treatment plant upgrades

The Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District (Regional San) is currently completing major upgrades to its wastewater treatment plant. In anticipation of these upgrades, USGS scientists are gathering data to establish baselines for current nutrient levels and dynamics in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta).

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Judge considers freezing ‘political’ environmental review rule

A federal judge took a no-nonsense approach Friday to a hearing on the White House’s rewrite of the National Environmental Policy Act, grilling conservation groups on how they’ll be harmed and chiding the Justice Department for glossing over the political motivations behind the rules.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

CZU fire aftermath points to emerging threat for California: water contamination

Drivers entering town these days pass a sign with an urgent message: Do not drink or boil the tap water in your home. It may not be safe. This town in the heart of the Santa Cruz Mountains is the latest California community to grapple with water problems because of a wildfire.

Aquafornia news L.A. Daily News

Construction on major Valley water projects close to beginning

A multimillion dollar water project in the heart of Northridge is on the fast track to becoming a reality. The Aliso Creek-Limekiln Creek Restoration Project at Vanalden Park is aimed at reducing pollutants in city waters by treating stormwater and urban runoff from Aliso and Limekiln creeks and an open channel storm drain.

Aquafornia news YubaNet.com

Study: Climate change could deliver more sediment and pollution to the San Francisco Bay-Delta

Climate change could deliver more silt, sand and pollution to the San Francisco Bay-Delta, along with a mixed bag of other potential consequences and benefits, according to a new study in the AGU journal Water Resources Research, which publishes research articles and commentaries providing a broad understanding of the role of water in Earth’s natural systems.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: NRDC sues to protect kids from perchlorate in tap water

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Washington, seeks to overturn the Trump EPA’s decision to allow unlimited amounts of toxic perchlorate in our tap water. EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler reached this decision even though his agency admits that toxic perchlorate is found in millions of Americans’ tap water…

Aquafornia news The Hill

EPA sued over decision not to regulate chemical linked to fetal brain damage

The Natural Resources Defense Council on Thursday sued the Environmental Protection Agency over its decision not to regulate a chemical linked to fetal and infant brain damage. The agency announced in June it would not regulate perchlorate even though it estimated up to 620,000 people could be drinking water with a concerning amount of the chemical. 

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Friday Top of the Scroll: Boulder Creek water problems highlight growing California wildfire threat

Drivers entering town these days pass a sign with an urgent message: Do not drink or boil the tap water in your home. It may not be safe. This town in the heart of the Santa Cruz Mountains is the latest California community to grapple with water problems because of a wildfire.

Aquafornia news SFGate.com

Cause of ‘unprecedented’ power failure that led to sewage dump into SF Bay still unknown

In the Aug. 14 outage, multiple redundant power sources failed at the plant in West Oakland, something that hasn’t happened since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Major flooding at the pump station led sewage to flow from an outlet into the estuary more than nine hours later. The incident occurred amid hot weather when people like to swim in the estuary running between Oakland and Alameda,

Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump ‘anarchist’ order would hit cities’ enviro programs

President Trump’s memo that would stop the flow of federal dollars to “anarchist jurisdictions” could hamstring cash-strapped cities’ Superfund cleanups and other environmental programs.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Wheeler, Calif. Gov. Newsom clash over coal plant rule change

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and California Gov. Gavin Newsom clashed Thursday over the Trump administration easing restrictions on wastewater discharges from coal-fired power plants.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Thursday Top of the Scroll: EPA announces short-term projects to plug border sewage flow

The two projects — which will cost $25 million and are funded by the EPA’s Border Water Infrastructure Program — will control sewage and wastewater, sediment and trash that flows from the Tijuana River across the U.S.-Mexico border into San Diego, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said during a press conference Wednesday at the U.S. Coast Guard station in San Diego.

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Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Environmentalists pledge to fight first local auction of federal oil leases since 2012

The Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity last week said it’s targeting a federal plan to auction in December seven parcels totaling about 4,330 acres in or near existing oilfields in the county. The CBD called the auction plan a “breathtakingly vicious” move by the Trump administration to expand drilling and fracking at a time of wildfires driven by climate change in an area with some of the country’s worst air quality.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Toxics agency overhaul ordered by California Legislature

California’s beleaguered Department of Toxic Substances Control could at last get an overhaul under a bill heading to the desk of Gov. Gavin Newsom. … If approved, the bill would impose a per ton waste generation fee, increase facility fees, add an ombudsman position, and take other actions. Assembly member Cristina Garcia (D), who authored the bill, said it would also raise $22 million to help stabilize the department’s finances.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Tainted valley groundwater could stymie banking deals

The big kahuna of California water — Metropolitan Water District of Southern California — has stopped taking supplies from one Kern County groundwater bank because the water is heavily tainted with a cancer-causing agent that is pervasive in Central Valley’s aquifers. While only one banking program has been affected so far, the emergence of this issue could have huge implications for water storage and movement in the Central Valley.

Aquafornia news Patch.com

Orange County groundwater basin added to Superfund sites for future cleanup

The Environmental Protection Agency has approved a Superfund site project to clean up groundwater in part of a basin in Fullerton, Anaheim, and Placentia… According to the Orange County Water District, groundwater was contaminated with industrial degreasing chemicals in the early 1960s through the mid-1980s. The long-lasting effects contaminated an area about five miles long and two miles wide…

Aquafornia news The Hill

Proposal fast tracks oil development in national forests, green groups say

A Monday proposal from the U.S. Forest Service would severely limit the agency’s ability to call off any oil drilling slated for its lands by the Bureau of Land Management, which tees up leasing in federal forests. … The proposed rule removes specific references within Forest Service policy to review environmental consequences of drilling and also eliminates the requirement to provide public notice before new oil activity takes place.

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Aquafornia news EcoWatch

Opinion: Why fixing the nation’s water crisis and combating a pandemic are linked

The San Joaquin Valley in California has the highest rates of drinking water contamination and the highest amount of public water systems with maximum contaminant level violations in the state. … The most recent contamination occurred in the city of Tulare, where local government buildings received a boil-water notice after a test of county wells found coliform bacteria.

Aquafornia news Environmental Health News

Microplastics in farm soils: A growing concern

Microplastics arrive on farms through processed sewage sludge used for fertilizer, plastic mulches, and are even intentionally added as slow-release fertilizers and protective seed coatings. In just the last few years, an uptick in research has uncovered alarming potential impacts of this contamination on all aspects of agricultural systems from soil quality to human health.

Aquafornia news National Law Review

PFAS liability: “Sovereign immunity” means companies pay

Involving the military in lawsuits or enforcement actions, though, often leads to a dead end due to the doctrine of sovereign immunity. It is that same protection afforded to the government, though, that will ultimately result in significantly increased costs to property owners, manufacturer, and water treatment facilities alike.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Recycling bills would help stem the flow of plastic into the ocean

The California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act ..would significantly reduce waste from single-use plastics and plastic packaging. Manufacturers would be required to make their packaging and certain products increasingly reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2032.

Aquafornia news Pasadena Now

EPA refuses to regulate perchlorate, after years of effort by Pasadena to eradicate the toxic rocket fuel oxidizer from two drinking water wells

While the world was coping with the deadly COVID-19 crisis … the Trump administration was quietly diluting environmental laws regulating the toxic rocket fuel oxidizer perchlorate, utilized extensively by scientists at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) beginning in the 1950s and since then polluting Pasadena and Altadena drinking water wells.

Aquafornia news MyNewsLA.com

Dow Chemical, Shell sued by South Pasadena over TCP contamination

The suit filed in Los Angeles federal court alleges the companies knew or should have known that the chemical, known as 1,2,3-trichloropropane, or TCP, is toxic and renders drinking water unsafe.

Aquafornia news KQED News

‘Unlikely’ power failure and series of equipment mishaps led to massive Oakland sewage spill

A major release of raw and partially treated sewage into the Oakland Estuary earlier this month was triggered by a rapid-fire series of electrical failures at the East Bay Municipal Utility District’s main wastewater treatment plant, the agency says in a report filed with state regulators.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday Top of the Scroll: California lawmakers vote to phase out toxic firefighting foam

The measure, put forward by state Sen. Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica), requires municipal fire departments, chemical plants and oil refineries to gradually stop using the foam, replacing it with alternatives that don’t contain perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a class of chemicals commonly known as PFAS…. a significant amount of drinking-water contamination comes from their use in firefighting foam…

Aquafornia news E&E News

BLM plans first California auction in 7 years

The Bureau of Land Management will revive its oil and gas leasing program in California later this year, following a seven-year moratorium sparked by a fracking fight.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Green groups fight EPA rollback limiting states from blocking projects

The Clean Water Act previously allowed states to halt projects that risk hurting their water quality, but that power was scaled back by the EPA in June, a move Administrator Andrew Wheeler said would “curb abuses of the Clean Water Act that have held our nation’s energy infrastructure projects hostage.” The latest suit argues the Trump administration is inappropriately denying states veto power over major projects that pose risks to their waterways.

Aquafornia news KVEO-TV

CBP plans to build border wall across Tijuana River, where no barrier exists

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has announced plans to extend the border wall and have it cut across the Tijuana River where the river enters the U.S. in San Diego. … Usually, the river has more debris and old tires in it than it has water. But there is no barrier between the two countries here.

Aquafornia news USA Today

‘It affects us all’: Erin Brockovich’s ‘Superman’s Not Coming’ explores water issues, urges action

Brockovich’s new book … explores problems from contaminated drinking water to water shortages due to climate change. And as weighty as those issues may seem, she also provides action steps for people concerned about their own water and tells the empowering stories of many people speaking up about water contamination in their communities.

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Aquafornia news Environmental Working Group

Blog: California Legislature kills bill to protect kids from lead

On Thursday, the California State Senate Appropriations Committee defeated a bill that would reduce the amount of lead leached from faucets and fixtures to no more than 1 microgram of lead – five times less lead than faucets are designed to leach today.

Aquafornia news UC Riverside News

Blog: Water contaminant could have neurotoxic effects on children

Manganese isn’t considered a major water contaminant in America, but a new study is taking a closer look at whether it should be.

Aquafornia news National Ground Water Association

News release: National Ground Water Association offers new PFAS educational resources for private well owners

The National Ground Water Association (NGWA) has released two new educational resources for private well owners concerning per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). … Both resources are available for a free download at NGWA.org/PFAS and WellOwner.org.

Aquafornia news Yale Climate Connections

Blog: California’s cap-and-trade program pays for clean water fund

Last year, California passed a law establishing a fund for safe and affordable drinking water. Using money from the state’s cap-and-trade program, it allocates up to $130 million to solutions each year for a decade.

Aquafornia news Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

News release: Efforts to keep pollutants out of Lake Tahoe surpass targets

According to the latest data, local government and State transportation agencies have successfully surpassed 2019 pollution prevention targets established to reduce urban stormwater pollution and restore Lake Tahoe’s famous, crystal-clear water.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Scientists find tiny plastics in human tissue

U.S. scientists have for the first time discovered traces of microscopic plastics in major human organs.

Aquafornia news CBS Los Angeles

EPA reaches $56.6M settlement for groundwater cleanup throughout LA County

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies have reached a $56.6 million settlement to assist in cleanup at the Dual Site Groundwater Operable Unit of the Montrose Chemical Corp. and Del Amo superfund sites.

Aquafornia news National Law Review

PFAS issues in California compounded by Colorado’s PFAS proliferation

As California continues to draw enormous amount of water from the Colorado River, water utilities in California must begin to consider the implications that media-driven fear over PFAS will have on their liability if they continue to utilize water from the Colorado River as a reserve resource.

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.

Related article

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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. 

Related articles:

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

Related articles:

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 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 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 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 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 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.

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