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 Capital Public Radio

Environment experts to Newsom: Now’s your moment

Back in September, while wildfires raged and the pandemic wore on, California Gov. Gavin Newsom held a virtual press conference to announce a bold new climate goal. By 2035, he said, all new cars and trucks sold in California would be zero-emission, in order to seriously curtail climate warming-emissions. … But while Newsom has grabbed attention for his clean car policy … environmental experts say he hasn’t moved boldly enough on ecological issues… Last summer, the governor issued a water resilience portfolio that outlines 142 state actions to help the state deal with water as the climate crisis worsens….

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: How oil & gas states did (and did not) protect land and water in 2020

More than 30 states actively regulate oil and gas development with a variety of practices and rules designed to reduce health, safety and environmental impacts. … Colorado approved new, nation-leading well integrity rules designed to prevent oil and gas wells from leaking methane to the atmosphere, befouling groundwater resources and causing explosions that can harm workers and communities. 

Aquafornia news Redheaded Blackbelt

Blog: Overturned fuel tank at cannabis grow leads to over $100,000 fine and more

Two out-of-state men were ordered by a judge to pay $117,373 in restitution for water pollution violations stemming from an overturned fuel tank that released an estimated 760 gallons of diesel into Rock Tree Creek, a tributary of the Eel River.

Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

Radhika Fox appointed to lead EPA’s Office of Water

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the selection of US Water Alliance CEO Radhika Fox as the Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water. Fox was a Day One Presidential Appointee in the Biden-Harris Administration. She will serve as the Acting Assistant Administrator for Water.

Aquafornia news Sonoma Index-Tribune

California to impose first statewide rules for winery wastewater, marking new era

Hundreds of California wineries will for the first time be governed by statewide wastewater processing rules, a change from the long-held, regional approach that could increase production costs for wineries and protections for waterways while providing consistency for vintners across the state. The move toward a statewide regulatory framework, a five-year effort championed by industry leaders, was finalized this week by the State Water Resources Control Board, which approved an order setting up guidelines for wastewater processing at most of the more than 3,600 bonded wineries in the state. 

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Dupont, 3M win dismissal of California water utility’s PFAS suit

3M Co. and E.I. DuPont de Nemours Inc. shook off a California water utility’s claims that they contaminated the state water supply with PFAS after the Central District of California found the utility failed to establish jurisdiction. Golden State Water Co. alleges that the companies “directed and instructed” intermediaries and end users of their products to dispose of them in a way they should have known may cause contamination. 

Aquafornia news State Water Resources Control Board

News Release: State Water Boards adopts new rule for winery wastewater processing and discharging

The State Water Resources Control Board adopted a general order for how wastewater is processed and discharged at winery locations in an ongoing effort to safeguard groundwater and surface water from wastewater discharges. The order protects groundwater and surface water quality while giving wineries the flexibility to select compliance methods that best fit their site-specific situation, including tiering the compliance requirements to the winery size and associated threat to water quality. 

Aquafornia news The Guardian

One-third of US rivers have changed color in recent decades, research finds

Rivers may seem like immutable features of the landscape but they are in fact changing color over time …The overall significance of the changes are unclear and could reflect various ways in which humans are impacting the environment, said lead author John Gardner, an assistant professor of geology and environmental science at the University of Pittsburgh. One stark example from the study of rapid color change is Lake Mead along the Colorado River.

Aquafornia news NBC Bay Area

Lightning Complex Fires also seriously damaged drinking water systems

As the CZU Lightning Complex fire bore down on Gail Mahood’s tree-shrouded Felton neighborhood last August, she gathered what possessions she could and fled. … Thankfully, fire crews saved the little community of 20 or so houses, stopping the blaze within a half-mile of Mahood’s home in the Santa Cruz Mountains, but the pipes that delivered drinking water from a spring just up the hill were completely destroyed.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Jefferson Public Radio

California moves to monitor microplastics in drinking water

We talk about microplastics in the ocean and on land fairly often, but they are present in drinking water as well. The California Legislature passed a bill in 2018 requiring monitoring of the tiny plastic particles in drinking water. Standards are due to be set up by the state Water Resources Control Board this year. Scott Coffin, a researcher with the agency, visits with an overview of the issues with microplastics, and how the monitoring effort is coming along.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California residents owe $1 billion in water debt. Shutoffs coming?

In a time of record-breaking unemployment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Californians owe an estimated $1 billion in unpaid water utility bills. With reduced revenue, hundreds of water utilities are at high risk of financial emergency. The State Water Board estimates at least 1.6 million households have an average of roughly $500 in water debt — a crisis that could lead to a wave of families facing water shutoffs, liens on their homes or other collection methods. … Data show Black and Latino households are disproportionately affected. 

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Aquafornia news The Michigan Daily

Opinion: It’s time to say goodbye to golf

California is home to over 1,000 golf courses, so when there was a lack of water and public officials had to decide where to allocate the water, the choice should have been obvious. California should have shut down the golf courses and made sure that every resident had access to clean drinking water.  However, this was not the case. As many as two-thirds of Californian golf courses stayed open and the average 18-hole course continued to use 90 million gallons of water each day.

Written by Alex Noble, a columnist for the newspaper

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Activists want Biden to protect Grand Canyon, restore national monuments

Wind rustles the barbed fence surrounding Canyon Mine as Amber Reimondo patrols its perimeter. For the last four years under the Trump administration, Reimondo, the energy director for the Grand Canyon Trust, has worked to make the temporary Obama-era uranium mining ban around the Grand Canyon permanent. So far, her efforts have not paid off.  But with an impending change in presidents, Reimondo hopes change is in the wind. 

Aquafornia news Beyond Pesticides

Blog: Millions of people drinking groundwater with pesticides or pesticide degradates

 A study of groundwater that feeds public drinking water supply finds pesticides in 41% of supply wells (and a handful of freshwater springs). Two-thirds of that 41% contain pesticide compounds per se, and one-third contain pesticide degradates — compounds resulting from biotic (or abiotic) transformation of pesticides into other compounds.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn | Attorneys at Law

Blog: Sacramento Superior Court rejects State Water Board’s attempt to apply Water Quality Control Plan to waters not covered by the Clean Water Act

The Sacramento County Superior Court recently issued a final decision in San Joaquin Tributaries Authority v. California State Water Resources Control Board, finding that the State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) is not authorized to adopt a state-level water quality control plan for waters that are not classified as waters of the United States. As a result, the State Board is prohibited from applying the Water Quality Control Plan for Inland Surface Waters and Enclosed Bays and Estuaries of California (Inland Surface Waters WQCP) to wetlands that do not meet the federal definition of waters of the United States.

Aquafornia news UC California Naturalist

Blog: Have you heard the story of Lake Cahuilla?

The building of dams on the Colorado River has forever changed the ebb and flow, flooding, drying and renewal cycle of what was once Lake Cahuilla, changing its character and changing its name to the Salton Sea. Entrepreneurs once thought that the Salton Sea would become a sportsman’s mecca, providing fishing, boating, and waterskiing experiences like no other. There were a few decades where that dream seemed to be true. Then it wasn’t.

Aquafornia news Turtle Island Restoration Network

Blog: 5 ways to be salmon-friendly in 2021

We’ve reached a critical moment to take action for endangered, wild coho salmon and the forests and watersheds they need to survive. But we can’t do it alone. From keeping an eye out for pollution in the environment to using reusable tote bags, there are many actions we can take as individuals to help create a healthy planet for us all. We’ve put together five ways to be salmon-friendly in 2021…

Aquafornia news California Department of Toxic Substances Control

News release: California to tire makers – Please remove harmful chemicals that threaten our aquatic life and waterways

The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) put tire manufacturers on notice that California wants them to explore alternatives to using zinc, a toxic chemical that harms aquatic life and burdens waterways. Zinc helps make rubber stronger, but also wears off tire tread and washes into storm drains, streams, rivers and lakes, threatening California fish and other aquatic organisms.

Aquafornia news Scientific American

Sunlight powers portable, inexpensive systems to produce drinking water

The U.S. Department of Energy will soon announce semifinalists for its Solar Desalination Prize. The goal: a system that produces 1,000 liters of usable water for $1.50… Such systems could surmount a big downside of reverse osmosis: it typically desalinates only half of the input saltwater, and the solution left behind eventually builds up enough salt to clog the membrane…

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

Nevada environmental agency funds water projects in Tahoe

The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection announced that $1 million in Clean Water Act grant funds provided by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency will be used to complete 11 projects, including two in Lake Tahoe, to reduce “nonpoint source pollution” and improve water quality across the state.

Aquafornia news Water Technology

BlueGreen Water Technologies gets approval for Lake Guard Oxy

BlueGreen Water Technologies has secured approval from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation for its algaecide, Lake Guard Oxy, for commercial application in the US state. According to the firm, in the past year, there has been a marked rise in the severity of toxic algal blooms, also called as ‘blue green algae’ and ‘red tide’ in several of the state’s lakes as well as on the coasts.

Aquafornia news KMVU Fox 26 Medford

Water advisories for California town continue

A small California town is dealing with a water system that’s not working. Out of the three community wells in Hornbrook, two stopped pumping water and a third quickly ran out. As of Monday, the water is back on, but residents say there is still a boil water notice.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Four water stories to watch in 2021

Now that the calendar has flipped to January 2021, it’s time to say goodbye to the mess of the past year, yes? … The pandemic’s economic dislocation continues to reverberate among those who lost work. Severe weather boosted by a warming climate is leaving its mark in the watersheds of the Southwest [including the Colorado River]. And President-elect Biden will take office looking to undo much of his predecessor’s legacy of environmental deregulation while also writing his own narrative on issues of climate, infrastructure, and social justice….Litigation over toxic PFAS compounds found in rivers, lakes, and groundwater is already active. Lawsuits are likely to continue at a brisk pace…

Aquafornia news Civil Engineering Source

Response team investigates wildfire damage to buried Paradise drinking water infrastructure

Communities are only just beginning to understand how their buried drinking water infrastructure can be damaged or compromised during wildfires. A response team led an investigation into the damage sustained to Paradise’s drinking water infrastructure and came to some surprising conclusions.

Aquafornia news California Trout

Blog: Toxic tires leads to suffering salmon

There has likely been 95% or more decline in [coho salmon] numbers since the 1960s in California due to dam construction and habitat degradation from various land-use practices. Toxic tire pollution is another threat added to the already long lost of myriad threats this species face.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Plastic pipes a water contamination risk after fire, data shows

Wildfires in California have been brutal in recent years, not only torching millions of acres of forest but also blazing through developed areas with vicious force… Because these fires are now burning where people live — or, people are living where the fires are — new hazards to health and infrastructure have emerged in the ashes. Among them is the contamination of drinking water…

Aquafornia news Office of the Attorney General

News release: Attorney General Becerra continues to challenge Trump administration’s unlawful assault on the Clean Water Act

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra joined a coalition of 15 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts in support of a lawsuit by environmental organizations challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers rule redefining “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Coho salmon deaths linked to chemical found in tires

For years, researchers have worked to solve the mysterious cause of extreme coho salmon mortality in the Pacific Northwest. A recent study by the San Francisco Estuary Institute and the University of Washington has finally identified the microscopic culprit as a highly toxic contaminant associated with tire particles…The study focused on water samples from the San Francisco Bay area and the Puget Sound in Washington state, but scientists fear the contaminant could affect coho salmon in the Eel and Klamath rivers as well.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: USEPA issues draft guidance to clarify the U.S. Supreme Court’s Maui Decision

On December 8, 2020, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued draft guidance intended to clarify when a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit is required under the Clean Water Act (Act) based upon the recent United States Supreme Court ruling in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund (Maui).  This guidance is important for public agencies and other entities that make point source discharges to groundwater that reach waters of the United States. 

Aquafornia news Meeting of the Minds

Blog: Building resilience & addressing inequities in small, underperforming drinking water systems

California has many small systems compared to other states. However, California has about the same percentage of underperforming small systems with problems delivering safe water as most other states. Thus, the lessons learned from characterizing and solving the problems in California may be transferable to other regions, nationally and internationally.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Don’t fall for fossil fuel propaganda

The consequences of climate change do not impact all Californians equally, and here in the San Joaquin Valley, community members and agricultural workers are on the frontlines of the air pollution, water scarcity and increased heat that are inextricably tied to climate change.  Our health, well-being and future prosperity depend on enacting meaningful solutions to accelerate the transition off of polluting fuels.
-Written by Blanca Escobedo, a policy advocate for the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability. 

Aquafornia news CNN

America’s new water safety challenge is biofilm, CDC study says

The United States has some of the safest drinking water in the world. But its water supply is facing a new challenge — a slimy growth inside pipes that is encouraging outbreaks of illness responsible for over 7 million illnesses and 6,000 deaths every year. That’s the disturbing finding of a new analysis of waterborne disease from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that was 10 years in the making.  

Aquafornia news Law360

Electronics maker to pay $3.5m in water contamination case

Ametek Inc., a manufacturer of electronic instruments, has agreed to pay $3.5 million to put to bed allegations that it contaminated the groundwater of mobile home parks near a California aerospace manufacturing plant it once operated. The settlement, which received final approval from a California federal judge Tuesday, will include $1.5 million for medical consultations for the roughly 7,000-person class that says their groundwater was contaminated with the toxic chemical trichloroethylene, a solvent used in manufacturing. 

Aquafornia news Ensia

From Alaska to Florida, harmful PFAS compounds pollute water at multiple sites in every state

More than 200 million Americans may be drinking PFAS-contaminated water, research suggests. As studies continue to link exposures to a lengthening list of potential health consequences — including links to Covid-19 susceptibility — scientists and advocates are calling for urgent action from both regulators and industry to curtail PFAS use and to take steps to ensure the compounds already in the environment stay out of drinking water.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Restoring wetlands near farms would dramatically reduce water pollution

Runoff from fertilizer and manure application in agricultural regions has led to high levels of nitrate in groundwater, rivers, and coastal areas. These high nitrate levels can threaten drinking water safety and also lead to problems with algal blooms and degradation of aquatic ecosystems. Previous research has shown that wetlands improve water quality, but how much of an impact are wetlands having on nitrate removal now, and what improvements could wetland restoration deliver in the future?

Aquafornia news Estuary News

Blog: COVID complicates encampment cleanups

In 2016 the City of San Jose became the first Bay Area municipality to get credit for homeless encampment cleanups under its stormwater permit. So far, the city has exceeded the permit’s annual requirements, most recently removing 446 tons of rubbish—more than double its goal—from encampments along waterways. But Covid-19 has complicated this effort.

Aquafornia news The Conversation

Blog: Plastic pipes are polluting drinking water systems after wildfires – it’s a risk in urban fires, too

When wildfires swept through the hills near Santa Cruz, California, in 2020, they released toxic chemicals into the water supplies of at least two communities. One sample found benzene, a carcinogen, at 40 times the state’s drinking water standard. Our testing has now confirmed a source of these chemicals, and it’s clear that wildfires aren’t the only blazes that put drinking water systems at risk.

Aquafornia news Best Best & Krieger

Blog: EPA issues guidance on groundwater releases in wake of Maui v. Hawai’i Wildlife Fund

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published guidance on how to apply the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in County of Maui v. Hawai’i Wildlife Fund. The guidance provides some clarity as to when a discharge to groundwater is the “functional equivalent of a direct discharge from a point source into navigable waters.”

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Company hit with $60,000 penalty for spilling liquid asphalt into stream near Redwood Park

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has imposed a $60,000 penalty on a Sacramento construction company after one of the company’s tanker trucks rolled down a ravine while trying to negotiate a tight turn on a narrow, winding road near Portola Redwoods State Park in San Mateo County last fall. The crash sent roughly 1,000 gallons of asphalt emulsifier, an oily black chemical poured on roads as part of paving projects, flowing into a creek.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Friday Top of the Scroll: Much of California’s water wells are contaminated with chromium-6. Could a costly fix be coming?

California has yet to comprehensively deal with pervasive chromium-6 contamination, but that may soon change.  The State Water Resources Control Board held public workshops this week as it moves into what might be one of the final phases of the process of regulating the contaminant. They looked specifically at the costs of cleaning up the problem after the board published more data and analysis of the extent of chromium-6 contamination last week. 

Aquafornia news The Hill

EPA guidance may exempt some water polluters from Supreme Court permit mandate

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tuesday released a draft guidance that interprets a Supreme Court decision in a way that may exempt some facilities from needing permits to pollute groundwater. The EPA’s new draft guidance says that whether a pollution discharge into groundwater should be considered a “functional equivalent” depends on “what happens to the discharged pollutant over that time and distance traveled” to the regulated body of water.

Aquafornia news KPBS

‘Time’ names its Kid of the Year: Water-testing scientist Gitanjali Rao

Gitanjali Rao, a Colorado teenager who invented a mobile device to test for lead in drinking water, is Time’s Kid of the Year for 2020. The magazine announced the award Thursday, citing Rao’s ability to apply scientific ideas to real-world problems — and her desire to motivate other kids to take up their own causes.

Aquafornia news The National Law Review

Blog: California water district PFAS lawsuit

The California water district PFAS lawsuit is significant not only because it is one of the largest PFAS lawsuits filed to date by a water district, but also because it is one of the first times that a consumer product manufacturer is being targeted for PFAS cleanup costs.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

New research explains why salmon are dying in the Pacific Northwest. The danger lurks in California, too

Scientists in the Pacific Northwest say they’ve solved a long-running mystery behind the region’s dying salmon, a discovery that may explain what’s harming fish elsewhere around the globe, including California.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Orange County water districts file massive lawsuit over PFAS contaminants

Eleven Orange County water agencies have joined in a lawsuit seeking hundreds of millions of dollars from DuPont, 3M and others whose carcinogenic chemicals have leached into groundwater aquifers and forced the closure of more than three dozen wells in the central and northern parts of the county.

Aquafornia news SciTech Daily

Keeping California a powerhouse of almond production while improving environmental quality

Almond trees shed leaves, grow woody tissue, and undergo other processes similar to trees in a real forest. These all have effects on carbon, nitrogen, and other nutrient cycles. These characteristics can often mean that nutrients flow off of the field. They can get into areas like groundwater aquifers, where they can impact drinking water supplies for rural communities.

Aquafornia news State Water Resources Control Board

News release: Aquatic toxicity plan will upgrade protections for fish, other aquatic life

The State Water Resources Control Board approved a comprehensive plan to ensure lab testing and analysis for toxicity in waterways are completed using the same protocols and standards statewide. This will help address toxicity in California’s waterways and significantly improve protections for fish and other aquatic life.

Aquafornia news Chemical and Engineering News

US EPA recommends testing wastewater for PFAS

Some facilities may have to test for the presence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in their wastewater, under a new strategy from the US Environmental Protection Agency. The effort could eventually help reduce the level of environmentally persistent and toxic PFAS in drinking water drawn downstream of such facilities as well as in fish and river sediment.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Audit of CalGEM says California oil regulators issued improper permits

California oil regulators ignored their own regulations and issued improper permits for hundreds of new wells last year, according to an audit … finalized this week. … The audit was requested after stories in The Desert Sun revealed that CalGEM employees used so-called “dummy” folders to approve new injection wells for several oil companies that do risky steam injection.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Model filter system removes antibiotics from wastewater

A model for an economical filter system that can remove antibiotics from wastewater has been designed by Agricultural Research Service and University of California-Riverside collaborators.

Aquafornia news Water Wrights

Blog: Milk Producers Council water update

Without an accessible and relatively clean water supply, dairy farming is not possible. Much of California enjoys a Mediterranean-style climate, where precipitation is not a year around expectation. And yet California is home to the largest dairy industry in the United States. So how are we doing?

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Video: Building a water-resilient California

What are key California water priorities for the coming year, in light of ongoing disruptions from the pandemic, the recession, lingering drought, and a record-breaking fire season? The PPIC Water Policy Center brought together three panels of experts to discuss possibilities at our annual water priorities conference.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

How to comment on sustainable groundwater plans in Madera

After decades of new and deeper wells, degraded water quality and groundwater level declines, residents in the [Madera] area have a chance to influence how local groundwater will be managed and used for decades to come — and the deadline to participate is quickly approaching.

Aquafornia news Grist.org

This entrepreneur is plugging the world’s drinking water into the (digital) cloud

Now based in California, 39-year-old engineer and entrepreneur Meena Sankaran is working to make water cleaner and more reliable — by making it smarter. Using sensors and analytic tools, Sankaran’s startup KETOS provides real-time monitoring of both water usage and quality, alerting, say, a farmer to a leak, or a municipality to a contaminant.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

First rain of season unveils a new pollution problem: Masks and gloves — pandemic PPE

Early season storms typically sweep a slurry of debris from streets and sidewalks into rivers, creeks and bays. This year, the fall flush not only contains the usual gunk, waste experts say, but a whole lot of discarded PPE — or personal protective equipment, the detritus of the pandemic.

Aquafornia news E&E News

PFAS exposure could hinder vaccine for hard-hit communities

Exposure to toxic “forever” chemicals could hinder the effectiveness of a COVID-19 vaccine, with outsize implications for some communities and workers.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Well water throughout California contaminated with ‘forever chemicals’

In the weeks before the coronavirus began tearing through California, the city of Commerce made an expensive decision: It shut down part of its water supply. Like nearly 150 other public water systems in California, the small city on the outskirts of Los Angeles had detected “forever chemicals” in its well water.

Related article:

Aquafornia news State Water Resources Control Board

News release: Years-long struggle for safe water to end at Coachella Valley elementary school

Children and staff at Westside Elementary School in Thermal have had to rely on bottled water due to issues from an aging well. But change is here. Thanks to a $880,155 grant from the Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) program, a consolidation project recently broke ground, granting Westside Elementary access to the Coachella Valley Water District and a reliable source of clean water.

Aquafornia news E&E News

How Biden could undo Trump’s water regulations

The incoming Biden administration is widely expected to undo President Trump’s regulatory rollbacks on a range of water rules including stream and wetland protections, drinking water contamination, and the permitting of controversial energy and flood projects.

Aquafornia news E&E News

House Democrats aim to resurrect PFAS package

House Democrats are working to reintroduce major legislation targeting toxic chemicals singled out by President-elect Joe Biden as a priority for his administration.

Aquafornia news WineBusiness.com

How four green medal award-winning wineries and vineyards are ramping up sustainability efforts

All of these wineries focus on energy efficiency, water use efficiency, soil and nutrient management, pest management, biodiversity and wildlife conservation. They participate in sustainable certification programs such as the Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing program. For each, sustainability involves an ongoing process of evaluation and improvement.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Barge overtaken by king tide leaks fluids into Petaluma River

A marine construction barge that apparently became stuck in the mud at low tide in the Petaluma River on Saturday was inundated by the rising tide overnight, becoming partially submerged and leaking fluids into the tidal slough… Moving the barge out of the navigation channel was expected to be a long-term challenge, and a problem for large boats just starting to use the river again after its recent, long-awaited dredging.

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Aquafornia news Stanford Bill Lane Center for the American West

Blog: Central Valley communities struggle for drinking water: Q&A with Felicia Marcus

As chair of the California State Water Resources Control Board, Felicia Marcus had to confront the issue directly. Marcus, who is now the William C. Landreth Visiting Fellow at Stanford’s Water in the West program, headed the EPA’s Southwest Region under President Bill Clinton. … Here are her answers about what has been done and what still needs to be done to untangle the physical, financial and political barriers blocking fair access to clean drinking water in California.

Aquafornia news The Business Journal

Farmers donate money to help dairy in fight with city

The Tulare County Farm Bureau presented a check for $65,000 to Ben Curti and Tessa Hall of Curtimade Dairy to assist in their legal fees as they defend against accusations of groundwater pollution from the city of Corcoran…

Aquafornia news Politico

Friday Top of the Scroll: How California will shape U.S. environmental policy under Biden

“Probably water allocation and climate change would be the two big pivots and increased opportunity for collaboration between California and the federal government after 4 years of conflicts and really outright warfare,” said Rick Frank, a former California chief deputy attorney general. He is now a professor at UC Davis law school.

Aquafornia news Ensia.com

The surprising connection between West Coast fires and the volatile chemicals tainting America’s drinking water

After fires marred the San Lorenzo Valley near Santa Cruz, in August, the local water district issued a “Do Not Drink Do Not Boil” notice to residents. Volatile organic compounds including benzene, residents were warned, could be seeping into the water system — just as the toxic chemicals did in Santa Rosa and Paradise, California, in the wake of wildfires in 2017 and 2018.

Aquafornia news Legislative Analyst's Office

Report: Expanding access to safe and affordable drinking water in California

Despite federal and state water quality standards, over one million Californians currently lack access to safe drinking water. This is primarily because these residents receive their water from systems and domestic wells that do not consistently meet those established standards….Our review finds that SWRCB has shown positive progress in its initial year of administering the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water (SADW) Fund and implementing SB 200. 

Aquafornia news Reuters

Calif. county sues Dow Chemical, Shell over TCP pollution

Dow Chemical Company and Shell Oil Company have been hit with a lawsuit by the central California county of Madera alleging they knowingly polluted Madera’s drinking water wells by manufacturing and selling fumigants, used in agricultural fields, laced with a toxic chemical.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Biden’s EPA Expected to pass limits on some ‘forever chemicals’

The EPA under a future Biden administration is expected to quickly move to set regulations on “forever chemicals” in water and other areas, but not to restrict the entire group of thousands of the substances, attorneys said in recent interviews.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Answers for private well, drinking water questions in Fresno

Private wells in the central San Joaquin Valley are at risk of water quality issues, failing equipment and declining groundwater supplies. To help residents address these concerns, The Fresno Bee contacted public officials, water advocates and other experts to answer frequently asked questions about common issues.

Aquafornia news Chemical & Engineering News

1,4-dioxane: Another forever chemical plagues drinking-water utilities

Water monitoring data collected in 2010–15 show that more than 7 million people in the US across 27 states had utility-supplied tap water that had detectable 1,4-dioxane, according to the Environmental Working Group. The problem of 1,4-dioxane pollution isn’t unique to the US. However, the US situation reveals a number of regulatory barriers. There is no federal limit on 1,4-dioxane in drinking water. And getting it out of water is challenging.

Aquafornia news American Water Works Association

Blog: AWWA offers PFAS updates on research, drinking water evaluation and treatment

AWWA has released three new resources about per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to support water systems’ information needs and ability to educate the public and policy makers about issues related to PFAS in drinking water.

Aquafornia news California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Blog: New issue of CDFW scientific journal reviews environmental impacts of cannabis cultivation

California Fish and Wildlife Journal features a series of scientific articles on the environmental impacts associated with legal and unpermitted commercial cannabis cultivation. Once primarily hidden deep in the forests of the Emerald Triangle, cannabis cultivation activities are now occurring all over California.

Aquafornia news Water Online

Cause of benzene water supply contamination challenged

The Plastics Pipe Institute, Inc. said its investigation of benzene contamination in the water supply of fire damaged areas such as Paradise, California has determined that the cause is not from pipe made from high-density polyethylene, but was from the burned-out environment.

Aquafornia news Valley Voice

California water board orders mandatory solution to East Orosi water situation

After more than a decade of East Orosi residents struggling without clean drinking water, the State Water Board on Tuesday took a huge and critically necessary step by issuing a mandatory consolidation order for a neighboring district to connect East Orosi to safe water, ushering in the long-overdue promise of safe drinking water for the marginalized Tulare County community.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Expiration dates looming for TCP lawsuits

The clock is ticking for some water systems and well owners to file a claim if they’re considering suing Dow Chemical and Shell Oil companies for possibly tainting groundwater with a chemical known as 1,2,3-TCP.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

California landfill sued over alleged stormwater pollution

A 340-acre landfill facility in Richmond, Calif., is releasing contaminated stormwater into nearby waters in violation of its federal water pollution permit, a conservation group says in a lawsuit filed in federal court.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

Water board enforcement actions being taken on dairies

Dairy producers will need to be mindful of enforcement actions from the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. Paul Sousa of Western United Dairies said enforcement typically occurs during the rainy season. Enforcement actions have been taken on six California dairies.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Farms work on nitrate control requirements

Local leaders, farmers and others in the Central Valley report additional progress in addressing salinity in surface water, and salt and nitrates in groundwater, in compliance with a program adopted last fall by the State Water Resources Control Board.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Who in the U.S. is in ‘plumbing poverty’? Mostly urban residents, study says

Even in the wealthiest countries, basic water services are not universal. At least 1.1 million people in the United States do not have hot and cold water running water in their house and a shower or tub for bathing, a new study finds. This “plumbing poverty” is highest in cities and most acute in those like San Francisco that have the greatest income inequality.

Aquafornia news Union of Concerned Scientists

Blog: Scientists share coping strategies for San Joaquin Valley households at risk of extreme climate impacts

“As temperatures rise, climate change compounds the already difficult circumstances of vulnerable communities, increasing inequities related to access to clean water, clean air and socioeconomic opportunities” said J. Pablo Ortiz-Partida, climate scientist at UCS and co-author of the guide.

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Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

New snapshot of what’s in the Tijuana River is as gross as you’d expect

What’s in the Tijuana River? Ammonia, a byproduct of raw sewage. Phosphorous, an ingredient in soaps and cleaners that’s banned in the U.S. Metals used in the industrial plating industry. Parasitic worms. And DEHP, a chemical added to plastics. And of course, there’s poo.

Aquafornia news National Law Review

California: PFAS lawsuits increasing

On October 27, 2020, a California water PFAS lawsuit was filed by the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency against several companies, in which it is alleged that the companies are responsible for PFAS water contamination in southern California.

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Aquafornia news Chemical & Engineering News

Pipes could release toxic chromium into tap water

A new study shows that the carcinogen hexavalent chromium can slip into drinking water when commonly used chlorine disinfectants corrode cast-iron water distribution pipes.

Aquafornia news PBS NOVA

Toxic synthetic “forever chemicals” are in our water and on our plates

Launched in a post-World War II chemical boom, PFAS have slowly made their way into water systems around the country. They flow through reservoirs and faucets and bleed into aquifers and irrigation systems that sustain crops and livestock that end up on our plates.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

‘It’s gone to the ground’: Big Basin Water Co. struggles to recover from fire

If plastic pipes or tanks are melted, or even just heat up, or loose pressure, drinking water can become contaminated. In the case of Big Basin Water Co., the system lost water pressure and much of its infrastructure was destroyed. That triggered the State Water Resources Control Board and the Big Basin Water Co. to put a Do Not Drink, Do Not Boil water advisory into effect.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Erin Brockovich issues call to action

Erin Brockovich, the longtime California water advocate, called for people around the country to “show up” to their local governments and demand cleaner water, speaking at a National Press Club event Friday.

Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

Report: Solutions for underperforming drinking water systems in California

California passed the Human Right to Water in 2012, acknowledging that every resident has a right to safe, clean, and affordable drinking water. Both large and small water systems struggle to provide safe drinking water; however, small systems face the greatest challenges.

Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Valley Signal

Santa Clarita Valley Water files lawsuit over water contamination

The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency filed a lawsuit Tuesday alleging toxic chemicals from products manufactured by those named in the case were discharged into the environment. Raytheon Technologies, Chemours, DuPoint and 3M Co. are among dozens named in the lawsuit “for their roles in introducing PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) into the water supply…

Aquafornia news Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board

News release: Garden Grove industrial facility penalized $1.14 million for soil, groundwater contamination

Cham-Cal, operator and owner of a facility in Garden Grove that manufactures commercial truck accessories, used and stored tetrachloroethene (PCE) in its vapor degreasing operation, resulting in repeated discharges of the suspected cancer-causing contaminant to soil and groundwater on industrial property owned by Western Avenue Associates.

Aquafornia news Mt. Shasta Herald

City of Mt. Shasta agrees to pay $166,000 fine after sewer line leak

The overflows were caused primarily by a buildup of debris and root intrusion from aging infrastructure that could not accommodate heavy flows during intense rainfall, said Pope. In 2017, the heavy rains also caused channel bank erosion at a pipe crossing that resulted in failure of the pipe and a sewage spill into Cold Creek, a tributary to Lake Siskiyou.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Judge backs farm groups in water-quality lawsuits

Environmental groups’ challenges to agricultural waste discharge requirements for the eastern San Joaquin River watershed have been denied by a judge in Sacramento, which a California Farm Bureau Federation attorney described as a legal victory for affected farmers and for farmers statewide.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Oilfield wastewater slowly gains value in agriculture

For decades it’s been done on a relatively small scale near Bakersfield, and recent studies confirm it doesn’t threaten crop safety. So why aren’t more local oil producers giving farmers the briny water that comes up from the ground along with oil? In a word, money.

Aquafornia news California State University San Marcos

Blog: Ask the expert: The scarcity of water

Kristine Diekman is a professor of art, media and design at Cal State San Marcos, where she teaches media theory and production, and sound studies. She’s also a media artist working in documentary and experimental film, new media and community-based media. Since 2014, Diekman has been working on a digital media project, “Run Dry,” which tells the story of the water crisis in California’s San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

What has the Trump administration meant for water?

The desire for crystal clean water is one that the president repeats frequently, even dating to his 2016 presidential campaign. Immaculate water, he has also said. Clear water. Beautiful water. But the focus on appearances is superficial, according to a number of water advocates and analysts. Revisions to environmental rules that the administration has pursued during the first term of the Trump presidency will be detrimental to the nation’s waters, they said.

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Aquafornia news Palo Alto Online

Supporters of Santa Clara Valley Water District clean water measure raise nearly $340K

A clean water and flood protection measure that would extend an existing Santa Clara Valley Water District program indefinitely has nearly $340,000 in its campaign coffers. A bulk of donations have come from unions, the construction and engineering sectors and political action committees, according to the latest financial statements filed with the state.

Aquafornia news Action News Now

Crews from state and county work to protect important watersheds

Five California Conservation Corps (CCC) crews are assisting Butte County Public Works and Department of Water Resources in making sure that the watershed is protected from potential rain water run-off from homes burned in the North Complex Fire.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

How the waters off Catalina became a DDT dumping ground

The UC Santa Barbara scientist was supposed to be studying methane seeps that day, but with a deep-sea robot on loan and a few hours to spare, now was the chance to confirm an environmental abuse that others in the past could not. He was chasing a hunch, and sure enough, initial sonar scans pinged back a pattern of dots that popped up on the map like a trail of breadcrumbs.

Aquafornia news UC Rangelands

Blog: Riparian conservation in grazed landscapes

In the absence of appropriate management, excessive livestock damage can occur in sensitive habitats such as riparian areas that provide drinking water, forage, and microclimates sought by free-ranging livestock. … Fortunately, conservation-grazing management strategies can reduce the likelihood of livestock damage to riparian areas.

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Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Wildfires can spark widespread contamination of public water supplies

More than 8,300 blazes have scorched four million acres (and counting) in California this wildfire season—doubling the state’s previous record, set just two years ago. … This trend not only presents immediate dangers to  people but can have toxic consequences for the local water supply that can persist long after the smoke clears.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Bill Gates-backed venture aims to eliminate ‘forever chemicals’

A new venture backed by billionaire Bill Gates is trying to make sure that “forever chemicals” don’t really last that long. Allonnia LLC, which launched Thursday with $40 million in Series A funding, is working to engineer microbes to get rid of pollutants in wastewater and soil. It’s starting with PFAS, an insidious class of chemicals that are widespread in U.S. drinking water…

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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

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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

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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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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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