U.S. Reps. Raul Ruiz, D-Palm Desert, and Juan Vargas,
D-San Diego reintroduced a bill this week that is aimed at
cleaning up the New River, a highly polluted waterway
originating near Mexicali, Mexico that flows
north, emptying into the Salton Sea. The bill, HR491,
would direct the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to create
an organization to be called the California New River
Restoration Program, which would coordinate funding and cleanup
The Santa Clarita Water Agency (SCV Water) is asking for the
public’s input on the Engineering Evaluation Cost Analysis
(EE/CA) of removing perchlorate and volatile substances from
the Saugus Formation Aquifer, officials said Tuesday. As
part of this effort, SCV Water is seeking input on the removal
of these substances during a 30-day public comment period from
Jan. 26 to Feb. 24, 2021, according to officials. The
public is invited to review and comment …
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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…
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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?
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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…
“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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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
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.]
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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,
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.
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…
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
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’.
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.
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).
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.
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…
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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 …
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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,
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…
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.
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
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
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
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…
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.