Topic: Stormwater

Overview

Stormwater

Stormwater runoff has emerged as a primary water quality issue. In urban areas, after long dry periods rainwater runoff can contain accumulations of pollutants. Stormwater does not go into the sewer. Instead, pollutants can be flushed into waterways with detrimental effects on the environment and water quality.

In response, water quality regulators use a range of programs to reduce stormwater pollution including limiting the amount of excess runoff and in some cases recapturing freshwater as well.

Typical stormwater runoff pollutants include:

  • Fertilizer
  • Pesticides/Herbicides
  • Heavy Metals
  • Oil and grease
  • Bacteria/viruses
  • Sediment
  • Construction Waste
  • Trash
Aquafornia news Phys.org

Sustainable sand pulls pollutants from stormwater

UC Berkeley engineers have developed a mineral-coated sand that can soak up toxic metals like lead and cadmium from water. Along with its ability to destroy organic pollutants like bisphenol A, this material could help cities tap into stormwater, an abundant but underused water source.

Aquafornia news ABC News San Diego

Inspection found 12 flaws in Poway’s water delivery system

A state inspection found 12 flaws in Poway’s drinking water delivery system less than three months before the city’s precautionary boil water advisory. City officials remain adamant that the issues raised by the inspection had nothing to do with the nearly week-long advisory that ended Dec. 6.

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Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

A model for the future of water

With a low rumble from a large pipe, water began flowing into a dirt basin at 25th Street West and Elizabeth Lake Road Thursday morning, christening the Upper Amargosa Creek Recharge Project and marking the debut of a new water storage endeavor in the Valley. Inside the basin, water flowed from holes in a round structure to begin flooding the bottom, where it will begin to percolate through the soil to the aquifer beneath.

Aquafornia news MyNewsLA.com

Group to sue county flood control district, others for alleged harm to fish

Two wildlife advocacy groups Wednesday announced their intent to sue the Riverside County Flood Control & Water Conservation District, as well as other regional and federal government agencies, for allegedly putting a fish species’ habitat at risk with the release of water from the Seven Oaks Dam.

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Aquafornia news ABC News San Diego

Members of different water districts blame the mayor and city of Poway for water problems

Members representing different water districts set up a news conference Tuesday to collectively show they weren’t happy with how the mayor and City of Poway handled last week’s water situation.

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Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Trade agreement includes $300 million for border pollution cleanup, including Tijuana River Valley

The new United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement reached Tuesday commits the federal government to provide $300 million for the Border Water Infrastructure Program to address pollution on the U.S.-Mexico border, including the Tijuana River Valley region, where millions of gallons of raw sewage, heavy metals and other contaminants regularly flow from Tijuana to San Diego.

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Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

Blog: Managing urban flooding in the San Francisco Bay Area: From a concrete bowl to a green sponge

Urban flooding is increasing in the Bay Area for four main reasons: California’s naturally variable precipitation patterns, climate change increasing precipitation extremes, population growth, and aging and insufficient infrastructure.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Little progress in reducing L.A. stormwater pollution, report says

Researchers combed through six years of data, from 2012 to 2018, to examine how L.A. County has mitigated the issue, most visible in the 72-hour aftermath of rainfall but persists during dry weather in the form of runoff from driveways and sidewalks. As it turns out, not much has been done, largely because of a lack of transparent requirements when it comes to the monitoring of stormwater pollution by various municipalities.

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Aquafornia news Alameda Sun

Voters pass drain fee

The City Council will certify the Water Quality and Flood Protection Initiative at its Dec. 17 meeting after Alameda property owners voted in favor of a fee hike. … The increased fee will fund repairs and new pump stations, which is vital to combat potential flooding as sea levels rise; improve lagoon systems, enhance street sweeping procedures and maintain and install new trash capture devices. These devices are key to keeping the shoreline free of trash and other debris.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Poway’s water woes due to out-of-compliance infrastructure, state official says

A state official said Wednesday he intends to notify the city of Poway that its water storage reservoir is out of compliance, a situation he said directly contributed to last week’s storm water overflow that has left the entire community under a boil-water advisory and temporarily shuttered nearly 200 businesses.

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Aquafornia news KPBS

Backed-up storm drain caused Poway’s water contamination

Rains caused storm drains to back up into Poway’s water treatment facility, officials said. Crews are working around the clock to clean and flush the system, which may take two to five days before the water is declared safe. The county health department ordered the closing of all restaurants in the city and residents are being advised to boil their tap water before drinking it or using it for cooking, city officials said.

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Aquafornia news KCRA TV

Crews build Sacramento’s McKinley Park water vault

Water in the vault will go the Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant in Elk Grove. This new system is designed to stop flooding on East Sacramento streets.

Aquafornia news Curbed LA

Giant water wheel will churn L.A. River water just like the 1860s

Called Bending the River Back Into the City, the project will churn with water from the river, siphoning a fraction of it out of the waterway, cleaning that water via “an artificial treatment wetland” … and then piping it to Los Angeles State Historic Park and the recently opened Albion Riverside Park and Downey Recreation Center so it can water plants and other landscaping there.

Aquafornia news San Diego State University

Blog: Five takeaways from Re:Border: The Water We Share

Through a variety of panel discussions, presentations and a showcase of student research, the Re:Border conference is exploring how San Diego State University and its regional partners can contribute to innovative solutions for water-related challenges in the transborder region.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Bi-national conference tackles border region’s water issues

A bi-national conference at San Diego State University was aimed at analyzing water resources in the Baja California and San Diego border region where challenges include cross-border pollution and water scarcity… Experts at the Reborder 2019 conference discussed ways to improve regional access to “a secure and reliable water supply” through wastewater treatment and desalination.

Aquafornia news Roll Call

California Democrats seek EPA watchdog help amid Trump threats

A group of California Democrats on Monday pressed the EPA’s internal watchdog to investigate whether the agency has retaliated against their state for political reasons, including by threatening to withhold federal funds for multiple transportation projects.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Trump’s EPA fires new round in water pollution fight with SF

The Environmental Protection Agency fanned the flames of an ongoing dispute with San Francisco on Thursday, reaffirming its stance that the city’s water agency improperly discharges wastewater into the ocean. In a letter to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, EPA officials reiterated their assessment that the city was out of step with its wastewater discharge permit, which regulates water quality standards.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Hail in LA as rain, snow fall in first SoCal storm of season

Hail pelted parts of the Los Angeles area Wednesday morning as the first storm of the season rolled through Southern California following months of dry weather and wildfires in the region.

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Aquafornia news National Public Radio

Wildlife and water in U.S. forests are being poisoned by illegal pot operations

An unlikely coalition in California — including environmentalists, law enforcement agents, politicians, wildlife ecologists and representatives of the legal cannabis industry — have joined forces to try to reduce these illegal operations and the environmental threat they pose.

Aquafornia news NBC Southern California

Woolsey Fire crippled Boeing water safety system at toxics site

Boeing worked with the state and installed a massive system of plastic pipes, treatment systems and holding ponds meant to filter and manage potentially toxic rainwater before it poured downhill…  Then the giant Woolsey Fire ignited at the old laboratory… Flames destroyed plastic piping and tore through the storm water system before ravaging another 94,000 acres as the fire stormed west to the sea, according to state and Boeing records.

Aquafornia news Civil Engineering Magazine

Reuse ramps up

Although still relegated largely to populated areas in such water-challenged states as California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida, water reuse is gaining ground in other areas. At the same time, the focus of water reuse increasingly is shifting to potable applications

Aquafornia news Western Water

Friday Top of the Scroll: As wildfires grow more intense, California water managers are learning to rewrite their emergency playbook

The lessons gained from the 2018 wildfires that swept through Paradise, in Northern California, and along the Los Angeles-Ventura County border in Southern California are still being absorbed by water managers around California as they recognize that the old emergency preparedness plans of yesterday may not be adequate for the new wildfire reality of today.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

The disconnect between groundwater legal systems and groundwater hydrology

The Groundwater Resources Association’s 2019 Western Groundwater Congress featured David Sandino, Senior Staff Counsel at the Department of Water Resources, who spoke about the disconnect between legal groundwater systems and how the system actually works; and Maurice Hall, Associate Vice President of Ecosystems-Water at the Environmental Defense Fund, who spoke of how more holistic and inclusive groundwater management can increase the resilience of our water supply…

Aquafornia news Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

News release: Metropolitan to study stormwater recharge potential in SoCal

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is expanding its effort to learn more about the water supply potential of local stormwater capture with a new $7.5 million pilot programapproved today by its board of directors.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Marcos kicking off $100 million Creek District improvements

San Marcos will start construction of its Creek District this year, with a $100 million plan to reduce flooding and improve habitat and traffic flow, officials said at a public forum earlier this week.

Aquafornia news Santa Clara Valley Water News

Blog: Valley Water adopts new policy to address encroachment concerns

In order to take care of environmental concerns and maintain our facilities in a safe and effective manner, we have identified about 900 encroachments on public lands managed by Valley Water that require resolution. … Valley Water has implemented a new process to resolve these encroachments by working with our community.

Aquafornia news Sierra Club

Blog: Santa Fe Dam: A hidden jewel of Southern California

Santa Fe Dam is an element of the Los Angeles County Drainage Area (LACDA) flood control system. Watersheds are more than just drainage areas in and around our communities. They are necessary to support habitat for plants and animals, and they provide drinking water for people and wildlife.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Trump finally uses (weaponizes) the Clean Water Act

The Trump Administration’s EPA takeover, with its race to the bottom rollbacks of the environmental and public health protections that Americans have relied upon for decades, is low; so low that even some of the industries the Administration seeks to support are pushing back. But what the Trump Administration has been up to lately in California– weaponizing the Clean Water Act to serve a political vendetta…well, can it get any lower than that?

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Alameda storm drain fee could more than double

Alameda property owners are being asked whether they are willing to pay more to maintain and upgrade the city’s aging stormwater system. … The reason? The city’s stormwater fund is running a $1 million annual deficit and the system needs about $30 million in upgrades, including at its pipe stations, some of which date to the 1940s…

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Residents – and wildlife – eager for revitalized lower L.A. River

Elizabeth Castillo looks on as her daughter Reynata plays with children at a playground near the Los Angeles River in Long Beach, California, in mid-October, hoping one day the river will be clean enough to kayak on. … In the last half-century, the LA River served primarily as flood control infrastructure, but open space and wildlife advocates fomented a movement to make it wild and accessible to all.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Tubbs fire zone landowners felling dead trees, thinning brush to protect Santa Rosa-area creek

The project includes improvements along more than 3 miles of dirt roads, repairing culverts and building erosion control features designed to reduce sediment flow into the creek. The aim is to protect gravel nests, called redds, where female salmon and steelhead lay their eggs, suffocating the eggs as well as clogging the gills of adult fish…

Aquafornia news The New York Times

EPA bypassed its West Coast team as feud with California escalated

When the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Andrew Wheeler, accused California of allowing “piles of human feces” on city streets to contaminate sewer systems … the accusations, contained in a Sept. 26 oversight letter, had been developed without the knowledge of the California-based staff, which would normally issue such notices. Instead, it was put together by a small group of political appointees in Washington assigned specifically to target California, according to three current E.P.A. officials.

Aquafornia news Geographical Magazine

The nitrogen dilemma: Can we reduce fertilisers and still feed the world?

When nitrogen-based fertiliser runs into water systems it can result in toxic algae blooms, leading to oxygen depletion and vast oceanic ‘dead zones’. Evidence suggests their use also contributes to air pollution, increased rates of cancer and reduced biodiversity, as well as emitting nitrous oxide – an extremely potent greenhouse gas. … A team of scientists, led by the University of California, Davis, has come up with a five-step plan to tackle this two-sided problem.

Aquafornia news PasadenaNow.com

Covered drains caper explained

In case you’ve noticed some of the storm drains in the City of Pasadena covered, the Department of Public Works wants you to know it’s just following the rules. The covers are “catch basins” and they are used for gathering trash samples throughout the City to help in complying with mandated Total Maximum Daily Load limits.

Aquafornia news KTLA

600 ex-EPA officials call for investigation into Trump administration over threats to California

Nearly 600 former Environmental Protection Agency officials are calling on Congress to investigate the Trump administration’s “inappropriate threat of use of EPA authority” against the state of California over recent environmental policies.

Aquafornia news Coastalview.com

Opinion: Getting ready for winter rains

Drainage in Southern California was built around getting storm water to the ocean quickly, but we now know that slowing down these flows and encouraging water to soak into the groundwater basin is preferable.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Sen. Feinstein secures nearly $20 million to help stop Tijuana sewage from flowing into the U.S.

The Senate approved almost $20 million in funding to address sewage flows along the border. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who secured language in three different appropriations bills for the 2020 fiscal year, called the spills that send millions of gallons of raw sewage from Tijuana to San Diego, “unacceptable.”

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Aquafornia news Mother Jones

Los Angeles, a city known for its freeways, is about to plant a ton of trees

The ambitious tree-planting project falls under the purview of Rachel Malarich, the city’s forest officer—a job that was just created in August to “oversee the growth of Los Angeles’ urban forest” as part of Garcetti’s Green New Deal. … The project will grow what’s already the largest urban forest in the country, making what happens in Los Angeles an important model for other cities looking to go green.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Feinstein, Harris ask for probe of EPA notice against SF

California’s senators have asked the Environmental Protection Agency’s watchdog to investigate whether the agency abused its enforcement powers when it accused San Francisco of improperly dumping waste into the ocean.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday Top of the Scroll: EPA makes good on Trump’s threat, cites San Francisco for water pollution

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a notice of violation to San Francisco on Wednesday, accusing the city of improperly discharging waste into the ocean and bay and following through on President Trump’s recent pledge to cite San Francisco for water pollution.

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Aquafornia news Southern California Water Coalition

Blog: New report: Innovation drives advances in stormwater capture

A new white paper released today by the Southern California Water Coalition aims to further the discussion through its provision of nine case studies of successful stormwater capture projects from California to New York.

Aquafornia news Berkeleyside.com

New ‘green stormwater spine’ in West Berkeley aims to clean water traveling to the Bay

A new “green infrastructure” project under construction along the western side of the block is designed to slow down that process by detoxing the water through soil and plants and pumping a purified product back out to the creek. The project, a whopping seven years in the making, is part of a $4 million, four-city effort…

Aquafornia news Marijuana Business Daily

California water board sends warnings to cannabis growers

The California Water Boards sent at least 270 letters to farmers in the Emerald Triangle, warning them to come into compliance with regulations or face possible fines and even the loss of their cultivation licenses.

Aquafornia news CBS News

Erosion threatens California coastline as soil and water ravage the coast

This is supposed to be a beautiful beach, but instead it looks like a disaster area because a sea wall built about a decade ago to protect homes has failed. Now property owners are spending millions to fix it.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Friday Top of the Scroll: Experts blast Trump’s claims of needles in San Francisco Bay, Pacific Ocean

Claims by President Donald Trump on Wednesday that discarded drug needles in San Francisco are making their way through the city’s sewage system and into San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean were widely blasted the following day by experts who say he has no idea what he’s talking about.

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Aquafornia news The Hill

Trump says EPA will cite San Francisco for pollution stemming from homelessness issues

“There’s tremendous pollution being put into the ocean because they’re going through what’s called the storm sewer that’s for rainwater,” Trump said. “And we have tremendous things that we don’t have to discuss pouring into the ocean. You know there are needles, there are other things.”

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Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Valley Signal

15 chosen by county to recommend best ways to capture stormwater

The steering committee is expected to develop guidelines and select programs that would prioritize funding through Measure W, which was approved by voters last year.

Aquafornia news Torrance Daily Breeze

What is turning the ocean red in Manhattan Beach?

The blue ocean has turned a rusty red in Manhattan Beach — but what is causing this change in color? The red tide, as it’s called, is from an algal bloom, according to Valerie Hill, administrative and development director at the Roundhouse Aquarium off the Manhattan Beach Pier.

Aquafornia news Torrance Daily Breeze

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Southern California water agency approves $5 million for stormwater pilot

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California on Tuesday, Sept. 10, approved $5 million for a stormwater pilot project to determine the best and most efficient way to capture the tens of billions of gallons of rainwater that flow off roofs and pavement each year.

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Aquafornia news The Planning Report

Blog: Katy Young Yaroslavsky unpacks Measure W, LA’s ‘Safe, Clean Water Program’

Passed by voters in November 2018, Measure W—the Safe, Clean Water Program—imposed a 2.5 cent/sq. ft. parcel tax on impermeable surface construction in LA County and is set to provide upwards of $300 million annually to support stormwater and clean water infrastructure projects. TPR spoke with Katy Young Yaroslavsky, on the Board of Supervisors’ recent approval of the Measure W Implementation Ordinance…

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Dog deaths raise algal bloom alarm as states report more toxins

A high-profile series of dog deaths has awakened the public to the growing problem of toxic algal blooms, spurred by rising temperatures and pollution. The blooms are emerging as a national, not just regional, concern, according to preliminary data reported to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through July.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

These six projects could fix the cross-border sewage spills

The only bi-national financial institution dedicated to funding environmental infrastructure projects along the border unveiled six possible solutions to slowing down the cross-border sewage spills that routinely shut down southern San Diego’s beaches.

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Aquafornia news Long Beach Business Journal

Stormwater parcel tax collection to begin this fall

Los Angeles County residents will see a new charge on their property tax bills this fall. Measure W, which was approved by county residents last November, will implement a parcel tax that is intended to increase stormwater capture. The intent is to increase local water supply, improve water quality and invest in community projects.

Aquafornia news Tri County Sentry

Planning Commission receives report about programmatic water master plan

Oxnard Assistant Public Works Director Tien Ng presented the item and said the city wants to integrate the water, wastewater recycled water and stormwater while looking for opportunities to align projects on the same street. They want to do them at the same time. Doing this enhances the schedule and cost for such projects.

Aquafornia news Bay Area Monitor

Overcoming technical and social barriers to stormwater use

A major barrier to using urban stormwater is that it’s dirty. Rain starts picking up contaminants the moment it hits rooftops, streets, and other hard surfaces, as well as landscapes laden with fertilizer and herbicides. … New research shows that a cost-effective, low-tech approach can go a long way toward cleaning up urban stormwater.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Lake Casitas managers rush to clear diversion canal ahead of rains

After a years-long drought and a major wildfire, rainstorms brought a lot of ash and debris downstream over the past year or so. … Now, Casitas officials hope to clear a 9-foot-high pile of silt, sand and gravel before the next rainy season. Plans call for starting work in September, but as of this week, the district had yet to receive permits required by regional, state and federal agencies.

Aquafornia news KPBS

Coastal cities wrestling with ‘managed retreat’ ramifications of rising sea levels

The California Coastal Commission has encouraged cities to include a strategy called “managed retreat” in plans to prepare for sea level rise. But the commission may be retreating from that position. Del Mar is a prime example of a city where an entire neighborhood is threatened by rising seas.

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Aquafornia news Silicon Valley Business Journal

Silicon Valley’s Rhys Vineyards to pay $3.7M to settle regulatory action on Mendocino County irrigation ponds

Rhys Vineyards LLC, based on the California Central Coast but with vines in Mendocino County’s prime pinot noir region of Anderson Valley, has agreed to pay $3.76 million to settle enforcement actions brought by state wildlife and water regulators for unpermitted diversion of rainwater runoff on property of a planned small vineyard in a northern part of the county.

Aquafornia news Climate.gov

Blog: At a California oyster hatchery, farming native seaweed improved water quality

Native seaweed has the potential to be cultivated in California coastal waters and used to alleviate the effects of local ocean acidification, according to a new study funded by NOAA’s California Sea Grant.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

The Yolo Bypass: It’s a floodplain! It’s farmland! It’s an ecosystem!

California’s biggest river—the Sacramento—needs a lot of room to spread in big water years. A floodplain project called the Yolo Bypass allows it to flood naturally, while also providing habitat for waterbirds, fish, and other aquatic species. We talked to Ted Sommer, lead scientist for the Department of Water Resources (DWR), about this versatile landscape.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Tiburon beaches closed amid bay contamination probe

State water officials ordered an investigation this week into the elusive source of contamination in Richardson Bay, where water samples collected near Tiburon beaches have shown high bacteria levels for more than two months.

Western Water Gary Pitzer California Water Map Gary Pitzer

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

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

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

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Massive SF recycling project to save 30 million gallons of drinking water per year

Fifty feet below the platform of the Powell Street BART Station sits the starting point for one of the largest water recycling projects in San Francisco — one that’s transforming dirty groundwater into clean steam heat for hundreds of downtown buildings. In the process, it’s saving tens of millions of gallons of drinking water annually.

Aquafornia news The Coronado Times

San Diego delegation announces Tijuana River Valley solution bill package

Today, Rep. Juan Vargas (CA-51) along with Reps. Susan Davis (CA-53), Scott Peters (CA-52), and Mike Levin (CA-49), hosted a press conference to announce the introduction of their Tijuana River Valley Pollution Solution bill package. The combined legislation would further support mitigation efforts in the region.

Aquafornia news ABC News San Diego

Public urged to stay out of water at Mission Bay due to high bacteria levels

Visitors are being encouraged to stay out of the water at Mission Bay due to high bacteria levels. On July 17, the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health issued an alert for the Bonita Cove part of the Bay that stated: “Bacteria levels may exceed health standards. Avoid water contact in the advisory area.” In addition to Bonita Cove, visitors are being told to not enter the water at Leisure Lagoon.

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Aquafornia news Glendale News-Press

L.A. River revitalization: Plan to connect Verdugo Mountains, San Rafael Hills unveiled

A plan to connect two ecologically rich areas in Glendale’s Verdugo Wash has been endorsed by officials tasked with revitalizing the upper part of the Los Angeles River.

Aquafornia news KCRA TV

Construction is underway at Sacramento’s McKinley Park

Crews are digging and removing 66,000 yards of dirt to make room for an underground vault. It will be used to catch rainwater during a storm in order to alleviate flooding around the park.  Behind the fence, crews are hauling away dirt. Workers will eventually put the 6 million-gallon water vault 22 feet underground.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Fly fishing for ‘sewer salmon’ in the L.A. River

People who fish for carp have a love for them, as I learned when I joined my guides at the middle of the river in Long Beach. Lauren Mollica, a former pro skateboarder who now works primarily as a carpenter, has been fishing the L.A. River for about a year, and she waxes rhapsodic about the scent freshly caught carp leaves on one’s hands.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: California moves to block Trump from rolling back its environmental protections

There’s a new twist in the California-Trump brawl in the state Legislature. It’s aimed at overriding the president’s power to weaken environmental protections. Put simply, any federal protections President Trump tried to gut would immediately become state regulations in their original, strong form.

Aquafornia news Spectrum News 1

Runoff collects bacteria before flowing into ocean

To find out what’s in Southern California’s oceans, Spectrum News 1 went below the streets of Los Angeles into a storm drain to track the flow of water. We’re diving into a question scientists are facing: what is in L.A.’s water?

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

A bold experiment to recharge Fresno’s aquifer appears to be working

The experiment to super-energize water recharging efforts at Fresno’s Leaky Acres appears to be working. … Tommy Esqueda, then the director of Public Utilities, described the system to me as “putting ‘unique’ straws in the ground. The depth and spacing of these ‘straws’ are designed to maximize groundwater recharge.

Aquafornia news Rainfall to Groundwater

Blog: How does groundwater get there? Some basics

Oscar Meinzer (1942) credits Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) with having advocated the infiltration theory slightly before Palissy’s time, basing his theories on observations made when he was in charge of canals in the Milan area. … Such a scenario might explain why California DWR staff and like-minded academics and nonprofits have all jumped on the bandwagon of managed aquifer recharge.

Headwaters Tour 2020
Field Trip - September 10-11

Sixty percent of California’s developed water supply originates high in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Our water supply is largely dependent on the health of our Sierra forests, which are suffering from ecosystem degradation, drought, wildfires and widespread tree mortality. 

Aquafornia news The Capistrano Dispatch

Santa Margarita Water District certifies San Juan Creek watershed project

Plans to capture stormwater runoff by installing rubber dams at San Juan Creek will move forward… SMWD is working with the city of San Juan Capistrano and South Coast Water District for the first phase of the project, which, when completed, is expected to provide 5.6 billion gallons of reliable drinking water each year.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Climate change behind CA wildfires? Many voters think so

The polling firm FM3 Research found that a plurality of California voters surveyed (27 percent) said climate change is behind state wildfires. Another 17 percent of voters believe that human error is the leading cause of wildfires, 12 percent believe it’s forest mismanagement and 11 percent believe it’s drought.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Freak mud flows threaten our water supplies, and climate change is raising the risk

Slurries of mud increasingly threaten the water we drink. This rush of sediment, known as “debris flow,” is a type of erosion where mud and boulders in steep catchments suddenly tumble down the stream channel, often traveling at speeds of several meters per second. … Last year, California saw mudslides that destroyed more than 100 homes and killed 21 people.

Aquafornia news NPR

After Paradise, living with fire means redefining resilience

Dan Efseaff, the parks and recreation director for the devastated town of Paradise, Calif., looks out over Little Feather River Canyon in Butte County. The Camp Fire raced up this canyon like a blowtorch in a paper funnel on its way to Paradise, incinerating most everything in its path, including scores of homes. Efseaff is floating an idea that some may think radical: paying people not to rebuild in this slice of canyon.

Aquafornia news California Department of Fish and Wildlife

News release: CDFW awarded $8.5 million to expand nutria eradication operations

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today was awarded $8.5 million in funding over three years by the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy to expand its nutria eradication operations.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Opinion: More floods are coming

In retrospect, it’s clear: We’ve misunderstood how rivers work. They don’t follow wishful parameters of the Army Corps of Engineers’ 100-year flood guidelines, or the routes we’ve penciled in between levees, or even the climatic expectations of the past. A national program that presumes we can choreograph today the floods of tomorrow is fundamentally flawed. It’s time to recognize that the rivers will have their way. Therefore we need to get out of the way.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Sierra snowpack levels much higher than average due to late-season wet weather

Northern California rain and snow levels have soared with record wet weather in May, leaving the Sierra with higher-than-normal snowpack levels and pushing several reservoirs toward full capacity.

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Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Sewage flows from Tijuana completely shutter Imperial Beach shoreline

A beach closure that has been in place for months for the southern part of the Imperial Beach was extended Sunday to include the city’s entire shoreline. The San Diego County Department of Environment Health issued the order to close the coastline to swimmers as a result of sewage-contaminated runoff in the Tijuana River.

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Aquafornia news SFGate.com

The science behind why California has been soaked by storms this May

By late spring, the Pacific jet stream is typically rushing over the Northwest, but this year its trajectory never shifted to the north and remains over California, hurling storms from the Pacific Ocean onshore. Jon Gottschalck, chief of the operational prediction branch at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, says the reason for the jet stream’s wayward activity are complicated, but he and his colleagues at NOAA think El Niño is definitely at play.

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Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Russian River’s seasonal dam coming down again amid heavy rain, runoff

Two days of above-average spring rainfall in the North Bay have forced Sonoma County officials to begin deflating the seasonal dam across the Russian River, an about-face that comes less than a week after the rubber dam was fully inflated to serve the region’s drinking water system.

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Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Feds to provide flood aid for roads, but not for Russian River residents

Residents whose homes were flooded will not be eligible for financial aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency because state officials determined the amount of damage was insufficient to qualify.

Aquafornia news Santa Barbara Independent

Bill proposed to cut toxic cigarette waste

A new bill introduced by State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson … would effectively ban traditional cigarettes through its prohibition on the sale of tobacco products that have single-use filters. … Cigarette butts constitute about a third of all the trash found on California’s beaches

Aquafornia news The Argonaut

A ‘culture of noncompliance’

The agency charged with monitoring water quality standards throughout the Greater Los Angeles region found that local cities have committed more than 2,000 water quality violations within a five-year period, but the violators suffered little if any consequences.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Health of Napa County watersheds takes centerstage

Napa County’s latest watershed symposium came at a time when tensions are high over how to protect trees and reservoirs in the area’s mountains. Close to 200 people from various backgrounds came to Copia on Thursday for an A-to-Z look at what’s happening in the watersheds. Scientists, elected officials, wine industry members and citizen activists all attended.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Opinion: Protecting the ocean: Don’t stop at the shoreline

There are actions we can take today that will reduce the pressure on struggling sea life and protect the industries and communities that rely on a healthy ocean. … The Ocean Resiliency Act of 2019 (Senate Bill 69) tackles a range of threats facing our fisheries, from fertilizer runoff that feeds harmful algae to sediment flowing downstream from logging operations that violate clean water rules, which can silt up the spaces between rocks where baby salmon shelter and feed.

Aquafornia news The Conversation

El Niño has rapidly become stronger and stranger, according to coral records

A new category of El Niño has become far more prevalent in the last few decades than at any time in the past four centuries. Over the same period, traditional El Niño events have become more intense. This new finding will arguably alter our understanding of the El Niño phenomenon. Changes to El Niño will influence patterns of precipitation and temperature extremes in Australia, Southeast Asia and the Americas.

Aquafornia news Sierra Sun Times

Reforestation project along the scenic byway in eastern Madera County makes progress; Reforesting the French Fire burn scar

Reforestation will improve watershed conditions by restoring severely burned areas to forested conditions, reducing sedimentation and turbidity, and improving water quality for downstream users. It will also improve habitat by providing stabilization that reduces erosion of stream banks and meadows.

Aquafornia news KUNC

There’s dust in Colorado’s record-setting winter snowpack

Snowpack in every part of Colorado’s high country is sporting layers of dust, according to a new statewide survey of the state’s winter accumulation. … Dust is darker than snow. Just like a black T-shirt on a sunny day, it absorbs more sunlight, causing what’s underneath it to heat up more rapidly.

Aquafornia news Long Beach Press Telegram

Los Angeles’ urban-runoff projects expand, but dirty-water violators go unpunished, says NRDC report

While the state agency responsible for policing Los Angeles County’s polluted urban and stormwater runoff boasts significant progress in its monumental task, a National Resources Defense Council report this week criticizes the water-quality panel for lackluster enforcement.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Regional water board must address L.A.’s runoff problem

Every day, an estimated 100 million gallons of runoff contaminated with various pollutants flows through L.A.’s massive storm drain system to foul our rivers, creeks and, ultimately, our coastal waters. … Today, NRDC urged the Newsom Administration to encourage the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board to address this serious public and environmental health threat.

Aquafornia news Times of San Diego

Years into Tijuana sewage crisis, California senators call for federal help

A group of Democratic senators and San Diego County-based congressional representatives sent a letter to multiple federal agencies Tuesday urging them to address sewage runoff in the Tijuana River … Local and state officials as well as environmental activists have decried the condition of the Tijuana River for years, which regularly causes beach closures along the county’s coastline, particularly after heavy rain.

Aquafornia news Reno Gazette Journal

Fixing Swan Lake’s ‘nightmare’ flooding in Reno won’t be cheap or easy

Tracy Hall says she’s lucky to have friendly neighbors who allow her to live in an RV on their property while water laps at a temporary barrier on the edge of her property. But Hall and others are tired of the disruption to their lives that started more than two years ago when the formerly dry lake in Lemmon Valley filled with stormwater runoff and urban effluent.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

‘Grandfather’ of natural treatment systems: HSU professor emeritus to be honored with environmental award

The development of the Arcata Marsh as an integral part of wastewater treatment in Arcata was the primary focus of two professors at Humboldt State University, George Allen and Robert Gearheart, who developed a process that uses what was a former salt marsh as a means to treat sewage that is then discharged into Humboldt Bay. On May 7, Gearheart … will be honored by the Environmental Law Institute at its annual awards dinner in Washington, D.C.

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

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

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

Aquafornia news Futurity

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Can sensor data save California’s aquifers?

In California, the amount of water exiting aquifers under the state’s most productive farming region far surpasses the amount of water trickling back in. That rampant overdraft … has ignited interest in replenishing aquifers in California’s Central Valley through managed flooding of the ground above them. But until now there has been no reliable way to know where this type of remedy will be most effective.

Aquafornia news Sonoma Index-Tribune

February rains inflicted $23 million in damage to Sonoma County roads

The February storms that swelled the Russian River to its highest level in more than two decades did $23 million in damage to Sonoma County roads, including more than 100 landslides and slipouts, leaving county crews and contractors with a Herculean repair job that will take months to complete.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

North Chico residents irate over flooding issues

Frustration was evident, whether it was from a flooded homeowner or a government agency trying to explain its processes during Wednesday’s “listening session” regarding flooding in north Chico. … Despite the anger, there seemed to be some progress, whether it was the cleaning of Rock Creek west of Highway 99 by the Rock Creek Reclamation District, or more property owners funding efforts themselves. Lucero suggested that property owners could pay more into the existing county service areas set up for drainage maintenance.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: A new reality for federal flood insurance

The National Flood Insurance Program provides coverage to more than 5 million households and small businesses across the United States, including more than 229,000 in California. The program has been hard hit by payouts from major flood disasters in recent years and is heavily in debt. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which houses the program, has recently announced significant changes. We talked to Carolyn Kousky, a flood insurance expert at the Wharton Risk Center at the University of Pennsylvania … about the program.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Oakwood may send sewage to Manteca treatment plant

Oakwood Lakes Water District that serves a gated community and a mobile home park just outside of the southwest Manteca city limits needs to expand and upgrade its wastewater treatment plant. Manteca needs to find a way to send storm water from a large swath of southwest Manteca to the San Joaquin River. The two needs have led to a proposed agreement between the water district and the city …

Aquafornia news The Ukiah Daily Journal

Drought Resistance Outreach Program for Schools rain garden celebrated at Ukiah High

Prior to the installation of the system, the rain garden was hardpan dirt, allowing all the rainwater—contaminated and polluted with oil, gas, sediment, cigarette butts and plastic wrappers—to drain directly into Orrs Creek and the Russian River. The new garden is 3- to 5-feet deep and composed of carefully constructed layers of soil and rock, allowing the water to be cleaned mechanically and biologically filtering the biocontaminants.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Newsom declares emergency in Santa Cruz and seven other counties for storm damage

The latest declaration will provide aid to local governments from the state’s Office of Emergency Services and directs Caltrans to request federal assistance. In addition to Santa Cruz County, the declaration will affect Butte, Colusa, Del Norte, Mariposa, Napa, Solano and Tuolumne counties.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

North Chico flooding focus of listening session

Residents in north Chico say they have never seen flooding like the deluge that came their way this year, and they want to know how to stop it. Storm water from Rock Creek and Keefer Slough surged into their backyards, front yards, and in some cases into their homes. It crept into orchards and overtook Highway 99, north of Chico and continued westward.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Podcast: Chris Orrock and the Sierra snowpack

Chris Orrock of the California Department of Water Resources joins the podcast to chat with John Howard and Tim Foster about what this wealth of snow means for California’s water reserves and flood dangers, and the implications for wildfires later in the year.

Aquafornia news Capital Press

Opinion: Now is the time to weigh in on proposed Clean Water Rule

Now EPA and the Corps want to hear directly from members of the public — including farmers, ranchers, landowners and others who may be subject to regulation — to make sure the new Clean Water Rule provides clear and easily understood guidelines. But with the comment period on the proposed new rule closing on April 15, there’s no time to lose.

Aquafornia news The Eastsider

New Lincoln Heights park provides green space and cleans water, too

On Saturday officials held a grand opening ceremony for the $44-million Albion Riverside Park — the city’s newest greenspace. The triangular six-acre site next to the L.A. River at Spring Street includes playing fields, walking trails, restrooms, playgrounds, parking and an outdoor fitness center. But the park will also do double-duty as a giant filter to clean storm drain water before it flows in the adjacent L.A. River.

Aquafornia news Torrance Daily Breeze

This is why Hermosa Beach scrapped a large stormwater infiltration project, potentially costing it $3.1 million in grant funding

Hermosa Beach City Council has scrapped a large stormwater infiltration project slated for the southern end of city’s greenbelt, after more than a year of opposition from residents. City officials will look for a new home for the project, meant to ultimately reduce bacteria in the Santa Monica Bay, but could potentially forfeit nearly $3.1 million in grant funding from the State Water Resources Board.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Rebuilt Oroville Dam spillway could be used next week after storm hits. Is it ready?

Water may cascade down Oroville Dam’s rebuilt spillway next week for the first time since a massive crater formed in its nearly half-mile long surface two years ago — a major milestone in the saga that triggered the evacuation of 188,000 people and a $1.1 billion repair job to the country’s tallest dam. A storm forecast to hit this week is expected to fill Lake Oroville to the point that state dam operators might need to open the spillway gates…

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Daily Democrat

Deficiencies and fixes for Knights Landing Levee Basin presented to Yolo supervisors

The town of roughly 1,000 people is located in the north-east part of the county and surrounded by active waterways. It has flooded multiple times in the past. Goals of the study included reducing the risk of flooding while enhancing habitat restoration and providing safe access to the river, according to Sabatini’s presentation.

Aquafornia news Bay Nature Magazine

The sea beneath us

In places like Oakland, flooding will occur not just at the shoreline, but inland in areas once considered safe from sea level rise, including the Oakland Coliseum and Jones Avenue, where [UC Berkeley professor Kristina] Hill and her students now stood, more than a mile from San Leandro Bay. In fact, she added, rising groundwater menaces nearly the entire band of low-lying land around San Francisco Bay, as well as many other coastal parts of the U.S.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

As Trump tries to roll back clean water rules, California seeks stronger protections

The Trump administration and California are at odds over what water bodies should be protected from new development. Each is pursuing its own regulatory policy.

Aquafornia news San Mateo Daily Journal

Long-sought creek restoration in Pescadero takes major step

By allocating $1 million last week toward a creek restoration project set to rejuvenate threatened and endangered species and reduce flooding in Pescadero, county officials locked in funding needed to begin a dredging effort experts expect will give the Butano Creek a chance to reset.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Another major flood along Russian River raises question of what’s to be done

But the river remains an unpredictable force, one that could give rise to even more destructive floods in an era of increasingly extreme weather, experts say. … County Supervisor Lynda Hopkins has her sights on the opportunities to tame floodwaters in the river’s middle reaches, starting near Windsor and upstream, where it broadens and meanders more freely in a floodplain less constricted by roads and other development.

Related articles:

Southern California Water Providers Think Local in Seeking to Expand Supplies
WESTERN WATER SIDEBAR: Los Angeles and San Diego among agencies pursuing more diverse water portfolio beyond imports

The Claude “Bud” Lewis Desalination Plant in Carlsbad last December marked 40 billion gallons of drinking water delivered to San Diego County during its first three years of operation. The desalination plant provides the county with more than 50 million gallons of water each day.Although Santa Monica may be the most aggressive Southern California water provider to wean itself from imported supplies, it is hardly the only one looking to remake its water portfolio.

In Los Angeles, a city of about 4 million people, efforts are underway to dramatically slash purchases of imported water while boosting the amount from recycling, stormwater capture, groundwater cleanup and conservation. Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2014 announced a plan to reduce the city’s purchase of imported water from Metropolitan Water District by one-half by 2025 and to provide one-half of the city’s supply from local sources by 2035. (The city considers its Eastern Sierra supplies as imported water.)

Western Water Gary Pitzer Groundwater Education Bundle Gary Pitzer

Imported Water Built Southern California; Now Santa Monica Aims To Wean Itself Off That Supply
WESTERN WATER SPOTLIGHT: Santa Monica is tapping groundwater, rainwater and tighter consumption rules to bring local supply and demand into balance

The Santa Monica Urban Runoff Recycling Facility (SMURRF) treats dry weather urban runoff to remove pollutants such as sediment, oil, grease, and pathogens for nonpotable use.Imported water from the Sierra Nevada and the Colorado River built Southern California. Yet as drought, climate change and environmental concerns render those supplies increasingly at risk, the Southland’s cities have ramped up their efforts to rely more on local sources and less on imported water.

Far and away the most ambitious goal has been set by the city of Santa Monica, which in 2014 embarked on a course to be virtually water independent through local sources by 2023. In the 1990s, Santa Monica was completely dependent on imported water. Now, it derives more than 70 percent of its water locally.

Aquafornia news Santa Barbara Independent

Thomas Fire debris trucked from basin to beach

Since the rainy season began in earnest in January, County Flood Control has been operating almost constantly to keep its debris basins clear and ready for the next onslaught. Much of the accumulating debris is due to 2017’s Thomas Fire, which burned more than 280,000 acres in the back- and front-country behind Montecito, Carpinteria, and the western part of Ventura County.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Passionate comments open Napa Planning Commission’s watershed protection debate

This is among the hottest of Napa County’s hot potatoes. That’s because it strikes such nerves as possible, further constraints on new vineyard development in local hills and a perceived need in some quarters to do more to protect water quality in local reservoirs.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: Less talk, more action: It’s time to get serious about floodplain management

Many no longer recall the Great Midwest Flood despite its record-breaking precipitation, flooding and $13 billion price tag. Sure, 1993 seems like a long time ago, but I believe the reason the flood has left most people’s memory is because, over the last 25 years, the nation has experienced one devastating, record-breaking flood after another. Our memories are diluted by the frequency of such events.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Bay Area forecast: Atmospheric river to bring heavy rain

A powerful “atmospheric river” storm is expected to pummel Northern California starting Tuesday night and deliver heavy rain, gusty winds, downed trees, power outages and rough driving conditions Wednesday and Thursday. … The storm should bring up to 5 feet of new snow in the Sierra Nevada, forecasters said. The National Weather Service announced flash-flood and high-wind warnings for the Bay Area, along with Santa Cruz and Monterey counties.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Newport ponders major drainage upgrade for flood-prone Balboa Island

Anyone who has been on Balboa Island during a hard rain knows the streets can flood. The city of Newport Beach is considering replacing the island’s 1930s-era drainage system with several automated below-ground pumps. That would save on labor and costs associated with manually opening the tide gates at the end of streets and sending out portable pumps and slicker-clad city workers to dump excess storm water into the bay.

Aquafornia news Pacific Standard

When the levee breaks: A new approach to managing rivers

Early last year, construction started on a $90 million project to build seven miles of setback levees and floodplains to protect Hamilton City from floods on the Sacramento River. … The new barriers are much farther from the riverbanks—as far as a mile away in places. In some respects, the concept is absurdly simple: During heavy rains or spring snowmelt, rivers need room to expand; moving levees back from riverbanks provides it. Setback levees not only reduce the need for newer and larger dams and levees, but also restore the natural habitat. 

Aquafornia news State Water Resources Control Board

News release: Contamination found in streams following Camp Fire

State water quality officials cautioned the public not to drink or cook with untreated surface water from streams throughout the Camp Fire burn area after bacteria and other contaminants were detected in water samples. … Laboratory analyses of surface water samples found concentrations of bacteria (E.Coli), aluminum, antimony and some polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that exceeded water quality standards for drinking water.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: ‘A crisis of sewage’: California lawmakers seek funding for the polluted New River

For decades, the New River has flowed north across the U.S.-Mexico border carrying toxic pollution and the stench of sewage. Now lawmakers in Washington and Sacramento are pursuing legislation and funding to combat the problems. “I feel very optimistic that we’re going to be able to get some things done on the New River issue,” said Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia.

Aquafornia news The Associated Press

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Pacific storm threatens Northern California with blizzard, mudslides

Another Pacific storm was set to hit California on Wednesday, bringing a threat of mudslides to the site of the deadliest wildfire in state history and a rare blizzard warning in the Sierra Nevada. An evacuation warning was in place into Thursday morning for Pulga, a canyon community in Northern California. Its neighbor, the town of Paradise, was virtually incinerated two months ago by the Camp Fire that killed 86 people and destroyed nearly 15,000 homes. 

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

Santa Monica announces water system upgrades via design-build

Arcadis has announced it will partner with Kiewit Infrastructure West and PERC Water to serve as the progressive design-build team for the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Project (SWIP) in the City of Santa Monica, Calif. Currently, the city partially relies on imported water to meet its water needs. This project will allow the city to take a major step toward water independence, supporting existing programs designed to create a sustainable water supply

Aquafornia news National Law Review

California is one step closer to a comprehensive update of CEQA guidelines

The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research has spent five years drafting a comprehensive update to 30 sections of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) guidelines. Several changes to the Guidelines address two hot button topics: global climate change and statewide affordable housing shortages. Many of the changes will significantly alter the application of CEQA to future projects.

Aquafornia news AccuWeather

Rain may put Southern California burn-scar area at risk for mudslides by Saturday

A storm will slide into Southern California with soaking rain by the weekend, putting burn-scar areas at a renewed risk for life-threatening flooding and mudslides. People living near or downhill of the Creek, La Tuna, Thomas, Woolsey and Whittier burn areas should make sure they stay up to date on the latest forecast and heed all evacuation issues that are ordered by local officials.

Aquafornia news California Water News Daily

Michael Montgomery selected as new executive officer, SF Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board

Montgomery is known for fostering collaborative relationships among stakeholders and as a leader in protecting and restoring water quality within California and throughout the Southwest and the Pacific Islands. He is currently serving as the Assistant Director of the Water Division in the US Environmental Protection Agency (Region 9).

 

Aquafornia news California Water Resources Control Board

State water boards release annual report

The tenth annual performance report evaluates what the state water boards do and how the environment is responding to its actions. The report presents numerous performance measures for specific outputs and outcomes.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: 2019 will be the Year L.A. Starts to Wean Itself from Imported Water

There’s every reason to expect that 2019 will be far better, largely because of Measure W, which was passed by voters in November. The initiative imposes a Los Angeles County parcel tax that will generate $300 million per year to reduce pollution from runoff and capture storm water to add to the water supply.

Other Event

CANCELED: U.S. EPA Hearing on Waters of the U.S. Rewrite

CANCELED: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will hold one hearing to provide interested parties the opportunity to present data, views, or information concerning the proposed rule changes affecting wetlands and ephemeral waters. 

Kansas City, Kansas
Aquafornia news High Country News

Two countries, one border and their shared pollution

Cross-border water pollution between Tijuana and South San Diego is not new, but in recent years, the problem has grown worse. The reasons are complicated: There is Tijuana’s topography, with its steep hillsides and canyons that drain towards the border; the factories that get away with illegal dumping; the city’s rapid population growth, aging wastewater infrastructure and inadequate garbage collection. In the U.S., funding cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency have prevented improvements to the Borderlands’ sewage system.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

PG&E agrees in settlement to protect San Francisco Bay from chemical runoff from utility poles

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has agreed to protect San Francisco and Humboldt bays from runoff of dangerous chemicals on utility poles in a settlement with an environmental group. … The suit said oil and wood waste from poles stored at the yards washed into the bays, damaging the environment and endangering human health and wildlife.

Western Water Gary Pitzer California Water Map Gary Pitzer

When Water Worries Often Pit Farms vs. Fish, a Sacramento Valley Farm Is Trying To Address The Needs Of Both
WESTERN WATER SPOTLIGHT: River Garden Farms is piloting projects that could add habitat and food to aid Sacramento River salmon

Roger Cornwell, general manager of River Garden Farms, with an example of a refuge like the ones that were lowered into the Sacramento River at Redding to shelter juvenile salmon.  Farmers in the Central Valley are broiling about California’s plan to increase flows in the Sacramento and San Joaquin river systems to help struggling salmon runs avoid extinction. But in one corner of the fertile breadbasket, River Garden Farms is taking part in some extraordinary efforts to provide the embattled fish with refuge from predators and enough food to eat.

And while there is no direct benefit to one farm’s voluntary actions, the belief is what’s good for the fish is good for the farmers.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles County votes to put new property tax before voters to clean storm water

Los Angeles County supervisors voted Tuesday to place a property tax before voters in November to raise money for projects to capture and clean storm water. The measure would allow the county to levy a tax of 2.5 cents per square foot of “impermeable space” on private property.

Headwaters Tour 2018

Sixty percent of California’s developed water supply originates high in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Our water supply is largely dependent on the health of our Sierra forests, which are suffering from ecosystem degradation, drought, wildfires and widespread tree mortality.

Headwaters tour participants on a hike in the Sierra Nevada.

We headed into the foothills and the mountains to examine water issues that happen upstream but have dramatic impacts downstream and throughout the state. 

GEI (Tour Starting Point)
2868 Prospect Park Dr.
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670.
Western Water Jennifer Bowles Jennifer Bowles

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

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

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

Western Water Gary Pitzer California Water Bundle Gary Pitzer

Statewide Water Bond Measures Could Have Californians Doing a Double-Take in 2018
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Two bond measures, worth $13B, would aid flood preparation, subsidence, Salton Sea and other water needs

San Joaquin Valley bridge rippled by subsidence  California voters may experience a sense of déjà vu this year when they are asked twice in the same year to consider water bonds — one in June, the other headed to the November ballot.

Both tackle a variety of water issues, from helping disadvantaged communities get clean drinking water to making flood management improvements. But they avoid more controversial proposals, such as new surface storage, and they propose to do some very different things to appeal to different constituencies.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Santa Cruz innovators track stormwater for cities

Taxpayers may not realize it, but they foot the bill as their city or county complies with new state regulations to improve the health of local streams and waterways. Nicole Beck, 49, a UC Santa Cruz alum with a doctorate in aquatic chemistry, is marrying science and software to help city and county staff get information to make better decisions on where to focus their limited resources.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Panel recommends changes to two-decade-old EPA water affordability guidelines

In a highly anticipated report, a panel chartered by Congress to advise public agencies on effective governance recommends that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency revise how it appraises financial burdens when communities are required to upgrade water and sewer systems.

Headwaters Tour 2019
Field Trip - June 27-28

Sixty percent of California’s developed water supply originates high in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Our water supply is largely dependent on the health of our Sierra forests, which are suffering from ecosystem degradation, drought, wildfires and widespread tree mortality. 

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

One of the first projects in Los Angeles County to capture storm water being built in Long Beach

The thousands of miles of concrete channels diverting street water from the San Gabriel and Los Angeles rivers represent the last major water project in Los Angeles County, built almost 100 years ago. On Thursday, Dave Sorem, owner and vice president of Mike Bubalo Construction Co., showed off the first of a second wave of street-water projects that elevate what is essentially water pollution into a drinkable water source.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

New beach closures issued from Tijuana River sewage

Precipitation carrying tainted water through the Tijuana River into the Pacific Ocean triggered beach closures Tuesday evening from the international border to Seacoast Drive in Imperial Beach. … The pollution from stormwater runoff adds to spills from aging pipes and potentially hazardous discharges from the deteriorating San Antonio de Los Buenos sewage treatment plant in Punta Bandera, located about six miles south of the border.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Cleaning up human waste is cheapest way to improve health of region’s beaches, report finds

It’s been thought for decades that stormwater runoff is the major source of bacterial pollution in the county’s rivers, bays and beaches — triggering swimming advisories up and down the region’s shoreline for 72 hours after it rains. However, the greatest source of dangerous pathogens flowing from these urban waterways into the ocean may actually be coming from human waste.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Daily News

Los Angeles awarded $4 million to capture more rainwater on streets

Bioswale projects on medians and other surfaces along a handful of the east San Fernando Valley’s major roadways could be pulling double-duty soon to help conserve rainwater, while adding more greenery, thanks in part to a $4 million grant from the state’s coastal and waterway conservancy.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Oakland targeted in bid to cut trash flow into San Francisco Bay

Despite spending millions of dollars over the years on garbage cleanup, Oakland has the Bay Area’s worst record for limiting the rubbish that pollutes creeks, lakes and the bay, according to the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board. The flow of waste violates mandates set by the board to reduce storm drain litter this year by 70 percent compared with 2009, a goal that Oakland is far from meeting.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Daily News

With just a drip of funding for stormwater capture, Los Angeles County weighs property tax

Looking to tap property owners, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved moving forward with a plan to consider a parcel tax to help fund an ambitious stormwater capturing system to bolster local drinking water supplies. … The county and its 85 cities are required to develop programs to build stormwater capture and clean-up projects as part of Federal Clean Water Act compliance. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

When it rains, Los Angeles sends billions of gallons of ‘free liquid gold’ down the drain

During one of this winter’s frequent storms, sheets of rainwater spilled from roofs, washed across sidewalks and down gutters into a sprawling network of underground storm drains that empty into the Los Angeles River channel.

Other Event

WELL 2018 Annual Conference
Water, Weather and Warning! Is your community prepared for extreme weather events?

Water Education for Latino Leaders is convening a statewide educational water conference in Sacramento for California local elected officials.

Local elected officials can make a difference for all Californians by taking the necessary steps to understand the dynamic of California water to assure adequate clean water for our communities, protect our natural resources and our local economies. WELL’s hope is to facilitate understanding towards comprehensive long-term water policies that will sustain California’s economy and quality of life. 

The Water Education Foundation is an organizing partner.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Why water regulations are spurring action on tackling homelessness

California has nearly one quarter of the nation’s homeless people – the most of any state by far – and thousands of them live in the Bay Area. … Under a new resolution by the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, trash from homeless encampments now falls under the stormwater permit that requires Bay Area cities and counties to get storm drains virtually trash-free by 2022.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

The race to turn stormwater from gray to green

Newly passed bills in California are helping turn attention to green infrastructure projects that can help cities take advantage of stormwater to replenish groundwater, increase water supply and decrease water pollution.

Aquapedia background

Runoff

Snowmelt and runoff near the California Department of Water Resources snow survey site in the Sierra Nevada east of Sacramento.Runoff is the water that is pulled by gravity across land’s surface, replenishing groundwater and surface water as it percolates into an aquifer or moves into a river, stream or watershed.

Aquapedia background

Microplastics

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

Aquapedia background

Point Source vs. Nonpoint Source Pollution

Point Source Pollution

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

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tujunga Spreading Grounds will soon store 5 billion of gallons of stormwater

Under the $29-million expansion plan launched Monday, officials said the groundwater recharge facility will double in capacity by 2018, helping ween Angelenos off increasingly expensive and unreliable imported water.   

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego facing $4.6 million water pollution fine

Local water quality officials proposed on Tuesday fining San Diego $4.6 million for allegedly allowing private construction sites to pollute sensitive waterways, including the Los Peñasquitos Lagoon.

Aquafornia news Sierra Sun

Lake Tahoe marina remains closed after 15-plus years of violations

Another Memorial Day came and went this year, but the marina at Meeks Bay Resort didn’t open for a third straight season — this time due to a high concentration of pollutants, an issue that apparently has been a concern for more than a decade.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Nevada settles EPA stormwater complaint (with audio)

The state of Nevada will pay $120,000 to settle a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency complaint about storm water runoff pollution in Reno.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Los Angeles looks for extra water down its alleys

Of the roughly 300,000 acres in the city of Los Angeles, more than 2,000 are alleyways that cut through city blocks. And because they’re mostly paved, they do little to capture one of the city’s most prized resources: water.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Stockton port seeks grant for ditch project

Stockton port officials hope to turn a storm water ditch into a native plant wetland that will help clean the runoff before it reaches the San Joaquin River.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Yolo County groundwater recharged by March Miracle storms

With this year’s storms helping to refill the Sacramento region’s lakes and reservoirs, local water district officials and state regulators are diverting and percolating stormwater from Cache Creek into the Yolo County canal system to recharge groundwater supplies used by local farmers, city residents and UC Davis.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

San Jose agrees to $100 million pollution cleanup program to reduce trash, sewage spills

Settling a major lawsuit from environmentalists, San Jose city officials on Tuesday agreed to spend more than $100 million over the next decade and beyond to reduce tons of trash that flows into creeks and San Francisco Bay, repair miles of leaking underground sewage pipes and clean stormwater contaminated with harmful bacteria.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles County moves toward water fee for new developments, looks at stormwater funding

Los Angeles County will consider new water-saving requirements for developers and look at tax options to pay for future drought planning under a pair of measures adopted Tuesday.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Los Angeles County cities have a $20 billion storm water cleanup bill but they want help

For nearly four years, cities in Los Angeles County have voiced complaints that permits required to rid toxic chemicals and bacteria from storm water imposed staggering costs that could bankrupt smaller cities. On Tuesday, two state senators from Sacramento heard their cries.

Aquafornia news KQED Public Media for Northern California

Catching storm runoff could ease droughts, but it’s no quick fix (with audio)

Stormwater is starting to get some serious attention in California, as the state’s drought enters a fifth year. … In Walnut Creek, behind a ranch-style home, landscape designer Ryan Kelsey is helping people do that—at least in the short term, and on their own properties.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

A behind-the-scenes battle to divert L.A.’s storm water from going to waste

[Eric] Batman reveled in El Niño’s long-overdue rumbling. His job, as senior civil engineer for the [Los Angeles] county Department of Public Works, is to keep as much rain as possible from escaping to the ocean.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Storm Water, long a nuisance, may be a parched California’s salvation

After a year in which Californians cut water use by 25 percent, storm water has become the next front in what amounts to a fundamental restructuring of Southern California’s relationship with its intricate water network.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Daily News

Booms turn back trash from stormwater runoff in Long Beach waters

A long arm across Rainbow Harbor prevented piles of detritus from landing on local shores and floating into the sea earlier this month, when heavy rains soaked the region and sent tons of trash and debris downstream from cities along the Los Angeles River and into Long Beach.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Stormwater floods Modesto almond orchard in experiment to restore aquifer

In an effort to restore California’s desperately depleted ancient aquifers, scientists are testing an approach that seizes surplus winter rain and delivers it to where it’s most useful: idle farms and fields.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Capturing every drop of EL Niño runoff

With recurring drought and the promise of a wet winter, water officials have a new appreciation for storm runoff.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

As rain pummels California, some see a way to fight drought

The State Water Resources Control Board approved a broad plan Wednesday for capturing more rain. The regulator is launching a road show this month to explain how it will dole out $200 million for projects to collect rain, part of a $7.5-billion water bond voters approved in November 2014.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Looming rains could turn L.A.’s roadside trash into safety hazard

[Los Angeles] City officials say the flood that hit Bernal Avenue on Oct. 19 was triggered, in part, by a mattress, plastic bags and other garbage that clogged nearby catch basins.

Aquafornia news San Diego Union Tribune

Controversy over new stormwater pollution program

At a meeting that lasted all day, the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board adopted a new program focused on incentivizing jurisdictions to create innovative plans for cleaning up local watersheds.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: While South Carolina floods, U.S. wrestles with urban stormwater

Among the devastating effects of the low pressure storm system that pummeled South Carolina over the weekend was the heavy damage the record-breaking rains caused to water transport and treatment infrastructure, and the release of a tide of contaminated stormwater.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Editorial: Little drops of stormwater could add up

By some estimates, hanging onto more stormwater—as opposed to just cleaning it so it doesn’t wash pollutants into rivers, aquifers and the ocean—could supply a city such as Los Angeles with a third to half of the water it needs annually – and reduce demand for water from up here.

Aquafornia news KQED Public Radio for Northern California

Plants really do clean pollution from stormwater

You might have seen them around new buildings and roadways: little basins and ditches, planted with various small growing things. They’re designed to stop crud from washing into the gutters and down the storm drains. 

Aquafornia news The Orange County Register

Orange County’s plans to turn rainwater into a resource (with video)

With California four years into a drought and water sources scarce, engineers, environmentalists and water officials today see stormwater not as a threat, but as a wasted resource.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles DWP to unveil plan to capture storm runoff

It may not rain much in Los Angeles County, but when it does, a single storm can send up to 10 billion gallons of water surging into a vast network of storm channels with a single destination: the Pacific Ocean.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Stormwater capture: California’s untapped supply (with audio)

The Paseo is an alley at the end of the street. She [Eileen Alduenda] and ecologist Chris Solek know a lot about how water moves through this [San Fernando] valley when it rains.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Drought keeps Bay Area beaches cleaner, for now

California’s drought has a silver lining: Water is cleaner at beaches all over the state because there’s little pollution runoff, according to a new report released Wednesday.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles County’s plan to capture stormwater could be state model

Amid a worsening drought, California water officials adopted new rules Tuesday aimed at capturing and reusing huge amounts of stormwater that have until now flowed down sewers and concrete rivers into the sea.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Switchboard

Blog: Now or never — It’s time for State Board to require stormwater capture and help California mitigate the drought

California is at a critical moment in deciding how we’ll deal with stormwater in Los Angeles … and beyond. Next Tuesday, June 16, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) will consider whether or not it will uphold the current stormwater permit for Los Angeles County, which was last renewed in 2012.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

$40-million stormwater project targets polluted runoff at LAX

Millions of gallons of polluted stormwater runoff from Los Angeles International Airport will be treated and cleaned before washing into the Pacific Ocean or working its way into L.A.’s groundwater basin, according to an agreement signed Thursday by city and airport officials.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

From the gutter: How your litter ends up in the ocean

Even on a dry day, tens of millions of gallons of dirty water dumps into the ocean through the [Los Angeles County] region’s vast storm drain system.

Aquafornia news U-T San Diego

San Diego’s creeks and rivers have unhealthy levels of bacteria and other pollutants

The region’s creeks and rivers had unhealthy levels of pollutants last year, the environmental group San Diego Coastkeeper said in a report Wednesday. … To analyze water quality, the organization took 3,301 measurements from nine of the 11 watersheds in the county.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC)

Blog: Drought Watch — Treating stormwater as a resource

This weekend, the Southland got some much needed rain. … Unfortunately, too much of this stormwater simply ran straight into local rivers and the ocean, picking up numerous pollutants along the way. 

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California lawmakers will examine ways to capture stormwater (with audio)

Recycling stormwater runoff could help provide more water during the drought.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Survey seeks to reduce storm water pollution

The North Coast Stormwater Coalition is seeking input regarding public knowledge of storm water and water pollution.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Cleaning up water by running it through dirt

Storm runoff can be toxic to aquatic life, but a new study suggests a simple and relatively inexpensive solution …

Aquafornia news U-T San Diego

First-ever comprehensive report details huge San Diego infrastructure funding gaps

The areas with the largest gaps between needed and available funding are stormwater upgrades, street lights and sidewalks.

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