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 California Department of Toxic Substances Control

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

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

Aquafornia news Estuary News

Blog: COVID complicates encampment cleanups

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

Aquafornia news Business Wire

Port of San Diego approves pilot to develop rapid stormwater monitoring device

The Port of San Diego has approved a pilot project to develop a portable five-in-one field-testing sensor device to provide real-time metals analysis for stormwater monitoring. The technology will test the levels of various metals in San Diego Bay including aluminum, copper, lead, zinc and nickel, all of which are currently manually monitored under the Port’s stormwater programs.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Montage Healdsburg resort developer fined record $6.4 million for water violations

State water quality regulators have fined the developer of Montage Healdsburg, the ultra-luxury resort set to open Saturday, more than $6.4 million for environmental violations tied to hotel construction during the stormy winter months of late 2018 and early 2019.

Aquafornia news Storm Water Solutions

Storm water management system helps filtration efforts

An integrated storm water management system at The Albert Roles Center (ARC) for Water Recycling & Environmental Learning is helping to maximize on-site filtration and on/off-site groundwater recharge in Pico Rivera, California. 

Aquafornia news The Coast News Group

Oceanside advances plans for Loma Alta Wetlands project

With more than $500,000 in combined state and federal funding and the conceptual restoration planning for the Loma Alta Wetlands Enhancement Project complete, the project is one step closer to coming to fruition.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

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

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

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Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Tribes battle agencies, old policies to restore fire practices

By burning and brushing, nurturing important plants and keeping lands around their homes clear of dead brush and debris, Native peoples carefully stewarded the lands to sustain the biodiverse ecologies California is known for. Their work resulted in a richly productive landscape that provided food and habitat for not only humans but many land, air and water animals. That included the salmon, a staple of tribes in the West for millennia. All that changed when California became a U.S. state in 1850.

Aquafornia news South Yuba River Citizens League

News release: North Yuba Forest Partnership receives $1.13 million for forest health, wildfire resilience treatments

The North Yuba Forest Partnership has entered into an agreement to receive $1.13 million to plan future forest health and wildfire resilience treatments within the North Yuba River watershed. This funding originated from the US Forest Service’s Fireshed Program.

Aquafornia news U.S. Geological Survey

How wildfires threaten U.S. water supplies

Communities across the United States and the globe rely on clean water flowing from forested watersheds. But these water source areas are impacted by the effects of wildfire. To help water providers and land managers prepare for impacts from wildfire on water supplies, the U.S. Geological Survey is working to measure and predict post-fire water quality and quantity.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Rescues underway for rare species marooned by wildfire

Just weeks after the Bobcat fire ravaged the San Gabriel Mountains, state and federal biologists are racing to salvage as many federally endangered species as possible before storms could inundate the animals’ last outposts with mud and debris. … “This may be the last time in my life that I see wild mountain yellow-legged frogs in the last best place for them,” said biologist Robert Fisher…

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Aquafornia news Winters Express

Putah Creek: Tragedy, triage and triumph

Wildlife in the upper Putah Creek watershed was devastated by the LNU Complex Fire, which started on Aug. 17, was finally extinguished on Oct. 2, and grew to be the fourth largest in California history. However, the oak woodlands in this region have evolved with fire, and with natural resiliency and a little support from local agencies, recovery is expected.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Amid the worst wildfire season in California history, wildfire experts call for $2 billion investment in prevention

With California’s worst wildfire season on record still raging, experts from across the state are calling for a $2 billion investment in the next year on prevention tactics like prescribed burns and more year-round forest management jobs. 

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Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

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

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

Aquafornia news Noozhawk

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

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

Aquafornia news U.S. Geological Survey

News release: How changing climate will impact the flow of sediment to the San Francisco Bay‐Delta

Results from the model showed potential increases in large flow events and sediment transport over the next century. While increased suspended sediment loads may have some negative effects, such as contaminant transport, increased sediment can improve fish habitats and help sustain wetlands in the Bay‐Delta.

Aquafornia news E&E News

House Dems set hearing on Western wildfires

A House Agriculture subcommittee this week will examine the response to Western wildfires, less than three months after its chairwoman predicted the COVID-19 pandemic would make this fire season like no other.

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Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Opinion: The next major wildfire could threaten our water supply

The last time Mt. Tamalpais had a major wildfire was in 1929. In 1930, Marin’s population was 41,648. Today it’s more than 258,000. … As with many other utilities, the Marin Municipal Water District is updating its treatment plants. It is unclear, from a technology and science perspective, whether our community treatment plant could handle sediment runoff from a big rainstorm after a catastrophic, climate-driven wildfire.

Aquafornia news Popular Science

California wildfires may give way to massive mudslides

When fires burn up vegetation, the charred remains become hydrophobic—meaning they repel away any water. The soil is also very dry, which counterintuitively makes it harder for water to infiltrate. … Fires can also destroy the natural clumps in soil, increasing their erodibility. Altogether, this means that water is hitting the ground with more force and the soil is unable to suck it up.

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Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

Conservation groups complete Chorro Creek restoration project, benefiting the Morro Bay watershed

For years, a stretch of Chorro Creek near Hollister Peak ran through active farmland, where its flow was diverted for irrigation and its banks were shored up by levees, blocking the water’s natural access to its floodplain. … After nearly two decades of planning and fundraising, the Estuary Program and its partners recently completed a major restoration of the site.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Near Fairfax, flood control basin project underway

Work on a long-planned effort to reduce flood risk and improve safety for businesses and residents in the Ross Valley is underway as workers move dirt and debris to create a flood retention basin at the former Sunnyside Nursery outside of Fairfax.

Aquafornia news North Bay Business Journal

Regulators raise water quality fine to $6.4 million for Montage Healdsburg resort

Poor erosion control on the 258-acre site unleashed soils into streams of the Russian River watershed and put fish and other other aquatic wildlife at risk, regulators found, counteracting millions of dollars spent to improve habitat and restore imperiled, protected runs of salmon and steelhead…

Aquafornia news Stormwater Online

Solar and Stormwater

The main stormwater issue associated with solar arrays is the concentrated discharge of stormwater runoff at the solar panel drip line, which can act like un-guttered roofs that channelize and accelerate stormwater flow. Instead of traveling as sheet flow across a fallow field, capped landfill, or macadamized parking area, stormwater now lands on the surface in channelized sheets that must be carefully managed to prevent soil scouring, erosion, and contamination…

Aquafornia news Fast Company

This tool is mapping every tree in California to help stop megafires

Scientists at Salo Sciences, a startup that works on technology for natural climate solutions, began creating the tool after interviewing dozens of experts in California about the state’s challenges with wildfires: They need more detailed, up-to-date information about the forests so they can better predict how fast and in what direction fires will spread…

Aquafornia news Water Environment Federation

Blog: Water utilities commended for transformational programming

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

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Firestorm devastates Butte County again as California burns

Less than two years after the most destructive fire in California history tore through Paradise, the same region was under siege from a second monster firestorm that quickly grew to more than 250,000 acres, sweeping through mountain hamlets and killing at least three people. … Across the state, 28 major wildfires have prompted more than 64,000 people to evacuate…

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Aquafornia news L.A. Daily News

Construction on major Valley water projects close to beginning

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

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

EPA to pay for cleaning Mexican sewage mucking up U.S. beaches

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said Wednesday the agency would pay for more water treatment south of the border, and work with San Diego to control trash coming into the United States from Mexico by way of the Tijuana River. Wheeler made the announcement during a visit to Southern California, a region long plagued by sewage, water, trash, and other contaminants flowing from Mexico.

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Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Walbridge Fire damages half of prime salmon, steelhead spawning grounds, experts say

In burning to the edge of Lake Sonoma, the Walbridge fire has posed an unprecedented threat to the water supply for 600,000 North Bay residents and scorched Sonoma County streams critical to the revival of imperiled fish. … Experts estimate half of the spawning habitat on Russian River tributaries has been burned, dealing a potential setback to expensive, longstanding efforts to bolster coho salmon and steelhead trout populations.

Aquafornia news San Diego County Water Authority

Blog: San Diego County website helps residents protect watershed

Because San Diego County gets so little natural rainfall, most residents must artificially irrigate their landscaping. Rainfall becomes a welcome sight when it occurs. But rainfall turns into an unwelcome problem when it enters the storm drain system.

Aquafornia news SF Weekly

Sea level rise a major threat to San Francisco

Sea levels on the California coast could rise as much as seven feet by 2100 and put tens of thousands of vulnerable San Franciscans at risk of daily flooding, according to a new report from the California State Legislative Analyst’s office.

Aquafornia news The Confluence

Blog: The impacts of timber harvest on sediment transport and yield in watersheds

After timber harvest or fuel reduction thinning operations, sediment delivery to nearby streams and waterways can increase, potentially affecting water quality, drinking water supplies, habitat, and recreational opportunities. To effectively reduce these adverse effects of harvest, foresters first need to know the precise causes of sediment increases.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Opinion: Valley Water wants you to adopt a creek

As part of Valley Water’s mission to provide flood protection for our communities, we are continuously preparing for the possibility of flooding. We must regularly keep our streams and creeks well maintained to handle the rainy season and protect the many species of wildlife that live there.

Aquafornia news Sen. Dianne Feinstein

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

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

Aquafornia news San Bernardino Sun

Can a new plan for the wash that runs between Redlands and Highland protect flowers, animals and mining?

On July 13, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gave the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District a 30-year permit to manage plans for the Upper Santa Ana River Wash, the final step in the process. The plans cover an area of Redlands and Highland generally west and south of Greenspot Road, east of Alabama Street and north of the waterway’s bluffs.

Aquafornia news KUSI News

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

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

Aquafornia news Mt. Shasta Herald

City Planner: storm drains are a vital part of Mount Shasta’s water system

Mount Shasta is a community that prides itself on clean water. In the past when water-related issues have come before City Council, meetings are often crowded to the point of overflowing. It is surprising, then, that one of the most important water topics in our city receives so little attention. I’m talking of course about Mount Shasta’s storm drain system.

Aquafornia news City News Service

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

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

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Scientific American

Green infrastructure can be cheaper, more effective than dams

Hundreds of studies on nature-based solutions to extreme events show that “green infrastructure” is often cheaper and more effective than engineered projects like dams, levees and sea walls, according to a new analysis. Experts say federal and state governments should heed those findings and increase funding for natural landscapes and systems to reduce climate disaster risk. Solutions include floodplain restoration and “living shorelines” along vulnerable coasts and rivers.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Disaster experts develop COVID-19 guidelines for water-related emergencies

In May, Cyclone Amphan made landfall in Bangladesh and eastern India. The category 5 storm forced around 3 million people to flee their homes. With this scenario in mind, a group of disaster experts published guidelines for political leaders and emergency managers so that they can prepare before the storms hit.

Aquafornia news U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

News release: EPA announces $196 million water infrastructure loan to Inland Empire, California

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $196 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the Inland Empire Utilities Agency in San Bernardino County, California. The loan will help finance expanded wastewater treatment capacity to support public health and the environment in this growing community.

Aquafornia news 60 Minutes

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

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

Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

FDA: Grazing cows likely cause of E. coli outbreaks linked to Salinas Valley romaine lettuce

Outbreaks of E. coli illness that sickened 188 people who ate romaine lettuce grown in California probably came from cattle grazing near the farms, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said in a report released Thursday. … Investigators concluded that the illness was centered on ranches and fields owned by the same grower and that were located downslope from public land where cattle grazed.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Trump EPA’s targeting of San Francisco pollution may bring investigation

The nation’s environmental watchdog may investigate federal enforcement of water policy in California after Democratic lawmakers accused the Trump administration of “irregular” interference targeting San Francisco, according to a letter sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Aquafornia news Mad River Union

Trinidad Rancheria & council in water fight

The Trinidad Rancheria is alleging that the City of Trinidad has failed to work with the tribe to provide water for its proposed hotel. Because of this the rancheria has informed the city that a much-anticipated stormwater project will be put on hold until the dispute is resolved.

Aquafornia news City News Service

EPA wants to spend $300 million for border sewage problem

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed spending $300 million to address the problem of toxic sewage flowing across the border into San Diego County, legislators announced Tuesday. The money would be part of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement Implementation Act, and will be used for the engineering, planning, design and construction of wastewater infrastructure at the border, officials said.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Plastic pollution threatens marine life, humans and ecosystems. Enter FRED, a future vacuum of the ocean

A spring storm had retreated inland during the night, leaving a canopy of unbroken clouds over San Diego’s Mission Bay. About 20 engineering students and others gathered in the morning chill to launch a cockeyed-looking vessel, mechanical guts fully visible, into the still water.

Aquafornia news Bitterroot Magazine

It’s time to plan for drier western rivers

A strange thing happens during particularly wet winters in California: farmers flood their fields. … Aquifers are the last line of defense against drought conditions. By flooding their fields in January, farmers hope to fill these underground reservoirs with water they can use in August. If a trio of recent studies prove accurate, one can expect to see this method deployed more regularly.

Aquafornia news UCLA News

News release: UCLA students take first place in national EPA stormwater treatment design competition

A team of UCLA undergraduate students has won a national competition sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency seeking innovative plans for stormwater management. The team proposed to redesign elements of a Los Angeles elementary school to improve its environmental sustainability.

Aquafornia news Sierra Sun

Truckee accepts $2.31 million for Trout Creek restoration

The Truckee Town Council has approved a resolution to accept $2.31 million in funds from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for the restoration of Trout Creek The money will be used as part of the project extending Church Street, which is part of the larger Truckee Railyard Master Plan.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Coronavirus causes delay in EPA’s rule for managing wastewater

The EPA has been too busy responding to the deadly coronavirus to work on its long-awaited proposal to manage huge volumes of pathogen-infested sewage and stormwater during heavy rains, the agency’s top wastewater official said Wednesday.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Green

California wildfire war collides with its coronavirus crisis

With wildfire season on the horizon, state officials have ordered prevention efforts to proceed after rains have tapered off and before the heat of summer. But work is progressing slower than usual as firefighting agencies and electric utilities institute new practices to keep employees safe.

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Aquafornia news NBC Bay Area

East Bay’s new rain gardens, an old-school pollution control

Just days before Covid-19 spurred a vast quarantine-at-home in California, a crew of workers in downtown Oakland was busily planting dozens of potted grasses, shrubs and trees in a newly sculpted garden bed in what had been a gutter and a row of parking stalls a block from City Hall.

Aquafornia news NOAA

Blog: How microplastics travel in the Southern California Bight

Although it is clear that river discharge is the major source of plastic pollution entering the oceans, there remains uncertainty around how plastic pollution is transported through rivers and coastal marine waters. How important is stormflow for delivering plastic pollution from rivers to the coastal ocean? How are microplastics transported through coastal environments? How much is eventually sinking and settling on the seafloor?

Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

Blog: Stormwater capture is undervalued in California

Stormwater is the rain and other water that runs off of streets and sidewalks into nearby gutters or waterways. Communities throughout the western U.S. are expanding efforts to collect this valuable water resource. These projects range from capturing water from a single rooftop or driveway to developing large infiltration basins that recharge billions of gallons of water each year in groundwater basins.

Aquafornia news PlanetWatch

Opinion: The low down on the EPA’s National Water Reuse Action Plan

In a time when many people in the world are inside their houses to stop the spread of covid-19, it is easy to forget that good news still exists. The Environmental Protection Agency’s National Water Reuse Action Plan is a bit of good news. The Plan, announced on February 27, 2020, by EPA Administration Andrew Wheeler, prioritizes the use of recycled water.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Friday Top of the Scroll: Virus-related delays cause states to rethink water permit compliance

States around the country say they won’t penalize water and wastewater utilities for failing to meet Clean Water Act permit requirements due to delays caused by the deadly coronavirus if those delays are justified and documented. Delays, for example, could be caused by utility staff who test and monitor water quality—or lab workers who analyze it—being quarantined with Covid-19.

Aquafornia news Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes

Study: Responses and impacts of atmospheric rivers to climate change

In March 2020 the most substantial review article to date focusing on atmospheric rivers (AR) was published in the first volume of the new journal Nature Reviews: Earth and Environment. The article, led by Ashley Payne (Univ. of Michigan) focuses on climate change dimensions, and was prepared by an international group of scientists…

Aquafornia news KJZZ

Arizona: Groundwater aquifers can expect a boost from March rains

March rain has left Salt River Project reservoirs as full as they’ve been in a decade. The utility is discharging water to make room for the runoff, providing a boost to the underlying aquifers. The utility says the Salt and Verde river systems are at a combined 94% of capacity, almost 20 points higher than last year.

Aquafornia news AccuWeather

Relentless storms continue to soak Golden State with rain, mountain snow

While California will not receive a soaking rain similar to what occurred at the beginning of the week, residents across the state can expect unsettled weather to stick around through Wednesday.

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Aquafornia news The Weather Channel

Friday Top of the Scroll: ‘Miracle March’? Feet of Sierra snow beginning this weekend is just what California needs

Much-needed snow will blanket California’s Sierra Nevada high country this weekend into next week, bringing hope of a “Miracle March” that could replenish vital, water-providing snowpack after a record-dry February.

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Aquafornia news KCET

7 best places to discover the L.A. River

We’re getting better when it comes to the L.A. River. Ten years ago, most of us didn’t even know that L.A. even had a river. … It’s hit a few bumps along the way (including the 1936 Flood Control Act that channelized it with concrete walls) — but now, you not only can get to the re-wilded parts of the Los Angeles River, but you can get onto them, too (for a part of the year)!

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Could this week’s rain make up for Southern California’s extra-dry winter?

In less than a day, a storm Tuesday more than doubled the total rainfall that some parts of Southern California had received all year. More precipitation is on the horizon for at least the rest of this week. But will the change be enough to turn this month into a “Miracle March” that will make up for an extra-dry January and February?

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Aquafornia news WaterWorld

Advocating for clean water

As the nation’s water and wastewater treatment systems of pipes, pumps, and plants reach the end of their intended lifespan, investing in water infrastructure has taken the spotlight.

Aquafornia news Highland Community News

San Bernardino schools and East Valley Water District open career pathway

The new career prep program was created out of a partnership between the school district and water district that is linked to the development of East Valley Water District’s Sterling Natural Resource Center water recycling plant now under construction across Sixth Street from the high school.

Aquafornia news The Weather Channel

Monday Top of the Scroll: Southern California may see its biggest soaking this week since Christmas; some flooding, debris flows possible

We expect most of Southern California, including the Los Angeles Basin and San Diego metro area, as well as parts of Arizona, to pick up at least an inch of rain through Thursday. Some heavier amounts in higher terrain on southern- and southwestern-facing slopes are possible. Flash flooding of flood-prone, low-lying streets, freeways and normally dry washes and arroyos is possible in some areas.

Related articles;

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer to leave more than $1 billion in polluted rivers, flood issues to successor

For years, city auditors warned elected leaders that San Diego’s stormwater needs were being dramatically underfunded, leaving the city vulnerable to lawsuits and hefty fines from state regulators. Still, the mayor’s office has yet to take on the political challenge of securing enough new funding to fix the situation, something that would likely require a voter-approved tax hike.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Salon.com

Buried in mud: Wildfires threaten North American water supplies

Local reservoirs and municipal water supplies might become so polluted from the fires that the current water supply infrastructure will be challenged or could no longer treat the water. … But most of the fire-prone areas in North America lack large-scale vulnerability assessments of their municipal water supplies…

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

In wildfire’s wake, another threat: Drinking water contamination

Wildfire poses layers of risk to drinking water that unspool over time and geography, with some effects emerging years later, sometimes outside the burn zone… Water utility managers, engineers and scientists have only recently begun to grapple with the aftereffects of fires that consume entire neighborhoods and towns—as they did in California—and that in the process, release dozens of manmade pollutants into water lines.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

EPA loans Coachella water district $59 million for stormwater control project

The Coachella Valley Water District and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday signed an agreement for a $59.1 million loan to finance improvements to the district’s 134-mile stormwater system that drains into the Salton Sea.

Aquafornia news Claremont Courier

Sustainable Claremont: Our clean water future

In November 2018, more than two-thirds of voters passed Measure W, a comprehensive plan to address how we capture water and how to reduce our reliance on imported water. Now called the Safe Clean Water Program, this annual 2.5 cent per impervious square foot tax for all non-exempt property owners will fund over $250 million dollars annually to build and maintain projects that capture rainfall and storm water…

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego leaders say $300M in new federal cash will help build U.S. facility to capture Tijuana River pollution

The San Diego region has secured $300 million in federal funding for a new U.S. facility to capture Tijuana sewage spills before they foul South Bay shorelines, elected leaders said Friday.

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Aquafornia news Daily Bruin

As UCLA construction ramps up, runoff management policies should do so as well

The 2016-2026 UCLA Student Housing Master Plan is ambitious, to say the least: four years of guaranteed housing for all undergraduate freshmen and two years of guaranteed housing for transfer students. … But the grandiose scale of this housing expansion is not being met with equal expansion of UCLA’s stormwater management facilities.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Opinion: California industrial companies—your business license now depends on stormwater permitting

A new law in California took effect Jan. 1 and requires industrial business owners applying to a city or county for a new or renewed business license to demonstrate enrollment in a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System stormwater permit, if it’s required. … Failure to comply will result in delay or denial of a business license, effectively prohibiting the business from starting its operations.

Aquafornia news Axios

Mayors: Water tops city infrastructure needs

Water-related projects topped the list of infrastructure priorities for mayors, according to the 2019 Menino Survey of Mayors released this month. Why it matters: The survey revealed urgency around investments in water, wastewater and stormwater facilities, with mayors 10 percentage points more likely to focus on that issue than four years ago.

Aquafornia news Stanford News

More rain, less snow increases flooding

By analyzing more than two decades of data in the western U.S., scientists have shown that flood sizes increase exponentially as a higher fraction of precipitation falls as rain, offering insight into how flood risks may change in a warming world with less snow.

Aquafornia news Noozhawk

Carpinteria salt marsh still recovering from impacts of Thomas Fire, debris flows

Large woody debris, sediment and other material washed into the wetland from the fire-scarred foothills above Carpinteria during a powerful storm on Jan. 9, 2018. Materials poured from Santa Monica and Franklin creeks into the marsh. The Thomas Fire burned more than 28,000 acres in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, and the inferno was followed three weeks later by the flash flooding and debris flows.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The New York Times

EPA letting cities dump more raw sewage into rivers for years to come

The Environmental Protection Agency has made it easier for cities to keep dumping raw sewage into rivers by letting them delay or otherwise change federally imposed fixes to their sewer systems, according to interviews with local officials, water utilities and their lobbyists.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Could Sacramento flood like New Orleans? It’s possible, but water managers are trying to make it less likely

Weak and problematic levees are a big reason why there was so much destruction when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005. It cost Louisiana and Mississippi more than $150 billion dollars and killed more than 1,800 people. But could something like this happen in the Sacramento region? The answer CapRadio heard from levee experts is yes, Sacramento could see that type of flooding, but there are a lot of things that lower that risk.

Aquafornia news Mountain View Voice

More delays, higher costs as flood protection projects near finish

Construction projects aimed at providing flood protection to thousands of Mountain View properties is over budget and more than a year behind schedule. The Santa Clara Valley Water District’s board of directors signed off on another round of funding in November for $4.7 million, aimed at offsetting cost overruns that ate through most of the project’s contingency fund.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

First look: San Diego State University’s $54M plan for a Mission Valley river park

SDSU, with the help of its landscape architect Schmidt Design Group, hopes to engineer ties to the oft-overlooked San Diego River, which runs behind the Mission Valley property currently home to SDCCU Stadium. Although park-goers won’t be able to access the river — a landscaped buffer will be used to keep people away from the natural habitat — they should get a river-like feel from the park.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

The rope behind Poway’s water problems had been there a long time

Nobody seems to know why a rope that caused a nearly weeklong boil-water advisory in Poway was there in the first place. The rope had been hanging on a wall in a vault adjacent to the clearwell drinking water reservoir and a stormwater drain. When heavy rains on Nov. 28 and 29 caused the stormwater to surge and back up into the vault, somehow the rope became lodged in a swing gate allowing muddy water to leak into the reservoir…

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Opinion: A harsh dose of reality amid movement toward border pollution solution

The increasing spills that have polluted the Tijuana River Valley and ocean off Imperial Beach have resulted in frustration and anger in recent years, but also triggered broad political collaboration at the local, state and federal level that has put the region on the brink of real action.

Aquafornia news Lexology

Blog: Industrial facilities may be denied business permits without proof of storm water coverage

California regulates storm water discharges from industrial facilities under the federal Clean Water Act through its Industrial General Storm Water Permit (IGP). … The IGP identifies which industrial facilities need to comply by their Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code, which is determined based on the primary purpose of the business. But what if an industrial facility does not recognize that it should seek IGP coverage, or simply chooses not to comply?

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Rope ‘inexplicably’ caused Poway water problems; claims filed seeking compensation

A piece of rope “inexplicably” became lodged in a valve separating a 10-million gallon reservoir from a storm drain in late November, causing a nearly week-long, costly boil-water advisory in Poway, a report prepared by the city for the state concludes.

Aquafornia news California Healthline

Fecal bacteria In California’s waterways increases with homeless crisis

San Francisco officials were quick to dispute Trump’s claims. But some of California’s most prized rivers, beaches and streams are indeed contaminated with levels of fecal bacteria that exceed state limits, threatening kayakers, swimmers — and the state’s reputation as a bastion of environmental protection.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Santa Rosa wastewater quandary linked to Kincade fire could get worse as rainy season ramps up

Nearly two months after the Kincade fire was fully contained in northeastern Sonoma County, Santa Rosa is struggling with an after-effect of the massive blaze: its wastewater disposal pipeline at The Geysers was disabled for six weeks, backing up the Sebastopol-area plant with about 400 million gallons of treated wastewater.

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Aquafornia news The Mountain Democrat

Placerville developer pays for illegal diversions

A Placerville development company that illegally discharged sediment and stormwater from its construction site has agreed to pay $171,000 in a settlement with the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board,

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Q&A: Wildfire’s impact on water quality

As an appointee to the San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board, Newsha Ajami has worked with local, state and federal agencies to monitor and ensure water quality in areas affected by wildfires. Ajami is director of urban water policy at Stanford’s Water in the West program, and co-leads the Urban Water Systems & Institutions Thrust at Re-Inventing the Nation’s Urban Water Infrastructure (ReNUWIt), a National Science Foundation engineering research center based at Stanford. She discussed wildfire’s threat to water quality with Stanford Report.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

‘New NAFTA’ offers money for border sewage fixes

Passing the new North American free trade agreement would mean millions of dollars to help upgrade sewage infrastructure on the border, say the agreement’s backers. But an environmental group and a local organization on the U.S.-Mexico border say it’s not enough.

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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

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 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 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 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 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.

Related article:

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
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: 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 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.

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.

Headwaters Tour 2020
A Virtual Journey - August 6

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. 

Participants joined us as we guided them on a virtual journey into the foothills and the mountains to examine water issues that happen upstream but have dramatic impacts downstream and throughout the state.

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 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 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 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

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

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.

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 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 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 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 …

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