Topic: Wastewater

Overview

Wastewater

Water containing wastes – aka wastewater – from residential, commercial and industrial processes requires treatment to remove pollutants prior to discharge. After treatment, the water is suitable for nonconsumption (nonpotable) and even potable use.

In California, water recycling is a critical component of the state’s efforts to use water supplies more efficiently. The state presently recycling about 669,000 acre-feet of water per year and has the potential to reuse an additional two million acre-feet per year. 

Non-potable uses include:

  • landscape and crop irrigation
  • stream and wetlands enhancement
  • industrial processes
  • recreational lakes, fountains and decorative ponds
  •  toilet flushing and gray water applications
  •  as a barrier to protect groundwater supplies from seawater intrusion
  • wetland habitat creation, restoration, and maintenance
  • groundwater recharge
Aquafornia news The Ukiah Daily Journal

City of Ukiah may spend $175,720 on algae control for recycled water system

At its next meeting Wednesday, the Ukiah City Council will consider a recommendation to spend more than $175,000 on a system to help control algae in its recycled water system, also called the Purple Pipe. According to the staff report prepared for the May 5 meeting, “due to high nutrient content and local climate, the water quality of recycled water within the storage reservoirs can become negatively impacted by algal blooms. Algae can become problematic once it is in the distribution system and lead to clogging of filters or irrigation equipment.” 

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette Newspaper

Farmersville ready for growth with new wastewater facility

Farmersville is opening the floodgates for growth upon the completion of the wastewater treatment facility expansion, the most expensive public works project in the city’s history. The newly-updated wastewater treatment facility comes in at about $23 million, switching from percolating basins to updated technology like digesters and clarifiers to meet the city’s growing population and updated state requirements. City manager Jennifer Gomez said she’s excited to see the project of over 10 years come to completion.

Aquafornia news U.C. Santa Cruz

New research: Long-term monitoring shows successful restoration of mining-polluted streams

Many miles of streams and rivers in the United States and elsewhere are polluted by toxic metals in acidic runoff draining from abandoned mining sites, and major investments have been made to clean up acid mine drainage at some sites. A new study based on long-term monitoring data from four sites in the western United States shows that cleanup efforts can allow affected streams to recover to near natural conditions within 10 to 15 years after the start of abatement work. The four mining-impacted watersheds—located in mountain mining regions of California, Colorado, Idaho, and Montana—were all designated as Superfund sites …

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Some rural California residents doubt they’ll ever get clean water

When Ramona Hernandez turns on her kitchen faucet in El Adobe, an unincorporated town just a few miles southeast of Bakersfield, the water that splashes out looks clean and inviting. But she doesn’t dare drink it. … Drinking the tap water in this tiny community of dusty ranches and unpaved roads could expose Hernandez to arsenic. So, for years, she and her husband, Gerardo, have shuttled twice a week to the nearby town of Lamont to load up on bottled water. At a cost of about $80 a month, it’s enough for drinking and cooking. 

Aquafornia news The Revelator

Public health crisis looms as California identifies 600 communities at risk of water-system failures

A familiar scene has returned to California: drought. Two counties are currently under emergency declarations, and the rest of the state could follow. It was only four years ago when a winter of torrential rain finally wrestled the state out of its last major drought, which had dragged on for five years and left thousands of domestic wells coughing up dust. That drinking-water crisis made national headlines and helped shine a light on another long-simmering water crisis in California: More than 300 communities have chronically unsafe drinking water containing contaminants that can come with serious health consequences, including cancer.

Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

Congress, water sector signal optimism for major investment

On Thursday the U.S. Senate voted to pass S. 914, the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act (DWWIA). It is the first infrastructure bill approved by the Senate this Congress. The bipartisan, comprehensive clean water and drinking water infrastructure legislation will authorize strong annual water infrastructure investment to help boost total federal investment. In full, the legislation authorizes more than $35 billion for drinking water and wastewater resource development projects across the country …

Aquafornia news Comstock's magazine

Regenerating our soil

Regenerative farming practices integrate the entire ecosystem — building upon the relationships of the natural world — to simultaneously produce healthier, more abundant crops and restore the Earth’s natural resources. …  And restoring soil health and fertility produces more abundant, nutrient-dense crops that better resist pests and disease. It increases soil’s ability to filter and store water, reduce erosion and sequester carbon. And it builds a diversity and abundance of microbes that drive every function of soil.

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Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

California tribes call out degradation of Clear Lake

Seven years ago, after the fish died, Sarah Ryan decided she couldn’t wait any longer for help. California at the time was in the depths of its worst drought in the last millennium and its ecosystems were gasping. For Ryan, the fish kill in Clear Lake, the state’s second largest and the centerpiece of Lake County, was the last straw. Ryan is the environmental director for Big Valley Rancheria, a territory of the Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians that sits on the ancient lake’s western shore. She and others raised alarms for several years about increasingly dire blooms of toxic cyanobacteria. 

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Aquafornia news The New York Times

Why California is planning to ban fracking

A little more than a week ago, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that not only would California effectively ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, by 2024, but the state also would work to phase out oil extraction entirely by 2045. … It was — like the governor’s promise last year that the state would ban the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035 — a sweeping pronouncement meant to show urgency in addressing climate change while the state he leads struggles with many of its most dire effects. But meeting those goals requires complex regulatory maneuvering.

Aquafornia news Mission Local

Blog: Putting Dennis Herrera atop the PUC is weird. But San Francisco is a weird town.

It’s been a week since Mayor London Breed tapped City Attorney Dennis Herrera to lead the Public Utilities Commission, a massive, billion-dollar entity providing San Franciscans — and, in fact, millions of nearby locals — with water and/or power. It’s been a week, and nobody seems to be saying it, so we’ll say it: This is weird. It would be weird if the mayor transferred a hypothetical general manager of the Public Utilities Commission — with a background touching on engineering and water and wastewater and sewage treatment and hydroelectric power generation and distribution — into leading the City Attorney’s office. The reverse is weird, too. 

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Is Newsom making any difference on fracking?

British journalist James Bartholomew is widely credited with creating the phrase “virtue signaling” to describe positioning oneself on the popular side of an issue without actually doing anything about it. Politicians are particularly prone to uttering words or making token efforts on difficult issues to stave off criticism about their failure to act meaningfully. Gov. Gavin Newsom is California’s champion virtue-signaler as he faces a recall election later this year. … There’s no better example than Newsom’s ever-shifting attitude toward hydraulic fracturing to increase petroleum production.
-Written by Dan Walters

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: Poseidon wins key seawater desalination permit

Poseidon Water won a key approval Thursday in its long quest to build a seawater desalination plant on the Orange County coastline. But the permit from the Santa Ana Regional Quality Control Board does not ensure that the $1-billion ocean desalter will rise on the grounds of an old power plant in Huntington Beach. Poseidon still needs a construction permit from the California Coastal Commission and, most critically, a binding deal with a public agency to buy 50 million gallons a day of purified seawater.

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Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Monterey Peninsula water district files complaint against Cal Am

Attorneys for the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District filed a complaint with state regulators Tuesday asking that California American Water Co. be forced to purchase water from the expansion of a recycling project because Cal Am is failing to meet a deadline for its part in increasing the local water supply, according to language in the complaint. Any decision by regulators is important because it will affect the ability of the Monterey Peninsula to generate an alternative water source. Cal Am in 2009 was hit with a state cease-and-desist order to stop over-pumping from the Carmel River basin.

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Aquafornia news Brown and Caldwell

Blog: Brown and Caldwell receives funding grant for PFAS incineration study

Brown and Caldwell has been granted funding from The Water Research Foundation (WRF) to study the fate of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) through sewage sludge incineration. PFAS is a group of human-made chemicals found in a range of consumer and industrial products. Many PFAS are resistant to grease, oil, water, and heat and used in many applications, including stain- and water-resistant fabrics and carpeting, cleaning products, paints, and fire-fighting foams. The widespread use of PFAS and their ability to remain intact in the environment over time can result in environmental contamination.

Aquafornia news California Trout

Blog: Trout Clout – Protect Hot Creek, stop KORE mining

The US Forest Service is taking public comments on a proposed exploratory mining operation near the headwaters of Hot Creek in the Eastern Sierra that could lead to harmful open pit mining near this fishery. We need your help to stop it. This project is problematic and disastrous in many ways: KORE Mining wants to drill around Hot Creek for gold with no plan or guarantee that gold exists in that area. Dredging, excavation, and hydraulic mining will cause dramatic stream degradation. The proposal for the exploratory operation provides no information on how much water is needed, the depth of drilling, or the negative impact on the wildlife and the environment. 

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Monterey venture moves a step closer to increasing area water supply

Monterey One Water officials on Monday moved closer to its goal of providing additional water for the Monterey Peninsula when it unanimously approved a key environmental report for its expansion project. The 10 members of the board of Monterey One Water all voted to approve an environmental document called a supplemental environmental impact report, or SEIR, that advances closer to the expansion of its regional treatment plant. … Monday’s action allows Monterey One to move closer to expanding its treatment facility — Pure Water Monterey — to increase the amount of treated water reintroduced to groundwater and consequently dramatically increase the Peninsula’s supply.

Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

California drought: As communities see water issues, some reuse gray water

It’s been years since the Bay Area has had to deal with drought conditions. While some counties look to instituting water-use restrictions, some communities look to creative ways to reuse water. When Ashley Shannon does a load of laundry, her garden and fruit trees get a super soaking. … Shannon is a Santa Clara Valley Water District employee who recently installed a gray water system on her washing machine. Outlet pipes that would normally send wash water to the sewer system were redirected to go outside and around her garden. Valves installed in the ground let the water seep out to irrigate her plants and trees. 

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

State Water Board: Update on the oil and gas monitoring program

Hydraulic fracturing has occurred in California and nationwide for decades; however, recent advancements in horizontal drilling technologies and “well stimulation” techniques have been instrumental in triggering an oil and gas boom, making the U.S. the world’s largest producer of oil and gas reserves. California produces more oil than all but three other states (Texas, North Dakota and Alaska), and Kern County is responsible for more than 70 percent of the state’s oil production. Environmentalists and other members of the public became concerned that the hydraulic fracturing process may contaminate groundwater aquifers …

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

County to host septic and water permit townhall for fire survivors

CZU Lightning Complex fire survivors who are rebuilding their homes, are invited to join the Santa Cruz County Office of Response, Recovery and Resilience on Saturday for a townhall on the septic and water permitting process. … Attendees can expect to learn about septic and water system permitting requirements, but also county and state-level regulations that apply to their properties. … The Office of Response, Recovery and Resilience works with fire survivors on an individual-basis, to help them understand what is needed to ultimately, get a rebuild permit. 

Aquafornia news UC Riverside

New research: Cleaner water through corn

Corn is America’s top agricultural crop, and also one of its most wasteful. About half the harvest—stalks, leaves, husks, and cobs— remains as waste after the kernels have been stripped from the cobs. These leftovers, known as corn stover, have few commercial or industrial uses aside from burning. A new paper by engineers at UC Riverside describes an energy-efficient way to put corn stover back into the economy by transforming it into activated carbon for use in water treatment.

Aquafornia news ABC7 Los Angeles

Worms help power Valley winery’s wastewater system

Worms are helping a [San Joaquin] Valley winery on its path to becoming more green. Olympic-sized swimming pools at O’Neill Winery are actually beds filled with worms helping the company become greener. … The technology allows the company to take about 80 million gallons of processed water and clean it. O’Neill Winery is the seventh-largest winery in California. They produce wines and spirits sold around the United States.

Aquafornia news The Hill

California pushes to ban fracking and oil extraction

On Friday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) unveiled a new initiative to ban new and future permits for hydraulic fracking beginning in 2024. The ban is part of California’s effort to move away from oil extraction to source fuel, focusing on developing renewable sources such as wind and solar. Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is the sourcing of oil from deep subterranean rocks, using a high-pressured water mixture drilled into the earth that releases natural gas and oil. 

Aquafornia news The Mercury News

Editorial: Biden offers California a clear, clean water strategy

California’s continuing failure to adopt a comprehensive water strategy is exacerbating its looming drought crisis. For nearly two decades, the state has put its focus on dam projects and the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta tunnel fiasco. The primary aim is creating new ways of diverting additional water to Central Valley farmers at the expense of the fragile, over-tapped Delta, which supplies about one-third of the Bay Area’s fresh water supply. There’s a better approach. President Biden’s infrastructure plan calls for $50 billion to ease the West’s drought crisis by heavily investing in water efficiency and recycling programs.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Solving the nitrogen puzzle: Measuring groundwater pollution from agriculture

For years it’s been relatively easy to measure pollution from, say, a factory. At a factory, there might be just one pipe of waste to measure. Easy enough. But what about a farm? We might not typically think of farms as sources of pollution. But they can have big impacts on the land over time. Unlike at a factory, the waste filters slowly through soil across the whole plot of land. This waste—excess nutrients from fertilizer—can eventually reach groundwater. 

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Poseidon water plant permit discussion continued to next week

Both proponents and opponents of the controversial Poseidon Water desalination plant in Huntington Beach made their voices heard Friday in an all-day virtual meeting that continued well into the night. In the end, however, a decision by the Santa Ana Regional Water Board on whether to permit Poseidon’s $1.4-billion project will have to wait until at least [this] week. Another meeting is scheduled for Thursday, with a third meeting on May 13, as necessary.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Newsom orders halt to new fracking in California starting in 2024 – and wants to end all drilling by 2045

Gov. Gavin Newsom directed the state Friday to stop issuing permits for the oil extraction method known as fracking by January 2024 and to draw up plans to end all fossil-fuel drilling in California by 2045 — the most sweeping declaration of its kind in the nation. … Eliminating all extraction would have far-reaching consequences in California, the nation’s seventh-largest producer of crude oil… [Fracking has] long been a controversial method because of what climate activists see as unacceptable dangers, including the possibility that it can contaminate groundwater.

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Aquafornia news Voice of OC

Will desalination come to Huntington Beach? A water board hearing happens today

Questions have been raised over California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s political maneuvers to push a controversial seawater desalination plant proposed for the Huntington Beach coastline. Critics say their concerns about the actual need for the project and its potential environmental effects remain. The company pushing it, Poseidon Water, remains steadfast in its intent to build a plant that would suck in 100 million gallons of seawater daily and make half of it drinkable….[The Regional Water Quality Control] board’s next hearing is scheduled for [Friday] April 23. If the board approves the permits, the project then goes for a final say from the state Coastal Commission. 

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Friday Top of the Scroll: Drought brings threat of dry wells in San Joaquin Valley

Thousands of wells that bring water to San Joaquin Valley homes are at risk of drying up this summer, leaving families without running water for drinking, cleaning and bathing. While no one knows the extent of the threat from this second year of drought conditions, Jonathan Nelson with the Community Water Center says “the alarm bells are sounding.” Homes, farms and entire communities that rely on shallow wells as their only source of water are vulnerable to declining groundwater levels from dry conditions and agricultural pumping.

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Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

Water board committee recommends advancing Pure Water Monterey expansion

A committee for the Monterey One Water Board has recommended final certification of an environmental report crucial to the expansion of Pure Water Monterey, signaling increased momentum for the recycled water project. The five-member Recycled Water Committee of the Monterey One Water Board of Directors voted 4-0-1 on April 15 to recommend the board of directors certify the completed supplemental environmental impact report, or SEIR, needed for the expansion.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Trump-era Clean Water Act rule takes effect in Colorado on April 23, 2021, while Colorado public officials renew efforts to craft a state-level dredge-and-fill permitting program

Following a temporary delay in Colorado federal court, the Trump administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR) will now take effect in Colorado on April 23, 2021.  Under the NWPR, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers will no longer require permits for operations affecting certain categories of streams and wetland areas previously subject to the Clean Water Act.  

Aquafornia news Science Times

Freshwater salt pollution: Is it threatening people and wildlife?

[A] study, titled “Freshwater Salinization Syndrome on a Continental Scale,” found at least a third of U.S. streams and rivers have become saltier over the last 25 years. On December 3, freshwater scientist John Olson of California State University, Monterey Bay, conducted a modeling study that validated these results, indicating that the future looks briny as well. The study is titled “Predicting Combined Effects of Land Use and Climate Change On River and Stream Salinity.” Salinization levels will likely increase by at least 50% in half of U.S. streams by 2100 if salt use persists at its current pace, according to Olson’s party. 

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Two sources of U.S.-Mexico sewage flows are fighting for one pot of money

If the San Diego-Tijuana region were a human body, it’d have the stomach flu: Bad stuff is coming out of both ends. But instead of tackling the complicated source of the infection, the border towns are fighting over where to put a Band-Aid. Six miles from the U.S.-Mexico border lie three giant ponds full of really old poo that regularly flush into the Pacific Ocean and flow north along the Southern California coast during summer tourist season. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: California law needs to catch up to sea level rise

[A]s massive a challenge as wildfire presents … a different climate crisis could rival it as a destroyer of the California dream: sea level rise. … AB 67 addresses state infrastructure. It would ensure that state agencies incorporate sea level rise estimates in the development of roads, ports, airports, water-treatment, desalination and power plants. In particular, it seeks to advance “natural infrastructure” such as restored estuaries, wetlands, dunes and sea grasses that could generate thousands of new “blue” jobs while reducing the impact of rising water at a lower cost than hardened structures such as seawalls. 
-Written by David Helvarg, an author and founder of Blue Frontier, an ocean conservation group.

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Aquafornia news ABC4 Utah

The history of Earth Day and how to celebrate it during a drought

With a drought affecting the Western part of the country, here are ten simple ways to conserve water this Earth Day: Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth; Fix leaky faucets; Only run a fully loaded dishwasher or wash a full load of laundry; Take a shorter shower; Consider installing a water-saving shower head; Use a broom to clean your driveway instead of hosing it down; Find a use for water instead of pouring it down the drain…

Aquafornia news Orange County Water Association

Report: The role of asset management in support of OC Sanitation’s mission

Publicly owned treatment works in California have been observing a trend of permit requirements issued by EPA Region 9 and the State to develop and utilize an Asset Management Program as part of their NPDES/Wastewater Discharge Order. In the case of OC San, an Asset Management Plan has already been in place; however, with many of its major assets aging, the development of a more robust AMP became a priority for the agency.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Sonoma County calls for sewage pipeline study

In a potential solution to a two-decade-old problem, Sonoma County’s water agency has commissioned a $156,000 study of a potential pipeline carrying Occidental’s wastewater to a treatment plant in neighboring Graton.  A pipeline between the two west county hamlets would resolve the dilemma dating back to a 1997 state order banning Occidental from discharging effluent into a tributary of the Russian River.  Since 2018, the Occidental wastewater system — one of eight managed by Sonoma Water — has been trucking raw sewage 18 miles through Graton to a county treatment plant at the airport, an expensive program seen as a stopgap measure.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Imperial Beach shoreline closed again after being blasted for weeks by Tijuana sewage

San Diegans will undoubtedly head to the ocean this weekend as temperatures warm — but not in Imperial Beach. Sewage spilling over from Tijuana forced officials on Friday to completely close the city’s shoreline yet again. The move comes less than a week after Baja officials said repairs were completed to a broken water pump in the Tijuana River, which had allowed tens of millions of gallons of sewage-tainted water to escape capture starting in late March.

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Aquafornia news Holtville Tribune

Air district dings IID over Red Hill Bay

In what one board member called a hearing that isn’t going to be topped, the Imperial County Air Pollution Control District Hearing Board voted 4-0 to issue an order of abatement against the Imperial Irrigation District over the Red Hill Bay project site at the Salton Sea. … The Red Hill Bay project is aimed at creating hundreds of acres of shallow marine wetlands to provide aquatic bird habitat and reduce airborne dust from playa exposed due to a shrinking Salton Sea. 

Aquafornia news Ag Net West

Central Coast Water Board approves Ag Order 4.0

General Waste Discharge Requirements for Discharges from Irrigated Lands, simply known as Ag Order 4.0, will officially begin to be implemented. Just prior to the deadline, the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board approved the measure Thursday evening. There has been unease among farmers throughout the lengthy development process as to how the rule will affect production. 

Aquafornia news Truthout

Blog: The Southwest offers blueprints for the future of wastewater reuse

No country is immune from water scarcity issues — not even the world’s wealthiest country, the United States. The southwestern states, in particular, have faced frequent and ongoing droughts over the past two decades, and traditional water supplies are failing. … Our existing water supplies must go further, and the technology exists to make this happen — by turning wastewater into drinking water. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California gold fever still reigns. New prospectors seek to reopen giant mine

For the past four years, a Canadian mining company has been in Nevada County, about 60 miles northeast of Sacramento, collecting samples of what it suspects is one of the world’s highest-grade underground gold deposits, potentially worth billions. … The legacy of gold, while widely celebrated, is not something that many in this area, now home to more retirees and Bay Area transplants than men in hard hats and overalls, want to revisit. … [T]he scars it left on the landscape remain visible, and unwanted. Creeks still get mucked up with iron and sulfuric acid from old mines. Soils contain arsenic left over from drilling. …

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

Judge tells Monterey County to go back to the drawing board on Cal Am desal approval

Monterey County must rescind all approvals of California American Water’s proposed desalination project, per an order from a Monterey County Superior Court judge who earlier this year found the county violated the California Environmental Quality Act by approving the project without identifying a water source. The ruling was handed down April 3 by Judge Lydia Villarreal, who on Jan. 21 granted in part—and denied in part—a writ requested by the Marina Coast Water District regarding the 2019 approvals of the desal plant component of Cal Am’s Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project.

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Aquafornia news AgNet West

Down to the wire: Ag order 4.0 adoption deadline this Friday

A final decision on the pending Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program known as Ag Order 4.0 is expected by Friday, April 16. Producers have anxiously been monitoring the development of the program from the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board. Stakeholders have repeatedly provided feedback on the proposal, detailing the challenges it would create within agriculture. As the adoption deadline quickly approaches, industry members still have concerns about multiple provisions of the measure.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

West Marin water contamination prompts ranch inspections

The state plans to inspect three dairy ranches in the Point Reyes National Seashore after independent water quality tests conducted in nearby creeks and lagoons earlier this year found E. coli bacteria concentrations up to 40 times higher than state health standards. The San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board plans to inspect Kehoe Dairy, McClure Dairy and R&J McClelland Dairy, which are located near Kehoe Creek and waterways that flow into Abbotts Lagoon in the northern region of the national seashore. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Plan to ban California fracking falls short in Legislature

A far-reaching proposal to outlaw hydraulic fracturing and ban oil and gas wells from operating near homes, schools and healthcare facilities failed in the California Legislature on Tuesday, a major setback for progressive leaders who hail the state as the nation’s bellwether on environmental protection. Gov. Gavin Newsom in September called on state lawmakers to ban fracking and voiced his support for safety buffer zones around wells …

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Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Sausalito sewage spill unloads nearly 100K gallons

Tree roots are being blamed for a 98,280-gallon sewage spill in Sausalito that went unnoticed for two weeks. The overflow started on March 17 and went undetected because of heavy vegetation, according to the county. 

Aquafornia news Poseidon Water

News release: California Court of Appeal upholds state lands commission approval of Huntington Beach seawater desalination plant

Poseidon Water announced that the Third District California Court of Appeal issued a decision denying the petition by seawater desalination opponents to overturn the Sacramento County Superior Court’s 2019 ruling upholding the California State Lands Commission’s 2017 approval of an amended lease for the proposed Huntington Beach Desalination Project (“Project”). The Court of Appeal decision reaffirms that the State Lands Commission correctly analyzed the Project under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and that the Project protects the state’s Public Trust resources.

Aquafornia news KQED

California could phase out fracking, other oil drilling under bill headed for first test in legislature

Legislation that would gradually phase out fracking and other extraction methods that account for most of California’s petroleum production faces its first big test in Sacramento on Tuesday. The nine-member Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee is set to vote on a proposal, Senate Bill 467, that would bar new permits for hydraulic fracturing, cyclic steaming, steam flooding and water flooding. The legislation would begin taking effect in 2023 and also prohibit renewing existing permits for fracking and the other targeted methods, which a committee bill analysis says accounts for an estimated 80% to 95% of the state’s oil production.

Aquafornia news State Water Resources Control Board

News release: Water Board leverages EPA support to protect water quality in seven counties

The California State Water Resources Control Board (the State Board) will use $4.4 million of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant to fund projects in seven counties around the state. EPA’s Nonpoint Source Program grant assists the State Board in implementing programs to address pollution caused by runoff moving over the ground, known as nonpoint source pollution. The Marin Resource Conservation District was awarded over $700,000 by the State Board for its Conserving Our Watersheds Program. This project helps ranchers within the Point Reyes National Seashore prevent nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment, and bacteria from livestock operations from running off into Tomales Bay. Tomales Bay supports oyster production and recreational activities including kayaking and fishing.

Aquafornia news Santa Barbara News-Press

Goleta Water District to discuss partnership with Tesla

The Goleta Water District on Tuesday will discuss a resolution to enroll the district in an initiative program and to execute agreements with Tesla, Inc., for battery systems at the Corona Del Mar Water Treatment Plant and Ellwood Reservoir. Under the proposed agreement, Tesla would design, furnish, install, operate and maintain the battery systems through the California Public Utilities Commission Self-Generation Incentive Program. … The two battery systems, estimated to be currently worth approximately $1 million, will be owned by the district and provide emergency backup power during electrical outages and PSPS events, including approximately seven hours for Ellwood Reservoir and 8.3 hours for CDMWTP.

Aquafornia news Sonoma West

Water rates heading back to council on Wednesday

The theme of the April 14 meeting of the Cloverdale City Council is seemingly water — the council will be viewing a presentation on its updated water and sewer rate study and giving direction on whether or not to proceed to a public hearing with new rates, and will also be discussing whether or not it wants to join the Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership. 

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

News release: ACWA testifies in support of climate resilience bond proposal with amendments

ACWA staff testified with a support-if-amended position on AB 1500 (E.Garcia) during an Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee hearing on April 8. The bill is one of two climate resilience bond proposals that are currently advancing through the state Legislature and could be headed for the June 2022 ballot. AB 1500 would create a $6.7 billion bond measure. ACWA, with input from the State Legislative Committee’s Bond Working Group, is requesting amendments to the bills to add funding for water-related climate resilience projects that help provide a reliable water supply during drought and flood. The amendments propose the bill include funding for conveyance, dam safety, groundwater protection and sustainable groundwater management, flood management, integrated regional water management and safe drinking water for disadvantaged communities, as well as water quality and water reuse and recycling.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Blog: How I got beyond the concrete and learned to love Ballona Creek

A year ago, when stay-at-home orders were a newly disorienting fact of life, I started taking long walks through my neighborhood on L.A.’s Westside. Wandering south from Palms into Culver City, I realized I live near a huge concrete channel — a creek, trapped in place — with a bike path along the water, and a view of oil pumpjacks rising and falling atop the Baldwin Hills. There were beautiful murals, too, showing a healthy, thriving waterway. They were hashtagged #KnowYourWatershed. And the more I admired them, the more I realized that I did not, in fact, know my watershed, despite growing up not far from here. 
-Written by Sammy Roth, a Los Angeles Times staff writer.

Aquafornia news KPBS

Sewage flows continue to foul south San Diego County beaches

South Bay officials are beginning to run out of patience over the continued cross-border flow of sewage-tainted water. The pollution warning signs have been up most of 2021 on the sand in Imperial Beach. Last Friday, the pollution flowed north to Coronado, forcing beach closures there. Imperial Beach’s top officials are fed up.

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Aquafornia news The Mercury News

Sunnyvale fined $187,000 for San Francisco Bay sewage spill

State water pollution officials have hit the city of Sunnyvale with $187,000 penalty after the city’s wastewater treatment plant spilled more than a quarter million gallons of partially treated sewage into San Francisco Bay last summer. The spill occurred on July 29 when a 36-inch welded steel pipeline ruptured, releasing 292,600 gallons — the equivalent of about 12 backyard swimming pools — of partially treated sewage that had not been disinfected into channels that flow into the bay near Moffett Field. … The spill was one of the two largest illegal discharges from a Bay Area sewage treatment plant into San Francisco Bay over the past six years …

Aquafornia news Voice of OC

Opinion: Governor Newsom needs to protect the human right to water not water privatizers

Governor Gavin Newsom frequently says California is a leader in sustainability and the transition away from fossil fuels. The governor has also issued an executive order to fight climate change in response to the deadly wildfires that ravaged our state last year. Despite these public statements and official efforts, it’s puzzling that his administration has been promoting the climate-wrecking Poseidon desalination plant in Huntington Beach as an infrastructure to source additional water for California. There are plenty of things we can do to ensure that Southern Californians have enough water to thrive…. 
-Written by Alejandro Sobrera, the Orange County Hub Coordinator for the Sunrise Movement, a youth led effort to bring about a just transition to a greener world.  

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Kamala Harris visits Oakland to tout federal jobs plan

For the first time since her historic ascension as the nation’s first woman vice president, Kamala Harris returned to her native Oakland on Monday to promote the Biden administration’s ambitious proposal to rebuild the country’s infrastructure and create jobs…. Harris toured the East Bay Municipal Utility District’s water treatment plant, speaking to employees and touting the district as the kind of operation that should be emulated. …. Harris highlighted the water portion of the [Biden] plan, saying the goal is to invest in jobs that can build up, replace and modernize water infrastructure — all with the goal of getting clean drinking water to everyone.

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Aquafornia news California Department of Justice

News release: California Department of Justice expresses concern over proposal to allow exploratory drilling in the Suisun Marsh

The California Department of Justice (DOJ) filed comments with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) regarding Sunset Exploration’s proposal to drill for natural gas in the Suisun Marsh. Located in the San Francisco Bay-Delta, this 88,000-acre wetland is home to a number of endangered and threatened species, including California Ridgway’s rail, black rail, and Chinook salmon – and is just a few short miles from environmental justice communities in Solano County…. DOJ urges the Army Corps to fully consider the proposal’s significant environmental impacts, including harm to these communities and protected species, as well as increased greenhouse gas emissions, before deciding whether to grant the requested permit.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Pure Water Monterey expansion SEIR revision work approved

A $230,000 revision of the Pure Water Monterey expansion project’s environmental review document will move forward after the Monterey One Water board approved the work earlier this week. At the same time, board members backing the study revision made it clear they wouldn’t support approving the recycled water expansion proposal itself until an outside funding source is available. On Monday, the Monterey One Water board voted 7-3 to approve the work needed to update a supplemental environmental impact report for the expansion proposal, including consultant contracts and a cost-sharing agreement with the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District whose board agreed last month to cover most of the revision’s cost. 

Aquafornia news National Law Review

California State Water Board’s construction stormwater permit for 2021

Barack Obama was seven months into his first term as President of the United States, the World Health Organization had declared a H1N1 flu pandemic, and the California State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) adopted the current Construction General Permit for Stormwater Discharges (Permit or CGP). It was September 2009. Now, having administratively extended the Permit since 2014 when, by its terms, the Permit expired, the State Board may, under a schedule released late last year, soon release a new draft CGP for public comment, with a goal of adopting it late this summer. As with the current permit, the proposed new CGP will regulate the discharge of pollutants from construction sites in California. 

Aquafornia news Downey Brand LLP

Blog: Latest California State Water Board investigative order for PFAS targets bulk fuel storage terminals and refineries

Last week, the California State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) officially released an order (the Order) to investigate and sample for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) at over 160 bulk fuel storage terminals and refineries throughout California. The State Water Board’s Order is the latest action in a series of investigative orders over the last two years to study and identify industrial and municipal sources of PFAS in California including at airports, landfills, manufacturing facilities, chrome platers, and wastewater treatment facilities.

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Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Judge likely to advance PG&E suit over century-old pollution

Rejecting arguments that a utility can’t be sued over century-old pollution, a federal judge signaled Wednesday that he will likely advance a lawsuit seeking to hold Pacific Gas and Electric liable for contamination that occurred more than 100 years ago. … [Plaintiff and San Francisco resident Dan] Clarke claimed groundwater contamination stemming from the site of PG&E’s former gas plant “is intermittently discharged into the bay.” He said seasonal, tidal and other factors result in groundwater passing the former plant site and intermixing with contaminants before leaking into the San Francisco Bay.

Aquafornia news Western City Magazine

Cities of San José and Ukiah lead the way on critical water infrastructure projects

Much of the state’s water infrastructure was designed decades ago and was built to serve half the size of our current population. Faced with aging infrastructure, California cities have taken innovative approaches to modernizing water treatment and recycling systems to meet the needs of a growing population and a changing climate. One infrastructure need that many residents take for granted is wastewater treatment. … The San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility is the largest advanced wastewater treatment facility in the Western United States. Originally built in 1956, today it serves more than 1.4 million residents and 17,000 businesses in eight cities in Silicon Valley and unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County. Using a treatment process that simulates the way nature cleans water, the facility treats an average of 110 million gallons of wastewater per day.

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Aquafornia news State Water Resources Control Board

News release: $2.5 million settlement reached for Mule Creek State Prison violations of Clean Water Act

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has agreed to pay a $2.5 million penalty for discharging comingled stormwater at Mule Creek State Prison, in violation of the Clean Water Act. The penalty was assessed for unpermitted discharges between January 2018 and April 2019 to Mule Creek, a tributary to Dry Creek and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The case began three years ago when the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (Central Valley Water Board) received a complaint that the prison was discharging wastewater into the nearby creek. Central Valley Water Board staff confirmed discharges were occurring from the prison to Mule Creek.

Aquafornia news CNN

Here’s what’s in Biden’s infrastructure proposal

Now that his massive coronavirus relief package is law, President Joe Biden is laying out his next big proposal: A roughly $2 trillion plan for improving the nation’s infrastructure  … Biden’s plan allocates $111 billion to rebuild the country’s water infrastructure. It would replace all of the nation’s lead pipes and service lines in order to improve the health of American children and communities of color. The White House says replacing the pipes would reduce lead exposure in 400,000 schools and childcare facilities. The proposal would upgrade the country’s drinking water, wastewater and stormwater systems, tackle new contaminants and support clean water infrastructure in rural parts of the country.

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Aquafornia news Spectrum News 1

Clean, locally sourced water could make a comeback in Lomita

For the last seven years, Lomita resident Brenda Stephens has been advocating for better, locally sourced tap water. … Following a long history of water quality issues, plus the detection of benzene in 2019, the city of Lomita’s Cypress Water Production Facility has remained offline. The city currently outsources its water supply. For Stephens, it’s been a break from water issues. … In late 2019, Stephens and other Lomita residents took part in a CWPF tour that showcased how a new filtration system will alleviate the city’s locally-sourced water problems and bring the facility back online, safely. The city of Lomita received a $2 million grant from the Water Replenishment District’s Safe Drinking Water program.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg

Pandemic wipes create sewer-clogging fatbergs

Even before the pandemic, Americans were already flushing far too many wipes into the sewer system. After a year of staying at home, the pipe-clogging problem has gotten worse. … Sewer backups are up 50%… Last year, Washington became the first state to pass legislation requiring manufacturers to label their products with “do not flush” disclaimers, and states including California have also introduced bills that would mandate similar labels.

Aquafornia news East County Magazine

Santee council gets update on Padre Dam’s big project

Padre Dam Water District wants to keep everyone in the loop about its massive sewage reclamation project, especially the city where the project is located — Santee. At its March 24 virtual meeting, the Santee City Council approved a legal agreement to work collaboratively with the joint powers authority that is overseeing the nearly $700 million program called Advanced Water Purification. … The Advanced Water Purification project got going in 2014 and is similar to several other water reclamation projects in the state, including one being built by the city of San Diego called Pure Water. 

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

News release: ACWA-Sponsored SB 323 passes Committee hearing

ACWA-sponsored SB 323 (Caballero) passed out of the Senate Government and Finance Committee on March 25, following a hearing in which ACWA staff and members testified in support….The bill would improve financial stability for public agencies by creating a 120-day statute of limitations for legal challenges to water and sewer service rates. It comes as water and wastewater agencies have faced increased litigation from ratepayers over whether agency rates comply with Proposition 218 and other existing laws.

Aquafornia news Perkins Cole

Blog: Conviction for violation of Clean Water Act required knowing discharge “into water”

The Ninth Circuit reversed a conviction for three counts of violations under the Clean Water Act because the district court failed to instruct the jury that the defendant needed to knowingly discharge material “into water” to convict. … In the summer of 2014, Lucero executed a scheme under which he charged construction companies to dump dirt and debris on lands near the San Francisco Bay, including wetlands and a tributary subject to the Clean Water Act. Although Lucero admitted to “walking the land” where the dumping happened, the period when the dumping occurred was unusually dry due to drought. The trial court found Lucero guilty on two counts of discharges into wetlands and one count of discharge into a tributary.

Aquafornia news San Luis Obispo Tribune

Opinion: SLO should advance plan to pipe reclaimed water to Edna

A water project that would generate revenue, make wise use of reclaimed water and preserve large tracts of open space in the city of San Luis Obispo was first made public over 10 years ago. Since then, the city has made no progress on the proposal to allow Edna Valley landowners to reuse some of the city’s treated wastewater to irrigate vineyards and other agricultural crops. Surplus water already could be assisting growers in Edna Valley, which is an important part of the city’s greenbelt. 
Written by Neil Havlik, who served as San Luis Obispo’s natural resources manager from 1996 to 2012.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Helix, Padre Dam Municipal water districts use lawsuit win to help customers

Two East County water agencies plan to reduce future water rates by using millions of dollars they received from the County Water Authority as part of a legal settlement. The Water Authority announced a plan Feb. 25 to distribute $44.4 million to its 24-member agencies — including the Helix Water District and Padre Dam Municipal Water District — after receiving a check for that amount from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. A San Francisco Superior Court ruled in favor of the Water Authority in January in two lawsuits against Metro challenging rates and charges. The money is for legal damages and interest from the decade-long rate cases. 

Aquafornia news The Point Reyes Light

Private tests show bad water quality near park ranches

Water quality testing commissioned by two groups lobbying for the end of ranching in the Point Reyes National Seashore shows fecal contamination exceeding federal recreational standards in several waterways feeding the Pacific Ocean. In response, seashore personnel point to their nearly finalized general management amendment, which requires water quality improvements. The tests from two rainy January days included samples from and near Kehoe Lagoon, Abbotts Lagoon and Schooner Creek, and showed exceedances in levels of E. coli and Enterococcus—bacteria that serve as common indicators for fecal contamination. 

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Audit: San Diego’s effort to inspect industrial polluters is outdated, inefficient

A San Diego program that aims to keep toxic sewer water out of the Pacific Ocean suffers from outdated methods and inadequate efforts to identify and inspect the business sites of industrial polluters, a new city audit says. The 56-page audit says the program, which oversees industrial polluters served by San Diego and 12 other local sewer districts, needs to step up efforts to find polluters and modernize its inspection program. The program – the Industrial Wastewater Control Program – is also understaffed and not capable of handling the larger workload it should handle without adding more workers, the audit says.

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Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Las Gallinas sewage agency expands recycled water system

The Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District completed construction this week on an expansion of its water recycling system, increasing the district’s recycled water production capacity nearly fourfold. …The expanded system allows the district to treat roughly 5.4 million gallons of recycled water per day at its headquarters at 300 Smith Ranch Road in San Rafael. That’s up from the district’s previous capacity of 1.4 million daily gallons.

Aquafornia news U.S. Department of Energy

News release: DOE awards $27.5 million to 16 teams working to decarbonize U.S. water infrastructure

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced awards totaling $27.5 million for 16 water infrastructure projects. Modern technology has the potential to reduce energy use in aging water infrastructure, particularly in wastewater treatment, which demands up to 2% of domestic electricity use each year. These projects, operating in 13 states, have the potential to reduce carbon emissions and water-treatment costs while improving water quality and equity of distribution nationwide. … They are based out of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, and Virginia.

Aquafornia news Civil Eats

20 hotspots to start fixing nitrogen pollution in agriculture

Nitrogen pollution is one of agriculture’s biggest and most intractable problems. Crops can’t grow without the critical nutrient, and because sources of nitrogen are easy to come by—synthetic fertilizer is cheap and manure from large animal agriculture operations is plentiful—farmers often apply too much, to try to ensure the highest yields. Because plants can’t use it all, the excess makes its way into groundwater and washes into waterways where it contaminates drinking water and creates vast dead zones in oceans and lakes. … California’s largest hotspot unsurprisingly includes 21 counties that cover the Central Valley, America’s produce capital.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

‘Hasty’ California oil and gas lease sale draws suit against BLM

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management decided to sell oil and gas leases on public land in California for the first time in nearly a decade without taking a hard look at the environmental and public health impacts, according to a lawsuit filed Monday in a federal court in the state. The agency’s “hasty” environmental review ignored comments from experts and failed to consider evidence showing fracking could pollute already scarce groundwater resources, environmental groups say in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California filing. The decision violated the National Environmental Policy Act …

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: California vies for $3-trillion Biden infrastructure plan

A Biden initiative expected to pour up to $3 trillion into repairing America’s decrepit infrastructure and funding other programs has sparked a scramble across the nation for the federal funds — with California expecting to reap the biggest piece. …Rep. John Garamendi, a Northern California Democrat who is a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee…spent more than an hour with Biden in recent weeks and came away convinced that the program will be broad enough to improve most areas of the nation’s infrastructure: highways, passenger rail, electric grids, dams, sewers and water systems, ocean terminals and airports…. 

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Aquafornia news U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

News release: US Forest Service closes 77 pollution-causing cesspools

Under an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the USDA Forest Service closed 77 large-capacity cesspools (LCCs) it operated in Arizona and California. The Forest Service met the deadlines set forth in the agreement and closed the cesspools, which can be sources of harmful water pollution, in 11 national forests across the two states. … Cesspools collect and release untreated raw sewage into the ground, where disease-causing pathogens and harmful chemicals can contaminate groundwater and surface waters that are sources of drinking water. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: California needs to repeat history by passing new clean water laws

The Porter-Cologne Water Quality Act, California’s state clean water law, passed in 1969 and became the model for the 1972 federal Clean Water Act. Nearly half a century after passage of the landmark federal law, it is time for both the state and the nation to assess progress and chart a new course. Once again, California is leading the way with Assembly Bill 377, a new bill introduced by Assemblyman Robert Rivas (D-Hollister). Although new legislation is needed, the existing federal and California clean water acts have produced successes that should be celebrated.
-Written by Terry Tamminen, president of 7th Generation Advisors and founder of Santa Monica Baykeeper. 

Aquafornia news National Geographic

As the U.S. faces an uncertain water future, millions of Americans are coming together to conserve water

Witnessing the devastating effects of drought in rural California and India at the age of 11 spurred Shreya Ramachandran to action. She devoted years to researching the reuse of grey water—lightly used water from sinks, showers, and laundry—and painstakingly tested the environmental safety of organic detergents. The nonprofit Ramachandran founded, the Grey Water Project, has inspired thousands of people to build their own “laundry to lawn” grey water systems. Now a high school senior, she’s collaborated with several California water agencies and the United Nations Global Wastewater Initiative, and created a grey water curriculum for elementary students to show them that small actions can make a big difference.

Aquafornia news The Sierra Nevada Ally

Nonpoint source pollution: killing the Truckee River by degrees

As more people move into the Truckee River watershed, demand for water is increasing while more and more nonpoint source (NPS) pollution is making its way to the river. Nearly half a million people get their water from the Truckee River, and nonpoint source pollution threatens the quality of not just the drinking water, but the greater ecosystem of the entire watershed. Nonpoint source contaminants are the largest single source of water pollution in Nevada and across the nation.  Here in the Truckee Meadows, things such as fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, motor oil, engine coolant, septic tanks, chemical runoff , silt from erosion, and e. Coli bacteria, to list a few, all affect the overall quality of ground, surface, and ultimately, drinking water.  

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Board approves Pure Water Monterey expansion report spending

Acting in advance of its Pure Water Monterey expansion project partner, the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District board has agreed to spend an additional $180,000 on updating the project’s environmental document and source water analysis for the proposal. On Monday, the water district board voted 7-0 to spend $181,125 on work to update the recycled water expansion project’s supplemental environmental impact report and conduct source water modeling in an attempt to address an issue that has drawn heavy criticism and opposition.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Next phase of construction green-lit on Pure Water Soquel project

The construction of 8 miles of water pipeline that will be integral to the Pure Water Soquel project, was approved by Soquel Creek Water District Board of Directors this week. The Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Basin, from which at least 50,000 residents depend on for drinking water, has been deemed critically depleted by the state. Years of intensive pumping for agriculture and drinking water has drawn out more water from the aquifer than is being replenished naturally by rainwater. That’s led to seawater seeping into underground storage and wells. The Pure Water project aims to bolster groundwater levels in the aquifer, and prevent seawater contamination, which has already been detected in some areas.

Aquafornia news WaterWorld

Kiewit-Stantec team breaks ground on Los Angeles groundwater remediation projects

The Kiewit-Stantec design-build team recently broke ground on two multi-year projects that together total $400 million and will help remediate water from the San Fernando Valley Groundwater Basin (SFB) for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). The SFB covers 226 square miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. The new state-of-the-art facilities at the North Hollywood Central Response Action Treatment Facility and Tujunga Well Field Response Action Treatment Facility will address historical groundwater contamination from post WWII and cold-war era industrial operations in the area. 

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Lathrop closer to being able to discharge treated water into SJ River

The city of Lathrop’s longstanding goal of discharging highly-treated wastewater into the San Joaquin River could clear a major hurdle tonight. Based on the current plan the wastewater would be mainly discharged directly into the river during winter months when irrigation demands are low and river flow is high and reduced in the summer months when irrigation demands along the river are at their peak.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

A corporation wants to mine for gold near Death Valley. Native tribes are fighting it

Spurred by the rising price of gold, K2 Gold Corp., of Vancouver, Canada, is drilling and trenching in hopes of selling its findings or partnering with a bigger company that would, perhaps, transform the public lands into an open pit cyanide heap leach mine, just a few miles from Death Valley. … Opponents … worry about air pollution … and the water required for mining gold. Pumping out millions of gallons from desert aquifers, or underground lakes, they fear, could exhaust regional springs in valuable wildlife habitat, and attract wildlife to ponds of cyanide-laced water.

Aquafornia news Patch

Ocean use advisory issued for Manhattan Beach water

A beach water use advisory is now in effect until Thursday, warning people of possible bacteria in the water following rainfall. The recent rainfall, bacteria, chemicals, debris, trash, and other public health hazards from city streets and mountain areas are likely to contaminate ocean waters at and around discharging storm drains, creeks, and rivers. People who enter the water in these areas could become ill, according to Los Angeles County Health Officer, Muntu Davis, MD, MPH. This advisory will be in effect until at least Thursday at 1o a.m.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Blog: We’re about to drink recycled water but don’t know what’s in it

I’ve been writing a lot about the broken sewage system in Tijuana causing spills into San Diego. Part of the concern, San Diego officials told me, is that Mexico lacks a system to monitor whether businesses are dumping toxic waste into the sewer system. That’s part of the reason why it’s risky to reuse any of that river water because, if we don’t know what’s in the water, we can’t be sure how to best treat it. San Diego is about to run into this issue in a big way with its Pure Water project, a multibillion-dollar system that’s going to recycle the city’s sewage and treat it so, well, you can drink it. 

Aquafornia news The New York Times

What’s in the federal stimulus for Californians?

Last week, President Biden signed into law a historic, wide-reaching $1.9 trillion stimulus package aimed at throwing a lifeline to Americans struggling through the pandemic. In California, the news has come as a particular relief. … $16 billion: That’s the amount that is expected to be split between city and county governments to help make up for lost local tax revenue during the pandemic. And that’s what pays for essential services like law enforcement and firefighters. The money can also be used for water, sewer and broadband infrastructure projects.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles is home to heavy industry — and more federal deals not to prosecute polluters than anywhere else

Companies in these [pollution] cases weren’t required to plead guilty; they weren’t convicted of any crimes, according to the agreements. Instead, the government agreed to forego prosecution for a certain time period or drop the case altogether if the companies paid hefty fines and promised to clean up the environmental damage they had inflicted. … One concerned a waste hauler, Asbury Environmental Services, accused of discharging marine diesel oil into a storm drain that led to the Los Angeles River. In 2020, 10 years after that incident, prosecutors wrapped up the case with a nonprosecution deal.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Opinion: Regulatory failures could spell disaster for county’s farms, groundwater

It was a chilly morning in 2010 when Oxnard farmworkers, tending to their broccoli crops, discovered an oily sheen floating on their irrigation water. In a nearby oilfield, a tank of diluent — a carcinogenic mix of benzene, toluene, and diesel — had sprung a leak. … A decade later, we still face the same dangers. Right in the heart of our prime farmland, which infuses Ventura County with over two billion dollars annually. We’re risking that vital economy for the dregs: Tar Sands becomes bunker fuel and asphalt — not gasoline. And annually, Tar Sands extraction in Oxnard could use up approximately 12 Olympic-size swimming pools worth of drinkable water — just to make steam.
-Written by Liz Beall, executive director of Climate First: Replacing Oil and Gas. 

Aquafornia news Best Best & Krieger

Blog: COVID-19 relief package provides substantial aid to states, counties and cities

President Biden signed into law a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, the American Rescue Plan of 2021, aimed to provide financial relief to Americans and incentives to stimulate the economy as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest package … provides $500 million for low-income water and wastewater grants. Funds will be allotted to states and tribes based on percentage of households with income less than 150 percent of the federal poverty line.

Aquafornia news KCRA3

California could get $150B from federal virus relief bill

The massive COVID-19 relief bill Congress approved Wednesday will pump more than $150 billion into California’s economy, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration said Wednesday, including a $26 billion windfall for the state’s already burgeoning budget surplus. … [The U.S. Treasury Department has told state governments] they can use the money to respond to the public health emergency, provide government services or invest in water, sewer or broadband infrastructure.

Aquafornia news Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions

New research: Blue carbon California – Incorporating blue carbon science into climate policy solutions

California is home to a diversity of coastal ecosystems like tidal marshes, seagrass beds, and estuaries. These ecosystems provide flood and storm protection, healthy habitats for fish and birds, and recreational spaces. They may also play an important role in addressing climate change. A new COS and Natural Capital Project study in Global Environmental Change investigates the carbon sequestration potential of habitats along the California coast and details pathways incorporating carbon-capturing habitats into climate change policy.

Aquafornia news The Associated Press

Plan to allow thousands of California oil wells approved

A plan to fast-track drilling of thousands of new oil and gas wells over the next 15 years in California’s prime oil patch was approved Monday by Kern County officials over objections by environmental groups….The ordinance came up for discussion as the industry faces challenges from lawmakers as well as ever-present opposition from environmental groups for creating air and water pollution and significant contributions to climate change.

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Aquafornia news NBC 7 San Diego

Bill introduced to address water pollution at U.S.-Mexico border

A coalition of San Diego County elected representatives introduced a bill on Monday to address water pollution along the U.S.-Mexico border. The Border Water Quality Restoration and Protection Act would designate the Environmental Protection Agency as the lead agency coordinating federal, state and local agencies’ efforts to build and maintain infrastructure projects aimed at reducing pollution along the border. 

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Stinson Beach to devise sea-level rise defense plan

Stinson Beach will launch a multi-year effort to craft its first sea-level rise defense plan as oceans threaten to swallow up beaches, roads and waterfront homes by the end of the century. The community is the most immediately vulnerable to sea-level rise on Marin’s ocean coast and could face a water level as much as 10 feet higher by 2100 in a worst-case scenario, according to county officials and state projections. In 2018, the county outlined strategies Stinson Beach could adopt, including elevating roads and homes, building sea walls and dunes, boardwalking entire neighborhoods and building a new sewage system.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego’s Pure Water sewage recycling system ready for construction with all hurdles cleared

San Diego is ready to start building the long-awaited Pure Water sewage recycling system, now that city officials have resolved litigation that delayed the project 18 months and increased its estimated cost to $5 billion, city officials say. Pure Water will boost San Diego’s water independence by recycling 83 million gallons of treated sewage into potable drinking water by 2035.

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Aquafornia news Downey Brand LLP

Blog: Proposed “California Clean Water Act” (AB 377) would restrict ability to secure schedules of compliance in water quality permits or other water quality-related orders

AB 377, entitled the “California Clean Water Act,” introduced by Assemblymember Rivas in February 2021, includes provisions to eliminate all “impaired waterways” and make all waters in California suitable for drinking, swimming, and fishing by 2050.  If adopted, this bill would have significant impacts on the ability to timely and cost-effectively comply with discharge requirements set forth in National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) permits, Waste Discharge Requirements (“WDRs”), and waivers of WDRs (collectively, “water quality permits”).  The bill would also usher in an era of focus on enforcement, rather than good-faith compliance.

Aquafornia news ABC10 News San Diego

Bill introduced to reduce water pollution at U.S.-Mexico border

A bill aimed at addressing pollution along the U.S.- Mexico border and improving water quality in the Tijuana and New rivers was introduced Wednesday. The Border Water Quality Restoration and Protection Act would designate the Environmental Protection Agency as the lead agency coordinating federal, state and local agencies to build and maintain infrastructure projects aimed at reducing pollution along the border. It would also require the EPA and other agencies to identify a list of priority projects and would authorize the EPA to accept and distribute federal, state, and local funds to build, operate and maintain those projects.

Aquafornia news YES! Magazine

Reclaimed water could be the solution to farming in a drier future

On a Saturday in late October, Carolyn Phinney is hip-deep in a half-acre of vegetables, at the nucleus of what will one day be 15 acres of productive farmland. … The patch is a wealth of herbs, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, kale, winter squash, and zucchini. So much zucchini—fruits the size of bowling pins hidden under leaves as big as umbrellas. “Zucchini plants are supposed to be 30 inches across. Ours are 8 feet,” she says. “Everything looks like it’s on steroids.” Phinney is the farmer behind CoCo San Sustainable Farm of Martinez, California, a farm built on reclaimed land, using reclaimed water, and started with a simple mission: to get kids to eat more vegetables.

Aquafornia news The Reporter

Congress passes Garamendi bill to expand National Heritage Area into Rio Vista

Approximately 62 acres of land in Rio Vista, including the former Army Reserve Center, have been incorporated into legislation by Rep. John Garamendi, D-Solano, to increase the boundaries of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area. This bill, known as House Resolution 1230, passed in the U.S. House of Representatives Friday and will move on to the Senate. The bill is an expansion of bicameral legislation by Garamendi and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., that was signed into law in 2019 to provide $10 million for community-based efforts to preserve the Delta’s cultural heritage as well as its historical landmarks. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

EPA abandons plan to appeal ruling protecting Redwood City salt ponds from development

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday abandoned its appeal of a federal judge’s ruling last year that a sprawling collection of Redwood City salt ponds is protected from development under provisions of the Clean Water Act. The move brings to an end the federal government’s attempts — started during former President Trump’s administration — to end protections that could have led to development at the site. Related article: 

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

Reconfigured Monterey One Water board moves forward with an expanded Pure Water Monterey project

Monterey One Water just celebrated the one-year anniversary of delivering recycled wastewater via the Pure Water Monterey project. The advanced filtration system is used on treated sewage water, which is then injected deep underground where the new supply will be mixed with the existing water supply.  Even before phase one of the Pure Water Monterey project was online, the board of M1W began debating an expansion of the project. But that expansion has been on ice for months, after the M1W board voted 11-10 (on a weighted vote) in April of 2020 not to proceed. It’s about to come back. 

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Mexico says it fixed the Tijuana River sewage problem. It’s partly true

Like a giant garbage disposal, three huge new green pipes sit on Mexico’s side of the border, shredding trash in the Tijuana River that would otherwise jam this critical piece of th­­e city’s wastewater system that caused spills on the United States side.

Aquafornia news EurekAlert!

News release: One California community shows how to take the waste out of water

Caught between climate change and multi-year droughts, California communities are tapping groundwater and siphoning surface water at unsustainable rates. As this year’s below-average rainfall accentuates the problem, a public-private partnership in the Monterey/Salinas region has created a novel water recycling program that could serve as a model for parched communities everywhere. 

Aquafornia news BenitoLink

San Juan Bautista moves ahead with water compliance projects

San Juan Bautista made progress on its water compliance projects on Feb. 16 as the City Council unanimously approved contracts for moving wastewater out of the city, financing, and a formalized agreement with the San Benito County Water District to provide water.  On Oct. 15, the city opted to send its wastewater to the Hollister Wastewater Treatment Plant and to acquire potable water from San Benito County Water District’s West Hills Water Treatment Plant. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Friday Top of the Scroll: What California needs to do to avoid a Texas-style electricity crisis

California and Texas, the country’s two most populous states, have each faced major energy crises within the past six months that share a primary cause: extreme weather….The Lone Star State’s plight is many orders of magnitude worse than the rolling blackouts Californians endured over two blistering days in August. Yet both situations have exposed the extent to which the United States’ vital energy infrastructure is threatened by erratic and extreme weather conditions that are becoming increasingly common as climate change advances.

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Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Opinion: Mexico’s effort will be key in reducing sewage spills; U.S. can’t do it alone

Big projects aimed at stemming the toxic sewage flowing from Tijuana into Imperial Beach and the surrounding region are on the horizon and that’s a welcome development. But any such improvements come with a nagging question based on historical experience: How long will this fix last? Cross-border pollution has been a problem for the better part of a century and has defied past efforts to solve it. It’s not that previous actions didn’t help. Some did, and they greatly diminished the health and environmental threat — and reduced beach closures. 
-Written by Michael Smolens, a columnist for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Opinion: California needs a more flexible approach for planning for sea level rise across the state

The state of California has changed its sea level rise guidance for state agencies and coastal communities, now advising in new “Principles for Aligned State Action” that Californians employ a single sea level rise target — plan for 3.5 feet by 2050 — as opposed to the more flexible approach the state used in the past. But this single sea level rise number does not represent the best available science and could make California less resilient to climate change. 
Written by Robert Lempert, a senior scientist at the RAND Corp. and a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and David Behar, climate program director at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and co-chair of the World Climate Research Programme’s Sea Level Rise Grand Challenge Committee. 

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Water Authority didn’t always take Pure Water project seriously, emails show

In its 25-year plan ensuring the San Diego region has enough water to go around, the county’s largest water provider didn’t appear to take the region’s biggest water recycling project to date very seriously, at least at first. Emails between the San Diego County Water Authority staff and city of San Diego officials show the city had to argue for the second and biggest phase of its Pure Water program to be considered a realistic future source of drinking water. 

Aquafornia news Long Beach Post News

Long Beach to build new groundwater treatment facility in upper Westside

The Long Beach Water Department approved an agreement this month to acquire two properties near an existing well site in West Long Beach as it aims to build a new potable water treatment facility that would treat groundwater there. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

EPA says help is on the way for San Diego beaches fouled by sewage from Tijuana

When a storm pummeled the San Diego-Tijuana region two weeks ago, hundreds of millions of gallons of water laced with raw sewage, trash and industrial chemicals flowed over the border, shuttering beaches as far north as Coronado. The shoreline stink and closures came as no surprise to residents of Imperial Beach, a city where swimming was prohibited at its main oceanfront for nearly half of 2020. The beach along Border Field State Park was closed for 295 days last year. The South Bay shoreline was partially opened after the recent rains, only to be abruptly closed again on Wednesday as polluted water continued to leak out of Tijuana into the Pacific Ocean.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

EPA water pollution permit limits challenged by San Francisco

San Francisco is challenging the EPA over conditions imposed in a permit that allows the city to send discharge from its combined sewer system into the Pacific Ocean, according to a petition for review in the Ninth Circuit. 

Aquafornia news EOS

Community forests prepare for climate change

Trees benefit residents in communities around the world by mitigating pollution and other environmental impacts of contemporary society and by broadly improving livability in cities and towns. However, many locales are feeling the heat as urban, or community, forests—defined by the U.S. Forest Service as “the aggregate of all public and private vegetation and green space within a community that provide a myriad of environmental, health and economic benefits”—struggle against a multitude of stressors stemming from climate change. … [H]eat, megadroughts, and shifts in the amounts and timing of precipitation are changing water availability—all contributing to a looming urban tree crisis.

Aquafornia news Water Education Colorado

Blog: Colorado Water Plan turns five: Is it working?

In the five years since Colorado’s Water Plan took effect, the state has awarded nearly $500 million in loans and grants for water projects, cities have enacted strict drought plans, communities have written nearly two dozen locally based stream restoration plans, and crews have been hard at work improving irrigation systems and upgrading wastewater treatment plants. But big challenges lie ahead — drought, population growth, accelerating climate change, budget cuts, wildfires and competing demands for water, among others.

Aquafornia news Pasadena Now

Opinion: Till the well runs dry – Pasadena’s devastating water plan

As long as people have lived in Pasadena, water has been an essential element for the life-style, health and economy of our region. Now, however, Pasadena faces a severe water crisis. This never has been an easy need to resolve, but population, growth and climate change have made the development of a sustainable or resilient water program an even greater necessity for the future. It’s not just a challenge for Pasadena, but also for all of California, and even the nation.
-Written by Tim Brick, the Managing Director of the Arroyo Seco Foundation.  

Aquafornia news National Law Review

California wineries must comply with new waste water discharge order

On January 20, 2021, the California State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) adopted a new statewide general Waste Discharge Requirement (WDR) order for winery process waste discharge facilities (New Winery Order). This action will affect thousands of wineries and wine processing facilities throughout the state.

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Aquafornia news Business Wire

News release: California American Water invested more than $68 million in infrastructure improvements in 2020

California American Water recently announced its end-of-year investment total and system improvements for 2020. More than $68 million total was invested on system upgrades and various improvement projects in the communities we serve throughout the year. These improvements come despite the complications and challenges posed by COVID-19 public health emergency.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Opinion: The high cost of getting rid of water

If the cost of consuming water wasn’t high enough in San Diego, consider the cost of getting rid of it. As Andy Keatts detailed in a story Monday, San Diego has a huge infrastructure backlog and half of the unfunded projects over the next five years involve fixing the stormwater system. 

Aquafornia news Action News Now

Chico, Paradise sewer project unanimously reaches second phase

Chico City Council unanimously voted to analyze and study the current and future needs for the Chico Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP) to develop a regional sewer connection to Paradise, according to the Town of Paradise. The connection will be from a specified area in Paradise, called the Sewer Service Area, and will include many parcels along Skyway, Pearson, and Clark Road.

Aquafornia news RECYCLING magazine

Study: Global markets and technologies for water recycling and reuse

Threats associated with global water scarcity are increasingly making news as continued growth in agricultural production, expansion of urban boundaries, new industrial facilities, and increased sensitivity to environmental needs drive increased water demand. Supply side constraints for water are further exacerbated by increasingly intense and frequent drought events, such as the recent four-year (2016 to 2020) California drought … Thus, a proliferation in wastewater recycling over the coming decades could support a significant lessening of water stress in many water-stressed areas.

Aquafornia news AgNetWest

Winery wastewater guidelines impact half of all California operations

A new set of winery wastewater guidelines will be imposed on a statewide basis. The State Water Resources Control Board recently adopted a general order regulating how wastewater will be processed and discharged. … While the wine industry is concerned with water quality issues, there is some concern that a statewide mandate may not be the best approach to the issue. 

Aquafornia news San Diego Union-Tribune

A $5 billion water project could drill through Anza-Borrego park. Is it a pipe dream?

It would be arguably the most ambitious public works project in San Diego history. The envisioned pipeline would carry Colorado River water more than 130 miles from the Imperial Valley — through the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, tunneling under the Cuyamaca Mountains, and passing through the Cleveland National Forest — to eventually connect with a water-treatment plant in San Marcos. An alternative route would run through the desert to the south, boring under Mt. Laguna before emptying into the San Vicente Reservoir in Lakeside. Estimated cost: roughly $5 billion. New water delivered: None.

Aquafornia news VC Reporter

Covid mutations emerge in Ventura County

Last week the city of Oxnard reported that a Colorado lab found two mutations of the coronavirus in samples of sewage wastewater from Oxnard and that levels of the virus in the wastewater are decreasing. 

Aquafornia news Water and Wastes Digest

California imposes first statewide rules for winery wastewater

Hundreds of California wineries will be governed by statewide wastewater processing rules for the first time. The move toward a statewide regulatory framework is a five-year effort and was finalized this week by the State Water Resources Control Board. The board approved an order setting up guidelines for wastewater processing at most of the more than 3,600 bonded wineries in the state, reported the North Bay Business Journal. The new order promises to bring at least 1,500 of those wineries into a regulatory framework for wastewater disposal for the first time.

Aquafornia news Patch

City to trace mystery water at Concord Naval Weapons Station

In order to get a wetlands permit needed for development of the former Concord Naval Weapons Station to move ahead, the City of Concord will investigate the source of water unexpectedly found near the one-time airfield north of Willow Pass Road. The Concord City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to move $12,000 of previously approved loan money to aid in the study of where water is coming from on that land, located east of Olivera Road near the Pixieland Amusement Park.

Aquafornia news Arizona PBS

Pascua Yaqui win water funds, first of $150 million for Arizona projects

Pascua Yaqui Council members called it “a blessing” Tuesday. They were talking about $900,000 in federal funds that will be used to bring water to the tribe’s lands for irrigation, the first fruits of a successful effort last year by members of the state’s congressional delegation to win $150 million in federal funding for water projects around the state. … The money comes from an Army Corps of Engineers fund dedicated to water infrastructure projects in Arizona. Under the bill, local governments can enter into agreements with the corps for water, wastewater treatment, environmental restoration and other projects. 

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Water-related distance learning resources available during pandemic

For nearly a full year, the ongoing pandemic has disrupted the daily lives of many. Keeping students engaged in their education despite school closures and the limitations of distance learning has been a challenge for teachers, professors, parents and educators at water districts.  For those interested in online educational resources for water, we  continue to provide a variety of videos and materials, as well as updates and other water-related information about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aquafornia news Sonoma Index-Tribune

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

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

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Aquafornia news State Water Resources Control Board

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

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

Aquafornia news Sierra Sun Times

California Attorney General Becerra joins multistate effort to hold polluters accountable under the clean water act

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Monday, as part of a 12-state coalition, submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) arguing that its new draft guidance misinterprets the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund… In the comment letter, the coalition argues that the EPA’s draft guidance tips the scales in favor of polluters by providing them with additional arguments to avoid regulation under the Clean Water Act, contravenes the purpose of the Act, and conflicts with the Court’s decision in County of Maui.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Pure Water Monterey project bolstered by federal grant

Recognizing the groundbreaking nature of the Pure Water Monterey recycled water project, the U.S Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation has awarded the project a $15.5 million grant.

Aquafornia news Lexology

Blog: Santa Clara Valley Water District v. San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board

In a published opinion filed December 29, 2020, the First District Court of Appeal affirmed a judgment denying a petition for writ of mandate filed by the Santa Clara Valley Water District (District) challenging waste discharge requirements (WDRs) belatedly imposed by a responsible agency, the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board (Board), on lead agency District’s flood control project…. The case involved highly unique facts, and a number of interesting legal issues concerning the Board’s authority under the Federal Clean Water Act (CWA), the state Porter-Cologne Act, and CEQA.

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California falling short on 2030 recycled wastewater goals

California isn’t meeting its recycled water goals, and billions of gallons of treated wastewater are being discharged into the ocean or other water bodies each year, according to state regulators, who say drought conditions could cause future supply challenges.

Aquafornia news Civil Eats

Is farming with reclaimed water the solution to a drier future?

Most California farmers get their water from the same sources as towns and cities—aquifers, rivers, reservoirs, and snowpack—putting population and food production in competition with each other. Wastewater reclamation could be a way to alleviate some of that pressure and is already common practice elsewhere in the state, mostly as a way to recharge aquifers in Orange County and prevent saltwater intrusion in coastal cities. 

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

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

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

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Skyrocketing COVID levels in sewage track rapid spread of virus

Sewage data analyzed in Silicon Valley wastewater treatment plants confirms that the latest wave of coronavirus infections is sharply worse than the ones in the spring and summer. Officials in Santa Clara County have been routinely testing solid waste samples in sewage to detect levels of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 as part of a project funded by Stanford University.

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Aquafornia news Water Tech Online

California company to pay $390k fine for Clean Water Act violations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced that a California manufacturing company will pay $390,000 for violations of the Clean Water Act. Parker-Hannifin of Oxnard was found to be improperly discharging wastewater from its membrane and filter manufacturing facility into the City of Oxnard’s sewer system. As part of this settlement, Parker-Hannifin will spend approximately $510,000 on equipment upgrades at its facility.

Aquafornia news KPBS

San Diego utilities department monitors wastewater for SARS-CoV-2

San Diego is participating in a statewide program to monitor its untreated wastewater for the virus that causes COVID-19. City staff have been monitoring for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2, in untreated wastewater at the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant this month. Following the test run, staff will monitor for SARS-CoV-2 three times a week from January through June 2021.

Aquafornia news Paradise Post

Paradise sewer: It’s now or never

It’s now or never. That’s the message from Paradise town engineer Marc Mattox as it relates to building a sewer within the town limits. On Tuesday night, the Paradise Town Council voted unanimously to move forward on an environmental impact report on the potential of building a sewer pipe to Chico‘s water treatment plant.

Aquafornia news Best Best & Krieger

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

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

Aquafornia news Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

News release: Metropolitan Water District, Southern Nevada Water Authority collaborate to explore development of recycled water project

In a bold step toward a new kind of collaboration in the Colorado River Basin, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and Southern Nevada Water Authority are partnering to explore development of a drought-proof water supply that could reduce reliance on the over-stressed river.

Aquafornia news Healdsburg Tribune

City floating solar array project nearing completion

A city floating three-megawatt solar array project that will produce roughly 6.5 million kilo-watt hours — enough energy to supply 8% of Healdsburg’s annual energy needs — is nearing completion and will likely be up and running and energized by the end of this year….The final design will float roughly 11,600 solar panels on the city’s recycled water ponds at the wastewater treatment plant… 

Aquafornia news Chemical and Engineering News

US EPA recommends testing wastewater for PFAS

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

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

How safe is the water off the coast of the San Onofre nuclear plant?

Though many may not know it, throughout its existence the San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station has discharged wastewater that contains very low levels of radiation. All nuclear plants release some effluents, though the nature and amounts can vary by plant site and configuration. In the case of San Onofre, the “liquid batch releases” go right into the Pacific. Southern California Edison, the plant’s operator, insists the levels are safe for marine life and the humans who swim and surf at San Onofre State Beach.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Model filter system removes antibiotics from wastewater

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

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: UC San Diego detects coronavirus in wastewater samples from five areas of campus

UC San Diego says it detected traces of the novel coronavirus in five areas of campus over the weekend after it greatly expanded its search for the pathogen in wastewater samples drawn from dozens of buildings.

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Aquafornia news Sonoma Index Tribune

Sanitation district error leads to tax bill overcharge

Property owners in the Sonoma Valley generally receive property tax bills in early October, which includes a lengthy list of percentages levied for various bonds, and direct charges for district fees such as fire, health care and the Sonoma Valley County Sanitation District. But for the third time in seven years, said Sonoma resident Scott Pace, that sanitation district charge has been inaccurate.

Aquafornia news U.S. Department of Agriculture

News release: Model filter system removes antibiotics from wastewater

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

Aquafornia news Sonoma West Times & News

Windsor floating solar panel project up and running

The solar installation consists of 4,959 high-output solar panels mounted atop a floating solar racking system. The system will generate power for the Windsor Wastewater Reclamation Facility, Public Works Corporation Yard and the Geysers pump station, delivering approximately 90% of the water reclamation facilities’ power requirements while saving about 30% of the electricity cost based on the facilities’ existing grid service…

Aquafornia news Santa Barbara Independent

Tesla to help power Santa Barbara’s Cater Water Treatment Plant

At a time when every other car on the South Coast seems to be a Tesla, it’s fitting that the City of Santa Barbara will soon be relying on a small mountain of Tesla storage batteries to help move water in and out of its Cater Water Treatment Plant…

Aquafornia news Water & Wastes Digest

Benefits bubble up: Wastewater treatment

Bear Republic Brewing Company started by trucking three 6,000-gallon trucks of waste from the Cloverdale brewery location to a facility in Oakland roughly 90 miles away one-way. This solution was simply unsustainable for many reasons, and Bear Republic eventually partnered with Cambrian Innovation to install two anaerobic reactors on site.

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Aquafornia news Paradise Post

Sewer line to Chico back in front of Paradise town council

A sewer pipe to Chico as part of a Paradise sewer project is back on the front burner, just 17 months after it voted to look to secure funding for preliminary engineering work (environmental review, project design, and right of way) on a local treatment plant. The town heard a report from HDR Engineering on Tuesday night that recommends the Town Council walk away from its May 2019 decision

Aquafornia news Forbes

Who knew CX could make a huge difference in DIY toilet repair?

Fluidmaster, headquartered in San Juan Capistrano, California, is the #1 toilet repair brand worldwide. They boast more than 80% U.S. market share, sell their products in over 90 countries, have about 1,500 employees worldwide, and produce about 100 million toilet repair products annually.

Aquafornia news Sonoma West Times & News

‘Kicking the can down the road:’ Deferred maintenance at root of Cloverdale water rate increases

This Wednesday, Nov. 11, the Cloverdale City Council’s lone new agenda item is a costly one to Cloverdale residents — a proposed hike in the city’s water and sewage rates. The increases in both water and wastewater rates … is something that city officials say is needed to help start capital improvement projects related to the city’s water and wastewater systems.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Napa County moves idea of a single water agency to future talks

Napa County has achieved a degree of peace – at least for now – over big ideas involving water governance and how possible changes might affect farmland preservation. Some finessing of language paved the way for the Local Agency Formation Commission of Napa County (LAFCO) to adopt a Napa Countywide Water and Wastewater study.

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: Tensions around a wastewater reclamation collaboration in Southern California

There’s some fascinating tension around a proposed wastewater reclamation collaboration in Southern California. The project, if it goes forward, would provide some 150 million gallons per day (~170,000 acre feet per year) of treated effluent. Water now being discharged into the ocean would instead be available for aquifer recharge within Southern California.

Aquafornia news EdScoop

UC Berkeley builds pop-up wastewater lab to aid local public health agencies in COVID-19 response

The University of California, Berkeley set up a temporary laboratory where it is testing sewage water to spot signs of COVID-19 in the San Francisco Bay Area. University leaders said the new high-throughput pop-up lab is helping health officials collect data on where the virus may be spreading, circumventing some of the limitations of testing people individually.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

Water board enforcement actions being taken on dairies

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

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Appeals court denies rehearing request over Oxnard wastewater ruling

On Friday, the state appellate court denied the petition by Aaron Starr, who successfully led a repeal of wastewater rates at the ballot box but the city is challenging it in court. The appeals court ruled the rate repeal known as Measure M did not provide sufficient funds for the city to operate its wastewater treatment plant… On Sunday, Starr indicated he will now petition the California State Supreme Court..

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

California landfill sued over alleged stormwater pollution

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

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Farms work on nitrate control requirements

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

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

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

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

Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

Non-revenue water: An opportunity for water utilities, now more than ever

Conservative estimates from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies suggest the industry as a whole is expected to lose at least $12.5 billion due to the coronavirus when all is said and done. Revenue concerns are spurring utilities to find new infrastructure investments that can help offset shortfalls. The persistent problem of non-revenue water is a good place to start.

Aquafornia news KCRA TV

How testing sewage could help slow the spread of COVID-19

Craig Johnson’s company Clipper Controls supplies organizations with automatic water samplers, a tool that can be used to detect COVID in wastewater. The device is dropped into a manhole and collects sewage samples. Recently, Johnson said demand for the device has greatly increased.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

The Napa River was an ‘open cesspool’ for a century, then NapaSan came along

Napa Sanitation District is marking a county-transfiguring anniversary—it formed 75 years ago to turn the Napa River from an “open cesspool” with raw sewage into a water recreation draw. Signs of success abound.

Aquafornia news Mt. Shasta Herald

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

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

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Judge backs farm groups in water-quality lawsuits

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

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Could recycled water help balance the basin?

If all goes according to plan, recycled water from the city’s planned $45 to $60 million wastewater treatment facility may be used to help balance the Indian Wells Valley groundwater basin as mandated by the state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Grant for septic system repairs coming to aid Camp Fire rebuild

Grant funding was just made available to begin to address the hurdles being faced by Paradise residents trying to rebuild — due to the lack of a sewer in the town. Residents have expressed frustrations with the process for approving permits to move through the septic process in order to rebuild, and a grant organized by North Valley Community Foundation represents much-needed funding…

Aquafornia news San Luis Obispo Tribune

Morro Bay gives tour of new water reclamation facility

After about six months of construction, Morro Bay’s new water reclamation facility is well underway — and it remains politically divisive this election season, with three candidates talking about halting or undoing the project, which is the largest-ever infrastructure project in city history.

Aquafornia news WaterWorld

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

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

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Vast new reservoir in south Orange County gets its first drops of water

It’s still dry as dirt, but promises to be a central component of future water supplies for the 165,000 people served by the Santa Margarita Water District. While the district currently imports 100% of its drinking water from the Colorado River and northern California, the new Trampas Canyon Reservoir is part of a plan to generate 30% of potable water supplies locally and to recycle more wastewater.

Aquafornia news Holtville Tribune

Imperial County wants to help draft New River bill

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

Aquafornia news Woodland Daily Democrat

UC Davis testing sewage to ID coronavirus infections

The goal is to monitor progress of the pandemic on campus and catch outbreaks before it’s too late to control them. Some schools, such as UC San Diego and others have been testing wastewater since August and September.

Aquafornia news Environmental Monitor

Blog: San Francisco Bay’s nutrient phenomena

Water from every toilet flush, shower and load of laundry is treated and pumped back into the bay. San Francisco’s wastewater management processes have kept cities going and scientists busy for quite some time. The San Francisco Estuary Institute researchers are committed to monitoring contamination levels in the bay and studying the associated ecological impacts.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Bishop demands quick passage of water rights legislation

House Natural Resources Committee ranking member Rob Bishop wants the House to fast-track legislation that would pave the way for hundreds of millions of dollars for water and sanitation development across Indian Country.

Aquafornia news Santa Barbara Independent

Pre-election meltdown at Montecito Sanitary

Some call it a “quiet revolution.” Others, a “hostile takeover.” Either way, on the heels of a severe drought, a group of wealthy Montecitans, many of them members of the Birnam Wood and Valley Club golf courses on East Valley Road, will gain control over all aspects of water policy on November 3 and for the foreseeable future in this exclusive enclave of one-acre lots and large estates.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

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

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

Aquafornia news 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 Lompoc Record

Lompoc to fix deficiencies in wastewater treatment system after EPA finds violations

The violations stretch from June 2015 to June 2020 and involve effluent discharges, monitoring and reporting, operation and maintenance, pretreatment, and fats, oils and greases, according to an administrative order on consent issued by EPA Region 9.

Aquafornia news DanvilleSanRamon.com

Six candidates vie for three seats on Central Contra Costa Sanitary District board

The Central Contra Costa Sanitary District Board of Directors is one of the special districts set to appear on San Ramon Valley voters’ ballots during the Nov. 3 election, with six candidates vying for three at-large seats on the sewer board.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

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

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

Aquafornia news U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

News release: EPA facilitates progress of national water reuse action plan

On Wednesday, at the virtual 35th Annual WateReuse Symposium, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency facilitated a “charrette” to identify challenges and map solutions to continue advancing the National Water Reuse Action Plan… “Water reuse must be a central theme in EPA’s efforts to meet 21st century demands for water,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water David Ross.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California watchdog clears Costa Mesa Sanitary District of campaigning against Measure TT in 2016

A California Fair Political Practices Commission investigation has determined Costa Mesa Sanitary District officials did not spend ratepayer funds to actively campaign against 2016’s Measure TT, which sought to merge the sewer and trash service provider with Mesa Water District.

Aquafornia news Chino Champion

City supports sewer study, cautions against development

The Monte Vista Water District Board commissioned a feasibility study on Sept. 2 to replace hundreds of old septic tanks in the unincorporated area of Chino with a sewer system operated by the water district. Sewage service would be a new area for the district, which provides water services in Montclair and small pockets in northwest Chino.

Aquafornia news The Pew Charitable Trusts

Strained rural water utilities buckle under pandemic pressure

Rural water and wastewater systems have largely been left out of federal and state pandemic relief, and yet they play critical roles in local economies. … As the virus stretches further into smaller communities, these systems are fighting for their survival under long-standing economic and structural weights.

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 San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

News release: SFPUC extends popular emergency customer assistance program through end of year

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is extending its Emergency Residential Community Assistance Program, designed to help customers struggling to pay water, sewer and Hetch Hetchy power bills during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program, which launched in May, was originally set to expire Sept. 4, but will now be expanded through the end of the year