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 Fox 40 - Sacramento

Nonprofit sues Sacramento County over alleged dumping of sewage into waterways

In a lawsuit filed Thursday, a local nonprofit accused Sacramento County of violating the Clean Water Act by dumping raw sewage and other pollutants into local waterways. The California Coastkeeper Alliance alleges waste has been illegally dumped into the Mokelumne River, Dry Creek, Morrison Creek, the American River and the Sacramento River by the Sacramento Sewer District. The suit claims the dumping is “ongoing and continuous” and poses health risks to those who come into contact with sewage.

Related articles :

Aquafornia news LA Daily News

Hyperion begins planned maintenance; flames, smoke are possible, but no cause to worry, officials say

El Segundo residents may be startled by smoke and flames periodically coming from the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant the rest of the month — but there’s no need for concern, officials say. It’s all part of scheduled maintenance work that begins Sunday, Oct. 17, according to an alert from El Segundo this week. The plant’s Bioenergy Facility will undergo maintenance to preserve critical equipment such as pumps, breakers and compressors, the alert said. 

Aquafornia news Imperial Valley Press

Opinion: The Mex Factor – Water politics in Mexicali will affect the Valley

The issue of passing control of the agencies in charge of distributing and treating Mexicali water from the state of Baja California to the city government should be of concern to authorities and residents of the Imperial Valley as well. It is not only a political issue, but also an environmental problem created by the discharge of untreated sewage to the New River that flows into the fading Salton Sea. Thus it is more than worthy of our attention.
-Written by Arturo Bojorquez, Adelante Valle Editor

Aquafornia news Physicians, Scientists, and Engineers (PSE) for Healthy Energy

News release: Unlined waste disposal pits endanger groundwater in San Joaquin Valley

A new study by the energy science and policy research institute, Physicians, Scientists, and Engineers (PSE) for Healthy Energy shows that the disposal of over 16 billion barrels of oil and gas wastewater into unlined pits over a 50-year period has introduced salts, carcinogens, and other toxins into regional aquifers. For decades, California law has allowed the use of unlined ponds to dispose of water extracted during oil and gas production.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Patch, Murrieta, CA

$37M wastewater reclamation project in Murrieta completed

A celebration event held Wednesday commemorated the recent completion of a $37 million, three-year construction project at the Santa Rosa Water Reclamation Facility on Washington Avenue in Murrieta. Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District, Rancho California Water District, and Western Municipal Water District hosted the event. The three agencies are partners with the Santa Rosa Regional Resources Authority, which owns and manages the reclamation facility that serves portions of Murrieta, Temecula, Wildomar, and surrounding communities.

Aquafornia news UK Today News

Nearly 42,000 landfills and refineries could be polluting drinking water with ‘forever chemicals’

Scientists have found nearly 42,000 potential sources of toxic ‘forever chemicals’ in the surface and drinking water in communities across the U.S., mostly from landfills, and wastewater treatment plants. … A 2019 EWG study found 40 percent of the water systems in 72 California counties were over the EPA’s suggested limit on PFAS. Pictured: The Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant, a wastewater treatment center in Los Angeles. Lawmakers in the state are considering establishing PFAS limits that are lower than the EPA’s, which are not currently enforceable.

Aquafornia news Law360

Calif. county’s ban on oil, gas wells struck down

A California appeals court has killed a ballot initiative that would’ve banned new oil and gas wells and phased out waste fluid disposal in a county south of San Francisco, saying the initiative was preempted by state oil and gas laws.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Press Telegram

Long-term impacts of Hyperion sewage spill could take a year or more to study

English sole fish and other marine life have been collected in the vicinity of the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant to determine whether the 17 million gallons of raw sewage discharged in July — and the subsequent release of partially treated wastewater in the months after — will have any long-term impacts on the ocean environment. However, officials with Los Angeles Sanitation’s Environmental Monitoring Division say it could take a year or more to get the full results back.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Colusa Sun Herald

Gallagher bill to fast-track Paradise sewer and water projects becomes law

Governor Newsom has signed Assembly Bill 36 authored by Assemblyman Gallagher (R-Yuba City) and co-authored by Senator Nielsen (R-Tehama).  The legislation helps fast-track construction of the Paradise Irrigation District (PID) water intertie and the Paradise sewer project, and is supported by the Town of Paradise, the Paradise Irrigation District and the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California. 

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Town, City heads come together to discuss Paradise-Chico sewage pipeline

Minor draft adjustments were made Monday as the Advisory Committee behind the Paradise Sewer Regionalization Project met to discuss principles of agreement going forward. The committee is made up of Paradise Mayor Steve Crowder and Vice Mayor Jodi Jones as well as Chico Mayor Andrew Coolidge and Vice Mayor Kacey Reynolds. For the project, both Paradise and Chico are working with design firm HDR, which aids in engineering, architecture and related elements. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: You thought the oil spill was bad? In L.A., toxic waste is everywhere

Between Los Angeles’ oil-pumping past and its half-century-plus as the factory of the world war and the Cold War, we have spilled and spread so much chemical poison into the earth beneath our freeways and our feet that by rights each of us should have two heads. Imagine what the L.A. landscape would look like if places where the soil or water had been poisoned were flagged … In some parts of L.A., large areas would be marked with a skull-and-crossbones sign alerting you that toxic waste had been manufactured or dumped there over generations, befouling the soil, befouling the groundwater …
-Written by LA Times columnist Patt Morrison.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news KPBS Public Media

Massive sewage flow fouls South Bay beaches

The rainstorm that deluged San Diego County earlier this week also pushed a massive amount of sewage tainted water through the Tijuana River Valley. Federal officials estimate more than 563 million gallons of polluted water flowed across the U.S.-Mexico border and into the Tijuana River Valley. … South Bay residents have endured increasingly larger cross border flows for the past few year. Daily flows regularly topped 50 million gallons earlier this year …

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Community Fuels, Stockton, director sentenced for illegal dumping

The former director of a Stockton biofuel company was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison Monday for unlawful discharge of industrial wastewater, tampering with monitoring equipment and conspiracy. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Christopher Young, director of operations at Community Fuels from 2011 to 2016, is charged with participating in the dumping of hundreds of thousands of gallons of polluted wastewater into Stockton’s sewers after tampering with water sensors.

Aquafornia news Water News Network

Blog: Dinner table lessons launch water industry careers

Jobs in the water and wastewater industry provide stable employment in meaningful careers, delivering a vital resource families and businesses depend on. With half of all current employees expected to retire in the next 15 years, recruitment efforts hope to fill many of these essential positions. Family ties provide a positive influence in filling these roles with the next generation of water professionals in several water agencies in San Diego County.

Aquafornia news Water World

Three companies to pay over $8M for contaminated CA groundwater

On September 30, three settlement agreements through the Central District of California’s courts will require three companies to pay $77.6 million for contaminated groundwater cleanup. The companies — Montrose Chemical Corporation of California, Bayer CropScience Inc, TFCF America Inc and Stauffer management Company LLC — agreed to pay for the cleanup of contaminated groundwater at the Montrose Superfund and the Del Amo Superfund sites in Los Angeles County.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

A state appeals court hears arguments about whether state law preempts voter-approved Measure Z

Almost five years after 56-percent of Monterey County voters approved Measure Z, a 2016 county ballot initiative that sought to ban fracking, wastewater injection and any new oil and gas development in the county, attorneys once again faced off in court, arguing whether or not counties in California have jurisdiction to regulate oil and gas operation within their borders. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Sentinel

Crews begin project to improve water quality in LA River, Arroyo Seco

Crews will break ground today on a $13 million project aimed at improving water quality in the Los Angeles River andArroyo Seco. The Low Flow Diversion project was designed by the firm Santec in collaboration with the Los Angeles Department of Public Works Bureau of Engineering and LA Sanitation & Environment. Crews will construct new infrastructure to divert dry-weather flows from the storm drains and into existing sanitary sewers and the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant.

Aquafornia news State Water Resources Control Board

News release: Global real estate company agrees to pay $565,304 for unauthorized discharges at construction site

A global real estate investment company agreed to a $565,304 settlement with the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board for releasing contaminated water at a commercial construction site in Riverside in violation of its stormwater discharge permit. On three occasions in April 2020, Exeter Property Group and Exeter Alessandro Land, known collectively as “Exeter,” discharged sediment-laden water into tributaries of Sycamore Canyon Creek, which is located on a preserve for a multi-species conservation plan.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Opinion: System forces taxpayers to subsidize industry’s environmental destruction

As taxpayers, we are subsidizing corporate polluters to destroy the environment, then we pay them again to patch it up. It’s insane. … This subsidy encourages planetary destruction. Here is an example: Say I manufacture computer chips and use arsenic in the etching process. Treating used arsenic is expensive. If I dump it down the drain, I’ll save money. Of course, the arsenic doesn’t go away, it’s cleaned up by the wastewater treatment company. To the manufacturer this externalized cost is the same as profits.
-Written by Barry Phegan, the author of “Conflict, Meetings, and Difficult People.”

Aquafornia news WaterNow Alliance

Blog: New report recommends financing and policy pathways for full scale adoption of localized water infrastructure

It is no secret that in order to tackle its ongoing and future water challenges spanning drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater systems, the nation needs to significantly increase its investments in water infrastructure and management solutions. Facing ever-increasing stressors on water systems—aging infrastructure, drought, flooding, contaminated runoff—communities are looking for ways to build sustainability, create resilience to climate change, protect water quality, and equitably secure local water supplies for everyone.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news E&E News

Could LA water recycling be a miracle for parched West?

With severe drought strangling the West, the country’s largest water provider has embarked on a multibillion-dollar project that could help them cope with increasingly frequent shortages exacerbated by climate change. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California wants to recycle Los Angeles’ wastewater, creating a new supply stream that would significantly reduce the city’s reliance on imported water from Northern California and the Colorado River. It would mark a new paradigm in Western water infrastructure.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Press Telegram

Hyperion sewage cleanup, repairs complete, officials say; El Segundo residents say odors remain

The equipment and operations cleanup and repairs at the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant is complete, after flooding from a debris backup over the summer caused a 17-million-gallon sewage spill into the Santa Monica Bay, Los Angeles Sanitation & Environment officials said this week. But despite that, El Segundo residents and city officials remain frustrated — as evidenced by a community forum on Thursday, Sept. 23 — by what they say are delays in a reimbursement program and a lingering smell that has worsened their quality of life. 

Aquafornia news Best Best & Krieger

Blog: 120-day statute of limitations for new or increased California water and sewer rates

A challenge to new or increased California water or sewer rates must be brought within 120 days pursuant to Senate Bill 323, which was signed into law this week. SB 323 applies to rates for both retail and wholesale water and sewer fees adopted or increased after January 1, 2022. How will this impact local agencies across the state?

Aquafornia news Wild Rivers Outpost

Crescent City Harbor’s dredge dilemma: disposal of nearly a decades’ worth of material stands in way of permit

Crescent City Harbor officials are exploring different options, including obtaining emergency permits, to solve a long-standing problem — how to dispose of nearly 10 years of accumulated fine silt and soil in its dredge ponds. The topic has been a regular item on Harbor District meeting agendas since July 20, but the district has had an open application for a dredge permit with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under consideration for about six years, Harbormaster Tim Petrick told the Wild Rivers Outpost.

Aquafornia news Stanford School of Engineering

New research looks to lower the high cost of desalination

Removing salt and other impurities from sea-, ground- and wastewater could solve the world’s looming freshwater crisis. And yet, while industrial-scale seawater desalination plants do exist in coastal areas where the freshwater challenge is most acute, the process of making undrinkable water drinkable is largely out of reach for inland water sources due to the high cost of concentrate disposal.

Aquafornia news Brown and Caldwell

Q&A with Prabhakar Somavarapu of Regional San and SASD

Sacramento County Regional Sanitation District (Regional San) and Sacramento Area Sewer District (SASD) serve a 400-square mile service area, providing public infrastructure and municipal services to protect and enrich the daily lives of more than 1.6 million Sacramento County residents. Over his career, Prabhakar Somavarapu, former general manager of both districts, oversaw one of the largest infrastructure projects in Sacramento’s history, the $2 billion EchoWater Project…

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

County’s fracking lawsuit also targets other oilfield regulatory actions

The lawsuit Kern County filed this week against Gov. Gavin Newsom is aimed at not only ending his de-facto ban on fracking but also at easing state regulatory constraints on at least two other oilfield techniques common locally. As part of its larger argument that the Newsom administration has overstepped its constitutional authority, Monday’s petition for a writ of mandate in Kern County Superior Court asserts Newsom had no right in 2019 to place a moratorium on high-pressure cyclic steaming or require extensive “area of review” analyses prior to approval of underground injections.

Aquafornia news Ceres Courier

Surface water plant operational by June 2023?

Currently every drop of water that comes out of faucets in Ceres comes straight out of the ground. But come June 2023, some of that water will be directly piped from the Tuolumne River after it’s been treated. Construction is about 25 percent completed and running $1 million under budget, a manager of the project told the Ceres City Council on Monday evening. … Ceres will ultimately receive up to 15 million gallons of water per day while Turlock takes 30 million gallons. Two additional phases will increase the plant’s capacity to produce 45 million gallons per day for the two cities.

Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

Bay Area district launches strategic sewer system improvement project

The Oro Loma Sanitary District Board of Directors recently approved low-cost financing to replace old sewer collection system infrastructure serving its customers and communities while protecting the environment. With this financing, the Board maintains its 10-Year Strategic Plan and implements priorities to maintain its infrastructure in a pro-active manner to avoid any impacts to customer service.

Aquafornia news Daily Bulletin

Pomona wins $48 million in groundwater pollution case

A federal jury awarded the city of Pomona $48 million in damages to be paid by a foreign corporation for contaminating its groundwater with a toxic chemical mixed with fertilizer and sold to citrus farmers for decades. On Sept. 7, the city won its case against the American subsidiary of a multi-billion dollar Chilean company, Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile, known as SQM. The case, which began in 2011, bounced between courts until the city won after presenting its full argument recently in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. 

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Study finds local oil field wastewater safe for use in irrigation

Central Valley water-quality regulators released a final report Friday concluding oil field wastewater from central Kern County, when blended with other water sources, can safely be used to irrigate a variety of locally grown crops. The report, based on five years’ work and incomplete in some respects, found no evidence of risks to human health from watering tree nuts, citrus, berries, tubers and other ag products with the saline water that comes up from the ground along with oil and which contains small concentrations of toxic chemicals.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

How to save southern part of S.F.’s Ocean Beach – less roadway and a lot more sand

For the past two weeks, a 375-foot dredge ship has been cruising off the coast of San Francisco, ferrying thousands of tons of sand from the seafloor to Ocean Beach and marking the city’s latest effort to confront climate change. The ambitious $7 million project is designed to anchor the city’s rapidly eroding southern shoreline with a 3,000-foot-long, 30-foot-tall sand berm. … Roads, underground infrastructure and a major city wastewater treatment plant are at risk of being swallowed by the sea.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Fox 5 San Diego

Poway water rates: Customers could pay more for water under new proposal

Residents and businesses in Poway soon could be paying more on their water bills. Poway City Council on Tuesday unanimously voted to set a public hearing on a proposed four-year rate increase for water, recycled water and wastewater rates. It comes as the city grapples with how to deal with the future of water for its residents, challenged by rising costs to import water and the need to pay into capital improvement projects.

Aquafornia news Malibu Magazine

Malibu’s endless lagoon problems

“The Lagoon is getting worse and worse every year,” said Andy Lyon, former Malibu city council candidate, surfer, and community activist. His concerns were validated on August 12, when the Los Angeles County Health Department issued a water quality warning, cautioning citizens to refrain from swimming, surfing, and playing in ocean waters at Surfrider Beach and the Malibu Lagoon due to potentially hazardous conditions, including exceeding bacteria standards, and to exercise caution where Malibu Creek discharges into the ocean and near discharging storm drains. 

Aquafornia news

Commentary: Tainted water and the Tijuana River — a border tragedy

What had gone so wrong that we could not swim in the ocean in an American city? The problem of Mexican sewage-tainted water polluting southern San Diego County beaches has been going on for decades. What was once viewed as an environmental problem has become a public health issue.
–Written by Rita Schmidt Sudman, former longtime executive director of the Water Education Foundation and author of a book on California water issues, Water: More or Less.  

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Poof! Plans underway to transform sewage into electricity, clean water

It’s like a magic trick for poop. Put it in one end of the machine, and out the other comes electricity, distilled water and a small amount of ash. And there’s none of the greenhouse gas — namely methane — produced by traditional sewage treatment and sewage sludge decomposition. Though it might seem futuristic, this innovative blueprint has attracted grants from the U.S. Department of Energy and the California Energy Commission, the latter to the tune of $1.6 million. The money is helping to fund a demonstration project at south Orange County’s Santa Margarita Water District. 

Aquafornia news Mercury News

Cupertino’s Climate Victory Gardens help fight drought

When Cupertino residents Sherri Stein and her husband planted a victory garden, it wasn’t to grow food but to help fight the California drought. The Steins took advantage of a pilot project by the City of Cupertino to help residents establish Climate Victory Gardens in their front yards. These gardens are drought-tolerant and can be irrigated with laundry-to-landscape graywater systems.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

S.F. to pay $600 million to keep low-lying neighborhoods from flooding. It will probably take seven years

San Francisco has pledged to invest another $600 million into the city’s sewer system in an effort to prevent chronic flooding in low-lying areas as part of an agreement with state water quality officials. The San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board announced the tentative pact, which was negotiated with city officials but needs final approval from the Board of Supervisors and Mayor London Breed. The city’s Public Utilities Commission has recommended approval.

Aquafornia news EcoWatch

Blog: EPA takes action to protect Pacific salmon from pesticides

Extreme heat waves have made this a devastating summer for the endangered salmon species of the U.S. West Coast. In mid July, California wildlife officials warned that almost all of the young Chinook salmon in the Sacramento River would likely die because of lower water levels and higher water temperatures. … But, amidst all the catastrophic headlines was a cool spring of good news. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is finally acting to protect more than two dozen endangered West Coast salmon and steelhead species from pesticides.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Pipe bursts in East Bay, spilling 12,500 gallons of raw sewage

A collapsed underground pipe leaked at least 12,500 gallons of raw sewage into Martinez storm drains and residents are being cautioned to avoid surface water in the area, authorities said. The leak, first noticed on Monday by oil refinery workers, was blamed on the deterioration of a municipal sewer line just south of the PBF oil refinery, formerly known as the Shell refinery.

Aquafornia news Imperial Beach News

Three options to deal with border pollution presented at USMCA meeting

In 2020 the U.S. government through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) committed $300 million in The United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade agreement to identify infrastructure solutions to mitigate the transboundary pollution. Infrastructure solutions for transboundary flows from the Tijuana River have been studied for the past year. The Environmental Protection Agency, which has been tasked with creating solutions, originally proposed 10 possible projects. 

Aquafornia news U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

News release: Sierra County mine agrees with U.S. EPA to install wastewater treatment, protecting local waterways

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that Sixteen to One Mine, one of California’s oldest operational gold mines, has agreed to an Administrative Order on Consent requiring the mine to install a new treatment system that will remove pollutants from mine drainage before entering local waters. The mine was found to be in violation of its permit under the U.S. Clean Water Act after consistently discharging mine-influenced water that exceeded limits on pollutants. 

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

EPA chief gets tour of Tijuana River sewage and trash that foul San Diego beaches

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan got a first-hand look Friday at the Tijuana River Valley, where hundreds of millions of gallons of water laced with raw sewage, trash and industrial chemicals regularly foul San Diego shorelines, shuttering beaches as far north as Coronado. 

Aquafornia news Patch, Novato

North Marin Water District to explore Novato supply expansion

The North Marin Water District will explore options for expanding local water supply in our Novato Service Area. The district will consider options including expanding recycled water distribution, capturing stormwater runoff from nearby areas such as Bowman Canyon, and groundwater banking, in which the groundwater aquifer can be recharged during wet years and drawn from during drought years. Local Water Supply Enhancement Study will cost $150,000, district officials said in a statement.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

Utility district prevents sewage spill into Lake Tahoe

A sewage spill into Lake Tahoe was prevented this past weekend.  South Tahoe Public Utility District received a call regarding a foul odor coming from the beach by Valhalla boat house.  Upon arriving on scene, crews discovered that the sewer main had backed up causing a manhole 35 feet from the edge of Lake Tahoe to fill with sewage, the district said in a press release.

Aquafornia news Whittier Daily News

Law firms target Hyperion over foul smells, sewage release

Several law firms are moving to sue Los Angeles and the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant over the foul smells and water pollution caused by the emergency release of 17 million gallons of raw sewage into the ocean last month. The Bloom Law and Parris Law firms jointly filed a claim for damages — the first step toward a potential class-action lawsuit — in early August on behalf of at least a dozen residents. A second group of about 20 families, represented separately by attorney Abraham Sandoval, is expected to submit its claims within the next week.

Aquafornia news Best Best & Krieger

Blog: California water and wastewater arrearage payment program details: arrearage funding program survey is now open

The California Water and Wastewater Arrearage Payment Program (Program), passed as part of Assembly Bill 148, is being developed and implemented by the State Water Resources Control Board (State Board). This Program will provide funding for “community water systems” that have experienced revenue shortfalls and arrearages on water and wastewater bills during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Program will prioritize issuing funding to community water systems first, and will extend funding to wastewater providers if the Program still has funding available after providing relief to community water systems.

Aquafornia news Patch

Benicia water bills could rise by 6.5%, wastewater bills by 3%

Benicia residents could see their water and wastewater bills increase following a recommendation by city staff. City council would have to ultimately approve it. On Aug. 11, 2021, staff at the City of Benicia publicly released their recommendations on the revised draft water and wastewater utility rate study. Of the four possible funding scenarios for each utility, staff is recommending city council select Water Scenario 3 and Wastewater Scenario 3 and is further recommending that Council consider a public hearing date in November.

Aquafornia news Santa Monica Daily Press

The toxic truth of L.A.’s stormwater sewer system

In a region that lauds itself as a bastion of environmental progress, the 100 billion gallons of polluted runoff that flows out of storm drains annually is Los Angeles’ dirty secret. When rain water hits L.A.’s largely impervious landscape it drains into run-off channels that criss-cross through the county accumulating a toxic slew of chemicals, oil, fertilizer, trash, hard metals, and bacteria before entering a storm drain and spewing out into the ocean.

Aquafornia news Napa Register

Napa County recycled water used at record levels amid drought

Napa Valley Country Club golf course is lush and green, thanks to the purple pipe.  A two-year drought is helping to boost Napa County’s recycled water use to record levels. The Napa Sanitation District wastewater treatment plant provides enough non-potable irrigation water annually to fill St. Helena’s Bell Canyon reservoir and more. Napa Valley Country Club in rural Coombsville started piping water from the plant six miles away in late 2015. That allows it to depend less on a well in an area where groundwater levels have long been a concern.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Oceanside Patch

Oceanside awarded $1.6m for Watersmart projects

The City of Oceanside is being awarded $1.06 million for its planned Well Expansion and Brine Minimization Project from the Federal Bureau of Reclamation under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act Desalination Program. The City previously received $2.623 million from the Bureau of Reclamation in 2018 and combined with this latest award, the total grant funding for this project totals $3.683 million. 

Aquafornia news NBC7 San Diego

Are water and wastewater bills about to rise?

Water and wastewater bills could be going up as soon as next year. While water rates have increased in the past few years, it’s been longer since wastewater rates changed. … Drinking water rates did increase about two years ago, and under this proposal, they will likely be going up another 3%. The biggest change will be for wastewater charges.

Aquafornia news KCRA

Inside look at McKinley Park’s water vault project as it nears completion

A controversial construction project at McKinley Park in East Sacramento is expected to be finished in early October. The city built a 6-million gallon water vault underground at the park to hold stormwater during heavy rain. The $32 million project is supposed to prevent stormwater from going into East Sacramento’s combined sewer system and cause flooding.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Senate passes Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill

The Senate on Tuesday approved an expansive bill to rebuild the nation’s aging roads and bridges, with $8.3 billion specifically targeted to water infrastructure projects in the West and billions more to fund national projects to mitigate the impact of wildfires. … That includes $1 billion for water recycling systems and more than $1 billion for water storage and groundwater storage projects to take advantage of wet years.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Water recycling impaired by Hyperion sewage disaster

Problems at a Los Angeles sewage treatment plant that caused a massive sewage spill into Santa Monica Bay last month have severely reduced the region’s water recycling ability, forcing officials to divert millions of gallons of clean drinking water at a time of worsening drought conditions. Even as California Gov. Gavin Newsom urges a voluntary 15% reduction in water usage, the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant‘s inability to fully treat sewage has forced local officials to divert clean drinking water to uses normally served by recycled Hyperion water.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

State again exercises discretion to reject fracking permits in western Kern

For the second time, State Oil and Gas Supervisor Uduak-Joe Ntuk has used his discretionary authority, as opposed to technical standards, to reject a series of permit applications to use the controversial oilfield technique known as fracking. Ntuk sent a letter Monday to Bakersfield-based oil producer Aera Energy LLC saying he has reviewed and denied applications filed by the company to hydraulically fracture 14 wells in the South Belridge oil field in western Kern County.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

The sides negotiating the future of recycled water project expansion hit a snag.

When the sewage utility and the Peninsula’s water management agency began negotiating in late April with California American Water about buying water through the recently approved recycled water project expansion, some local officials felt a deal could be reached by May. Then June. Then July. Those close to the negotiations are still singing a familiar refrain: a deal is imminent. However, the two clauses that have stalled negotiations – terms proposed by Cal Am – remain unsettled. 

Aquafornia news Daily Breeze

Pollutants released by Hyperion decline sharply as pumps come back online

The Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant is expected to continue releasing millions of gallons of partially treated wastewater into the Pacific until the plant is restored to normal operations later this month, but the amount of pollutants in the water flowing into the ocean is already dropping dramatically as more of the damaged facility is brought back online, according to new water quality data. 

Aquafornia news KPBS

EPA considers projects to fix cross-border pollution flows

Federal officials are getting closer to identifying how they plan to control persistent cross-border sewage flows which routinely foul the San Diego ocean. They talked publicly on Friday about ongoing efforts to fix a persistent problem, sewage coming from Tijuana which fouls a sensitive estuary in the United States and also contaminates the ocean.

Aquafornia news California Water Boards

News release: Jayne Joy appointed executive officer of Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board

The Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board has appointed Jayne Joy as its new executive officer. Joy replaces Hope Smythe, who devoted 37 years to the regional board and served as executive officer since 2017. … Joy, an engineer who was promoted in July, was the regional board’s assistant executive officer since November 2017. Since earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, San Diego in chemical engineering, she has managed a broad array of environmental programs in Southern California in the areas of water and wastewater treatment, groundwater studies and remediation, and solid waste management.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: Waste-to-energy tech could slash U.S. water sector carbon emissions, but its potential remains underdeveloped

Wastewater treatment plants in the United States are in a race against time. Like all other industries, the clock is ticking for the sector to cut its carbon pollution, given President Joe Biden’s goal to halve the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. To make their contribution, utilities will have to pull against strong currents. The energy needs of the wastewater sector are projected to climb during this period, due to population growth and tightening water-quality standards.

Aquafornia news Governing Magazine

California invests in recycled water as droughts take a toll

MWD’s most recent assessment concluded that there will be enough supply to meet projected demand through 2045, even if that period includes five consecutive drought years. This is the result of more than a century of planning, investment, engineering and policy. However, it has become increasingly apparent that climate change is a wild card looming over both imported supply and the water that Southern California agencies can draw from local sources.

Aquafornia news Ensia

In arid U.S. West, water agencies look to direct potable reuse

San Diego is just one city among many in the country’s most arid regions facing the ongoing threat of long-term drought. Western water agencies continue working to not only conserve water, but to also reuse as much wastewater as possible, including from the stable supply [Direct Potable Reuse] promises. As San Diego discovered decades ago, making DPR a reality entails — along with regulatory and permitting changes — trying to overcome the “yuck factor.” Today, despite its “toilet-to-tap” hurdle, San Diego is now intent on becoming the first city in California to convey treated effluent directly from factory to faucet.

Aquafornia news NBC Southern California

Beach warning continues for areas near Dockweiler

Several Los Angeles County beaches near Dockweiler State Beach continue to exceed state standards for bacteria in water, according to the Department of Public Health. However, special water sampling conducted Friday determined water quality levels returned to state standards at the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant outfall at Dockweiler State Beach and the Topsail Street extension at Venice Beach, lifting warnings there. 

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Bacteria increase at beaches near Hyperion sewage discharge triggers a warning

High bacteria levels at beaches near the site of a massive sewage discharge in Playa del Rey have prompted Los Angeles County health officials to issue a warning about going in the water. The L.A. County Department of Public Health did not rule out a link between the 17-million-gallon sewage release from the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant on July 11 and the rise in bacteria. But a connection was “unlikely,” given the currents and the more than two weeks that have elapsed since the incident, the department said.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District

News release: New Regional San upgrade virtually eliminates ammonia in Sacramento region’s wastewater

The Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District (Regional San) has completed a significant upgrade to its wastewater treatment facility that serves the Sacramento region. The new Biological Nutrient Removal project (BNR) is now operational, virtually eliminating ammonia from the region’s treated wastewater. 

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Border report: Little action on border sewage crisis since $300M announcement

Rain fell on San Diego Monday. It wasn’t a lot of rain – an Accuweather forecast called for “a brief morning shower or two” with an anticipated rainfall of 0.01 inches. But it was enough to prompt a beach closure at the Tijuana Slough, just south of Imperial Beach. That section of the beach is closed whenever the Tijuana River is flowing. Cross-border sewage spills have been an issue in South County for decades.

Aquafornia news Spectrum News 1

Activist wants polluted water to stop flowing by family home

For years, oily, odorous and — at times — thick runoff water flowed from the back end of the Knolls Lodge Mobile Home Park in Torrance into the storm drain of a neighboring cul-de-sac. Marc Evans’ family home happens to be in the runoff water’s path, and he has been trying to get it to stop for years. Evans shared that the area recently caught a break from the eyesore. … The flow came from the park’s resident car wash area that’s located along a brick wall sharing a property line with Evans’ family home.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

As Hyperion sewage spill worsened, communications failed

Multiple failures in communication between Los Angeles city and county agencies delayed crucial public warnings and a full emergency response to a massive sewage discharge earlier this month at the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant, according to a report obtained by The Times that was discussed Tuesday by county officials. The report provides new details regarding plant flooding and the evacuation of staff just before an hours-long discharge of 17 million gallons of raw sewage into the waters off Dockweiler and El Segundo beaches July 11 and 12. 

Aquafornia news Reuters

Desalination advances in California despite opponents pushing for alternatives

Environmentalists say desalination decimates ocean life, costs too much money and energy, and soon will be made obsolete by water recycling. But as Western states face an epic drought, regulators appear ready to approve a desalination plant in Huntington Beach, California. After spending 22 years and $100 million navigating a thicket of state regulations and environmentalists’ challenges, Poseidon Water is down to one major regulatory hurdle – the California Coastal Commission.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

As noxious fumes sicken residents, anger grows about Hyperion plant sewage discharge

On a jog in her El Segundo neighborhood, Corrie Zupo’s head hurt and her eyes watered. She blamed the symptoms on noxious fumes from the nearby Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant, which is undergoing at least a month of repairs after discharging 17 million gallons of raw sewage into the ocean on July 11. Other residents have complained of rashes, nausea and burning eyes. On Thursday, the Los Angeles Sanitation and Environment Department, which runs the plant, announced that it would reimburse El Segundo residents for air conditioners if they stay in their homes, or hotel vouchers if they would rather leave.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Whittier Daily News

LA Controller demands answers to sewage spill that closed down South Bay beaches

Los Angeles Controller Ron Galperin sent a letter to LA Sanitation and Environment on Tuesday, July 20, demanding answers about the cause and impact of a 17 million gallon sewage spill early last week that temporarily closed beaches from El Segundo to the southern end of Playa del Rey. … The Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant, near El Segundo, discharged 17 million gallons of untreated sewage through a one-mile outfall beginning the evening of July 11 and into the morning of July 12, prompting the beach closures.

Aquafornia news Treehugger

Blog: What is desalination? Overview and impact

Desalination is the process of converting seawater into potable water by removing salt and other minerals. Although rudimentary forms of desalination have been used since antiquity, only in the mid-20th century did industrial-scale desalination methods become widely available for water-insecure coastal communities around the world. Today, about 300 million people in more than 150 countries get water every day from some 16,000 desalination plants. 

Aquafornia news Best Best & Krieger

Blog: Court allows Trump Administration Waters of the U.S. rule to remain

A South Carolina federal judge issued an order late last week allowing the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, the Trump administration’s “waters of the United States” rule, to remain in place while the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers work on rulemakings to revoke and replace it. The final rule was issued in April 2020, redefining “waters of the United States” and narrowing the scope of Clean Water Act jurisdiction.

Aquafornia news San Luis Obispo Tribune

Pollution from old Avila Beach tank farm is seeping into tide pools. What should be done?

For years, petroleum hydrocarbons have been seeping from the groundwater beneath the old oil tank farm property in Avila Beach into tide pools below.  Much of the source of the pollution has been cleaned up, but an unknown amount remains. The question now is, what should be done with it and could over-aggressive remediation cause more harm than good?  The trickle of hydrocarbons — comprised of a mixture of diluted, broken-down gas from the tank farm — was discovered in May 2012 …

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

L.A. beach sewage spill under growing scrutiny

There is growing scrutiny over a 17-million-gallon sewage spill into the Santa Monica Bay, with many asking how the spill occurred and why it took so long to alert the public. … Here is a breakdown of what we know — and what we don’t. The emergency discharge at Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant in Playa del Rey began Sunday evening and ended around 4:30 a.m. Monday, according to interviews. The 17 million gallons — about 6% of the facility’s daily load — amounted to the largest emergency discharge conducted at the Hyperion plant in a decade, officials said.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Delayed alert to massive beach sewage spill raises alarm

After 17 million gallons of raw sewage were discharged into the ocean off Los Angeles beaches early Monday, county officials waited hours before notifying the public to avoid swimming in areas potentially affected by high levels of bacteria. The delay occurred even though officials from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, which is responsible for notifying the public, were at the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant in Playa del Rey during the emergency discharge procedure that began Sunday evening and ended Monday around 4:30 a.m., according to interviews.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Capital and Main

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California oil lobby seeks to strip environmental protections for groundwater amid drought

A prominent oil and gas lobbying group seeks to strip environmental protections from groundwater sources designated by the state for agricultural use and which may grow increasingly important to California’s water-scarce future, according to a memo obtained through a records request. The proposal, which hasn’t been publicly announced, suggests removing protections for groundwater reserves underneath 1,500 square surface miles in western Kern County, where  the upper groundwater zone alone can extend down thousands of feet.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Eureka plans wastewater plant upgrades amid calls to not discharge sewage into Humboldt Bay

For years, the city of Eureka sent treated wastewater directly into Humboldt Bay from its Elk River processing plant.  But five years ago, the North Coast Regional Water Control Board ordered the city to “cease and desist” and to move to ocean discharge by 2030. The city is now seeking a resolution that would allow wastewater to continue to be discharged into the bay. The water board will meet in mid-August to decide.  Whether or not the city is granted the exemption to continue, there are plans in the works to make upgrades to the Elk River wastewater facility. 

Aquafornia news USA Today

LA area beaches closed after 17-million-gallon sewage plant spill

Miles of beaches in Los Angeles were closed to swimmers Monday as 17 million gallons of sewage from the city’s largest treatment plant spilled into Santa Monica Bay the night before. A mechanical failure “at the Hyperion plant last night caused untreated sewage to be discharged into the ocean,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn said on Twitter. … Closure signs were posted in the areas around El Segundo and Dockweiler State Beaches, as well as Grand Ave. Storm Drain, and officials urged visitors from going into the water. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Lake Tahoe’s famously clear water is murky – here’s what’s causing it

Lake Tahoe’s water continues to show some of the murkiest levels on record, according to a new report from UC Davis. Readings from 2020 put the average depth of Tahoe’s water clarity at 62.9 feet, on par with 2019’s average of 62.7 feet but down a substantial 8 feet from the year before. The 2019 and 2020 data show the lake near its lowest level of clarity since UC Davis researchers began keeping records 53 years ago. The worst year was 2017, when lake clarity measured 59.7 feet.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Eastern Municipal Water District

News release: EMWD projects receive federal funding

Two Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) projects have received preliminary federal funding allocations in appropriations legislation, thanks to the diligence of Representatives Ken Calvert and Mark Takano. In the House Appropriations Committee’s FY2022 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies legislation, EMWD’s Quail Valley Septic to Sewer program is slated to receive  $2.5 million from Congressman Ken Calvert’s (CA-42nd) request, and its Mead Valley Booster Station project received $1 million from Congressman Mark Takano’s (CA-41st) request.

Aquafornia news Legal Planet

The ongoing tension over stormwater discharges in Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board (“Regional Board”) is in the process of issuing a new permit for water discharges through the municipal separate storm sewer systems (“MS4”) in Los Angeles County and Ventura County. The MS4 permit is an important document that regulates how municipalities can allow stormwater to flow through the MS4 system and out into natural (or modified) waterways. Stormwater typically contains high quantities of pollutants, including toxic metals, bacteria, and other materials picked up from buildings and streets during wet weather events, all of which harms both the ecosystem and human health. 

Aquafornia news Long Beach Press Telegram

Long Beach City Council to weigh $19 million contract to build stormwater treatment site

The Long Beach City Council is set to weigh in on the next phase of the planned Long Beach Municipal Urban Stormwater Treatment Facility … The project will include both construction of the facility and a new wetland habitat area, though the contract with Shimmick will just be for the stormwater treatment site; a contract to build the wetlands will come to the panel at a later date.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Spectrum 1

Heal the Bay 2021 beach report card praises OC, Malibu

The beaches are back, and according to research taken from the coastal watchdogs at Heal the Bay, there are plenty of excellent Southland beaches for people to enjoy this summer. Even so, a handful of beaches across California, including a perennial “beach bummer” in Los Angeles County, leave something to be desired. Heal the Bay’s complete 2020-2021 Beach Report Card covers the entirety of the west coast, from the Pacific Northwest down to Tijuana, and includes brief water quality updates from along the coast. It also features grades on freshwater sources and swimming holes, such as those along the LA River.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Here are the dirtiest beaches in California

Here’s some good news (and then, some not-so-good news) for those seeking a summer respite by the sea: Beaches across California are much cleaner than in years past. In its annual survey of more than 500 beaches, Heal the Bay reported Tuesday that 93% of California’s beaches logged good water-quality marks between April and October 2020 — an encouraging assessment for a coastline that sees all manner of trash, pesticides and bacteria (not to mention microplastics, automotive fluids and tire particles) flushed into the ocean whenever it rains.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news World Economic Forum

Blog: 9 ways to clean up plastic waste from the world’s rivers

The Clean Currents Coalition – a global network of local projects – is on a mission to clean up the world’s rivers, using scientific solutions to address the problem of plastic waste … Pollution doesn’t respect international boundaries, making plastic waste in the Tijuana River Estuary, which forms the border between the US and Mexico, everyone’s problem. As the river is the sole source of clean drinking water for many people, California and Mexico-based environmental non-profit WILDCOAST, has erected a “Brute Boom” across the Los Laureles Canyon to collect debris. 

Aquafornia news Desert Sun

Desert Hot Springs waste spill has MSWD facing up to $9.4 million fine

Mission Springs Water Districtis facing as much as $9.4 million in fines from state and regional water regulators after district officials failed to report a  nearly million-gallon spill from a breached wastewater percolation pond as required, and failed to notify state authorities that a temporary holding pond had been constructed. District officials waited two weeks to notify state authorities that last Oct. 3, large  amounts of treated wastewater gushed through Desert Hot Springs residential streets …

Aquafornia news Downey Brand LLP

Blog: CalOES proposes rules to clarify California release reporting requirements

California’s existing release reporting requirements, which are in addition to federal requirements, are viewed by many as vague and often require companies to make difficult judgment calls to determine if small spills or threatened releases must be reported. In workshops held on June 22 and 24, 2021 the California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) previewed amendments to its Hazardous Material Release Reporting regulations that aim to clarify when a release or threatened release of a hazardous substance must be reported.

Aquafornia news Coastal View

Opinion: We must work together to protect our water from agricultural waste

As science and policy director for Santa Barbara Channelkeeper and a 14-year resident of Carpinteria, I appreciated Bob Franco’s June 16 letter to the editor, “Don’t drink the water,” for its effectiveness in raising awareness about an important pollution issue impacting Carpinteria’s local waterways.  Channelkeeper is a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and restoring the Santa Barbara Channel and its watersheds. 
-Written by Ben Pitterle, Channelkeeper’s interim executive director and science and policy director.

Aquafornia news Association Of California Water Agencies

News release: ACWA-Sponsored SB 323 advances to Assembly floor

ACWA-sponsored SB 323 passed out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Tuesday and is headed to the Assembly floor. SB 323, authored by Senator Anna Caballero (D–Salinas), would provide financial stability for public agencies by creating a 120-day statute of limitations for challenges to new water and sewer rates. This would provide public agency water and sewer service rates the same protections already afforded to fees and charges that fund other essential government services. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

PG&E, SLO County water board reach Diablo Canyon settlement

PG&E will pay the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board $5.9 million in a landmark settlement that recognizes the long-term impacts of dumping water used to cool Diablo Canyon Power Plant back into the Pacific Ocean — but also the realities of a plant that is expected to close in the next decade.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Riverbanks looks at recycling wastewater for nearby farmland

Riverbank is looking at upgrading its sewage plant to produce water clean enough for crops. The city would join three others in Stanislaus County that recycle water from kitchen and bathroom drains for use on farms. Modesto, Ceres and Turlock send their highly treated effluent to the Del Puerto Water District on the West Side. Riverbank would sell its water to farmers just to the north, possibly including some in the South San Joaquin Irrigation District.

Aquafornia news Daily Bulletin

$630 million project launches, to replace wastewater pipes under South Bay and Harbor Area

After more than a decade of planning, community meetings — and more planning — an ambitious $630 million effort to replace two aging underground wastewater pipes officially launched on Monday, June 21, as a two-story-high electric tunneling machine was lowered underground at the sanitation plant on the border of Carson and Wilmington. The details have been continually refined since planning began in 2006. The Clearwater Project, its formal name, was approved in 2012 by the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts and was described by engineers involved in the work as sophisticated, intricate and precise.

Aquafornia news The Coast News Group

San Elijo’s water reclamation facility named ‘Plant of the Year’

The San Elijo Joint Powers Authority’s water reclamation facility near San Elijo Lagoon on Manchester Avenue in Encinitas was named “Plant of the Year” by the California Water Environment Association, the agency announced today. The award recognizes accomplishments in compliance, innovative practices, cost-effectiveness and superior plant performance amongst wastewater agencies across California.

Aquafornia news Valley Roadrunner

Planning group’s Schmidt says SDG&E violating state water board waiver

San Diego Gas & Electric Co. (SDG&E) appears to be violating a water discharge waver by the California Water Quality Control Board issued earlier this month by the board, according to Larry Schmidt of the VC Planning Group, whom The Roadrunner contacted Saturday. Schmidt is the lead for the planning group on this issue after being appointed Monday night to head the group’s subcommittee investigating the utility’s work on Cole Grade Road that is near Cool Valley Road.

Aquafornia news KCRA

River along north Sacramento showing above average amounts of E. coli

Several locations along the American River north of Sacramento are showing above-average levels of E. coli, according to the Central Valley Water Board. KCRA 3 spoke with health officials in Sacramento County on Friday about the concerning levels of E. coli.

Aquafornia news Fox 40 (Sacramento)

High levels of E. coli found at Tiscornia Beach

Hot temperatures are drawing people to the cool water of Tiscornia Beach, but what many there may not know, there are high levels of E.coli found in the water. … Robert Metcalf is a retired professor who’s taught microbiology at Sacramento State University for 42 years. He said finding E. coli in the water means there is recent fecal contamination. Mary Beth Metcalf, a retired clinical professor of pediatrics from UC Davis, said E.coli leads to other infections.

Aquafornia news KCBX

Regional recycled water project in conflict; Arroyo Grande ‘demanding’ equal share

A long-planned water recycling project for the Five Cities area — Central Coast Blue — hangs in uncertainty after the City of Arroyo Grande unanimously voted on June 8th to withdraw from the project unless their demand for a shared operating agreement is met. Central Coast Blue, spearheaded by the City of Pismo Beach, is a multi-million dollar project set to bring a reliable water source to the Five Cities area by using recycled water. 

Aquafornia news Fort Bragg Advocate-News

Why does the south of town stink?

Pee yew! If you’ve noticed a funky smell south of town — you’re not alone. Over the last year, a new treatment system at the city’s wastewater facility has proved to be far more efficient in the removal of solids from the waste stream than was expected. Ultimately, the new treatment system improves the reliability and quality of treated water released into the ocean, but it means there’s a lot more… stuff… to dry out. 

Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

House advances bill with increased funding for clean water

The U.S. House of Representatives’ Transportation and Infrastructure Committee last week marked up and advanced H.R. 1915, the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2021. … By 2035, the City of Los Angeles expects to recycle 100 percent of its water supplies and reduce its reliance on costly imported water from the Colorado River. Truckee Meadows Water Authority in Reno is planning 13-mile pipeline to provide 1.3 billion gallons of recycled water annually to the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center, home to Tesla, Switch and Google, and ensure 20,000 jobs remain in Nevada.  

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Oilfield disposal site in western Kern set to close

A large oilfield wastewater disposal pond near Buttonwillow will likely close this summer, and its operator and last remaining customer will together pay $645,000 in penalties and fees, under a recent court settlement that further restricts a decades-old practice that has become a focus of regional water quality regulators. The accord concludes a 2019 lawsuit that accused facility owner Valley Water Management Co. and Colorado-based oil producer Sentinel Peak Resources of dumping fluid containing harmful chemicals above a reservoir that provides local drinking and irrigation water.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Public sounds off on Samoa onshore fish farm plans

Humboldt County gave the public two chances to air concerns this week surrounding Nordic Aquafarms’ proposed onshore fish farm on the Samoa Peninsula. County planners held two public scoping meetings Thursday to gather input from the public and affected governmental agencies on areas that should be covered in the project’s environmental impact report (EIR). The Humboldt County Planning and Building Department had released a mitigated negative declaration (MND) for the project in April but a coalition of environmental groups argued that the assessment didn’t go far enough. 

Aquafornia news Central Valley Water Board

Pistachio processing facility in Tulare County will pay $221,440 fine for odor violations

A Central Valley pistachio processing plant whose wastewater ponds triggered numerous odor complaints from nearby residents will pay a $221,440 fine, a portion of which will fund improved ventilation at two public schools in the area. The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (Central Valley Water Board) fined Setton Pistachio after determining the company had violated the terms of an August 2020 cease and desist order (CDO) directing it to immediately eliminate objectionable odors coming from ponds at its plant in Terra Bella in Tulare County.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The Union

Opinion: Facts matter — Don’t be a victim of mining fiction

The Union has printed several opinion pieces by Idaho-Maryland Mine Project opponents. The majority of these columns present “information” that’s either biased or misleading and based neither on science nor logic. Here are the facts. … Recent columns erroneously suggest that groundwater impacts cannot be accurately predicted. Numerous expert hydrogeologists and a century of mining at the Idaho-Maryland say otherwise. … The actual conclusion is that no wells would be drained…
-Written by Ben Mossman, president of Rise Grass Valley and CEO of Rise Gold Corp., U.S. corporations.

Aquafornia news Mercury News

Editorial: State funding is crucial for restoring San Francisco Bay

Five years ago Bay Area voters wisely approved Measure AA, a nine-county, 20-year, $12 per parcel annual tax to restore San Francisco Bay and guard against the threat of rising sea levels due to global warming. … An estimated 355,000 Bay Area residents live within a 100-year flood plain that includes 800 miles of roads and highways, 70 miles of critical rail lines, 46 wastewater plants, 35 schools and 15 hospitals.

Related article:

 

Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

Blog: Low-income water assistance program formally launched

The White House last week announced the official launch of the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) housed at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). This program is the first of its kind designed to provide funding to help low-income households affected by the COVID-19 pandemic pay their water and wastewater bills. According to the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), the available federal funds, which total $1.138 billion, were secured as part of the federal COVID-19 relief spending in December 2020 and March 2021.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: How water bonds plug spending holes

As California responds to yet another drought and prepares for a future of greater climate extremes, securing funding to boost the water system’s resilience is a top priority. One go-to funding source over the last two decades has been state general obligation bonds. In dollar terms, GO bonds play a relatively small role in water system spending, yet they punch above their weight when it comes to filling critical gaps. 

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

Controversial sewer hike heads to Monterey One Water board amid objections

A proposal that would more than double the cost of sewer service in the region over the next five years and has drawn the rage of the area’s hospitality and business interests heads to a board for final approval on June 7. The board of directors for Monterey One Water, the regional wastewater management service, will vote on the proposed schedule of rate increases. If approved, ratepayers will see a 47-percent jump in their sewage bills after July 1. By 2025, rates would be 122-percent higher than they are today. … [T]he increase is needed to maintain and update the utility’s $750 million infrastructure assets, some of which are more than 30 years old.

Aquafornia news USC Viterbi School of Engineering

New research: What we know about water may have just changed dramatically

Water is weird – and yet so important. In fact, it is one of the most unusual molecules on Earth. It boils at a temperature it shouldn’t. It expands and floats when it is in the solid-state. Its surface tension is higher than it should be. Now, new research published in the journal Nature has added one other equally strange property to water’s list of oddities. The implications of this new revelation could have a remarkable impact on all water-related processes from water purification to drug manufacturing.

Aquafornia news AB 10 News

Possible sewage contamination closes Tijuana Slough shoreline

The ocean shoreline at Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge and Border Field State Park was closed Saturday due to contaminated sewage water that may be moving north into the U.S., county water authorities said. The San Diego County Department of Environmental Health and Quality issued the contact closure for the ocean shoreline Saturday. Ocean water samples exceeded state health standards, DEHQ officials said.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: Adel Hagekhalil would be a good step forward for the MWD

Adel Hagekhalil is an inspired choice to be the next general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the agency that delivers the water ultimately used by half of the state’s population. He’s an engineer, a consensus builder and a champion of the movement to integrate management of different types of water — drinking water, wastewater, stormwater, environmental water — in order to reduce costs and use precious resources more efficiently. He may be exactly what the MWD needs at this point in its history…

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Delta Stewardship Council: Non-native species in the Delta, contemplating the future of the DISB, and Regional San treatment plant upgrade

At the May meeting of the Delta Stewardship Council, Dr. Steve Brandt, Chair of the Delta Independent Science Board, provided a brief background on the Delta Independent Science Board, reported on the Board’s recently completed review on non-native species in the Delta, and discussed the Board’s approach going forward in light of the recent compensation issues.  Also, Dr. Laurel Larsen spotlighted a recent study looking at the effects of the Sacramento Regional Sanitation District plant upgrade on phytoplankton.

Aquafornia news Daily Breeze

Surfrider’s annual Clean Water Report highlights infrastructure needs and toxin-removing landscapes

Too often, ocean water is laced with sewage and pollutants, affecting how safe beaches are for swimming and surfing –  that’s the message of this year’s Clean Water Report released Tuesday, May 25, by the Surfrider Foundation. … [T]he report highlights inefficiencies in sewer infrastructure and a need to stop urban runoff before it reaches the coast, both main contributors to dirty water that plagues the country’s coastlines.

Aquafornia news The Union

Opinion: The murky waters of mining

Hidden from view when driving by is the [Rise Gold] mine that is filled with water contaminated with byproducts of hard rock mining. The water now forms a murky lake several hundred yards wide. Rise Gold plans to pump out 3.6 million gallons of water every single day for six months and after that another 1.2 million gallons a day for up to 80 years from this site. Let that sink in. Get your mind fully around this. This is real. They will dump this water into the little creek alongside the site and send it on its way down Wolf Creek to the Feather River to the Sacramento River to San Francisco Bay …
-Written by Billy Packard.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Stormwater could be a large source of microplastics and rubber fragments to waterways

[R]esearchers collected water during heavy rainstorms from 12 streams flowing into the San Francisco Bay. … Microscopic fibers and black rubbery fragments were the most common microparticles, while natural debris, glass, paint and wool were only minor components. Then, the team identified a subset of plastic- or rubbery-looking fragments as being made mostly of plastic polymers or other synthetic materials, and many of the black rubbery particles originated from tires.

Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

RCSD increasing water, sewer rates to aid solvency

Rosamond Community Services District’s residential and commercial customers will see their water and sewer rates increase after the District’s governing Board approved rate adjustments earlier this month as part of the District’s efforts to remain fiscally solvent. The average district residential customer will see a monthly water bill increase of $6.11. This average represents about 70% of the District’s residential customer base. The average commercial 1 customer will see a monthly water bill increase of $20.90, while the average commercial 2 customer will see an increase of $2.56.

Aquafornia news Lost Coast Outpost

In a surprise move, Nordic Aquafarms agrees to conduct full environmental impact report for its land-based fish farm on the Samoa Peninsula

In terms of sheer size, Nordic Aquafarms’ land-based aquaculture facility, slated for construction on the Samoa Peninsula, would be the largest development project Humboldt County has seen for decades, maybe since the heyday of the timber industry. The facility’s five buildings — including two massive production modules where Atlantic salmon would be raised inside fully-contained recirculating tanks — would total 766,530 square feet, nearly an acre larger than the footprint of the Bayshore Mall. It’s been more than two years since the Norwegian company announced its ambitious plans, and the environmental review period was scheduled to wrap up this week. 

Aquafornia news NBC Bay Area

As sea level rise threat grows, SF officials don’t have public plan to save sewers

Because Bay Area low-lying sewage treatment plants remain vulnerable to rising sea levels, government regulators told sewage facility managers to “provide a written plan for coping with SLR by the fall of 2021 – or they will be given a plan.”  The NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit reached out to 10 “at risk” sewage treatment plants to see those plans. All except one provided extensive documents of their proposals, the cost to address them, and even provided tours of completed work. San Francisco’s Public Utilities Commission replied to the Investigative Unit’s public records request that after a “diligent search for records…no records were found.”

Aquafornia news Triplicate

Crescent City looking at water, sewer rates

The Crescent City Council is moving forward with a study on water and sewer rates, which may result in increased rates for residents. After receiving a grant from the California State Water Resources Control Board totaling about $80,000, the city is pressing on with the overdue rate studies. Typically, rate studies for water and sewer are completed every five years, however, the last water rate study came in 2013 and the last update to wastewater came in 2015, said City Manager Eric Wier. Wier said these projects are the first-step in maintaining the overall health of both systems.

Aquafornia news Growing Produce

How California vegetable growers can adapt to new nitrogen rules

Growers in the Central Coast region of California produce most of the cool-season vegetables for the U.S. from March to mid-November. After several years of multi-cropping vegetables, the groundwater in many of the coastal valleys has become contaminated with nitrate. Some wells have concentrations of nitrate several times the federal drinking water standard of 10 ppm (parts per million) nitrate-N. Rural communities that rely on groundwater as their sole source of drinking water must purchase bottled water or install small reverse osmosis systems.

Aquafornia news Jefferson Public Radio

After years of protests, Crystal Geyser abandons bottling facility plans in Siskiyou County

Crystal Geyser bought the nearly 145,000 square foot bottling plant in 2013. Since then, it’s been the target of protests by local activists and members of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe. Opponents say if it ever started operating, it would draw down too much water, and cause air and noise pollution. … They are in the midst of suing the beverage company in an effort to get a new environmental impact report. 

Aquafornia news Water & Wastes Digest

Senate confirms Radhika Fox to EPA Office of Water

The U.S. Senate confirmed Radhika Fox, former US Water Alliance CEO, as EPA Office of Water Assistant Administrator during a confirmation hearing May 12. With the confirmation, Fox became the first woman of color and first individual of Asian heritage to be both nominated and confirmed to lead the EPA Office of Water. Fox had been appointed to the Office of Water after President Joe Biden’s inauguration in January. 

Aquafornia news Bloomberg

Toilet waste to tap water: Welcome to the future of recycled sewage

Suffering through a prolonged dry period, utilities are increasingly relying on sewage to generate the state’s water needs. Known in industry parlance as “recycled wastewater” and in lay terms as “toilet to tap,” this water source understandably triggers a gag reflex in some consumers — but it shouldn’t.  Recycled wastewater is quickly becoming the single most important element of a drought-proof water supply in the climate-change era, and it happens to be as pure and delicious as anything you might buy bottled from the Swiss Alps.

Aquafornia news CEQA Chronicles

Blog: Poseidon’s desalination plant’s supplemental EIR holds water according to the Court of Appeal

In California Coastkeeper v. State Lands Commission, the Third District Court of Appeal upheld the State Lands Commission’s decision to prepare a supplemental environmental impact report (EIR) for a desalination plant in Huntington Beach, overturning an earlier trial court ruling that invalidated the EIR. Limited changes to a desalination project were proposed in order to comply with desalination-related amendments to the State’s Ocean Plan.  

Aquafornia news UCLA

New research: Human wastewater is feeding harmful algae blooms off of Southern California’s coast

[I]n a new study, UCLA researchers found that nitrogen in treated sewage is driving a massive growth of oceanic algae and loss of oxygen, which will likely have lasting effects on the region’s ecosystem. From 1997 to 2000, for example, the growth of microscopic marine algae called phytoplankton was 79% higher than it would have been without nitrogen from human sewage in the waters along the coast from the Baja California Peninsula to Santa Barbara. The problem occurs in large part because freshwater from sewage is less dense than the seawater it’s injected into, which causes the wastewater to rises to the surface, where phytoplankton live. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: Wastewater recycling got derailed in L.A. Now it’s back

Twenty years ago, in the 2001 Los Angeles mayoral race, a topic usually seen as dull became the most lurid issue of the campaign. The topic was water recycling, and we are still being hurt by the rhetoric from that election today. Candidate Joel Wachs, a longtime member of the City Council, didn’t even make the runoff that year. But during the primary he alarmed voters across the city by insisting that Los Angeles was furtively planning to pipe recycled sewage to millions of unsuspecting Angelenos — without, according to Wachs, adequate public input or scientific research. The recycling idea became widely known as “toilet to tap” …
-Written by Marc Haefele, a Santa Monica freelance writer.

Related article:

Aquafornia news NOAA Fisheries

Blog: Celebrating 50 years of internationally important wetlands

May is American Wetlands Month and this year also marks the 50th anniversary of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance. This intergovernmental treaty is focused on the conservation and wise use of important wetlands and their resources. … Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve … provides habitat for a diversity of wildlife species, including more than 100 species of fish, 500 species of invertebrates, and the region’s iconic southern sea otters. … Tomales Bay is a marine-coastal wetland consisting of estuaries, eelgrass beds, sand dune systems, and tidal marshes. 

Aquafornia news Sen. Dianne Feinstein

News release: Bipartisan bill introduced to reauthorize Lake Tahoe restoration act

Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla (both D-Calif.) today joined with Senators Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen (both D-Nev.) to introduce bipartisan legislation to extend authorization of the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act. The original Lake Tahoe Restoration Act was passed in 2000 and authorized $300 million for the restoration of the lake and surrounding basin. The current authorization, which was passed in 2016, will expire in 2024. Reauthorizing the bill will prevent an interruption in conservation and restoration planning.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Fail: Tule Basin drinking water plan kicked back for a redo

When Sandra Chavez’ mother discovered she had stage four cancer last year, one of Sandra’s first thoughts was about their water. Her family’s private well is contaminated with nitrates and Chavez wondered if years of drinking the water could have caused her mother’s sickness. Chavez and her family have relied on bottled water since they found out their well water was unsafe in 2015. But sometimes they don’t have enough and are forced to drink the contaminated water. So when Chavez found out about a new program providing free bottled water delivery for families with nitrate-contaminated wells, she was frustrated she hadn’t been contacted.

Aquafornia news Press Telegram

3 environmental groups take 3 positions on Poseidon desalination plant

Among attributes of the controversial Poseidon desalination plant proposed for Huntington Beach is the $1.5 million or so it would spend annually to keep the tidal inlet open at the Bolsa Chica wetlands, five miles up the coast from the project site. But as much as the money is needed there, the three non-profit groups dedicated to the wetlands’ preservation clash when it comes to support for the desalter plant. The state spent $151 million to create the inlet in 2006, restoring the estuary’s interaction with the ocean and revitalizing the wildlife habitat. The work has been a particular boon to the population and variety of birds.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Yes, you can water your lawn. But here are the restrictions for Sacramento area, so far

You can’t water your lawn more than twice a week in the city or Sacramento during summer, and never on Thursday or Friday. For thousands of Sacramento County residents, the limit is three days a week. In Roseville, there’s no watering between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Customers of the San Juan Water District have five days to fix leaks, and hosing down the driveway or sidewalk is off-limits in Elk Grove. Long before Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a drought emergency for the Sacramento region — and much of the rest of California — area residents were already dealing with an assortment of restrictions on water consumption, depending on their supplier.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Imperial Valley Press

County officials applaud new Salton Sea funding

Newly announced state funding for the Salton Sea is expected to maximize habitat outcomes and provide immediate economic relief to the community. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s $5.1 billion water infrastructure, drought response and climate resilience proposal, which he announced Monday as part of his $100 billion “California Comeback Plan,” includes $220 million for the Salton Sea. At Tuesday’s Imperial County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, District 1 Supervisor Jesus Eduardo Escobar wanted to know what is meant by providing immediate economic relief to the community and how this would occur. 

Aquafornia news Law360

Calif. Appeals Court won’t halt desalination plant project

The California State Lands Commission properly reviewed a stalled desalination planned to be built on the coast south of Los Angeles, a state appeals court says. In a decision filed Saturday, the appeals court affirmed a lower court’s rejection of a challenge to the plant by the environmental group California Coastkeeper Alliance and others. It determined that a 2017 re-review of the planned desalination plant in Huntington Beach adequately complied with the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act. 

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

South Bay residents, officials call for faster action on Tijuana-San Diego sewage problem

Chula Vista resident and Imperial Beach lifeguard Lillian Burkhart still remembers the sting on her skin after surfing in Imperial Beach waters one day last summer. Within 24 hours, she fell ill with a gastrointestinal infection, she said. … Burkhart’s experience is commonplace and a reminder of the decades-long struggle to address the recurring sewage spills from Tijuana that pollute the South Bay shoreline.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Judge orders McKinleyville firm in water pollution suit to pay $2M in penalties

A U.S. District Court judge has ordered McKinleyville-based construction firm Kernen Construction Co. to pay over $2,087,750 in civil penalties after it was found to have violated the Clean Water Act by discharging contaminated storm water into a nearby tributary creek of the Mad River. The order was issued by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers on May 2 after the company was found to have discharged storm water without engaging in pollution control measures mandated by the CWA. 

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.

Related articles:

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. 

Related article: 

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.

Related article:

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.

Related article: 

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. 

Related article:

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.

Related articles: 

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.

Related articles: 

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.

Related articles: 

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.

Related article: 

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.

Related article: 

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.

Related article: 

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 …

Related article: 

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.

Related article: 

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.