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
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
The current five members of the Montecito Water Board ran as slate candidates in 2016 and 2108, and they won election largely on the promise of recycling treated wastewater for irrigation. A group of wealthy donors poured $200,000 into their campaigns. Yet the new board seems in no hurry to get the job done.
In an effort to end Thousand Oaks’ near total reliance on imported water, public works staff is asking the City Council to commit $16.6 million over the next two years to build a groundwater treatment plant at the city’s publicly owned golf course. The Los Robles Greens Golf Course Groundwater Utilization Project—which will be offset with an estimated $6 million in State Water Project (Prop. 1) grants—is the single most expensive item on the city’s proposed $97-million 2019-21 capital improvement program budget…
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruled on Friday that the EPA’s 2015 power plant wastewater pollution rule was not stringent enough, siding with environmentalists. Circuit Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan ruled in favor of various environmental groups that portions of the wastewater rule regulating legacy wastewater and liquid from impoundments were “unlawful.”
Currently, the city has two significant environmental impact reports, which CEQA requires, making their way through the development process. One is for a plan to build a 7-mile pipeline to tap into Ventura’s long-held investment in state water. … The other project would capture effluent from Ventura’s wastewater treatment plant, treat it and turn it into drinking water.
Oakwood Lakes Water District that serves a gated community and a mobile home park just outside of the southwest Manteca city limits needs to expand and upgrade its wastewater treatment plant. Manteca needs to find a way to send storm water from a large swath of southwest Manteca to the San Joaquin River. The two needs have led to a proposed agreement between the water district and the city …
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer unveiled his proposed budget for fiscal year 2020 on Thursday, saying it includes the highest infrastructure investment in the city’s history. … The budget includes an infrastructure investment of $715.8 million, an increase of nearly 300% over the $179.4 million infrastructure allocation in the city’s fiscal year 2014 budget … More than half of that is earmarked for the city’s Pure Water program, which aims to recycle sewage into drinking water.
With recurring sewage spills, some San Diegans are still afraid to go into the water at some of the county’s southern-most beaches. Now, local leaders are fighting the U.S. and Mexican governments to clean up the waste-filled waters near the border.
Expected to temporarily hold excess sewer flows during storms, a project to build an underground flow equalization system underneath the San Mateo County Event Center parking lot is one of several components of San Mateo’s Clean Water Program. … But for many residents … pile driving and the installation of dewatering wells included in the project’s construction plans drew concerns about noise, the structural integrity of nearby homes and the project’s impact on neighbors’ quality of life.
On 177 acres situated between San Clemente’s Talega community and Ortega Highway, mountainous earthworks are taking shape. Santa Margarita Water District … is building a 1.6-billion-gallon reservoir. When completed in 2020, Trampas Canyon Reservoir, less than a half-mile north of Talega, will be able to store recycled wastewater collected from as many as five South Orange County treatment plants.
Statewide leaders in agriculture recently launched an initiative to clean oilfield wastewater for use in arid Western states, hoping to reduce the region’s carbon footprint and improve the lives of ranchers and farmers.
City officials approved a plan for a new groundwater sustainability project, hoping it will be a solution to increase the supply of groundwater and find a place for excess effluent water coming to the Tehachapi Waste Water Treatment Plant. The benefits will not appear for decades, when the project is complete.
Mexican and American officials met in Mexico City this week to talk about fixing a costly set of problems that have sprung up along the border: failing sewer systems that send raw sewage spilling into rivers. … Roberto Salmón, Mexico’s commissioner of the International Boundary and Water Commission, said border cities from Tijuana to Matamoros need a total of about 10 billion pesos, or $520 million, “just to bring the sanitary systems up to speed, to correct the problems.”
Armed with a recent court ruling that climate change must be considered in decisions to open federal land to oil and gas drilling, conservationists shot the opening volley Thursday in what promises to be a protracted legal battle over the future of fracking and oil drilling in Northern California.
Behind every toilet flush and faucet turn that draws on a public water system, there’s an entire industry making sure the water meets certain standards. … But McKeon and others in the field worry about a looming shortage of water-treatment plant operators, as a wave of older operators hits retirement age. McKeon fears that in the next 10 years, there won’t be enough operators to monitor and control every public water system adequately.
San Diego water customers will soon pay $6 to $13 more a month to fund the first part of the city’s new recycled water project, according to a newly released estimate. The city is working on a multibillion-dollar plan to purify enough sewage to provide a third of the city’s drinking water by 2035.
Rate increases are being proposed in part to help pay for improvements to the Regional Wastewater Control Facility, which is set to go through the first phase of a modification project aimed at extending the life of existing amenities at the plant. The modification project will also improve working conditions for employees, and bring the site into compliance with national pollutant discharge standards.
In places like Oakland, flooding will occur not just at the shoreline, but inland in areas once considered safe from sea level rise, including the Oakland Coliseum and Jones Avenue, where [UC Berkeley professor Kristina] Hill and her students now stood, more than a mile from San Leandro Bay. In fact, she added, rising groundwater menaces nearly the entire band of low-lying land around San Francisco Bay, as well as many other coastal parts of the U.S.
City officials in Tehachapi are investigating ways to move treated effluent water coming from Tehachapi’s Waste Water Treatment Plant. More potable water could be available if a groundwater reuse project becomes reality, opening more land at Tehachapi Municipal Airport for potential growth.
The upgraded facility can now handle an average of 18 million gallons per day, with a wet weather flow capacity of up to 36 million gallons. There’s also room for growth, with the facility designed to accommodate up to an average of 22 million gallons per day with the addition of added MBR cassettes.
AquaCycl, a San Diego-based wastewater treatment startup, took home the grand prize at the San Diego Angel Conference on March 15. … The company developed a technology that uses electricity-generating bacteria to speed up wastewater treatment rates, resulting in a more efficient, lower-cost option.
Milpitas mayor Rich Tran is following up on a campaign promise to do something about the bad odor that has drifted over the city for decades. … The goal is to trace the source of the stench, which residents have long suspected to come from the Newby Island landfill, the San Jose-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility or the Zanker-owned recycling facility.
Otters, birds, and turtles might be the last animals you would expect to find living next door to the Interstate 680 toll-plaza. But, tucked between the freeway, an oil refinery and a wastewater facility hides an oasis on the mend. … The 21-acre constructed wetland is in the middle of an industrial zone and is part of the Mt. View Sanitary District Wastewater Treatment Plant. “It’s the very first wetland on the west coast to use treated wastewater to create wetlands,” explained district biologist Kelly Davidson.
After years of planning, the Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District is gearing up to break ground on a three-year, multimillion-dollar renovation of its sewage treatment plant. Workers were rained out the past couple of months but are now preparing the work site at the district headquarters at 300 Smith Ranch Road in San Rafael to replace the wastewater treatment facilities and expand its recycled water capacity.
The city of Sacramento has approved a $2.9 million contract that will allow construction of a new sewage vault underneath McKinley Park. The goal of the project is to provide a place to store sewage during wet weather, when stormwater runoff — and wastewater — can end up in the same place, and overflow can send it all into East Sacramento’s streets.
For the bulk of her career, Jayne Harkins has devoted her energy to issues associated with the management of the Colorado River, both with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and with the Colorado River Commission of Nevada.
Now her career is taking a different direction. Harkins, 58, was appointed by President Trump last August to take the helm of the United States section of the U.S.-Mexico agency that oversees myriad water matters between the two countries as they seek to sustainably manage the supply and water quality of the Colorado River, including its once-thriving Delta in Mexico, and other rivers the two countries share. She is the first woman to be named the U.S. Commissioner of the International Boundary and Water Commission for either the United States or Mexico in the commission’s 129-year history.
The announcement by Mayor Eric Garcetti last month that Los Angeles will recycle all the wastewater produced at the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant by 2035 signals an end to the era of addressing water shortages by importing water from far-flung places and initiates a long-anticipated era of reusing locally available supplies. The shift will require L.A. residents to understand both the necessity of the plan and the technology that will produce safe water.
Santa Rosa officials said Tuesday that managers at the city’s wastewater plant have been forced to release at least 250 million gallons of treated sewage into two creeks and the nearby Laguna de Santa Rosa amid record inflow to the facility that began in last week’s storm. The three-day deluge pushed more than five times the normal flow of wastewater and runoff into the city’s Laguna de Santa Rosa plant. It was the highest inflow ever recorded at the site, according to the city.
A long-simmering, multi-million dollar dispute among coastal Orange County water and sewage districts took a major step toward resolution Wednesday, when a Superior Court judge issued a tentative ruling that Moulton Niguel Water District is obligated to pay outstanding bills to the South Orange County Wastewater Authority.
Although Santa Monica may be the most aggressive Southern California water provider to wean itself from imported supplies, it is hardly the only one looking to remake its water portfolio.
In Los Angeles, a city of about 4 million people, efforts are underway to dramatically slash purchases of imported water while boosting the amount from recycling, stormwater capture, groundwater cleanup and conservation. Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2014 announced a plan to reduce the city’s purchase of imported water from Metropolitan Water District by one-half by 2025 and to provide one-half of the city’s supply from local sources by 2035. (The city considers its Eastern Sierra supplies as imported water.)
Imported water from the Sierra Nevada and the Colorado River built Southern California. Yet as drought, climate change and environmental concerns render those supplies increasingly at risk, the Southland’s cities have ramped up their efforts to rely more on local sources and less on imported water.
Far and away the most ambitious goal has been set by the city of Santa Monica, which in 2014 embarked on a course to be virtually water independent through local sources by 2023. In the 1990s, Santa Monica was completely dependent on imported water. Now, it derives more than 70 percent of its water locally.
A comprehensive bill addressing ocean concerns will call for improving the quality of ocean water and wetlands, better salmon habitats, and rules that would protect whales from being hit by ships. … Other potential legislation ranges from a move to end the practice of pumping treated sewage into the ocean to a law that would eliminate most paper shopping receipts to a smoking ban on all California state beaches.
Gena Jacob figures she may come out ahead, in at least one respect, in the wake of the Tubbs fire that leveled her Larkfield home. … Through a program created by Sonoma Water and offered to 143 homeowners in Larkfield Estates, they plan to connect to a new sewer line — freeing them from the constraints of their aging septic system — with a financing package that takes some of the sting out of the cost.
A controversial oilfield wastewater disposal operation east of Bakersfield has been shut down amid a years-long regulatory crackdown and opposition by environmental activist organizations. The Jan. 3 closure … puts an end to a practice regional water quality regulators say threatened to foul Bakersfield’s water supply through a slow process of underground migration.
Redlands’ wastewater treatment facility needs $40 million in upgrades soon thanks to years of deferred maintenance, officials say. But it could be worse – building a new facility would cost $100 million. The original plant was built in the 1960s, and the last major changes were made in 2004.
San Diego County has agreed to pay nearly $700,000 for a pipeline rupture that dumped raw sewage into a San Diego River tributary. The spill sent about 760,000 gallons of sewage into Los Coches Creek in February and March 2017, violating the federal Clean Water Act, among other state and federal rules.
The sewer rate increases approved for Morro Bay will go into effect in July, despite opposition from a group that earlier claimed it got enough protest signatures to stop the rate hike. Morro Bay City Manager Scott Collins clarified in a recent report that the protest was unsuccessful and the measure will go into effect with customers seeing the additional charge on their August bill.
The City of Chico has seen a population explosion, and it’s not just the roads that are impacted. Post-Camp Fire sewage production numbers are at an all-time high. Before the fire, Chico’s wastewater treatment facility processed about 6 million gallons of waste on average per day. Since then that amount has gone up to 7 million. Biosolid production has gone up 70%, while overall waste and sewage flows are up 17%.
California’s Imperial Irrigation District will get the last word on the seven-state Colorado River Drought Contingency Plans. And IID could end up with $200 million to restore the badly polluted and fast-drying Salton Sea. Thursday, as the clock ticked toward a midnight deadline set by a top federal official, all eyes had been on Arizona. But lawmakers there approved the Colorado River drought deal with about seven hours to spare. IID, an often-overlooked southeastern California agricultural water district, appears to have thrown a last-minute monkey wrench into the process.
Sonoma County water officials, under order from the state to improve the capacity of their sewage system, say a valve malfunction and leaky pipes resulted in a string of spills this month that released 2.7 million gallons of waste and stormwater, some of which flowed into local creeks and San Pablo Bay.
For decades, the New River has flowed north across the U.S.-Mexico border carrying toxic pollution and the stench of sewage. Now lawmakers in Washington and Sacramento are pursuing legislation and funding to combat the problems. “I feel very optimistic that we’re going to be able to get some things done on the New River issue,” said Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia.
Technology already exists to treat reused water to levels meeting or exceeding health standards. But adequate technical capacity is not sufficient. Water reuse can trigger revulsion, especially when water is reused for drinking or other potable purposes. This note explores outreach and engagement strategies to overcome the “yuck factor” and achieve public support for water reuse.
Arcadis has announced it will partner with Kiewit Infrastructure West and PERC Water to serve as the progressive design-build team for the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Project (SWIP) in the City of Santa Monica, Calif. Currently, the city partially relies on imported water to meet its water needs. This project will allow the city to take a major step toward water independence, supporting existing programs designed to create a sustainable water supply
The new majority on the Escondido City Council appears poised to rescind the former council’s 2017 decision to locate a $44 million recycled water plant in the middle of a residential area. “It’s the wrong location,” newly elected Mayor Paul “Mac” McNamara said of the site in the center of the city at the intersection of Washington Avenue and Ash Street. ”It might cost us a few more bucks, but in the long term, it’s better to have it where it needs to be.”
You can now register for our full slate of water tours for 2019, including a new tour along California’s Central Coast to view a river’s restoration following a major dam removal, check out efforts to desalt ocean water, recycle wastewater and manage groundwater and seawater intrusion.
This month’s second annual Cuyamaca College Center for Water Studies “Women in Water – Exploring Career Pathways” symposium will provide a good opportunity for women and girls to learn about a career in the field. Cuyamaca’s Center for Water Studies opened in the fall of 2018. A renovated complex with new classrooms, it also has a water quality analysis laboratory and a workshop, and offers related skills-based courses. Last year’s event drew nearly 200 participants. This year’s all-day conference starts at 8 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 17.
There’s every reason to expect that 2019 will be far better, largely because of Measure W, which was passed by voters in November. The initiative imposes a Los Angeles County parcel tax that will generate $300 million per year to reduce pollution from runoff and capture storm water to add to the water supply.
The tenth annual performance report evaluates what the state water boards do and how the environment is responding to its actions. The report presents numerous performance measures for specific outputs and outcomes.
Montgomery is known for fostering collaborative relationships among stakeholders and as a leader in protecting and restoring water quality within California and throughout the Southwest and the Pacific Islands. He is currently serving as the Assistant Director of the Water Division in the US Environmental Protection Agency (Region 9).
A sewage spill that federal officials said started Monday night south of the border continues to flood the Tijuana River with millions of gallons of raw effluent. A ruptured collector pipe in southeast Tijuana is leaking roughly 7 million gallons a day of sewage into the river, according to the U.S. section of the International Boundary and Water Commission.
The equivalent of more than six million gallons a day of raw sewage has been spilling into the Tijuana River since Monday night, according to federal officials. The U.S. section of the International Boundary and Water Commission, or IBWC, said Tuesday that counterparts in Mexico informed the agency that the cause of the sewage leak was a ruptured collector pipe.
The Río Nuevo flows north from Mexico into the United States, passing through a gap in the border fence. The murky green water reeks of sewage and carries soapsuds, pieces of trash and a load of toxic chemicals from Mexicali, a city filled with factories that manufacture products from electronics to auto parts.
Cross-border water pollution between Tijuana and South San Diego is not new, but in recent years, the problem has grown worse. The reasons are complicated: There is Tijuana’s topography, with its steep hillsides and canyons that drain towards the border; the factories that get away with illegal dumping; the city’s rapid population growth, aging wastewater infrastructure and inadequate garbage collection. In the U.S., funding cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency have prevented improvements to the Borderlands’ sewage system.
The Río Nuevo flows north from Mexico into the United States, passing through a gap in the border fence. The murky green water reeks of sewage and carries soapsuds, pieces of trash and a load of toxic chemicals from Mexicali, a city filled with factories that manufacture products from electronics to auto parts.
The Hopi Tribe cannot claim special damage on land controlled by the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled Thursday, all but ending an eight-year legal battle and ensuring the ski area can continue using machine-made snow on the state’s most popular slopes. The Hopi Tribe’s lawsuit was originally about the machine-made snow. Its complaint alleged that Snowbowl’s use of treated wastewater to make the snow damaged the San Francisco Peaks, which the tribe considers sacred.
In the waning weeks of the two-year legislative session, Michigan lawmakers and local health departments are negotiating revisions to two bills that would alter the state’s sanitary code for septic tanks and other household wastewater treatment systems. Changes are expected to expand the number of septic inspections in order to identify leaking or broken systems that pollute waters and pose disease risks.
Poor countries around the world are facing a dangerous shortage of toilets that puts millions of live at risk, according to campaigners marking World Toilet Day by urging governments and businesses to invest more in sanitation.
Wastewater flowing from Mexico into Arizona fills a stretch of the lower Santa Cruz River through the state’s southern desert—but keeping the water clean and sewer pipe repaired rankles both sides of the border. The 8.5-mile sewer pipeline has caused issues for at least a decade and leaked raw sewage last year, prompting Gov. Doug Ducey ® to briefly declare a state of emergency.
California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra filed a lawsuit Tuesday night against the Trump administration, alleging that the federal government violated the Clean Water Act by allowing, in recent years, millions of gallons of raw sewage, heavy metals and other contamination to routinely spill from Tijuana into San Diego.
A lawsuit brought by South Bay cities alleging the federal government is not doing enough to prevent and treat the flow of Tijuana sewage into the U.S. can move forward, a San Diego federal judge ordered this week. The ruling, filed Wednesday, comes a day after U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Miller toured pumps and water-capture basins in the Tijuana River Valley to get a first-hand look at the issue.
Among the great variety of locations a couple might consider as their wedding venue, a sewage treatment plant probably would not rank highly. Yet weddings are happening at the Brightwater Treatment Plant near Maltby, Washington. To be precise, couples are booking the Brightwater Education and Community Center for their nuptials. Two dozen couples have tied the knot within the center’s striking contemporary architecture since 2014.
Horror tales from recent earthquakes overseas are moving people in Seattle, Portland and along the Pacific Northwest coast to give a crap about where to crap after a major earthquake. It’s not something we typically discuss in polite company, but disaster planners say that when water and sewage service fails, finding a place to poop is a big deal.
Federal court judge Jeffrey T. Miller toured the Tijuana River Valley for several hours on Tuesday to observe pumps and canyon collectors along the border intended to prevent sewage from spilling into San Diego. The unusual move comes as the result of a contentious legal battle in which Miller must decide whether the Trump administration is doing enough to stop sewage that routinely pours into the United States from Mexico.
It might seem harmless at first: a thread of dental floss tossed in the toilet, a contact lens swirling down the drain of the bathroom sink. But even the tiniest of items can contaminate waterways. … Pharmaceuticals, which are also frequently flushed down the drain, have been found in our drinking water, and the consequences are not fully known.
Bottled water giant Crystal Geyser has been charged by a grand jury with 16 counts of violating environmental and hazardous waste laws, after the jury viewed evidence that the company improperly disposed of toxic waste, a Department of Justice press release said.
Coronado’s mayor flew to Oklahoma this week to talk with the head of the Environmental Protection Agency about possible solutions to the recurring Tijuana sewage spills that sully the San Diego County coastline. Mayor Richard Bailey and Administrator Scott Pruitt spoke one-on-one for about 20 minutes Tuesday during an annual meeting between leading environmental experts and regulators from Mexico, the United States and Canada.
Wastewater recycling doesn’t have to be a fancy affair. Sometimes it can be as simple as building a pipeline. That is more or less the full description of the North Valley Regional Recycled Water Project. Only a year after starting construction, at a cost of around $90 million, the project is already delivering recycled urban wastewater to farms and wildlife refuges in California’s San Joaquin Valley, providing a reliable new water supply to a drought-plagued region.
The state Attorney General has joined San Diego’s regional water regulators in pressuring the White House to do more to address sewage from Tijuana that routinely spills over the border fouling beaches as far north as Coronado. The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board, with the backing of Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office, on Monday filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue the federal government for violations of the Clean Water Act.
The top United States official at the international agency charged with overseeing efforts to stem ongoing water pollution in the Tijuana River Valley stepped down on Friday. The departure of Edward Drusina, former commissioner of the U.S. section of the International Boundary and Water Commission, or IBWC, comes as the agency continues to face legal attacks from South Bay cities that routinely shutter beaches due to pollution from south of the border.
The city of Oakland and East Bay Municipal Utility District must pay more than $360,000 for violating the Clean Water Act by allowing untreated sewage into the San Francisco Bay, officials said Tuesday. In 2014, EBMUD and seven East Bay communities it serves, including Oakland and Berkeley, paid $1.5 million in civil penalties for past sewage discharges.
[Rep. Susan] Davis, a San Diego Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, has grown concerned about untreated sewage leaking from Tijuana’s aging and overworked wastewater collection and treatment system, a problem exacerbated by surges of fecal contamination when Mexican pipes break, pumps fail and rain falls.
Disposal of sewage is something most people would rather not think about, but that reluctance is costing Marin residents a pretty penny, according to a new Marin County Civil Grand Jury report. The report, released Friday, recommends immediate consolidation of three sanitary districts in central Marin — Sanitary District No. 1 (Ross Valley), Sanitary District No. 2 (Corte Madera) and the San Rafael Sanitary District.
A plan to pipe treated wastewater from Tijuana to the Guadalupe Valley is being championed by authorities who say the project not only would support the state’s wine-growing region, but also solve another problem: reducing the flow to the overburdened San Antonio de los Buenos coastal sewage treatment plant.
Members of the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board gathered in a closed session on Monday afternoon, debating whether to file a lawsuit against the federal government to stem the cross-border flow of sewage, sediment and other contaminants from Tijuana to San Diego.
South Bay elected officials said they are filing a lawsuit Friday in the most dramatic attempt in decades to force the federal government to plug up the millions of gallons of sewage and polluted water that routinely stream over the border from Tijuana into the San Diego region.
Becky Van and Kale Novalis knew exactly when and where they were going to tell each other, “I love you,” for the first time. … The couple had signed up for a Valentine’s Day tour of the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, the largest of 14 wastewater treatment facilities in New York City.
The pipes carrying away the effluvia of very sick people are bound to be nasty, dirty places. But just how unwholesome they are is made clear in a new report showing that the pipes beneath a hospital intensive care unit are a throbbing, seething hookup zone for antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
On Thursday, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration special agent Don Tanner confirmed the investigation will be conducted into the incident involving the spill of up to 4.9 million gallons of untreated wastewater into the bay from the Monterey One Water treatment plant.
An investigation will be conducted into the failure of a computer warning system at the Monterey One Water regional treatment plant which allowed millions of gallons of untreated sewage to flow into the Monterey Bay for more than eight hours late Friday night and early Saturday morning. According to Monterey One Water General Manager Paul Sciuto, the investigation began Monday morning and will be conducted by the consulting firm Pinnacle ART.
Precipitation carrying tainted water through the Tijuana River into the Pacific Ocean triggered beach closures Tuesday evening from the international border to Seacoast Drive in Imperial Beach. … The pollution from stormwater runoff adds to spills from aging pipes and potentially hazardous discharges from the deteriorating San Antonio de Los Buenos sewage treatment plant in Punta Bandera, located about six miles south of the border.
The U.S. Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission announced Thursday that it wants to hold a workshop with San Diego-area cities and agencies in hopes of staving off a lawsuit over the flow of sewage from Mexico.
Officials in Imperial Beach said Wednesday that sewage flowing up the coast from Tijuana fouled miles of shoreline over the weekend, severely sickening surfers and other beach goers. Mayor Serge Dedina, who also fell ill, said he received no advanced notice from officials in Mexico about the pollution.
At least one San Diego leader wants water researchers to start testing city waterways for hepatitis A. Councilman David Alvarez on Thursday penned a letter to the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project requesting that the environmental research group start testing as many as a half-dozen area waterways for the deadly liver infection.
The San Diego River saw a huge increase of pollution from human feces last winter, according to documents obtained from regional water quality regulators. The flood of human waste came as storms drenched the region, washing pollution from the urban environment into watersheds and potentially flushing sewage from leaky pipes through groundwater into rivers and creeks.
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to join the growing legal campaign to force the federal government to do more to stop sewage from spilling over the border from Tijuana that routinely fouls South Bay beaches. “Enough is enough,” Supervisor Greg Cox, whose district includes border region with Mexico, said in a statement.
Kern County has agreed to stop challenging the City of Los Angeles over its practice of dumping treated human waste on Kern County farmland, capping a bitter legal battle that has spanned more than a decade.
North Coast water regulators are taking another run at a comprehensive program to prevent bacterial contamination of the Russian River, one that includes provisions likely to have significant impacts for thousands of homeowners dependent on aging septic systems.
Federal water-quality officials on Thursday released a list of actions taken in recent years to stop wastewater from flowing from Mexico into the San Diego region, a little more than a week after the city of Imperial Beach threatened a lawsuit.
The National Park Service has plans to replace aging sewer and water lines in the Muir Woods National Monument that could cause “significant damage” to the environment if they rupture, including to Redwood Creek, home to delicate fish populations.
A state agency has issued a notice of violation to Modesto for discharging roughly 755 million gallons of partially treated waste water in to the San Joaquin River in March because the city’s sewer system had been overwhelmed by storms and rising river water.
A much-anticipated report on a sewage spill in Tijuana that has sparked tensions with San Diego County gave mixed findings Monday. … The investigation was launched by the International Boundary and Water Commission, which oversees water treaties between Mexico and the United States, among other things.
Baja California’s governor is preparing to declare a state of emergency in the coming days, hoping to draw financial aid for Tijuana’s strained and underfunded sewage system following a massive spill that sent millions of gallons of untreated wastewater from Tijuana across the border and into San Diego last month.
About 143 million gallons of sewage spilled into the Tijuana River during a period of more than two weeks, said a report released Friday. No other sewage spill in the greater San Diego-Tijuana region has approached this magnitude in years, according to the environmental group Wildcoast.
Modesto appears to have bought itself some time before it may have to release partially treated wastewater that poses a public health risk into the San Joaquin River. The city’s sewer system has been overwhelmed by the recent storms and rising river water, and it is reaching its capacity to store the wastewater.
For decades, California oil companies have disposed of wastewater by pumping it into aquifers that were supposed to be protected by federal law. California regulators mistakenly granted permits to do it, through a combination of poor record keeping, miscommunication and permitting errors.
Kern County has lost a key round in its decade-long battle with Southern California waste districts over the land application of treated human and industrial waste. Now the Board of Supervisors will have to decide whether to appeal the loss and continue the fight.
For more than 30 years, wastewater from oil and gas operations has been used to irrigate food crops in California. Regulators will re-examine the safety of that practice during a public hearing Friday.
A company that has trained dogs to recognize the smell of human fecal bacteria has been sniffing out sources of water pollution nationwide, discovering broken sewer pipes, leaking septic tanks and illegal sewage discharges, to the delight of environmental groups and government agencies.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency calls nutrient pollution the “single greatest challenge to our nation’s water quality.” Rising concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus in waterways, the agency reports, are a significant threat to human health, ecosystems, and local economies.
It is now possible to imagine a future in which highly treated wastewater will be plumbed directly into California homes as a new drinking water supply. On September 8, the State Water Resources Control Board released a long-awaited report on the feasibility of so-called “direct potable reuse.”
I [John Holland] drove out past Merced last year to see a dairy farmer testing a new idea. He irrigated 40 acres of feed corn with drip lines, which are much more common in orchards and vineyards than annual crops.
In rural areas with widely dispersed houses, reliance upon a centralized sewer system is not practical compared to individual wastewater treatment methods. These on-site management facilities – or septic systems – are more commonplace given their simpler structure, efficiency and easy maintenance.
Directly detecting harmful pathogens in water can be expensive, unreliable and incredibly complicated. Fortunately, certain organisms are known to consistently coexist with these harmful microbes which are substantially easier to detect and culture: coliform bacteria. These generally non-toxic organisms are frequently used as “indicator species,” or organisms whose presence demonstrates a particular feature of its surrounding environment.
The biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) of water determines the impact of decaying matter on species in a specific ecosystem. Sampling for BOD tests how much oxygen is needed by bacteria to break down the organic matter.
The first test of ocean water following a massive California sewage spill came back clean Wednesday, suggesting stinky sludge that drained into the Los Angeles River didn’t flow 20 miles to the coast, officials said.
A damaged sewage line spilled a total of about 2.4 million gallons of untreated waste into the Los Angeles River and has forced the closure of all beaches in Long Beach and Seal Beach, officials said Tuesday.
Organizers of a petition drive to ban the practice of irrigating crops with recycled oil field wastewater will be pitching their cause on Saturday morning to customers at markets in nine cities across the state, including a Ralph’s in Los Angeles.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has banned the disposal of hydraulic fracturing waste water at public sewage plants, formalizing a voluntary practice that removed most fracking waste from Pennsylvania plants starting in 2011. The EPA on Monday finalized a rule that prevents operators from disposing of waste from unconventional oil & gas operations at publicly owned treatment works [POTW's].
Settling a major lawsuit from environmentalists, San Jose city officials on Tuesday agreed to spend more than $100 million over the next decade and beyond to reduce tons of trash that flows into creeks and San Francisco Bay, repair miles of leaking underground sewage pipes and clean stormwater contaminated with harmful bacteria.
The Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District hired Dragados USA to build a biological nutrient removal station, part of a larger $1.5 billion to $2 billion effort to meet stricter state standards on wastewater pollutants discharged into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is failing in its mandate to protect underground drinking water reserves from oilfield contamination, according to a federal review singling out lax EPA oversight in California, where the state routinely allowed oil companies to dump wastewater into some drinking water aquifers.
By a unanimous vote, the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District, a water wholesaler for about 353 square miles of San Bernardino County, certified the proposed Sterling Natural Resources Center project, which would capture and treat East Valley Water District’s wastewater and add the output to the Bunker Hill Groundwater Basin, which is at a historic low level.
A 2005 spate of quakes in California’s Central Valley almost certainly was triggered by oilfield injection underground, a study published Thursday said in the first such link in California between oil and gas operations and earthquakes.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials were in Carlsbad on Wednesday to announce more than $182 million in federal funding that will be funneled to drinking water and wastewater infrastructure improvements throughout California.
A U.S. Interior Department investigation glossed over the federal government’s negligence in a massive toxic wastewater spill from an inactive gold mine that fouled rivers in three states, Republicans in Congress said as they pushed for a more detailed explanation of the accident.
In an attempt to prevent its oil industry from contaminating groundwater sources that could be used for drinking water, California regulators closed 33 wells last week that were injecting oilfield waste into protected aquifers.
An Associated Press analysis of data from leading oil- and gas-producing states found more than 180 million gallons of wastewater spilled from 2009 to 2014 in incidents involving ruptured pipes, overflowing storage tanks and even deliberate dumping.
The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board ignored its own staff recommendation and voted to let Valley Water Management Co. continue disposing of excess wastewater by spraying it on hillsides for another 21/2 years.
Although treating wastewater generally ranks alongside police and fire safety, schools, and transit as the top priorities of any sensible city hall, new ideas about cleaning up sewage almost never attract headlines or TV airtime. … It has taken a four-year drought in California to change that.
In the fourth year of an unrelenting drought emergency, every use of water in California is being put under the microscope. Watering a lawn, filling a pool, washing a car, growing food — all are familiar practices now viewed with a more critical eye. The same is true of California’s oil industry, the nation’s third largest.
The farm is taking part in a research project using worms to consume nitrogen in manure-tainted water that irrigates its feed crops. The goal, in part, is to reduce the risk of pollution. But the process also has a byproduct – an especially rich fertilizer that can be sold to home gardeners and other users.
Seeking to accelerate San Diego’s efforts toward greater water independence, Mayor Kevin Faulconer will lobby Gov. Jerry Brown today for financial and regulatory help with the city’s $3.5 billion plan to recycle sewage into drinking water.
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews and other Silicon Valley leaders on Monday took big gulps of recycled water — filtered, cleaned and disinfected sewage — to show that it is safe and should be a growing part of Silicon Valley’s drinking water future.
The question of how the state’s petroleum companies should dispose of wastewater that comes from the ground mixed with newly pumped crude oil attracted a gathering of anti-fracking protesters in Long Beach on Tuesday.
In hearings at the Capitol last week, lawmakers excoriated Brown’s staff for letting oil drillers inject wastewater into wells in protected aquifers and for allowing a battery recycler in Southern California to operate under a temporary permit for decades while emitting hazardous waste.
The agencies charged with overseeing oil production and protecting California’s ever-dwindling water sources from the industry’s pollution all fell down on the job, one state official told a panel of peeved lawmakers Tuesday.
California officials, responding to concerns about groundwater contamination, are closing 12 wells in the Central Valley used to dispose of chemical-laden water from oil and gas production, regulators announced Tuesday.
Water officials in Kern County discovered that oil producers have been dumping chemical-laden wastewater into hundreds of unlined pits that are operating without proper permits. … The pits — long, shallow troughs gouged out of dirt — hold water that is produced from fracking and other oil drilling operations.
The city of Dixon is suing a taxpayers’ group, trying to block an electoral challenge to a sewage rate increase in a growing rift over how to pay for $23 million or more in state-mandated improvements to the town’s wastewater treatment plant.
Fresno is turning its sewer farm into a drought-buster. City Hall has started building the first phase of an advanced treatment plant that will deliver millions of gallons of water every day for non-drinking uses, such as irrigation of green space.
The recent revelation that oil companies were allowed to inject wastewater into federally protected aquifers has spurred alarm from the federal Environmental Protection Agency and put state regulators on the defensive.
The show floor at WWETT 2015 will be filled with the latest and greatest products the water and wastewater industry has to offer. But it’s also important to remember where the industry came from. A historical display, sponsored by NASSCO, and coming to the Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment and Transport (WWETT) Show in February, will do just that.
By next year work should be underway on National Park Service property at Stinson Beach to gird against rising seas that are predicted to swallow part of Marin’s coast sometime this century. The threat of sea-level rise is the primary reason why the park service is planning a $2.3 million revamp of a wastewater treatment system …
DC Water dedicated its second Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) on December 12, 2014. It has been named “Nannie”, in honor of Nannie Helen Burroughs, a prominent 20th century African-American educator, civil rights activist, and Washington resident. This TBM will join another – called “Lady Bird” – as part of Washington’s strategy to reduce combined sewage overflows into the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers when it rains.
A broad coalition of 27 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) including The Sierra Club, The Nature Conservancy, and The Conservation Fund has pledged to support the Urban Waters Federal Partnership as it works to restore waterways and revitalize communities across the country. … Many urban waterways have been polluted for years by sewage, runoff from city streets, and contamination from abandoned industrial facilities.
A proposal to deliver wastewater from a Toro-area community services district to the regional treatment plant for recycling could be a key part of any Monterey County Board of Supervisors approval of the Ferrini Ranch development.
As climate change exacerbates the most severe weather and speeds sea-level rise, deficiencies in wastewater infrastructure will become harder to ignore—and increasingly costly to clean up after failures.
What comes to mind when you think of purple? Likely you conjure images of grapes, flowers, or your favorite socks. How about a purple pipe? Most states require pipes to be colored purple if they carry reclaimed water. … Reclaimed, or recycled, water is highly treated wastewater that’s used again for a variety of purposes such as irrigation, industrial processes, and cooling towers.
In a new report, the Center for American Progress takes a look at the danger climate change poses to wastewater systems from stronger storms, higher seas, and heavier downpours and offers realistic and cost-effective recommendations to shore up this aging infrastructure before the next massive storm. Chief among those recommendations are that all new investments in wastewater infrastructure take into account the projected impacts of climate change and that affordable, green infrastructure solutions be considered.
Step by step, sewage flows through the city’s Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant in the San Fernando Valley. Ultimately, the cleaned effluent flows into lakes and rivers. … Mayor Eric Garcetti, who prefers the term “showers to flowers” instead of “toilet to tap,” also lobbied for groundwater cleanup funds.
Because of restrictions on burning, California hospital representatives say their only option appears to be trucking the waste over public highways and incinerating it in another state — a prospect that makes some environmental advocates uneasy. … Dr. David Perrott, chief medical officer for the California Hospital Assn., said there was also confusion about whether infected human waste could be flushed down the toilet.
This 30-minute documentary-style DVD on the history and current state of the San Joaquin River Restoration Program includes an overview of the geography and history of the river, historical and current water delivery and uses, the genesis and timeline of the 1988 lawsuit, how the settlement was reached and what was agreed to.
This 25-minute documentary-style DVD, developed in partnership with the California Department of Water Resources, provides an excellent overview of climate change and how it is already affecting California. The DVD also explains what scientists anticipate in the future related to sea level rise and precipitation/runoff changes and explores the efforts that are underway to plan and adapt to climate.
Many Californians don’t realize that when they turn on the faucet, the water that flows out could come from a source close to home or one hundreds of miles away. Most people take their water for granted; not thinking about the elaborate systems and testing that go into delivering clean, plentiful water to households throughout the state. Where drinking water comes from, how it’s treated, and what people can do to protect its quality are highlighted in this 2007 PBS documentary narrated by actress Wendie Malick.
A 30-minute version of the 2007 PBS documentary Drinking Water: Quenching the Public Thirst. This DVD is ideal for showing at community forums and speaking engagements to help the public understand the complex issues surrounding the elaborate systems and testing that go into delivering clean, plentiful water to households throughout the state.
In the West, it is not a matter of if a drought will occur, but when. In an effort to develop a drought-proof water supply, many communities are turning to water recycling. Water recycling is reusing treated wastewater for irrigating golf courses, other urban landscapes, some crops, wetlands enhancement, industrial processes and even groundwater recharge. But many people do not understand how water is treated, recycled and reused, causing some to oppose new projects.
This 15-minute video explains in an easy-to-understand manner the importance of groundwater, defines technical terms, describes sources of groundwater contamination and outlines steps communities can take to protect underground aquifers. Includes extensive computer graphics that illustrate these groundwater concepts. The short running times makes it ideal for presentations and community group meetings. Available on VHS and DVD.
This beautifully illustrated 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing and display in any office or classroom, focuses on the theme of Delta sustainability.
The text, photos and graphics explain issues related to land subsidence, levees and flooding, urbanization and fish and wildlife protection. An inset map illustrates the tidal action that increases the salinity of the Delta’s waterways. Development of the map was funded by a grant from the California Bay-Delta Authority.
As the state’s population continues to grow and traditional water supplies grow tighter, there is increased interest in reusing treated wastewater for a variety of activities, including irrigation of crops, parks and golf courses, groundwater recharge and industrial uses.
The 28-page Layperson’s Guide to California Wastewater is an in-depth, easy-to-understand publication that provides background information on the history of wastewater treatment and how wastewater is collected, conveyed, treated and disposed of today. The guide also offers case studies of different treatment plants and their treatment processes.
The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to the Delta explores the competing uses and demands on California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Included in the guide are sections on the history of the Delta, its role in the state’s water system, and its many complex and competing issues with sections on water quality, levees, salinity and agricultural drainage, and water distribution.