Topic: Wastewater



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

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

Non-potable uses include:

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

Fracking for oil and gas is devouring American groundwater

[T[o strike oil in America, you need water. Plenty of it. Today, the insatiable search for oil and gas has become the latest threat to the country’s endangered aquifers, a critical national resource that is already being drained at alarming rates by industrial farming and cities in search of drinking water. The amount of water consumed by the oil industry, revealed in a New York Times investigation, has soared to record levels. … And now, fracking companies are the ones scrambling for water. A 2016 Ceres report found that nearly 60 percent of the 110,000 wells fracked between 2011 and 2016 were in regions with high or extremely high water stress, including basins in Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma, and California.

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Aquafornia news NBC 7 - San Diego

San Diego County’s mayors push Newsom for help with border water-pollution crisis

The Tijuana River sewage emergency has reached the state level once again. All 18 mayors in San Diego County have sent another letter to California Gov. Gavin Newsom, asking for his help to address the ongoing sewage and chemical pollutants flowing into the ocean from the river. … Paloma Aguirre, the mayor of Imperial Beach, where beaches have been closed now for 650 consecutive days, said that going to the beach is one of the last free recreational things people can do, and that issue affects people living beyond the coast.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Capitol Times

State considers using effluent water credits

The Arizona Water Banking Authority is exploring the possibility of buying purified wastewater to distribute later – which would be unprecedented. At the AWBA commission’s meeting on Sept. 13, new bank manager Rebecca Bernat asked whether she should look into the possibility of the bank using effluent water credits. Until 2019, AWBA has only used excess Colorado River water long-term storage credits. That’s for the Central Arizona Project water stored in aquifers. Users can get the water later during a potential shortage by pumping it back out.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

What would happen if Tijuana sewage crisis is declared an emergency?

Saying this is “a pivotal moment that calls for resolute action,” all 18 mayors in San Diego County sent a letter last week to Gov. Gavin Newsom imploring him to declare a state of emergency over the decades-long sewage crisis at the border. … But what exactly would a state of emergency do? And does the sewage crisis meet the criteria? … When a state of emergency is declared, a lot of red tape is cut. For example, it could accelerate and simplify the bidding process for construction contracts and free up federal money for personnel, equipment and supplies.

Aquafornia news Pomerado News

San Diego expected to approve water-rate hikes of almost 20 percent

San Diego water bills would rise nearly 20 percent under a rate-increase proposal the City Council is scheduled to consider Tuesday. The increase, which city officials began studying last fall, would be the first comprehensive rate hike approved by the council in nearly eight years. It would include a 10.2 increase this December and an 8.75 percent jump in January 2025. City officials say they need additional revenue increases to cover rising costs for imported water, upgrades to thousands of aging pipes and a long list of short-term and long-term capital projects. The capital projects include the Pure Water sewage-recycling system, which has been under construction since last year, and upgrades needed to several aging city dams that state officials have deemed in poor condition.

Aquafornia news KUSI - San Diego

California Water Board holds meeting on Tijuana Sewage

For decades, Mexico has dumped millions of gallons of sewage from the Tijuana River Valley into the Pacific Ocean, without any concern for the environment. The sewage then moves north, contaminating the waters of Imperial Beach, and even Coronado. Year after year, politicians have tried and failed to stop the sewage. In September 2020, under President Donald Trump, Congress allocated $300 million to the EPA as part of Trump’s replacement for NAFTA, the US-Mexico-Canada agreement. Despite the allocation of funds, the money was halted once the Biden Administration took over, which is normal procedure. Biden Administration officials wanted to “re-study” how best to use the funding, to effectively attack the sewage problem.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Assembly OKs mandate on future California oil well cleanups

California may put oil companies on the financial hook to plug and clean aging oil fields after lawmakers approved a measure meant to prevent taxpayers from footing the bill for orphaned wells. In a year that has been relatively quiet for climate legislation, the passage of Assembly Bill 1167 on Thursday night marked a win for environmentalists and communities mainly around Los Angeles and the San Joaquin Valley facing methane leaks from aging oil wells that require costly cleanup. … Orphaned wells, as they’re called, risk harmful leaks of oil, polluted water and methane often near residential areas. According to the Geologic Energy Management Division, known as CalGEM, California has plugged about 1,400 wells since 1977 at a cost of $29.5 million.

Aquafornia news CBS 8 - San Diego

San Diego Pure Water project will reduce need for imported water

California is looking to boost water supply and considering new regulations to recycling wastewater straight to your tap. Some refer to it as toilet to tap, however experts in the field say this phrase is anything but accurate. … CBS 8 visited San Diego’s Pure Water project. It’s in phase one of construction and will supply nearly half of the city’s drinking water by the end of 2035. The water goes through a rigorous recycling process. Our crews got to see it all happen at the Pure Water demonstration site. “Five different treatment steps,” said Dough Campbell, the deputy director of Pure Water operations. Campbell said water is treated at a wastewater plant before it ever arrives to Pure Water. Then the water goes through a five step process of ozone, biologically active carbon filters, membrane filters, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet lighting.

Aquafornia news San Luis Obispo Tribune

Grover Beach CA may raise water, sewer rates due to deficit

Water and sewer bills in Grover Beach could increase by nearly 20% to make up for a $2 million deficit in revenue, the city announced Wednesday in a news release. At its Sept. 5 meeting, the Grover Beach City Council learned about the findings from a recent utility rate study, heard recommendations and unanimously instructed the city staff to start the Proposition 218 process, a step in notifying the public about proposed rate changes, the release said. Prior to the 2023 study, the city conducted rate studies approximately every five years, with one conducted in 2021.

Aquafornia news Berkeley Lab News Center

News release: Five ways NAWI is advancing water treatment and desalination technologies

Innovative water treatment and desalination technologies hold promise for building climate resilience, realizing a circular water economy, and bolstering water security. However, more research and development is critical not only to radically lower the cost and energy of such technologies, but to effectively treat unconventional water sources. Conventional water supplies, such as fresh water and groundwater, are typically used once and thrown away, rendering this valuable and finite resource inaccessible for further use. Since its launch in 2019, the National Alliance for Water Innovation (NAWI) has made strides in developing new technologies to economically treat, use, and recycle unconventional waters (such as brackish groundwater, municipal and industrial wastewater, and agricultural run-off), which could point to a future where water equity and security is accessible to all.

Aquafornia news KCRA - Sacramento

Joe Montana sues San Francisco alleging fecal matter in home

Joe and Jennifer Montana are among the people suing San Francisco, alleging city departments did nothing to prevent “torrents of water and untreated sewage” from flooding their homes. The lawsuit, filed in the San Francisco County Superior Court on Aug. 24, was brought by dozens of families who live, rent or own property in the Marina District. The families allege that the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and Department of Public Works, as well as contractors they hired, knowingly allowed negligent conditions to develop in their neighborhood. … This problem came to a head during winter storms over the past two years, the families say. The suit claims 4.5 million gallons of “untreated wastewater” flooded homes in Oct. 2021, and “torrents of water and untreated sewage” inundated their properties again in the storms of December 2022 and this past January.

Aquafornia news Downey Brand LLP - JDSupra

Blog: Supreme Court denies review of California Appeals Court ruling that State Water Board’s duty to prevent waste and unreasonable use of water is “highly discretionary”

On February 27, 2023, in a much anticipated decision, California’s Second District Court of Appeal overruled the trial court by determining that the State Water Resources Control Board (“State Water Board”) did not violate its duty to prevent waste and unreasonable use of water when it declined to investigate wastewater discharges from four Los Angeles area Publicly Owned Treatment Works (“POTWs”). The Court found that the State Water Board’s duty under state law to prevent waste and unreasonable use of water is “highly discretionary” and does not require an investigation or assessment of every allegation of unreasonable use. The Appeals Court updated its decision on June 2, 2023. (Los Angeles Waterkeeper v. State Water Resources Control Board, 92 Cal.App.5th 230 (2d Dist. 2023).)

Aquafornia news KPBS Public Media

San Diego researchers work on forecasting tool for ocean pathogens

California is investing $3 million in an effort to allow researchers to predict when and where ocean waters near Imperial Beach may be contaminated. The ocean off the coast of Imperial Beach has suffered decades of contamination which includes trash, toxic chemicals and untreated sewage runoff. Last week, homes in Imperial Beach, Chula Vista, San Diego and on the Silver Strand were under a boil-water order because a test sample came back positive for E. coli contamination. The order was lifted this past weekend after additional tests found the water to be safe.

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Aquafornia news Counter Punch

Is wastewater an answer for adapting to climate change?

Population growth and climate change are stretching America’s water supplies to the limit, and tapping new sources is becoming more difficult each year—in some cases, even impossible. New Mexico, California, Arizona, and Colorado are facing the nation’s most significant strains on water supplies. But across the entire American Southwest, water stress has become the norm. … Farmers use the vast majority of water withdrawn from the Colorado River to irrigate crops—and 70 percent of that is for crops like alfalfa and hay used to feed cattle. The river also supplies drinking water to 40 million people in the Southwest, and in 2022, Lake Mead—which the Colorado feeds—shrank to its lowest levels since it was filled in the 1930s.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

As coal mines depleted a Navajo Nation aquifer, feds failed to flag losses, report says

Coal mining depleted areas of a critical aquifer in the Black Mesa region of the Navajo Nation, but a federal agency didn’t consider the losses environmentally damaging, researchers concluded in a new study of the aquifer in northern Arizona. The researchers detailed what they said were failures by the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement to hold the Peabody mining company responsible for the environmental effects of coal mining in the Black Mesa area. The findings of the study, conducted by the Institutes for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, didn’t surprise Nicole Horseherder, executive director of Tó Nizhóní Ání, a group working to protect Black Mesa water, among other things.

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Aquafornia news Spectrum News

California seeks to put purified sewage in drinking supplies

Earlier this summer, state water officials introduced draft regulations that, if passed, would allow purified wastewater to be directly introduced to drinking supplies. Currently, purified wastewater has to be introduced to environmental buffers like groundwater aquifers before being added to drinking supplies, but the new regulations would allow treated water to bypass this step after undergoing additional purification processes.

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Aquafornia news KQED - San Francisco

Is water recycling the answer to the Bay Area’s drought woes, algae blooms?

When recycled for drinking, the millions of gallons of water that Bay Area residents flush down toilets and showers every day could be cleaner than the pristine Hetch Hetchy water that flows from many taps in the region, according to a top California water official. … Recycled water for human consumption … will be so clean that workers will have to add minerals to it, because the purification process strips the water of necessary minerals that make it drinkable. But recycling the region’s used water for drinking, a process called “direct potable reuse,” is not happening anywhere in the Bay Area — at least not yet. 

Aquafornia news KCBS - Central Coast

SLO residents say airport contamination cleanup is moving too slowly

Toxic chemicals have been leaking into the groundwater under and around the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport for about five decades. It’s not the only airport in the state dealing with this contamination, but it is the first to address the problem with a formal plan. That’s because the contamination impacted dozens of private wells for homes and businesses. Many affected residents feel like the process is moving too slowly. … But the foam is full of harmful chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. They’re often called “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down in the environment. … Beginning in 2019, the State Water Board ordered 30 airports in California to investigate PFAS contamination. According to the board, all of them showed some level of impact. As for the SLO airport, a vast majority of the more than 70 wells in the area were contaminated.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Toxic trash: California’s aging hazardous waste sites have troubling safety records

California produces millions of tons of hazardous waste every year – toxic detritus that can leach into groundwater or blow into the air. It’s waste that can explode, spark fires, eat through metal containers, destroy ecosystems and sicken people. It’s dangerous material that we have come to rely on and ignore – the flammable liquids used to cleanse metal parts before painting, the lead and acid in old car batteries, even the shampoos that can kill fish. It all needs to go somewhere. But over the past four decades, California’s facilities to manage hazardous waste have dwindled. What’s left is a tattered system of older sites with a troubling history of safety violations and polluted soil and groundwater, a CalMatters investigation has found.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Reclamation awards $29.9 million to the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District for Harvest Water

Reclamation recently awarded the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District $29.9 million to help fund Harvest Water. The recycled water program will provide a safe and reliable supply of tertiary-treated water to agriculture and habitat lands in southern Sacramento County, while also reducing the reliance on groundwater pumping and resulting in increased groundwater levels.

Aquafornia news KQED - San Francisco

Bay Area red tide crisis ends, watchdog group declares algae bloom over

The red tide that gave East Bay waters a light brown sheen earlier this month is likely over, declared the environmental watchdog group San Francisco Baykeeper Monday. “I would say this bloom is done for now,” said the group’s staff scientist Ian Wren on a boat under the eastern half of the Bay Bridge, where the water was olive green instead of a murky tea color brought on by the bloom. … Even though the red tide has dissipated, Eileen White, executive officer of the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, is hesitant “to declare victory.” … Last year the red tide — literally billions of tiny algae called Heterosigma akashiwo — killed an immeasurable amount of fish. This year, the algae killed fewer than 100, according to a state-run citizen science project. Sitings of important Bay Area species, including sturgeons, bat rays and crabs, were among the dead.

Aquafornia news KSBW - Central Coast

State clears Big Basin Water Company to operate sewer plant

Three years on from the CZU Complex Lightning Fire, the state of California has finally given approval for the Big Basin Water Company to once again begin operating the local sewer system. The approval was received by the company in an email Wednesday. Homeowners say one of the obstacles to rebuilding after the fires has been the county was not approving their building permits because sewer lines were not connected. Now, Big Basin Water Company, which is in charge of the sewer plant in the area, says the state just cleared them to operate again and says that will help streamline the permit process for homeowners.

As Drought Shrinks the Colorado River, A SoCal Giant Seeks Help from River Partners to Fortify its Local Supply
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Metropolitan Water District's wastewater recycling project draws support from Arizona and Nevada, which hope to gain a share of Metropolitan's river supply

Metropolitan Water District's advanced water treatment demonstration plant in Carson. Momentum is building for a unique interstate deal that aims to transform wastewater from Southern California homes and business into relief for the stressed Colorado River. The collaborative effort to add resiliency to a river suffering from overuse, drought and climate change is being shaped across state lines by some of the West’s largest water agencies.  

New EPA Regional Administrator Tackles Water Needs with a Wealth of Experience and $1 Billion in Federal Funding
WESTERN WATER Q&A: Martha Guzman says surge of federal dollars offers 'greatest opportunity' to address longstanding water needs, including for tribes & disadvantaged communities in EPA Region 9

EPA Region 9 Administrator Martha Guzman.Martha Guzman recalls those awful days working on water and other issues as a deputy legislative secretary for then-Gov. Jerry Brown. California was mired in a recession and the state’s finances were deep in the red. Parks were cut, schools were cut, programs were cut to try to balance a troubled state budget in what she remembers as “that terrible time.”

She now finds herself in a strikingly different position: As administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 9, she has a mandate to address water challenges across California, Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii and $1 billion to help pay for it. It is the kind of funding, she said, that is usually spread out over a decade. Guzman called it the “absolutely greatest opportunity.”

Western Water Layperson's Guide to Groundwater Douglas E. Beeman

Water Resource Innovation, Hard-Earned Lessons and Colorado River Challenges — Western Water Year in Review
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK-Our 2019 articles spanned the gamut from groundwater sustainability and drought resiliency to collaboration and innovation

Smoke from the 2018 Camp Fire as viewed from Lake Oroville in Northern California. Innovative efforts to accelerate restoration of headwater forests and to improve a river for the benefit of both farmers and fish. Hard-earned lessons for water agencies from a string of devastating California wildfires. Efforts to drought-proof a chronically water-short region of California. And a broad debate surrounding how best to address persistent challenges facing the Colorado River. 

These were among the issues Western Water explored in 2019, and are still worth taking a look at in case you missed them.

Western Water California Water Map Gary Pitzer

Often Short of Water, California’s Southern Central Coast Builds Toward A Drought-Proof Supply
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Water agencies in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo counties look to seawater, recycled water to protect against water shortages

The spillway at Lake Cachuma in central Santa Barbara County. Drought in 2016 plunged its storage to about 8 percent of capacity.The southern part of California’s Central Coast from San Luis Obispo County to Ventura County, home to about 1.5 million people, is blessed with a pleasing Mediterranean climate and a picturesque terrain. Yet while its unique geography abounds in beauty, the area perpetually struggles with drought.

Indeed, while the rest of California breathed a sigh of relief with the return of wet weather after the severe drought of 2012–2016, places such as Santa Barbara still grappled with dry conditions.

Western Water California Water Map Gary Pitzer

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

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

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

Western Water California Water Map

Your Don’t-Miss Roundup of Summer Reading From Western Water

Dear Western Water reader, 

Clockwise, from top: Lake Powell, on a drought-stressed Colorado River; Subsidence-affected bridge over the Friant-Kern Canal in the San Joaquin Valley;  A homeless camp along the Sacramento River near Old Town Sacramento; Water from a desalination plant in Southern California.Summer is a good time to take a break, relax and enjoy some of the great beaches, waterways and watersheds around California and the West. We hope you’re getting a chance to do plenty of that this July.

But in the weekly sprint through work, it’s easy to miss some interesting nuggets you might want to read. So while we’re taking a publishing break to work on other water articles planned for later this year, we want to help you catch up on Western Water stories from the first half of this year that you might have missed. 

Western Water California Water Map Gary Pitzer

Can Providing Bathrooms to Homeless Protect California’s Water Quality?
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: The connection between homelessness and water is gaining attention under California human right to water law and water quality concerns

A homeless camp set up along the Sacramento River near downtown Sacramento. Each day, people living on the streets and camping along waterways across California face the same struggle – finding clean drinking water and a place to wash and go to the bathroom.

Some find friendly businesses willing to help, or public restrooms and drinking water fountains. Yet for many homeless people, accessing the water and sanitation that most people take for granted remains a daily struggle.

Western Water Layperson's Guide to California Wastewater Gary Pitzer

As Californians Save More Water, Their Sewers Get Less and That’s a Problem
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Lower flows damage equipment, concentrate waste and stink up neighborhoods; should water conservation focus shift outdoors?

Corrosion is evident in this wastewater pipe from Los Angeles County.Californians have been doing an exceptional job reducing their indoor water use, helping the state survive the most recent drought when water districts were required to meet conservation targets. With more droughts inevitable, Californians are likely to face even greater calls to save water in the future.

Western Water Colorado River Basin Map Gary Pitzer

‘Mission-Oriented’ Colorado River Veteran Takes the Helm as the US Commissioner of IBWC
WESTERN WATER Q&A: Jayne Harkins’ duties include collaboration with Mexico on Colorado River supply, water quality issues

Jayne Harkins, the U.S. Commissioner of the International Boundary and Water Commission.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.

Western Water California Groundwater Map Layperson's Guide to Flood Management Gary Pitzer

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

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

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

Western Water Groundwater Education Bundle Gary Pitzer

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

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

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

Aquapedia background

Septic Systems

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.

Aquapedia background


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

Aquapedia background

Coliform Bacteria

Coliform Bacteria as Indices

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.

Aquapedia background

Biochemical Oxygen Demand

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.

Aquapedia background

Point Source vs. Nonpoint Source Pollution

Point Source Pollution

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


Restoring a River: Voices of the San Joaquin

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.


A Climate of Change: Water Adaptation Strategies

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.


Drinking Water: Quenching the Public Thirst (60-minute DVD)

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. 


Drinking Water: Quenching the Public Thirst (30-minute DVD)

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.


Layperson’s Guide to Water Recycling
Updated 2013

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.


Layperson’s Guide to California Wastewater
Published 2013

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.

Publication Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Map

Layperson’s Guide to the Delta
Updated 2020

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 issues with sections on water quality, levees, salinity and agricultural drainage, fish and wildlife, and water distribution.

Aquapedia background Layperson's Guide to California Wastewater

Wastewater Treatment Process in California

Wastewater management in California centers on the collection, conveyance, treatment, reuse and disposal of wastewater. This process is conducted largely by public agencies, though there are also private systems in places where a publicly owned treatment plant is not feasible.

In California, wastewater treatment takes place through 100,000 miles of sanitary sewer lines and at more than 900 wastewater treatment plants that manage the roughly 4 billion gallons of wastewater generated in the state each day.

Western Water Magazine

A Drought-Proof Supply: The Promise of Recycled Water
July/August 2008

This printed copy of Western Water examines recycled water – its use, the ongoing issues and the prospects it holds for extending water supplies.