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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

California tribes call out degradation of Clear Lake

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

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Aquafornia news The New York Times

Why California is planning to ban fracking

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

Aquafornia news Mission Local

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

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

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Is Newsom making any difference on fracking?

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

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

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

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

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Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Monterey Peninsula water district files complaint against Cal Am

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

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Aquafornia news Brown and Caldwell

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

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

Aquafornia news California Trout

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

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

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Monterey venture moves a step closer to increasing area water supply

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

Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

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

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

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

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

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

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

County to host septic and water permit townhall for fire survivors

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

Aquafornia news UC Riverside

New research: Cleaner water through corn

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

Aquafornia news ABC7 Los Angeles

Worms help power Valley winery’s wastewater system

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

Aquafornia news The Hill

California pushes to ban fracking and oil extraction

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

Aquafornia news The Mercury News

Editorial: Biden offers California a clear, clean water strategy

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

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Solving the nitrogen puzzle: Measuring groundwater pollution from agriculture

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

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Poseidon water plant permit discussion continued to next week

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

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

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

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

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Aquafornia news Voice of OC

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

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

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

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

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

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Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

Water board committee recommends advancing Pure Water Monterey expansion

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

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

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

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

Aquafornia news Science Times

Freshwater salt pollution: Is it threatening people and wildlife?

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

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

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

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

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

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

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

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Aquafornia news ABC4 Utah

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

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

Aquafornia news Orange County Water Association

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

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

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Sonoma County calls for sewage pipeline study

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

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

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

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

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Aquafornia news Holtville Tribune

Air district dings IID over Red Hill Bay

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

Aquafornia news Ag Net West

Central Coast Water Board approves Ag Order 4.0

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

Aquafornia news Truthout

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

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

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

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

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

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

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

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

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Aquafornia news AgNet West

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

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

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

West Marin water contamination prompts ranch inspections

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

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Plan to ban California fracking falls short in Legislature

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

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Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Sausalito sewage spill unloads nearly 100K gallons

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

Aquafornia news Poseidon Water

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

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

Aquafornia news KQED

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

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

Aquafornia news State Water Resources Control Board

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

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

Aquafornia news Santa Barbara News-Press

Goleta Water District to discuss partnership with Tesla

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

Aquafornia news Sonoma West

Water rates heading back to council on Wednesday

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

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

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

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

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

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

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

Aquafornia news KPBS

Sewage flows continue to foul south San Diego County beaches

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

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Aquafornia news The Mercury News

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

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

Aquafornia news Voice of OC

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

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

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Kamala Harris visits Oakland to tout federal jobs plan

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

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Aquafornia news California Department of Justice

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

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

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Pure Water Monterey expansion SEIR revision work approved

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

Aquafornia news National Law Review

California State Water Board’s construction stormwater permit for 2021

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

Aquafornia news Downey Brand LLP

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

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

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Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

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

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

Aquafornia news Western City Magazine

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

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

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Aquafornia news State Water Resources Control Board

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

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

Aquafornia news CNN

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

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

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Aquafornia news Spectrum News 1

Clean, locally sourced water could make a comeback in Lomita

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

Aquafornia news Bloomberg

Pandemic wipes create sewer-clogging fatbergs

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

Aquafornia news East County Magazine

Santee council gets update on Padre Dam’s big project

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

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

News release: ACWA-Sponsored SB 323 passes Committee hearing

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

Aquafornia news Perkins Cole

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

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

Aquafornia news San Luis Obispo Tribune

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

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

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

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

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

Aquafornia news The Point Reyes Light

Private tests show bad water quality near park ranches

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

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

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

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

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Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Las Gallinas sewage agency expands recycled water system

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

Aquafornia news U.S. Department of Energy

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

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

Aquafornia news Civil Eats

20 hotspots to start fixing nitrogen pollution in agriculture

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

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

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

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

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

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

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

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Aquafornia news U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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

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

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

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

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

Aquafornia news National Geographic

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

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

Aquafornia news The Sierra Nevada Ally

Nonpoint source pollution: killing the Truckee River by degrees

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

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Board approves Pure Water Monterey expansion report spending

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

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

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

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

Aquafornia news WaterWorld

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

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

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

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

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

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

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

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

Aquafornia news Patch

Ocean use advisory issued for Manhattan Beach water

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

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

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

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

Aquafornia news The New York Times

What’s in the federal stimulus for Californians?

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

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

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

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

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

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

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

Aquafornia news Best Best & Krieger

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

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

Aquafornia news KCRA3

California could get $150B from federal virus relief bill

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

Aquafornia news Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions

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

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

Aquafornia news The Associated Press

Plan to allow thousands of California oil wells approved

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

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Aquafornia news NBC 7 San Diego

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

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

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Stinson Beach to devise sea-level rise defense plan

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

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

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

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

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Aquafornia news Downey Brand LLP

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

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

Aquafornia news ABC10 News San Diego

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

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

Aquafornia news YES! Magazine

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

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

Aquafornia news The Reporter

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

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

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

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

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

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

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

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

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

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

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

Aquafornia news EurekAlert!

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

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

Aquafornia news BenitoLink

San Juan Bautista moves ahead with water compliance projects

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

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

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

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

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Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

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

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

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

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

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

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

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

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

Aquafornia news Long Beach Post News

Long Beach to build new groundwater treatment facility in upper Westside

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

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

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

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

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

EPA water pollution permit limits challenged by San Francisco

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

Aquafornia news EOS

Community forests prepare for climate change

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

Aquafornia news Water Education Colorado

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

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

Aquafornia news Pasadena Now

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

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

Aquafornia news National Law Review

California wineries must comply with new waste water discharge order

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

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