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
Non-potable uses include:
landscape and crop irrigation
stream and wetlands enhancement
recreational lakes, fountains and decorative ponds
toilet flushing and gray water applications
as a barrier to protect groundwater supplies
from seawater intrusion
wetland habitat creation, restoration, and maintenance
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
California American Water recently announced its end-of-year
investment total and system improvements for 2020. More than
$68 million total was invested on system upgrades and various
improvement projects in the communities we serve throughout the
year. These improvements come despite the complications and
challenges posed by COVID-19 public health emergency.
If the cost of consuming water wasn’t high enough in San Diego,
consider the cost of getting rid of it. As Andy Keatts detailed
in a story Monday, San Diego has a huge infrastructure backlog
and half of the unfunded projects over the next five years
involve fixing the stormwater system.
Chico City Council unanimously voted to analyze and study the
current and future needs for the Chico Water Pollution Control
Plant (WPCP) to develop a regional sewer connection to
Paradise, according to the Town of Paradise. The connection
will be from a specified area in Paradise, called the Sewer
Service Area, and will include many parcels along Skyway,
Pearson, and Clark Road.
Threats associated with global water scarcity are increasingly
making news as continued growth in agricultural production,
expansion of urban boundaries, new industrial facilities, and
increased sensitivity to environmental needs drive increased
water demand. Supply side constraints for water are further
exacerbated by increasingly intense and frequent drought
events, such as the recent four-year (2016 to 2020) California
drought … Thus, a proliferation in wastewater
recycling over the coming decades could support a significant
lessening of water stress in many water-stressed areas.
A new set of winery wastewater guidelines will be imposed on a
statewide basis. The State Water Resources Control Board
recently adopted a general order regulating how wastewater will
be processed and discharged. … While the wine industry
is concerned with water quality issues, there is some concern
that a statewide mandate may not be the best approach to the
It would be arguably the most ambitious public works project in
San Diego history. The envisioned pipeline would carry Colorado
River water more than 130 miles from the Imperial Valley —
through the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, tunneling under the
Cuyamaca Mountains, and passing through the Cleveland National
Forest — to eventually connect with a water-treatment plant in
San Marcos. An alternative route would run through the desert
to the south, boring under Mt. Laguna before emptying into the
San Vicente Reservoir in Lakeside. Estimated cost: roughly $5
billion. New water delivered: None.
Last week the city of Oxnard reported that a Colorado lab found
two mutations of the coronavirus in samples of sewage
wastewater from Oxnard and that levels of the virus in the
wastewater are decreasing.
Hundreds of California wineries will be governed by statewide
wastewater processing rules for the first time. The move
toward a statewide regulatory framework is a five-year effort
and was finalized this week by the State Water Resources
Control Board. The board approved an order setting up
guidelines for wastewater processing at most of the more than
3,600 bonded wineries in the state, reported the North Bay
Business Journal. The new order promises to bring at least
1,500 of those wineries into a regulatory framework for
wastewater disposal for the first time.
In order to get a wetlands permit needed for development of the
former Concord Naval Weapons Station to move ahead, the City of
Concord will investigate the source of water unexpectedly found
near the one-time airfield north of Willow Pass Road. The
Concord City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to move
$12,000 of previously approved loan money to aid in the study
of where water is coming from on that land, located east of
Olivera Road near the Pixieland Amusement Park.
Pascua Yaqui Council members called it “a blessing” Tuesday.
They were talking about $900,000 in federal funds that will be
used to bring water to the tribe’s lands for irrigation, the
first fruits of a successful effort last year by members of the
state’s congressional delegation to win $150 million in federal
funding for water projects around the state. … The money
comes from an Army Corps of Engineers fund dedicated to water
infrastructure projects in Arizona. Under the bill, local
governments can enter into agreements with the corps for water,
wastewater treatment, environmental restoration and other
For nearly a full year, the ongoing pandemic has disrupted the
daily lives of many. Keeping students engaged in their
education despite school closures and the limitations of
distance learning has been a challenge for teachers,
professors, parents and educators at water districts. For
those interested in online educational resources
for water, we continue to provide a variety of
videos and materials, as well as updates and other
water-related information about the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hundreds of California wineries will for the first time be
governed by statewide wastewater processing rules, a change
from the long-held, regional approach that could increase
production costs for wineries and protections for waterways
while providing consistency for vintners across the state. The
move toward a statewide regulatory framework, a five-year
effort championed by industry leaders, was finalized this week
by the State Water Resources Control Board, which approved an
order setting up guidelines for wastewater processing at most
of the more than 3,600 bonded wineries in the state.
The State Water Resources Control Board adopted a general order
for how wastewater is processed and discharged at winery
locations in an ongoing effort to safeguard groundwater and
surface water from wastewater discharges. The order protects
groundwater and surface water quality while giving wineries the
flexibility to select compliance methods that best fit their
site-specific situation, including tiering the compliance
requirements to the winery size and associated threat to water
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Monday, as part
of a 12-state coalition, submitted comments to the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) arguing that its new
draft guidance misinterprets the U.S. Supreme Court’s
decision in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund… In
the comment letter, the coalition argues that the EPA’s draft
guidance tips the scales in favor of polluters by providing
them with additional arguments to avoid regulation under the
Clean Water Act, contravenes the purpose of the
Act, and conflicts with the Court’s decision
in County of Maui.
In a published opinion filed December 29, 2020, the First
District Court of Appeal affirmed a judgment denying a petition
for writ of mandate filed by the Santa Clara Valley Water
District (District) challenging waste discharge requirements
(WDRs) belatedly imposed by a responsible agency, the San
Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board (Board), on
lead agency District’s flood control project…. The case
involved highly unique facts, and a number of interesting legal
issues concerning the Board’s authority under the Federal Clean
Water Act (CWA), the state Porter-Cologne Act, and CEQA.
California isn’t meeting its recycled water goals, and billions
of gallons of treated wastewater are being discharged into the
ocean or other water bodies each year, according to state
regulators, who say drought conditions could cause future
Most California farmers get their water from the same sources
as towns and cities—aquifers, rivers, reservoirs, and
snowpack—putting population and food production in competition
with each other. Wastewater reclamation could be a way to
alleviate some of that pressure and is already common practice
elsewhere in the state, mostly as a way to recharge aquifers in
Orange County and prevent saltwater intrusion in coastal
On December 8, 2020, the United States Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) issued draft guidance intended to clarify when a
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit
is required under the Clean Water Act (Act) based upon the
recent United States Supreme Court ruling in County of Maui v.
Hawaii Wildlife Fund (Maui). This guidance is important
for public agencies and other entities that make point source
discharges to groundwater that reach waters of the United
Sewage data analyzed in Silicon Valley wastewater treatment
plants confirms that the latest wave of coronavirus infections
is sharply worse than the ones in the spring and summer.
Officials in Santa Clara County have been routinely testing
solid waste samples in sewage to detect levels of the
coronavirus that causes COVID-19 as part of a project funded by
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced
that a California manufacturing company will pay $390,000 for
violations of the Clean Water Act. Parker-Hannifin of Oxnard
was found to be improperly discharging wastewater from its
membrane and filter manufacturing facility into the City of
Oxnard’s sewer system. As part of this settlement,
Parker-Hannifin will spend approximately $510,000 on equipment
upgrades at its facility.
San Diego is participating in a statewide program to monitor
its untreated wastewater for the virus that causes
COVID-19. City staff have been monitoring for severe acute
respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2, in untreated
wastewater at the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant this
month. Following the test run, staff will monitor for
SARS-CoV-2 three times a week from January through June 2021.
It’s now or never. That’s the message from Paradise town
engineer Marc Mattox as it relates to building a sewer within
the town limits. On Tuesday night, the Paradise Town Council
voted unanimously to move forward on an environmental impact
report on the potential of building a sewer pipe to Chico‘s
water treatment plant.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published guidance on
how to apply the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in County of
Maui v. Hawai’i Wildlife Fund. The guidance provides some
clarity as to when a discharge to groundwater is the
“functional equivalent of a direct discharge from a point
source into navigable waters.”
In a bold step toward a new kind of collaboration in the
Colorado River Basin, the Metropolitan Water District of
Southern California and Southern Nevada Water Authority are
partnering to explore development of a drought-proof water
supply that could reduce reliance on the over-stressed river.
A city floating three-megawatt solar array project that will
produce roughly 6.5 million kilo-watt hours — enough energy to
supply 8% of Healdsburg’s annual energy needs — is nearing
completion and will likely be up and running and energized by
the end of this year….The final design will float roughly
11,600 solar panels on the city’s recycled water ponds at the
wastewater treatment plant…
Some facilities may have to test for the presence of per- and
polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in their wastewater, under a
new strategy from the US Environmental Protection Agency. The
effort could eventually help reduce the level of
environmentally persistent and toxic PFAS in drinking water
drawn downstream of such facilities as well as in fish and
Though many may not know it, throughout its existence the San
Onofre Nuclear Generation Station has discharged wastewater
that contains very low levels of radiation. All nuclear plants
release some effluents, though the nature and amounts can vary
by plant site and configuration. In the case of San Onofre, the
“liquid batch releases” go right into the Pacific. Southern
California Edison, the plant’s operator, insists the levels are
safe for marine life and the humans who swim and surf at San
Onofre State Beach.
UC San Diego says it detected traces of the novel coronavirus
in five areas of campus over the weekend after it greatly
expanded its search for the pathogen in wastewater samples
drawn from dozens of buildings.
Property owners in the Sonoma Valley generally receive property
tax bills in early October, which includes a lengthy list of
percentages levied for various bonds, and direct charges for
district fees such as fire, health care and the Sonoma Valley
County Sanitation District. But for the third time in seven
years, said Sonoma resident Scott Pace, that sanitation
district charge has been inaccurate.
The solar installation consists of 4,959 high-output solar
panels mounted atop a floating solar racking system. The system
will generate power for the Windsor Wastewater Reclamation
Facility, Public Works Corporation Yard and the Geysers pump
station, delivering approximately 90% of the water reclamation
facilities’ power requirements while saving about 30% of the
electricity cost based on the facilities’ existing grid
At a time when every other car on the South Coast seems to be a
Tesla, it’s fitting that the City of Santa Barbara will soon be
relying on a small mountain of Tesla storage batteries to help
move water in and out of its Cater Water Treatment Plant…
Bear Republic Brewing Company started by trucking three
6,000-gallon trucks of waste from the Cloverdale brewery
location to a facility in Oakland roughly 90 miles away
one-way. This solution was simply unsustainable for many
reasons, and Bear Republic eventually partnered with Cambrian
Innovation to install two anaerobic reactors on site.
A sewer pipe to Chico as part of a Paradise sewer project is
back on the front burner, just 17 months after it voted to look
to secure funding for preliminary engineering work
(environmental review, project design, and right of way) on a
local treatment plant. The town heard a report from HDR
Engineering on Tuesday night that recommends the Town Council
walk away from its May 2019 decision
Fluidmaster, headquartered in San Juan Capistrano, California,
is the #1 toilet repair brand worldwide. They boast more than
80% U.S. market share, sell their products in over 90
countries, have about 1,500 employees worldwide, and produce
about 100 million toilet repair products annually.
This Wednesday, Nov. 11, the Cloverdale City Council’s lone new
agenda item is a costly one to Cloverdale residents — a
proposed hike in the city’s water and sewage rates. The
increases in both water and wastewater rates … is something
that city officials say is needed to help start capital
improvement projects related to the city’s water and wastewater
Napa County has achieved a degree of peace – at least for now –
over big ideas involving water governance and how possible
changes might affect farmland preservation. Some finessing of
language paved the way for the Local Agency Formation
Commission of Napa County (LAFCO) to adopt a Napa Countywide
Water and Wastewater study.
There’s some fascinating tension around a proposed wastewater
reclamation collaboration in Southern California. The project,
if it goes forward, would provide some 150 million gallons per
day (~170,000 acre feet per year) of treated effluent. Water
now being discharged into the ocean would instead be available
for aquifer recharge within Southern California.
Dairy producers will need to be mindful of enforcement actions
from the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board.
Paul Sousa of Western United Dairies said enforcement typically
occurs during the rainy season. Enforcement actions have been
taken on six California dairies.
The University of California, Berkeley set up a temporary
laboratory where it is testing sewage water to spot signs of
COVID-19 in the San Francisco Bay Area. University leaders said
the new high-throughput pop-up lab is helping health officials
collect data on where the virus may be spreading, circumventing
some of the limitations of testing people individually.
On Friday, the state appellate court denied the petition by
Aaron Starr, who successfully led a repeal of wastewater rates
at the ballot box but the city is challenging it in court. The
appeals court ruled the rate repeal known as Measure M did not
provide sufficient funds for the city to operate its wastewater
treatment plant… On Sunday, Starr indicated he will now
petition the California State Supreme Court..
A 340-acre landfill facility in Richmond, Calif., is releasing
contaminated stormwater into nearby waters in violation of its
federal water pollution permit, a conservation group says in a
lawsuit filed in federal court.
Local leaders, farmers and others in the Central Valley report
additional progress in addressing salinity in surface water,
and salt and nitrates in groundwater, in compliance with a
program adopted last fall by the State Water Resources Control
What’s in the Tijuana River? Ammonia, a byproduct of raw
sewage. Phosphorous, an ingredient in soaps and cleaners that’s
banned in the U.S. Metals used in the industrial plating
industry. Parasitic worms. And DEHP, a chemical added to
plastics. And of course, there’s poo.
Conservative estimates from the National Association of Clean
Water Agencies suggest the industry as a whole is expected to
lose at least $12.5 billion due to the coronavirus when all is
said and done. Revenue concerns are spurring utilities to find
new infrastructure investments that can help offset shortfalls.
The persistent problem of non-revenue water is a good place to
Napa Sanitation District is marking a county-transfiguring
anniversary—it formed 75 years ago to turn the Napa River from
an “open cesspool” with raw sewage into a water recreation
draw. Signs of success abound.
Craig Johnson’s company Clipper Controls supplies organizations
with automatic water samplers, a tool that can be used to
detect COVID in wastewater. The device is dropped into a
manhole and collects sewage samples. Recently, Johnson said
demand for the device has greatly increased.
The overflows were caused primarily by a buildup of debris and
root intrusion from aging infrastructure that could not
accommodate heavy flows during intense rainfall, said Pope. In
2017, the heavy rains also caused channel bank erosion at a
pipe crossing that resulted in failure of the pipe and a sewage
spill into Cold Creek, a tributary to Lake Siskiyou.
Environmental groups’ challenges to agricultural waste
discharge requirements for the eastern San Joaquin River
watershed have been denied by a judge in Sacramento, which a
California Farm Bureau Federation attorney described as a legal
victory for affected farmers and for farmers statewide.
If all goes according to plan, recycled water from the city’s
planned $45 to $60 million wastewater treatment facility may be
used to help balance the Indian Wells Valley groundwater basin
as mandated by the state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management
Grant funding was just made available to begin to address the
hurdles being faced by Paradise residents trying to rebuild —
due to the lack of a sewer in the town. Residents have
expressed frustrations with the process for approving permits
to move through the septic process in order to rebuild, and a
grant organized by North Valley Community Foundation represents
After about six months of construction, Morro Bay’s new water
reclamation facility is well underway — and it remains
politically divisive this election season, with three
candidates talking about halting or undoing the project, which
is the largest-ever infrastructure project in city history.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a
$108 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act
(WIFIA) loan to the Stockton Public Financing Authority to help
modernize the city’s wastewater treatment facility and reduce
nitrogen discharges to the San Joaquin River.
It’s still dry as dirt, but promises to be a central component
of future water supplies for the 165,000 people served by the
Santa Margarita Water District. While the district currently
imports 100% of its drinking water from the Colorado River and
northern California, the new Trampas Canyon Reservoir is part
of a plan to generate 30% of potable water supplies locally and
to recycle more wastewater.
Imperial County Supervisor Ryan Kelley wants the board to work
with Congressman Juan Vargas, D-Chula Vista, and the county’s
lobbyists in Washington, D.C., to draft a legislation to fully
fund a wastewater treatment project to clean the New River.
The goal is to monitor progress of the pandemic on campus and
catch outbreaks before it’s too late to control them. Some
schools, such as UC San Diego and others have been testing
wastewater since August and September.
Water from every toilet flush, shower and load of laundry is
treated and pumped back into the bay. San Francisco’s
wastewater management processes have kept cities going and
scientists busy for quite some time. The San Francisco Estuary
Institute researchers are committed to monitoring contamination
levels in the bay and studying the associated ecological
House Natural Resources Committee ranking member Rob Bishop
wants the House to fast-track legislation that would pave the
way for hundreds of millions of dollars for water and
sanitation development across Indian Country.
Some call it a “quiet revolution.” Others, a “hostile
takeover.” Either way, on the heels of a severe drought, a
group of wealthy Montecitans, many of them members of the
Birnam Wood and Valley Club golf courses on East Valley Road,
will gain control over all aspects of water policy on November
3 and for the foreseeable future in this exclusive enclave of
one-acre lots and large estates.
The mayor of Imperial Beach and governor of Baja California are
in a public spat over cross-border sewage spills. Gov. Jaime
Bonilla has held three separate press conferences this month
demanding Mayor Serge Dedina apologize for his public
criticisms of Mexico’s inability to stop sewage from flowing
into the United States.
The violations stretch from June 2015 to June 2020 and involve
effluent discharges, monitoring and reporting, operation and
maintenance, pretreatment, and fats, oils and greases,
according to an administrative order on consent issued by EPA
All of Santa Barbara’s beaches and creeks are designated as
“impaired” under the federal Clean Water Act. … The council
voted 7-0 to send its proposed changes to stormwater runoff to
the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board… The
list of changes are extensive, and are proposed over four tiers
based on various types and levels of new construction
development. They involve landscape changes and stormwater
treatment for new impervious construction.
The Central Contra Costa Sanitary District Board of Directors
is one of the special districts set to appear on San Ramon
Valley voters’ ballots during the Nov. 3 election, with six
candidates vying for three at-large seats on the sewer board.
Along with being a global leader on addressing climate change,
California is the seventh-largest producer of oil in the
nation. And across some of its largest oil fields, companies
have for decades turned spills into profits, garnering millions
of dollars from surface expressions that can foul sensitive
habitats and endanger workers, an investigation by The Desert
Sun and ProPublica has found….Under state laws, it’s illegal
to discharge any hazardous substance into a creek or streambed,
dry or not.
On Wednesday, at the virtual 35th Annual WateReuse Symposium,
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency facilitated a
“charrette” to identify challenges and map solutions to
continue advancing the National Water Reuse Action Plan…
“Water reuse must be a central theme in EPA’s efforts to meet
21st century demands for water,” said EPA Assistant
Administrator for Water David Ross.
A California Fair Political Practices Commission investigation
has determined Costa Mesa Sanitary District officials did not
spend ratepayer funds to actively campaign against 2016’s
Measure TT, which sought to merge the sewer and trash service
provider with Mesa Water District.
Rural water and wastewater systems have largely been left out
of federal and state pandemic relief, and yet they play
critical roles in local economies. … As the virus stretches
further into smaller communities, these systems are fighting
for their survival under long-standing economic and structural
The Monte Vista Water District Board commissioned a feasibility
study on Sept. 2 to replace hundreds of old septic tanks in the
unincorporated area of Chino with a sewer system operated by
the water district. Sewage service would be a new area for the
district, which provides water services in Montclair and small
pockets in northwest Chino.
The Utility of the Future Today recognition program celebrates
the achievements of water utilities that transform from a
traditional wastewater treatment system to a resource recovery
center and leader in the overall sustainability and resilience
of the communities they serve.
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is extending its
Emergency Residential Community Assistance Program, designed to
help customers struggling to pay water, sewer and Hetch Hetchy
power bills during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program, which
launched in May, was originally set to expire Sept. 4, but will
now be expanded through the end of the year
Ryan Schmutz was one of about 300 students quarantined to their
rooms last week at Utah State University, but not because of
sickness reports or positive tests. Instead, the warning bells
came from the sewage.
As the beginning of the school year nears, UC San Diego is
preparing to ramp up its testing of sewage for the coronavirus.
The goal: Monitor the progress of the pandemic on campus and
catch outbreaks before it’s too late to control them.
Santa Rosa miscalculated its stored water forecast near the
beginning of the irrigation season, leading to sudden limits on
water use that farmers say will cost them dearly in an already
dry year. In mid-June, the agricultural users were put on
notice: There would not be enough irrigation water for all to
last through the growing season, according to the city.
The Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District (Regional
San) is currently completing major upgrades to its wastewater
treatment plant. In anticipation of these upgrades, USGS
scientists are gathering data to establish baselines for
current nutrient levels and dynamics in the Sacramento-San
Joaquin Delta (Delta).
In the Aug. 14 outage, multiple redundant power sources failed
at the plant in West Oakland, something that hasn’t happened
since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Major flooding at the
pump station led sewage to flow from an outlet into the estuary
more than nine hours later. The incident occurred amid hot
weather when people like to swim in the estuary running between
Oakland and Alameda,
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said Wednesday the agency
would pay for more water treatment south of the border, and
work with San Diego to control trash coming into the United
States from Mexico by way of the Tijuana River. Wheeler made
the announcement during a visit to Southern California, a
region long plagued by sewage, water, trash, and other
contaminants flowing from Mexico.
The two projects — which will cost $25 million and are funded
by the EPA’s Border Water Infrastructure Program — will control
sewage and wastewater, sediment and trash that flows from the
Tijuana River across the U.S.-Mexico border into San Diego, EPA
Administrator Andrew Wheeler said during a press conference
Wednesday at the U.S. Coast Guard station in San Diego.
Microplastics arrive on farms through processed sewage sludge
used for fertilizer, plastic mulches, and are even
intentionally added as slow-release fertilizers and protective
seed coatings. In just the last few years, an uptick in
research has uncovered alarming potential impacts of this
contamination on all aspects of agricultural systems from soil
quality to human health.
A major release of raw and partially treated sewage into the
Oakland Estuary earlier this month was triggered by a
rapid-fire series of electrical failures at the East Bay
Municipal Utility District’s main wastewater treatment plant,
the agency says in a report filed with state regulators.
“We need to know whether the EPA has applied a consistent
approach to enforcement against all cities with combined sewer
systems or if San Francisco was being punished at the direction
of the White House. This review of EPA actions will get to the
bottom of this issue.”
In California, Monterey Regional Waste Management District and
its neighbor, wastewater treatment plant Monterey One Water,
have entered a somewhat unusual relationship with unique
benefits to each. And the relationship has payoffs for its
shared customers too.
In a comment article published in Nature Sustainability, the
researchers are urging policy makers across the world to focus
on behavioural change, knowledge promotion and investment in
A new report issued today by the California Environmental
Protection Agency shows that at least half of California’s
landfill-bound food waste could be processed at the state’s
wastewater treatment plants and serve as an innovative power
Every day Hyperion Water Treatment Plant discharges enough
treated wastewater into the ocean to fill the Rose Bowl 2.5
times over. Now a court has instructed state water officials to
analyze whether it is “wasteful” and “unreasonable” to dump
billions of gallons of wastewater into the sea.
The CDC in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services and other federal government agencies will begin
working with state, local, territorial and tribal health
departments to collect data on the sewage samples, an effort
they call the National Wastewater Surveillance System, or NWSS,
according to CDC guidance updated on Monday.
Using Houston as a model, researchers at Rice’s Brown School of
Engineering have developed a plan that could reduce the need
for surface water (from rivers, reservoirs or wells) by 28% by
recycling wastewater to make it drinkable once again.
The city of Galt has agreed to pay $110,715 to settle a case
that began two years ago when 301,000 gallons of untreated
sewage overflowed into Dead Man Gulch, a tributary of South
Laguna Creek. The spill occurred during a power outage when a
faulty alarm system failed to alert city staff about
malfunctioning pumps at a sewage lift station.
Testing for COVID-19 is still limited, and results come far too
slowly to keep ahead of the pandemic. Now, dozens of cities and
countries are turning to the sewers to try to figure out if
COVID-19 is spreading in their community.
The Sonora Regional Wastewater Treatment plant, visible from
Highway 108, is nearly 50 years old, with outdated technology.
Working with the USDA, TUD has been approved to receive a $4.2
million grant, and $15-million loan, to make extensive
The dredging is taking place in a vast sewage treatment pond.
And the material being removed is biosolids, which is another
way of saying sewage sludge. About 3,500 tons of biosolids will
be piped from the pond this summer to be dewatered. It is
ultimately trucked a short distance and spread over a NapaSan
field where a farmer grows sorghum.
Sea levels on the California coast could rise as much as seven
feet by 2100 and put tens of thousands of vulnerable San
Franciscans at risk of daily flooding, according to a new
report from the California State Legislative Analyst’s office.
Every day Hyperion Water Treatment Plant discharges enough
treated wastewater into the ocean to fill the Rose Bowl 2.5
times over. Now a court has instructed state water officials to
analyze whether it is “wasteful” and “unreasonable” to dump
billions of gallons of wastewater into the sea.
Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are
probing the extent to which EPA and the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention are using wastewater to track the spread
of the coronavirus.
The Lakewood, California-based Water Replenishment District
announced that its Albert Robles Center for Water Recycling and
Environmental Learning has been awarded Leadership in Energy
and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification, the
highest rating offered to environmentally sustainable
buildings. Only 5.7 percent of LEED projects in the U.S. have
achieved this designation.
The Los Angeles Superior Court issued a historic ruling, in
favor of Los Angeles Waterkeeper, that compels the State Water
Resources Control Board to analyze whether it is “wasteful” and
“unreasonable” to dump billions of gallons of wastewater
uselessly into the sea, when it could instead be used
productively to ensure the sustainability of California’s water
A new statewide order affecting how wineries dispose of water
could undermine existing regional solutions, winery owners and
their advocates say, and would impose new costs as the wine
business struggles with tasting room closures and other
measures intended to assure employee safety.
Regional San’s landmark recycled water program—previously known
as the South County Ag Program—has been rebranded. Now known as
Harvest Water, the program will be one of the largest water
recycling projects in California and will deliver up to
50,000-acre feet per year of tertiary-treated recycled water to
an estimated 16,000 acres of farm and habitat lands in southern
The order is one of the most far-reaching of its kind with
respect to PFAS, mainly because it requires testing and
reporting for 31 different types of PFAS – more than any state
has regulated in water sources for PFAS to date.
The Trump Administration Monday announced that the United
States Department of Agriculture is investing $462 million to
modernize critical drinking water and wastewater infrastructure
across rural America.
The California state water board is working on an update to a
permitting process with water discharge requirements that make
sure wineries are in compliance with water quality regulation
and allows them a pathway to compliance. The new order will
affect over 2,000 wineries that discharge winery waste to land
for the purpose of disposal or reuse for irrigation and soil
With COVID-19 cases rising, public health officials are
struggling to keep up with testing and monitoring. Because
wastewater carries the virus, it can provide a window into
outbreaks. We talked to Eileen White, director of wastewater at
the East Bay Municipal Utilities District, about the agency’s
role in tracking the spread of the virus.
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today introduced the Border
Water Quality Restoration and Protection Act, a bill to reduce
pollution along the U.S.-Mexico border and improve the water
quality of the Tijuana and New rivers.
In a court filing, San Benito Foods accused the Hollister City
Council of “extortion of fees” for removing sludge from pond #2
at the city’s industrial wastewater treatment plant, which the
cannery uses to dispose of its wastewater, and that it is in
breach of an agreement between the city and the company.
The city of Beaumont and the owner of two previously approved
industrial buildings with a combined 2.89 million square feet
of space … have agreed to cap sewer capacity so as to not
overwhelm the city’s sewer capacity. … Tuesday’s amendment to
the development agreement establishes a maximum daily sewer
flow of 139,679 gallons . For perspective, a residential home
typically produces 330 gallons a day.
Believe it or not, much of the modern wastewater management
technology we consider standard in any 21st century home,
things like toilets and sewer pipes, are actually relatively
new in the grand scheme of history.
The agencies specifically warned that internet-connected
operational technology assets, used throughout U.S. defense
systems, were often the targets of malicious cyber actors
attempting to hit critical infrastructure, such as systems
providing water, gas and electricity. As a result, the agencies
recommended that critical infrastructure operators and owners
take “immediate action” to secure their systems.
The nearly $2-billion EchoWater project aims to meet a 2010
requirement issued by California and local authorities. They
have called for cleaner discharge into the Sacramento River by
2023 from the Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant in
Elk Grove. With 21 projects, the EchoWater program’s largest
components are now under construction and, despite
complexities, remains on track to complete major work in 2022.
A company paving the way for sewage testing called Biobot,
located in Boston, Massachusetts, has assembled a team of
biologists, epidemiologists, data scientists, urban planners
and engineers to track SARS-CoV-2 in stool that is making its
way into the sewers and to our wastewater treatment plants.
San Diego homes and businesses have been improperly charged
tens of millions of dollars for a program that keeps toxic
sewer water from being discharged into the Pacific Ocean, the
City Auditor’s Office has found. A new report from Interim City
Auditor Kyle Elser said the city has failed to charge
Industrial Wastewater Control Program permit holders enough to
cover the costs of the program.
Imperial Beach Mayor Pro Tem Paloma Aguirre joined Good Morning
San Diego to discuss a new report claiming that an audit done
by Baja California governor accuses big US companies of water
theft and contributed to raw sewage and hazardous pollutants
ending up in the Tijuana River.
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s Board
of Directors recently approved the East County Advanced Water
Purification Program for its Local Resources Program, providing
approximately $86 million in funding for this important water
The City of Lathrop wants to secure a permit that will allow
for the discharge of treated wastewater into the San Joaquin
River. And last week they agreed to spend more than $400,000 to
take steps towards achieving that longstanding goal.
As environmental professionals work to address the most
pressing challenges of the 21st century, is time dedicated to
the California Water Environment Association well spent? The
answer from an active volunteer, Wendy Wert, P.E., BCEE, is a
resounding yes and a compelling story.
No park employees or residents tested positive. No visitors
reported being sick. The fresh air and open space seemed
immune. That’s until local health officials started looking for
the coronavirus in the park’s raw sewage… This week, lab
analysis of feces at two wastewater treatment plants serving
Yosemite revealed the presence of the virus that causes
COVID-19. Dozens of people in Yosemite Valley are believed to
have been infected.
The Consul General of Mexico in San Diego said there are things
happening in Tijuana that will help. In a written statement
responding to questions by KPBS, Carlos González Gutiérrez said
there are several projects underway.
Baja California’s new governor, Jaime Bonilla, says he is
battling to clean up widespread corruption that for years ate
away at the state’s water agency. Even Bonilla’s critics
acknowledge the corruption and the failing water system, which
results in frequent sewage spills that foul Tijuana and San
Studies conducted in multiple countries in recent months have
detected the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, in treated and
untreated wastewater, but to this date there has been no
evidence of a person contracting the virus through wastewater
or swimming areas.
The work, which begins June 29, will complete critical
improvements to the North Shore Force Main (NSFM), a
pressurized sewer pipeline that transports wastewater in
northern San Francisco to the Southeast Treatment Plant in the
Bayview, which treats 80 percent of the City’s wastewater.
The state of California, city of Imperial Beach, and the
Surfrider Foundation have agreed to a 12-month stay in
litigation over cross-border sewage flowing in from Mexico
while the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency focuses work on
the Tijuana River Valley.
The June 17 meeting of the Eastern Municipal Water District
included approving the purchase of groundwater monitoring
equipment for the West San Jacinto Basin, approving a
consultant contract for the final design of the Hemet Water
Filtration Plant sodium hypochlorite tank replacement, and
awarding Pacific Hydrotech Corporation a contract to replace
the booster engines at the Pat Road facility.
Local officials in Oregon, California, New York, Utah, Florida
and many other places are collecting sewage samples to test for
coronavirus, which experts say could allow for detection of
hotspots for the disease before the diagnosis of clinical
The Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District is
constructing the $375 million South Sacramento County
Agriculture & Habitat Lands Recycled Water Program, or the
South County Ag Program. As part of the wastewater provider’s
$2 billion treatment plant upgrade, the district will construct
new distribution pipelines to deliver recycled water from its
to irrigation systems in southern Sacramento County.
We checked in with Chad Davisson, General Manager of Ironhouse
Sanitary District in eastern Contra Costa County. He and
his team are getting wipes problems under control with
technology, monitoring, operational changes and widespread
public outreach. Then the pandemic hit, a TP shortage occurred
and the amount of trash entering their sewer system spiked to
unprecedented levels. We asked Chad how they dealt with these
The Tribe has been working with Sonoma County to develop 147
housing units as well as a resort and winery. Now that this
ongoing development can be performed on land officially held in
trust by the U.S. federal government, the Tribe is no longer
subject to local land use restrictions. As such, the Lytton
Tribe must assess all potential options to best meet future
wastewater needs. Collaboration with their Windsor neighbors as
well as an environmental assessment identified two primary
Tehama County has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases. A number of
cases have been identified in the Corning area, according to
city officials. … The county says a private company, Biobot
Analytics, tested samples from the Corning Wastewater Treatment
Plant each week in May to estimate the actual number of people
who might be infected.
Water pollution from Tijuana sewage runoff has once again
shuttered the Imperial Beach shoreline. The County of San Diego
Department of Environmental Health on Saturday extended north
the existing beach water-contact closure area at the Tijuana
Slough shoreline to now also include the Imperial Beach
Both United States and Mexican officials announced separate
plans Tuesday to upgrade Tijuana River wastewater facilities.
The international river has been a longtime problem for
residents of Imperial Beach and Tijuana, as sewage and trash
from the river have spilled into the Pacific Ocean for decades,
often closing beaches near the border and damaging natural
habitats along the river.
Water agencies in California typically include water recycling
in their water supply portfolios, but the ones that serve
smaller populations may not be able to implement full-blown
reuse programs all at once. The City of Paso Robles, home to
approximately 30,000 residents, shows it’s possible to build
water resilience without building an advanced purification
The County of San Diego has released a report that identifies
27 projects that could potentially reduce the flow of sewage
from Mexico into the U.S. and Tijuana River Valley each year by
as much as 91%, from 138 days to 12. The report, the Tijuana
River Valley Needs and Opportunities Assessment, identifies
strategies to manage impacts from sewage, trash, and sediment
on the U.S. side of the border.
The City of San Mateo’s Clean Water Program is progressing to
Phase 2 of the upgrade and expansion of its wastewater
treatment plant on Detroit Drive. … The wastewater treatment
plant upgrade is the largest component of the $1 billion,
decade-long Clean Water Program.
In places like the United States where testing of residents has
lagged, a central sampling point has the added appeal of
simplicity, compared to the rigors of clinical testing. Why jab
thousands of people per day with nasal swabs if sewage holds
the same answers?
Thousands of people in Marina are being blocked from full
representation on the board of a regional water agency, a
casualty of a larger battle over the water future of the
Monterey Peninsula. The agency is Monterey One Water, and it is
responsible for treating sewage.
On Wednesday, Special Districts received results for samples
taken on May 12, showing the presence of the virus at the
Southeast Regional and Northwest Regional Plants. Officials
said results have been significantly delayed as consultant
Biobot has become overwhelmed with hundreds of agencies and
municipalities joining their project. Results for May 19 and
May 26 samples remain pending, the county reported.
EPA will convene an Interagency Consultation Group comprised of
senior-level members from key U.S. federal, state, and local
agencies, as listed in the USMCA legislation. EPA will also
manage a binational technical expert consultation process to
ensure infrastructure options are informed by the best
available technical and scientific information.
While drain clogs aren’t new, most of the more than 15 cities
contacted by The Associated Press said they’ve become a more
costly and time consuming headache during the pandemic.
Home-bound Americans are seeking alternatives to bathroom
tissue because of occasional shortages, while stepping up
efforts to sanitize their dwellings and themselves.
U.S. policymakers understand quite well the impact of Mexico’s
wastewater management on American communities. What they fail
to comprehend is that the ongoing border sewage crisis is
rooted in a longer history of U.S. imperialism and private
enterprise in the San Diego-Tijuana region.
The lab aims to understand not only the current circulation of
the novel coronavirus, but also project what capacity must be
built in the future to combat a potential second wave,
according to Laurie Van De Werfhorst, a senior staff scientist
who’s worked with Dr. Patricia Holden for almost 19 years.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $196
million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA)
loan to the Inland Empire Utilities Agency in San Bernardino
County, California. The loan will help finance expanded
wastewater treatment capacity to support public health and the
environment in this growing community.
The term “crisis on the border” typically refers to immigration
issues or drugs being smuggled into the country. But it has one
more meaning, as we discovered, when we went to the border in
early February: tens of millions of gallons of raw sewage that
spill every year into the Tijuana River on the Mexican side and
flow across the border right into Southern California,
polluting the land, air, and sea.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday, May 28,
gave a $196.4 million loan to the Inland Empire Utilities
Agency to expand its wastewater treatment plant in Chino. …
More wastewater treatment capacity is needed as Chino and
neighboring cities served by the plant add residential and
It’s been more than a decade since discussions began about what
would happen to wastewater if the Lytton Tribe were to have
their lands west of town put into federal trust. At its May 20
meeting, the Windsor Town Council voted unanimously to move
forward to the next step, creating an agreement to have the
wastewater treated in the town’s facility.
In hundreds of cities across the USA, scientists hope
monitoring systems will provide an early warning if coronavirus
infections reemerge as communities in some states cautiously
reopen. These monitors don’t rely on testing patients or
tracing contacts. All that’s required? Human waste.
The nation’s environmental watchdog may investigate federal
enforcement of water policy in California after Democratic
lawmakers accused the Trump administration of “irregular”
interference targeting San Francisco, according to a letter
sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Technology is revolutionizing wastewater systems, which require
a lot of maintenance but are difficult to access under the
surface. Ari Goldfarb and Itai Boneh of Kando, a wastewater
solutions company, examine how technology is improving
wastewater systems and how Covid-19 is having an impact.
The council will consider a resolution approving an agreement
between the town of Windsor/Windsor Water District and the
Lytton Rancheria of California for the extension and provision
of wastewater services for residential development and
ancillary cultural, community and tribal government facilities
on the land located west of Windsor.
Rates will be reduced by 35 percent for sewer bills, 30 percent
for Hetch Hetchy public power utility bills, and 15 percent for
water bills for those who have a SFPUC residential account
under their name, have experienced income loss due to COVID-19
or the resulting shelter-in-place order, and a maximum income
under 200 percent of the area median income.
To provide further clarification on the virus that causes
COVID-19 infections, and concerns about how it relates to
residuals, sludge, and biosolids for water resource recovery
facilities as well as the wastewater sector at large, this
article includes a review of available data related to the
virus and surrogates as well as their potential associations
with residuals, sludge, and biosolids.
As a result of compliance with conservation measures through
lower indoor water use, the amount of wastewater effluent was
reduced. This reduction means less water for recycling and
reuse — a source of water often thought of as drought-proof —
and less water for stream augmentation, with a consequence of
potentially impacting streamflow and downstream water