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 UC Riverside

Blog: Rethinking (waste)water and conservation

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 quality…

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Poop tests in sewage might predict coronavirus surge

Scientists across the nation are examining Southern California’s poop — maybe even yours — with the hope of more quickly identifying COVID-19 hotspots and better preparing for future surges. The information could also signal when stay-at-home orders can be safely eased in specific communities.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Lake County News

Latest raw sewage testing at Lake County facilities does not detect virus that causes COVID-19

The latest testing of raw sewage at Lake County Special Districts’ four treatment facilities found no presence of the virus that causes COVID-19 at any of the plants late in April, despite the fact that samples earlier in the month confirmed its presence.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Water utilities want a bailout. Will Congress listen?

The industry and its advocates … are backing a two-phase plan to extend a lifeline to water utilities and customers who cannot pay their bills during an economic crisis, and to invest for the future. Step one in the plan is the provision of emergency assistance to both groups. There is still a debate about the size of an aid package for utilities and the most efficient and effective way of helping customers. But $1.5 billion in customer assistance is a common starting point in discussions.

Aquafornia news Politico

Poop could help stop the pandemic. Really

While wastewater surveillance has been used for years in developing countries to detect outbreaks of polio, in the U.S., it has been used more recently to track opioid use within communities. A spokesperson for the CDC confirmed that the agency is eyeing wastewater as part of its response to the pandemic, though it is not yet doing so.

Aquafornia news Water Environment Federation

Water Environment Federation releases first coronavirus roundtable

The Water Environment Federation has published the first of a series of video roundtable discussions with executive leaders from across the water sector. These discussions will discuss how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting operations, business, and people.

Aquafornia news California Water Environment Association

CalWARN distributing free cloth facemasks to water, wastewater utilities

FEMA, through a joint effort with the US Environmental Protection Agency and the California Water-Wastewater Agency Response Network … is providing a limited supply of cloth facemasks to California water and wastewater agencies. Although the distribution is being handled by CalWARN, you do not need to be a CalWARN member to request and pick up the cloth facemasks.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

An early warning system for coronavirus infections could be found in your toilet

Researchers say the virus can be detected in untreated wastewater within days of infection and as much as two weeks before a person grows ill enough to seek medical care — that is, if symptoms ever materialize at all.

Aquafornia news California Water Environment Association

Blog: West County Wastewater and EBMUD strike agreement saving valuable drinking water

West County Wastewater and East Bay Municipal Utility District announced a recycled water partnership that will preserve valuable drinking water for the region and support West County Wastewater’s ongoing mission of environmental stewardship and protecting public health.

Aquafornia news Fox 5 San Diego

South Bay leaders call for emergency repairs to Tijuana sewage system

South Bay leaders are once again calling for action to fix cross border pollution. … Tuesday, Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina told FOX 5 that the Tijuana sewage system has collapsed and is spewing about 60 million gallons of untreated sewage each day in the river.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Poop may tell us when the coronavirus lockdown will end

From Stanford to the University of Arizona, from Australia to Paris, teams of researchers have been ramping up wastewater analyses to track the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Initial studies show that sewage monitoring, or “wastewater-based-epidemiology,” could not only tell us how much the virus might actually be spreading in a community — but also when the virus has finally gone away.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Coronavirus causes delay in EPA’s rule for managing wastewater

The EPA has been too busy responding to the deadly coronavirus to work on its long-awaited proposal to manage huge volumes of pathogen-infested sewage and stormwater during heavy rains, the agency’s top wastewater official said Wednesday.

Aquafornia news KUSI News

60 million gallons of waste per day continues to flow from Mexico into San Diego’s ocean

While most of the Earth has been singularly obsessed with an invisible virus from a foreign land, in this California beach town, it’s a “crisis on top of crisis’. Not only dealing with the creepy disease we can’t see, but a river of toxic waste from a foreign land that we can see, but chose to ignore.

Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

Poll: 84 percent of Americans want investment in water

A new poll by the Value of Water Campaign released today shows that 84 percent of American voters want state and federal leaders to invest in water infrastructure. The near-unanimous support amid the COVID-19 pandemic reveals that voters value water and want elected officials to prioritize investing in infrastructure — specifically, drinking water and wastewater infrastructure.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Coronavirus, toilet paper shortage could hit sanitation districts

Most businesses across the country and certainly in the Coachella Valley are dealing with the fallout from the coronavirus crisis on a daily basis. Beverli Marshall, however, believes her business might not feel the sting of the coronavirus for months yet — ultimately, about the same amount of time it’ll take something that shouldn’t be flushed down a toilet or rinsed down a drain to make it through the waste water system of Valley Sanitary in Indio.

Related article:

Aquafornia news KQED News

One way to monitor a community’s coronavirus infections: Test the sewage

Ten Bay Area counties, coordinated by the East Bay Municipal Utility District, are giving samples of sewage water to researchers at Stanford for testing. The scientists have received samples once a week for about the past two months, and results are expected soon.

Related article:

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Supreme Court ruling finds old, new middle ground on Clean Water Act’s application to groundwater

The Court decision introduces the concept of a “functional equivalent of a direct discharge” as a guideline for when a point source discharge must obtain a permit. It cites the case of an injection well receiving pollutant discharge that then travels a few feet through groundwater into navigable waters as a clear case of “functional equivalent” to direct discharge.

Aquafornia news California Water Environment Association

Blog: Member surveys show PPE shortage, wipes struggles

For the April 15th collection systems webinar, we asked attendees if their agency is experiencing INCREASED maintenance because of wipes? 64% of the 165 agencies represented said yes they are experiencing O&M problems due to more wipes in the system. … Another startling finding was 77% of 191 agencies surveyed said they are struggling to find PPE supplies. The most common items those agencies are looking for are face masks, hand sanitizer and gloves.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: Clean Water Act covers groundwater discharges, Supreme Court rules

The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the Clean Water Act applies to some pollutants that reach the sea and other protected waters indirectly through groundwater. The case, County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund, No. 18-260, concerned a wastewater treatment plant on Maui, Hawaii, that used injection wells to dispose of some four million gallons of treated sewage each day…

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Senate water bills need more funding due to pandemic: Witnesses

Two bipartisan draft water infrastructure bills unveiled this week by the Senate environment committee are a good start but will need even more funding in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, water agencies and other groups said Wednesday.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Protective gear in low supply for U.S. water utilities

Utilities are reporting in industry surveys that they are low primarily on the specialized N95 masks that block viruses and other tiny particles. If the virus rampages throughout a utility’s work force the way it has in meat-processing facilities in Colorado, Iowa, and South Dakota, it could jeopardize the treatment and delivery of drinking water and the proper handling of sewage and stormwater.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Lake County News

Testing detects COVID-19 virus in raw sewage at Lake County sewer plants

Results from recent testing conducted at all of the sewer treatment plants operated by Lake County Special Districts have revealed the presence of the virus that causes COVID-19. … The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that while SARS-CoV-2 has been detected in the feces of some patients diagnosed with COVID-19, the amount of virus released from the body in stool, how long the virus is shed and whether the virus in stool is infectious are not known.

Related article:

Aquafornia news San Diego County Water Authority

Blog: San Diego mayor thanks water treatment plant employees

Following efforts to increase safety measures throughout all City departments to stop the spread of COVID-19, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer toured the Alvarado Water Treatment Plant on Friday to observe increased safety protocols. He also thanked City employees as they continue to deliver safe, reliable water to over 1.4 million San Diegans.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Green groups sue after EPA suspends enforcement of pollution monitoring due to coronavirus

Environmental groups are suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over a March memo signaling that the agency would not seek penalties against companies that do not monitor their pollution during the coronavirus outbreak.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Coronavirus: More members of Congress support water aid

The number of supporters in Congress for utility assistance in the next Covid-19 package continues to grow. One hundred ten Democratic members of the House and Senate sent a letter today to congressional leaders, requesting financial aid to utilities and the people they serve during the coronavirus pandemic.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Brookings Institution

Blog: COVID-19 is a chance to invest in our essential infrastructure workforce

As federal, state, and local leaders look to provide economic relief, they must pay special attention to the support and protection of our current infrastructure workforce. Additionally, this moment offers an opportunity that we may not see again anytime soon: the chance to jumpstart long-term infrastructure careers for millions of prospective workers nationally.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Onofre sewage spill linked to blocked line, worn out pump switch

Southern California Edison, the operators of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, is still investigating what caused the release of 7,000 gallons of sewage into the ocean last month but it appears the culprits were a blockage in the facility’s sewage treatment plant and a worn out pump switch.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Industry survey indicates revenue challenges for U.S. water utilities

Two-thirds of water utilities say that changes in water demand and customer payments during the coronavirus pandemic will cause cash flow problems within the next two months or more. That’s one of the takeaways from a survey of more than 500 water utilities conducted at the end of March by the American Water Works Association

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Wastewater treatment kills most pathogens, including COVID-19 virus

Californians reuse treated wastewater as a water supply, to irrigate crops, and to support freshwater ecosystems. To get answers to questions about managing the new coronavirus in the “sewershed,” we talked to two experts: Kara Nelson, an expert in waterborne pathogens at UC Berkeley; and Adam Link, executive director of the California Association of Sanitation Agencies.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Napa Sanitation District to repair an essential sewage-carrying pipe

Napa Sanitation District is planning a $15 million project to rehabilitate a deteriorating pipe that carries 90 percent of local sewage to the wastewater treatment plant and has no backup. … The half-century-old, 66-inch-diameter concrete pipe transports raw sewage three miles from the city of Napa to the wastewater treatment plant near the airport industrial area. A district report calls it the “backbone” of the sewer system.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Price of reclaimed water still too high for ag

If you’re a Central Valley farmer and haven’t yet been hit up by someone about reusing crummy water for irrigation — just wait. Companies are springing up all over with the latest gizmo they believe will take nasty, salty water, mostly from shallow aquifers on the valley’s west side or oilfield produced water, and make clean “new” irrigation water.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Audio: Pandemic’s effects on environment are good, bad, weird

On this episode of our podcast, Parts Per Billion, we speak with California correspondent Emily C. Dooley about some of the strange environmental trends that have popped up in her state and elsewhere as a result of the pandemic and its economic aftermath.

Aquafornia news Wired

Thursday Top of the Scroll: One way to potentially track COVID-19 — Sewage surveillance

How many people have been infected with the new coronavirus? A group of Bay Area researchers aims to find out—by tracking what’s in the local wastewater.

Related article:

Aquafornia news PlanetWatch

Opinion: The low down on the EPA’s National Water Reuse Action Plan

In a time when many people in the world are inside their houses to stop the spread of covid-19, it is easy to forget that good news still exists. The Environmental Protection Agency’s National Water Reuse Action Plan is a bit of good news. The Plan, announced on February 27, 2020, by EPA Administration Andrew Wheeler, prioritizes the use of recycled water.

Aquafornia news Western Municipal Water District

News release: Western Municipal Water District declares local state of emergency

Today’s declaration of a local emergency grants general manager, Craig Miller, increased flexibility to make critical operational decisions and acquire vital financial, material, and human resources to support business continuity. This action ensures the essential water and wastewater (sewer) services that Western provides remain as reliable as ever.

Aquafornia news KQED News

Coronavirus cruise ship is still anchored on the Bay. Handling its sewage is a chore

The effluent is hauled ashore on barges, hit with a dose of disinfectant, then deposited into a huge East Bay Municipal Utility District sewer main called the Alameda Interceptor. From there, the material joins the underground river of everything else that’s been flushed down local toilets and flows to the agency’s wastewater treatment plant at the foot of the Bay Bridge.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

San Onofre treatment plant problem leads to release of 7,000 gallons of partially treated sewage into ocean

In an alert to state regulators, Southern California Edison, which operates the power station, said an unexpected surge of wastewater led to an “upset” at the treatment plant that morning, triggering an alarm but allowing the sewage to flow through a 6,000-foot pipe out into the ocean before workers could turn off the pumps.

Related article:

Aquafornia news SFGate.com

Because of the TP shortage, people are using wipes, T-shirts with predictable results

Thanks to people hoarding toilet paper during the coronavirus pandemic, some Californians have completely run out of bathroom tissue. So what do they do when nature calls? They improvise. And that, communities are discovering, can cause problems. Big, stinky, overflowing problems.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Friday Top of the Scroll: Virus-related delays cause states to rethink water permit compliance

States around the country say they won’t penalize water and wastewater utilities for failing to meet Clean Water Act permit requirements due to delays caused by the deadly coronavirus if those delays are justified and documented. Delays, for example, could be caused by utility staff who test and monitor water quality—or lab workers who analyze it—being quarantined with Covid-19.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

7,000 gallons of sewage from San Onofre nuclear plant spills a mile into the ocean

A sudden influx of water at the sewage treatment facility at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station early Wednesday morning led to about 7,000 gallons of partially treated wastewater being released about a mile into the Pacific. Officials at Southern California Edison, the plant’s operator, said the sewage amounted to a “non-radiological release”…

Aquafornia news KUNC

Thurday Top of the Scroll: Coronavirus outbreak tests resilience of Western water workforce

Water agencies throughout the West are changing their operations during the coronavirus outbreak to make sure cities and farms don’t run dry. Their responses range from extreme measures to modest adjustments to ensure their most critical workers don’t succumb to the virus.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Coronavirus: Worker at San Jose wastewater plant tests positive

Highlighting the threat that coronavirus poses to basic public health systems around California and the nation, a worker at San Jose’s wastewater treatment plant — a facility that treats the sewage from 1.5 million people in San Jose and seven other cities — has tested positive for COVID-19. The employee is a janitor working as part of a contract company.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Americans coping with the coronavirus are clogging toilets

Many are then tossing the disinfectant wipes, paper towels and other paper products they used into the toilet. The result has been a coast-to-coast surge in backed-up sewer lines and overflowing toilets, according to plumbers and public officials, who have pleaded with Americans to spare the nation’s pipes from further strain.

Related article:

Aquafornia news CBS Los Angeles

Coronavirus: State Water Board warns ‘flushable’ wipes could clog sewer systems

As the state grapples with the ripple effects of the coronavirus outbreak, California’s Water Board says residents should not flush disinfecting wipes or paper towels, or risk dealing with backed-up plumbing and sewers.

Related article:

Aquafornia news San Bernardino City News

Water and school district partner on new career pathway

The Water and Wastewater Pathway at Indian Springs High School is strategically located near East Valley Water District’s new state-of-the-art wastewater treatment facility. The Sterling Natural Resource Center (SNRC) will provide a sustainable new water supply to boost the region’s water independence.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Coronavirus: California issues warning about disinfecting wipes

Wipes and paper towels do not break down like toilet paper does in water. They are stronger, and many wipes include plastics and materials like nylon. That means bad news for sewer systems, some of which already are experiencing problems during the coronavirus crisis.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news NBC Bay Area

California Public Utilities Commission: Certain services won’t be shut off due to inability to pay

California residents who are not able to pay their water, sewer, energy or communications bills during the state’s novel coronavirus state of emergency will not be at risk of having their services shut off, the California Public Utilities Commission said Tuesday.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news The Guardian

UK’s sewage system in danger of gridlock from toilet paper substitutes

Innocent consumer substitutions due to shortages caused by fears about the spread of coronovirus could create serious consequences which are critical to society and life, according to leading supply chain academic Prof Richard Wilding. The warning comes amid panic buying sweeping UK supermarkets…

Related article:

Aquafornia news WaterWorld

Advocating for clean water

As the nation’s water and wastewater treatment systems of pipes, pumps, and plants reach the end of their intended lifespan, investing in water infrastructure has taken the spotlight.

Aquafornia news KSBY

Morro Bay secures EPA loan for new wastewater treatment plant

The City of Morro Bay is getting a $62 million loan from the Environmental Protection Agency to replace its aging wastewater treatment plant. The new facility will be located near the intersection of South Bay Blvd. and Highway 1.

Aquafornia news Treatment Plant Operator Magazine

COVID-19 guidance for wastewater workers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently released guidance for wastewater workers, reporting that coronaviruses are vulnerable to the same disinfection techniques used currently in the health care sector.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Treatment Plant Operator Magazine

California district partners with other utilities to meet all of its customers’ irrigation needs

In a part of the country where freshwater supplies are often scarce, the Olivenhain (California) Municipal Water District is doing its part. The 4S Ranch Water Reclamation Facility recycles some 1 million gallons of high-quality effluent each day for irrigation and shares even more with neighboring communities.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Tijuana River sewage pollution shutters beaches as far north as Coronado

Beaches were closed on Tuesday from the Mexico border to Coronado as rain flushed sewage-contaminated runoff from Tijuana into the San Diego region. “Things have gotten worse than ever,” said Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Highland Community News

San Bernardino schools and East Valley Water District open career pathway

The new career prep program was created out of a partnership between the school district and water district that is linked to the development of East Valley Water District’s Sterling Natural Resource Center water recycling plant now under construction across Sixth Street from the high school.

Aquafornia news Mountain View Voice

Lawsuits against Mountain View and Sunnyvale allege sewage water leaking into creeks and Bay

An environmental watchdog group has filed lawsuits against the cities of Mountain View and Sunnyvale alleging that the cities’ aging sewer systems are leaking bacteria from human feces into stormwater drainage systems, contaminating local creeks and ultimately the Bay.

Aquafornia news KPBS

California wants feds to address cross-border sewage

The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board issued an investigative order in February that requires more monitoring of sewage-tainted cross-border flows. The order requires the International Boundary and Water Commission to monitor more than a dozen locations over an 18-month period.

Aquafornia news KPBS

Protesters gather at Mexican consulate, demand end of cross border sewage spills

A handful of protesters marched outside the Mexican Consulate in Little Italy, protesting cross border sewage flows. They want Mexico to do more to fix the problem. Polluted water has routinely flowed from Mexico into the United States since December. “We feel like we’re not getting heard,” said Mitch McKay, president of Citizens for Coastal Conservancy.

Aquafornia news Laguna Beach Independent

Laguna Beach moves to hike sewer rates in wake of Thanksgiving spill

A sewage spill that occurred a day before Thanksgiving last year prompted the Laguna Beach City Council to move forward with a one-time sewer rate increase Tuesday that will account for the financial fallout. Pending the result of a protest vote by ratepayers, the 10% increase ups bills for single-family homes to $800 annually, or $66.67 per month. The hike could take effect as early as July 1.

Aquafornia news Tehachapi News

Tehachapi City Council OK’s sewer, water fees for new development

Officials in the city of Tehachapi approved new water and sewer fees — in case new housing developments start moving in — to support the construction of infrastructure that can’t quite support projected growth in the next 10 years.

Aquafornia news Fairfield Citizen

Fairfield spends $4 million on hardening project for wastewater treatment plant

The town of Fairfield is moving forward with a project to better protect its wastewater treatment plant from large storms and sea level rise. According to a press release from First Selectwoman Brenda Kupchick, the project will cost a total of $7.4 million but $3.33 million will be funded through a grant from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Developments’ (US HUD) Community Development Block Grant - Disaster Recovery.

Aquafornia news Sierra News Online

Mariposa Utility District upgrades wastewater treatment facility

Reportedly a number of Mariposa County residents don’t believe the Mariposa Public Utility District’s (MPUD) decades-old sewage management system could provide service to potential new motels or hotels and multi-family housing units. … In fact, upon completion of the current retrofit and upgrade, MPUD officials say the wastewater treatment facility could easily handle three times as much capacity as it now processes.

Aquafornia news Pleasanton Weekly

Studying potable reuse water for Pleasanton

City staff recommends Pleasanton sign on to a potentially $1 million task order with three other Tri-Valley public water agencies for preliminary studies and community outreach … to explore the possibility of supplementing the local water supply with recycled water treated for drinking purposes, better known as potable reuse water.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Sewage in creeks prompts lawsuits against Sunnyvale, Mountain View

A Bay Area environmental group has sued the cities of Sunnyvale and Mountain View, saying they are in violation of the federal Clean Water Act for discharging raw sewage and polluted storm water into creeks, sending bacteria pollution to levels more than 50 times legal limits.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Unlikely allies push the White House to back cleaning pollution from the Tijuana River

With the backing of an unusual mix of local Democrats, Republicans, Border Patrol agents and environmental groups, House Democrats leveraged their support for the trade bill — one of Trump’s highest priorities — to secure the administration’s rare backing for an environmental project. Each group played a part.

Related article:

Aquafornia news KQED News

State fines North Bay water agency over massive sewage spill

This week the California Regional Water Quality Control Board and the Sonoma Valley County Sanitation District agreed to the financial settlement over one of the district’s largest sewage spills in recent memory.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Vast amounts of valuable energy, nutrients, water lost in world’s fast-rising wastewater streams

Vast amounts of valuable energy, agricultural nutrients, and water could potentially be recovered from the world’s fast-rising volume of municipal wastewater, according to a new study by UN University’s Canadian-based Institute for Water, Environment and Health.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Bright idea saves Manteca money

Borrego Solar is under contract to build … a 5 megawatt solar facility at Manteca’s municipal wastewater treatment plant. Interim City Manager Miranda Ludlow has indicated Manteca is in talks with a number of firms to hammer out a solar power purchase agreement.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego leaders say $300M in new federal cash will help build U.S. facility to capture Tijuana River pollution

The San Diego region has secured $300 million in federal funding for a new U.S. facility to capture Tijuana sewage spills before they foul South Bay shorelines, elected leaders said Friday.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Opinion: California industrial companies—your business license now depends on stormwater permitting

A new law in California took effect Jan. 1 and requires industrial business owners applying to a city or county for a new or renewed business license to demonstrate enrollment in a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System stormwater permit, if it’s required. … Failure to comply will result in delay or denial of a business license, effectively prohibiting the business from starting its operations.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Occidental, home of sky-high sewage rates, eyes outlet in Graton, but some residents object

Two Italian-style restaurants have drawn generations of diners to Occidental while serving pasta, pizza and soup — in recent years under the burden of the steepest sewage treatment rates in Sonoma County and among the highest in California. … There could be some help coming from Graton, about 6 miles to the east with an underutilized wastewater plant… But there’s a catch

Aquafornia news Axios

Mayors: Water tops city infrastructure needs

Water-related projects topped the list of infrastructure priorities for mayors, according to the 2019 Menino Survey of Mayors released this month. Why it matters: The survey revealed urgency around investments in water, wastewater and stormwater facilities, with mayors 10 percentage points more likely to focus on that issue than four years ago.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

AI startup digs up business opportunity in aging water pipes

Fracta combines artificial intelligence with machine learning and measures everything from soil quality to population density of an area, along with historical information on when pipes were installed and what they are made of. The startup says it has already won contracts in 23 states, including cities such as San Francisco and Oakland, which have faced water shortages.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Science for you: What’s in store for Arcata’s marsh?

One of the things that we humans have struggled with for centuries, and some countries continue to do so, is how to dispose of sewage and wastewater. People whose sewage is treated in Arcata have a big advantage that has been copied many thousands of times across the world. The Arcata wastewater treatment center and the marsh are the result of science and engineering that is currently under review.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

New water recycling projects will help battle Central Coast’s seawater invasion

For decades, California’s coastal aquifers have been plagued by invading seawater, turning pristine wells into salty ruins. But the state’s coastal water agencies now plan to get more aggressive in holding back the invasion by injecting millions of gallons of treated sewage and other purified wastewater deep underground.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The New York Times

EPA letting cities dump more raw sewage into rivers for years to come

The Environmental Protection Agency has made it easier for cities to keep dumping raw sewage into rivers by letting them delay or otherwise change federally imposed fixes to their sewer systems, according to interviews with local officials, water utilities and their lobbyists.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

No one injured in blast at water treatment plant in Corona

An explosion rocked a portion of a Corona wastewater treatment facility Friday but no injuries or chemical releases were reported, city officials said in a news release. The cause of the explosion is under investigation by the Corona Fire Department and the Department of Water and Power.

Aquafornia news City Watch LA

Ways to win the water wars

The Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant, located just south of LAX, purifies water and injects it into the ground to act as a barrier between seawater and fresh groundwater. … But the idea is to one day recycle wastewater into drinking water and put it right back into the system. The industry is moving cautiously, though, given what you might call a considerable “ick” factor for the public.

Aquafornia news Windsor Times

Larkfield sewer project groundbreaking

On Jan. 11 homeowners, administrators and local officials broke ground on the sewer project for the Larkfield neighborhoods, which had been leveled by the 2017 fires. The project has been a source of conversation and negotiation, as the homes had previously been on individual septic systems.

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

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

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

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

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

The rope behind Poway’s water problems had been there a long time

Nobody seems to know why a rope that caused a nearly weeklong boil-water advisory in Poway was there in the first place. The rope had been hanging on a wall in a vault adjacent to the clearwell drinking water reservoir and a stormwater drain. When heavy rains on Nov. 28 and 29 caused the stormwater to surge and back up into the vault, somehow the rope became lodged in a swing gate allowing muddy water to leak into the reservoir…

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Water company pleads guilty to hazardous waste violations

A California company that produces Crystal Geyser bottled water pleaded guilty Thursday to illegally storing and transporting hazardous waste and agreed to a $5 million fine, federal prosecutors said. The waste was produced by filtering arsenic out of Sierra Nevada spring water at CG Roxane LLC’s facility in Owens Valley, authorities said.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Opinion: A harsh dose of reality amid movement toward border pollution solution

The increasing spills that have polluted the Tijuana River Valley and ocean off Imperial Beach have resulted in frustration and anger in recent years, but also triggered broad political collaboration at the local, state and federal level that has put the region on the brink of real action.

Aquafornia news Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory

Blog: Polluted wastewater in the forecast? Try a solar umbrella

Evaporation ponds, which are commonly used in many industries to manage wastewater, can span acres, occupying a large footprint and often posing risks to birds and other wildlife. … Now researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have demonstrated a way to double the rate of evaporation by using solar energy and taking advantage of water’s inherent properties.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Rope ‘inexplicably’ caused Poway water problems; claims filed seeking compensation

A piece of rope “inexplicably” became lodged in a valve separating a 10-million gallon reservoir from a storm drain in late November, causing a nearly week-long, costly boil-water advisory in Poway, a report prepared by the city for the state concludes.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Santa Rosa wastewater quandary linked to Kincade fire could get worse as rainy season ramps up

Nearly two months after the Kincade fire was fully contained in northeastern Sonoma County, Santa Rosa is struggling with an after-effect of the massive blaze: its wastewater disposal pipeline at The Geysers was disabled for six weeks, backing up the Sebastopol-area plant with about 400 million gallons of treated wastewater.

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Aquafornia news California Healthline

Fecal bacteria In California’s waterways increases with homeless crisis

San Francisco officials were quick to dispute Trump’s claims. But some of California’s most prized rivers, beaches and streams are indeed contaminated with levels of fecal bacteria that exceed state limits, threatening kayakers, swimmers — and the state’s reputation as a bastion of environmental protection.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

$2.24 million settlement: South Bay mushroom farm fouled waterways with manure

The company, Watsonville-based Monterey Mushrooms Inc., was accused of polluting a South Bay creek with manure for years, despite orders and warnings dating back to the 1980s. The judgment, the largest for a water pollution lawsuit in county history, will be used in part to restore the damaged Fisher Creek…

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

‘New NAFTA’ offers money for border sewage fixes

Passing the new North American free trade agreement would mean millions of dollars to help upgrade sewage infrastructure on the border, say the agreement’s backers. But an environmental group and a local organization on the U.S.-Mexico border say it’s not enough.

Aquafornia news Petaluma Argus-Courier

At Petaluma wastewater plant, the future is now

During its 10 years, the Ellis Wastewater Treatment Facility has reshaped itself to take in waste produced by a rapidly changing city, factoring in an increased population and new industries like large-scale beer production. Recently-completed projects costing roughly $9 million have changed the face of the wastewater facility by expanding treatment capacity, tackling hard-to-process industry waste and building a system that will provide biofuel to city vehicles.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Trade agreement includes $300 million for border pollution cleanup, including Tijuana River Valley

The new United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement reached Tuesday commits the federal government to provide $300 million for the Border Water Infrastructure Program to address pollution on the U.S.-Mexico border, including the Tijuana River Valley region, where millions of gallons of raw sewage, heavy metals and other contaminants regularly flow from Tijuana to San Diego.

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Aquafornia news Simi Valley Acorn

Raising sewer rates by 40%

The city mailed notices to Simi Valley property owners (not renters) proposing raising sewer rates about 40% over the next five years to pay for much-needed upgrades to the city’s sewer system. The sewer treatment plant and many of the underground pipes are nearly 50 years old. The plant must be upgraded and many sections of pipe replaced.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego officials to sign joint resolutions calling on Trump EPA to fund a fix to Tijuana River pollution

Elected leaders from across South Bay San Diego announced Tuesday a joint effort aimed at pressuring the federal government to support a long-term fix to the sewage pollution that routinely flows over the border from Tijuana, fouling beaches as far north as Coronado.

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Aquafornia news KSBY

California red-legged frog delays sanitary district remodel

Frogs are delaying another wastewater treatment facility project, this time at the South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District in Oceano. The South SLO County Sanitation District members are working to upgrade the nearly 50 year old facility, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is concerned construction could impact the California red-legged frog, a species on the verge of being endangered.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Some ocean water closures lifted after sewage spill; amount of leak downgraded to 1.4 million gallons

Authorities have reopened about six miles of Orange County ocean and bay water areas closed by a 1.4-million-gallon sewage spill. … The estimated amount of the spill was revised down from 4 million gallons. The city of Laguna Beach said wastewater began leaking Wednesday afternoon from a broken valve on a 24-inch city sewage pipe near Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park.

Aquafornia news San Diego State University

Blog: Five takeaways from Re:Border: The Water We Share

Through a variety of panel discussions, presentations and a showcase of student research, the Re:Border conference is exploring how San Diego State University and its regional partners can contribute to innovative solutions for water-related challenges in the transborder region.

Aquafornia news Roll Call

California Democrats seek EPA watchdog help amid Trump threats

A group of California Democrats on Monday pressed the EPA’s internal watchdog to investigate whether the agency has retaliated against their state for political reasons, including by threatening to withhold federal funds for multiple transportation projects.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Bi-national conference tackles border region’s water issues

A bi-national conference at San Diego State University was aimed at analyzing water resources in the Baja California and San Diego border region where challenges include cross-border pollution and water scarcity… Experts at the Reborder 2019 conference discussed ways to improve regional access to “a secure and reliable water supply” through wastewater treatment and desalination.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Trump’s EPA fires new round in water pollution fight with SF

The Environmental Protection Agency fanned the flames of an ongoing dispute with San Francisco on Thursday, reaffirming its stance that the city’s water agency improperly discharges wastewater into the ocean. In a letter to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, EPA officials reiterated their assessment that the city was out of step with its wastewater discharge permit, which regulates water quality standards.

Aquafornia news Redlands Daily Facts

Poop to power: Highland sewer plant to generate electricity, opportunity

A $32.6 million addition to a water treatment facility rising out of the ground under giant cranes will turn waste into electricity, and provide education, jobs and more to an underserved community, according to the East Valley Water District. A co-digester added to the Sterling Natural Resource Center project will turn sewage and food waste into three megawatts of power per year, enough to power about 1,950 houses.

Aquafornia news San Luis Obispo Tribune

Sewage spills from California Men’s Colony prison

Thousands of gallons of partially treated wastewater was released from California Men’s Colony into Chorro Creek Thursday morning, the San Luis Obispo County Public Health department said… Approximately 33,000 gallons of wastewater were released from the prison north of San Luis Obispo…

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Arcata city officials say they want to use the wetlands for wastewater treatment for as long as possible

The treatment plant isn’t only at risk from rising sea levels … but also from rising groundwater and tectonic forces causing the land to sink, according to the 2018 assessment compiled by local sea level rise expert Alderon Laird. Laird has said to expect .9 feet of sea level rising by 2030, 1.9 feet by 2050 and 3.2 feet by 2070. … Arcata city officials are discussing moving the treatment … but that’s too expensive to do right now.

Aquafornia news Pacific Sun

Creek deemed dirty

The board charged with overseeing the water quality in much of the San Francisco Bay Area unanimously approved a plan requiring local businesses, residents and government agencies to reduce the amount of fecal bacteria they put into the Petaluma River watershed, including San Antonio Creek.

Aquafornia news Treatment Plant Operator Magazine

A clean-water plant’s ponds become a top five bird-watching destination in its county

Ponds at wastewater treatment plants are like magnets for birds and bird-watchers, especially those along the migration flyway in California’s Central Valley area. Among them is the Clear Creek plant in Redding, along the Sacramento River, which serves as its receiving stream.

Aquafornia news Civil Engineering Magazine

Reuse ramps up

Although still relegated largely to populated areas in such water-challenged states as California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida, water reuse is gaining ground in other areas. At the same time, the focus of water reuse increasingly is shifting to potable applications

Aquafornia news Scientific American

Opinion: The EPA says we need to reuse wastewater

On September 10, 2019, at the 34th Annual WateReuse Symposium in San Diego, the Environmental Protection Agency announced a draft National Water Reuse Action Plan for public comment—containing 46 proposed actions, to be accomplished by a mix of federal, state, private, local and private stakeholders, in order to promote 10 strategic objectives.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Orange County’s pioneering wastewater recycling system embarks on major expansion

Orange County’s wastewater recycling program, a pioneering idea that’s already touted as the largest of its type in the world, is about to get bigger. Big enough, in fact, to serve the tap water needs of about 1 million residents, according to the Orange County Water District and Orange County Sanitation District.

Aquafornia news U.S. Green Building Council

Blog: Deploying on-site water reuse in California and nationwide

How do we mitigate the “yuck factor” that many people have about reclaimed water use, when it’s been proven safe and effective elsewhere? These concerns were discussed at GreenerBuilder 2019, USGBC’s conference in the Pacific region, hosted in San Francisco, where industry experts from across the state led a panel discussion on tactics to improve onsite water reuse.

Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

Rosamond treatment plant gets upgrade

The revamped and expanded plant is expected to be operational in spring 2021 and will do so with a new name — The Rosamond CSD Water Reclamation Plant — to better describe its ultimate purpose. In addition to handling the community’s wastewater disposal, the plant will recharge the underlying groundwater basin, providing additional groundwater for the District to pump.

Aquafornia news Pacific Sun

Crappy creek

Winding westward along Marin County’s northern border, San Antonio Creek encompasses about 20 percent of the Petaluma River watershed. While the state has continuously designated the main stem of the Petaluma River a contaminated water body due to excessive levels of bacteria tied to fecal matter since 1975, San Antonio Creek, a tributary to the river, has gone unaffected by the river’s bacteria problem. Until now.

Aquafornia news San Luis Obispo Tribune

Morro Bay sewer project delayed by threatened frog

A species of frog made famous by a Mark Twain short story has delayed construction on Morro Bay’s new sewer plant, even though the protected amphibian hasn’t been spotted anywhere on the site in years.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Supreme Court leans toward expanding Clean Water Act to protect oceans from wastewater

Supreme Court justices, both conservative and liberal, appeared skeptical Wednesday of a Trump administration argument that the federal Clean Water Act should not apply to sewage plant wastewater that flows into the ground and eventually seeps into federally protected waters, such as rivers or oceans. The case from Hawaii has emerged as a major test of the federal anti-pollution law’s scope …

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Aquafornia news KPBS

New Baja California governor promises to stop cross-border sewage flows

Jaime Bonilla was sworn into office Friday as governor of California’s neighboring Mexican state. … In his first major speech since taking office, Governor Bonilla promised to address poverty, public safety issues and end cross-border sewage flows within six months. Bonilla, a dual U.S.-Mexico citizen, formerly served as an elected member of the Otay Water District in Chula Vista.

Aquafornia news Santa Ynez Valley News

Supplemental EIR clears way for fracking, oil drilling in Santa Barbara County

A supplemental environmental impact report on hydraulic fracturing released Thursday by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management found no significant impacts, and plans for leasing 1.2 million acres for oil and gas development in eight counties, including Santa Barbara County, will not change.

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Aquafornia news Paso Robles Daily News

Ribbon-cutting celebrates completion of tertiary treatment plant

The City of Paso Robles recently celebrated the completion of one of the largest and most complex infrastructure projects in the city’s history, new Tertiary Treatment Facilities at the City’s Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Aquafornia news University of Southern California

Blog: Researchers discover antibiotic-resistant genes in recycled wastewater

A team led by USC Viterbi’s Adam Smith has found that purified water returned to Southern California aquifers often becomes contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, a realization that could have major implications on the global water supply.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Mexico pledges to fight cross-border sewage spills

Mexico says it will rehabilitate five pumping stations in the border city of Tijuana to prevent cross-border sewage spills that have angered U.S. communities in the San Diego area.

Aquafornia news Fairfield Daily Republic

Water, sewer permit issues stall Tiny Shelter project

Solano County has filed requests for water and sewer hookups at the Brown Street location of the proposed Tiny Shelter homeless pilot project – services that will cost the county thousands of dollars to reconnect the property to Vacaville’s main lines.

Aquafornia news Santa Maria Times

Expiration date extended to 2021 for Regional Water Board’s Ag Order 3.0

A stipulated judgment in a lawsuit over a regulation to control pollution in runoff from agricultural irrigation systems has extended the expiration date for Agricultural Order 3.0 to Jan. 31, 2021.

Aquafornia news Reuters

Manure, trash and wastewater: U.S. utilities get dirty in climate fight

Nationwide, more than a dozen utilities have started developing renewable natural gas production through partnerships with farmers, wastewater treatment plants and landfill operators, while nine have proposed price premiums for customers who choose it as a fuel, according to the American Gas Association.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Popular campground at Doheny State Beach will be closed for months

The California Coastal Commission last week approved a project proposed by the California Department of Parks and Recreation to replace and reline about 6,500 feet of sewer line within Doheny State Beach.

Aquafornia news Camarillo Acorn

Big-ticket infrastructure costs pump up rates

Sewer rates are scheduled to go up in January for Camarillo Sanitary District customers, who already pay some of the highest wastewater rates in the county.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Trump finally uses (weaponizes) the Clean Water Act

The Trump Administration’s EPA takeover, with its race to the bottom rollbacks of the environmental and public health protections that Americans have relied upon for decades, is low; so low that even some of the industries the Administration seeks to support are pushing back. But what the Trump Administration has been up to lately in California– weaponizing the Clean Water Act to serve a political vendetta…well, can it get any lower than that?

Aquafornia news Axios

The water crisis U.S. cities don’t see coming

Aging water treatment systems, failing pipes and a slew of unregulated contaminants threaten to undermine water quality in U.S. cities of all sizes. … Still, with only a handful of exceptions, “water systems aren’t designed to focus on health, they’re focused on cost-containment,” says Seth Siegel, whose book “Troubled Water,” released this month, examines the precarious state of water infrastructure in the U.S.

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

A citizen group’s repeal could come at a cost to Morro Bay residents

Morro Bay pushed through discussions about 17 possible locations before it finally pinned down the South Bay Boulevard and Highway 1 site for its water reclamation facility. But the location is unacceptable to a group of residents who are petitioning the city’s decision to purchase the site of the future facility.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Ventura approves $200 million wastewater recycling plan

The Ventura City Council approved a $200 million-plus plan Monday that will give the city more drinking water and greatly reduce the treated wastewater its sewer plant releases into the Santa Clara River estuary. The big-ticket item in the city’s plan is a new plant that will take wastewater that once went into the estuary and treat it to drinking water standards…

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Napa County working toward a solution for Berryessa water, sewage finances

Napa County is taking a hard look at two small, remote Lake Berryessa-area communities to try to keep their aging utility services from once again falling into dire straits.

Aquafornia news Highland Community News

East Valley Water District adds renewable energy to Sterling project

Working to “Make Every Source a Resource” and striving toward a more sustainable future, East Valley Water District Board of Directors approved the addition of state-of-the-art co-digester technology at the Sterling Natural Resource Center during the Sept. 11 board meeting.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Sen. Feinstein secures nearly $20 million to help stop Tijuana sewage from flowing into the U.S.

The Senate approved almost $20 million in funding to address sewage flows along the border. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who secured language in three different appropriations bills for the 2020 fiscal year, called the spills that send millions of gallons of raw sewage from Tijuana to San Diego, “unacceptable.”

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Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Stockton breaks ground to modernize water treatment facility

On Tuesday, city officials broke ground on a project to modernize Stockton’s wastewater treatment facility in order to meet stricter federal and statewide regulations and potentially foster business and residential growth.

Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Valley Signal

Opinion: Updated water supply info needed

As CO2 levels rise more rapidly than predicted, we need to re-assess infrastructure needs, from sewage plants and roads located along the coasts as the sea level rises, to our water supply and delivery system. “Infrastructure” might sound like a boring word, but it won’t be so boring to any of us if water doesn’t come out of the tap or untreated sewage is spilled into our bays…

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Feinstein, Harris ask for probe of EPA notice against SF

California’s senators have asked the Environmental Protection Agency’s watchdog to investigate whether the agency abused its enforcement powers when it accused San Francisco of improperly dumping waste into the ocean.

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Aquafornia news KPBS

8 million gallons of tainted water foul Tijuana River Valley

The United States-Mexico border region is enduring the latest in a series of massive cross-border sewage tainted spills. Federal officials in charge of monitoring the trans-border sewage situation on the U.S. side of the border said nearly 8 million gallons of tainted water flowed across the border in the Tijuana River channel.

Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Valley Signal

Water treatment facility to be built next to baseball park

Water board members voiced concern at the last meeting over what to do if state officials lower the threshold for PFAS contamination to such a level that the wells would have to be shut down. The board decided not to wait for such an announcement and agreed to get the necessary water treatment equipment up and running as soon as possible.

Aquafornia news Paso Robles Daily News

Templeton Community Services District celebrates new drought-resistant water supply project

The project, called the Upper Salinas River Basin Conjunctive Use Project, captures existing wastewater flows generated within the eastside of the District and will return these flows back to the Meadowbrook Wastewater Treatment Plant. The wastewater undergoes treatment and is then discharged into the river alluvium that contains the Salinas River underflow providing subsequent conveyance to district wells…

Aquafornia news The Ukiah Daily Journal

First steps of Riverside Park restoration underway in Ukiah

Bright pink “whiskers” have popped up in Riverside Park recently, likely left by people performing a topography survey in the beginning stages of a grant-funded project to restore habitat in the largely undeveloped park that used to be home to the city’s sewage treatment plant.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Larkfield Estates add municipal-style sewer system after North Bay fires

The cluster of streets, home to 166 single-family residences before the subdivision was leveled by the Tubbs fire … was built originally like a rural development: with homes relying on septic systems instead of sewers. That’s set to change starting next year, when work begins on a municipal-style sewer system proponents say will provide peace of mind for homeowners, ease environmental concerns, open up parcels to further development and potentially increase property values.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Brown bag seminar: Managing water quality across boundaries

There are numerous agencies involved in water quality issues that are focused on the San Francisco Bay and the Delta. In this brown bag seminar, Stephanie Fong, Interagency Ecological Program Coordinator Chair, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, discussed the technical, geographical, and political boundaries that separate water quality monitoring in the Bay and the Delta.

Aquafornia news Marijuana Business Daily

California water board sends warnings to cannabis growers

The California Water Boards sent at least 270 letters to farmers in the Emerald Triangle, warning them to come into compliance with regulations or face possible fines and even the loss of their cultivation licenses.

Aquafornia news Daily Pilot

Laguna Beach’s 1930s sewer digester may be demolished, despite calls for renovation

Laguna Beach residents who described the beige water treatment tower on Laguna Canyon Road as part of the city’s folklore and identity called on the City Council on Tuesday night to restore and renovate the building, possibly for use by small businesses.

Western Water California Water Map Gary Pitzer

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

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

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

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego leaders meet with Trump administration to ask for fix to Tijuana River sewage pollution

Elected leaders from around the San Diego region met with the Trump administration on Tuesday to ask for help stopping the sewage-tainted water that regularly flows in the Tijuana River across the border with Mexico. Specifically, regional leaders tried to persuade federal authorities to fund a more than $400-million plan to capture and treat the pollution…

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Sonoma County grapples with ongoing outdoor poop problem along Russian River

An influx of Bay Area visitors to Sonoma County’s bucolic riverlands has spiked in recent years, bringing with it a problem typically reserved for the privacy of one’s own home. People are pooping in public.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Friday Top of the Scroll: Experts blast Trump’s claims of needles in San Francisco Bay, Pacific Ocean

Claims by President Donald Trump on Wednesday that discarded drug needles in San Francisco are making their way through the city’s sewage system and into San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean were widely blasted the following day by experts who say he has no idea what he’s talking about.

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Aquafornia news The Hill

Trump says EPA will cite San Francisco for pollution stemming from homelessness issues

“There’s tremendous pollution being put into the ocean because they’re going through what’s called the storm sewer that’s for rainwater,” Trump said. “And we have tremendous things that we don’t have to discuss pouring into the ocean. You know there are needles, there are other things.”

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Aquafornia news The Guardian

Slimy lakes and dead dogs: Climate crisis has brought the season of toxic algae

From New York City to coastal California, a poison-producing living slime is overtaking waterways and shorelines, killing pets, ravaging tourism markets and making its way into local drinking water. So far this year, algae has been implicated in dog deaths and illness in California, Georgia, North Carolina and Texas.

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Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Who runs your water system? UC Davis research shows why water governance matters

A new article on UC Davis’s California Water Blog shines a light on just how complicated water governance can be and why it matters… For more, listen to this interview with Kristin Dobbin, one of the article’s co-authors and a UC Davis Ph.D. student studying regional water management and drinking water disparities in California.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

East Sacramento residents file suit over McKinley Park sewage vault

Residents say the system is outdated because it combines 7.4 million gallons of sewage and storm water to be stored underground, and they want a more modern system that splits the two.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Newsom administration quietly stalls fracking permits

The administration of Gov. Gavin Newsom has imposed a de-facto moratorium on hydraulic fracturing while it studies permitting procedures for the politically controversial oil well-completion technique better known as fracking.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: State Water Board authorizes major recycled water project

Efforts to increase recycled water use in California got a significant boost this week with the State Water Board’s issuance of an order authorizing the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District’s program to deliver an average of 45 million gallons per day of recycled water from the Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant …

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Feces are contaminating the American River. Sacramento wants to know the source

Tiscornia Beach, an area on the lower American River frequented by summer visitors, tested 7.5 times higher than the safety threshold on Tuesday, according to data from the county and the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. Samples of river water taken two weeks earlier at nearby Discovery Park tested almost 5.5 times higher than the safety threshold.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

American River in Sacramento polluted by homeless waste and feces

A Sacramento Bee investigation found high levels of E. coli bacteria — a sign of fecal contamination — along the lower stretch of the American, where homeless camps line the banks, residents walk their dogs, and where thousands of swimmers dip into the water to escape Sacramento’s summer heat.

Aquafornia news Davis Enterprise

Opinion: Residential graywater for outdoor irrigation

Residential graywater offers up a huge potential for our city to offset potable water use. When the next drought rolls around, and it will, we could be sitting pretty with healthy trees and landscapes using less water from the Sierra than we do now.

Aquafornia news Torrance Daily Breeze

What is turning the ocean red in Manhattan Beach?

The blue ocean has turned a rusty red in Manhattan Beach — but what is causing this change in color? The red tide, as it’s called, is from an algal bloom, according to Valerie Hill, administrative and development director at the Roundhouse Aquarium off the Manhattan Beach Pier.

Aquafornia news Davis Enterprise

Opinion: Residential graywater for outdoor irrigation

When the next drought rolls around, and it will, we could be sitting pretty with healthy trees and landscapes using less water from the Sierra than we do now. How could we accomplish this? The answer is graywater, defined in California as the discharge from laundry wash water, showers, and bathroom sinks.

Aquafornia news The Ukiah Daily Journal

Ukiah’s wastewater no longer being wasted

The city of Ukiah made its first delivery of recycled water through its extensive Purple Pipe system this week, putting about 2 million gallons of water reclaimed from local sinks, showers and toilets into an irrigation pond just south of the Ukiah Valley Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

New state bill would require union-friendly terms for Pure Water project

To end a labor dispute that’s halted work on one of the largest and most important water projects in San Diego history, Assemblyman Todd Gloria rolled out a bill Friday to require union-friendly terms for work on the project.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Here’s a look inside Ventura’s wastewater operations

There’s a lot of confusion and concern about what will happen once the city of Ventura no longer discharges millions of gallons of water into the Santa Clara River Estuary. … To help residents get a better understanding of how Ventura’s wastewater operations work, and to help answer those questions, city officials opened up its facility to the public last week.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

These six projects could fix the cross-border sewage spills

The only bi-national financial institution dedicated to funding environmental infrastructure projects along the border unveiled six possible solutions to slowing down the cross-border sewage spills that routinely shut down southern San Diego’s beaches.

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Dog deaths raise algal bloom alarm as states report more toxins

A high-profile series of dog deaths has awakened the public to the growing problem of toxic algal blooms, spurred by rising temperatures and pollution. The blooms are emerging as a national, not just regional, concern, according to preliminary data reported to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through July.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Escondido hires firm to plan reverse osmosis water treatment plant

Escondido is moving forward on a reverse osmosis treatment facility that will reduce the city’s wastewater and also provide more recycled water for agricultural use. The project will divert millions of gallons of water from the discharge pipeline, and turn it into highly treated irrigation water. It’s expected to begin construction in early 2020…

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Valley green leader

What Public Works Director Mark Houghton touts as “Manteca’s own refinery” is now converting methane gas generated at the wastewater treatment plant along with food waste to produce compressed liquefied gas. And in doing so, Manteca is well on its way to effectively wiping out all CO2 impacts the wastewater treatment process creates and then some.

Aquafornia news SFGate.com

Tubbs Fire survivors in Larkfield looking for builder to help build new sewer system

Residents of the Larkfield Estates neighborhood north of Santa Rosa who lost their homes in the October 2017 Tubbs Fire are asking a builder to help them build a new sewer system this year that is as affordable as possible.

Aquafornia news Tri County Sentry

Planning Commission receives report about programmatic water master plan

Oxnard Assistant Public Works Director Tien Ng presented the item and said the city wants to integrate the water, wastewater recycled water and stormwater while looking for opportunities to align projects on the same street. They want to do them at the same time. Doing this enhances the schedule and cost for such projects.

Aquafornia news Sonoma West Times & News

State sets limits on septic system pollution in Russian River

The ban passed last week means that about 8,000 Russian River property owners are now looking at how to repair or replace substandard or failing residential sewage disposal systems when the new law goes into effect next year.

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Aquafornia news North Coast Journal

Spawning a solution for McKinleyville’s wastewater

Finding a way to deal with the wastewater produced by a town full of people is a challenge, one that’s forced the McKinleyville Community Services District to find some creative solutions. Officials are touting the emerging solution as a win-win, a cutting-edge project that will serve the district’s needs at minimal cost to ratepayers while also helping the environment.

Aquafornia news Palo Alto Daily Post

New clues in $875,000 payout to former sewer chief

Newly released documents shed light on why a sewage processing agency, Silicon Valley Clean Water, paid its general manager $875,000 as part of a severance agreement, and it appears a big part of that was equity the agency gave him in a $4.5 million, six-bedroom home in the hills overlooking Redwood City.

Aquafornia news Santa Monica Daily Press

Water costs divide City Council

The City Council is split on how much to raise water rates over the next five years to fund projects that will wean Santa Monica off of imported water. … Bi-monthly water and wastewater bills for single-family homes would increase by $23 on average under the lower rate structure and $36 under the higher rate structure.

Aquafornia news Sonoma West Times & News

County hires ombudsman to help with septic rules

Sonoma County has hired a new ombudsman, Alisha O’Laughlin, to help river residents deal with the new maze of regulations targeting older sewage disposal systems along the Russian River and its tributaries. … O’Loughlin’s hiring coincides with county efforts to implement its onsite wastewater treatment system (OWTS) regulations and comply with state law…

Aquafornia news CityLab

Where Americans lack running water, mapped

Across the United States, more than 460,000 households, or nearly 1.5 million people, lack a plumbed connection to drinking water or sewers. … A new study in the Annals of the American Association of Geographers takes a detailed look at the persistence of “plumbing poverty” in the U.S. …

Aquafornia news MyMotherLode.com

Construction begins on $13-million Jamestown wastewater treatment facility

In Jamestown work has begun on a new $13.73-million wastewater treatment facility that should be operational by September of 2021. The facility is being built on property along Karlee Lane that was purchased by the Jamestown Sanitary District in 1993 for the sole purpose of constructing a future plant.

Aquafornia news Coastalview.com

With water supply dwindling, water district plans advanced purification project

Like many communities throughout California, Carpinteria faces sustained and historic drought conditions. … In response to the shortfall, CVWD proposes a $25 million project to take wastewater that has been cleaned, purify it and then inject it into the groundwater basin to be used for various needs, including potable drinking water.

Aquafornia news Climate.gov

Blog: At a California oyster hatchery, farming native seaweed improved water quality

Native seaweed has the potential to be cultivated in California coastal waters and used to alleviate the effects of local ocean acidification, according to a new study funded by NOAA’s California Sea Grant.

Aquafornia news Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory

Blog: Can we reuse polluted water? Yes, add bacteria

A team of scientists from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the Colorado School of Mines (Mines) is developing a microbe-based system that could remove toxic compounds from oilfield produced water so it can be reused in other water-intensive sectors such as agriculture and energy production.

Aquafornia news Washington Examiner

Border Patrol agents sickened by toxic raw sewage flowing into California from Mexico

Customs and Border Protection commissioned a six-month study, published earlier this year, of 42 samples from the river and two culverts during dry, wet, post-rain, and standing water conditions. … Justin Castrejon, a Border Patrol agent and regional spokesman, said the report validated the claims of agents who have complained of physical health ailments after patrolling the affected areas.

Aquafornia news Forbes

Researchers develop technology to harness energy from mixing of freshwater and seawater

Researchers from Stanford University have developed an affordable, durable technology that could harness energy generated from mixing freshwater from seawater. Outlined in a new paper … they suggest that this “blue energy” could make coastal wastewater treatment plants energy-independent.

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Aquafornia news Palo Alto Daily Post

Sewer agency chief got $875,000 in severance

The sewage processing agency that serves Menlo Park, San Carlos, Belmont and Redwood City paid its former general manager $875,000 as part of a severance agreement, according to documents obtained by the Post. However, the circumstances behind the departure of Daniel Child are about as murky as the effluent that flows into the agency’s plant…

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Tiburon beaches closed amid bay contamination probe

State water officials ordered an investigation this week into the elusive source of contamination in Richardson Bay, where water samples collected near Tiburon beaches have shown high bacteria levels for more than two months.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Ross Valley Sanitary District begins toxin cleanup in Larkspur

Contractors are busy digging, stockpiling and hauling off an average of 40 truckloads of contaminated soil a day from the site of a former wastewater treatment plant at Larkspur Landing. About 64,000 tons of the mixed soil and demolition debris, which contains trace amounts of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, will be sent to a municipal landfill, while another 2,600 tons, will be shipped to a hazardous waste landfill.

Aquafornia news KRON TV

Water districts prepare as wildfire threats could mean days-long power outages

The East Bay Municipal Utility District now has a back-up plan that includes filling water tanks to capacity during Red Flag Warnings… Portable generators would go in cities like Berkeley, Castro Valley, and San Ramon starting on Aug. 1. Other Bay Area water agencies also have plans in place.

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Aquafornia news Coastalview.com

With water supply dwindling, Carpinteria water district plans advanced purification project

By 2030, the Carpinteria Valley Water District estimates that on a dry year, the deficit could be as high as 1,550 acre feet—enough to fill 775 Olympic-sized swimming pools, or serve the average yearly use of 6,200 local households. In response to the shortfall, CVWD proposes a $25 million project to take wastewater that has been cleaned, purify it and then inject it into the groundwater basin…

Western Water California Water Map Gary Pitzer

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

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

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

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Consultant working on deal to pipe Manteca’s recycled wastewater to farm buyers along Delta Mendota Canal

Just how much Manteca’s treated wastewater is worth to agricultural users served by the Delta Mendota Canal that are often at the mercy of fish flows diversions and drought that reduces their Central Valley Project allocations may be determined in the coming year.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Cal Am gets negotiating rights for county sewer systems

On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors approved an exclusive negotiating rights agreement with Cal Am for the Chualar, Boronda and Pajaro sanitary sewer systems, and authorized county Resource Management Agency director Carl Holm to negotiate, execute, and implement the sale and transfer of the systems. … The county has been seeking to sell the sewer systems for years…

Aquafornia news The Coronado Times

San Diego delegation announces Tijuana River Valley solution bill package

Today, Rep. Juan Vargas (CA-51) along with Reps. Susan Davis (CA-53), Scott Peters (CA-52), and Mike Levin (CA-49), hosted a press conference to announce the introduction of their Tijuana River Valley Pollution Solution bill package. The combined legislation would further support mitigation efforts in the region.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Massive SF recycling project to save 30 million gallons of drinking water per year

Fifty feet below the platform of the Powell Street BART Station sits the starting point for one of the largest water recycling projects in San Francisco — one that’s transforming dirty groundwater into clean steam heat for hundreds of downtown buildings. In the process, it’s saving tens of millions of gallons of drinking water annually.

Aquafornia news ABC News San Diego

Public urged to stay out of water at Mission Bay due to high bacteria levels

Visitors are being encouraged to stay out of the water at Mission Bay due to high bacteria levels. On July 17, the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health issued an alert for the Bonita Cove part of the Bay that stated: “Bacteria levels may exceed health standards. Avoid water contact in the advisory area.” In addition to Bonita Cove, visitors are being told to not enter the water at Leisure Lagoon.

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Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Friday Top of the Scroll: LA’s Kern County sludge farm to stop receiving free Bakersfield water

For around 20 years, Los Angeles has shipped a large portion of “biosolids” from its toilets to fertilize a farm it owns just west of Bakersfield. Bakersfield, in return, has been providing an annual load of 18,000 acre-feet of free water to the farm. However, after passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, the value of treated wastewater increased.

Aquafornia news San Luis Obispo Tribune

CA Coastal Commission approves San Simeon sewer protections

While the San Simeon decision appeared quick and easy to make, it had taken decades to get the issue to that point. Commissioners and San Simeon representatives seemed equally relieved to have finally come to an agreement that involves getting within 10 years enough grant funds to move the plant further from the coast.

Aquafornia news Noozhawk

Opinion: EPA report finds Lompoc has wastewater treatment problem

On June 28, the city of Lompoc received an inspection report from the Environmental Protection Agency concerning an April inspection of its wastewater discharge permit. … Seven violations were noted. While some were technical, there were also some violations aimed at the current political attitude of three councilmen toward regulatory compliance.

Aquafornia news Glendale News-Press

L.A. River revitalization: Plan to connect Verdugo Mountains, San Rafael Hills unveiled

A plan to connect two ecologically rich areas in Glendale’s Verdugo Wash has been endorsed by officials tasked with revitalizing the upper part of the Los Angeles River.

Aquafornia news San Luis Obispo Tribune

After years of fighting, Morro Bay sewer gets final OK by Coastal Commission

The commission voted unanimously Thursday to proceed with the new infrastructure plans. Project advocates said the site, located more than 3 miles inland, was the type of plan the commission wanted to see because it will keep the plant away from the sea where it’s vulnerable to flooding, tsunamis and sea-level rise.

Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Valley Signal

Public Health raises septic tank costs in unincorporated areas, sends ‘confusing’ letter

In a letter recently distributed to a number of residents in the unincorporated areas of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced a new fee on septic tank users, leaving some confused and others surprised.