Topic: Water Quality

Overview

Water Quality

Water quality in California is regulated by several state agencies, including the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) and its nine regional boards, which enforce clean water laws and the Department of Public Health.

Water quality concerns are also often involved in disputes over water rights, particularly in situations involving endangered species or habitat.

The State Water Board administers the Clean Water Grant Program that funds construction of wastewater treatment facilities. The State Water Board also issues general permits for municipalities and construction sites that try to prevent contaminants from those sources from entering municipal storm sewers.

Drinking water standards and regulations are developed by federal and state agencies to protect public health. In California, the Department of Public Health administers the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, which regulates drinking water quality in the United States.

Aquafornia news Green Matters

Here’s how climate change has affected human health

Climate change affects our weather patterns, sea levels, wildlife populations, and global temperatures, but very few people understand the ramifications it’s had on the human population. Believe it or not, our food, water, and air quality have all been seriously affected by climate change, and as a result, climate change has affected human health in a number of dangerous and potentially deadly ways. … [D]roughts cause wildfires, which are contributing to air quality problems. We’ve already seen what the immense plumes of smoke created by wildfires can do to air quality in California and Australia. 

Aquafornia news KQED

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

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

Aquafornia news The Associated Press

Tensions rise in water battle along Oregon-California line

One of the worst droughts in memory in a massive agricultural region straddling the California-Oregon border could mean steep cuts to irrigation water for hundreds of farmers this summer to sustain endangered fish species critical to local tribes. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which oversees water allocations in the federally owned Klamath Project, is expected to announce this week how the season’s water will be divvied up after delaying the decision a month.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Salton Sea dust, air quality to get closer look in California

California’s shrinking Salton Sea is getting a closer look scientifically with the state, local air districts, and community groups examining air, water, and even dust from the parched shoreline where water was once plentiful. The increased scrutiny comes as the state has continuously failed to meet dust suppression and habitat goals set in a 2017 management plan to restore nearly 30,000 acres of the state’s largest body of water by 2028. The sea spans Imperial and Riverside counties near the Mexican border, where disadvantaged communities breathe some of the nation’s worst air and suffer from high asthma rates. Chronic nosebleeds are also common.

Aquafornia news State Water Resources Control Board

News release: Report offers first in-depth picture of California water systems struggling to provide safe drinking water

The State Water Resources Control Board announced the completion of its first-ever comprehensive look at California water systems that are struggling to provide safe drinking water to communities and how to help them. With criteria for the state’s Human Right to Water list recently expanded, the assessment identifies both failing water systems and those at risk of failing, offering the most indepth view of long-term drinking water safety the state has ever had.

Aquafornia news State Water Resources Control Board

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

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

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Increasing groundwater salinity changes water and crop management over long timescales

Salinity has often become a major limit for irrigated agriculture in semi-arid regions, from ancient Mesopotamia to parts of California today. A previous blog post showed that conjunctive use with more saline groundwater can differ fundamentally from freshwater aquifers. Higher salinity limits groundwater use for irrigation during dry years, when less surface water is available to dilute groundwater salinity, and increases aquifer pumping in wetter years to avoid water-logging. Brackish groundwater can no longer serves as drought storage, but becomes a supplemental water supply in all years, limited by availability of fresh surface water for diluting salts. This greatly reduces groundwater’s ability to support permanent crops and increases variability in annual crop acreage across different water years, thus reducing profit.

Aquafornia news Grist

7 million Californians live near oil and gas wells. This bill could change that

Despite its green reputation, California has a big fossil fuel problem on its hands: neighborhood oil and gas drilling. In California, there’s nothing preventing frackers or drillers from setting up shop right next to your home, school, or hospital — and indeed, this is the reality for 7.4 million Californians currently living within 1 mile of oil and gas drilling operations, who are disproportionately non-white and low-income. Now, a new state bill called S.B. 467, slated for a hearing in the California Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water on Tuesday, may reshape the lives of frontline communities by eliminating fracking and instituting mandatory buffer zones between oil and gas extraction and places where Californians live, work, and study. 

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

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

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

Aquafornia news Outdoor Life

California waterfowl threatened by dry refuges, botulism

With a salmonella outbreak in eight states already under investigation by the Centers for Disease Control, officials are watching in California for another disease that impacts waterfowl. Botulism killed thousands of waterfowl and other birds last year on two national wildlife refuges near the border of California and Oregon. Some estimates were as high as 60,000 dead birds. The Lower Klamath Basin and Tule Lake national wildlife refuges were among the first created more than 100 years ago. Millions of waterfowl and shore birds, along with songbirds, migrated along the Pacific Flyway into the two refuges and beyond. Today, between severe restrictions on water flowing into and out of the refuges and a crippling drought that shows no sign of letting up, the refuge marshes are going dry. 

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Aquafornia news USC Viterbi School Of Engineering

Blog: Saving clean drinking water…with math!

Nearly every resident of California has experienced an earthquake. Even the youngest schoolchildren have the safety procedure drilled into them: duck under a table, hold on, and pray that it’s only a small one. Barring a truly catastrophic quake, the situation usually ends there. You go on with your day as if nothing had happened, the near catastrophe completely forgotten. Most people assume that the danger ends after the last remnants of the tremor share the ground. But there is a much more sinister side effect of earthquakes that affects daily life around California and much of the rest of the world: contaminating the groundwater supply. 

Aquafornia news Capital and Main

Blog: California is greenlighting oil wells linked to groundwater pollution

Throughout 2020 and early 2021, California issued more than 300 permits to oil and gas companies for new underground injection wells — an intensive form of oil production and wastewater disposal. But the actual number of new injection wells is likely higher, owing to the state’s opaque approval process that has drawn scrutiny from auditors and environmentalists. Some of these undercounted wells may be polluting groundwater used for public drinking and agricultural purposes, according to regulatory filings reviewed by Capital & Main. The impact of injection wells on groundwater in California is understudied, regulators say. 

Aquafornia news Storm Water Solutions

Blog: California is ramping up its efforts to address sources of pyrethroid concentrations in its watersheds

In June 2017, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board and the Central Valley Region adopted a Basin Plan Amendment for the Sacramento River and San Joaquin River Basins for the control of pyrethroid pesticide discharges. The amendment establishes controls for pyrethroid discharges, including prohibition of discharges of pyrethroid pesticides above certain concentrations, total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) for pyrethroid pesticides, recommendations for agency regulation of pyrethroids and potential monitoring requirements. Synthetic pyrethroids are the most common forms of commercially available urban pesticides for ants, termites and flying insects…

Aquafornia news Patch

City of St. Helena fails drinking water standard

The city of St. Helena’s water system recently failed a drinking water standard, city officials said Thursday evening. … The city routinely monitors its distribution system for the presence of drinking water contaminants. Testing results received for Nov. 10, 2020, and March 9, 2021, showed the system exceeded the standard or maximum contaminant level —MCL — for haloacetic acids, or HAA, [Jo Ann Burkman, acting chief operator for the city's water division] said. The standard MCL for haloacetic acids is 60 ug/L; the running annual average for the LSWTP Distribution System in the fourth quarter of 2020 measured 68 ug/L…

Aquafornia news Desert Sun

California appoints analyst to study Salton Sea water importation

California remains far behind its targets for addressing exposed playa around the Salton Sea, according to data released in the 2021 Salton Sea Management Program annual report. But state officials expressed optimism in a public workshop that they are finally beginning to catch up to those goals. The state was supposed to implement dust suppression projects or build wetlands habitat across 3,500 acres of exposed playa by the end of 2020 to tamp down dust that’s imbued with a century’s worth of salts, pesticides and other agricultural runoff. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

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

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

Aquafornia news KPBS

Sewage flows continue to foul south San Diego County beaches

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

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Aquafornia news The Mercury News

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

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

Aquafornia news Water Education Colorado

Blog: After Clean Water Act setback, state to ask lawmakers for new authority

For the second time in less than a year, state health officials plan to ask lawmakers to fast-track permitting authority over hundreds of miles of streams left unprotected after a 2020 Trump Administration rollback of federal Clean Water Act rules. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s move comes just weeks after a federal court denied Colorado’s effort to prevent the new federal rules from taking effect.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

More water spending sought for West in infrastructure bill

As drought worsens in the West, a coalition of more than 200 farm and water organizations from 15 states that has been pushing to fix the region’s crumbling canals and reservoirs is complaining that President Joe Biden’s new infrastructure proposal doesn’t provide enough funding for above- or below-ground storage.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Newsom California fracking ban vision exceeds original scope

When Gov. Gavin Newsom voiced his support last year for a ban on hydraulic fracturing by oil and gas companies, an effort long fought by the industry and trade unions alike, he gave Democrats a green light to send him legislation to achieve that goal as they saw fit. But the crackdown on oil and gas production under consideration by the California Legislature is much wider in scope than the plan requested by the governor, who may get more than he bargained for as he shoulders the pressures of carrying out the state’s COVID-19 pandemic response while battling a looming recall election. The ambitious proposal would outlaw hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and a series of other oil extraction methods reviled by environmental activists. 

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Pure Water Monterey expansion SEIR revision work approved

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

Aquafornia news Food Tank

Ecologists use mushrooms to detoxify soil and water after wildfires

In the wake of California’s worst-ever wildfire season, researchers are exploring how mushrooms can help detoxify polluted soil and water. Scientists and volunteers at CoRenewal, a nonprofit dedicated to ecological restoration, are conducting the experiment in burn zones along high-risk waterways in Northern California. Burned and melted plastics, metals, electronics, and building materials leave behind toxic ash, which then washes into water systems. For instance, in the months following the Tubbs Fire in 2017 and Camp Fire in 2018, authorities found toxic levels of benzene—a cancer-causing chemical—in local drinking water. 

Aquafornia news National Law Review

California State Water Board’s construction stormwater permit for 2021

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

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Fact sheet: Access to safe drinking water

Although most residents have safe drinking water, more than 250 water systems serving 900,000 people were out of compliance with drinking water standards in 2020. This is a chronic issue for some systems; more than 170 have been out of compliance for three or more years. More than half of these noncompliant systems are in the San Joaquin Valley—California’s largest farming region and home to a third of the state’s low-income communities. Some tribal water systems face similar challenges. Data are lacking on water quality provided by roughly 1,500 very small, county-regulated water systems and more than 350,000 domestic wells, but some of these supplies may have chronic issues as well.

Aquafornia news Downey Brand LLP

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

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

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Orange County Water District works to clean polluted groundwater from decades of manufacturing

Underneath Orange County is a hidden arterial highway that groundwater moves through before eventually finding its way into homes. More than 70% of the water served in Orange County is from groundwater. But some of that water has become contaminated from industrial manufacturing when harmful chemicals that weren’t properly disposed of seeped down into the ground. … The Orange County Water District is tasked with determining the extent of the pollution, and containing it before more drinking water wells need to be shut down and contaminants spread to the principal aquifer, which is directly pumped by production wells for drinking water.

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Aquafornia news KPBS

Oceanside officials counter lawn care firm’s claim on drinking water quality

City officials in Oceanside described their drinking water as consistently “high-quality, safe and reliable” Wednesday in the hope of reassuring residents after a lawn care company ranked Oceanside’s water at 198 out of 200 cities nationwide. Rosemarie Chora, the city’s water utilities division manager, said a March 23 report from LawnStarter “hit big” as residents expressed alarm on social media. Based in Austin, Texas, LawnStarter vets gardeners and pest control companies and connects them online with homeowners in about 120 cities nationwide, according to its website. It dinged the city in multiple ways.

Aquafornia news Western City Magazine

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

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

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Aquafornia news California Department of Fish and Wildlife

News release: Future of Buena Vista Lagoon to be more natural

The Buena Vista Lagoon Ecological Reserve in San Diego County sits between the cities of Oceanside to the north and Carlsbad to the south. It’s historic because it was the state’s first-ever reserve, created in 1968. … [H]omeowners in that area, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), CDFW and several other groups came to an agreement after years of dispute on how the lagoon should be altered so it thrives well into the future. … Like lagoons up and down that part of San Diego County, Buena Vista took in runoff from hills to the east and fed water to the west into the Pacific Ocean. But in the ‘40’s a weir was added at the mouth by nearby landowners, so the lagoon essentially became freshwater only. …

Aquafornia news State Water Resources Control Board

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

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

Aquafornia news CNN

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

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

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Aquafornia news Legal Planet

Blog: Do regulators and utility managers have irreconcilable differences or mutual goals?

What do climate change, aging infrastructure, and urban population growth have in common? They all pose major challenges – especially for water infrastructure in the United States. And many utilities are having a hard time keeping up. Part of the problem is that the industry has relied on the same handful of technologies for decades. The wastewater sector sorely needs to adopt new strategies and technologies. Innovation could serve to improve the ability of utilities to respond to stressors, increasing resilience and providing co-benefits.

Aquafornia news Business Wire

News release: Rural, disadvantaged California community solves century-old water quality issue by tapping the sky

Arsenic naturally occurs in the region’s groundwater and Allensworth is served by two groundwater wells that have contained arsenic levels up to 60 percent higher than state defined safety levels for drinking water. … To tackle those challenges in Allensworth, the community is collaborating with SOURCE to outfit their local community center with two Hydropanels to sustainably generate drinking water. The Hydropanels use the warmth of the sun to draw clean, pollutant-free water vapor out of the air through a patented, water-absorbing material and into a reservoir inside the panel. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Sierra, Sequoia national forest plans revised after California fires

New forest management plans that could be in effect for the next 15 years in California’s Sierra Nevada are almost complete – using public comments made prior to the catastrophic Creek Fire that burned nearly a third of Sierra National Forest. The aftermath of that wildfire – the largest single fire in California’s history – isn’t prompting big changes in national forest plan revisions that have been in the works for years, federal land managers said. … Aside from air quality, these forests directly affect the lives of millions of people in California most prominently via billions of gallons of water that annually flow from these forests into the central San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news GoBankingRates

Blog: 6 alarming facts about America’s water industry

About 40 million Americans in the West and Southwest rely on the Colorado River for drinking water, as do the region’s massive agriculture and recreation industries. Water has been the most valuable commodity in the West since the time of the pioneers. It became a source of modern political power when the water of the Colorado River was divvied up among seven Western States in the 1920s — the Jack Nicholson movie “Chinatown” dramatized California’s legendary water battles. Today, a rapidly shrinking Colorado River is forced to support relentless development in California and across the West — very thirsty development.

Aquafornia news Spectrum News 1

Clean, locally sourced water could make a comeback in Lomita

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

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Industry eyeing EPA’s hustle to control ‘forever chemicals’

Industry attorneys say they’re bracing for a wave of corporate liability and litigation as the Biden administration works swiftly to fulfill a campaign promise to control “forever chemicals.” The Environmental Protection Agency this month announced it’s working on three water-related regulations for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. It sent a fourth chemical data-collection proposal to the Office of Management and Budget, or OMB, for approval. … One of the the four regulations the EPA announced would provide a needed, national drinking water limit for two PFAS…

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: Hotspots H2O – Homeless San Franciscans are in a clean water crisis

People living on San Francisco’s streets and in its parks face daily barriers to finding and accessing clean water, according to a report released earlier this month by the nonprofit organization, Coalition on Homelessness.  The coalition surveyed 73 unhoused people during the 2020-21 winter months to better understand how they access, use, and store water. Of those surveyed — mostly elderly and disabled people living in the Tenderloin area — some 68 percent responded that meeting their daily water needs is a burden. Sources of hardship abound. Some unhoused residents said they have trouble getting water at grocery stores or restaurants because of their appearance. 

Aquafornia news Patch

Oceanside ranked among worst water quality

Water-related challenges are among the biggest issues in Oceanside, ranging from our drinking water quality to concerns over drought and runoff polluting the ocean. With an overall score of 39.79, Oceanside finished just above Moreno Valley, CA, and Garden Grove, CA to be ranked as the 3 cities with the worst water quality. The city with the highest-ranking was Columbus, OH, with a score of 81.03.

Aquafornia news Perkins Cole

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

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

Aquafornia news Times of San Diego

Vallecitos Water District wins awards for sonic tech disrupting algae blooms

The Vallecitos Water District received two awards for its innovative use of technology to reduce algae blooms at Mahr Reservoir, it was announced Thursday. The district received the “Excellence in Action” national award from the WateReuse Association and the “Innovation and Resiliency” state award from the California Association of Sanitation Agencies for its use of an ultrasound technology to address water quality at the Stanley A. Mahr Reservoir with a reduced need for chemical treatment. The most common method of treating algal blooms is with chemicals. VWD instead uses technology developed by the international company LG Sonic, which provides an overview of the water quality allowing identification and treatment of algal blooms.

Aquafornia news The Point Reyes Light

Private tests show bad water quality near park ranches

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

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

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

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

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Aquafornia news Environmental Working Group

News release: California to list notorious ‘forever chemical’ as a cause of cancer in people

The top state scientific agency charged with protecting Californians from toxic chemicals has proposed adding the “forever chemical” PFOA to the list of substances known to the state to cause cancer in humans under the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, otherwise known as Proposition 65. The California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health and Hazard Assessment, or OEHHA, said March 19 that PFOA “meets the criteria for listing as known to the state to cause cancer under Proposition 65,” based on the findings of a National Toxicology Program report last year. 

Aquafornia news Stanford

News release: Stanford researchers explore how shifts in federal approaches can turn the tide of destructive wildfires

It wipes out entire communities in a matter of moments, weakens our lungs and even taints our drinking water, yet federal strategy to combat wildfires remains outdated and largely ineffective. The Biden Administration has an opportunity to rewrite the playbook on combatting wildfires, according to Stanford University science and policy experts whose research on a range of related issues points toward bipartisan solutions.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Environmental groups challenge Trump’s decision to lease federal land for fracking

A new lawsuit brought by environmental groups against the Bureau of Land Management seeks to rescind leases for seven parcels of federal land auctioned to energy companies in the waning days of the Trump administration. They are the first federal land oil and gas leases of their kind to be sold in nearly a decade and would open vast tracts to oil exploration and fracking. The land in question sits in California’s Central Valley, an agricultural region that already experiences some of the worst air and water quality in the country.

Aquafornia news Beyond Pesticides

Blog: Threatened waters what the science shows

According to USGS, 56 percent of streams sampled had one or more pesticides in water that exceeded at least one aquatic-life federal standard. Many of these pesticides are also linked to a range of human and environmental health effects including cancer, birth defects, neurological and reproductive health impacts. … [A] report released by UC Davis examined the the four-county Tulare Lake Basin and the Monterey County portion of the Salinas Valley. The study found that … agricultural fertilizers and animal wastes applied to cropland are by far the largest regional sources of nitrate in groundwater; nitrate loading reductions are possible, some at modest cost. Large reductions of nitrate loads to groundwater can have substantial economic cost…

Aquafornia news Stanford Water in the West

Blog: America’s drinking water future

In 2020 wildfires ravaged more than 10 million acres of land across California, Oregon and Washington, making it the largest fire season in modern history. Across the country, hurricanes over Atlantic waters yielded a record-breaking number of storms. While two very different kinds of natural disasters, scientists say they were spurred by a common catalyst – climate change – and that both also threaten drinking water supplies. As the nation already wrestles with water shortages, contamination and aging infrastructure, experts warn more frequent supercharged climate-induced events will exacerbate the pressing issue of safe drinking water.

Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

Blog: On World Water Day, reflecting on the value of water  

Water is one of the most valuable resources on the planet — we need it to survive, to stay clean and healthy, to grow food, to run businesses, to support ecosystems, and so much more. And yet clean, accessible, abundant water is often taken for granted, in part because its cost rarely reflects its true value. But anyone who has spent even a day, or a few hours, without access to water knows its vital importance. Still today over 2.2 billion people globally lack access to safe drinking water.

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Aquafornia news Civil Eats

20 hotspots to start fixing nitrogen pollution in agriculture

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

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

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

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

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

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

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

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Aquafornia news BBC News

Erin Brockovich: California water battle ‘woke me up’ 

The name Erin Brockovich has become synonymous with those who investigate and hold corporations to account for polluting people’s water. Actor Julia Robert’s sassy film portrayal of the single mum’s key role in winning the largest settlement ever awarded at the time for a direct-action lawsuit against Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), made her a household name. … Despite the win, there was no Hollywood ending for the community … Even with on-going clean-up efforts, hexavalent chromium (also known as chromium-6, a chemical that has been shown to cause lung cancer when inhaled by humans) still haunts the plaintiffs, as the plume continued to spread.

Aquafornia news U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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

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

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

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

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

Aquafornia news Capital and Main

PFAS water lawsuits expose financial impacts on state’s poor communities

Santa Clarita, a comfortable exurb of some 213,000 residents about 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles, is one of hundreds of California communities and districts grappling with the pricey problem of drinking water that’s been tainted by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), chemicals that have been linked to cancer, liver damage, decreased fertility and increased risk of asthma and thyroid disease. Last year the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency (SCV Water) joined a multidistrict lawsuit filed in South Carolina that goes after chemical manufacturers and makers of PFAS-laden aqueous firefighting foam.

Aquafornia news Patch, Bay City News

Officials to hire firm for large Walnut Creek wetland project

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will likely hire a contractor for the sweeping Lower Walnut Creek Restoration Project that aims to improve both flood control and conditions for wildlife and recreation. County staff recommends the board approve a deal with Four M Contracting, which came in with the lowest bid on the project, at $11.285 million. The Winters-based civil engineering firm specializes in wetland enhancement projects and the creation of wildlife habitat.

Aquafornia news The Weather Channel

World Water Day highlights value of water

While water shortages and lack of access are usually associated with developing countries, there were more than 2 million people in the United States without running water or basic indoor plumbing as of 2019, according to the U.S. Water Alliance. Among them are members of the Navajo Nation who drive 40 miles every few days to haul water to their homes; communities in California dealing with contaminated wells; and people across the country living with outdated water systems.

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Aquafornia news Desert Sun and ProPublica

California oil regulator CalGEM struggles with enforcement, fines

Tucked out of sight, oil wells run thousands of feet deep, tapping thick crude from one of California’s many urban oil fields. And in the fall of 2019, investigators with the state’s oil agency flagged trouble. Nasco Petroleum was injecting huge amounts of water into well bores above the legal pressure limits, aiming to push more crude out of the aging downtown field. … The wells, investigators wrote in a report to a manager, posed “immediate” risks to drinking water aquifers.

Aquafornia news Daily Californian Weekender

Opinion: Why do we have lawns anyway? (And what we can do instead?)

To have enough excess time and energy in your life to spend on cultivating a lawn means that you are a successful member of society — not just economically, but in spirit and values. But where did this obsession come from? A lawn, taken out of context, is a very peculiar landscaping choice. … There are tons of alternatives to lawns that can be more appropriate for the California climate. Xeriscaping, or the practice of using drought tolerant plants for decorative landscaping, is rapidly becoming more popular as homeowners are trying to keep their front yards looking neat and elegant while cutting down their water costs and environmental impact. 
-Written by Landon Iannamico, staff writer for the Daily Californian 

Aquafornia news Press Telegram

Bill to create a Southern LA County water watchdog puts agencies on edge

A proposal to create a watchdog for South Los Angeles County’s dozens of disjointed and struggling water systems has stirred fear among public agencies and companies further down the pipeline that they could be the target of hostile takeovers. AB 1195, introduced by Assemblywoman Christina Garcia, would establish the Southern Los Angeles County Regional Water Agency and grant it authority to assist failing water systems with aging infrastructure, or to take control if a system is no longer able to provide affordable, clean drinking water.

Aquafornia news The Sierra Nevada Ally

Nonpoint source pollution: killing the Truckee River by degrees

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

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Board approves Pure Water Monterey expansion report spending

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

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Students find saving water ‘elementary’

When a region’s groundwater is critically depleted and its dirt as hard as a frying pan, how do you refill the aquifer? Ask a fifth grader. Actually, ask the fifth and sixth grade combination class at Bakersfield’s Munsey Elementary School taught by Barbara Elrod. Elrod’s students discovered a pretty cool way to both conserve water and recharge aquifers through “grey water.” That’s water from sinks, showers and washing machines. Turns out most of that water has soap in it and soap is a surfactant. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Blog: The race is on to strike lithium at California’s Salton Sea

[The Salton Sea is] drying up, spewing harmful dust into the Imperial Valley’s already badly polluted air. There are countless stories to be told around the Salton Sea. To me, one of the most fascinating is about lithium. … I wrote about the increasingly bright prospects for Salton Sea lithium extraction in October 2019. Today, I’ve got several updates on the companies trying to make the Imperial Valley the first major source of North American lithium production — including the entrance of some powerful new players.

Aquafornia news Mondaq

Blog: Regan rejoins EPA: A “who’s who” guide to the key officials who will shape the agency

The bipartisan confirmation of Michael Regan as Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) elevates a public servant with a wealth of federal, state and nonprofit experience. … This will require Regan to rely on his expertise in air quality and climate issues—and the cleanup agreements he brokered at NCDEQ—as he oversees increased regulation of traditional energy sources and businesses whose operations result in air, land and water pollution.

Aquafornia news U.S. Geological Survey

News release: Drought may lead to elevated levels of naturally occurring arsenic in private domestic wells

An estimated 4.1 million people in the lower 48 states are potentially exposed to arsenic levels that exceed EPA’s drinking water standards A new U.S. Geological Survey study highlights the importance of homeowners testing their well water to ensure it is safe for consumption, particularly in drought-prone areas. … The states with the largest populations facing elevated arsenic levels in private domestic well water during the simulated drought conditions are Ohio (approximately 374,000 people), Michigan (320,000 people), Indiana (267,000 people), Texas (200,000 people) and California (196,000 people).

Aquafornia news WaterWorld

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

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

Aquafornia news CBS Local

Report: San Francisco homeless struggle to access enough water for survival

San Francisco’s homeless residents struggle to access enough water to live and stay healthy, according to a grim report released Tuesday by the nonprofit Coalition on Homelessness. The Coalition surveyed 73 homeless residents, and found that 61 percent of them do not have access to 15 liters of water a day, which is UNICEF’s disaster response standard for people to meet a minimum survival level. 

Aquafornia news The Confluence

Blog: From the ground up – climate change and environmental justice in California

As a scholar, my work is situated at the intersection of climate change, public health, and public policy. I am an interdisciplinary researcher, and my interests are centered on environmental justice….During California’s last extreme drought, I was doing my field work and visited East Porterville, which was ground zero for how water injustice was hitting migrant communities, particularly undocumented Latino migrants. They had very little water, and what they had was often contaminated.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

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

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

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California may regulate ‘forever’ chemicals in water before EPA

California water suppliers could face state limits on the concentration of two so-called “forever chemicals” before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sets national standards. Maximum contaminant levels for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) are on track to be in place in California in 2023 … The EPA announced in February that it planned to regulate both chemicals and order nationwide sampling for those and 27 similar compounds between 2023 and 2025. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

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

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

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

PG&E settles lawsuit over century-old gas plant pollution

Pacific Gas and Electric will pay to remove soil possibly tainted by century-old gas plants and investigate groundwater contamination in a San Francisco shoreline area under the terms of a deal announced Monday. The agreement represents the third and final settlement reached in a lawsuit filed in 2014 over pollution from manufactured gas plants operated by PG&E in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Under the deal entered Monday, PG&E will fund a study on how to remove or mitigate contamination from an underground storage tank on the former site of its North Beach gas plant, which stopped operating after it was damaged in the Great Earthquake of 1906.

Aquafornia news Jefferson Public Radio

New threat to Humboldt County drinking water prompts state action

Humboldt County’s timber industry legacy includes abandoned mill sites that can be contaminated with dioxins. Now, a former mill site between the cities of Arcata and Blue Lake is a priority case because it’s a potential threat to the drinking water of 88,000 county residents.

Aquafornia news Herald and News

This wildlife refuge is drying up. An anonymous rancher wants to save it.

A unique deal between ranchers and wildlife advocates may at long last bring a reliable water supply to Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge — and the wetlands and birds that depend on it. Since it was largely drained in the early 20th Century, the mosaic of wetlands formerly known as Lower Klamath Lake has relied on water from the Klamath Irrigation Project to grow food and provide suitable habitat for millions of migrating birds along the Pacific Flyway each year. Wetlands in the Klamath Basin support nearly 80% of the Pacific Flyway’s migratory waterfowl during the spring and fall.

Aquafornia news Patch

Ocean use advisory issued for Manhattan Beach water

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

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

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

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

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

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

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

Aquafornia news KQED

Environmental groups urge feds to reject gas drilling project in North Bay wetland

Local political leaders and a dozen Bay Area environmental groups are urging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reject a permit proposal for an exploratory natural gas drilling project in Suisun Marsh. The 88,000-acre wetland in Solano County — the largest contiguous brackish marsh on the west coast of North America — lies near the North Bay cities of Fairfield and Benicia, at the mouth of the vast Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta where the salty waters of San Francisco Bay mix with river water to create an estuary ecosystem that is home to hundreds of species of birds, fish, amphibians and mammals, including river otter, tule elk and the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse.

Aquafornia news Filter

Unhoused Berkeley, CA residents struggle for water during pandemic

There’s a cruel irony to lacking access to quality water as the sky pours rain, a luxury development’s fountain spews a waterfall around the corner, and the bay is within walking distance. Such is the case for the unhoused residents of an encampment on the border of the California cities of Berkeley and Emeryville, whom I visited on a March afternoon that cycled between intermittent showers and partly-cloudy skies. It’s located along train tracks and near the highway, with no clear businesses or public facilities in the immediate area that would be willing to offer a restroom or sink.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Monday Top of the Scroll: Premature or precautionary? California is first to tackle microplastics in drinking water

California is poised to issue the world’s first guidelines for microplastics in drinking water despite no data on how plentiful they are in the state, no scientific agreement on how to test water for them and little research on their health risks.  The pieces of plastic — smaller than an ant, some so tiny they can be seen only with a microscope — have contaminated wildlife and human bodies through their food, air and water. … Now the state Water Resources Control Board is blazing a trail to issue a preliminary health-based threshold and testing methods by July 1.

Aquafornia news Downey Brand LLP

Blog: State Water Board issues notification and response levels for PFBs in drinking water; DTSC to finalize carpets and rugs with PFAS “priority products” in 2021

There has been no shortage of recent regulatory developments concerning per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in California, which are especially relevant to drinking water systems and the consumer product community. On March 5, 2021, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board), Division of Drinking Water (DDW), issued a notification level of 0.5 parts per billion (ppb), and a response level of 5 ppb, for perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS) in drinking water.  PFBS is a type of PFAS compound that is commonly used as a replacement compound for perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS).  

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

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

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

Aquafornia news UC Merced

News release: Mercury control and mitigation research earns professor and student honors

Professor Marc Beutel and his graduate student Mark Seelos have been recognized for papers and a presentation on toxic mercury mitigation by the North American Lake Management Society. … In the winning paper … Beutel and his former Ph.D. advisor, UC Berkeley Professor Alex Horne, detailed what happened when an engineered oxygenation cone using pure oxygen gas was installed in the bottoms of very large reservoirs to protect fish health. The papers are based on their research at Camanche Reservoir and a fish hatchery downstream of the reservoir on the Mokolumne River.

Aquafornia news Sierra Nevada Conservancy

Blog: Megafires create risks for water supply

The forested watersheds of the Sierra Nevada are the origin of more than 60 percent of the state’s developed water supply. Sierra Nevada megafires that kill all, or nearly all, vegetation across large landscapes pose serious risks to this system. In the immediate aftermath of a fire, high-severity burn areas lack vegetation to stabilize soils. … The resulting sediment enters nearby creeks and rivers, degrading water quality and adversely affecting regional aquatic habitats.

Aquafornia news Best Best & Krieger

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

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

Aquafornia news ABC7 San Francisco

Housing development or protected wetlands? Fight over future of California salt ponds

For decades, the Cargill salt ponds in Redwood City have stretched into the San Francisco Bay like a blank slate. What’s to come of them? The Cargill corporation sees the outline of a new housing development, while environmental groups see a restored wetland habitat. David Lewis and his group Save the Bay recently joined a lawsuit against the former Trump administration’s EPA in a back-and-forth battle over whether the area falls under federal protection.

Aquafornia news The Associated Press

Friday Top of the Scroll: Groups sue over California county’s plan to drill oil wells

Environmental and community groups have sued a California county after the prime oil-drilling region approved a plan to fast-track thousands of new wells in a state that’s positioned itself as a leader in combating climate change. The Kern County Board of Supervisors on Monday approved a revised ordinance that could lead to approval of more than 40,000 new oil and gas wells over roughly 15 years. … The oil and gas industry faces challenges from California lawmakers and environmental groups for creating air and water pollution and contributing to climate change.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

How California hunters are trying to save ducks from deadly outbreak

Last year, tens of thousands of water birds became paralyzed and died in a gruesome botulism outbreak caused by lack of water at two wildlife refuges on California’s border with Oregon. And it could happen again this summer. The crippling drought that has plagued the region for years shows no sign of ending, and there’s been little relief from the bureaucratic gridlock and lawsuits over water that has slowly starved the Klamath Basin refuges of their supplies over the past two decades.

Aquafornia news Pacific Sun

Fecal bacteria poisons Point Reyes beaches

In a January test of the water in Abbotts Lagoon [at Point Reyes National Seashore] …, the number of E. Coli cells found in water samples was twenty times the safe amount. At Kehoe Lagoon, the safety margin was exceeded by a factor of 40. It gets worse for E. Coli’s nasty bacterial cousin known as Enterococcus. It can devour your heart, stomach, brain, and spinal cord. This monster thrives in raw sewage and intestines. Kehoe Lagoon seethes with 300 times the acceptable amount of this voracious creature. … Gee, you’d think the Park Service would put up a few warning signs. But, no, there are zero signs cautioning those who touch these waters that a drop can wound and kill. 

Aquafornia news High Country News

Energy companies have left Colorado with billions of dollars in oil and gas cleanup

When an oil or gas well reaches the end of its lifespan, it must be plugged. If it isn’t, the well might leak toxic chemicals into groundwater and spew methane, carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the atmosphere for years on end. … There are nearly 60,000 unplugged wells in Colorado in need of this treatment — each costing $140,000 on average, according to the Carbon Tracker, a climate think tank, in a new report that analyzes oil and gas permitting data. Plugging this many wells will cost a lot —more than $8 billion, the report found.

Aquafornia news Pasadena Star News

Opinion: Racial justice requires equitable access to reliable drinking water

Vice President Kamala Harris was right on point last year when she said that clean water is a fundamental human right. President Biden has put those words into action by signing an executive order establishing a White House council on environmental justice. Every Californian has a right to clean, reliable affordable drinking water.
-Written by Jose Barrera, California’s state deputy director for the League of United Latin American Citizens. 

Aquafornia news KQED

The San Francisco Bay once teemed with oysters. What happened?

There’s one type of oyster that’s indigenous to the San Francisco Bay, and that’s the Olympia oyster (Ostrea lurida). It’s named after Olympia, Washington, though these small, tangy oysters can be found up and down the west coast from Alaska all the way down into central Mexico. Olympias — or Olys for short — can still be found in the San Francisco Bay today. But scientists say pollution from agricultural runoff is too high for commercial fishing.

Aquafornia news NRDC

Blog: California proposes to transition away from toxic pesticides

California’s Governor broke new ground this year when he committed to “transition away from harmful pesticides.” His budget proposal to update fees charged on pesticide sales would generate new funding that could be used to offer better protections for farm workers, agricultural communities, and vulnerable ecosystems, as well as help farmers adopt more sustainable practices. … Pesticides remain a widespread drinking water contaminant, particularly in rural areas, and exposure to these pesticides has been linked to increased vulnerability to COVID-19.

Aquafornia news Border Report

House, Senate bills designate EPA to head all water cleanup along southern border

A bipartisan group of California lawmakers is confronting pollution problems along the U.S.-Mexico border, especially in the Tijuana River Valley between San Diego and Tijuana. Several House members who represent Southern California introduced a bill called the Border Water Quality Restoration Act. Similar legislation was presented last week in the U.S. Senate. If approved, it will give the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to coordinate all federal, state, and local agencies when planning construction and infrastructure projects to mitigate pollution in waterways throughout the southern border.

Aquafornia news Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions

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

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

Aquafornia news Del Norte Triplicate

Low-level thinning can help restore redwood forests without affecting stream temperatures

Selectively cutting trees in riparian zones to aid forest restoration can be done without adversely affecting streams’ water temperature as long as the thinning isn’t too intensive, new research by Oregon State University shows. … Northern California is well known for its groves of large, iconic redwood trees. However, intensive logging removed most of the old-growth forests from this region and less than 10% of those forests remain. 

Aquafornia news UC Merced

New research: Mercury control and mitigation research earns professor and student honors

Professor Marc Beutel and his graduate student Mark Seelos have been recognized for papers and a presentation on toxic mercury mitigation by the North American Lake Management Society. … “About half the reservoirs in California are impaired because of historic mercury and gold mining,” Seelos said.

Aquafornia news NBC 7 San Diego

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

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

Aquafornia news Utah Public Radio

After years of delays, California tries to tamp down Salton Sea dust

California is spending more than $200 million to keep an unfolding ecological crisis from getting worse. The state wants to stabilize habitat along the southern bank of the Salton Sea, the state’s largest lake. That is good news for nearby residents concerned about their health, but the restoration could also affect everyone who draws water from the Colorado River.  At issue is the wide swaths of exposed lakebed that have been uncovered as the thirsty lake’s water evaporates in the desert air.

Aquafornia news University of Miami

Blog: Should water be traded as a commodity?

In times of drought, California’s Central Valley is full of farmers hindered by the lack of water. And this region, where the bulk of the nation’s fruits and vegetables are cultivated, is driving up the demand for water. Although many farmers without easy access to water often buy and pump it in from their neighbors, droughts often fuel massive price increases. And this often makes water so cost-prohibitive that it can discourage farmers from even planting crops. This predicament led a firm to recently list water as the newest commodity on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Now, water futures are traded daily. This helps farmers lock in a price for water, so they have a cushion if a drought threatens their crop revenues.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Managing water and crops with groundwater salinity – A growing menace

Salinity is an eventual threat to agriculture and groundwater sustainability in parts of California, and other irrigated parts of the world. Irrigation, lower groundwater levels, and natural conditions have dramatically increased groundwater salinity in parts of California over the last 150 years. Nearly two million tons of salt accumulates per year in the San Joaquin Valley (CV-SALTS), where 250,000 acres of irrigated land have been fallowed, 1.5 million acres are potentially salt-impaired (Great Valley Center 2005), with $1.2 – $2.2 billion/year losses by 2030 without management. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Column: Desalination plan stinks all the way to Gov. Newsom’s office

[D]esalination may have a role to play in addressing California’s long-running water shortage issues. After all, we’ve got a 1,100-mile coastline in a drought-stricken state, and it’s only natural to think: Hey, let’s just stick a straw in the ocean, and our rabid thirst will be quenched once and for all. But desalination comes with many costs, including big hits to the environment and ratepayer pocketbooks. And as Susan Jordan, executive director of the California Coastal Protection Network, puts it, we need to temper our lust for what seems an easy fix.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Plan to allow thousands of California oil wells faces vote

After a state appeals court blocked Kern County’s effort to speed up new oil and gas drilling, officials overseeing the state’s prime oil patch have revised an ordinance that could permit tens of thousands of new wells over the next 15 years. The Kern County Board of Supervisors is poised to vote Monday on the plan that would streamline the permitting process by creating a blanket environmental impact report for drilling as many as 2,700 wells a year. … The county hasn’t been able to issue permits in a year and the industry is facing challenges from lawmakers as well as environmental groups for creating air and water pollution and for significant contributions to climate change.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: How ‘cutting green tape’ can make California more resilient

California is one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots – home to more unique species of plants and animals than any other state in the U.S. This biodiversity makes up the beautiful land and seascapes of the world’s fifth-largest economy and sustains our health, cultures and quality of life.  Yet it is disappearing at alarming rates. … Environmental laws such as the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act are designed to protect the environment from damage. What these laws are not designed to do is provide a pathway for restoring nature damaged, for instance, by development projects.
-Written by Ashley Boren, the CEO of Sustainable Conservation, a San Francisco- and Modesto-based nonprofit. 

Aquafornia news Downey Brand LLP

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

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

Aquafornia news City of Napa

News release: City switching to Lake Hennessey for water supply for three weeks

The City recognizes the changing aesthetics of the drinking water, which is common with surface water supplies. Starting on March 5th our State Water Project supply source (Delta water) will be unavailable for three weeks to perform maintenance which necessitates using our Lake Hennessey water.  The taste and odor is not unique to Napa’s water sources – seasonal algae blooms are common to many surface waters. As algae dies off they release odor causing compounds.  Most persons describe the aesthetics of this phenomenon as earthy and/or musty.

Aquafornia news Well+Good

Unsafe drinking water is a wellness issue

When Malini Ranganathan, PhD, an associate professor at American University and interim faculty director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center, conducted research in Exeter, a flourishing agriculture town in California’s Central Valley, she didn’t expect to see similar conditions to what she’d witnessed in India’s low-income housing areas. Residents in one of the world’s richest states were depending on bore water and water tankers to drink because tap water was unsafe. 

Aquafornia news ABC10 News San Diego

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

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

Aquafornia news Sierra Club Angeles Chapter

Blog: Sierra Club looks to build on successful efforts to make water agencies more diverse and progressive

Water may be life, but most residents of Southern California do not often reflect on the complex series of canals, pumps, and pipelines that connect where they live to water sources like the Colorado River, the Sierras, or the numerous water basins under LA County. Even less appreciated is the role water districts play in combining water sources, treating our water, and distributing it. Major water districts influence water quality and rates. They decide how to meet future water needs in an era of drought and climate change. These agencies determine if your water comes from sustainable local sources like conservation and recycling or from desert-damaging water mining projects like Cadiz. 

Aquafornia news Downey Brand LLP

Blog: Judge finds that Water Boards have authority to regulate discharges of dredge and fill material as waste under Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act

On February 18, 2021, the First Appellate District issued an opinion in Sweeney et al. v. California Regional Water Quality Control Bd., San Francisco Bay Region et al. (Case No. A153583) (“Sweeney”).  The opinion is much anticipated given its relevance to the continued validity of the State Water Resources Control Board’s recently adopted State Procedures for Discharges of Dredged and Fill Material (“Procedures”).  The Appellate Court reversed the lower court in the entirety, substantially deferring to the actions and prosecutorial discretion of the State Water Resources Control Board (“State Water Board”) and San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board (“Regional Water Board”, collectively, “Water Boards”) based on application of a revised standard of review. 

Aquafornia news California Attorney General's Office

News release: Attorney General Becerra challenges weakening of crucial requirements that protect public from lead in drinking water

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Monday joined a lawsuit challenging a Trump-era rule revising nationwide standards for controlling and remediating lead in drinking water. While the final rule includes certain necessary updates to the existing standard, these changes are overshadowed by the unlawful weakening of critical requirements and the rule’s failure to protect the public from lead in drinking water to the maximum extent feasible, as required by law. 

Aquafornia news KPBS

State water project takes aim at restoring Salton Sea, alleviating health risks

California is spending more than $200 million to keep an unfolding ecological crisis from getting worse. The state wants to stabilize habitat along the southern bank of the Salton Sea, the state’s largest lake. That is good news for nearby residents concerned about their health, but the restoration could also affect everyone who draws water from the Colorado River. At issue is the wide swaths of exposed lakebed that have been uncovered as the thirsty lake’s water evaporates in the desert air. The lake bottom is typically a deep layer of fine silt. When covered by water, it poses no risk. But once exposed to the air, and whipped up by the region’s strong winds, the dust becomes a major health risk.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Monday Top of the Scroll: ‘It’s a toxic blend’: where the kids are warned not to swallow the bath water

An invisible line splits the rural road of Avenue 416 in California’s Tulare county, at the point where the nut trees stretch east toward the towering Sierra Nevada mountains in the distance. On one side of the line, residents have clean water. On the other side, they do not. On the other side lies East Orosi, an unincorporated community of about 700 where children grow up learning to never open their eyes or mouths while they shower. They know that what comes out of their faucets may harm them, and parents warn they must not swallow when they brush their teeth. They spend their lives sustaining themselves on bottled water while just one mile down Avenue 416, the same children they go to school with in the community of Orosi can drink from their taps freely and bathe without a second thought.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Friday Top of the Scroll: More than 25m drink from the worst US water systems, with Latinos most exposed

Millions of people in the US are drinking water that fails to meet federal health standards, including by violating limits for dangerous contaminants. Latinos are disproportionately exposed, according to the Guardian’s review of more than 140,000 public water systems across the US and county-level demographic data. … Texas, where millions of residents lost access to water and power during the recent storm, has the most high-violation systems, followed by California and Oklahoma. The average number of violations is highest in Oklahoma, West Virginia and New Mexico.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

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

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

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Eureka council to consider letter addressing water quality concerns

The Eureka City Council is set to consider a letter from the mayor to the state’s Department of Toxic Substances Control, a subdivision of the California Environmental Protection Agency, regarding a potential water contamination hazard. The letter is on the agenda for the March 2 meeting as a consent calendar item. 

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

California must face water quality challenge in federal court

The Department of Justice can proceed with its claims that California violated state law when it changed its water quality control plan for the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta system in federal court, the Ninth Circuit ruled. Granting a partial stay of the state law claims in federal court is allowed in limited circumstances, but the federal government’s actions here don’t amount to the type of forum shopping that justifies a stay, according to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. 

Aquafornia news Sierra Club Angeles Chapter

Blog: Climate change creating enormous challenges

The Water Replenishment District of Southern California (WRD) is the largest groundwater agency in the State of California, managing and protecting local groundwater resources for over four million residents. WRD’s service area covers a 420-square-mile region of southern Los Angeles County, the most populated county in the United States. The 43 cities in the service area, including a portion of the City of Los Angeles, use about 215,000 acre-feet (70 billion gallons) of groundwater annually which accounts for about half of the region’s potable water supply.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Biden urged to back water bill amid worst US crisis in decades

Democratic lawmakers and advocates are urging Joe Biden to back legislation proposing unprecedented investment in America’s ailing water infrastructure amid the country’s worst crisis in decades that has left millions of people without access to clean, safe, affordable water. Boil advisories, leaky lead pipes, poisonous forever chemicals, bill arrears and raw sewage are among the urgent issues facing ordinary Americans and municipal utilities after decades of federal government neglect, which has brought the country’s ageing water systems hurtling towards disaster. … Water supplies and sanitation have been disrupted over and over in recent decades – in Louisiana, Puerto Rico, California, Ohio and elsewhere …

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Will California’s desert be transformed into Lithium Valley?

California’s desert is littered with remnants of broken dreams — hidden ghost towns, abandoned mines and rusty remains of someone’s Big Idea. But nothing looms larger on an abandoned landscape than the Salton Sea, which languishes in an overlooked corner of the state. The water shimmers and broils in the desert like a rebuke: born of human error, made worse by 100 years of neglect and pollution. California’s largest lake is also one of its worst environmental blights, presenting a problem so inverted that its toxic legacy intensifies as its foul water disappears…. The blue-ribbon commission members, appointed by state agencies, legislators and the governor, hold their first meeting today… 

Aquafornia news Colorado Boulevard

Blog: Many in San Gabriel valley drink “forever chemicals” in tap water

Fluorinated compounds, commonly known as PFAS, have been found in water samples in Monterey Park, Duarte, El Monte, Glendora, Rosemead, and LaVerne, according to the Environmental Working Group. One PFAS compound, known as PFHxA, also has been found routinely in imported water the Metropolitan Water District supplies to Southern California cities, acknowledges Rebecca Kimitch, MWD spokesperson. 

Aquafornia news East County Today

City of Antioch breaks ground on water project in Delta

On Friday,  the City of Antioch, along with local and State dignitaries, broke ground on their new and historic Brackish Water Desalination Plant. At a price of $110 million, the project was made possible with $93 million in funding from the State, and $17 million from the City of Antioch.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diegans, how much would you tax yourself to prevent floods, boost water quality?

San Diego officials plan to spend the next five months analyzing what size tax increase city voters would likely support in November 2022 to pay for projects that boost flood prevention and water quality. The ballot measure would be the first opportunity for San Diegans to vote to raise taxes on themselves to tackle an estimated $6 billion infrastructure backlog that city officials began calling San Diego’s No. 1 challenge eight years ago.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Santa Cruz, Soquel Creek water propose extending supply sharing pilot program

The Santa Cruz City Council is poised to approve a 5-year extension between the City and Soquel Creek Water Districts on a pilot program that would funnel excess surface water to Soquel Creek during winter months, in hopes of bolstering overdrawn groundwater supply there. That surface water, on average, is projected to be around 115 million gallons delivered by Santa Cruz Water to Soquel Creek during the wet season, which would take strain off pumping the Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Basin. 

Aquafornia news The Signal

SCV Water announces extension to comment period, second public meeting

The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency has extended its public comment period for the Saugus Formation Aquifer to March 19, with the addition of a second virtual public meeting. The meeting is expected to provide community members with an additional opportunity to learn more about how the agency is keeping its water safe for drinking water consumption through minimizing and reducing the public health and environmental effects of hazardous substances that have been identified in the aquifer, as well as treatments that could allow several wells to return to service.

Aquafornia news BenitoLink

Rivas co-introduces statewide Clean Water Act

Nearing the 50th anniversary of the federal Clean Water Act, Assemblyman Robert Rivas held a press conference on Feb. 2 to discuss the proposed California Clean Water Act, AB 377. The legislation, co-introduced by Rivas and state Senate Majority Leader Robert Hertzberg, would work to ensure all rivers, lakes, oceans and other bodies of water in California are clean enough for drinking, swimming and fishing purposes by 2050. 

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Groundwater salinization in California’s Tulare Lake basin, the ABCSAL model

Lower groundwater levels can prevent drainage of water and salts from a basin and increase aquifer salinity that eventually renders the groundwater unsuitable for use as drinking water or irrigation without expensive desalination. Pauloo et al. (2021)  demonstrate this process for the Tulare Lake Basin (TLB) of California’s Central Valley. Even if groundwater pumping does not cause overdraft, it can cause hydrologic basin closure leading to progressive salinization that will not cease until the basin is opened by allowing natural or engineered exits for groundwater and dissolved salt. The process, “Anthropogenic Basin Closure and Groundwater Salinization (ABCSAL)”, is driven by human water management. 

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

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

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

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Sentinel

Jasmin Hall becomes first Black President of the Inland Empire Utilities Agency  

Two elections held in the last three months have placed San Bernardino County resident Jasmin Hall in a position where she wields the most influence among a handful of African Americans serving in California water industry leadership roles. Late last year, Hall’s colleagues elected her the first African American president of the Inland Empire Utilities Agency (IEUA). Earlier this year, she was sworn in to serve in that role.

Aquafornia news Desert Sun

High schooler takes on contaminated water in Thermal

“I was inspired by Erin Brockovich to help communities with contaminated tap water,” says Ryan Sinderbrand, a junior at Westlake High School in Thousand Oaks, “so I took some environmental and sustainability classes to learn more. I’d watched the news, and I’d heard stories about how serious the problem was.” Wanting to help, he researched communities in California with contaminated water and came across the Coachella Valley.

Aquafornia news State Water Resources Control Board

News release: Expert panel – food grown with produced water safe for human consumption

An expert panel has concluded that the decades-old practice of irrigating agricultural food crops with “produced water” from oil fields shows no evidence of increased risk to human health. The panel’s 35-page Food Safety Project White Paper is the result of five years of extensive crop sampling and a thorough evaluation of data, along with a review of existing literature…. The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board is inviting members of the pubic to comment on the white paper at its next meeting on Feb. 18-19, along with an option to submit written comments until March 5.

Aquafornia news The Texas Tribune

Texans warned to boil and conserve water as power outages persist

First Texans lost their power. Now, they’re losing their potable water. After enduring multiple days of freezing temperatures and Texans dripping faucets to prevent frozen pipes from bursting, cities across the state warned residents on Wednesday that water levels are dangerously low and may be unsafe to drink. They’re telling Texans to boil tap water for drinking, cooking, brushing their teeth and for making ice — as residents have been struggling to maintain power and heat while an unprecedented winter storm whips across the state. 

Aquafornia news The Associated Press

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California lawmakers propose ban on fracking by 2027

New legislation would ban all fracking in California by 2027, taking aim at the powerful oil and gas industry in a state already planning to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered cars by 2035. … Environmental groups say [fracking] can cause significant harm to air quality and water supplies.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Ag Council president reflects on drinking water collaboration

Emily Rooney, president of the Agricultural Council of California, is a member of the advisory group for California’s Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) drinking water program. She spoke with Agri-Pulse about an unexpected coalition that helped bring about the 2019 law and why the issue is important to agriculture.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The National Law Review

PFAS water utility lawsuit shows an increasing trend

In the latest PFAS water utility lawsuit (PAWC Complaint – PFAS), the Pennsylvania-American Water Co. (“PAWC”) sued numerous PFAS manufacturers over allegations that the companies knowingly or negligently allowed the contamination of the drinking water in the state of Pennsylvania. … The Pennsylvania lawsuit is not the first lawsuit brought by a water district seeking to recoup the costs of cleanup and decontamination of PFAS. For example, on October 27, 2020, another California water district (the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency) brought a similar, albeit much less extensive, lawsuit for PFAS cleanup costs. 

Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

Palmdale Water District to host informative meeting on fire

A local water utility company is set to share information about how the Littlerock Creek watershed was adversely affected by the Bobcat fire. Palmdale Water District will host a free, virtual event at 3 p.m. on Feb. 24 and provide information to the public about what steps are being taken to mitigate the damage. Much of the watershed has been burned and there is concern that potential heavy debris flow will create excessive sediment in the Littlerock Reservoir and affect water quality.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Herring fishermen sue Chevron over California oil leak

A pipeline rupture that gushed hundreds of gallons of oil into the San Francisco Bay spurred a class action filed Tuesday that accuses a Chevron refinery of prioritizing profits over safety and threatening the survival of herring in the area for years to come. … On Feb. 9, a Chevron refinery in the East Bay city of Richmond, California, discovered a pipeline leak that oozed about 700 gallons of a substance described interchangeably by Chevron as “a mixture of recovered oil and gasoline”, “petroleum and water mixture” and “hydrocarbons.”

Aquafornia news Axios

Biden presidency could bring regulations on toxic “forever chemicals”

Industrial “forever chemicals” found in hundreds of consumer goods and linked to adverse health effects may face new regulations under the Biden administration. Why it matters: Environmental groups and members of Congress are calling on President Biden to follow through with his promise to designate the long-ignored and largely unregulated synthetic chemicals, which can last for hundreds of years without breaking down, as hazardous substances. They’re also calling for him to set enforceable limits for the chemicals in the Safe Drinking Water Act and to fund toxicity research on them.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wildfires can pollute drinking water. That worries some in the hills above Santa Cruz

As the first heavy rains of the season poured across the Santa Cruz Mountains last month, emergency responders and residents braced for debris flows, road closures and power outages. Others also feared for their drinking water…. Across the West, water districts are grappling with new and increasingly common challenges as fire seasons grow longer and blazes consume more suburbs and smaller communities. These fires are not only destroying people’s homes and treasured possessions, they are leaving behind an array of incinerated plastics, lead, pesticides and other toxic particles that have the potential to contaminate water supplies.  

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

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

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

Aquafornia news WaterWorld

News release: Vallecitos Water District recognized for algae control

The Vallecitos Water District won an Excellence in Innovation and Resilience Award with environmentally-friendly algae control technology. Known for its sustainable approach to water treatment, the award-winning utility chose to control algal blooms with LG Sonic technology. The award recognizes efforts in the innovative application of technology to the wastewater field and was handed by California Association of Sanitation Agencies.

Aquafornia news Down to Earth

Blog: Safe drinking water in America: Not everyone has it

When the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak swept across the United States, toilet paper, hand sanitiser and Clorox wipes flew off store shelves. But shopping carts have also been full of something that most Americans get supplied straight to their home: Water.

Aquafornia news Curbed

Could the Florida water-supply hacking happen in New York?

Last week, a hacker took control of an employee’s computer at a small water-treatment plant in Florida. Within a few hours, the level of sodium hydroxide, the chemical compound known as lye that’s added to dissolve heavy metals, had increased to 100 times the usual amount. … Attacks on water systems are certainly not new — in 1924, California farmers blew up part of the aqueduct that was siphoning a local lake 200 miles south to the growing metropolis of Los Angeles — but as more infrastructural operations are carried out using remote and automated systems, there’s growing concern that the security of such systems, particularly smaller water systems with fewer resources, could be breached.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

‘A clear danger’: oil spill in California city revives calls to cut ties with Chevron

Emergency crews in Richmond, California, are rushing to clean up an estimated 600 gallons of oil that spilled from a Chevron refinery into the San Francisco Bay. Details on the spill are still scant, but the emergency has reinvigorated calls from residents and environmentalists for the city to change its relationship with the refinery.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg

Trump’s environment policies killed thousands, scientists say

The Trump administration deliberately harnessed racism and class animosity to push policies that caused hundreds of thousands of U.S. deaths, according to a scathing new report in the British medical journal The Lancet. After undertaking a comprehensive assessment of the health and environment impacts of Donald Trump’s presidency, the 33 scientists who co-authored the article estimated that rollbacks of environmental and workplace protections led to 22,000 excess deaths in 2019 alone. … On environmental policy, the report noted that Trump rolled back 84 vital regulations covering everything from toxins in water to the way scientific research gets used by the federal government…

Aquafornia news Grist

What would a just transition look like for the Navajo Nation?

Two decades ago, Nicole Horseherder, a member of the Navajo Nation, coordinated a community meeting. Beneath the shade of Juniper trees at her late grandmother’s house, several dozen people gathered to find a way to protect their pristine water. The springs and wells along Black Mesa, a semi-arid, rocky mesa that overlies the Navajo Aquifer, were increasingly drying up, as tens of billions of gallons of potable water were used to extract, clean, and transport coal mined in the region. This meeting was the start of a long struggle to safeguard the community from coal projects, which threatened the drinking water supply of both the Navajo and Hopi people.

Aquafornia news The Associated Press

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Hack exposes vulnerability of cash-strapped US water plants

A hacker’s botched attempt to poison the water supply of a small Florida city is raising alarms about just how vulnerable the nation’s water systems may be to attacks by more sophisticated intruders. Treatment plants are typically cash-strapped, and lack the cybersecurity depth of the power grid and nuclear plants.

Aquafornia news ABC7 San Francisco

Chevron oil spill: Neighbors ‘really scared’ after 600-gallon spill near Richmond refinery

The Chevron refinery in Richmond is investigating an oil spill Tuesday afternoon, according to city and county officials. The spill happened in what’s called the “Long Wharf” off Point Richmond, where a sheen can be seen on the top of the water at Bear Point.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Business Wire

News release: California American Water invested more than $68 million in infrastructure improvements in 2020

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.

Aquafornia news The Press

California seeking volunteers to help keep waterways clean

California’s Boating Clean and Green Program is looking for individuals to become Dockwalkers to help keep the ocean, lakes and reservoirs clean. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, recreational boaters continue to recreate in California’s waterways. The need to share clean boating practices with the recreational community, while abiding to COVID-19 guidelines, remains important.

Aquafornia news 23 ABC News

City officials to discuss revisions to oil zoning for local gas, oil permitting

Oil and gas remain an important topic in Kern county and come Thursday, county officials are expected to discuss revisions to a zoning ordinance focused on oil and gas local permitting. This is an ordinance that’s years in the making and its faced challenges along the way. The initial review was approved by the board of supervisors back in 2015, but last year after a court ruling it was challenged, so now the county’s planning commission is revisiting this topic once more. … However, advocates against the proposed ordinance say they are concerned with environmental impacts of the air, water, and noise concerns that may follow if the ordinance is approved.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Study shows no major oil contamination found in Oxnard Plain water

A new study shows petroleum-related and other gases present in groundwater overlying an oil field on the Oxnard Plain, as well as unanswered questions about gases in five water wells, but no widespread contamination of the water supply. State and county officials said they are reviewing the 66-page report by scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey before determining what, if any, future actions should be taken. The study confirmed what scientists suspected two years ago after finding petroleum-related gases in water wells but adds new details. 

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Accounting for a decade of headwater forest management

Forests in the Sierra‒Cascade headwater region have dramatically changed over the past 150 years. The prohibition of Indigenous burning, aggressive wildfire suppression, and early timber harvest practices made these forests denser over time, increasing their vulnerability to catastrophic wildfires and widespread tree-die off. These forests are a dominant feature on the landscape, occupying nearly 40% of the 15 million acre headwater region overall and well over half of some northern watersheds. Changing the way we manage these forests can improve their health and make them more resilient to wildfire, drought, and disease.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

States clash with Pentagon on PFAS water limits, polluted sites

Six states with drinking water standards for so-called “forever chemicals” are now wrestling with what those limits mean when water contamination from Department of Defense sites seep into their communities. Members of Congress from both parties are starting to vent their frustration at military foot-dragging even as the states take different paths to address the contamination. 

Aquafornia news UCLA

Study: The human right to water in poor communities of color: Southern Los Angeles County

Disadvantaged communities concentrated in southern Los Angeles County lack fair options when it comes to water supply. When served by public utilities, aging infrastructure, water quality problems, and other complications can translate into sacrifices in quality or reliability. When supplied by investor-owned utilities, they receive reliable water supply but pay more than affluent communities. This report examines the case study of Sativa County Water District, a cautionary tale of a failed water system in southern LA County. 

Aquafornia news NPR

Near coasts, rising seas could also push up long-buried toxic contamination

For many Bay Area residents who live near the water’s edge, little-publicized research indicates groundwater rising beneath their feet could start to manifest in 10-15 years, particularly in low-lying communities like Oakland. And that could resurface toxic substances that have lingered for years underground.

Aquafornia news The Signal

Santa Clarita Valley Water to host meeting on hazardous materials in Saugus Aquifer

Santa Clarita Valley Water has scheduled a virtual public meeting for the community to learn more about how the agency is keeping its water safe for drinking by addressing the public health and environmental effects of hazardous substances that have been identified in the Saugus Formation Aquifer. Set for Feb. 11, the agency will provide an overview of project objectives and alternatives for removal of the hazardous substances.

Aquafornia news Pleasanton Weekly

Pleasanton city council drops pursuit for potable water

Pleasanton is no longer pursuing potable reuse as a water supply alternative after the City Council voted 3-2 to stop studying the matter with other regional agencies on Tuesday.

Aquafornia news VC Reporter

Covid mutations emerge in Ventura County

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. 

Aquafornia news NBC Bay Area

Bay Area sewage systems at risk as seas rise

An NBC Bay Area investigation found 30 out of 39 sewage treatment plants located around San Francisco Bay Area are at risk of flooding as sea levels rise due to climate change. Four of those plants could flood with as little as 9.84 inches of sea level rise. That’s an amount that state analysts say is a possibility by 2030. If and when that happens, toilets won’t flush, and in some cases, sewage could back up into homes, whether residents live in the hills or along the coast.  

Aquafornia news The Hill

Opinion: Water infrastructure — the unmet needs of low-income communities

To meet the promise of its day one executive order on Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities, the Biden administration needs to provide low-income communities, communities of color and Indigenous people the same access to clean and safe water that the rest of our nation takes for granted. 
-Written by David F. Coursen, a former EPA attorney and a member of the Environmental Protection Network, a nonprofit organization of EPA alumni.

Aquafornia news East County Today

Blog: Clean Water Act bill introduced to clean up all waterways by 2050

Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister), Senate Majority Leader Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) and California Coastkeeper Alliance introduced the California Clean Water Act, Assembly Bill 377, legislation that will put California back on track to eliminate impaired waterways and make all waters statewide suitable for conversion to drinking water, swimming, and fishing by 2050.

Aquafornia news Globe Newswire

News release: EPCOR receives grant to build reclaimed water pipeline

The Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) has awarded EPCOR USA a $250,000 grant to help build a new reclaimed water pipeline for the benefit of San Tan (formerly Johnson Utilities) customers, agricultural water users, and the San Tan Valley region. This supports water management goals in the Phoenix Active Management Area by reducing demand for groundwater pumping. Under the terms of the Lower Colorado Basin Drought Contingency Plan (DCP), Arizona stakeholders agreed to offset Central Arizona Project water reductions to agricultural users by making alternate sources available. 

Aquafornia news Water & Wastes Digest

Agricultural developer agrees to pay Clean Water Act fines

A California agricultural developer has agreed to pay a civil penalty to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA) on property near the Sacramento River in Tehama County, California. The developer must also preserve streams and wetlands, effect mitigation, and be subject to a prohibitive injunction, according to the Department of Justice. Roger J. LaPant Jr. originally purchased the property in 2011 and sold it in 2012 to Duarte Nursery Inc. which sold it that same year to Goose Pond Ag Inc. 

Aquafornia news KALW

One Planet: California’s ecological crisis and our relationship with its wild places

On this edition of Your Call’s One Planet Series, we are speaking with Sacramento Bee environment reporter Ryan Sabalow about his five part investigation, Nothing Wild: California’s relationship with the animal kingdom is broken. Can it be fixed? Invasive grasses are causing fires to explode, thousands of water birds are dying miserable deaths, and the sage grouse is at risk of disappearing forever. Sabalow explores California’s ecological crisis and our relationship with its wild places.

Aquafornia news DW

How wetlands are linked to our climate

Why should we care about wetlands?  Although wetlands cover less than 4% of the Earth’s surface, 40% of all animal species live or reproduce in them. One-third of all organic matter on our planet is stored in places like the gigantic Pantanal wetland in western Brazil, the Sudd floodplain in southern Sudan or the Wasjugan Marsh in western Siberia.  Wetlands filter, store and supply the planet with water and food — more than a billion people worldwide depend on them for sustenance. They also play a key role in regulating the planet’s climate…

Aquafornia news Pleasanton Weekly

Pleasanton City Council to revisit potable water project

The Pleasanton City Council will revisit the subject of potable water and the city’s regional efforts to study water supply alternatives at its Tuesday night online meeting, starting 7 p.m. In November, the council asked city staff to make recommendations on continuing “to participate with regional agencies on studies of water supply alternatives including potable reuse and $300,000 in funding from the city’s Capital Improvement program.”

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Colorado River getting saltier sparks calls for federal help

Water suppliers along the drought-stricken Colorado River hope to tackle another tricky issue after the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation installs a new leader: salty water. The river provides water for 40 million people from Colorado to California, and helps irrigate 5.5 million acres of farm and ranchland in the U.S. But all that water also comes with 9 million tons of salt that flow through the system as it heads to Mexico, both due to natural occurrence and runoff, mostly from agriculture. Salt can hurt crop production, corrode drinking water pipes, and cause other damage.

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Aquafornia news ABC7 KRCR

State releases new information on water contamination after North Complex Fire

The California State Water Board released new information about water contamination testing after the North Complex fire devastated parts of Butte County and Plumas County during the summer of 2020. Testing of surface waters throughout the burn scar has revealed contaminant levels are elevated, but lower than anticipated. The State Water Board said the good news is they are not impacting drinking water treatment facilities or the quality of drinking water they deliver to their customers. The contaminants include E.Coli, aluminum, iron, manganese and other metals, most of which are naturally occurring and often found in runoff sediments.

Aquafornia news California Office of Enviornmental Health Hazard Assessment

News Release: The Human Right to Water in California data tool

The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) announces the release of its final Human Right to Water Framework and Data Tool (CalHRTW 1.0)—comprised of an interactive web tool and report, Achieving the Human Right to Water in California: An Assessment of the State’s Community Water Systems. In developing the Human Right to Water Framework and Data Tool, California becomes the first state in the country to develop a tool for measuring the progressive realization of the human right to water.  

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Feds ’shortchange’ San Francisco Bay – local Congress members want money for restoration

San Francisco Bay is dwarfed by the Chesapeake Bay, Puget Sound and other treasured estuaries when it comes to federal funding, and California lawmakers want that changed. On Thursday, a contingent of Bay Area members of Congress introduced legislation that would boost federal money tenfold for restoration of the region’s signature waters. Under the proposal, $50 million a year for five years would flow to bay projects that reduce water pollution, support wildlife, revive wetlands and protect shoreline communities from sea level rise.

Aquafornia news Water and Wastes Digest

California imposes first statewide rules for winery wastewater

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.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Research: Acid rain is yesterday’s news? Sulfate in freshwaters remains a problem

Acid rain seems to be a thing of the past, yet sulfate continues to rise in many inland waters worldwide. Researchers led by the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) and the Danish University of Aarhus provide an overview of the sources of sulfate and its effects on freshwater ecosystems. They point out that the negative consequences for ecosystems and drinking water production have so far only been perceived regionally and recommend that sulfate be given greater consideration in legal environmental standards.

Aquafornia news KSRO

California congressman appointed to Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee

California Congressman John Garamendi is being appointed by his congressional colleagues to the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee, a responsibility he doesn’t take lightly. Garamendi will now oversee matters related to water resources development, conservation, infrastructure and hazardous waste cleanup. He says water conservation is “critical,” and wants storage and recycling of the state’s water supply to be key elements for his new policies.

Aquafornia news Patch

City to trace mystery water at Concord Naval Weapons Station

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.

Aquafornia news Del Norte Triplicate

With Klamath dam removal at an impasse, Huffman calls forum

[T]he decades-long effort to remove four hydroelectric dams that clog the upper Klamath River should be seen not simply through an environmental and economic lens but also a social justice one, according to Craig Tucker, a natural resources consultant for the Karuk Tribe.

Aquafornia news World Economic Forum

Opinion: To make progress on global challenges, start with water

Whether used for potable (drinking) or non-potable purposes, clean water is our most valuable and fundamental resource, and ultimately underpins the success or failure of every other challenge that we face. Yet we are perilously close to 2025, when it is predicted that half of the world’s population will not have reliable access to clean water…

Aquafornia news KHTS

SCV water seeks public input on removal of hazardous material in water wells

The Santa Clarita Water Agency (SCV Water) is asking for the public’s input on the Engineering Evaluation Cost Analysis (EE/CA) of removing perchlorate and volatile substances from the Saugus Formation Aquifer, officials said Tuesday. As part of this effort, SCV Water is seeking input on the removal of these substances during a 30-day public comment period from Jan. 26 to Feb. 24, 2021, according to officials. The public is invited to review and comment …

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Environment experts to Newsom: Now’s your moment

Back in September, while wildfires raged and the pandemic wore on, California Gov. Gavin Newsom held a virtual press conference to announce a bold new climate goal. By 2035, he said, all new cars and trucks sold in California would be zero-emission, in order to seriously curtail climate warming-emissions. … But while Newsom has grabbed attention for his clean car policy … environmental experts say he hasn’t moved boldly enough on ecological issues… Last summer, the governor issued a water resilience portfolio that outlines 142 state actions to help the state deal with water as the climate crisis worsens….

Aquafornia news Redheaded Blackbelt

Blog: Overturned fuel tank at cannabis grow leads to over $100,000 fine and more

Two out-of-state men were ordered by a judge to pay $117,373 in restitution for water pollution violations stemming from an overturned fuel tank that released an estimated 760 gallons of diesel into Rock Tree Creek, a tributary of the Eel River.

Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

Radhika Fox appointed to lead EPA’s Office of Water

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the selection of US Water Alliance CEO Radhika Fox as the Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water. Fox was a Day One Presidential Appointee in the Biden-Harris Administration. She will serve as the Acting Assistant Administrator for Water.

Aquafornia news Sonoma Index-Tribune

California to impose first statewide rules for winery wastewater, marking new era

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. 

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Dupont, 3M win dismissal of California water utility’s PFAS suit

3M Co. and E.I. DuPont de Nemours Inc. shook off a California water utility’s claims that they contaminated the state water supply with PFAS after the Central District of California found the utility failed to establish jurisdiction. Golden State Water Co. alleges that the companies “directed and instructed” intermediaries and end users of their products to dispose of them in a way they should have known may cause contamination. 

Aquafornia news The Guardian

One-third of US rivers have changed color in recent decades, research finds

Rivers may seem like immutable features of the landscape but they are in fact changing color over time …The overall significance of the changes are unclear and could reflect various ways in which humans are impacting the environment, said lead author John Gardner, an assistant professor of geology and environmental science at the University of Pittsburgh. One stark example from the study of rapid color change is Lake Mead along the Colorado River.

Aquafornia news NBC Bay Area

Lightning Complex Fires also seriously damaged drinking water systems

As the CZU Lightning Complex fire bore down on Gail Mahood’s tree-shrouded Felton neighborhood last August, she gathered what possessions she could and fled. … Thankfully, fire crews saved the little community of 20 or so houses, stopping the blaze within a half-mile of Mahood’s home in the Santa Cruz Mountains, but the pipes that delivered drinking water from a spring just up the hill were completely destroyed.

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Aquafornia news Jefferson Public Radio

California moves to monitor microplastics in drinking water

We talk about microplastics in the ocean and on land fairly often, but they are present in drinking water as well. The California Legislature passed a bill in 2018 requiring monitoring of the tiny plastic particles in drinking water. Standards are due to be set up by the state Water Resources Control Board this year. Scott Coffin, a researcher with the agency, visits with an overview of the issues with microplastics, and how the monitoring effort is coming along.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Low income communities drowning in water debt, new California Water Board survey finds

Low income communities across the San Joaquin Valley and other regions of the state are being hit hard by rising water and utility debt according to a recent survey released by the California Water Board.  Michael Claiborne, an attorney with the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, says residents are having to decide which essential service to pay for amid a global pandemic. 

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Will Kamala Harris champion water justice for California?

A month before she began campaigning for the second-highest political position in the United States, now-Vice President Kamala Harris briefly turned her attention to a small town with a big drinking water problem. “Utterly unacceptable that in 2020, we still can’t guarantee clean water to communities across America. It’s a fundamental human right,” Harris said in a July 9 tweet about the town of Earlimart in California’s Central Valley. 

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Aquafornia news Western Slope Now

Colorado River District funds first Western Slope water project after passage of 7A

The Colorado River District’s Board of Directors finalized a new program that will fund Western Slope water projects and approved funding for the program’s first-ever project. The Partnership Project Funding Program will fund multi-purpose water projects on the Western Slope in five project categories: productive agriculture, infrastructure, healthy rivers, watershed health and water quality, and conservation and efficiency.