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
The Environmental Protection Agency had sufficient authority
and information to issue an emergency order to protect
residents of Flint, Michigan, from lead-contaminated water as
early as June 2015 — seven months before it declared an
emergency, the EPA’s inspector general said Thursday.
Pesticides can drift off the edges of orchards and end up in
streams that provide drinking water and fish habitat. A
promising solution: Use a fan to blow the chemical back into
the trees as the spray rig moves along.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today [Oct. 5]
announced it has reached an agreement with the Orange County
Water District to conduct a remedial investigation and
feasibility study to address a large area of groundwater
contamination in Northern Orange County known as the “North
Basin.” The work required by the agreement is expected to take
up to two years to complete and is estimated to cost up to $4
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency calls nutrient
pollution the “single greatest challenge to our nation’s water
quality.” Rising concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus in
waterways, the agency reports, are a significant threat to
human health, ecosystems, and local economies.
Tests have confirmed the presence of toxic cyanobacteria — also
known as “blue-green algae” — in south Delta waterways, state
officials said Thursday. The “extensive” bloom is present in
Old River and Grantline Canal, along Fabian Tract not far from
Tracy and Mountain House, the State Water Resources Control
A new study finds that unusually warm Pacific Ocean
temperatures helped cause a massive bloom of toxic algae last
year that closed lucrative fisheries from California to British
Columbia and disrupted marine life from seabirds to sea lions.
The city of Fresno wants to hire two national experts on
corrosion in municipal water systems to reduce the odds that
discolored-water problems now plaguing northeast Fresno will
repeat themselves when a new water treatment plant opens in
When Erin Brockovich went after PG&E for poisoning
groundwater in the desert town of Hinkley, California — a
campaign that later became a film starring Julia Roberts —
the toxic chemical was a heavy metal called hexavalent
Cooler temperatures seem to have finally subdued Stockton’s
stinky algae monster for 2016, but an expert warned the Delta
Protection Commission this week that, in general, toxic blooms
are getting worse.
The good news for humans and other mammals, said UC Santa Cruz
professor Raphael Kudela, is that the stink and clingy nature
of the foamy water at beaches around Monterey Bay is the worst
of it, because the algal bloom is not producing a toxin.
California’s five-year drought created ideal conditions for
brewing toxic levels of the naturally occurring bacteria, which
multiplies rapidly in hot temperatures, low water flows and
stagnant water choked with fertilizers and nutrients.
An environmental group said Monday that 55,000 people statewide
are at risk of drinking tap water contaminated with arsenic,
and many of the communities are poor, mostly Latino towns in
the San Joaquin Valley.
Algal blooms in rivers, creeks and
lakes are an increasing
occurrence in California, threatening human health and safety as
well as pets. Exposure to toxic blue-green algae, also known as
cyanobacteria, can cause eye irritation, allergic skin rash,
mouth ulcers, vomiting, diarrhea and cold- and flu-like
symptoms. Young children are most likely to be affected by
harmful algal blooms because of their small body size and
tendency to play in the water for longer periods.
Potable water, also known as
drinking water, comes from surface and ground sources and is
treated to levels that that meet state and federal standards for
Water from natural sources is treated for microorganisms,
bacteria, toxic chemicals, viruses and fecal matter. Drinking
raw, untreated water can cause gastrointestinal problems such as
diarrhea, vomiting or fever.
As the western United States struggles with chronic water
shortages and a changing climate, scientists are warning that
if vast underground stores of fresh water that California and
other states rely on are not carefully conserved, they too may
soon run dry.
Point sources release pollutants from discrete conveyances, such
as a discharge pipe, and are regulated by federal and state
agencies. The main point source dischargers are factories and
sewage treatment plants, which release treated
California’s ban on the use of suction dredges to extract gold
from rivers is legal and not overridden by a 19th century
federal law that allows mining on federal land, the California
Supreme Court ruled Monday.
One of the nation’s leading experts in corrosion problems in
public water supplies said that despite considerable concern
over discoloration of water coming from galvanized pipes in a
growing number of northeast Fresno homes, “at present there’s
really no indication at all that there’s a lead problem” in the
city’s water under federal law.
Firefighters protected Lake Tahoe’s famously clear water as
they quickly snuffed out flames shooting from a docked tourist
cruise boat, preventing any fuel or oil leaks, the U.S. Coast
Guard said Wednesday.
A new interactive map on the California Water Quality
Monitoring Council’s website shows the more than 30 lakes and
rivers across the state where blooms of cyanobacteria, commonly
known as blue-green algae, have developed.
Surrounded by barren brown hills and cracked, dry clay, San
Luis Reservoir was so empty this week that the nearly milelong,
meandering path from the old high-water mark to the waterline
could have doubled as a set in the post-apocalyptic “Mad Max”
A former Fresno water plant operator used a private email
server and cell phone to hide complaints of discolored or
tainted water from his bosses, city officials said Thursday.
… The complaints also were not made public to the state,
which is required under state law.
Two recognized experts in drinking water contamination and
water chemistry – including the professor who led the
investigation into lead contamination in Flint, Mich. – are
working with the city of Fresno to find solutions to the
corrosion of galvanized residential plumbing in the northeast
part of the city.
A study by UC Berkeley and Harvard University researchers
finds a firefighting foam containing highly fluorinated
chemicals is contaminating drinking water supplies around many
of the nation’s military bases, airports and industrial sites.
Last week, University of California Davis Professor Geoff
Schladow broke the news gently before a crowd of residents and
scientists that Lake Tahoe is still getting warmer, regional
winters are still getting shorter, and overall snowfall is
still on the decline.
Swimming, boating and fishing are prohibited in Lake
Elsinore after water quality officials Friday detected harmful
levels of toxins related to blue-green algae. … Algae blooms
have also recently forced the closure of Pyramid Lake in Los
Angeles County, Lake Temescal in Oakland and Discovery Bay in
One hundred and eighty reservoirs statewide are
contaminated with excessive levels of mercury, according
to studies of fish samples from more than
300 reservoirs conducted by the State Water Resources
Either there’s been a spill at the local pea soup plant, or
Stockton is suffering another nasty algae outbreak at the
downtown waterfront. … The algae problem also has come up
this week in Sacramento as state water officials begin
extensive hearings that may determine the fate of the proposed
The city of Fresno is banning the use of galvanized pipe for
plumbing in new construction and remodeling projects as signs
point to the venerable material as a prime culprit in concerns
over discoloration and lead contamination of water in homes
across northeast Fresno.
Fresno City Councilman Lee Brand, who is campaigning to be the
city’s next mayor, is proposing two major policy initiatives
after a large number of residents, almost exclusively in his
northeast district, have complained about discolored and
The chief of Fresno’s water operations has been placed on
administrative leave over discrepancies in the reporting of
water quality issues. … The action is related to an ongoing
controversy over problems with discolored water in several
hundred homes in northeast Fresno and issues of lead
contamination in water coming from residents’ faucets in
several dozen homes.
The first test of ocean water following a massive California
sewage spill came back clean Wednesday, suggesting stinky
sludge that drained into the Los Angeles River didn’t flow 20
miles to the coast, officials said.
Another Memorial Day came and went this year, but the marina at
Meeks Bay Resort didn’t open for a third straight season — this
time due to a high concentration of pollutants, an issue that
apparently has been a concern for more than a decade.
As California regulators plan to set a legal limit on a
cancer-causing chemical found in Valley water systems, clean
water advocates are urging residents to attend coming public
workshops on the issue.
After watching her 13-year-old son throw up everything he ate
when they got home from a day of jet skiing at Pyramid Lake,
Sharyn Martinez was angered to learn last week that the state
is now urging the public to avoid the water there because of a
toxic algal bloom.
In California, cyanotoxins have become more of a problem amid
the drought and the same toxin that shut down Toledo’s water
supply has been detected in lakes, reservoirs and streams
across the state. But because standard treatment processes
usually get rid of cyanotoxins, water officials say it’s
unlikely a similar crisis would unfold here.
Visitors to Lake Shasta should take care because a blue-green
algae species has broken out on the Pit River Arm and it could
sicken visitors, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality
Control Board reported Thursday.
A vocal and growing number of residents in northeast Fresno are
convinced water from the city’s Surface Water Treatment
Facility is primarily responsible for corrosion in their pipes,
causing discolored water – and in several dozen instances, lead
contamination – to flow from their household faucets.
Lead-contaminated water in the drinking fountains at a U.S.
Capitol office building has prompted officials to offer blood
testing to lawmakers and staff, according to information
provided to congressional offices.
Fresno leaders will be sending direct-mail fliers this week to
every water customer in the northeastern area of the city,
substantially expanding the scope of an investigation into
discolored water coming from faucets in hundreds of homes as
well as lead contamination in about 40 homes.
Today [July 1], the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
proposed a federal Clean Water Act rule to tighten the current
selenium water quality criteria for the waters of San Francisco
Bay and Delta. The proposed change would better protect aquatic
species, including salmon, smelt, and diving ducks, that are
dependent on the Bay and Delta ecosystem, from harmful exposure
to elevated levels of selenium.
Hundreds of homes in northeast Fresno have discolored water –
and, in some cases, excessive levels of toxic lead – coming
from their faucets. And while homeowners clamor for answers
about why and what to do about it, those answers are in
painfully short supply.
The Coachella Valley Water District has approved a plan to
start building treatment plants to remove the potentially
hazardous heavy metal chromium-6 from drinking water. … But
the district’s managers have also questioned the science behind
the regulation and have said they will consider joining a
lawsuit to challenge the state’s limit.
Eighteen million Americans live in communities where the water
systems are in violation of the law. Moreover, the federal
agency in charge of making sure those systems are safe not only
knows the issues exist, but it’s done very little to stop them,
according to a new report and information provided to CNN by
multiple sources and water experts.
I’ve [T. Christian Miller] received a lot of questions
about applying investigative reporting techniques to figuring
out whether your water is safe — the stuff in your taps, the
stuff in your rivers, the stuff at the beach. … The
difficulty is partly due to the complexity of the topic. Water
is not simple.
Teflon and related brands Gore-Tex, Scotchgard, and Stainmaster
— all prized for their water-repelling, stain-protecting, and
mess-preventing attributes — seem to contain magical
properties. … Last month, seven years after it issued the
first health guidelines for PFOA/PFOS in drinking water, the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lowered the recommended
level in drinking water to 0.07 parts per billion combined.
Chloride and nitrate concentrations are rising and arsenic
levels are holding steady or falling. Those are two of the
conclusions from a U.S. Geological Survey assessment of changes
in the nation’s groundwater quality in the last two
As birds sing and lizards scuttle in the lush vegetation of the
Tijuana River Valley, helicopters circle overhead, and Border
Patrol agents on all-terrain vehicles comb the area looking to
stop illegal border-crossers.
California’s tireless water warriors have something fresh to
fight over, with the introduction of a bill to resolve an
irrigation drainage dispute that affects three modest-sized San
Joaquin Valley water districts, as well as the much bigger
Westlands Water District.
In response to a number of community complaints and a request
from a Los Angeles city councilman, the Department of Water and
Power said Tuesday that it will investigate why murky brown
water has been intermittently flowing from taps in and around
Watts in recent months.
Teachers handed out bottled water to hundreds of students at
Grape Street Elementary School on Wednesday amid concerns about
murky, discolored water flowing from taps and fountains at that
school and four others in South Los Angeles.
The military is checking U.S. bases for potential groundwater
contamination from a toxic firefighting foam, but most states
so far show little inclination to examine civilian sites for
the same threat.
Hidden in the brush of the Santa Fe Dam basin on the San
Gabriel River, the homeless camp was littered with heaps of
broken furniture, disgorged computers, bicycle frames,
televisions, disassembled motorcycles, pieces of exercise
machines, rotting food, empty containers and half-buried
Earth Day, celebrated today across the globe, reminds us of the
fragile state of our planet. From land contaminated with toxic
chemicals to bad air spewed into the atmosphere, the most of us
have been affected by pollution in some way. To bring all of
this closer to home, we’re listing the 10 most critical
environmental problems in Southern California.
As nations around the globe observe Earth Day, one of the most
daunting issues facing the world is the mounting waste problem,
which impairs public health, pollutes the environment and
threatens to drown some poor countries in toxicity.
… Pollution runs into rivers and seeps into ground
Runoff from autumn storms kicked up the levels of some
contaminants in a southwestern Colorado river after a massive
spill of toxic mine waste, but concentrations of other
pollutants declined or didn’t change, researchers said Friday.
A growing distaste and distrust of tap water has prompted many
school districts to spend thousands of taxpayer dollars on
heavily marketed filters — some of which use a process that
discards some water as waste — even though the schools say
there’s nothing wrong with what’s currently flowing from their
Before you take a gulp of water, try to mentally trace where
that water that just gushed out of your taps has been: How did
it go from that weird-tasting raindrop to the clear, odorless
water that is sitting in your glass now?
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is failing in its
mandate to protect underground drinking water reserves from
oilfield contamination, according to a federal review singling
out lax EPA oversight in California, where the state routinely
allowed oil companies to dump wastewater into some drinking
In 2014, for the first time since lead testing began in the
1990s, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Plant No. 1
violated the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s
action-level for lead in drinking water with a reading of 16
parts per billion (ppb).
This railroad town promotes its ties to Abraham Lincoln, Ronald
Reagan and the poet Carl Sandburg. But Galesburg’s long history
also shows in a hidden way: Aging pipes have been leaking lead
into the drinking water for decades.
In another sign that the drought isn’t over in this neck of
California, state officials are considering temporarily
loosening water quality standards on the Stanislaus and San
Joaquin rivers for the third year in a row.
The presence of a metallic element that at high levels has
been linked to kidney and liver damage in Coachella’s
drinking water could cost the city millions of dollars a year
as it works to comply with new state regulations.
[Los Angeles Unified School District] LAUSD’s effort to
eliminate lead contamination in tens of thousands of school
water fountains is complete at 60 schools, while District
officials say it will take another year-and-a-half to finish
the process on all 986 L.A. Unified campuses.
For nearly four years, cities in Los Angeles County have voiced
complaints that permits required to rid toxic chemicals and
bacteria from storm water imposed staggering costs that could
bankrupt smaller cities. On Tuesday, two state senators from
Sacramento heard their cries.
An initial round of testing for toxic lead in north Stockton’s
drinking water has revealed levels far below federal standards
and nowhere near what experts found in Flint, Michigan. …
Environmental activist Erin Brockovich compared Stockton to
Flint during her visit here in early February.
For almost all of its 240-year history, with only episodic
interference from nature (the 1930s Dust Bowl) and one big
intervention from man (the clean water campaigns of the 1960s
and 1970s), the United States has been a place that largely
took its water supply and quality for granted.
The White House on Tuesday unveiled several billion dollars’
worth of corporate commitments to water research and
development during a high-level summit. Pegged to World Water
Day, the summit was intended to draw attention to specific
state and corporate pledges as well as new Obama administration
initiatives prompted in part by Western states’ drought and the
Flint, Michigan, drinking water scandal.
The Obama administration is sounding alarms over potential
dangers in the water supplies on the nation’s Indian
reservations, saying the vast majority of tribal members live
on reservations that haven’t adopted federally approved
As Flint’s water crisis continues to reverberate nationally,
policymakers have turned their attention to the fundamental
infrastructure challenges at hand. From Los Angeles to New
York, many regions are not only contending with aging,
overburdened water facilities—including areas with lead pipes
similar to Flint—but are also confronting an enormous backlog
of costs, severe financial constraints, and difficulty in
coordinating action across thousands of individual community
A Virginia man who leased out property for a marijuana farm in
Shasta County has agreed to pay a $100,000 penalty and complete
an extensive environmental cleanup for fouling tributaries with
sediment from illegal grading.
For two years, the students at Orange Center Elementary School
outside of Fresno have been told not to drink the water.
… This week US Senator Barbara Boxer, a Rancho Mirage
Democrat, introduced a bill to add lead-contaminated drinking
water to the federal government’s definition of a disaster,
allowing the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other
federal agencies to become involved in the Flint
The Environmental Protection Information Center announced
Tuesday that it has filed to intervene in a lawsuit to defend
the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board’s decision
to not authorize sediment discharge and other associated waste
from logging operations into the Elk River watershed.
The Department of Defense has announced that it is testing
military sites nationwide to determine if perfluorooctane
sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid – both chemicals used in
foams that extinguish flammable liquids – are in sediments and
groundwater around runway areas.
Now, with the suspected cancer-causing chemical PFOA being
phased out in the U.S., it is still very much around, turning
up in the water in factory towns across the country — most
recently in upstate New York and Vermont — where it is blamed
by residents for cancers and other maladies.
Chris Rufer, 66, never has been keen on big government and
always liked an underdog fight. … That perseverance has Rufer
entangled in a $1.5-million battle with water regulators over
waste and odors from his tomato processing plant in the
Sacramento Valley town of Williams, the largest facility of its
kind in the country.
I [Sasha Khokha] have to admit, after the water crisis in
Flint, Michigan, I’m a little freaked out about what’s in my
tap water. So when I opened my water bill from the city of
Fresno recently, I decided to actually read the “consumer
confidence report” for drinking water.
When it comes to water, only about half of Americans are very
confident in the safety of what’s flowing from their tap,
according to an Associated Press-GfK poll, which found that
trust is even weaker among minorities and people with lower
The bill proposed by [Rep. Jackie] Speier and [Rep. Jared]
Huffman — the Crab Emergency Disaster Assistance Act of 2016 —
seeks to appropriate about $138 million in disaster funds to
fishermen and small businesses, including restaurants, that
were banking on the commercial season. Sen. Barbara Boxer is
expected to introduce its companion bill on Monday.
A federal lawsuit filed Thursday by a local tribe and
environmental groups claims the U.S. Forest Service’s recently
approved wildfire protection plan for communities near the
Klamath National Forest will do just the opposite by increasing
fire danger and impacting threatened coho salmon.
Fears of lead contamination swept through the town of
Healdsburg this week after parents and officials learned that
water at an elementary school contained elevated levels of the
toxic metal late last year.
High levels of lead have been discovered in drinking fountains
at Healdsburg Elementary School’s main building, county school
and public health officials said Wednesday. The lead
contamination first was detected over Thanksgiving break.
Humboldt County accounted for the majority of 51 medical
marijuana growers who have chosen to enroll in the North
Coast’s mandatory water quality protection program that hopes
to serve as a model for California.
Crab lovers — keep waiting. State officials decided Wednesday
to keep the commercial Dungeness season shuttered until more of
the coast is clear of a deadly neurotoxin that stubbornly
continues to be found in some of the spindly sea creatures.
A year after an oyster farm was forced to shut down at Point
Reyes National Seashore, sparking a bitter controversy over the
role of farming in national parks, a coalition of
environmentalists on Wednesday filed a lawsuit over a bigger
and more explosive target: thousands of dairy and beef cattle
in the park.
She received a hero’s welcome in Stockton, was lauded on social
media and gave a passionate speech before a huge crowd. … But
as good as she is at rallying the people, some critics say
[Erin] Brockovich falls short when it comes to science.
The Tulsa City Council meeting was already an hour and a half
old when out-of-town water consultant Bob Bowcock stepped to
the podium and gave his spiel on the dangers of chloramines in
the drinking water.
Fish in today’s oceans contain far lower levels of mercury, DDT
and other toxic substances than at any time in the last four
decades, according to a major review by scientists at the
Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla.
Stockton is not the first city to attract controversy for the
use of chloramines, with flare-ups in Vermont, Washington and
San Luis Obispo County, among other places. … Federal,
state and local authorities, including the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency and Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, all say chloramines are safe at levels used in
San Joaquin County’s top health expert has no problem with the
city of Stockton’s switch to chloramines to treat the drinking
water. … His comments came one day after a town hall forum
featuring environmental activist Erin Brockovich attracted more
than 1,200 people to the Atherton Auditorium at San Joaquin
The U.S. Geological Survey has begun collecting private well
water samples here as part of a $5.4 million study of the area
to determine how much of a cancer-causing chemical in the
groundwater is man-made and how much was put there by
The recent addition of chloramines to treat Stockton’s drinking
water is not on Tuesday night’s City Council meeting agenda,
but a rally on the hot-button issue is scheduled nonetheless
late in the afternoon outside City Hall.
Lead pipes like the ones that led to contamination of the tap
water in Flint, Michigan, carry water into millions of older
homes across the U.S. every day, a legacy of an era before
scientists realized the severe long-term health consequences of
exposure to the heavy metal.
Over several years, the plan to put chloramines in north
Stockton’s drinking water was vetted in public by the City
Council and by a citizen oversight group. … But it was a
Facebook post late Saturday by renowned environmental activist
Erin Brockovich that turned a mostly non-controversial issue
into a firestorm of public outrage.
For the first time that many people can remember, California’s
Dungeness crab season will not open in time for Christmas,
spoiling thousands of holiday feasts in the Bay Area and
driving a spike of economic pain deeper into fishermen,
wholesalers, restaurants and other businesses that rely on
December sales of the regional delicacy.
Since millions of gallons of mining waste burst from an inland
iron ore mine a month ago, 300 miles of the Rio Doce stretching
to the Atlantic Ocean has turned a Martian shade of bright
orange, and the deadly consequences for residents and wildlife
are just beginning to emerge.
Some of the world’s biggest temperature jumps are happening in
lakes – an ominous sign that suggests problems such as harmful
algae blooms and low-oxygen zones hazardous to fish will get
worse, says a newly released scientific report.
Looking out at San Francisco Bay, you’d never know it’s dotted
with tiny pieces of plastic. … This microplastic threatens
fish and may also threaten people who eat them. “We can’t
recover it once it’s into our watersheds and oceans,” said Stiv
Wilson, campaign director at The Story of Stuff, a nonprofit in
The danger humans could face eating fish poisoned by the toxic
algae bloom drifting off the coast of California was made
frighteningly clear Monday by scientists at an international
conference on marine mammals in San Francisco.
The Environmental Protection Agency engaged in “covert
propaganda” and violated federal law when it blitzed social
media to urge the public to back an Obama administration rule
intended to better protect the nation’s streams and surface
waters, congressional auditors have concluded.
A U.S. Interior Department investigation glossed over the
federal government’s negligence in a massive toxic wastewater
spill from an inactive gold mine that fouled rivers in three
states, Republicans in Congress said as they pushed for a more
detailed explanation of the accident.
In a trailer park tucked among irrigated orchards that help
make California’s San Joaquin Valley the richest farm region in
the world, 16-year-old Giselle Alvarez, one of the few
English-speakers in the community of farmworkers, puzzles over
the notices posted on front doors: There’s a danger in their
Lawmakers joined scientists and fearful crabbers in an unusual
meeting Thursday to fret over the continued closure of the
Dungeness and rock crab fishing seasons, a major economic blow
to the state that experts say could be just the beginning of
ocean ecosystem trouble.
Rep. Jared Huffman and other Congress members from California
sent a letter to the governor Tuesday urging him to keep a
close watch on the levels of domoic acid in the crabs linked to
an algae bloom, and to be ready to ask the Secretary of
Commerce to declare a disaster if the fishery remains closed
for the season.
Three million gallons of contaminated water from the Gold King
Mine poured into Colorado’s Animas River in August, laden with
cadmium, lead and arsenic. … Navajo Nation Council Speaker
LoRenzo Bates, a farmer, spoke to the Los Angeles Times about
the effect of the spill on his life and the Navajo Nation.
Now, growers will need to obtain cultivation permits and abide
by rules for water and pesticide use, with state agencies
policing their environmental impact and vetting labs that will
test for pesticides and other contaminants.
As Gov. Jerry Brown prepares for his trip to the United Nations
summit on climate change in Paris, protesters gathered outside
the Capitol on Thursday to say he hasn’t done enough at home in
Colorado officials say they didn’t endorse an Environmental
Protection Agency cleanup operation that caused a massive spill
of toxic wastewater from an inactive mine, disputing a key
claim by federal agencies that state experts signed off on the
The word nutrients sounds like a good thing—they make our food
healthy, for example. But in our rivers, lakes, and bays,
nutrients can pose water quality challenges. … In the Delta,
nutrient pollution has contributed to the spread of invasive
aquatic plants such as water hyacinth and recurrent blooms of
the toxic blue-green alga Microcystis.
The issue of the governor’s request came to light as part of a
lawsuit against the state by farmers who accuse the state of
doing an inadequate job of preventing water pollution from oil
and gas drilling.
Almost 28 years since state regulators learned there was a
chromium-6 problem in Hinkley, officials from the same agency
approved a comprehensive clean-up order for the world’s largest
known plume of this cancer-causing chemical.
Gold is, of course, no longer even a minor factor in
California’s economy. But for decades, the 49er spirit has
survived in a few thousand semi-professional hobbyists who have
used small suction dredges to gather gold-bearing gravel from
The Colorado spill would have been avoided had the EPA team
checked on water levels inside the inactive Gold King Mine
before digging into its collapsed and leaking entrance, a team
of engineers from Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation concluded in
a 132-page report released Thursday.
In an attempt to prevent its oil industry from contaminating
groundwater sources that could be used for drinking water,
California regulators closed 33 wells last week that were
injecting oilfield waste into protected aquifers.
North Coast Regional Water Control Board Chairman John Corbett
told the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that
water board regulations may require tinkering to encourage
marijuana growers to come into compliance.
Among the batch of bills signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last week
is one that sets new water quality regulations on certain types
of mining popular in the North Coast area and could result in
the state lifting its ban on new mining activity that began in
Rules governing pesticides and water discharge will apply to
cannabis, newly classified as an agricultural product. [Gov.
Jerry] Brown directly addressed pot’s ecological
implications in a signing message, saying he would direct the
state Natural Resources Agency to “identify projects to begin
the restoration of our most impacted areas in the state.”
Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed 23 new environmental bills
into law, banning tiny plastic beads in cosmetics that
scientists say are polluting the ocean and San Francisco Bay,
toughening oil pipeline laws and requiring the state’s massive
pension funds to sell off their coal stocks.
A federal appeals court ordered the government Monday to
rewrite its regulations on ballast water discharges from ships,
one of the leading culprits in the spread of invasive species
across U.S. waterways.
Around the country, scores of decaying drinking water systems
built around the time of World War II and earlier are in need
of replacement. … The challenge is deepened by drought
conditions in some regions and government mandates to remove
Across the country, small towns and big cities alike are
debating how much they can afford to spend to make contaminated
water fit for drinking. … A study released in June by the
U.S. Geological Survey found nearly one-fifth of the
groundwater used for public drinking systems in California
contained excessive levels of potentially toxic
The Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday it will set
up a temporary treatment plant for wastewater flowing from the
Gold King Mine in southwestern Colorado after 3 million gallons
surged out of the mine in August, tainting rivers in three
The Hinkley plume of cancer-causing chromium-6 may appear to be
shrinking in future maps. But ongoing cleanup may not be the
only reason. It might be that the methodology for drawing the
plume has changed.
The groups’ focus is on halting the flow of mercury dental
waste into waterways, where it can enter the food chain by
biologically accumulating in fish. The Environmental Protection
Agency has formally proposed a rule aimed at requiring dentists
to contain the damage.
For a local tribe and environmental groups, recently passed
state legislation that would require a certain method of gold
mining to comply with the state’s clean water regulations could
be the key to resolving long-standing environmental concerns
An Associated Press analysis of data from leading oil- and
gas-producing states found more than 180 million gallons of
wastewater spilled from 2009 to 2014 in incidents involving
ruptured pipes, overflowing storage tanks and even deliberate
A study published this week in the journal Environmental
Science & Technology found that when highly purified wastewater
was stored in an Orange County aquifer, the water caused
arsenic to escape from clay sediments in a way that naturally
infiltrating water did not.
[Derek] Chernow’s declaration, obtained by the Associated
Press, was contained in an Aug. 21 court filing in a lawsuit
brought by a group of Central Valley farmers who allege that
oil production approved by Brown’s administration has
contaminated their water wells.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife helicopter
circled over steep timberland in Humboldt County’s coastal
mountains, prowling for potential water diversions and
environmental damage caused by what is arguably the state’s
most lucrative agricultural product: marijuana.
On August 5, a costly mistake by an Environmental Protection
Agency cleanup crew spilled millions of liters of toxic mine
waste into Colorado’s Animas River. … The list goes on,
encompassing chemical spills and coal ash breaches in the East,
oil pipeline ruptures in the Midwest and South, dying fisheries
and nitrate contamination in the Southeast, even sea lions
dying along the Pacific coast because of toxic algae blooms.
The “drinkable book” combines treated paper with printed
information on how and why water should be filtered. Its pages
contain nanoparticles of silver or copper, which kill bacteria
in the water as it passes through.
It will take many years and many millions of dollars simply to
manage and not even remove the toxic wastewater from an
abandoned mine that unleashed a 100-mile-long torrent of heavy
metals into Western rivers and has likely reached Lake Powell,
Colorado and New Mexico declared stretches of the Animas and
San Juan rivers to be disaster areas as the orange-colored
waste stream made its way downstream toward Lake Powell in Utah
after the spill Wednesday at the abandoned Gold King mine near
Los Angeles-based land and water resources company Cadiz Inc.
on Monday announced it has lined up a technology company to
help it remove the cancer-causing chemical Chromium-6 from its
groundwater in the San Bernardino County desert.