Topic: Water Quality


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 The Fresno Bee

Fresno expands investigation for lead, discoloration in city water

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.

Aquafornia news U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

News Release: U.S. EPA proposes greater protection from selenium in San Francisco Bay and Delta

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.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Northeast Fresno water issues confound city, state investigators

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.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Watch out for faster, colder flows on the American River

Starting Friday, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation will increase flows below Folsom and Nimbus dams from 4,000 cubic feet per second to 4,500. The flows will increase to 5,000 cfs on Tuesday.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

$250 million plan to treat drinking water approved

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.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

California fresh groundwater reserves triple in new assessment

California’s breadbasket has more water than once thought. … To be a viable source, however, the deep water need not be degraded more than it already is. 

Aquafornia news CNN

5,300 U.S. water systems are in violation of lead rules

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.

Aquafornia news ProPublica

The Dig: Investigating the safety of the water you drink

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.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Drinking water warning issued for nonstick chemical

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.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Water district approves controversial rate increase

The board of the Coachella Valley Water District voted on Tuesday to raise rates after hearing an outpouring of opposition from dozens of people who protested the increase as excessive.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: USGS map reveals long-term changes in America’s groundwater quality

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 decades. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: High court sides with property owners in wetlands case

The Supreme Court is making it easier for landowners to bring a court challenge when federal regulators try to restrict property development due to concerns about water pollution.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

The story behind EPA’s contaminated water revelation

Last week 5.2 million Americans learned that their drinking water is contaminated with man-made chemicals linked to cancer.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

The birthplace of North American surfing ranked dirtiest beach, again

Heal the Bay released its 2015-2016 Beach Report Card Thursday.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Santa Cruz beach ranked worst in water quality in California

Sign postings leading to the surf of Cowell Beach, just west of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, ban all the usual transgressions: diving, fires, litter, smoking, feeding the birds and sea lions.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Border fence impact on wetland mixed: Water quality remains top concern in Tijuana River Valley

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.

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

Tahoe Lake clarity: fine sediment reduction programs showing promise

Projections for Lake Tahoe’s future clarity continue to show potential, according to Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board senior environmental scientist Bob Larsen.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

California irrigation-drainage disputes targeted in new bill

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.

Aquafornia news KPCC Southern California Public Radio

Los Angeles DWP to investigate murky tap water in Watts (with audio)

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Students receive bottled water after South Los Angeles schools report murky tap water

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.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: EPA sued over fracking waste-disposal rules amid worry over earthquakes

Environmental groups sued the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday to force new regulations on the disposal of waste generated by hydraulic fracturing.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Mining residue in Gold Rush town of Jackson remains a threat

In the Gold Rush-era foothills community of Jackson, the worst-case scenario painted by the Environmental Protection Agency last year about a 100-year-old dam there held a chilling warning.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Most states do bare minimum on fire-foam contamination

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

With El Niño danger passed, focus shifts on homeless river dwellers

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 clothes.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

On Earth Day, take a moment to consider these 10 local environmental issues

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Global trash problem reaches crisis level

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 water.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Companies agree to spend $78 million in groundwater cleanup

Hundreds of companies have agreed to spend around $78 million on cleaning up groundwater contaminated by toxic chemicals from a Southern California Superfund site, it was announced Wednesday.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Federal fracking rule in hands of federal judge in Wyoming

The future of federal rules aimed at protecting land, water and wildlife from energy-production practices including hydraulic fracturing now rests with a judge in Wyoming.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Lack of snow made Lake Tahoe murkier last year

The pristine blue waters of Lake Tahoe were murkier last year and researchers say a lack of mountain snow was likely to blame.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio NPR for Central California

New state law to bring arsenic-free drinking water to Tulare County community (with audio)

Many [Central] valley residents struggle to access drinking water—some don’t have enough, while others face contamination. Now, a new law allows the state to step in and help those in need.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Storms raised some pollutants after mine spill, not others

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.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Schools buying water filters even though fountains are fine

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 pipes.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Northern California lawmakers question huge Westlands Water District deal

Northern California lawmakers are turning up the heat on the Westlands Water District, with coordinated calls for congressional hearings and tougher Obama administration scrutiny.

Aquafornia news NPR

How do we get our drinking water in the U.S.?

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?

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Feds — EPA fails to protect water from oilfield contamination

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 water aquifers.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Contaminated Tijuana River reopened after blockage kills sharks, floods streets

Some streets in Imperial Beach were flooded over the weekend with sewage-contaminated water after the mouth of the Tijuana River was blocked by sand.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino County Sun

Los Angeles, Inland water systems are no Flint, Mich.

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). 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

US water systems repeatedly exceed federal standard for lead

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.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Drought woes continue at New Melones

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. 

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Hazardous metal found in Coachella Valley’s Westside Elementary School water

Officials have detected levels of chromium-6 in the drinking water at Westside Elementary School [Coachella Valley] above the level deemed safe by the California Department of Public Health.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Water issue could cost Coachella millions of dollars

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.

Aquafornia news KPCC Southern California Public Radio

Los Angeles Unified declares 60 schools’ water fountains lead-safe in first phase of district-wide cleanup

[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.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Los Angeles County cities have a $20 billion storm water cleanup bill but they want help

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.

Aquafornia news KCRA Sacramento

Nevada County reservoir littered with butane cans, irrigation officials say (with video)

Volunteers with the Nevada Irrigation District came to the Rollins Reservoir Saturday to canvas it for butane cartridges that had been spotted throughout the water.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

So far, so good on Stockton water quality

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.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

State admits misreading Menlo Park’s water quality test

An error in a state database on water quality got Menlo Park in some hot water last week.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: World Water Day rises to international prominence (with multimedia)

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. 

Aquafornia news NPR

What makes water unsafe? Not the color, taste or smell: #WorldWaterDay

What is safe drinking water? Is it water that’s clear? Smells clean? Tastes good? Comes from a trusted source, like a well or a pipe?

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: In first-of-a-kind summit, White House rallies corporate investment in water supplies

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.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Is the water safe in Indian Country? EPA says it often doesn’t know

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 standards.

Aquafornia news Brookings Institution

A surefire strategy to improve water infrastructure in Flint and beyond

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 water systems.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Shasta County pot farm owner fined $100,000 for fouling watershed

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.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Don’t drink the water — Lead found in California schools

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 response. 

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Groups file suit in Elk River watershed dispute

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.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Groundwater at March Air Reserve Base to be tested

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.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Activists demand action against industrial chemical in water

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tomato plant owner in $1.5-million battle with water regulators over waste and odors

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.

Aquafornia news KQED Public Media for Northern California

Blog: There’s a cancer-causing chemical in my drinking water, but California isn’t regulating it (with audio)

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.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: AP poll — Americans divided on safety of US 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 incomes.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Sewage plants are failing to kill lethal superbugs unleashed from hospitals

Every day Southern California hospitals unleash millions of gallons of raw sewage into municipal sewers.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Bill aims to give crab industry $138 million in disaster relief

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.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Lawsuit claims post-fire logging project would impact local salmon

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.

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

Tahoe Keys water quality plan under review

How the Tahoe Keys can help reduce the amount of clarity-reducing pollutants entering Lake Tahoe is the subject of a plan being reviewed by Lake Tahoe water quality regulators. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Healdsburg school’s water was tainted by lead, town learns

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.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

High levels of lead in Healdsburg Elementary water

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.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Humboldt marijuana growers lead in water program participation

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.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California’s commercial Dungeness crab season to stay closed

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.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Point Reyes: Lawsuit challenges historic ranching operations at iconic park

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.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Brockovich brings controversy

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.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Power of persuasion — Traveling consultant preaches against chloramines

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Mercury, DDT and other contaminants in fish are at a four-decade low

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.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Erin Brockovich, Stockton ‘freak out’ over water treatment

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 drinking water.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Top doctor: Chloramines pose ‘very low risk’

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 Delta College.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino County Sun

Toxic plume in Hinkley is nearly half gone

This community’s [Hinkley] contaminated groundwater plume has shrunk by nearly half over the past four years, according to the community’s scientific adviser.

Aquafornia news KCRA Sacramento

Stockton residents, Erin Brockovich voice concerns at meeting (with video)

Environmental activist Erin Brockovich is in Stockton to warn residents about adding chloramine to the water.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Fact check: How Stockton town hall claims stack up

Chloramines have a tendency to generate confusion as well as controversy.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino County Sun

USGS Hinkley water testing now moves to private wells

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 nature. 

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Water rally scheduled before Stockton City Council meeting

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.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

‘Stockton is not Flint’

This city [Stockton] is a long way from Flint, Michigan — in distance and in drinking water.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Lead pipes lurk in older neighborhoods across the nation

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.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Not all are affected by Stockton drinking water change

The question of who will receive water with chloramines is a bit more complicated than it sounds. That’s because Stockton is served by two drinking-water plants, in addition to groundwater wells.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Stockton mayor calls for town hall to review water treatment (with audio)

Mayor Anthony Silva says he personally doesn’t like the idea of adding chemicals to Stockton’s drinking water. This is what he wrote in a facebook post over the weekend:

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Activist’s involvement makes chloramines plan suddenly controversial

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.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Water-quality problem may be drought-related

Stockton’s success at saving water over the past year may be partly to blame for a violation of one federal drinking-water standard, officials say.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

California’s crab-season delay claims Christmas

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

As Brazil mine spill reaches ocean, its catastrophic extent becomes clear

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tijuana River’s polluted flows cast international spotlight on border pump station

The operation of a small pump station near the U.S. border has become a matter of growing international concern.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Study: Rising lake temperatures may worsen algae blooms

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.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply, Covering the Crisis

Blog: Tiny plastics in our water — no easy solutions

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 Berkeley.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Sea lion survival skills impaired by California algae bloom

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.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

EPA broke law with social media push for water rule, auditor finds

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.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Congressional committee: Mine probe glossed over negligence

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.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Fear at the tap: Uranium contaminates water in the West

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 drinking water.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Groups appeal suspension of federal oil, gas drilling rules

The rules should be allowed to take effect to protect land, water and wildlife from practices including hydraulic fracturing, the Sierra Club and others argue in court documents.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Sour talk as lawmakers, crabbers meet over Dungeness shutdown

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.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Huffman urges Gov. Brown to consider aiding fishermen caught in crab crisis

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

How the Gold King Mine spill continues to affect Navajo life

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.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Feds stand behind report that Colorado agreed to mine plan

A federal agency on Monday stood behind its assertion that Colorado officials signed off on a cleanup project that led to a 3 million-gallon toxic waste spill from an inactive gold mine.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California pot farmers wrestle with new medical marijuana rules

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.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Anti-fluoridation forces to gather signatures to get issue on Marin ballot

Backers of a Marin anti-fluoridation initiative plan to set up tables at the Sunrise Center in Corte Madera on Friday afternoon to begin collecting signatures to put the issue on the ballot.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Protesters to Gov. Jerry Brown: Prove your green credentials by banning fracking

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 California.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Colorado disputes key part of EPA mine report

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 plan.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC)

Blog: The great nutrient pollution challenge

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Gov. Brown takes heat for asking state officials to research oil and gas on family ranch

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.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino County Sun

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Water regulators approve comprehensive clean-up for Hinkley plume

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.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: A new law stops gold dredging

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 streams.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: EPA mine spill was preventable, points to broader problem

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.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: California closes 33 injection wells used to dump oilfield waste into aquifers

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. 

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: North Coast water board says pot rules subject to change

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.

Aquafornia news Sierra Sun

While Lake Tahoe is due for a big winter, are we prepared for the potential negative environmental impacts

Amid serious drought, hopes are high this winter will be a snowy one — but with big storms comes the potential of negative impacts to Lake Tahoe’s famed clarity.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

New mining law may prompt litigation actions

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 2009. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California cannabis regulations signed into law

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.”

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Plastic microbeads and state coal investments banned as Gov. Jerry Brown signs new laws

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.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Court orders EPA to revise ship ballast dumping regulations

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.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

Delta river reopens after drought barrier is removed

A Delta river that’s been blocked for the past four months to limit the intrusion of saltwater into one of the state’s major sources of drinking water reopened again Thursday morning.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Drinking water systems imperiled by failing infrastructure

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 more contaminants.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Cities bear rising cost of keeping water safe to drink

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 contaminants. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

EPA says it will build temporary treatment plant for mine

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 states.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino County Sun

Uncertainty over Chromium-6 plume map shrouds draft for Hinkley cleanup

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.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

State Dept. urged to press FDA to curb mercury dental fillings

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.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

Drought supply spurs water taste complaints from some EBMUD customers

Some East Bay Municipal Utility District customers are complaining their water has tasted and smelled worse recently.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

State legislation could lift gold mining ban

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 and litigation.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California lawmakers approve ban on plastic microbeads

California lawmakers on Tuesday approved a measure banning the sale of personal care products that contain plastic microbeads starting in 2020.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Questions and answers about damaging oilfield wastewater

An Associated Press analysis of 11 states found more than 180 million gallons of wastewater spilled from 2009 to 2014.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Drilling boom brings rising number of harmful waste spills

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 dumping.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Purified wastewater triggers release of arsenic within aquifer, study finds

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.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Fired regulator — Gov. Jerry Brown pushed to waive oil safeguards

[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.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

San Joaquin Valley cities slapped for cancer-causing agent in tap water

With attention focused on hot-button water-related topics – drought, groundwater, fish requirements, sinking earth, fallowed fields, domestic wells going dry – here’s one you probably haven’t lost sleep over: chromium 6.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: California takes new approach on water regulation for pot farms

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.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: U.S. Clean Water law needs new act for the 21st century

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.

Aquafornia news BBC News

Bug-killing book pages clean murky drinking water

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.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

National challenge of leaking mines dwarfs Colorado spill

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, experts said.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

States downstream from contaminated river upset that EPA didn’t alert them

The plume was expected to reach Lake Powell this week, but the pollutants were not expected to threaten the lake or Colorado River-fed drinking water for Western states including California.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Officials downstream from Colorado mine spill demand answers

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 Silverton, Colorado.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino County Sun

Cadiz deal will remove Chromium-6 from desert water

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Colorado river spill underscores threat of old hard-rock mines

[EPA Regional Administrator Shaun] McGrath said at a public meeting Sunday that officials had tripled the estimate of the toxic spill based on data from a U.S. Geological Survey water gauge downstream.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

State assessing contaminated water infiltration to Scotia drinking water

State agencies are currently assessing potential impacts to Scotia’s drinking water system after three separate incidents at the Humboldt Redwood Company sawmill caused water contaminated with woody materials to infiltrate into the town’s drinking water system on the Eel River.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Central Valley board allows wastewater disposal to continue despite contamination

The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board ignored its own staff recommendation and voted to let Valley Water Management Co. continue disposing of excess wastewater by spraying it on hillsides for another 21/2 years.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Environmental groups join surge of lawsuits against EPA rule

Nine environmental conservation groups have joined the surge of states and businesses suing the federal government over a new water regulation.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Study finds contaminants in California public-water supplies

Nearly one-fifth of the raw groundwater used for public drinking water systems in California contains excessive levels of potentially toxic contaminants, according to a decade-long U.S. Geological Survey study that provides one of the first comprehensive looks at the health of California’s public water supply and groundwater.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Water fight revs up as majority of states slap EPA with lawsuits

The latest of the suits against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was filed last week by the attorney general of Oklahoma, Scott Pruitt, who said that the [federal clean water] rule will make farm, industrial and private property owners “subject to the unpredictable, unsound, and often Byzantine regulatory regime of the EPA.”

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Feds recognize six local waterways as impaired by fecal bacteria

Six local waterways have been officially recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as being impaired by fecal bacteria, thus beginning what may be a lengthy assessment to identify and mitigate the sources of pollution. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Water and wildlife may be at risk from fracking’s toxic chemicals, panel finds

Hydraulic fracturing uses a host of highly toxic chemicals — the impacts of which are for the most part unknown — that could be contaminating drinking water supplies, wildlife and crops, according to a report released Thursday by a California science panel.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Recycled oil field wastewater is clean, Chevron test results show

Results of the most recent testing of recycled oil field wastewater that Chevron sells to Kern County farmers for irrigation showed no traces of methylene chloride, an industrial solvent that had appeared in previous testing conducted by a clean water advocacy group.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

13 states sue over rule giving Feds authority on state water

Thirteen states led by North Dakota filed a lawsuit Monday challenging an Obama administration rule that gives federal agencies authority to protect some streams, tributaries and wetlands under the Clean Water Act.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Massive marijuana bust in Emerald Triangle continuing

A major multiday, multiagency law enforcement operation targeting large marijuana farms in the heart of the pot-rich Emerald Triangle has uncovered serious environmental damage along with huge numbers of pot plants, according to a state Fish and Wildlife officer participating in the operation.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Groundwater search turns up high carcinogen readings near McClellan

A search for new sources of water by the Rio Linda-Elverta Community Water District has found that wells closest to the former McClellan Air Force Base have the highest levels of hexavalent chromium, or chromium-6, a known carcinogen.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Sacramento considers lifting longtime ban on artificial turf

While the artificial-turf industry points to studies that show its products are safe and environmentally friendly, some critics worry about toxins from synthetic yards and fields leaching into air and waterways. … Some of those raising concerns, including a California state senator, cite potential risks to human health.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Trying to cultivate respect for water regulations among pot growers

The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board is poised to adopt a program that would require all marijuana cultivators to register, pay a fee, follow strict environmental guidelines and seek appropriate permits from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Scientists find a way to reduce mercury in wetlands

Scientists have found new ways to reduce mercury in wetlands, providing hope that Sacramento-area waterways can be decontaminated of the potentially toxic element that dates back to Gold Rush-era mining activities.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

County can make manufacturers pay for discarded drugs

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a challenge by the pharmaceutical industry Tuesday to an Alameda County law, the first of its kind in the nation, requiring drug manufacturers to pay the costs of disposing of consumers’ unused medications.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

Supreme Court: Big Pharma must pay for prescription drug disposal in Alameda County

A groundbreaking law that forces the pharmaceutical industry to pay for collection and disposal of unused drugs passed its final court test Tuesday, and the Alameda County officials who originated the concept predicted it will now spread across the country.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Groundwater contamination a growing problem in L.A. County wells (graphic)

Decades ago, industrial pollution began fouling some groundwater wells throughout Los Angeles County. That prompted water officials to stop using the most polluted wells and rely more on water from Northern California and the Colorado River.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Editorial: Oil waste doesn’t belong in California’s water supply

It’s time to stop temporizing about a bureaucratic foul-up that threatens underwater water supplies across a swath of California’s oil fields. … In a drought-damaged state, the situation is mind boggling.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California concerns grow over oilfield operations near water

California regulators on Monday expanded their list of thousands of state-permitted oil and gas wells where below-ground injections may be contaminating drinking-water reserves.

Aquafornia news Bureau of Reclamation

News Release: Reclamation to open Delta Cross Channel Gates

The Bureau of Reclamation will open the Delta Cross Channel Gates today, Thursday, May 14, at approximately 9 a.m. The opening is needed to meet interior water quality standards in the Bay-Delta. The gates are scheduled to close on Monday, May 18, at approximately 9 a.m.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Officials: Stockton water safe to drink despite water-quality violation

Chalk it up as yet another consequence of the drought. The Stockton East Water District, which sells drinking water to Stockton, experienced a rare water-quality violation at its treatment plant east of town.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Industry fighting $5.8 million fine for damaging San Gabriel River

Workers with a company controlled by the City of Industry’s former mayor caused extensive environmental damage performing unauthorized work at Follows Camp on the San Gabriel River.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Cupertino cement quarry to pay $7.5 million to settle water pollution violations

The Lehigh Hanson cement plant, a longtime producer of Silicon Valley building materials but also a significant polluter, will pay $7.5 million as part of an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to settle charges it dumped millions of gallons of toxic wastewater into a nearby creek. … Established by industrialist Henry J. Kaiser, its cement built Shasta Dam, Highway 101, Highway 85 and other major Northern California landmarks.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

US lowers fluoride in water; too much causing splotchy teeth

The government is lowering the recommended amount of fluoride in drinking water because some kids are getting too much, causing white splotches on their teeth.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

15 years after ‘Erin Brockovich,’ town still fearful of polluted water

Fifteen years after the film ["Erin Brockovich"] showed triumphant residents winning a $333-million settlement with Pacific Gas & Electric Co. for contaminating its water — and nearly 20 years after the settlement itself — Hinkley is emptying out, and those who stay still struggle to find resolution.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

State water officials get permit to build drought barrier in Delta

While the project did not receive the same headlines as Jerry Brown’s mandatory water restriction announcement last week, the governor’s emergency order streamlined permitting and review of the emergency drought salinity barriers. 

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Emergency changes approved reducing river flows

State water officials have approved the latest plan to bypass Delta water-quality standards and “significantly reduce” river flows. The action will allow them to hold back more water in drought-ravished reservoirs.

Aquafornia news U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

News Release: Multiple satellite eyes to track algal threat to U.S. freshwater

Four federal agencies including the U.S. Geological Survey have joined forces in an effort to transform satellite data into vital information to protect the American public from freshwater contaminated by harmful algal blooms.  The $3.6 million research project is a collaborative effort among NASA, NOAA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and USGS. 

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

State targets illegal water diversions by marijuana growers (with audio)

The drought legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last month gives the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife new authority to crack down on illegal diversions of water by marijuana growers.

Aquafornia news Redding Record Searchlight

State pilot program targets Shasta County marijuana grows for impacts on environment

Shasta County is ground zero for a new state program aimed at cracking down on illegal marijuana grows polluting streams and endangering wildlife in Northern California. Two state agencies have teamed up not to cut down marijuana plants but instead to go after growers, property owners and even contractors involved in work that threatens the environment, wildlife and water quality. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

What’s in the water that comes from Los Angeles taps?

Every city, suburb and rural community has specific contaminants of concern.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Blog: DWR & Reclamation request State Water Board to modify Delta water quality requirements

The Department of Water Resources and the Bureau of Reclamation have submitted a request to the State Water Board, asking for modifications to the revised March 5 Temporary Urgency Change Petition order. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: Feds should take over protecting groundwater

California has lost control of its quickly diminishing water. While state officials lose no opportunity to tout California’s environmental leadership to the world and to plead with residents to conserve water, regulators have allowed oil companies to dump billions of gallons of toxic wastewater each year into protected underground drinking water.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

While promoting climate policies in Washington, Jerry Brown weathers fire at home

In hearings at the Capitol last week, lawmakers excoriated Brown’s staff for letting oil drillers inject wastewater into wells in protected aquifers and for allowing a battery recycler in Southern California to operate under a temporary permit for decades while emitting hazardous waste.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Rep. Huffman: Legalize pot to regulate it and save environment

North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman on Friday reiterated his desire to see marijuana legalized nationally, saying it would help bring rational management to pot cultivation and thus reduce damage to the environment.

Aquafornia news U-T San Diego

San Diego’s creeks and rivers have unhealthy levels of bacteria and other pollutants

The region’s creeks and rivers had unhealthy levels of pollutants last year, the environmental group San Diego Coastkeeper said in a report Wednesday. … To analyze water quality, the organization took 3,301 measurements from nine of the 11 watersheds in the county.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Agencies admit failing to protect water sources from fuel pollution

The agencies charged with overseeing oil production and protecting California’s ever-dwindling water sources from the industry’s pollution all fell down on the job, one state official told a panel of peeved lawmakers Tuesday.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

U.S. Mine Corp ends bid to build processing plant in Humboldt Bay

A mining company’s plans to build an ore processing plant in Humboldt Bay were shelved on Friday.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: U.S. Clean Water Rule quandary begins on land

In March 2014, two United States agencies charged with stemming pollution in the nation’s waters proposed a 2-page rule change in federal clean water regulations, a change based on more than 1,000 scientific studies, that was meant to clear up years of legal muddiness in defining which small streams and wetlands fell under government regulation.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino County Sun

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: USGS begins crucial study in Hinkley to determine how much chromium-6 was natural

By the side of a washboard-rough dirt road, in a garage piled high with rocks neatly stored in pizza-sized boxes, the long-awaited study has begun to determine how much of the world’s largest chromium-6 plume is the result of a San Francisco-based utility’s operations and how much was put there by nature.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Bill extends timetable for water quality mandate

Senate Bill 385, introduced by Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, would extend the July 1 deadline for complying with the new chromium 6 standard until 2020 while requiring water suppliers to show progress toward implementation.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino County Sun

California lowers health goal for perchlorate

A state agency has lowered the Public Health Goal for perchlorate, a dangerous pollutant found in many underground water basins across the Southland – including the Rialto-Colton area and the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

State officials send warnings on eve of Fresno’s big water vote

Top officials with the State Water Resources Control Board and the state Department of Water Resources took different approaches to emphasize that public health and safety will be the key issue when the [Fresno] City Council on Thursday evening debates the mayor’s plan.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Editorial: Delta’s health should take priority over pumping

California needs to get serious about protecting the health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, one of Silicon Valley’s most valuable water sources.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Chromium-6 water treatment will cost Indio millions

Hazardous heavy metal levels in Indio’s “stand-by” water supply should be under control in time for summer with City Council’s Wednesday 5-0 approval of the $2.95 million-purchase of water treatment equipment.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Sonoma council split on fluoride

A divided Sonoma City Council is going to continue its discussion in March on whether to publicly oppose adding fluoride to the county’s drinking water.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Blog: Fears of oil train explosions rekindled by W. Virginia derailment and fire

The West Virginia trail derailment Monday is exactly what California communities fear could happen here: a 100-plus-car train derailed, spilling oil into a creek and then exploding into a fireball that forced the evacuation of two small towns.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Water from Desert Hot Springs bottled for competition

Desert Hot Springs has regularly been a top contender over the years, winning honors in the competition seven times since 1997, including two gold medals.

Aquafornia news NBC Southern California

Gardena residents demand answers about black, foul-smelling water (with video)

Carrying murky water in jars as samples, residents in Gardena on Thursday demanded answers from a water company about black, foul-smelling tap water that is pouring from their faucets, toilets and showers. … Golden State Water Company blames sediments from aging pipelines.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Study finds rising levels of plastics in oceans

Some eight million metric tons of plastic waste makes its way into the world’s oceans each year, and the amount of the debris is likely to increase greatly over the next decade unless nations take strong measures to dispose of their trash responsibly, new research suggests.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC)

Blog: Drought Watch — Water not wasted to the sea

To many, the notion of water to the ocean is akin to water wasted. … But outside of improving habitat for native species, there are multiple indirect benefits derived from water currently running into the Delta. The most conspicuous is improved water quality.

Aquafornia news The Bellingham Herald, Washington

Officials say oil train leaked as it crossed Washington state

A train loaded with Bakken crude oil needed to have more than a dozen leaking tank cars removed at three separate stops as it traveled through Idaho and crossed Washington state in mid-January.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: California pledges changes in protecting underground water

California has proposed closing by October up to 140 oil-field wells that state regulators had allowed to inject into federally protected drinking water aquifers, state officials said.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California strengthens oil drilling waste rules (with audio)

Drilling for oil can be messy. About 90 percent of the fluid that comes up is waste water and the oil companies have to dispose of it somewhere.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Overturned tanker closes Highway 1 near Jenner, spilling some fuel into ocean

A gasoline tanker that caught its wheels off the edge of narrow Highway 1 overturned near Jenner on Sunday morning, shutting down the highway and spilling more than 1,000 gallons of fuel, some of which reportedly reached the ocean.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Commentary: Local control is key to Orange County water reliability

After three years of drought, Orange County has enjoyed some long overdue rainfall – even snowfall – making for the re-greening of our landscapes and some spectacular photos of Saddleback in white. But don’t be fooled.