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
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.
[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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.