Topic: Pollution

Overview

Pollution

The natural quality of groundwater in California depends on the surrounding geology and on the source of water that recharges the aquifer.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

EPA closer to regulating PFAS in drinking water

The EPA has made an initial determination that it will eventually set legal limits for levels of two key PFAS chemicals in drinking water, the agency announced Thursday. … That announcement could still be months away.

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Aquafornia news ABC30

Water worries for residents as dead fish float on Fancher Creek

Dozens of dead fish are floating to the surface along a Fresno County waterway and people living nearby are worried about their water. Fancher Creek flows from Pine Flat all the way into Fresno, mostly to let farmers get irrigation water. But fish also use the water, except right now, for about 200 yards, all of them are dead.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Nearly half the country working on PFAS rules as EPA drags feet

More states are stepping up to protect people from drinking water contaminated with “forever chemicals” in the absence of federal enforcement. Twenty-three states are writing their own guidance, regulations, or legislation that would address drinking water contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS.

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Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Opinion: Time to act is now on California’s water system

Access to reliable, clean drinking water should be a fundamental human right for all Californians. Unfortunately, many disadvantaged communities throughout the state lack access to clean drinking water, and our aging water delivery infrastructure threatens water reliability for millions of California residents.

Aquafornia news KPIX

San Jose residents say it took months to be notified of tainted well water

11,000 households in San Jose’s Willow Glen and Williams Road neighborhoods received letters in the mail beginning in late January from the San Jose Water Company warning that the wells that provide them with drinking water tested positive for elevated levels of per-flouro-octane sulfonic acid, known as PFOS.

Aquafornia news MyValleyNews.com

Local water supplies impacted by new state guidance on PFAS

Though sampling indicated levels of PFOS and PFOA in a couple of local sources of water, Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District is currently not producing drinking water from impacted sources. EVMWD is evaluating options to meet these new regulations including importing water to offset local supplies and in the long term, considering construction of treatment systems if water sources exceed state mandated response levels.

Aquafornia news Circle of Bue

Who pays? PFAS lawsuits, legislation raise question of pollution liability

A potential lawsuit in North Carolina and legislation in Congress have together surfaced an under-the-radar debate about who shoulders the burden of preventing contamination of waterways with toxic PFAS chemicals.

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Aquafornia news Half Moon Bay Review

Schools plan to improve safety of drinking water

In response to concerns about lead in the water at schools in Cabrillo Unified School District, the district is moving forward with a plan to get 25 filtered water bottle filling stations installed across Cabrillo campuses.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Toxic sites in Hoopa Valley awaiting cleanup as Trump’s EPA budget cuts loom

Celtor Chemical Works and the Cooper Bluff Mine are part of a priorities list for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund program. The mine was formally added to the list last year, while the processing facility is scheduled for re-assessment after officials discovered more toxic waste linking back to it. But the Trump administration this week proposed reducing the EPA’s budget by 26%, cuts that would include $113 million slashed from the Superfund program’s allocation.

Aquafornia news Merced Sun-Star

Cleaning Atwater’s contaminated water is city’s highest priority, says council

The Atwater City Council this week unanimously declared its highest priority public improvement project to be restoring the city’s clean water. The urgent resolution came after a carcinogenic chemical, 1,2,3-Trichloropropane (TCP), was found in several Atwater wells — and in quantities exceeding state-approved maximum contaminant levels.

Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

In wildfire’s wake, another threat: Drinking water contamination

Wildfire poses layers of risk to drinking water that unspool over time and geography, with some effects emerging years later, sometimes outside the burn zone… Water utility managers, engineers and scientists have only recently begun to grapple with the aftereffects of fires that consume entire neighborhoods and towns—as they did in California—and that in the process, release dozens of manmade pollutants into water lines.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Sewage in creeks prompts lawsuits against Sunnyvale, Mountain View

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

Aquafornia news The Hill

Experts criticize EPA lead and copper rule revisions

Experts and advocates on Tuesday criticized the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule to combat lead in the water supply, calling for the agency to require that service lines containing lead be replaced.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Water bill designed to help bring clean water to Central Valley gets Republican opposition

A bill that could help disadvantaged Central Valley towns including ones in Tulare County provide safe and affordable drinking water is facing opposition by Republican critics, including GOP representatives from California. In December 2019, Rep. TJ Cox (D-Fresno) unveiled a $100 million proposal to make improvements in small towns suffering from contaminated drinking water.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Synthetic chemicals in soils are ‘ticking time bomb’

A growing health crisis fueled by synthetic chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, in groundwater has garnered much attention in the last few years. The reported levels could be “just the tip of the iceberg,” as most of the chemicals are still migrating down slowly through the soil, according to Bo Guo, University of Arizona assistant professor of hydrology and atmospheric sciences.

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Aquafornia news Daily Pilot

Company will help clean up Huntington Beach shores following settlement over industrial runoff, EPA says

The EPA announced Monday it has reached a settlement with Airtech International… For about four years, the EPA said, Airtech violated the federal Clean Water Act by allowing industrial stormwater runoff to flow into the Bolsa Chica channel without a stormwater discharge permit from the California State Water Resources Control Board.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Opinion: Stop farmers’ poisoning of Bay Area drinking water supply

The Central Valley Regional Water Board has issued a 25-year permit for toxic discharges of agricultural wastewater into the San Joaquin River and Bay-Delta… Fishermen and environmental groups have appealed the water board’s decision to the state of California, leaving the future of this permit uncertain.

Aquafornia news Fox 5 San Diego

State officials ask EPA for action on cross-border pollution

The State Lands Commission and State Controller pleaded with the Environmental Protection Agency in a letter Friday asking for immediate action to stop the flow of 50 million gallons per day of polluted water into the Tijuana River Valley. That polluted water flow has created significant and ongoing beach closures in Imperial Beach and Coronado.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: How oil & gas states did (and did not) protect land and water in 2019

Regulating the day-to-day details of an oil and gas operation can be a complex task, with both regulators and operators working hard to prevent leaks, explosions and other threats to worker safety, community health and the environment. … That’s why we track what states are up to on a consistent basis.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

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

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

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Aquafornia news Desert Research Institute

Blog: People-powered research: Citizen science makes microplastics discovery at Lake Tahoe possible

In fall of 2018, Desert Research Institute scientists Monica Arienzo, Zoe Harrold, and Meghan Collins were formulating a project to search for microplastic pollution in the surface waters of Lake Tahoe and in stormwater runoff into the lake. But the team was not satisfied in seeking to identify the presence of microplastic alone—they also wanted to make connections with community members at Tahoe.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

‘Forever chemicals’ trigger widespread closures of water wells

The state lowered the acceptable levels for two PFAS toxins in drinking water on Thursday, triggering the closure of wells throughout the California — including 33 in Orange County, which has been particularly plagued by the so-called “forever chemical.”

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California’s multibillion-dollar problem: the toxic legacy of old oil wells

Across much of California, fossil fuel companies are leaving thousands of oil and gas wells unplugged and idle, potentially threatening the health of people living nearby and handing taxpayers a multibillion-dollar bill for the environmental cleanup.

Aquafornia news KMJ Radio

California’s attorney general joins 18 states urging EPA for protection from “forever chemicals”

California’s Attorney General is part of a multi state coalition – urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to protect communities from what they say are dangerous chemicals. Attorneys General from 19 states, including California’s Xavier Becerra are urging the EPA to proceed with rulemaking to cover the entire family of PFAS chemicals.

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Land bureau may exempt plans from environmental review

The Bureau of Land Management may stop studying how its long-term blueprints for millions of acres of public lands would affect the environment, according to a document shared with Bloomberg Environment. … The BLM may propose a land use planning rule that will “remove NEPA requirements from the planning regulations,” referring to the National Environmental Policy Act,

Aquafornia news City News Service

Petition warns of possible radioactive geysers at San Onofre State Beach

As Southern California Edison begins its eight-year process of decommissioning and dismantling the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, a local watchdog group has filed a petition to put a halt to actions at the seaside plant. Public Watchdogs, a nonprofit advocacy group, claims that if the facility is flooded with rain or ocean water, the proposed method of disposing nuclear waste could lead to explosive radioactive steam geysers.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez bill would outlaw fracking by 2025

A bill introduced last week by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) helped craft would ban fracking nationwide by 2025, according to its newly unveiled text. The legislation would immediately prevent federal agencies from issuing federal permits for expanded fracking, new fracking, new pipelines, new natural gas or oil export terminals and other gas and oil infrastructure.

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Aquafornia news Claremont Courier

Sustainable Claremont: Our clean water future

In November 2018, more than two-thirds of voters passed Measure W, a comprehensive plan to address how we capture water and how to reduce our reliance on imported water. Now called the Safe Clean Water Program, this annual 2.5 cent per impervious square foot tax for all non-exempt property owners will fund over $250 million dollars annually to build and maintain projects that capture rainfall and storm water…

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

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

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

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Aquafornia news KQED Science

On the environment, Trump is getting trounced in the courts. At least, so far…

California’s win rate shows that lawyers in its attorney general’s office are bringing strong cases, says legal scholar Buzz Thompson, founding director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.

Aquafornia news The Hill

EPA re-approves key Roundup chemical

The agency is doubling down on its claims that the chemical, glyphosate, doesn’t pose a danger to humans despite thousands of lawsuits that attribute cancer to Roundup.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump administration eyes changes to environmental enforcement

The White House issued a notice [Thursday] seeking input on efforts to “reform enforcement” — a potential boon for the energy industry. … [Thursday's] memo, which appears in the Federal Register, states that federal enforcement has ballooned in recent decades but protections for defendants has not.

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Aquafornia news KQED Science

On the environment, Trump is getting trounced in the courts. At least, so far…

California’s win rate shows that lawyers in its attorney general’s office are bringing strong cases, says legal scholar Buzz Thompson, founding director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Dairy farmer in Turlock area fined over manure rules

The valley’s massive dairy industry routinely mixes manure-tainted wastewater into the irrigation supplies for corn and other feed crops. The state requires that the volume not exceed what the crops can take up as nutrients.

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Friant-Kern, drinking water reviewed: Subcommittee hearing on two Cox bills

Congress began the process of providing relief to the San Joaquin Valley when it comes to the Friant-Kern Canal and clean drinking water in rural communities when a subcommittee held a hearing on two bills sponsored by T.J. Cox.

Aquafornia news Healdsburg Tribune

Cal fish and wildlife monitoring effects of Healdsburg wine spill

Despite the spill, California Department of Fish and Wildlife representatives say that there looks to be no immediate negative environmental impact.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Thursday Top of the Scroll: ‘Our voices are not being heard’: Colorado town a test case for California PFAS victims

When Wendy Rash was diagnosed in 2005 with a thyroid disorder, chronic fatigue and other ailments, her doctor couldn’t explain her suddenly failing health. … It wasn’t until 2016 that scientists tested the tap water they had been drinking and found it was contaminated with man-made chemicals known as per-fluorinated compounds, part of a family of chemicals called PFAS.

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

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

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

Aquafornia news Valley Voice

Local ag warns Corcoran: Suit against Curtimade dairy will have statewide consequences

It was standing room only as supporters of Curtimade Dairy lined the walls of Corcoran City Council chambers during last night’s city council meeting. Corcoran is currently suing the Curti family for $65 million dollars for damages incurred when their dairy allegedly contaminated the city’s water supply at the height of the drought in 2015.

Aquafornia news The Log

Newport Beach water wheel project moving forward

The Newport Beach Harbor Commission got an update on the proposed water wheel project at their Jan. 8 meeting… The water wheel would be a floating stationary solar and hydro-powered trash interceptor in San Diego Creek…

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Farmers welcome new federal rule on water quality

Farmers and ranchers expressed support for a new federal rule to protect navigable waters under the Clean Water Act, saying the rule should offer certainty, transparency and a common-sense approach about how the rule would apply on the farm.

Aquafornia news ABC30

City of Corcoran sues well-known dairy company for $65 million

The city of Corcoran and Curtimade Dairy have been neighbors for more than 100 years. But about four years ago, their relationship turned contentious. The city said it planned to sue the dairy for contaminating its drinking water wells with nitrates, a contaminant that if consumed, can interfere with the ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen to body tissues.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Chevron official tells California lawmakers repairs caused 2019 oil spill

A senior Chevron official told California lawmakers on Monday a 2019 incident that spilled over a million gallons of water and oil into a creek bed was likely caused by its attempts to patch up a shuttered well.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Russian Riverkeeper works to protect, restore Russian River

Rivers are vital. Like life-giving arteries, they deliver water for drinking and irrigation and fertile soil for vineyards and farms. They support watersheds teeming with life. But humans are hard on rivers. We crowd their banks, dump waste in them and take out water, fish and other resources. … When that happens, who speaks for the river?

Aquafornia news KQED Science

With some oil drilling on hold, lawmaker wants state to do more to prevent releases

The moratorium has led state officials to place on hold 58 permit applications for high-pressure cyclic steam wells, according to Don Drysdale, a spokesman for the Department of Conservation, which oversees the division now known as the California Geologic Energy Management Division, or CalGEM. A Southern California lawmaker who has launched an inquiry into the steam injection wells says CalGEM’s new rules don’t go far enough.

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Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

California oil and gas wells could cost $9 billion to plug, clean

Cleaning up the tens of thousands of oil and gas wells scattered across California — which includes plugging them, removing surface infrastructure and cleaning the soil — could eventually cost more than $9 billion if they fall to the state to handle, a new report commissioned by state oil regulators says.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

New film highlights fight for clean drinking water in Valley

Yolanda Cuevas saw herself on the big screen for the first time during the Saturday premiere of “The Great Water Divide: California’s Water Crisis” in Exeter. The short documentary focuses on Tooleville, a hamlet in eastern Tulare County where children can’t wash their hands, dishes or vegetables without supervision because the water is tainted with multiple contaminants.

Aquafornia news North Bay Business Journal

Water regulators seek $4M fine for millions of gallons discharged at Healdsburg hotel, housing project

Nearly a year after construction was halted a second time at a large resort project at the north end of Healdsburg when water-quality regulators allegedly found millions of gallons of sediment-filled stormwater running off into Russian River tributaries, the agency announced it is pursuing a $4.9 million fine against the developer.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Up to 96,000 gallons of wine spills at Rodney Strong Vineyards, most leaks into Russian River

The Russian River flowed with a cherry red tint Wednesday after tens of thousands of gallons of fresh cabernet sauvignon wine poured into the largest tributary in Sonoma County. The wine — enough to fill more than 500,000 bottles — spilled from a Rodney Strong Vineyards’ storage tank at the Healdsburg winery…

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Aquafornia news Reuters

U.S. drinking water widely contaminated with ‘forever chemicals’: environment watchdog

The findings by the Environmental Working Group show the group’s previous estimate in 2018, based on unpublished U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data, that 110 million Americans may be contaminated with PFAS, could be far too low.

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Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: To protect children, schools must lead the effort to prevent lead poisoning

Fresno County contains eight of the top 50 census districts in California with the highest numbers of kids with lead poisoning, according to a recent article in The Fresno Bee. This is completely unacceptable.

Aquafornia news Reuters

California water utility sues U.S. over PFAS contamination from Air Force base

The California-American Water Company accuses the Air Force of having acted negligently by contaminating a water well in Sacramento County with perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which is found in firefighting foam it used at a base.

Aquafornia news Bay Crossings

King Tides sound a pollution alarm in the Bay

Last month, high tides in San Francisco Bay washed up onto the shoreline of a large former pharmaceutical company in Richmond. A few hours later, the outgoing tide pulled contamination—including pesticides, toxic chemicals and radioactive waste—off the industrial land and into the Bay.

Aquafornia news Siskiyou Daily News

Supervisors extend state of emergency for marijuana-related problems

Siskiyou County supervisors last week supported Sheriff Jon Lopey’s assessment that illegal marijuana grows are detrimental to the health and well being of local residents and approved the extension of a local state of emergency through 2020.

Aquafornia news Environmental Health News

Weed and water woes in the legendary Emerald Triangle

In the early days, these pot farms were small and scattered. But in recent years the industry has intensified. A wave of newcomers planted larger farms, using greenhouses and artificial lights to extend the growing season and yield up to three marijuana crops in a single year. The cannabis boom has polluted waters with fertilizers, fuels and pesticides, triggered erosion that buries the rocky habitats where salmon and trout spawn and grow, and drained streams of water in the dry season.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Two Tulare County towns will be testing ground for ‘innovative’ arsenic-tainted water treatment

A $30,000 grant will bring together 20 high school students from Allensworth and Alpaugh to learn about safe drinking water, conduct hands-on testing of arsenic treatment, and present findings… The students will work with a UC Berkeley lab to test the technology, Electrochemical Arsenic Remediation…

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California sues to block Trump administration fracking plans

California increased its efforts Friday to keep the federal government from allowing oil and gas drilling on more than 1 million acres of public land, suing to block the Trump administration from issuing new permits in the central part of the state.

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Aquafornia news FishBio

Blog: Stream to sea and back again: Modeling the fall-run Chinook salmon lifecycle

The Central Valley fall-run population is a fraction of its historic size and continues to face challenges as a result of factors that range from loss of habitat and changing ocean conditions to pressures from predation and harvest in freshwater and the ocean. Even under good environmental conditions, fall-run Chinook face a slew of challenges over the course of their lives.

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

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

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

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

Aquafornia news Politico

Trump set to gut water protections

The Trump administration is preparing to further dismantle environmental regulations by vastly reducing the reach of federal protections for streams and wetlands — delivering a major win for farmers, developers, miners and oil and gas producers.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

West Marin coalition aims to boost Walker Creek fish habitat

West Marin ranchers and a local conservation group are teaming up to plan habitat restoration projects along Walker Creek to restore the once bountiful, but now diminished, runs of coho salmon and steelhead trout. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife awarded the Point Reyes Station-based Marin Resource Conservation District a nearly $350,000 grant this month…

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California eyeing lower standard for perchlorate in drinking water

Water suppliers across the state must test for perchlorate down to 4 parts per billion. In February, the board expects to seek comment on reducing that threshold down to 2 parts per billion…

Aquafornia news East Bay Express

The coming national water-quality crisis

New California testing guidelines that take effect this month are expected to reveal widespread groundwater contamination from the chemicals associated with Teflon.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Experts fear Trump’s weakening of environmental policy could expose North Coast to drilling

A move by the Trump administration to roll back landmark environmental policy intended to ensure vigorous scrutiny of federal infrastructure projects has struck alarm in the hearts of California conservationists, particularly those striving to safeguard North Coast waters from offshore energy exploration and production.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Discover Magazine

Microplastics are everywhere, but their health effects on humans are still unclear

How pervasive is that plastic exposure, and is it bad for your health? Scientists don’t yet know, but they have some working theories. Here’s what we know so far about these tiny, prevalent plastic particles.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Striped bass: An important indicator species in the Delta

The factors causing the decline of many fish and fisheries in the upper San Francisco Estuary have made their management controversial, usually because of the correlation of declines with increased water exports from the Delta and upstream of the Delta… To address this problem better, the California Fish and Game Commission is developing new policies for managing Delta fish and fisheries, with a special focus on striped bass.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Forever litigated ‘forever chemicals’: A guide to PFAS in courts

Court dockets are ballooning with litigation over PFAS, a vexing family of chemicals used in many consumer and industrial products. … Lawyers have compared the legal onslaught to litigation over asbestos, tobacco, and lead paint. Here’s a rundown of key cases.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

House passes PFAS chemicals bill to push water standards

House lawmakers passed a bill Friday for U.S. regulators to designate chemicals found in cooking spray, cosmetics and other grease-resistant products as health hazards. Known as polyfluoroalkyl and perfluorooctanoic substances (PFAS and PFOS), the chemicals have been found in groundwater sites across the nation.

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Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: Save the San Joaquin? Fresno County should reject Cemex proposal for deeper gravel mine

Yes, aggregate mining on the San Joaquin has been going on for more than a century. But with production tapering off and newer operations opening on the nearby Kings River, it was generally assumed the poor San Joaquin would finally be given a break… Unfortunately, a proposal by Cemex threatens to dash those hopes while ensuring another century of heavy industry on California’s second-longest river…

Aquafornia news City Watch LA

Opinion: Dirty water – dirty politics

Who can deny the value of potable water to every living thing in this city, this county, this state? Four million residential and industrial customers in 43 cities in the Los Angeles, San Gabriel and San Fernando Basins are dependent on multiple water sources – groundwater pumped from below them, by aqueduct from the Colorado River, the Sierra Nevada snowpack, Mono Lake, the Owens Valley and recycled from wastewater treatment plants.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

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

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

Aquafornia news Daily Pilot

Name that trash barge: Lots of public engagement possible for Newport’s planned water wheel

Newport Beach has the preliminary engineering, environmental review and startup funding for its long-planned trash-collection vessel for Upper Newport Bay. Now it’s looking forward to the final design, construction and giving the water wheel a personality.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Friday Top of the Scroll: California has protections against Trump rollback of environmental rules

The Trump administration’s sweeping plan to ease environmental review of highways, power plants and other big projects may be less consequential in California, where state law puts checks on new development. By no means, however, would California go unaffected.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Daily News

Owners of former Warner Center Rocketdyne site have a plan for cleanup, but activists push back

Recently, property owner United Technologies Corp. has asked the state to change cleanup requirements of the property from residential to commercial standards, according to the documents filed with the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, which oversees the remediation efforts.

Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Valley Signal

Santa Clarita Valley Water releases report on wells

The majority of groundwater wells drawing water for Santa Clarita Valley Water contain enough of a non-stick chemical, which is a suspected carcinogen, that water officials are now required by the state to notify the county about the find. Of the agency’s 45 operational wells, 29 of them were found to contain tiny amounts of of perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid. 

Related article:

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Water company pleads guilty to hazardous waste violations

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

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Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

NAFTA replacement deal won’t curb pollution, environment groups say

When lawmakers in the House of Representatives approved the Trump administration’s new trade deal with Mexico and Canada last month, they authorized $300 million to help fix failing sewer systems that send raw sewage and toxic pollution flowing into rivers along the U.S.-Mexico border. … But environmental groups are condemning the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, saying it fails to establish binding standards to curb pollution in Mexico’s industrial zones.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

1.4 million California kids have not received mandatory lead poisoning tests

More than 1.4 million children covered by California’s Medicaid health care program have not received the required testing for lead poisoning, state auditors reported Tuesday, and the two agencies charged with administering tests and preventing future exposure have fallen short on their responsibilities.

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Aquafornia news East Bay Express

California’s salmon barely survived the 20th Century. Will they vanish before the next one?

Since 2015, the state’s commercial fishermen have reported nearly record-low catches. Fish hatcheries produce most of the salmon caught in California today, and with much of their inland habitat badly degraded, truly wild salmon are scarce. But a small circle of biologists and fishermen believe they can revive California’s legendary Chinook to something resembling its historic glory.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Thursday Top of the Scroll: ‘Multiheaded hydra’ of PFAS products under California scrutiny

The state this year could require rug and carpet makers to come up with safer alternatives for their stain- and water-resistant products. After-market treatments with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that help consumers protect their boots, clothes, and other textiles from rain, snow, and grease could also face the same fate. So, too, could food packaging items, even as bans on PFAS in single-use bowls, plates, and utensils take effect Jan. 1 in San Francisco and other cities in the state.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The Hill

Trump officials voice opposition to ‘forever chemical’ bill

The White House announced Tuesday that President Trump would likely veto legislation designed to manage a class of cancer-linked chemicals leaching into the water supply. The chemicals, known by the abbreviation PFAS, are used in a variety of nonstick products such as raincoats, cookware and packaging and have been found in nearly every state in the country.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Merkley facilitates follow-up summit on sucker recovery

Federal agency representatives on Friday night kept the conversation going with U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley about continued efforts to save two Klamath Basin sucker species from extinction. … Merkley has delivered $23.5 million to the Basin since 2013 to find a way toward a solution. He recently secured $11 million for sucker recovery efforts, including $5.1 million for the Klamath River.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

‘A slow-motion Chernobyl’: How lax laws turned a river into a disaster

The river is a powerful example of Mexico’s failure to protect its environment: A New York Times analysis of 15 years of efforts to clean up the Santiago found that attempts floundered in the face of legal loopholes, deficient funding and a lack of political will.

Aquafornia news California Healthline

Fecal bacteria In California’s waterways increases with homeless crisis

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

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Trash creates massive stormwater clog in Tijuana, and fixing it could mean a mess for San Diego

It started with last month’s heavy rains that brought an unprecedented volume of debris tumbling down Tijuana’s Matadero Canyon: old mattresses, used furniture, discarded construction material. That led to a clogged storm drain by the border fence, authorities said, and the flooding of a nearby sewage pump station. The resulting pool of trash and sewage-contaminated water has now been raising fears in San Diego.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Broad-ranging PFAS chemicals bill on House floor next week

A bill that would require the EPA to regulate PFAS, an emerging family of chemicals contaminating U.S. municipal and private water supplies, is slated to be the first major legislation that the House will take up in 2020.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Providing safe drinking water in the face of disasters: Lessons from Lake County

Climate change is already affecting water management across the state. Small rural communities with ongoing drinking water challenges are especially vulnerable to greater extremes brought on by a warming climate. We talked to Jan Coppinger, a special district administrator from Lake County, about how the county’s small water systems have dealt with an especially devastating string of natural disasters.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Andrew Wheeler says EPA doesn’t have a ‘war with California’

The Trump administration has stripped away its regulatory authority, threatened to cut its highway funding and called its dirty waterways a “significant public health concern.” But it isn’t picking a fight with California. That’s what Andrew Wheeler, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, claimed about actions his office has taken recently when it comes to air and water pollution in the big blue state.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Groups fight against opening up 1 million acres for drilling, fracking

Environmental groups say they plan to fight a Trump administration decision that cleared the way for new oil and gas leases on more than 1 million acres in California. … The final supplemental environmental report released recently said the BLM found no adverse impacts of hydraulic fracturing that could not be alleviated. Several groups and state officials, however, disagree and have called the analysis flawed.

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Aquafornia news The Guardian

Rainwater in parts of US contains high levels of PFAS chemical, says study

New data shows that rainwater in some parts of the US contains high enough levels of potentially toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to possibly affect human health and may, if found in drinking water, in some cases be high enough to trigger regulatory action.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

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

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

Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

Replacing asbestos concrete water pipes

The Rosamond Community Services District will replace the last large areas of asbestos concrete water pipes in a project slated to start early next year. On Wednesday, the Board of Directors awarded a contract to California Compaction for $2.3 million to complete the pipe replacement project.

Aquafornia news Politico

What’s in the federal spending deal?

The spending deal does not include a requirement for EPA to regulate PFAS in drinking water, meaning lawmakers will leave town this week without significant regulatory action on the “forever chemicals.”

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

EPA lead proposal, derided as weak, may be sneakily strong

A provision tucked within the EPA’s proposal to overhaul the way it regulates lead in drinking water—initially derided as toothless—could have far-reaching consequences for public health, municipal policies, and even real estate transactions, water industry insiders now say. The proposal would require all water utilities across the country to inventory the location of all of their lead pipes and then make that information public.

Aquafornia news Nevada Today

California and Nevada scientists study nitrogen pollution in dryland watersheds

Nitrogen pollution, largely from burning fossil fuels, industrial agriculture and wildfire can reduce drinking water quality and make air difficult to breathe. Thanks to a $1.1 million grant from the National Science Foundation, we will soon have a better understanding of how much nitrogen arid ecosystems can absorb before they produce negative effects.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

‘New NAFTA’ offers money for border sewage fixes

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

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Q&A: Wildfire’s impact on water quality

As an appointee to the San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board, Newsha Ajami has worked with local, state and federal agencies to monitor and ensure water quality in areas affected by wildfires. Ajami is director of urban water policy at Stanford’s Water in the West program, and co-leads the Urban Water Systems & Institutions Thrust at Re-Inventing the Nation’s Urban Water Infrastructure (ReNUWIt), a National Science Foundation engineering research center based at Stanford. She discussed wildfire’s threat to water quality with Stanford Report.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: Which faucets and fixtures have the lowest lead levels? California asks plumbing manufacturers

The Board plans to make the compiled responses publicly available and encourage the 14,000 licensed child care centers in the state to buy new fixtures from those on the list when water testing indicates the fixture should be replaced.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Trump administration OKs leasing for new oil drilling in California — again

The Trump administration on Thursday gave the go-ahead to new oil-drilling leases on federal land in California, mostly around petroleum-rich Bakersfield but also in less-obvious spots in the Sierra foothills, such as near Yosemite National Park.

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Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

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

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

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Aquafornia news The Guardian

Los Angeles beaches plagued with toxic stormwater, report warns

Los Angeles beaches are plagued by stormwater pollution that can make people sick and damage ecosystems, and local governments are largely failing to address the hazards, according to a new report.

Aquafornia news ABC News San Diego

Members of different water districts blame the mayor and city of Poway for water problems

Members representing different water districts set up a news conference Tuesday to collectively show they weren’t happy with how the mayor and City of Poway handled last week’s water situation.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Little progress in reducing L.A. stormwater pollution, report says

Researchers combed through six years of data, from 2012 to 2018, to examine how L.A. County has mitigated the issue, most visible in the 72-hour aftermath of rainfall but persists during dry weather in the form of runoff from driveways and sidewalks. As it turns out, not much has been done, largely because of a lack of transparent requirements when it comes to the monitoring of stormwater pollution by various municipalities.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Congress to halt military use of toxic foam contaminating drinking water

Congress has reached a deal on a spending bill that would require the military to stop using firefighting foam containing toxic chemicals linked to cancer, but would abandon efforts to place stronger regulations on the chemicals.

Aquafornia news Reuters

Most U.S. states have cut environmental budgets and staffing since 2008: study

The report by the Environmental Integrity Project released on Thursday showed some 30 states have reduced funding for pollution control programs, 16 of them by more than 20%. Forty states, meanwhile, have cut staffing at environmental agencies, half of them by at least 10%, the report showed.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

EPA considering second round of national PFAS testing

Water suppliers across the nation could be required to sample for manmade “forever chemicals” in an attempt to gauge just how prevalent the contaminants are in drinking supplies. … Every five years the Environmental Protection Agency can order large water suppliers and a sampling of smaller districts to test for up 30 chemicals that aren’t currently regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act.

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Aquafornia news Estuary News

Helping the homeless clean up watersheds

Homeless volunteers collect so much trash in the Russian River watershed — 150,000 pounds as of October this year — that the state Water Resources Control Board sees it as a model for the rest of California.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Battle lines are drawn over oil drilling in California

The state is moving to ramp down oil production while Washington is expediting it. State officials are taking a closer look at the environmental and health threats — especially land, air and water contamination — posed by energy extraction, while Washington appears to have concluded that existing federal regulations sufficiently protect its sensitive landscapes as well as public health.

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Aquafornia news Alameda Sun

Voters pass drain fee

The City Council will certify the Water Quality and Flood Protection Initiative at its Dec. 17 meeting after Alameda property owners voted in favor of a fee hike. … The increased fee will fund repairs and new pump stations, which is vital to combat potential flooding as sea levels rise; improve lagoon systems, enhance street sweeping procedures and maintain and install new trash capture devices. These devices are key to keeping the shoreline free of trash and other debris.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Poway’s water woes due to out-of-compliance infrastructure, state official says

A state official said Wednesday he intends to notify the city of Poway that its water storage reservoir is out of compliance, a situation he said directly contributed to last week’s storm water overflow that has left the entire community under a boil-water advisory and temporarily shuttered nearly 200 businesses.

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Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

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

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

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Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Napa city and county to begin water monitoring in reservoir areas

Napa city leaders have advocated for detailed water monitoring in order to safeguard a watershed area that lies largely outside its direct control. Some 34,000 acres in rural Napa County, as far north as Angwin, drain into Lake Hennessey, but the city owns only 2,822 acres.

Aquafornia news KPBS

Backed-up storm drain caused Poway’s water contamination

Rains caused storm drains to back up into Poway’s water treatment facility, officials said. Crews are working around the clock to clean and flush the system, which may take two to five days before the water is declared safe. The county health department ordered the closing of all restaurants in the city and residents are being advised to boil their tap water before drinking it or using it for cooking, city officials said.

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Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Dirty water too pricey to fix for many Central Valley cities. Is this idea the answer?

Cities like Huron, with a population of 6,926 and a $22,802 median household income, are often too small to expand water access projects that could lower utility rates. While cities like Delano are too big to qualify for rural development projects from the federal government. But a new proposal could soon alleviate those pains.

Aquafornia news The Grass Valley Union

Nevada County confirms Kilham Mine Road property not source of South Yuba River plume

Nevada County has released the results of a state water board investigation into the mysterious yellow sediment plume that closed off the South Yuba River in September. A historic mine property on Kilham Mine Road, initially targeted as the suspected source of the discharge, was cleared by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board in late October.

Aquafornia news Chico News & Review

Testing the water

Back in 2016, California Water Service Co. took two of its groundwater wells in Chico out of service after tests showed they were contaminated with toxic flourinated chemicals known as PFAS—or per- and polyfluoralkyl substances—that have been linked to cancer and other adverse health effects. The move was done quietly.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Pioneertown residents now have clean tap water — for the first time in decades

For three years, residents of the unincorporated San Bernardino County desert town have used twice-a-month shipments of bottled water because local wells were no longer meeting state standards for drinking water. … That changed in September, when work finished on a new pipeline that pulls clean water from a well 4 miles away in Yucca Valley.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Californians are turning to vending machines for safer water. Are they being swindled?

The kiosks take city tap water – which must be clean enough to meet state and federal quality standards – run it through a filtration system that removes chemicals such as chlorine to improve taste, then dispense it to customers at an 8,000% to 10,000% mark-up. Vended water is cheaper than individually sealed, store-bought bottles, but many times more expensive than tap water.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

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

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

Aquafornia news USA Today

White House, CDC feuding over study about PFAS in drinking water

A multimillion-dollar federal study on toxic chemicals in drinking water is facing delays because of a dispute within the Trump administration, according to several people involved in the study… The dispute has implications for more than half a dozen communities where drinking water has been heavily contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Do too many CA products have Proposition 65 warning labels?

Environmental advocates say the law has compelled companies to quietly make their products and emissions less toxic. But some economists who are critical of government regulation argue the law has gone too far, plastering the state with warnings so ubiquitous that they’ve become meaningless to most consumers.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

How racism ripples through California’s pipes

And as in other parts of the United States, black migrants were met with Jim Crow-style racism: “Whites Only” signs, curfews and discriminatory practices by banks. Often, the only places black families could settle were on arid acres on the outskirts of cultivated farmland — places like Teviston… Today, the legacy of segregation in the Central Valley reverberates underground, through old pipes, dry wells and soil tainted by shoddy septic systems.

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Aquafornia news San Diego State University

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

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

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: Hideous, shameful, grotesque: Rains push mountains of L.A. trash into Ballona Creek

For as far as I could see, east and west, the banks were littered with plastic cups, fast-food containers, spray paint cans and chip wrappers. It had rained a smidgen the day before, the first wet weather of the season, and this was what had washed downstream from the area west of downtown Los Angeles.

Aquafornia news The Hill

EPA weighs greater reporting of ‘forever chemicals’

EPA’s announcement Monday asked the public to weigh in on a proposal to add PFAS to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), which would push municipalities to alert people right away if the substance has been found in tap water. It would also require manufacturers who use PFAS to report annually how much of each chemical is released to the environment.

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Aquafornia news Champion Newspapers

Chino Hills wells could be offline three more years

It will be two years in December that the city of Chino Hills shut down its wells because of a new contamination level set by the state for the chemical 1,2,3-TCP (TCP) and it could take another three years before a filtration system can be built to treat the chemical and put the wells back in service, according to public works officials.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Bi-national conference tackles border region’s water issues

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

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Fog brings poison mercury to Santa Cruz Mountains — mountains lions are suffering

Three times as much mercury has been found in mountain lions in the Santa Cruz Mountains than in their inland brethren, and the likely culprit is coastal fog, a first-of-its-kind study by UC Santa Cruz has found. The fog is apparently pulling mercury out of the ocean and dripping it over the coastal mountains…

Aquafornia news Hanford Sentinel

Lemoore breaks ground on ‘life-changing’ drinking water project

City officials gathered Thursday afternoon in Lemoore to break ground on construction of a new groundwater treatment plant project. … The City obtains all of its drinking water from local groundwater resources that are challenged by naturally-occurring water quality issues. These issues include elevated levels of arsenic, iron, ammonia, total organic carbon and color…

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Judge advances LA County’s spat with Monsanto over PCB cleanup

A federal judge Thursday denied Monsanto’s bid to dismiss a lawsuit seeking payment from the company to clean up cancer-causing chemicals from Los Angeles County waterways and storm sewer pipelines.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

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

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

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

EPA sued over oil waste dumping in aquifer near Pismo Beach, California

The Center for Biological Diversity on Thursday sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, alleging the agency wrongly allowed oil waste to be dumped into a San Luis Obispo aquifer and ignored impacts to the California red-legged frog and other endangered species.

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Aquafornia news Forbes

Opinion: Drones and artificial intelligence Help Combat San Francisco Bay’s trash problem

With drone photography, “we can track all of the trash in a creek, river, or stream, examine how it’s distributed, and then apply machine-learning algorithms to analyze those images as often as we want,” says Tony Hale, program director for environmental informatics at the nonprofit San Francisco Estuary Institute. The drone research is part of a new project by SFEI and its sister organization Southern California Coastal Water Research Project, through funding from the Ocean Protection Council…

Aquafornia news KQED Food

Wine moguls destroy land and pay small fines as cost of business, say activists

In Napa County, adjacent to Sonoma and the source of perhaps the most expensive cabernet sauvignon outside of Bordeaux, activists are pushing back against a steady conversion of woodland into new vineyards. Kellie Anderson, an independent watchdog who has harried local officials for years to step up enforcement of environmental laws, says the county’s planning department has ignored numerous violations by grape growers.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California PFAS probe expands to military sites, refineries

California’s search for the source of “forever chemicals” in drinking water is expanding to include military sites, wastewater treatment plants, chrome-plating facilities, and refineries. Surveys indicate an estimated 3.5 million Californians use drinking water supplies with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, above federal health advisory levels.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: No new California fracking without scientific review, Newsom says

In a victory for critics of California’s oil drilling industry, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday stopped the approval of new hydraulic fracturing in the state until the permits for those projects can be reviewed by an independent panel of scientists. Newsom also imposed a moratorium on new permits for steam-injected oil drilling, another extraction method … linked to a massive petroleum spill in Kern County over the summer.

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Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Preliminary findings show that harmful contaminants in burn scar plumbing are rare

Water experts are still finding traces of harmful chemicals in parts of the water systems burned by the Camp Fire and in interior plumbing more than a year after the disaster, but the cases are rare. … An outside team of researchers … has found only a few cases where volatile organic compounds that are harmful to human health seeped into home plumbing from the water system. Most of those cases tested largely below unsafe levels.

Aquafornia news KVPR

Millions of gallons of oily water have surfaced in a Kern County oil field, and more keeps coming

Since July, at least a half dozen surface expressions have been reported into the state spill report database, including one in early November, totaling more than 2.7 million gallons of oil, water and mud. … Under strengthened state regulations, these surface expressions became illegal only in April of this year. But that doesn’t mean the public knows about all of them or how close they occur to communities…

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Aquafornia news CityLab

Under Newsom, oil well approvals are going up

As Donald Trump’s administration pushes to expand oil extraction in California, the state’s governor, Gavin Newsom, has signed bill after bill limiting the practice. … But since taking office in January, Newsom’s own department of energy management has approved 33 percent more new oil and gas drilling permits than were approved under Newsom’s predecessor Jerry Brown over the same period in 2018

Aquafornia news San Luis Obispo Tribune

Sewage spills from California Men’s Colony prison

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

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Health of our families, communities depends on safe water

California took a historic step forward this summer with the passage of the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund. This fund seeks to provide new targeted investments to end the state’s drinking water crisis, where one million Californians are impacted by unsafe water each year. Unfortunately, successful implementation of the fund is on a potential collision course with another California law, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act…

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Illegal pot farms on public land create environmental hazard

Two months after two men were arrested at an illicit marijuana farm on public land deep in the Northern California wilderness, authorities are assessing the environmental impact and cleanup costs at the site where trees were clear-cut, waterways were diverted, and the ground was littered with open containers of fertilizer and rodenticide.

Aquafornia news Salon.com

Trump EPA proposal guts restrictions on toxic herbicide linked to birth defects

At issue in the proposal posted yesterday by the EPA is the threshold level of atrazine, the second most widely used herbicide in the U.S. Manufactured by Syngenta, atrazine is primarily used in agriculture as a weedkiller on crops. It is not authorized for use in the European Union, as the body said there wasn’t enough data to prove it wouldn’t have a harmful effect on groundwater.

Aquafornia news Environmental Health News

The water is cleaner but the politics are messier: A look back at the Clean Water Act movement after 50 years

Today, the quality of river water has improved markedly since the early 1970s, though critics say the red tape imposed through the Clean Water Act has become burdensome. The Clean Water Act has not been altered much over the past 50 years, though how we interpret the act has recently changed dramatically.

Aquafornia news San Clemente Times

City, local agencies dispute claims of cancer-causing contaminants found in tap water

An ongoing study on the quality of the country’s drinking water conducted by a national environmental group shows that several contaminants found in San Clemente’s tap water exceeded the nonprofit’s recommended safety standards.

Aquafornia news Pacific Sun

Creek deemed dirty

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

Aquafornia news Livermore Independent

Pleasanton OKs study to treat chemicals found in water wells

Pleasanton’s water utility shut down a drinking water well earlier this year after detecting unsafe levels of toxic chemicals linked to adverse health effects, including cancer and birth defects.

Aquafornia news National Public Radio

Wildlife and water in U.S. forests are being poisoned by illegal pot operations

An unlikely coalition in California — including environmentalists, law enforcement agents, politicians, wildlife ecologists and representatives of the legal cannabis industry — have joined forces to try to reduce these illegal operations and the environmental threat they pose.

Aquafornia news Reuters

Drilling boom adds stress to U.S. Western water supplies: report

About 60% of federal oil and gas drilling leases offered since 2017 are located in areas that are at risk of shortages and droughts, according to a report released on Tuesday.

Aquafornia news KUNR

Audio: What’s in the water?

In this episode, we explore a carcinogen called 1,2,3 Tetracholorpropane, which ended up in the water below California’s Central Valley. … We also hear from John Hadder and Dr. Glenn Miller, with Great Basin Resource Watch, about how some of the groundwater in Nevada became contaminated due to mining operations near Yerington.

Aquafornia news NBC Southern California

Woolsey Fire crippled Boeing water safety system at toxics site

Boeing worked with the state and installed a massive system of plastic pipes, treatment systems and holding ponds meant to filter and manage potentially toxic rainwater before it poured downhill…  Then the giant Woolsey Fire ignited at the old laboratory… Flames destroyed plastic piping and tore through the storm water system before ravaging another 94,000 acres as the fire stormed west to the sea, according to state and Boeing records.

Aquafornia news Pacific Sun

Crappy creek

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

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: Broken pipes. Complex funding applications. The water challenges facing California’s disadvantaged communities.

California might have the fifth largest economy in the world, but many people in the state’s disadvantaged communities feel like they are living in a third world country because they don’t have safe, clean and affordable drinking water.

Aquafornia news Western Water

Friday Top of the Scroll: As wildfires grow more intense, California water managers are learning to rewrite their emergency playbook

The lessons gained from the 2018 wildfires that swept through Paradise, in Northern California, and along the Los Angeles-Ventura County border in Southern California are still being absorbed by water managers around California as they recognize that the old emergency preparedness plans of yesterday may not be adequate for the new wildfire reality of today.

Related article:

Western Water Gary Pitzer Douglas E. Beeman Layperson's Guide to Climate Change and Water Resources Gary PitzerDouglas E. Beeman

As Wildfires Grow More Intense, California Water Managers Are Learning To Rewrite Their Emergency Playbook
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: Agencies share lessons learned as they recover from fires that destroyed facilities, contaminated supplies and devastated their customers

Debris from the Camp Fire that swept through the Sierra foothills town of Paradise  in November 2018.

By Gary Pitzer and Douglas E. Beeman

It’s been a year since two devastating wildfires on opposite ends of California underscored the harsh new realities facing water districts and cities serving communities in or adjacent to the state’s fire-prone wildlands. Fire doesn’t just level homes, it can contaminate water, scorch watersheds, damage delivery systems and upend an agency’s finances.

Aquafornia news KQED

A year after the Camp Fire, locals are rebuilding Paradise

On a secluded corner of Marywood Drive in Paradise sit two vacant lots, side by side. The empty space used to hold single-family residences surrounded by Ponderosa pines. That was until the November 2018 Camp Fire — California’s deadliest and most destructive wildfire — leveled the Butte County town and destroyed more than 13,000 homes. Now, one year later, these lots are being rebuilt by two Paradise natives, Christine and Dave Williams, who bought the properties after the fire.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Offshore drilling: Leaking ‘legacy’ oil wells pollute Calif. beaches, stir fears

Drillers punched hundreds of shallow wells in the California seafloor off Santa Barbara County at the turn of the 20th century — only to abandon them in the early 1900s. … But the oil has lingered. It leaks from the orphaned wells and seeps from the ocean floor naturally off the Santa Barbara coast… It leaves tar on the beach and a sheen on the waters. Environmentalists worry about damage to the ecosystem and threats to public health…

Aquafornia news AgNet West

Improving nutrient management in California

In recent years the idea of nutrient management has been become even more important with increasing regulations related to nitrate levels in groundwater. Cooperation between water agencies and CDFA has helped to provide better education and outreach for the development of balance sheets for nutrient management.

Aquafornia news KPBS

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

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

Aquafornia news Santa Ynez Valley News

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

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

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Aquafornia news Associated Press

California seizes $1.5 billion-plus in black market marijuana

Authorities seized more than $1.5 billion worth of illegally grown marijuana plants in California this year — an amount an industry expert said is roughly equal to the state’s entire legal market — as part of an annual eradication program, officials said Monday. … Law enforcement raids often find illegal farms that have dammed or diverted public streams and dumped dangerous pesticides including carbofuran, methyl parathion and aluminum phosphate…

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Aquafornia news Vox.com

Prop. 65 was meant to protect residents from toxic water. Is that what it did?

The initial selling point of Prop. 65 — that it would eliminate toxins in the water supply by holding big business liable for its leaks — has largely been forgotten in 2019. These days, the law is better known for requiring eyebrow-raising warning labels on everything from bread to steering wheel covers to — briefly — Starbucks coffee, and it has turned into a national punchline.

Aquafornia news University of Southern California

Blog: Researchers discover antibiotic-resistant genes in recycled wastewater

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

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

For California well owners, clean water is hard to get as state, local hurdles remain

As the state focuses on providing clean and affordable drinking water for millions of residents, those on private wells typically face an uphill battle. Private well owners confront significant financial challenges digging new wells, and connecting to a public water system involves a daunting local and state bureaucratic process…

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Feds push to open 1 million acres to fracking in California

The Trump administration unveiled a plan to open another million acres in California to oil and gas development and fracking, one day after being sued by conservationists for similar plans in a different part of the state. The Bureau of Land Management released its environmental analysis Thursday concluding that hydraulic fracturing and oil and gas extraction in counties located in the south state do not conflict with the land management goals of the agency.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Study raises concern about e-cigarette waste

As media coverage focuses on the more immediate public health crisis of vaping, and its link to a recent spate of mysterious lung illnesses and deaths, researchers like Mock and Hendlin caution there also is a looming environmental threat.

Aquafornia news Reuters

Green groups sue Trump administration over California drilling plan

Two environmental groups sued the Trump administration on Wednesday over its plan to open up more than 720,000 acres (291,370 hectares) of federal land in California for oil and gas development.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

A year after Camp Fire, cleaning up toxics continues at isolated locations

Nearly a year later, crews are working to clean up the last toxic remains from the Camp Fire. The household and industrial chemicals in the soil and airborne ash are mostly gone, carried away by the truckload as part of debris removal. The contamination that does persist is mostly hyper-local and is being removed after additional, costly steps.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Environmental prosecutions drop to lowest level in decades

Prosecutions of environmental crimes dropped to historic lows under the Trump administration last fiscal year and one legal expert believes that could endanger public health. “There’s a risk that unenforced violations could lead to fires, leaks, spills, and contamination,” said Ethan Elkind, climate program director at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law.

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Aquafornia news Associated Press

Mexico pledges to fight cross-border sewage spills

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

Aquafornia news San Luis Obispo Tribune

County drinking water wells contaminated by chemicals

Drinking water wells in two areas of San Luis Obispo County are contaminated with potentially toxic “forever chemicals,” according to recently released results of state water testing. The local testing found that 15 wells in San Luis Obispo and Atascadero had levels high enough to require notification to water system governing boards.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Disadvantaged communities claim a stake in state groundwater overhaul

A tiny community on the outskirts of the City of Sanger, Tombstone is a bellwether for groundwater issues… Most of the community’s 40 or so homes get their drinking water from shallow domestic wells, which can be vulnerable to both aquifer contaminants and falling groundwater levels.

Aquafornia news The Point Reyes Light

Big benefits from fences on Olema Creek

The initiative, which the seashore facilitated in collaboration with ranchers, conservation organizations and regulatory agencies, began in 1999 and included three main types of best practices: fencing, hardened stream crossings and the creation of separate water systems for cattle.

Aquafornia news Downey Brand

Blog: PFAS are here: First round of results show PFAS in California drinking water supply wells

Results from the first phase of sampling drinking water supply wells for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) were recently published by the California State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) and show reportable levels at approximately 190 or 35% of the 570 wells tested.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

CV-SALTS plan to bring new requirements

Action by the state water board sets in motion a 35-year program of activity and research to address nitrate and salt content in Central Valley groundwater, in order to achieve water-quality objectives.

Aquafornia news The Revelator

Blog: Tap water safety: There’s good news and bad news

We spoke with Environmental Working Group senior scientist Tasha Stoiber about what we know and don’t know about the safety of our drinking water — and what steps communities can take protect themselves.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Worried about PFAS water contamination? Here’s what to do

After The Times reported last week that nearly 300 drinking water wells and other water sources in California had been contaminated with toxic chemicals linked to cancer, readers wanted to know what they could do. … We talked to industry experts, and the following are their best answers to some of the most often-asked questions we received.

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Aquafornia news KUNC

On the Colorado River’s banks, a toxic pile continues to shrink

Communities throughout the American West have spent decades cleaning up what the mining industry left behind. In Moab, those leftovers are the visible pile of uranium tailings, left alongside on the banks of arguably the region’s most important water source.

Aquafornia news Business Insider

Environmental group finds arsenic and chromium in tap water in all 50 U.S. states

A newly updated database from the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) documents nearly 280 contaminants lurking in US drinking water. Two of the most prevalent and concerning chemicals, arsenic and hexavalent chromium, were found in drinking water in all 50 states. Both chemicals are known carcinogens commonly found in California taps.

Aquafornia news KSBY

San Luis Obispo city leaders look to solve several environmental problems downtown

It all starts with the water quality of the creek that runs alongside Mission Plaza. The Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board has determined the water is so contaminated with fecal matter, the city has to do something about it to prevent people from getting sick with E. Coli and other viruses.

Aquafornia news E&E News

A new target for federal action: PFAS-tainted food

A class of toxic chemicals known to have contaminated drinking water in many areas across the country is also presenting human health risks via another exposure method — our food supply. The contamination stems from treated sewage sludge — or biosolids — often used by farmers as a fertilizer for crops.

Aquafornia news Axios

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

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

Aquafornia news KEYT

Santa Barbara County board of supervisors votes to approve resolution opposing oil drilling

The Santa Barbara County board of supervisors is taking a stand against the Trump administration. The resolution was sponsored by First District County Supervisor Gregg Hart in response to the Trump Administration’s plan to open more than one million acres of lands throughout the coastal and interior regions of central California to new oil drilling and fracking.

Aquafornia news The Conversation

Blog: Why we need to treat wildfire as a public health issue in California

Deadly fires across California over the past several years have shown how wildfire has become a serious public health and safety issue. Health effects from fires close to or in populated areas range from smoke exposure to drinking water contaminated by chemicals like benzene to limited options for the medically vulnerable. These kinds of threats are becoming major, statewide concerns.

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Aquafornia news KQED News

New Chevron crude spills emerge in Kern County oil field

Thousands of gallons of crude petroleum began spouting out of the ground near a part of Chevron’s steam injection well network in a Kern County oil field over the weekend … in the same area where a larger uncontrolled release of 234,000 gallons of oil has taken place since August.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

EPA bypassed its West Coast team as feud with California escalated

When the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Andrew Wheeler, accused California of allowing “piles of human feces” on city streets to contaminate sewer systems … the accusations, contained in a Sept. 26 oversight letter, had been developed without the knowledge of the California-based staff, which would normally issue such notices. Instead, it was put together by a small group of political appointees in Washington assigned specifically to target California, according to three current E.P.A. officials.

Aquafornia news Geographical Magazine

The nitrogen dilemma: Can we reduce fertilisers and still feed the world?

When nitrogen-based fertiliser runs into water systems it can result in toxic algae blooms, leading to oxygen depletion and vast oceanic ‘dead zones’. Evidence suggests their use also contributes to air pollution, increased rates of cancer and reduced biodiversity, as well as emitting nitrous oxide – an extremely potent greenhouse gas. … A team of scientists, led by the University of California, Davis, has come up with a five-step plan to tackle this two-sided problem.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Deadly bacteria Legionella still in California prison water

A bacteria outbreak at a state prison in Stockton has cost California $8.5 million and doesn’t appear to be going away seven months after it infected two inmates, one of whom died.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

State water officials to vote on valley-wide plan to reduce nitrate and salt

Later this week, the State Water Resources Control Board will vote on a long-anticipated plan to reduce some of the pollutants flowing into Central Valley water. However, not everyone agrees on the details.

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Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Opinion: Poor Central Valley communities deserve safe, affordable water service

Access to safe and affordable water is a basic human right. Many of our communities have been without safe water for years or even decades because of contamination of our drinking water sources. Living in communities without safe water is a public health crisis. It is also a crisis of basic justice and equity.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: California finds widespread PFAS contamination in water sources

Nearly 300 drinking water wells and other water sources in California have traces of toxic chemicals linked to cancer, new state testing has found. … State officials released the water quality results on Monday, the first step in what’s likely to be a years-long effort to track the scale of the contamination and pinpoint its sources.

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Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Smoking banned on all California state beaches and state parks

In an effort to reduce litter, wildfire risk, and ocean pollution from cigarette butts, smoking will be banned on all of California’s state beaches and in state parks under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Starting Jan. 1, it will be illegal to smoke cigarettes, cigars, pipes, vaping devices “or any other lighted or heated tobacco or plant product intended for inhalation” on any state beach or in any state park in California.

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