“California’s gold rush may long be over, but mercury-contaminated soil from mining activities in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada continues to flow downstream, impacting fish and the environment, a new study suggests.”
“The operator of Japan’s wrecked nuclear plant said Monday that rainwater from a weekend storm became contaminated as it collected behind barriers meant to stop radiation leaks. The toxic water overflowed those barriers at several locations, with some of it possibly spilling into the Pacific Ocean.”
“The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board will begin inspecting illegal marijuana grows across Northern California, reversing an earlier ban designed to protect employees. …
“Law enforcement agencies across the board’s 37-county region had sought the help of water scientists so they could prosecute growers who flatten hilltops, divert streams or cause sediment to run into waterways.
“California water quality regulators will soon begin inspecting illegal marijuana growing operations in the Central Valley and Sierra Nevada, reversing an earlier ban intended to protect employees.
At a meeting Friday in Rancho Cordova, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board directed staff to begin cooperating with other agencies to inspect marijuana grows, which have emerged as a major source of environmental damage in many rural counties.”
“When senior scientist Walter Tamosaitis warned in 2011 about fundamental design flaws at the nation’s largest facility to treat radioactive waste in Hanford, Wash., he was assigned to work in a basement room without office furniture or a telephone. On Wednesday, Tamosaitis, an employee of San Francisco-based URS Corp., was laid off from his job after 44 years with the company. …
“The Hanford site is the nation’s most contaminated property, holding 56 million gallons of highly radioactive sludge in underground tanks, some of which are leaking.
“Our view: Butte County proved it’s no better than the state government at enforcing environmental rules. When Butte County railed at the state Department of Water Resources for not enforcing water runoff rules against industrial marijuana farmers carving up the foothills, the state agency responded in a way that cast itself in a poor light.
“But recent revelations about the county’s grading ordinance indicated the ineptitude in dealing with pot factories doesn’t just emanate from Sacramento.
“A new dispute between the city of San Diego and General Dynamics NASSCO threatens to derail the long-sought cleanup of toxins that have built up in the sediment of San Diego Bay from many years of heavy industry, military operations and urban runoff.
“A $78 million dredging operation to remove 158,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment was supposed to get under way last week by order of the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board.”
“If U.S. Air Force official Steve Mayer is bothered by California’s refusal to inherit the radioactive waste dump he’s building outside Sacramento, he doesn’t show it. He’s plowing ahead with plans at the old McClellan Air Force Base to entomb soil contaminated with radium-226, a glow-in-the-dark substance that can cause cancer, and pass ownership of it to the city of Sacramento. …
“A recently recognized threat to ocean health has the potential to do more than just inflict a bad year on shellfish producers. Ocean acidification could put us out of business permanently. Caused by activities that generate pollution from factories, cars and power plants, ocean acidification is physically changing the chemistry in the ocean.”
“Charges for alleged water diversions, oil pollution and marijuana cultivation along a creek in the Mattole River watershed are being sought against four Ettersberg residents, authorities said Wednesday. …
“Shasta County supervisors — hearing complaints from irate rural residents who’ve seen neighborhoods go to pot and keen to demonstrate some action — are once again talking about outright banning any growing of marijuana in the unincorporated county.
“They’re right to want to do something. … Illegal water diversions, unlicensed use of pesticides and poisons, and illegal squatting on property have become all too common.
“According to Inyo County Sheriff’s Public Information Officer Carma Roper, the multi-agency strike team removed about 4,000 marijuana plants from the site, as well as 350 pounds of processed marijuana that was ready for transport and sale. …
‘Marijuana cultivation causes extreme damage to ecosystems,’ Roper said. “As part of the illegal cultivation process, growers are responsible for using miles of plastic tubing and diverting water from natural sources for crop irrigation.
“Officials in Grass Valley are looking to the state for help on costly water-handling mandates they say will impact customers and dampen development.
“In February, Grass Valley’s state-issued water standards were increased so that the city falls in line with the expectations and requirements of much larger, more dense urban areas, said Grass Valley’s Public Works Director and City Engineer Tim Kiser.”
“The proliferation of marijuana grows in Nevada County and the rest of California harms the environment — and in extreme cases, presents a significant health and safety risk to the general public, according to public officials and scientists.”
“California became the first state in the nation on Thursday to propose a safe-water limit on cancer-causing chromium-6, made famous in the film ‘Erin Brockovich.’
“The California Department of Public Health proposed a maximum contaminate level — or MCL — of 10 parts per billion for the carcinogen, which gained notoriety after residents of the High Desert town of Hinkley won a settlement from Pacific Gas & Electric over well water tainted by chromium-6.”