“With parts of Northern California’s scenic hillsides illegally gouged by bulldozers for marijuana grows, frustrated local officials asked the state for help to protect streams and rivers from harmful sediment and the chemicals used on the pot plants.
“They hoped to charge growers under federal and state clean water regulations with tougher penalties than the infractions local officials could impose.
“A Tracy dairy operation has been ordered to pay a $685,000 penalty for discharging manure waste into groundwater and failing to clean it up.
“The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board said Thursday it fined Henry Tosta Dairy for the violations, but the fine it imposed was far less than the $1.1 million that it had initially proposed.”
“This town’s [Hinkley's] contaminated groundwater plume has expanded on its western boundaries, reinforcing water regulators’ fears that Pacific Gas & Electric Co.’s efforts to create a barrier are floundering, a map made public Wednesday shows.
“‘This is definitely a concern,’ said Lauri Kemper, assistant executive officer of the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, the state agency that oversees the cleanup and containment of Hinkley’s water, contaminated by chromium-6, a carcinogen.”
“The city of Carson has declared a local emergency over contamination in a sprawling housing tract, ratcheting up the pressure on Shell Oil to cleanse the neighborhood of the toxic chemicals found in the soil around homes.
“Carson city officials are seeking to declare a local emergency in an effort to pressure the state and an oil company to expedite the cleanup of a contaminated housing tract where residents have been advised not to eat vegetables or fruit from their yards and limit contact with the soil around their homes.”
“U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. in Sacramento threw out the [California Sportfishing] alliance’s Clean Water Act lawsuit against Chico Scrap Metal Inc. … A three-judge appellate panel reversed Burrell on Monday, ruling that the alliance’s focus is different from any of the others, and therefore its suit can proceed. The panel sent the matter back to Burrell for further proceedings.”
“Western Nevada County is no stranger to pioneers, but a collaborative consortium of scientists, water agency officials and public policy-makers is foraying into territory of a different ilk.
“The Nevada Irrigation District, in collaboration with members of the Sierra Fund and a Canadian mining company, has developed a mercury machine, a device capable of sifting mercury from the bottom of reservoirs and disposing of it in an environmentally sensitive manner.”
“The state’s top toxics regulator just pulled a fast one on a farming community suffering birth defects and infant deaths.
“The Department of Toxic Substances Control signaled it would grant a serial toxic polluter – Chemical Waste Management – a permit to expand its operations greatly at the controversial Kettleman City hazardous waste dump.”
“The senators’ current legislation would replace the failed Yucca Mountain waste repository plan with a process for choosing a voluntary permanent waste repository and interim storage sites. This process, if enacted, would take a minimum of seven years before any of the highly radioactive waste could be moved.
“The state’s water agency charged with overseeing the world’s worst known groundwater plume of chromium-6 has approved a key study that engineers say is essential for large-scale clean-up of the contamination made famous in the year 2000 movie ‘Erin Brockovich.’ …
“Meeting in Barstow Wednesday night, the six-member Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board approved an environmental impact report, which outlines several methods that PG&E will be allowed to use in cleaning up the plume.
“An extensive new study confirms a long-suspected link between crippling birth defects and the nitrate contamination that threatens drinking water for 250,000 people in the San Joaquin Valley.
“The study took place in the Midwest, but its findings hit hard in the Valley, where research last year showed farm-related nitrate pollution is extensive and expanding in the underground water of Fresno, Tulare and Kern counties.”
“The best way to avoid having to find somewhere to dump hazardous waste is to reduce how much must be put in landfills in the first place. …
“To come up with solutions, the [state Department of Toxic Substances Control] lis consulting with representatives from the industry, environmental groups, local governments and others. Officials plan six public workshops starting in the fall.”