Topic: Wastewater

Overview

Wastewater

Water containing wastes – aka wastewater – from residential, commercial and industrial processes requires treatment to remove pollutants prior to discharge. After treatment, the water is suitable for nonconsumption (nonpotable) and even potable use.

In California, water recycling is a critical component of the state’s efforts to use water supplies more efficiently. The state presently recycling about 669,000 acre-feet of water per year and has the potential to reuse an additional two million acre-feet per year. 

Non-potable uses include:

  • landscape and crop irrigation
  • stream and wetlands enhancement
  • industrial processes
  • recreational lakes, fountains and decorative ponds
  •  toilet flushing and gray water applications
  •  as a barrier to protect groundwater supplies from seawater intrusion
  • wetland habitat creation, restoration, and maintenance
  • groundwater recharge
Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Price of water 2019: Even without federal infrastructure deal, cities continue to invest

In the third year of the Trump administration, Congress and the White House have repeatedly discussed a multi-trillion dollar investment in the country’s roads, dams, levees, telecommunication networks, power grids, drinking water pipes, and sewage treatment plants. Neither side has agreed on such a plan, and a deal seems out of reach at the moment.

Aquafornia news Santa Ynez Valley Star

Los Olivos board presents options for sewage treatment

All options are still on the table in developing a wastewater treatment system in Los Olivos, but the community needs to pick one quickly — before the state takes over the decision, according to the Los Olivos Community Services District.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Turning sewer into gold

The 13 acres was part of a 56 acre parcel bought in 1966 for $34,333 to establish land disposal for the municipal wastewater treatment plant. Technology changes have eliminated the need for the land to dispose of treated wastewater. Those changes are what allowed the city to develop the 30-acre complex as well as create a 29-acre parcel for an indoor waterpark…

Aquafornia news Curbed LA

9 photos of the LA River before and after it was paved in 1938

The Los Angeles River is on the verge of a new era. In the few years since the flood control channel was reclassified as a “navigable waterway,” the region has re-embraced its oddball amalgam of concrete and nature, which winds roughly 51 miles from the San Fernando Valley out to the ocean in Long Beach. A $1-billion-plus plan to restore 11 miles north of Downtown LA is (slowly) working its way through federal approvals.

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Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Treated wastewater to river being sought

The City of Lathrop has taken another step towards achieving the long-awaited goal of being able to discharge tertiary treated wastewater into the San Joaquin River. With the approval of the Lathrop City Council, the city is now in a contract with Ascent Environmental to initiate the environmental documentation necessary to acquire the permit to discharge of water from the city’s water treatment plant into the river – a move that could pay sweeping dividends to the city in the future.

Aquafornia news Western Water

Friday Top of the Scroll: As Californians save more water, their sewers get less and that’s a problem

Less water used in the home for showers, clothes washing and toilet flushing means less water flowing out and pushing waste through the sewers. That has resulted in corroded wastewater pipes and damaged equipment, and left sewage stagnating and neighborhoods stinking. … It’s a complex problem with no easy answers.

Western Water Gary Pitzer Layperson's Guide to California Wastewater Gary Pitzer

As Californians Save More Water, Their Sewers Get Less and That’s a Problem
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Lower flows damage equipment, concentrate waste and stink up neighborhoods; should water conservation focus shift outdoors?

Corrosion is evident in this wastewater pipe from Los Angeles County.Californians have been doing an exceptional job reducing their indoor water use, helping the state survive the most recent drought when water districts were required to meet conservation targets. With more droughts inevitable, Californians are likely to face even greater calls to save water in the future.

Aquafornia news Colorado Springs Gazette

Colorado governor signs ban on toxic firefighting foam that tainted Widefield aquifer

At an Arvada fire station, Gov. Polis signed into law House Bill 1279, which bans certain kinds of foam used in firefighting training. Such foam contains so-called “forever chemicals” that have contaminated drinking water in El Paso County and elsewhere.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

New plan to safeguard Russian River targets contamination from human and animal waste

An on-again, off-again effort by state regulators to better protect the Russian River and its tributaries against failing septic systems, livestock waste and other potential sources of bacterial contamination is in its final stages, with hopes that an action plan for the entire watershed will be approved this August and go into effect next year.

Aquafornia news KPBS

San Diego City Council approves $700M for infrastructure in 2020 budget

Mayor Kevin Faulconer touted an infrastructure investment of more than $700 million, the largest in the city’s history. A large portion of that spending will fund construction of the Pure Water program, which the city says will produce one-third of San Diego’s drinking water supply by 2035.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Trump EPA releases blueprint for stemming Tijuana River pollution that routinely fouls San Diego beaches

Shorelines in South Bay San Diego will never be fully immune from the sewage and chemical pollution that flows north from Mexico over the border through canyons and the Tijuana River. However, beach closures triggered by contaminated stormwater and Tijuana’s leaky sewer system can be dramatically reduced… That was the message last week from President Trump’s U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which released the most comprehensive blueprint to date…

Aquafornia news Patch.com

Palo Alto makes sludge sexy, onboarding $30 million sewer system

The San Francisco Peninsula city opened its $30 million sewage sludge processing facility, replacing an incinerator operating since 1972. As part of Palo Alto’s regional water quality control plant, the project funded by California Water Board loans is designed to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, eliminate a hazardous waste stream and reduce energy costs.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Corporations agree to pay $2.8M to victims in explosion at Santa Clara Waste Water site

Santa Clara Waste Water Co. and parent company Green Compass Environmental Solutions are expected to pay nearly $2.8 million to those injured in a 2014 explosion at a wastewater facility near Santa Paula. … The incident left employees and first responders, many of them firefighters, with serious injuries that affected their ability to continue working, said Supervising Deputy District Attorney Dominic Kardum. 

Aquafornia news KPBS

Friday Top of the Scroll: Fixes could finally be coming for Mexico’s cross-border sewage spills

Local officials plan to huddle over the next few weeks to pick a strategy to control the region’s cross-border pollution problem. … Since April, more than 110 million gallons of sewage-tainted water has flowed into the Tijuana Estuary in the United States and out to the ocean.

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Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Santa Cruz water panel scrutinizing Soquel Creek treatment project agreement

The water district would reroute an average 2.32 million gallons a day of the about 8 million gallons a day of treated wastewater otherwise discharged into the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary. … Pure Water Soquel’s final product would then be pumped back into underground aquifers, depleted due to decades of overpumping, to replenish the Mid-County region’s major drinking supply.

Aquafornia news WSIL TV

Herrin, Ill., plans to send treated wastewater to drought-stricken area

Steve Frattini, mayor of Herrin, Ill., went to a water conference a few years ago in California amid a severe drought. So he started working on a plan to send water to the area. The water is from the city’s wastewater treatment plant … The Wastewater Treatment Plant has a rail line nearby that would be used to transport the water… Initially, Frattini said the water would go to the area near the Salton Sea in southern California, a sea that’s been drying up for years.

Aquafornia news Red Bluff Daily News

Be mindful of harmful algal blooms this summer

While there are all kinds of water safety issues to be aware of, the State Water Resources Control Board wants the public to know about one that may not be so obvious — freshwater harmful algal blooms, or HABs. As California confronts the realities of climate change, HABs have become increasingly common in rivers, lakes and reservoirs, and they can be especially dangerous to children and pets.

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Aquafornia news Noozhawk

Santa Barbara Water Commission discusses proposed surcharge for “high strength” wastewater

As the city considers changes to its wastewater rates, its consultant, Nebraska-based HDR Engineering Inc., suggests users that send “high strength” wastewater to the city’s treatment system pay more because of the additional treatment costs. Domestic septic tank/portable restroom discharges, industrial laundry services and alcohol beverage manufacturers such as breweries, wineries and distilleries could be affected…

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: Why Orange County and California’s drinking water should not go to waste

Billions of gallons of treated wastewater is dumped into our California coast each day, and with it, billions of resident dollars are quite literally going to waste. Why aren’t we utilizing available solutions to stop this sewage discharge and capitalize on our people’s investment in clean drinking water?

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Moulton Niguel Water District agrees to pay $4.8 million in wastewater dispute

The Moulton Niguel Water District has agreed to pay $4.8 million to settle a 3-year dispute with South Orange County Wastewater Authority, which processes a portion of the district’s wastewater, according to a settlement agreement released Monday. … Moulton Niguel stopped paying capital improvement invoices for the plant in 2016, saying it would sign past-due checks only as part of a process to terminate its contract to use the plant.

Aquafornia news Santa Barbara Independent

Bill proposed to cut toxic cigarette waste

A new bill introduced by State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson … would effectively ban traditional cigarettes through its prohibition on the sale of tobacco products that have single-use filters. … Cigarette butts constitute about a third of all the trash found on California’s beaches

Aquafornia news The Argonaut

A ‘culture of noncompliance’

The agency charged with monitoring water quality standards throughout the Greater Los Angeles region found that local cities have committed more than 2,000 water quality violations within a five-year period, but the violators suffered little if any consequences.

Aquafornia news KSBY

Atascadero moving forward with 19% wastewater rate increase plan

Atascadero residents will likely be paying more for wastewater services starting in just a few months. The last time wastewater rates were increased in Atascadero, President Bill Clinton began began his first term in office and Seinfeld was one of the most watched shows on television.

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

South Tahoe Public Utility District to hold hearing on proposed rate increases

The district is considering a five-year series of rates increases — up to 5% per year for sewer and up to 6% per year for water. … As district staff have explained during public meetings, much of STPUD’s infrastructure is outdated and in need of repair or replacement. Additionally, more than 10% of the STPUD’s water system lacks adequate water capacity to fight a major fire.

Aquafornia news Cronkite News-Arizona PBS

A different border crisis: It’s not security or immigration, it’s sewage

People who live along the southern border all say the same thing: When it rains, it stinks. The reason is a failing, aging network of pipes that run from Mexico to wastewater treatment plants in the U.S. When heavy rains fall, the pipes often break and spill raw sewage on both sides of the border, causing not only a putrid odor but public health and environmental concerns.

Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Valley Signal

Sanitation district get 3 more years to complete chloride plan

State water regulators gave local sanitation officials three more years to carry out their plan to reduce the amount of chloride that ends up in the Santa Clara River. … The sanitation district … was mandated to reduce the amount of chloride, or salt, that discharges from wastewater treatment plants into the Santa Clara River, largely due to concerns by downstream farmers that chloride was damaging salt-sensitive crops such as strawberries and avocados.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: California must adapt wastewater policy to climate change

In California, treated wastewater also is a critical source of water for the environment, and, increasingly, a source for recycled water. Climate change is worsening water scarcity and flood risks. Advancements in engineering and technology can help prepare wastewater agencies for a changing climate. But significant shifts in policy and planning are needed to address these challenges.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Opinion: Protecting the ocean: Don’t stop at the shoreline

There are actions we can take today that will reduce the pressure on struggling sea life and protect the industries and communities that rely on a healthy ocean. … The Ocean Resiliency Act of 2019 (Senate Bill 69) tackles a range of threats facing our fisheries, from fertilizer runoff that feeds harmful algae to sediment flowing downstream from logging operations that violate clean water rules, which can silt up the spaces between rocks where baby salmon shelter and feed.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

County board backs small water system treatment rules on temporary basis

County supervisors backed an ordinance that would regulate alternative water treatment options for contaminated small water systems on a trial basis amid public concerns regarding the potential cost and complexity of the proposed rules.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Congress and White House agree to spend $2 trillion on infrastructure

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said Tuesday after a meeting at the White House, that President Trump has agreed to invest $2 trillion to revitalize the nation’s infrastructure. Congressional leaders said they will return to the White House in three weeks to determine how to pay for it.

Aquafornia news Times of San Diego

Years into Tijuana sewage crisis, California senators call for federal help

A group of Democratic senators and San Diego County-based congressional representatives sent a letter to multiple federal agencies Tuesday urging them to address sewage runoff in the Tijuana River … Local and state officials as well as environmental activists have decried the condition of the Tijuana River for years, which regularly causes beach closures along the county’s coastline, particularly after heavy rain.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Rebuilding Sonoma County: Larkfield area moving ahead on sewer extensions

Gena Jacob figures she may come out ahead, in at least one respect, in the wake of the Tubbs fire that leveled her Larkfield home. … Through a program created by Sonoma Water and offered to 143 homeowners in Larkfield Estates, they plan to connect to a new sewer line — freeing them from the constraints of their aging septic system — with a financing package that takes some of the sting out of the cost.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

New Trampas reservoir in south O.C. overcoming hurdles; public tours offered

Despite cost increases and weather-related delays, construction of the 1.6 billion-gallon Trampas Canyon Reservoir in south Orange County is well underway and officials continue pointing to long-term savings to be gleaned by reducing the need for imported water. … Construction costs have soared from the 2016 estimate of $56 million to $83 million today…

Aquafornia news Reno Gazette Journal

Fixing Swan Lake’s ‘nightmare’ flooding in Reno won’t be cheap or easy

Tracy Hall says she’s lucky to have friendly neighbors who allow her to live in an RV on their property while water laps at a temporary barrier on the edge of her property. But Hall and others are tired of the disruption to their lives that started more than two years ago when the formerly dry lake in Lemmon Valley filled with stormwater runoff and urban effluent.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

‘Grandfather’ of natural treatment systems: HSU professor emeritus to be honored with environmental award

The development of the Arcata Marsh as an integral part of wastewater treatment in Arcata was the primary focus of two professors at Humboldt State University, George Allen and Robert Gearheart, who developed a process that uses what was a former salt marsh as a means to treat sewage that is then discharged into Humboldt Bay. On May 7, Gearheart … will be honored by the Environmental Law Institute at its annual awards dinner in Washington, D.C.

Aquafornia news NBC Southern California

Garcetti outlines ‘Green New Deal’ for Los Angeles

Mayor Eric Garcetti Monday unveiled a Green New Deal for Los Angeles, setting aggressive new environmental goals in a range of areas, including electric autos, air quality, trees and public transit. … The plan includes a reiteration of some previous commitments, but also sets some new benchmarks, including sourcing 70% of L.A.’s water locally and recycling 100% of all wastewater for beneficial reuse by 2035.

Aquafornia news Santa Barbara Independent

Rebranding wastewater: Turning waste to water

Santa Barbara’s wastewater treatment facility has officially rebranded as El Estero Water Resources Center in a move to change public perceptions about the reuse of wastewater. The facility, previously known as El Estero Wastewater Treatment Plant, celebrated the name change on Monday with a host of speakers and a tour of the facility.

Aquafornia news Bay City Beacon

California fights for the rights of the ocean

Introduced by State Senator Scott Wiener (D-SF) and backed by a diverse array of environmental and business interests, SB 69, “The Ocean Resiliency Act,” tackles questions as big as the ocean itself. How much waste does California put in the ocean? How much more can our oceans take? And how will climate change amplify our mistreatment of our natural resources?

Aquafornia news Santa Barbara Independent

Dragging feet on toilet-to-tap in Montecito

The current five members of the Montecito Water Board ran as slate candidates in 2016 and 2108, and they won election largely on the promise of recycling treated wastewater for irrigation. A group of wealthy donors poured $200,000 into their campaigns. Yet the new board seems in no hurry to get the job done.

Aquafornia news Thousand Oaks Acorn

Golf course will be site of groundwater treatment plant

In an effort to end Thousand Oaks’ near total reliance on imported water, public works staff is asking the City Council to commit $16.6 million over the next two years to build a groundwater treatment plant at the city’s publicly owned golf course. The Los Robles Greens Golf Course Groundwater Utilization Project—which will be offset with an estimated $6 million in State Water Project (Prop. 1) grants—is the single most expensive item on the city’s proposed $97-million 2019-21 capital improvement program budget…

Aquafornia news The Hill

Court orders EPA to reevaluate Obama-era power plant wastewater rule

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruled on Friday that the EPA’s 2015 power plant wastewater pollution rule was not stringent enough, siding with environmentalists. Circuit Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan ruled in favor of various environmental groups that portions of the wastewater rule regulating legacy wastewater and liquid from impoundments were “unlawful.”

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

As two Ventura projects move forward, elected officials to study CEQA

Currently, the city has two significant environmental impact reports, which CEQA requires, making their way through the development process. One is for a plan to build a 7-mile pipeline to tap into Ventura’s long-held investment in state water. … The other project would capture effluent from Ventura’s wastewater treatment plant, treat it and turn it into drinking water.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Oakwood may send sewage to Manteca treatment plant

Oakwood Lakes Water District that serves a gated community and a mobile home park just outside of the southwest Manteca city limits needs to expand and upgrade its wastewater treatment plant. Manteca needs to find a way to send storm water from a large swath of southwest Manteca to the San Joaquin River. The two needs have led to a proposed agreement between the water district and the city …

Aquafornia news KPBS

‘Pure Water’ dominates infrastructure spending in San Diego’s 2020 budget

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer unveiled his proposed budget for fiscal year 2020 on Thursday, saying it includes the highest infrastructure investment in the city’s history. … The budget includes an infrastructure investment of $715.8 million, an increase of nearly 300% over the $179.4 million infrastructure allocation in the city’s fiscal year 2014 budget … More than half of that is earmarked for the city’s Pure Water program, which aims to recycle sewage into drinking water.

Aquafornia news NBC San Diego

Local leaders fight U.S., Mexican governments over ‘funky’ ocean water at southern beaches

With recurring sewage spills, some San Diegans are still afraid to go into the water at some of the county’s southern-most beaches. Now, local leaders are fighting the U.S. and Mexican governments to clean up the waste-filled waters near the border.

Aquafornia news San Mateo Daily Journal

Plans take shape for underground drainage system at San Mateo County Event Center

Expected to temporarily hold excess sewer flows during storms, a project to build an underground flow equalization system underneath the San Mateo County Event Center parking lot is one of several components of San Mateo’s Clean Water Program. … But for many residents … pile driving and the installation of dewatering wells included in the project’s construction plans drew concerns about noise, the structural integrity of nearby homes and the project’s impact on neighbors’ quality of life.

Aquafornia news Wyoming Tribune Eagle

New initiative aims to use clean wastewater in dry states

Statewide leaders in agriculture recently launched an initiative to clean oilfield wastewater for use in arid Western states, hoping to reduce the region’s carbon footprint and improve the lives of ranchers and farmers.

Aquafornia news San Clemente Times

The big dig: Trampas Canyon Reservoir to serve as South County’s largest water project

On 177 acres situated between San Clemente’s Talega community and Ortega Highway, mountainous earthworks are taking shape. Santa Margarita Water District … is building a 1.6-billion-gallon reservoir. When completed in 2020, Trampas Canyon Reservoir, less than a half-mile north of Talega, will be able to store recycled wastewater collected from as many as five South Orange County treatment plants.

Aquafornia news Tehachapi News

City Council approves plan to study ways to increase groundwater supply

City officials approved a plan for a new groundwater sustainability project, hoping it will be a solution to increase the supply of groundwater and find a place for excess effluent water coming to the Tehachapi Waste Water Treatment Plant. The benefits will not appear for decades, when the project is complete.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Mexico-US talks focus on fixes for failing sewer systems on the border

Mexican and American officials met in Mexico City this week to talk about fixing a costly set of problems that have sprung up along the border: failing sewer systems that send raw sewage spilling into rivers. … Roberto Salmón, Mexico’s commissioner of the International Boundary and Water Commission, said border cities from Tijuana to Matamoros need a total of about 10 billion pesos, or $520 million, “just to bring the sanitary systems up to speed, to correct the problems.”

Related article:

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Feds accused of holding back on California fracking plans

Armed with a recent court ruling that climate change must be considered in decisions to open federal land to oil and gas drilling, conservationists shot the opening volley Thursday in what promises to be a protracted legal battle over the future of fracking and oil drilling in Northern California.

Aquafornia news Lancasteronline.com

Aging workforce hits water plants especially hard

Behind every toilet flush and faucet turn that draws on a public water system, there’s an entire industry making sure the water meets certain standards. … But McKeon and others in the field worry about a looming shortage of water-treatment plant operators, as a wave of older operators hits retirement age. McKeon fears that in the next 10 years, there won’t be enough operators to monitor and control every public water system adequately.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Here’s how much the Pure Water project could raise your water bill

San Diego water customers will soon pay $6 to $13 more a month to fund the first part of the city’s new recycled water project, according to a newly released estimate. The city is working on a multibillion-dollar plan to purify enough sewage to provide a third of the city’s drinking water by 2035.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Stockton wastewater rates may be going up; public hearing set for May 21

Rate increases are being proposed in part to help pay for improvements to the Regional Wastewater Control Facility, which is set to go through the first phase of a modification project aimed at extending the life of existing amenities at the plant. The modification project will also improve working conditions for employees, and bring the site into compliance with national pollutant discharge standards.

Aquafornia news Bay Nature Magazine

The sea beneath us

In places like Oakland, flooding will occur not just at the shoreline, but inland in areas once considered safe from sea level rise, including the Oakland Coliseum and Jones Avenue, where [UC Berkeley professor Kristina] Hill and her students now stood, more than a mile from San Leandro Bay. In fact, she added, rising groundwater menaces nearly the entire band of low-lying land around San Francisco Bay, as well as many other coastal parts of the U.S.

Aquafornia news Tehachapi News

City of Tehachapi explores new ways to reuse treated effluent water

City officials in Tehachapi are investigating ways to move treated effluent water coming from Tehachapi’s Waste Water Treatment Plant. More potable water could be available if a groundwater reuse project becomes reality, opening more land at Tehachapi Municipal Airport for potential growth.

Aquafornia news Valley Voice

Visalia’s new wastewater facility is greener, safer

The upgraded facility can now handle an average of 18 million gallons per day, with a wet weather flow capacity of up to 36 million gallons. There’s also room for growth, with the facility designed to accommodate up to an average of 22 million gallons per day with the addition of added MBR cassettes.

Aquafornia news San Diego Business Journal

Wastewater treatment startup wins $200,000 at San Diego Angel Conference

AquaCycl, a San Diego-based wastewater treatment startup, took home the grand prize at the San Diego Angel Conference on March 15. … The company developed a technology that uses electricity-generating bacteria to speed up wastewater treatment rates, resulting in a more efficient, lower-cost option.

Aquafornia news KPIX

Milpitas approves $85k pilot program to sniff out source of bad smells

Milpitas mayor Rich Tran is following up on a campaign promise to do something about the bad odor that has drifted over the city for decades. … The goal is to trace the source of the stench, which residents have long suspected to come from the Newby Island landfill, the San Jose-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility or the Zanker-owned recycling facility.

Aquafornia news Martinez News-Gazette

Building a better view of Moorhen Marsh

Otters, birds, and turtles might be the last animals you would expect to find living next door to the Interstate 680 toll-plaza. But, tucked between the freeway, an oil refinery and a wastewater facility hides an oasis on the mend. … The 21-acre constructed wetland is in the middle of an industrial zone and is part of the Mt. View Sanitary District Wastewater Treatment Plant. “It’s the very first wetland on the west coast to use treated wastewater to create wetlands,” explained district biologist Kelly Davidson.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Las Gallinas gears up for multimillion-dollar treatment plant renovation

After years of planning, the Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District is gearing up to break ground on a three-year, multimillion-dollar renovation of its sewage treatment plant. Workers were rained out the past couple of months but are now preparing the work site at the district headquarters at 300 Smith Ranch Road in San Rafael to replace the wastewater treatment facilities and expand its recycled water capacity.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Sacramento approves construction of controversial new sewage vault underneath McKinley Park

The city of Sacramento has approved a $2.9 million contract that will allow construction of a new sewage vault underneath McKinley Park. The goal of the project is to provide a place to store sewage during wet weather, when stormwater runoff — and wastewater — can end up in the same place, and overflow can send it all into East Sacramento’s streets.

Western Water Gary Pitzer Colorado River Basin Map Gary Pitzer

‘Mission-Oriented’ Colorado River Veteran Takes the Helm as the US Commissioner of IBWC
WESTERN WATER Q&A: Jayne Harkins’ duties include collaboration with Mexico on Colorado River supply, water quality issues

Jayne Harkins, the U.S. Commissioner of the International Boundary and Water Commission.For the bulk of her career, Jayne Harkins has devoted her energy to issues associated with the management of the Colorado River, both with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and with the Colorado River Commission of Nevada.

Now her career is taking a different direction. Harkins, 58, was appointed by President Trump last August to take the helm of the United States section of the U.S.-Mexico agency that oversees myriad water matters between the two countries as they seek to sustainably manage the supply and water quality of the Colorado River, including its once-thriving Delta in Mexico, and other rivers the two countries share. She is the first woman to be named the U.S. Commissioner of the International Boundary and Water Commission for either the United States or Mexico in the commission’s 129-year history.

Aquafornia news Newsday

Opinion: California is discovering that wastewater has incredible value

The announcement by Mayor Eric Garcetti last month that Los Angeles will recycle all the wastewater produced at the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant by 2035 signals an end to the era of addressing water shortages by importing water from far-flung places and initiates a long-anticipated era of reusing locally available supplies. The shift will require L.A. residents to understand both the necessity of the plan and the technology that will produce safe water.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Santa Rosa proclaims flood emergency after 250 million gallons of treated sewage released into streams

Santa Rosa officials said Tuesday that managers at the city’s wastewater plant have been forced to release at least 250 million gallons of treated sewage into two creeks and the nearby Laguna de Santa Rosa amid record inflow to the facility that began in last week’s storm. The three-day deluge pushed more than five times the normal flow of wastewater and runoff into the city’s Laguna de Santa Rosa plant. It was the highest inflow ever recorded at the site, according to the city.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Judge rules on $2 million dispute over Orange County sewage plant

A long-simmering, multi-million dollar dispute among coastal Orange County water and sewage districts took a major step toward resolution Wednesday, when a Superior Court judge issued a tentative ruling that Moulton Niguel Water District is obligated to pay outstanding bills to the South Orange County Wastewater Authority.

Southern California Water Providers Think Local in Seeking to Expand Supplies
WESTERN WATER SIDEBAR: Los Angeles and San Diego among agencies pursuing more diverse water portfolio beyond imports

The Claude “Bud” Lewis Desalination Plant in Carlsbad last December marked 40 billion gallons of drinking water delivered to San Diego County during its first three years of operation. The desalination plant provides the county with more than 50 million gallons of water each day.Although Santa Monica may be the most aggressive Southern California water provider to wean itself from imported supplies, it is hardly the only one looking to remake its water portfolio.

In Los Angeles, a city of about 4 million people, efforts are underway to dramatically slash purchases of imported water while boosting the amount from recycling, stormwater capture, groundwater cleanup and conservation. Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2014 announced a plan to reduce the city’s purchase of imported water from Metropolitan Water District by one-half by 2025 and to provide one-half of the city’s supply from local sources by 2035. (The city considers its Eastern Sierra supplies as imported water.)

Western Water Gary Pitzer Groundwater Education Bundle Gary Pitzer

Imported Water Built Southern California; Now Santa Monica Aims To Wean Itself Off That Supply
WESTERN WATER SPOTLIGHT: Santa Monica is tapping groundwater, rainwater and tighter consumption rules to bring local supply and demand into balance

The Santa Monica Urban Runoff Recycling Facility (SMURRF) treats dry weather urban runoff to remove pollutants such as sediment, oil, grease, and pathogens for nonpotable use.Imported water from the Sierra Nevada and the Colorado River built Southern California. Yet as drought, climate change and environmental concerns render those supplies increasingly at risk, the Southland’s cities have ramped up their efforts to rely more on local sources and less on imported water.

Far and away the most ambitious goal has been set by the city of Santa Monica, which in 2014 embarked on a course to be virtually water independent through local sources by 2023. In the 1990s, Santa Monica was completely dependent on imported water. Now, it derives more than 70 percent of its water locally.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Rebuilding Sonoma County: Larkfield area moving ahead on sewer extensions

Gena Jacob figures she may come out ahead, in at least one respect, in the wake of the Tubbs fire that leveled her Larkfield home. … Through a program created by Sonoma Water and offered to 143 homeowners in Larkfield Estates, they plan to connect to a new sewer line — freeing them from the constraints of their aging septic system — with a financing package that takes some of the sting out of the cost.

Aquafornia news Mercury News

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: California considers sweeping environmental laws on wastewater, single-use plastics and more

A comprehensive bill addressing ocean concerns will call for improving the quality of ocean water and wetlands, better salmon habitats, and rules that would protect whales from being hit by ships. …  Other potential legislation ranges from a move to end the practice of pumping treated sewage into the ocean to a law that would eliminate most paper shopping receipts to a smoking ban on all California state beaches.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield.com

Oilfield wastewater disposal operation near Bakersfield closes under pressure from regulators, environmentalists

A controversial oilfield wastewater disposal operation east of Bakersfield has been shut down amid a years-long regulatory crackdown and opposition by environmental activist organizations. The Jan. 3 closure … puts an end to a practice regional water quality regulators say threatened to foul Bakersfield’s water supply through a slow process of underground migration.

Aquafornia news Redlands Daily Facts

Redlands wastewater treatment plant ‘a mess,’ requires $40 million in upgrades

Redlands’ wastewater treatment facility needs $40 million in upgrades soon thanks to years of deferred maintenance, officials say. But it could be worse – building a new facility would cost $100 million. The original plant was built in the 1960s, and the last major changes were made in 2004.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

County penalized for sewage spill into local river

San Diego County has agreed to pay nearly $700,000 for a pipeline rupture that dumped raw sewage into a San Diego River tributary. The spill sent about 760,000 gallons of sewage into Los Coches Creek in February and March 2017, violating the federal Clean Water Act, among other state and federal rules.

Aquafornia news KSBY

Morro Bay city manager confirms protest of sewer rate increase fell short

The sewer rate increases approved for Morro Bay will go into effect in July, despite opposition from a group that earlier claimed it got enough protest signatures to stop the rate hike. Morro Bay City Manager Scott Collins clarified in a recent report that the protest was unsuccessful and the measure will go into effect with customers seeing the additional charge on their August bill.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Friday Top of the Scroll: California water district wants $200M for Salton Sea in Colorado River drought plan

California’s Imperial Irrigation District will get the last word on the seven-state Colorado River Drought Contingency Plans. And IID could end up with $200 million to restore the badly polluted and fast-drying Salton Sea. Thursday, as the clock ticked toward a midnight deadline set by a top federal official, all eyes had been on Arizona. But lawmakers there approved the Colorado River drought deal with about seven hours to spare. IID, an often-overlooked southeastern California agricultural water district, appears to have thrown a last-minute monkey wrench into the process. 

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Action News Now

Chico sewage numbers spike post-Camp Fire

The City of Chico has seen a population explosion, and it’s not just the roads that are impacted. Post-Camp Fire sewage production numbers are at an all-time high. Before the fire, Chico’s wastewater treatment facility processed about 6 million gallons of waste on average per day. Since then that amount has gone up to 7 million. Biosolid production has gone up 70%, while overall waste and sewage flows are up 17%.

Aquafornia news KQED News

Sonoma County spills nearly 3 million gallons of sewage into creeks and bay

Sonoma County water officials, under order from the state to improve the capacity of their sewage system, say a valve malfunction and leaky pipes resulted in a string of spills this month that released 2.7 million gallons of waste and stormwater, some of which flowed into local creeks and San Pablo Bay.

Aquafornia news UC Davis California Water Blog

Blog: Improving public perception of water reuse

Technology already exists to treat reused water to levels meeting or exceeding health standards. But adequate technical capacity is not sufficient. Water reuse can trigger revulsion, especially when water is reused for drinking or other potable purposes. This note explores outreach and engagement strategies to overcome the “yuck factor” and achieve public support for water reuse.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: ‘A crisis of sewage’: California lawmakers seek funding for the polluted New River

For decades, the New River has flowed north across the U.S.-Mexico border carrying toxic pollution and the stench of sewage. Now lawmakers in Washington and Sacramento are pursuing legislation and funding to combat the problems. “I feel very optimistic that we’re going to be able to get some things done on the New River issue,” said Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia.

Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

Santa Monica announces water system upgrades via design-build

Arcadis has announced it will partner with Kiewit Infrastructure West and PERC Water to serve as the progressive design-build team for the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Project (SWIP) in the City of Santa Monica, Calif. Currently, the city partially relies on imported water to meet its water needs. This project will allow the city to take a major step toward water independence, supporting existing programs designed to create a sustainable water supply

Aquafornia news San Diego Union-Tribune

New Escondido council poised to rescind siting of recycled water plant

The new majority on the Escondido City Council appears poised to rescind the former council’s 2017 decision to locate a $44 million recycled water plant in the middle of a residential area. “It’s the wrong location,” newly elected Mayor Paul “Mac” McNamara said of the site in the center of the city at the intersection of Washington Avenue and Ash Street. ”It might cost us a few more bucks, but in the long term, it’s better to have it where it needs to be.”

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Registration now open for all 2019 water tours

You can now register for our full slate of water tours for 2019, including a new tour along California’s Central Coast to view a river’s restoration following a major dam removal, check out efforts to desalt ocean water, recycle wastewater and manage groundwater and seawater intrusion.

Aquafornia news San Diego Union-Tribune

Women’s future careers in water topic of Cuyamaca event

This month’s second annual Cuyamaca College Center for Water Studies “Women in Water – Exploring Career Pathways” symposium will provide a good opportunity for women and girls to learn about a career in the field. Cuyamaca’s Center for Water Studies opened in the fall of 2018. A renovated complex with new classrooms, it also has a water quality analysis laboratory and a workshop, and offers related skills-based courses. Last year’s event drew nearly 200 participants. This year’s all-day conference starts at 8 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 17.

Aquafornia news ABC30.com

Sanitation concerns shut two areas in Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park officials say Hetch Hetchy and Mariposa Grove are now closed from lack of available restrooms and the impact of human waste as a result of the government shutdown.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news California Water News Daily

Michael Montgomery selected as new executive officer, SF Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board

Montgomery is known for fostering collaborative relationships among stakeholders and as a leader in protecting and restoring water quality within California and throughout the Southwest and the Pacific Islands. He is currently serving as the Assistant Director of the Water Division in the US Environmental Protection Agency (Region 9).

 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: 2019 will be the Year L.A. Starts to Wean Itself from Imported Water

There’s every reason to expect that 2019 will be far better, largely because of Measure W, which was passed by voters in November. The initiative imposes a Los Angeles County parcel tax that will generate $300 million per year to reduce pollution from runoff and capture storm water to add to the water supply.

Aquafornia news California Water Resources Control Board

State water boards release annual report

The tenth annual performance report evaluates what the state water boards do and how the environment is responding to its actions. The report presents numerous performance measures for specific outputs and outcomes.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Sewage spill continues to pollute Tijuana River for third straight day

A sewage spill that federal officials said started Monday night south of the border continues to flood the Tijuana River with millions of gallons of raw effluent. A ruptured collector pipe in southeast Tijuana is leaking roughly 7 million gallons a day of sewage into the river, according to the U.S. section of the International Boundary and Water Commission.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Ongoing spill in Mexico flooding Tijuana River with millions of gallons of raw sewage

The equivalent of more than six million gallons a day of raw sewage has been spilling into the Tijuana River since Monday night, according to federal officials. The U.S. section of the International Boundary and Water Commission, or IBWC, said Tuesday that counterparts in Mexico informed the agency that the cause of the sewage leak was a ruptured collector pipe.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

The polluted New River poses a hazard on U.S.-Mexico border

The Río Nuevo flows north from Mexico into the United States, passing through a gap in the border fence.  The murky green water reeks of sewage and carries soapsuds, pieces of trash and a load of toxic chemicals from Mexicali, a city filled with factories that manufacture products from electronics to auto parts.

Aquafornia news High Country News

Two countries, one border and their shared pollution

Cross-border water pollution between Tijuana and South San Diego is not new, but in recent years, the problem has grown worse. The reasons are complicated: There is Tijuana’s topography, with its steep hillsides and canyons that drain towards the border; the factories that get away with illegal dumping; the city’s rapid population growth, aging wastewater infrastructure and inadequate garbage collection. In the U.S., funding cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency have prevented improvements to the Borderlands’ sewage system.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

This river is too toxic to touch, and people live right next to it

The Río Nuevo flows north from Mexico into the United States, passing through a gap in the border fence.  The murky green water reeks of sewage and carries soapsuds, pieces of trash and a load of toxic chemicals from Mexicali, a city filled with factories that manufacture products from electronics to auto parts.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Hopi lose arguments on Snowbowl snowmaking in state Supreme Court ruling

The Hopi Tribe cannot claim special damage on land controlled by the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled Thursday, all but ending an eight-year legal battle and ensuring the ski area can continue using machine-made snow on the state’s most popular slopes. The Hopi Tribe’s lawsuit was originally about the machine-made snow. Its complaint alleged that Snowbowl’s use of treated wastewater to make the snow damaged the San Francisco Peaks, which the tribe considers sacred. 

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Michigan local health authorities wary of septic bill mandates without funding

In the waning weeks of the two-year legislative session, Michigan lawmakers and local health departments are negotiating revisions to two bills that would alter the state’s sanitary code for septic tanks and other household wastewater treatment systems. Changes are expected to expand the number of septic inspections in order to identify leaking or broken systems that pollute waters and pose disease risks.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

World Toilet Day highlights global sanitation crisis

Poor countries around the world are facing a dangerous shortage of toilets that puts millions of live at risk, according to campaigners marking World Toilet Day by urging governments and businesses to invest more in sanitation.

Related Commentary:

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

A crumbling sewage pipe divides Arizona, Mexico

Wastewater flowing from Mexico into Arizona fills a stretch of the lower Santa Cruz River through the state’s southern desert—but keeping the water clean and sewer pipe repaired rankles both sides of the border. The 8.5-mile sewer pipeline has caused issues for at least a decade and leaked raw sewage last year, prompting Gov. Doug Ducey ® to briefly declare a state of emergency.

Aquafornia news Ukiah Daily Journal

City of Ukiah agrees to settle lawsuit with Sanitation District for $7.5 million

A settlement agreement approved by the Ukiah City Council Friday has the City of Ukiah paying the Ukiah Valley Sanitation District $7.5 million to dismiss a lawsuit the agency filed in 2014.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

California sues federal government over Tijuana sewage spilling into San Diego

California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra filed a lawsuit Tuesday night against the Trump administration, alleging that the federal government violated the Clean Water Act by allowing, in recent years, millions of gallons of raw sewage, heavy metals and other contamination to routinely spill from Tijuana into San Diego.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Judge allows South Bay lawsuit over Tijuana sewage overflows to move ahead

A lawsuit brought by South Bay cities alleging the federal government is not doing enough to prevent and treat the flow of Tijuana sewage into the U.S. can move forward, a San Diego federal judge ordered this week. The ruling, filed Wednesday, comes a day after U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Miller toured pumps and water-capture basins in the Tijuana River Valley to get a first-hand look at the issue.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

The hot new venue for summer weddings — Your local sewage plant

Among the great variety of locations a couple might consider as their wedding venue, a sewage treatment plant probably would not rank highly. Yet weddings are happening at the Brightwater Treatment Plant near Maltby, Washington. To be precise, couples are booking the Brightwater Education and Community Center for their nuptials. Two dozen couples have tied the knot within the center’s striking contemporary architecture since 2014.

Aquafornia news NW News Network

Have you planned for number two after the Big One?

Horror tales from recent earthquakes overseas are moving people in Seattle, Portland and along the Pacific Northwest coast to give a crap about where to crap after a major earthquake. It’s not something we typically discuss in polite company, but disaster planners say that when water and sewage service fails, finding a place to poop is a big deal.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

In rare move, federal judge presiding over Tijuana sewage lawsuit tours border

Federal court judge Jeffrey T. Miller toured the Tijuana River Valley for several hours on Tuesday to observe pumps and canyon collectors along the border intended to prevent sewage from spilling into San Diego. The unusual move comes as the result of a contentious legal battle in which Miller must decide whether the Trump administration is doing enough to stop sewage that routinely pours into the United States from Mexico.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Should I flush it? Most often, the answer is no.

It might seem harmless at first: a thread of dental floss tossed in the toilet, a contact lens swirling down the drain of the bathroom sink. But even the tiniest of items can contaminate waterways. … Pharmaceuticals, which are also frequently flushed down the drain, have been found in our drinking water, and the consequences are not fully known.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Crystal Geyser’s secret arsenic disposal scheme revealed

Bottled water giant Crystal Geyser has been charged by a grand jury with 16 counts of violating environmental and hazardous waste laws, after the jury viewed evidence that the company improperly disposed of toxic waste, a Department of Justice press release said.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Coronado mayor discusses sewage problem with EPA head

Coronado’s mayor flew to Oklahoma this week to talk with the head of the Environmental Protection Agency about possible solutions to the recurring Tijuana sewage spills that sully the San Diego County coastline. Mayor Richard Bailey and Administrator Scott Pruitt spoke one-on-one for about 20 minutes Tuesday during an annual meeting between leading environmental experts and regulators from Mexico, the United States and Canada.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Recycled wastewater now flowing to San Joaquin Valley farms, wildlife

Wastewater recycling doesn’t have to be a fancy affair. Sometimes it can be as simple as building a pipeline. That is more or less the full description of the North Valley Regional Recycled Water Project. Only a year after starting construction, at a cost of around $90 million, the project is already delivering recycled urban wastewater to farms and wildlife refuges in California’s San Joaquin Valley, providing a reliable new water supply to a drought-plagued region.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Attorney General Becerra joins legal strategy to force feds to clean up Tijuana sewage flooding San Diego

The state Attorney General has joined San Diego’s regional water regulators in pressuring the White House to do more to address sewage from Tijuana that routinely spills over the border fouling beaches as far north as Coronado. The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board, with the backing of Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office, on Monday filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue the federal government for violations of the Clean Water Act.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Head of federal water agency overseeing efforts to combat Tijuana sewage steps down

The top United States official at the international agency charged with overseeing efforts to stem ongoing water pollution in the Tijuana River Valley stepped down on Friday. The departure of Edward Drusina, former commissioner of the U.S. section of the International Boundary and Water Commission, or IBWC, comes as the agency continues to face legal attacks from South Bay cities that routinely shutter beaches due to pollution from south of the border.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Oakland, East Bay Municipal Utility District fined $360,000 over sewage discharge

The city of Oakland and East Bay Municipal Utility District must pay more than $360,000 for violating the Clean Water Act by allowing untreated sewage into the San Francisco Bay, officials said Tuesday. In 2014, EBMUD and seven East Bay communities it serves, including Oakland and Berkeley, paid $1.5 million in civil penalties for past sewage discharges.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Congresswoman wants Navy to help fight Mexican sewage spills

[Rep. Susan] Davis, a San Diego Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, has grown concerned about untreated sewage leaking from Tijuana’s aging and overworked wastewater collection and treatment system, a problem exacerbated by surges of fecal contamination when Mexican pipes break, pumps fail and rain falls.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin oversight panel renews call for sanitation mergers

Disposal of sewage is something most people would rather not think about, but that reluctance is costing Marin residents a pretty penny, according to a new Marin County Civil Grand Jury report. The report, released Friday, recommends immediate consolidation of three sanitary districts in central Marin — Sanitary District No. 1 (Ross Valley), Sanitary District No. 2 (Corte Madera) and the San Rafael Sanitary District.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

A plan to pipe reclaimed urban wastewater from Tijuana to the Guadalupe Valley

A plan to pipe treated wastewater from Tijuana to the Guadalupe Valley is being championed by authorities who say the project not only would support the state’s wine-growing region, but also solve another problem: reducing the flow to the overburdened San Antonio de los Buenos coastal sewage treatment plant.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Regional water board debates lawsuit, seeks scrutiny of contaminated flows from Mexico

Members of the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board gathered in a closed session on Monday afternoon, debating whether to file a lawsuit against the federal government to stem the cross-border flow of sewage, sediment and other contaminants from Tijuana to San Diego.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

South Bay cities, Port slap feds with Clean Water Act lawsuit for failure to contain sewage from Tijuana

South Bay elected officials said they are filing a lawsuit Friday in the most dramatic attempt in decades to force the federal government to plug up the millions of gallons of sewage and polluted water that routinely stream over the border from Tijuana into the San Diego region.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Love stinks (in a good way), and other lessons of the Valentine’s Day sewage tour

Becky Van and Kale Novalis knew exactly when and where they were going to tell each other, “I love you,” for the first time. … The couple had signed up for a Valentine’s Day tour of the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, the largest of 14 wastewater treatment facilities in New York City.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Snooping around in hospital pipes, scientists find DNA that fuels the spread of superbugs

The pipes carrying away the effluvia of very sick people are bound to be nasty, dirty places. But just how unwholesome they are is made clear in a new report showing that the pipes beneath a hospital intensive care unit are a throbbing, seething hookup zone for antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

NOAA investigating massive sewage spill into Monterey Bay

On Thursday, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration special agent Don Tanner confirmed the investigation will be conducted into the incident involving the spill of up to 4.9 million gallons of untreated wastewater into the bay from the Monterey One Water treatment plant.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Investigation launched into cause of massive sewage spill into Monterey Bay

An investigation will be conducted into the failure of a computer warning system at the Monterey One Water regional treatment plant which allowed millions of gallons of untreated sewage to flow into the Monterey Bay for more than eight hours late Friday night and early Saturday morning. According to Monterey One Water General Manager Paul Sciuto, the investigation began Monday morning and will be conducted by the consulting firm Pinnacle ART.

Aquafornia news NPR

Wet wipes: To flush or not to flush? (with audio)

The wet wipes industry is blossoming. But with the growth comes a problem: clogged drains. Now the fight over “flushability” is heading to court.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

New beach closures issued from Tijuana River sewage

Precipitation carrying tainted water through the Tijuana River into the Pacific Ocean triggered beach closures Tuesday evening from the international border to Seacoast Drive in Imperial Beach. … The pollution from stormwater runoff adds to spills from aging pipes and potentially hazardous discharges from the deteriorating San Antonio de Los Buenos sewage treatment plant in Punta Bandera, located about six miles south of the border.

Aquafornia news KPBS Public Broadcasting, San Diego

US Water Commission wants to hold workshop to avoid lawsuit over sewage spill

The U.S. Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission announced Thursday that it wants to hold a workshop with San Diego-area cities and agencies in hopes of staving off a lawsuit over the flow of sewage from Mexico.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Imperial Beach officials say shoreline hit by Tijuana sewage without warning

Officials in Imperial Beach said Wednesday that sewage flowing up the coast from Tijuana fouled miles of shoreline over the weekend, severely sickening surfers and other beach goers. Mayor Serge Dedina, who also fell ill, said he received no advanced notice from officials in Mexico about the pollution.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Councilman seeks hepatitis testing in San Diego surface water

At least one San Diego leader wants water researchers to start testing city waterways for hepatitis A. Councilman David Alvarez on Thursday penned a letter to the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project requesting that the environmental research group start testing as many as a half-dozen area waterways for the deadly liver infection.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Modesto to pay $165,000 fine for releasing wastewater into river

Modesto has agreed to pay the state a $165,000 fine for releasing about 755 million gallons of partially treated waste water into the San Joaquin River in March in violation of its discharge permit.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego River experienced spike in human feces last winter—county says no link to hepatitis A outbreak

The San Diego River saw a huge increase of pollution from human feces last winter, according to documents obtained from regional water quality regulators. The flood of human waste came as storms drenched the region, washing pollution from the urban environment into watersheds and potentially flushing sewage from leaky pipes through groundwater into rivers and creeks.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego County supervisors join brewing legal battle against feds over Tijuana sewage spills

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to join the growing legal campaign to force the federal government to do more to stop sewage from spilling over the border from Tijuana that routinely fouls South Bay beaches. “Enough is enough,” Supervisor Greg Cox, whose district includes border region with Mexico, said in a statement.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Cross-border sewage spill? No, the flow came from U.S. side

The initial report by the U.S. International Boundary and Water Commission told of a 212,000-gallon spill from Mexico into the Tijuana River channel.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Kern County agrees to stop challenging Los Angeles over dumping of treated human waste

Kern County has agreed to stop challenging the City of Los Angeles over its practice of dumping treated human waste on Kern County farmland, capping a bitter legal battle that has spanned more than a decade.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Russian River cleanup plan to seek fixes for failing septic systems

North Coast water regulators are taking another run at a comprehensive program to prevent bacterial contamination of the Russian River, one that includes provisions likely to have significant impacts for thousands of homeowners dependent on aging septic systems.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

EPA moves to rewrite limits for coal power plant wastewater

The Environmental Protection Agency says it plans to scrap an Obama-era measure limiting water pollution from coal-fired power plants.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Feds list actions to stop border sewage spills after legal threat

Federal water-quality officials on Thursday released a list of actions taken in recent years to stop wastewater from flowing from Mexico into the San Diego region, a little more than a week after the city of Imperial Beach threatened a lawsuit.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Muir Woods water line work will protect Redwood Creek, fish

The National Park Service has plans to replace aging sewer and water lines in the Muir Woods National Monument that could cause “significant damage” to the environment if they rupture, including to Redwood Creek, home to delicate fish populations.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

State puts Modesto on notice over waste-water discharge

A state agency has issued a notice of violation to Modesto for discharging roughly 755 million gallons of partially treated waste water in to the San Joaquin River in March because the city’s sewer system had been overwhelmed by storms and rising river water.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Report: Border spill far smaller than feared, but sewer system still needs extensive upgrades

A much-anticipated report on a sewage spill in Tijuana that has sparked tensions with San Diego County gave mixed findings Monday. … The investigation was launched by the International Boundary and Water Commission, which oversees water treaties between Mexico and the United States, among other things. 

Aquafornia news San Diego Union-Tribune

Two countries, one sewage problem: Tijuana and San Diego grapple with renegade flows

Baja California’s governor is preparing to declare a state of emergency in the coming days, hoping to draw financial aid for Tijuana’s strained and underfunded sewage system following a massive spill that sent millions of gallons of untreated wastewater from Tijuana across the border and into San Diego last month. 

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Modesto releasing partially treated wastewater into San Joaquin River (with audio)

Modesto has started releasing wastewater that has not been disinfected into the San Joaquin River. The recent floods are to blame.

Aquafornia news San Diego Union-Tribune

143 million gallons of sewage spill into Tijuana River

About 143 million gallons of sewage spilled into the Tijuana River during a period of more than two weeks, said a report released Friday. No other sewage spill in the greater San Diego-Tijuana region has approached this magnitude in years, according to the environmental group Wildcoast.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Modesto works to stem river water from overwhelming sewer system

Modesto appears to have bought itself some time before it may have to release partially treated wastewater that poses a public health risk into the San Joaquin River. The city’s sewer system has been overwhelmed by the recent storms and rising river water, and it is reaching its capacity to store the wastewater.

Aquafornia news KQED

California says oil companies can keep dumping wastewater during state review

For decades, California oil companies have disposed of wastewater by pumping it into aquifers that were supposed to be protected by federal law. California regulators mistakenly granted permits to do it, through a combination of poor record keeping, miscommunication and permitting errors.

Aquafornia news The Bakersfield Californian

Kern County loses in critical sewage sludge ruling

Kern County has lost a key round in its decade-long battle with Southern California waste districts over the land application of treated human and industrial waste. Now the Board of Supervisors will have to decide whether to appeal the loss and continue the fight.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California considers new rules for wastewater recycling

California is moving forward with rules for how water districts can turn what goes down your toilet back into drinking water.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: California regulators examine safety of food irrigated with oil wastewater (with audio)

For more than 30 years, wastewater from oil and gas operations has been used to irrigate food crops in California. Regulators will re-examine the safety of that practice during a public hearing Friday. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Looking out for No. 2: Dogs sniff out fecal pollution

A company that has trained dogs to recognize the smell of human fecal bacteria has been sniffing out sources of water pollution nationwide, discovering broken sewer pipes, leaking septic tanks and illegal sewage discharges, to the delight of environmental groups and government agencies.

Aquafornia news East Bay Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Sewer water die hards refuse to give up

Though he knows it makes no financial sense, Sam Lipson regularly drives to a local sewer plant to haul home free effluent to irrigate the trees in his yard.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

How California is learning to love drinking recycled water

Would you rather drink a cup of recycled wastewater or advanced purified water? Actually, that’s a trick question – both terms are often used to talk about the same thing. 

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

EPA announces national wastewater nutrient pollution census

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency calls nutrient pollution the “single greatest challenge to our nation’s water quality.” Rising concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus in waterways, the agency reports, are a significant threat to human health, ecosystems, and local economies.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Wastewater: A new frontier for water recycling

It is now possible to imagine a future in which highly treated wastewater will be plumbed directly into California homes as a new drinking water supply. On September 8, the State Water Resources Control Board released a long-awaited report on the feasibility of so-called “direct potable reuse.”

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Group studies new way of dealing with dairy wastewater

I [John Holland] drove out past Merced last year to see a dairy farmer testing a new idea. He irrigated 40 acres of feed corn with drip lines, which are much more common in orchards and vineyards than annual crops.

Aquapedia background

Septic Systems

In rural areas with widely dispersed houses, reliance upon a centralized sewer system is not practical compared to individual wastewater treatment methods. These on-site management facilities – or septic systems – are more commonplace given their simpler structure, efficiency and easy maintenance.

Aquapedia background

Coliform Bacteria

Coliform Bacteria as Indices

Directly detecting harmful pathogens in water can be expensive, unreliable and incredibly complicated. Fortunately, certain organisms are known to consistently coexist with these harmful microbes which are substantially easier to detect and culture: coliform bacteria. These generally non-toxic organisms are frequently used as “indicator species,” or organisms whose presence demonstrates a particular feature of its surrounding environment.

Aquapedia background

Biochemical Oxygen Demand

The biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) of water determines the impact of decaying matter on species in a specific ecosystem. Sampling for BOD tests how much oxygen is needed by bacteria to break down the organic matter.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Lawsuit — California failed to study oil well impact on water

Environmentalists sued state agencies Wednesday to halt oil well injections into a federally protected aquifer near California’s Central Coast.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Ocean sample tests clean after Los Angeles sewage spill

The first test of ocean water following a massive California sewage spill came back clean Wednesday, suggesting stinky sludge that drained into the Los Angeles River didn’t flow 20 miles to the coast, officials said.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Sewage spill in Los Angeles grows to 2.4 million gallons, prompting bans on swimming in Seal Beach and Long Beach

A damaged sewage line spilled a total of about 2.4 million gallons of untreated waste into the Los Angeles River and has forced the closure of all beaches in Long Beach and Seal Beach, officials said Tuesday.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Advocacy groups call for a ban on recycled oil field wastewater to irrigate crops

Organizers of a petition drive to ban the practice of irrigating crops with recycled oil field wastewater will be pitching their cause on Saturday morning to customers at markets in nine cities across the state, including a Ralph’s in Los Angeles.

Aquafornia news StateImpact Pennsylvania

EPA bans disposal of fracking waste water at public treatment plants

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has banned the disposal of hydraulic fracturing waste water at public sewage plants, formalizing a voluntary practice that removed most fracking waste from Pennsylvania plants starting in 2011. The EPA on Monday finalized a rule that prevents operators from disposing of waste from unconventional oil & gas operations at publicly owned treatment works [POTW's].

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

San Jose agrees to $100 million pollution cleanup program to reduce trash, sewage spills

Settling a major lawsuit from environmentalists, San Jose city officials on Tuesday agreed to spend more than $100 million over the next decade and beyond to reduce tons of trash that flows into creeks and San Francisco Bay, repair miles of leaking underground sewage pipes and clean stormwater contaminated with harmful bacteria.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Sewer district awards $415 million contract despite legal questions

The Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District hired Dragados USA to build a biological nutrient removal station, part of a larger $1.5 billion to $2 billion effort to meet stricter state standards on wastewater pollutants discharged into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

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

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is failing in its mandate to protect underground drinking water reserves from oilfield contamination, according to a federal review singling out lax EPA oversight in California, where the state routinely allowed oil companies to dump wastewater into some drinking water aquifers.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Drilling is making Oklahoma as quake prone as California

Californians have lived with the risk of a damaging earthquake for centuries. Now Oklahomans, and some Kansans, face the same threat, federal seismologists said on Monday.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino County Sun

East Valley Water District water recycling plant passes environmental hurdle

By a unanimous vote, the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District, a water wholesaler for about 353 square miles of San Bernardino County, certified the proposed Sterling Natural Resources Center project, which would capture and treat East Valley Water District’s wastewater and add the output to the Bunker Hill Groundwater Basin, which is at a historic low level.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Sewage plants are failing to kill lethal superbugs unleashed from hospitals

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

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Massive public works project will help clean Sacramento River (with audio)

Nearly a dozen sewage treatment plants dump wastewater into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta right now.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Scientists link oil and gas activity to earthquakes in California (with audio)

The study, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, examined an area in the southern San Joaquin Valley along the White Wolf Fault.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

First research links California quakes to oil operations

A 2005 spate of quakes in California’s Central Valley almost certainly was triggered by oilfield injection underground, a study published Thursday said in the first such link in California between oil and gas operations and earthquakes.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino County Sun

Agencies find new water source from the sewer

In the wake of drought and environmental concerns, more water agencies in California and across the West are finding a new water source for human consumption in an unexpected place: the sewer.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: EPA announces $182 million for California water projects

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials were in Carlsbad on Wednesday to announce more than $182 million in federal funding that will be funneled to drinking water and wastewater infrastructure improvements throughout California.

Aquafornia news Sierra Sun

Soda Springs first California ski resort to make snow with recycled wastewater

Like all ski areas in the Tahoe-Truckee region, Soda Springs Mountain Resort’s efforts to stretch out its operations during California’s four-year drought has been an uphill climb.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Congressional committee: Mine probe glossed over negligence

A U.S. Interior Department investigation glossed over the federal government’s negligence in a massive toxic wastewater spill from an inactive gold mine that fouled rivers in three states, Republicans in Congress said as they pushed for a more detailed explanation of the accident.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

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

In an attempt to prevent its oil industry from contaminating groundwater sources that could be used for drinking water, California regulators closed 33 wells last week that were injecting oilfield waste into protected aquifers. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Questions and answers about damaging oilfield wastewater

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

Aquafornia news Associated Press

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

An Associated Press analysis of data from leading oil- and gas-producing states found more than 180 million gallons of wastewater spilled from 2009 to 2014 in incidents involving ruptured pipes, overflowing storage tanks and even deliberate dumping.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Central Valley board allows wastewater disposal to continue despite contamination

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

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: Oakland’s water treatment plant generates its own energy and then some

Although treating wastewater generally ranks alongside police and fire safety, schools, and transit as the top priorities of any sensible city hall, new ideas about cleaning up sewage almost never attract headlines or TV airtime. … It has taken a four-year drought in California to change that.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

Pleasanton limits free reclaimed water amid surging popularity

Reclaimed water from California’s first sewer plant to give it away free has become so popular in the drought that operators are limiting who can use it. 

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Modesto-area dairy farmer learns from San Francisco guitar-maker

The three-part series, “Acres & Avenues,” will feature three pairs of farmers and urban business people from around the nation who share ideas on sustainability, entrepreneurship and wellness.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: Amid California drought, oil industry wastewater attracts new scrutiny

In the fourth year of an unrelenting drought emergency, every use of water in California is being put under the microscope. Watering a lawn, filling a pool, washing a car, growing food — all are familiar practices now viewed with a more critical eye. The same is true of California’s oil industry, the nation’s third largest.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Turning sewage into drinking water gains appeal as drought lingers

It’s a technology with the potential to ease California’s colossal thirst and insulate millions from the parched whims of Mother Nature, experts say. But there’s just one problem — the “yuck factor.”

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Central Valley’s growing concern: the mix of oil, water and crops

Here in California’s thirsty farm belt, where pumpjacks nod amid neat rows of crops, it’s a proposition that seems to make sense: using treated oil field wastewater to irrigate crops.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Worms help with waste at dairy farm near Hilmar

The farm is taking part in a research project using worms to consume nitrogen in manure-tainted water that irrigates its feed crops. The goal, in part, is to reduce the risk of pollution. But the process also has a byproduct – an especially rich fertilizer that can be sold to home gardeners and other users.

Aquafornia news U-T San Diego

San Diego Mayor Faulconer lobbying Brown on drought

Seeking to accelerate San Diego’s efforts toward greater water independence, Mayor Kevin Faulconer will lobby Gov. Jerry Brown today for financial and regulatory help with the city’s $3.5 billion plan to recycle sewage into drinking water.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

San Jose, Santa Clara mayors drink recycled sewage to push expanding reclaimed water

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews and other Silicon Valley leaders on Monday took big gulps of recycled water — filtered, cleaned and disinfected sewage — to show that it is safe and should be a growing part of Silicon Valley’s drinking water future.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Business Journal

Work nears for $2 billion wastewater treatment upgrade in Elk Grove

What’s thought to be the largest public works project in Sacramento County history will get underway soon — but at a bit less of a cost to the users.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Utility officials say wipes pose sewer threat (with audio)

Sacramento utility officials say a common household item has the potential to create havoc on local sewer lines.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Daily News

Anti-fracking protesters rally outside Long Beach workshop

The question of how the state’s petroleum companies should dispose of wastewater that comes from the ground mixed with newly pumped crude oil attracted a gathering of anti-fracking protesters in Long Beach on Tuesday.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Manteca considers selling treated wastewater for farm irrigation (with audio)

A Manteca group called Neighbors United is urging the city council to sell treated wastewater to local farmers as water sources dry up in the drought.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

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

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

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

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

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

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California orders 12 oil-field wells shut to protect groundwater

California officials, responding to concerns about groundwater contamination, are closing 12 wells in the Central Valley used to dispose of chemical-laden water from oil and gas production, regulators announced Tuesday.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Sonoma Clean Power inks deal for floating solar panel project

Sonoma County’s new public electricity supplier is turning to the sun and water — the airspace over treated sewage ponds, specifically — to generate power for local homes and businesses.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Hundreds of illicit oil wastewater pits found in Kern County

Water officials in Kern County discovered that oil producers have been dumping chemical-laden wastewater into hundreds of unlined pits that are operating without proper permits. … The pits — long, shallow troughs gouged out of dirt — hold water that is produced from fracking and other oil drilling operations.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Dixon sets vote on sewage rate increase, then sues to block it

The city of Dixon is suing a taxpayers’ group, trying to block an electoral challenge to a sewage rate increase in a growing rift over how to pay for $23 million or more in state-mandated improvements to the town’s wastewater treatment plant.

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