The US Environmental Protection Agency has approved an aquifer exemption for the Arroyo Grande oil field near San Luis Obispo. This enables Sentinel Peak Resources, the current owner of the oil field also known as Price Canyon, to move forward with a planned expansion of wells for both enhanced oil recovery and dispoal of wastewater, or “produced water.” In a decision dated April 30, the director of EPA’s water division said the underground formation beneath the oil field does not, and will not in the future, serve as a source of drinking water due to the presence of “commercially producible quantities of hydrocarbons.”
Archive for date: May 23rd, 2019
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San Diego County residents have in recent days had yet another reminder of the utter failure of the local, state and federal governments in the United States and Mexico to solve an awful ongoing problem. That reminder came in the form of nearly 57 million gallons of water tainted by sewage, carcinogenic chemicals and pesticides pouring into the United States last week via the Tijuana River because of broken, inadequate sewer infrastructure on the Mexican side of the border. This has become a terrible fact of life. Sewage spills from Tijuana have fouled San Diego’s coastal waters for years, and the southern shoreline of Imperial Beach has been closed since November.
The State Senate has announced a plan to ensure safe drinking water throughout California. The proposal would implement a Safe Drinking Water Fund as outlined under SB 200, authored by Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel). Rather than relying on new revenues, the Senate’s proposal authorizes the continuous appropriation of $150 million annually from the General Fund, with the same level of protections in place that a new fee would provide to ensure the funds are used only to secure safe drinking water in the most vulnerable communities. “California’s drinking water challenges are too urgent to ignore,” Senate Leader Toni Atkins said.
It’s been a winter for the ages in Tahoe, with barely an end in sight. In February, Squaw Valley recorded its all-time highest snowfall for a single month with 313 inches (read: almost 1 foot per day on average). The region rolled into a wonderfully average March, and then to a quintessentially warm and sunny spring. Summer looked to be on the horizon, with trails beginning to melt out in April. But then a flurry of mid-May storms arrived, and we’re heading into Memorial Day weekend with boot-deep powder on the slopes. Historically, the Tahoe region has seen active weather patterns through May, with 80 of the last 109 years recorded measuring more than a trace of snow in the area.
Growers of grapes, tree nuts, and cranberries got good news from Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Thursday morning. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will provide up to $16 billion in aid to farmers impacted by the tariff battle with Chinainitiated by President Donald Trump. A statement from the USDA said that Trump authorized the aid, which is a $4 billion bump from last year. “The plan we are announcing today ensures farmers do not bear the brunt of unfair retaliatory tariffs imposed by China and other trading partners,” Perdue said.
These almost unlimited coastal access points are what made Kathy Biala move here five years ago. She’s taking me to one of her favorite walking spots on the shore, but before we reach the beach Biala wants to take me on a little detour. We drive past the wastewater treatment plant, then to the regional landfill, and finally to a sand mining plant — a post-apocalyptic looking moonscape where sand from Marina beaches gets packaged for places like Home Depot, golf courses, and concrete manufacturers. The state determined that it was causing some of the worst beach erosion in California.
San Diego posted the eighth largest population increase between July 1, 2017 and July 1, 2018 among cities with populations of 50,000 or more, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Thursday. During the 12-month period, the population of “America’s Finest City” grew by 11,549 people, a near 1 percent increase from the previous year. Phoenix saw the largest population increase in the country during the period, adding 25,288 people, according to the Census Bureau report. San Diego was the only city in California to make the top 10 for largest population gains in the latest report, while Texas had four cities make the top 10.
Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s Board of Directors recognized the winners of the 2019 North County Water Agencies Water Awareness Poster Contest at its May 22 meeting. Fourth-grade students living or attending school within OMWD’s service area were invited to enter the contest earlier this year. The top three posters all hailed from Mrs. Goyette’s class at Flora Vista Elementary in Encinitas. “We are fortunate to have such talented young artists in our area,” stated OMWD Board President Ed Sprague. “The annual poster contest is a great way for them to show off their talent and gets students thinking about the importance of using water wisely.”
The city of San Diego has hired a new director for its Public Utilities Department, NBC 7 has learned. The department has struggled to regain customer trust after more than a year of audits and internal investigations. Shauna Lorance, currently the interim General Manager at Monterey County Water Resources, will take over the position vacated by Vic Bianes, who resigned abruptly last year. According to Lorance’s resume on LinkedIn, she also formerly worked at San Juan Water District. This comes after the mayor’s office announced earlier this year a major overhaul of its troubled water department, including the departures of five top directors and managers.
The city of San Diego Thursday announced the hiring of a new director for the Public Utilities Department, which has been without a permanent director since last summer. Shauna Lorance will assume the position from interim PUD Director Matt Vespi, who took over for former Director Vic Baines after he announced his retirement last August. Lorance is the interim general manager at the Monterey County Water Resources Agency and will remain in that position through the end of June, according to the city.