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‘Baking Skills’ Used for Repair at Lake Hodges Pumped Storage Facility

You might not think ‘baking skills’ would come in handy to fix a recent problem at the Lake Hodges Hydroelectric and Pump Station Facility. But those skills, along with initiative and ingenuity, were demonstrated by San Diego County Water Authority staff as part of the creative and complex repair.

The facility connects the City of San Diego’s Hodges Reservoir with the Water Authority’s Olivenhain Reservoir. The connection provides the ability to store up to 20,000 acre-feet of water at Hodges for emergency use.

Jose Martinez Appointed General Manager of the Otay Water District

The Otay Water District Board of Directors February 6 voted unanimously to appoint Assistant Chief of Water Operations Jose Martinez as the new general manager of the District. The Board announced they will negotiate contract terms and vote on those terms at the March 11 Board meeting.

“Jose will be an asset to the District for many reasons,” said Board President Gary Croucher. “His experience as a nuclear engineer for the U.S. Navy and managing water utility and operations at the District, combined with his leadership on legislative bill AB 1588, will contribute to guiding and leading the District on its already strong path of providing exceptional service to our customers; he will also bring new and innovative ideas to continue enhancing operational practices.”

Opinion: Newsom’s Water Framework is Imperfect but Necessary. The Alternative is Further Deterioration of the Delta

Gov. Gavin Newsom has put forward aframework for managing water and habitat in the Delta and its watershed. As far as we can tell, no one is very happy with the framework—and that may be a good sign.

The framework is the product of years of effort to negotiate an agreement among water users, other stakeholders, and regulatory agencies. Details are yet to be worked out, including firm commitments for water and funding, along with critical negotiations with the federal government on how to cooperatively manage upstream dams and the Delta pumps. Ultimately, the package has to be acceptable to state and federal regulators.

Unlikely Allies Got White House to Tackle Tijuana River Mess: How They Pulled it Off

For decades, millions of gallons of raw sewage and trash have flowed from the Tijuana River to the Pacific Ocean, fouling beaches, angering Southern Californians and getting worse by the year.

An estimated 143 million gallons of waste from Tijuana spilled into the river valley in 2017, overwhelming a treatment plant built by the United States and Mexico nearly 25 years ago. Last October, a corpse clogged a sewage intake screen, causing a backup and sending 14.5 million gallons of polluted water over the border and into the U.S.

Study: Toxic Elements Around Salton Sea Could Adversely Affect Nearby Residents

More than dust-filled air could be plaguing residents around the quickly evaporating Salton Sea in Imperial Valley. University of California, Riverside research shows toxic aerosols could also be filling the air. The problem has to do with agricultural fertilizer in the Salton Sea wetland area. UC Riverside toxicologist Sabbir Ahmed and first-author on the study says the fertilizer is rich in the element selenium, which is necessary for human body health, but not in excessive doses. Ahmed said plants in the area digest this mineral and release into the air as an aerosol, which is air filled with liquid or solid particles.

FPUD Adds PFAS Treatment to Conjunctive Use Project work

The Fallbrook Public Utility District has amended its design contract for the Santa Margarita River Conjunctive Use Project so that the groundwater treatment plant can also remove per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contaminants from the treated water. A 5-0 FPUD board vote Jan. 27 approved an amendment to the design contract with Infrastructure Engineering Corporation which will provide IEC with an additional $771,143 and which will provide FPUD with treatment process selection, design services, and construction administration for the additional facilities.

State Officials Ask EPA for Action On Cross-Border Pollution

The State Lands Commission and State Controller pleaded with the Environmental Protection Agency in a letter Friday asking for immediate action to stop the flow of 50 million gallons per day of polluted water into the Tijuana River Valley. That polluted water flow has created significant and ongoing beach closures in Imperial Beach and Coronado. “The State Lands Commission is deeply concerned about the latest flows of untreated wastewater into the Tijuana River and the impacts of this pollution on community health and public lands,” said State Controller and State Lands Commission Chair Betty Yee.

EPA Loans Coachella Valley Water District $59 Million for Stormwater Control

The Coachella Valley Water District and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday signed an agreement for a $59.1 million loan to finance improvements to the district’s 134-mile stormwater system that drains into the Salton Sea. CVWD has 35 years to pay back the money, made available through the federal Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, which began doling out low-interest loans in 2017. The funding will help pay for two projects in the valley — one to increase the canal’s capacity between Coachella and Thermal and another that will build 3.3 miles of channel near Shadow Hills.

Opinion: Has Newsom Settled Water Wars?

The beating heart of California’s massive system of capturing, storing and distributing water is the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Water flows into the West’s largest estuary from the Sacramento, San Joaquin and several lesser rivers that drain the state’s mountain chains on its northern and eastern edges. While most of the water continues into the Pacific Ocean, giant pumps on the southern edge of the Delta suck much of it into canals supplying San Joaquin Valley farms and Southern California cities as far south as San Diego.

State Board Establishes New Stricter Standard for PFOA and PFOS

The State Water Resources Control Board announced yesterday it will reduce the level of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) in drinking water that trigger responses by local water systems. Based on recommendations from the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment the Board lowered response levels to 10 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA and 40 ppt for PFOS. Previously, the response level was 70 ppt for the total concentration of the two contaminants combined.