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Water Quality Lab Team Rises to Coronavirus Pandemic Challenges

The coronavirus pandemic forced the City of Escondido’s Water Quality Laboratory to rethink its lab operations without compromising community health or employee wellbeing while ensuring the clean, safe, and efficient operation of the city. Through teamwork and creative thinking, the lab found success in maintaining its essential work.

“Whether we have a pandemic or not, people still want to open their taps and have clean drinking water,” said Ralph Ginese, supervising chemist with the City of Escondido.

Opinion: Customers are Paramount in Imperial Irrigation District COVID-19 Response

The situation with COVID-19 continues to evolve and is having a significant impact on our customers and community. IID is monitoring developments closely, and as an essential services provider, is open and well prepared to continue serving all its customers.

On March 21, the IID Board of Directors adopted a resolution proclaiming a local emergency associated with COVID-19. This ensures the continuation of IID’s critical water and electric services under the California Emergency Services Act.

As part of our Pandemic Response plan, the district initiated a shelter-in-place program for critical employees. A small group of volunteer employees, who possess specialized skills to operate the district’s water and energy delivery systems, will remain at critical job sites 24-hours-a-day for three weeks working to ensure that our water and energy delivery systems remain operational while they stay healthy.

This extra step is part of how IID is working to carry out our mission to deliver energy to our customers in the Imperial and Coachella valleys. It also ensures the continued year-round delivery of Colorado River water from the All-American Canal to the Coachella Canal that supports farming operations in both valleys.

Poop May Tell Us When the Coronavirus Lockdown Will End

Every day, millions of Americans could be flushing critical coronavirus data down the toilet.

With the nation growing ever more weary of sweeping stay-at-home orders and a worsening economy, some scientists say our poop could be the key to determining when a community might consider easing health restrictions.

From Stanford to the University of Arizona, from Australia to Paris, teams of researchers have been ramping up wastewater analyses to track the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Initial studies show that sewage monitoring, or “wastewater-based-epidemiology,” could not only tell us how much the virus might actually be spreading in a community — but also when the virus has finally gone away.

Montecito Water District Poised to be Drought Proof

The Montecito Water District is set to be drought-proof by the summer, the district announced Monday.

The progress is due to desalination and new rates, which the district’s board of directors received a status report on as well as a water supply agreement with the city of Santa Barbara during its regular monthly meeting Tuesday.

San Diego’s Infrastructure Problems Expected to Grow in COVID-19’s Wake

San Diego’s infrastructure needs, which have ballooned over the past decade, have been a top priority of Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s administration. But as Faulconer enters the last eight months of his term, COVID-19 has thrown city finances off track and slowed his ability to tackle a long to-do list.

That means many of San Diego’s urgent needs may have to be put on hold. Among the items that need fixing: repairs and updating to park buildings, coastal erosion work and replacement of sewer pipes. The city’s streetlight program is underfunded by $195 million, and its sidewalks are in disarray with about 81,000 needing repairs or replacement.

“It’s an unbelievable challenge,” said former San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, now president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. “I faced some budget problems when I was at the city, and this is just bigger than I’ve ever seen.”

Opinion: California and Federal Government Need to Resolve Differences on Water Supply Issues

Re “California water war re-ignited”; Dan Walters, April 20, 2020, CalMatters

Dan Walters’ column does a good job describing a potential water battle that all Californians should want to avoid.

The COVID-19 pandemic has rendered uncertain many things we used to take for granted. When can we next go to a restaurant, plan a vacation or go to a baseball game? We can’t afford to add to that list, “will there be food at the grocery store?” Our food supply has been one of the few things we’ve been able to count on in recent months and we need that to continue.

Coronavirus Causes Delay in EPA’s Rule for Managing Wastewater

The EPA has been too busy responding to the deadly coronavirus to work on its long-awaited proposal to manage huge volumes of pathogen-infested sewage and stormwater during heavy rains, the agency’s top wastewater official said Wednesday.

“We think we have a potential path forward,” said Andrew Sawyers, director of the Environmental Protection Agency Office of Wastewater Management, said in a webinar on water priorities for the year.

But “with Covid-19, there are a lot of things under consideration,” he said, referring to the disease caused by the coronavirus.

“We will provide additional information on timing and potentially when we can move this forward,” Sawyers said about the wastewater rule.

City Enters Agreement with Water District for PFAS Treatment

Council voted 5-0 to approve a 30-year agreement with Orange County Water District (OCWD) which will provide funding for construction of PFAS (groundwater contaminant) treatment plants and a portion of ongoing operational and maintenance costs for impacted Fullerton water wells, at their April 21 meeting.

Lawmakers Push for Inclusion of ‘Forever Chemical’ Regulation in Future Stimulus Bill

A group of more than 80 members of Congress is pushing for the inclusion of provisions to regulate a class of cancer-linked chemicals in future stimulus legislation dealing with infrastructure.

Environmental Groups Sue EPA Over Clean Water Act Rollback

A recent flurry of litigation from around the state and across the country could have huge ramifications in California on the protection and distribution of scarce water resources.