Supreme Court Won’t Review States’ Rights For Water Permits

The Supreme Court won’t review a long-running legal debate over the extent of states’ water permitting authority for major pipelines, hydroelectric dams, and other projects.

The justices on Dec. 9 declined to take up California Trout v. Hoopa Valley Tribe, a case focused on Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, which calls on states to ensure that proposals that require federal permits meet water quality standards within their borders.

Reclamation Seeks to Restore Sinking California Canal

Federal authorities are considering a plan to repair a California canal in the San Joaquin Valley that lost half its capacity to move water because of sinking ground.

Use of groundwater has caused land subsidence, affecting a 33-mile section of the Friant-Kern Canal, which supplies water to 1 million acres of farmland and more than 250,000 residents. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Dec. 3 published an environmental assessment detailing plans to repair, raise, and realign the canal, which it began building in 1949.

EPA to Unveil New National Lead-in-Water Standards

The EPA will unveil the first updates to its regulations on lead in drinking water in nearly three decades at an Oct. 10 event in Green Bay, Wis., according to a person invited to attend the event.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler is scheduled to attend the event, along with David Ross, the agency’s top water official, and Cathy Stepp, the head of its Midwestern regional office.

The agency’s lead regulations, officially known as the Lead and Copper Rule, went into effect in 1991 and haven’t been substantially updated since then.

California Water Czar Seeks Resource Collaboration, Not Combat

For E. Joaquin Esquivel, California has made great strides in fighting climate change and transitioning to a cleaner energy sector.

Now, he said, it’s water’s turn.

“Water, I think, is ready for that moment,” said Esquivel, the chairman of the California State Water Resources Control Board who took over from longtime chair Felicia Marcus in February.

The board has a broad mandate to oversee water resources and drinking water for the protection of the environment, public health, and other uses. That includes managing water rights and dealing with rural water issues, the latter of which is the topic of an Oct. 8 webinar on which Esquivel is speaking.

California Starts Among Largest Community Solar Projects In U.S.

The Imperial Irrigation District and the non-profit Citizens Energy Corp. powered up a 30-megawatt community solar project near California’s Salton Sea that will provide thousands of low-income customers in the region with discounted renewable energy.

The $46 million project is one of the largest community solar installations in the country and uses 107,000 photovoltaic panels on 200 acres, Imperial Board President Erik Ortega said Sept. 25.

With the flipping of the switch low-income customers will be able to say they are part of California’s clean energy revolution, Ortega said.

Dog Deaths Raise Algal Bloom Alarm As States Report More Toxins

A high-profile series of dog deaths has awakened the public to the growing problem of toxic algal blooms, spurred by rising temperatures and pollution.

The blooms are emerging as a national, not just regional, concern, according to preliminary data reported to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through July. Samples taken from New Jersey to California, and from Texas to Washington state, all show evidence of toxins given off by the blooms.

Since 2018, when the EPA started collecting the latest batch of data, algal blooms have been documented near the intakes of water treatment plants at least 130 times.

California Lowers Reporting Level For Nonstick Chemicals (1)

California’s main water agency lowered the level of “forever chemicals” detected in water that would trigger notification requirements. The updated State Water Resources Control Board guidelines change notification levels for two per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, fluorinated chemicals that persist in the environment and have become ubiquitous in water supplies. Water agencies will have to notify their governing board—whether it’s their own board of directors or local government legislators—if they detect concentrations of the chemicals in their water sources. The state guidelines lower the notification trigger from 14 parts per trillion for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) to 5.1 parts…

Arsenic, Nitrate Found In California Water Systems

California’s water quality issues are most severe in the San Joaquin Valley and Central Coast Regions, and smaller water systems face more challenges than larger suppliers, according to a new first-ever statewide analysis of drinking water. California has the fifth largest economy in the world, but more than 1 million of the state’s nearly 40 million people don’t have access to safe and affordable drinking water. The California Office of Health Hazard Assessment looked at 2,903 community water systems across the state that serve at least 15 year-round connections and evaluated them based on contaminant exposure levels, sustainability, and cost…

California Set To Authorize $1.3 Billion Safe Drinking Water Program

The more than 1 million Californians without access to safe, affordable drinking water may soon see money flowing for water districts to regionalize, consolidate, install treatment, or take other actions to improve water quality. California’s State Water Resources Control Board is set to vote Aug. 20 on authorizing a safe and affordable drinking water program that would provide $1.3 billion over 10 years for those efforts and allow the hiring of 23 employees to help the state fund short- and long-term solutions. Arsenic, lead, nitrates, and other contaminants are present in water systems from the Mexican border to the…

Judge Weighs Newark’s Response to Lead in Its Water (4)

Environmental and community advocates are calling for a federal judge to order the city of Newark to speed its response to lead contamination of drinking water. They are asking Judge Esther Salas of U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey to make the city expand and improve its distribution of bottled water and tap filters, as well as expedite a plan to replace lead pipes. Salas pressed the lawyer for Newark, Eric L. Klein of Beveridge & Diamond PC, on the adequacy of the city’s response, amid Aug. 15 arguments on the request for expanded water…