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Unchecked Oil and Gas Wastewater Threatens California Groundwater

California has a reputation as a leader on climate and environmental policy. So it doesn’t advertise the fact that it allows the oil and gas industry to store wastewater produced during drilling and extraction in unlined pits in the ground, a practice that began in the early 1900s.

Now, though, researchers have revealed the environmental costs of California’s failure to regulate how its $111 billion oil and gas industry manages the wastewater, known as produced water.

A $564 Million Water Project Was Completed in Sacramento. What This Means for You

The Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District, also known as Regional San, completed a $564 million wastewater treatment project this summer that uses bacteria to remove more than 99% of ammonia from sewer water. The operation, which is called the Biological Nutrient Removal project, is a part of a larger undertaking called the EchoWater project. The EchoWater project was established by Regional San to comply with regulations and to ensure clean water quality. The effort also allows for the potential reuse of water for landscape and agricultural irrigation.

 

Shifting Pattern to Dump Mountain Snow, Raise Flood Threat Across the West This Week

Multiple storms are expected to march into the West Coast this week, bringing along a changeable mixture of rain, wind and snow for many places. While a dent in the ongoing drought is expected, it will come at a cost.

This week has already kicked off with a storm marching into the Pacific Northwest. The grey skies and spits of rain that are typical of autumn led to a dreary end to the weekend along the Interstate 5 corridor across western Washington, Oregon and even Northern California.

EPA Unveils Strategy to Regulate Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’

The Defense Department said it is moving to assess and clean up PFAS-contaminated sites throughout the country, while the Food and Drug Administration will expand testing of the food supply to estimate Americans’ exposure to PFAS from food. And the Agriculture Department will boost efforts to prevent and address PFAS contamination in food.

The plan is intended to restrict PFAS from being released into the environment, accelerate cleanup of PFAS-contaminated sites such as military bases and increase investments in research to learn more about where PFAS are found and how their spread can be prevented.

California Records Driest Year in a Century

In a year of both extreme heat and extreme drought, California has reported its driest water year in terms of precipitation in a century, and experts fear the coming 12 months could be even worse.

The Western Regional Climate Center added average precipitation that had been reported at each of its stations and calculated that a total of 11.87 inches of rain and snow fell in California in the 2021 water year. That’s half of what experts deem average during a water year in California: about 23.58 inches.

Scientists See a La Niña Coming. What Does That Mean for the Dry American Southwest?

The wet winter the American south-west has hoped for as it battles extreme drought and heat is increasingly unlikely to materialize as scientists now predict that a phenomenon known as La Niña will develop for the second year in a row.

The weather system could intensify the worst effects of the drought that much of the region already finds itself in, including higher wildfire risks and water shortages through 2022.

Lake Tahoe Waters Plummet as Drought, Climate Change Plague Resort

Lake Tahoe’s water level has dropped so low that water is no longer flowing into the Truckee River and salmon aren’t expected to spawn in a major tributary this year.

Some boat ramps and docks are hundreds of feet from the water line, and clumps of stringy algae have been washing up on beaches, said Geoffrey Schladow, director of the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center.

Late October Rains Could Dampen Wildfires and Help With Drought, Forecasters Say

A wetter than average forecast for late October could dampen wildfires burning in Northern California and help ease drought conditions, according to the National Weather Service.

The latest weather outlook for the latter part of this month calls for above-normal precipitation in California, with possible high-elevation heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada and the Cascades. There is also potential for an atmospheric river between Oct. 21 to Oct. 27, forecasters said.

Atmospheric Rivers Are Stable For Now — But Change Is On The Way

Yale researchers are charting the course of mighty “rivers” in the sky that are holding steady in the face of climate change — for now.

In future decades, however, climate-induced changes to these atmospheric rivers could drastically increase extreme precipitation events in some parts of the world, they report in a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Atmospheric rivers — long, winding filaments of intense water vapor — account for as much as 90% of the moisture sent toward the North and South poles.

How to Beat the Drought? Inland Empire Water Agency Wants to Make it Rain

Programs from the drought-busting handbook practiced by Southern California water agencies include recycling water, building storm-water capture basins and offering cash rebates for replacing thirsty lawns with xeriscape landscaping.

With the grip from a second year of drought tightening, a regional water-planning agency in the Inland Empire is moving ahead for the first time in its history with a more controversial program: cloud seeding.