Tarballs Found Along San Diego Coastline, Orange County Oil Spill Suspected

Large clusters of tarballs were found along beaches in Oceanside and Carlsbad, San Diego County officials said Thursday, with similar reports being made in Encinitas and Del Mar.

The black balls of tar, about the size of a quarter, are suspected to have come from the massive oil spill off the coast of Orange County, where a ruptured pipeline has spewed more than 144,000 gallons of crude oil into the ocean.

Tar Balls Wash Up in North County Beaches, Prompt County Warning

The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency Thursday advised the public to be cautious at beaches and avoid contact with tar balls.

There have been increased reports of tar balls washing ashore on North County beaches, the agency reported.

It’s unclear if the increased numbers are directly related to the oil spill off the coast of Orange County, an official said.

PFAS Water Regulations in California Closer to Becoming Reality

On September 28, 2021, the state of California (through the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment) held a virtual workshop for proposed Public Health Goals (PHGs) for two types of PFAS – PFOA and PFOS. The release of proposed PHGs is extremely significant for any company situated in California, as PHGs are used to create enforceable drinking water standards and limits for groundwater contamination.

‘Burn Scars’ of Wildfires Threaten Drinking Water in Much of California and the West

Colorado saw its worst fire season last year, with the three largest fires in state history and more than 600,000 acres burned. But some of the effects didn’t appear until this July, when heavy rain pushed sediment from damaged forests down mountainsides, causing mudslides that shut down sections of Interstate 70 for almost two weeks.

S.F. to Pay $600 Million to Keep Low-lying Neighborhoods From Flooding. It Will Probably Take Seven Years

San Francisco has pledged to invest another $600 million into the city’s sewer system in an effort to prevent chronic flooding in low-lying areas as part of an agreement with state water quality officials.

The San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board announced the tentative pact, which was negotiated with city officials but needs final approval from the Board of Supervisors and Mayor London Breed. The city’s Public Utilities Commission has recommended approval.

EPA Considers Projects To Fix Cross-Border Pollution Flows

Federal officials are getting closer to identifying how they plan to control persistent cross-border sewage flows which routinely foul the San Diego ocean.

They talked publicly on Friday about ongoing efforts to fix a persistent problem, sewage coming from Tijuana which fouls a sensitive estuary in the United States and also contaminates the ocean.

Some 200 California Projects May Be Funded by Infrastructure Bill

The House on Thursday approved an approximately $715-billion transportation infrastructure plan that would build and repair roads, bridges and rail systems around the country.

The bill forms the House’s framework for President Biden’s infrastructure plan. While the proposal is likely to change during negotiations with the Senate as it progresses toward Biden’s desk, the bill includes $920 million specifically targeted to projects throughout California.

The most expensive California project, at $25 million, will be pre-construction work on a transportation hub in San Diego. Major projects in Los Angeles include a Metro transit line through the Sepulveda Pass and improvements to existing transit in the Vermont Corridor.

EPA Puts Additional Delay On Trump Lead and Copper in Drinking Water Rule

The Environmental Protection Agency has put another delay on a Trump-era update to a rule governing lead and copper in drinking water, according to a new federal register notice.

The notice says that the rule, which was previously expected to take effect on Thursday, will now take effect on December 16. It also pushed back the date at which it requires compliance by one month until October 16, 2024.

Ditch the Bottled Water. MWD, Santa Ana Win Prizes for Best-Tasting Tap Water in U.S.

In victories that make the state’s drought even crueler, two Southern California water districts have won the top prizes for best tap water in the U.S. at an international tasting contest.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California finished first and Santa Ana took second place for the nation’s Best Municipal Water on Saturday at the 31st annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting in West Virginia. Those two competitors finished first in the category in 2008 and 2018, respectively.

Third place went to the Southwest Water Authority of Dickinson, in North Dakota.

Worsening Droughts Could Increase Arsenic Exposure for Some Americans

More than half of the continental US is currently experiencing some level of drought, and about a quarter is in severe drought or worse. In recent years, the western and southwestern US has been in a seemingly continual state of reduced rainfall and snowpack. Droughts have many well-known, potentially catastrophic consequences, from crop failures to water shortages to wildfires. Yet they can also have more direct human health impacts by not only affecting how much water there is, but also the quality of that water.