NEWS WORTH NOTING: Water Commission to hold info meeting on the Water Storage Investment Pgm regs; ROD for San Joaquin River Restoration Program’s Mendota Pool bypass; EPA, CA propose permit to reduce San Diego wastewater discharges to the ocean
California Water Commission to hold informational meeting on the Water Storage Investment Program Regulations
From the California Water Commission:
On Thursday, November 10th, the California Water Commission will hold a public informational meeting on the Water Storage Investment Program (WSIP) regulations.
The meeting will be held in Hearing Room 447 at the State Capitol beginning at 9:30am.
Staff will present proposed changes to the draft regulation in response to Commission direction at the October 18, 2016 Commission meeting. This meeting will provide an opportunity for public discussion of the following topic areas in advance of the meeting on November 15, 2016:
Management of Public Benefits
Environmental Mitigation and Compliance Obligations
Program Technical Requirements and Assistance
This meeting does not start an official public comment period pursuant to the California Administrative Procedure Act. An additional formal public comment period may be held following a future meeting as directed by the Commission (Government code section 11346.8).
Record of Decision for San Joaquin River Restoration Program’s Mendota Pool Bypass and Reach 2B Improvements Project
From the Bureau of Reclamation:
The Bureau of Reclamation signed a Record of Decision Oct. 31, 2016, for the San Joaquin River Restoration Program’s Mendota Pool Bypass and Reach 2B Improvements Project located in Madera and Fresno counties.
Completion of the Mendota Pool Bypass will allow for fish passage around Mendota Dam, the largest fish passage impediment in the SJRRP area. While providing fish passage, the project will also separate reintroduced spring-run Chinook salmon from critical water supply infrastructure in Mendota Pool. It’s the first of the Phase 1 projects identified in the Stipulation of Settlement of Natural Resources Defense Council vs. Rodgers to reach the construction phase.
“The time and effort put in by the local affected community to reach a widely supported alternative on this project has been tremendous, and I thank them for helping make this a better project,” said David Murillo, director of Reclamation’s Mid-Pacific Region. “Signing the Record of Decision is a huge milestone towards implementing the 2006 settlement to restore the San Joaquin River, and we’re looking forward to starting construction next year.”
Construction of the approximately $420 million project is expected to begin in late 2017 and take about 10 years to complete.
Signing the ROD is the final step in the Environmental Impact Statement process as outlined in the National Environmental Policy Act and allows for the official start of the project. The selected alternative, Alternative B, was identified through a consensus-based process with the local affected community and was included in the Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report for public comment.
The project footprint extends from around 0.3 miles above the Chowchilla Bypass Bifurcation Structure to one mile below the Mendota Dam near the town of Mendota. Planned activities include:
Building setback levees capable of conveying flows up to 4,500 cubic feet per second and removing portions of the existing levees to allow flow onto the floodplain.
Restoring floodplain habitat to provide benefit to salmonids and other native fishes.
Constructing a channel and structures capable of conveying up to 4,500 cfs of Restoration Flows around the Mendota Pool.
Constructing structures capable of conveying up to 2,500 cfs from Reach 2B to Mendota Pool.
Providing upstream and downstream fish passage for adult salmonids and other native fishes and downstream fish passage for juvenile salmonids between Reach 2A and Reach 3.
U.S. EPA and California Propose Permit to Reduce San Diego Wastewater Discharges to the Ocean
From the US EPA:
In 2014, the City and environmental organizations signed an agreement for the City to implement a potable water reuse plan. Known as Pure Water San Diego, this plan would eventually divert up to 83 million gallons of Point Loma wastewater per day from ocean discharges to an advanced water purification facility. Once built, the facility would send highly purified water to augment local drinking water reservoirs or other reuse projects.
“San Diego has made a commitment to reduce pollutant discharges through its ocean outfall,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Today’s proposal furthers EPA and the State’s longstanding priority of taking action to protect Southern California’s coastal waters.”
“Building on previous work by the city, U.S. EPA and the San Diego Water Board, this permit and the Pure Water Program measures it includes represent a major step forward in protecting the health of our coastal waters while also increasing our community’s drought resilience,” said David Gibson, executive officer for the San Diego Water Board. “In terms of its development with the community, its goals, and specific requirements, this permit is a model for an outcome-based regulatory approach in California and the nation.”
The Regional Water Board jointly issues National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits with EPA to ensure that all applicable water quality standards are met in federal and state waters. The proposed permit maintains requirements to meet water quality standards for the next five years and includes elements of the Pure Water San Diego program to reduce ocean discharges and increase water reuse.
During the past decade, flows and pollutant discharges from the Point Loma plant have decreased steadily. Sediment discharges, for example, declined 25%. Over the next five years, the new permit requires the City to complete the planning, design, and environmental review for the infrastructure to implement its Pure Water reuse project. Construction of advanced water treatment facilities will enable the City to begin reusing highly treated wastewater within 10 years.
The City of San Diego must apply for a permit renewal every five years and is required to meet secondary treatment levels. EPA may grant a modification of these standards for ocean discharges if federal and state water quality standards are met. The Point Loma plant has been operating under such a modification since 1995, consistently meeting or exceeding federal and state discharge requirements.
For the next 60 days, the agencies are seeking public comment on the draft permit, including EPA’s tentative decision to continue waiving secondary wastewater treatment requirements for the City, based upon the plant’s current performance and commitments to implement advanced treatment and water reuse.
The Pure Water San Diego program reflects an integrated water planning approach supported by EPA, the State of California, and members of the local community, businesses, and citizen groups. Under the program, the City will invest in an advanced water purification facility to turn wastewater into a resource that helps meet the water supply needs of the region, reduces the need for imported water, and helps address ocean water quality by reducing discharges.
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About News Worth Noting: News Worth Noting is a collection of press releases, media statements, and other materials produced by federal, state, and local government agencies, water agencies, and academic institutions, as well as non-profit and advocacy organizations. News Worth Noting also includes relevant legislator statements and environmental policy and legal analyses that are publicly released by law firms. If your agency or organization has an item you would like included here, please email it to Maven.