NEWS WORTH NOTING: New law strengthens water quality protections for oil and gas production; Share your feedback on the Delta Conservation Framework document; San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District reports excellent year for water recharge
New Law Strengthens Water Quality Protections for Oil and Gas Production
From Cal EPA:
Today Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed into law Assembly Bill 1328, strengthening the state’s water quality protections for oil and gas production.
The bill, by Assemblymember Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara), provides additional authority to the State Water Board and regional water boards to obtain information about the chemicals present in wastewater from oil and gas production. This information will help the water boards set appropriate requirements to ensure that potentially hazardous chemicals do not pose a risk of contaminating water supplies.
“While California already has strict environmental regulations for oil and gas production, we are taking additional steps to make it even safer,” said California Secretary for Environmental Protection Matthew Rodriquez. “By addressing a gap in our ability to obtain information about chemicals in oil and gas wastewater, this bill will enable the water boards to better protect water quality and public health.”
The State Water Board’s enhanced ability to regulate the discharge of oil and gas wastewater is part of a wider effort by CalEPA’s boards and departments to strengthen environmental and health protection from the effects of oil and gas operations.
Starting next year, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment will launch a series of scientific evaluations to identify the chemicals used in well stimulation treatments, including hydraulic fracturing, that pose the greatest risk to public health and the environment. OEHHA’s assessments will include a look at potentially less hazardous alternatives to those chemicals.
In addition, the California Air Resources Board will soon conduct intensive air monitoring studies in communities located near oil and gas production operations to assess the levels of toxic air contaminants and other pollutants coming from those operations. Starting next month, CARB will hold meetings throughout the state to solicit public input on site selection, contaminants to measure and other aspects of the upcoming studies.
Both efforts are partly in response to recommendations from the California Council on Science and Technology, which in 2015 released an independent review of well stimulation in California and its impacts. The report identified a number of knowledge gaps and alternative practices that could avoid or mitigate those impacts.
CalEPA’s boards and departments work closely with the Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources to ensure oil and gas operations comply with the state’s environmental and public health protections.
Share Your Feedback on the Delta Conservation Framework Document
San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District Reports Excellent Year for Water Recharge
From the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District:
Local groundwater storage got a significant boost this year, with more than 16 billion gallons of water recharged underground for future use, the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District reported today.
The 2017-18 water year, which runs annually from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, reflected the highest streamflow recharge levels in five years and the 16th highest recharge amounts since the District started recording measurements 105 years ago.
Well over 70 percent of the water used in the upper watershed is groundwater, and since 1912, the SBVWCD has conserved more than one million acre feet or 326 billion gallons of water by diverting the natural flow of the Santa Ana River and Mill Creek into 71 percolation basins that allow the water to collect and seep naturally into the ground, where it can be pumped out for future use.
“This was an excellent year for water recharge,” said SBVWCD General Manager Daniel Cozad. “The 16 billion gallons recharged this water year was enough to provide 94 percent of the demand for the nearly 392,000 people living in Redlands, Highland and San Bernardino.”
Cozad credited the higher recharge levels to a combination of near-average local rainfall, coupled with cooperation from San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District, which contributed record levels of State Project Water used by the cities of San Bernardino, Redlands, Highland, Loma Linda and the East Valley Water District into SBVWD’s recharge facilities on Mill Creek and the Santa Ana River. The State Water Project (SWP) recharge totaled 23,181 acre feet, which was nearly as much as the 26,319 acre feet of native streamflow captured, Cozad said.
SBVWCD Board Vice President Melody McDonald said the added recharge from the State Water Project created both challenges and prime opportunities to improve the groundwater basin this year.
“We are grateful to our staff and water partners who worked hard to accommodate the additional recharge,” McDonald said. “Water is our most precious resource, and it was in large part due to their hard work that we were able to capture so much of it this year.”
The 2016-17 water year’s total increased recharge, including SWP water, was 236 percent
above average, with streamflow recharge alone at 79 percent above average. This year’s streamflow total was 8,901 acre feet above the previous four years of recharge combined.
These increases were critically important given the historic drought that plagued California until it was declared over in spring of this year.
Previous years of substantial streamflow recharge include: 2011 (53,986 acre feet); 2010 (30,565 a/f); 2005 (56,980 a/f); 1998 (55,576 a/f); and 1995 (35,876 a/f). The record year for water recharge in the district was in 1922, when 104,545 acre feet of water was captured in retention ponds where it was allowed to seep underground.
About the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District
The SBVWCD serves an area totaling 50,000 acres within unincorporated San Bernardino County as well as portions of the cities of San Bernardino, Loma Linda, Redlands, and Highland. The water recharged by the District serves 227,580 people in the District who use well water through partner water agencies. In addition, cities and agriculture in Riverside County pump and use water recharged by the District. SBVWCD recharges native river, creek, and State Project water on behalf of its customers and water partners.
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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.