Posts tagged drinking water.
California Becomes First Government in World to Require Microplastics Testing for Drinking Water

On September 7, 2022, California became the first government in the world to require microplastics testing for drinking water, an emerging contaminant that is found throughout the environment. The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) approved a policy handbook that details how it will implement a four-year plan, including testing logistics as well as how it will select the public agencies that will be required to test.

Microplastics represent an emerging contaminant of concern for which there are still a number of unanswered questions. As the policy handbook ...

Draft EIR Released for Delta Conveyance Project

A key priority of the Newsom administration – the Delta Conveyance Project – has officially entered its next chapter. On July 22, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) released its draft environmental impact report (Draft EIR) for the Delta Conveyance Project.

The Delta Conveyance Project is DWR’s and Governor Newsom’s plan to build an underground tunnel to bring water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the State Water Project pumps near Tracy in order to reduce the risk from earthquakes and climate change to the State’s water supplies. It is intended to protect ...

Ninth Circuit Reverses Previous Decision on RCRA Liability for Water Supplier

On July 1, 2022 a panel of the Ninth Circuit issued a superseding opinion in California River Watch v. City of Vacaville, Appeal No. 20-16605, withdrawing its previous opinion in the same case and reaching the opposite result. The case is a rare example of a court reversing itself, and has important implications for water suppliers in California and nationwide.

In California River Watch, the plaintiff sought to impose RCRA liability on a water supplier based on the presence of hexavalent chromium in the water it supplied to customers, despite the fact that the water complied with the ...

EPA Announces No Safe Level for Two PFAS and $1 Billion in Funding

On June 15, 2022, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced new health advisories for four per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The health advisories significantly lowered the level considered safe to consume for two PFAS and set limits for two new PFAS. At the same time, EPA announced it was making $1 billion available in grant funding to help communities address PFAS contamination.

PFAS have been dubbed “forever chemicals” because they tend to linger in the environment and humans rather than naturally breaking down. There are dozens of different types ...

California Announces New Emergency Drought Regulations

On May 24, 2022, the California State Water Resources Control Board announced emergency drought restrictions resulting from Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-7-22. The regulations are the latest in a series of attempts by the state to deal with the ongoing severe drought. The regulations cover two areas: a ban on irrigating non-functional turf and a requirement that urban water suppliers implement the Level 2 demand reduction actions in their water shortage contingency plan. …

Poseidon Water’s Coastal Commission Application Denied – Setting Up an Uncertain Future for Desalination

On May 12, 2022, at the conclusion of a 10-hour hearing, the California Coastal Commission voted to deny Poseidon Water’s application to site and operate a desalination plant in Huntington Beach, in what could be a fatal blow for a project that has been debated for more than 20 years.

The Coastal Commission’s vote was unanimous, 11-0, in agreeing with the staff report’s recommendation to reject Poseidon Water’s application. The staff report recommended denial “due to this project’s fundamental inconsistencies with Coastal Act and LCP policies related to coastal ...

Metropolitan Water District Announces Required Water Reductions Affecting up to Six Million Californians

At a board meeting on April 26, 2022, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (“the Met”) announced it would be requiring reductions in water usage from retail water suppliers that are dependent on water from the State Water Project. The reduction, which the Met took as a result of the severity of the state’s current drought, will apply to six million Californians covering Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernardino counties. The impacted retail water suppliers are Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Three Valleys Municipal Water District, Upper San Gabriel ...

Past, Present and Future: California Provides Insight on the Severity of the Drought and 2022 Guidance

The past few weeks have been active ones for California in assessing the severity of its current drought and how it plans to manage its water during the third year of that drought. On top of other, more localized action, California released its report on 2021 groundwater conditions, evaluated current snowpack conditions and Governor Newsom issued an executive order directing action affecting 2022 water usage.

2021 Groundwater Conditions Report

On April 4, 2022, the California Department of Water Resources (“DWR”) issued its Groundwater Conditions Report for Water Year 2021 ...

California Adopts First-in-the-Nation Microplastics Reduction Strategy

Last week, the Ocean Protection Council adopted California’s Statewide Microplastics Strategy. The strategy is the first of its kind in the nation, focusing on outlining steps to address microplastic pollution, an emerging contaminant of concern.

Microplastics are defined in California as plastics that are between one nanometer and five millimeters in size. Microplastics have long been a concern for marine life, but recently there has been an increase in concern about the impacts of ingesting microplastics on humans. California has led the nation in developing strategies to ...

EPA Announces Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule 5 Final Rule Webinars

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced two public meetings via webinar to cover a comprehensive overview of its most recent Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule ("UCMR"), UCMR 5. The two meetings will be held on March 16th from 9:00 am - 12:00 pm and March 17th from 1:00 pm - 4:30 pm (eastern time). The meetings will be identical, and EPA has posted links to sign up for either of the webinars on its website. The webinars are currently first-come, first-served, and sign-up space for them is limited. EPA has stated that it may schedule additional webinars if there is ...

Biden-Harris Administration Announces Updated Plan to Address PFAS Chemicals

On October 18, 2021, the Biden-Harris administration announced an updated government-wide “comprehensive approach” to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a set of man-made chemicals that are widely used in a variety of consumer and industrial products, and which persist in the environment once released and may be linked to health impacts. The announcement identified several activities to address PFAS by eight federal agencies, as well as proposed funding in the forthcoming infrastructure bill for monitoring for PFAS compounds in drinking water through ...

Posted in Events
Happy Water Professionals Appreciation Week!

During this 4th annual Water Professionals Appreciation Week, Nossaman would like to acknowledge all of California’s essential water sector professionals. Not just this week, but every week of the year, they work on the front lines to provide this essential resource to all of our communities and serve as stewards for the environment.

Water Professionals Appreciation Week was created in 2017 to highlight the important role of water industry professionals and local public water agencies in ensuring safe and reliable tap water, wastewater and recycled water for California. Now ...

OEHHA Releases Long-Awaited Proposed Public Health Goals for PFOA and PFOS

Today, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) of the California Environmental Protection Agency announced the release of a draft document for public review describing proposed Public Health Goals (PHGs) for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) in drinking water. The release of the draft PHGs is a long-awaited and significant step in the regulation of such per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in California.

The draft PHGs identified by OEHHA are 0.007 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA to address concerns based on ...

Power Shutoffs: What California Water Providers Should Know

We recently authored the article, “Power Shutoffs: What California Water Providers Should Know” (subscription required) for the Daily Journal, California’s leading daily legal news source.

The article examines how water systems—which rely heavily on electricity to pump, treat and deliver safe drinking water to customers—have been impacted as catastrophic wildfires in California have led to an increased use of public safety power shutoff (PSPS) as a means for electric utilities to mitigate the risk ...

Posted in Water Quality
Water Board Adopts Final Definition of Microplastics in Drinking Water

This week, on June 16, the California State Water Resources Control Board (“State Water Board”) unanimously adopted a definition for microplastics, making California the first state to adopt a definition specifically applied to drinking water (footnotes omitted):

‘Microplastics in Drinking Water’ are defined as solid polymeric materials to which chemical additives or other substances may have been added, which are particles which have at least three dimensions that are greater than 1nm and less than 5,000 micrometers (µm). Polymers that are derived in nature that have not been chemically modified (other than by hydrolysis) are excluded.

The final definition is much the same as the proposed version that was issued in March 2020 for public comment, key differences being that ...

Developments in Regulating PFAS in Water

Recently, I participated in the Environmental Law Institute’s (ELI) Master Class, PFAS: From Common Use to Concern. My fellow panelists and I discussed “PFAS in Water,” which included a discussion of the environmental and human health impacts of PFAS contaminated waters, as well as the best approaches to regulate, establish and enforce cleanups and safe drinking water standards.  I was privileged to serve on this panel along with Chris Curran, Water Business Line PFAS Lead, AECOM; Rula Deeb, Ph.D., Senior Principal, Geosyntec Consultants; and Jonathan Kalmuss-Katz, Staff Attorney, Earthjustice. Some of the main take-aways from our presentation included ...

UPCOMING WEBINAR: PFAS in Water

Please join me on May 5, 2020, when I will participate in a webinar panel discussion, "PFAS in Water," hosted by the Environmental Law Institute (ELI). As the second presentation during the ELI Master Class, PFAS: From Common Use to Concern, our  panel will dive into the environmental and human health impacts of PFAS contaminated waters. We will also tackle the best approaches to regulate, establish and enforce cleanups and safe drinking water standards. Additionally, our group of experienced water sector practitioners will explore the federal and regional regulatory ...

Recent Report Forecasts Economic Hardships for Water Utilities Nationwide

As California businesses remain closed and residents stay at home under shelter-in-place orders, water utilities are at the frontlines ensuring continued access to safe drinking water. Still, it seems that no industry is immune to COVID-19’s economic impacts. A recent analysis prepared for the American Water Works Association and the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies estimates that revenue shortfalls for the water industry could result in a $32.7 billion reduction in nation-wide economic activity, with significant impacts on private sector jobs and investment in ...

WEBINAR: Keeping Current on COVID-19 Challenges for the Water Industry

Please join our Water Industry Team on April 16, 2020 for “Keeping Current on COVID-19 Challenges for the Water Industry,” a special presentation as part of our 2020 Water Webinar Series. 

There is no question that the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted business operations in virtually every business sector, and the water industry is no exception. We are mindful of how strenuous it is for our clients to navigate these turbulent times as they continue to provide critical services to our communities and adapt quickly to new emergency orders ...

Water Board Issues Draft Definition of Microplastics in Drinking Water

The California State Water Resources Control Board (“State Water Board”) recently issued a draft Definition of Microplastics in Drinking Water and an accompanying staff report. The State Water Board will host a video/teleconference workshop on the draft definition on April 7, 2020 and written comments will be accepted until April 24, 2020. Here is the draft definition ...

March 22 is World Water Day!

World Water Day is an annual United Nations international observance day that highlights the importance of freshwater.  The U.N. chooses a theme for the day each year, and for 2020 the theme is “Water and Climate Change." The goal of World Water Day is to inspire people around the world to learn more about water-related issues and to take action to make a difference. In 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an additional focus on hand washing and hygiene.  World Water Day is celebrated around the world through political, artistic, and educational events, as well as ...

EPA Takes Key Step Toward Regulation of PFAS
On March 10, 2020, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its proposed Preliminary Regulatory Determinations for perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in drinking water, thereby taking the initial steps to formally regulate two of the most common chemicals in the family of compounds known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water. EPA will seek comment on these preliminary determinations until May 11, 2020.
 
This announcement represents EPA’s preliminary determination that PFOA and PFOS meet the statutory criteria for regulation ...

California Water Views provides timely and insightful updates on the water sector in the state. We relay information on how water legislation and policy from the nation’s capital, Sacramento, and around the U.S. affect California’s water utilities, agencies, practitioners, and consumers.  We also write about important events, conferences, legal cases, and other key happenings involving all things water in and around California.

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