Penn State Public Broadcasting Releases Infrastructure Documentary
(Penn State Public Broadcasting) Penn State Public Broadcasting has produced a 90-minute documentary, “Liquid Assets,” which documents the history, engineering, and political and economic challenges of our water infrastructure and engages communities in local discussions about public water and wastewater issues. Themes in the film include the fundamental public health system, a watershed protection approach, an engineering marvel, 21st century solutions, and the challenges ahead. A three-minute trailer for the film can be viewed at http://liquidassets.psu.edu/.
Schwarzenegger Signs Senate Bill 375 — the "Anti-Sprawl Bill"
(The Sacramento Bee, October 1, 2008) On September 30, 2008, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 375, which is designed to discourage sprawl and require California communities to consider climate change impacts of development in regional planning. The legislation places emphasis on reducing vehicular travel. Under the legislation, the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Resources Board will be required to set regional targets by September 2010 for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The legislation also relaxes California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requirements for housing projects that meet goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Department of Water Resources Unveils New Flood Warning System
(The Sacramento Bee, August 24, 2008) The California Department of Water Resources has unveiled a new flood conditions warning system that alerts the public to the state’s level of mobilization to combat flooding. The system is modeled after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s color-coded national security warning system. Color codes illustrate the flood threat level and range from green to red.
New California “Green Chemistry” Legislation Passed
(Los Angeles Times, September 29, 2008) California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed new legislation designed to monitor 80,000 chemicals now in circulation, focus on the most dangerous, widespread substances first, and then control them at the manufacturing stage before they can leach into the environment. The new legislation lays out a framework to regulate toxic chemicals over their life cycles and creates a scientific clearinghouse of information on the chemicals' effects.
State Water Board Proposes Increase to Water Quality Regulatory Fee Schedule
The California State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) staff proposes to revise the state’s water quality regulatory fee schedules. As required by the California Water Code, the State Water Board will consider the proposed changes as emergency regulations in a board meeting on October 7, 2008. The proposed changes would go into effect immediately for state FY 2008 – 2009. Relative to stormwater, State Water Board staff has recommended a 19-percent increase in stormwater permit fees for all categories and an ambient water-monitoring surcharge added to each individual fee.
Grease-Recycling System Recycles a Million Gallons of Used Kitchen Grease
(San Mateo County Times, September 16, 2008) Since the City of Millbrae implemented a grease-receiving method into its water pollution control plant in January 2007, it has recycled one million gallons of used kitchen grease. The grease recycling system has reduced the city's carbon footprint by 1.2 million pounds in the past year, and currently provides 80 percent of the power necessary to run the plant. The $6.1-million project earns money from reduced electricity purchase costs and revenue from a waste-grease hauling company. The system also reduced the amount of biosolids, which can end up in landfills, by 36 percent in its first year of operation.
Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board Regulations Remain in Effect
(Los Angeles Times, August 28, 2008) Superior Court of California – County of Orange Judge Thierry Patrick Colaw recently ordered the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) to review its runoff standards, which were originally imposed to address bacterial contamination at local beaches. However, on August 28, 2008, Judge Colaw ruled that the water quality standards are to remain in place while the RWQCB complied with the judge's order. The RWQCB said that the original order had left regulators without a major tool to address stormwater runoff into the ocean.
New Tijuana Sewage Plant to Provide Irrigation and Industrial Water and Reduce Untreated Sewage
(San Diego Union Tribune, September 26, 2008) The new Monte de los Olivos sewage treatment plant, located in Tijuana and expected to begin operation in about a month, will treat the waste of 265,000 residents at full capacity. The plant will treat wastewater to a tertiary level, which is clean enough for use as irrigation water. In addition, the plant also will decrease the flow of untreated sewage down the Tijuana River channel that leads to the U.S. border. The State of Baja California hopes that the use of the treated water for industry and irrigation will allow it to save its Colorado River water for residential and commercial purposes.
San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board Public Workshop
The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board (Board) will hold a public workshop and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) scoping meeting for the proposed total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) for toxic pollutants in sediments for the mouths of the Chollas, Paleta, and Switzer creeks on Tuesday, October 14, 2008, at 9:30 a.m. at the Board office at 9174 Sky Park Court, Suite 100, San Diego, California 92123.
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If you have any questions about this issue or would like to discuss these topics further, please contact your Foley attorney or:
S. Wayne Rosenbaum
San Diego, California
Elizabeth A. Cason
San Diego, California
Heidi K. Vonblum, Law Clerk
San Diego, California