[env-trinity] Sac Bee 10 03 10

Jim Metropulos jim.metropulos at sierraclub.org
Mon Oct 4 10:30:22 PDT 2010


Ara:


We know that Westlands has plugged their drains. In theory the  
Grassland Drainers are the only ones discharging directly into the San  
Joaquin River via the San Luis Drain.

However, the Central Valley Regional Water Board staff testified that  
Westlands Water District selenium pollution, which is is not regulated  
by waste discharge requirements, is migrating to surrounding farms and  
to the San Joaquin River. Because there is no publicly available  
monitoring of the contaminated groundwater at Westlands or field edge  
monitoring, ones does not know for certain if Westlands is discharging  
directly in the San Joaquin River.

I can respect that you have a different opinion on this issue but  
what's sad is your knee-jerk characterization that the op-ed is  
"obfuscating the facts."

Regardless, have a good day.

Jim Metropulos
Sierra Club California
jim.metropulos at sierraclub.org
www.twitter.com/SierraClubCA


The Regional Board staff testified that Westlands Water District  
selenium pollution, which is not regulated by waste discharge  
requirements etc, is migrating to surrounding farms and to the San  
Joaquin River.  Because there is no publicly available monitoring of  
the contaminated groundwater at Westlands or field edge monitoring,  
one does not know for certain if Westlands is discharging directly  
into the San Joaquin River.
On Oct 4, 2010, at 10:02 AM, Ara Azhderian wrote:

> WOW… you would think that someone with such a position would be at  
> least partially aware of the facts.  For example, Westlands doesn’t  
> discharge any drainage.
>
> Obfuscating the facts doesn’t benefit anyone.   Sad.
>
> Ara Azhderian
> Water Policy Adminstrator
> San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority
>
> From: env-trinity-bounces at velocipede.dcn.davis.ca.us [mailto:env-trinity-bounces at velocipede.dcn.davis.ca.us 
> ] On Behalf Of Byron Leydecker
> Sent: Monday, October 04, 2010 9:24 AM
> To: FOTR List; Trinity List
> Subject: [env-trinity] Sac Bee 10 03 10
>
> Irrigators may get new free pass to pollute
> Sacramento Bee-10/3/10
> By Jim Metropulos
> Opinion
>
> Longtime residents of California may recall those 1984 pictures of  
> birds with twisted beaks, deformed heads and the limp, dead chicks.  
> These birds died by the hundreds in Kesterson Wildlife Refuge near  
> Los Banos – one of the state's worst wildlife disasters.
>
> In the decades that followed, state water officials have looked the  
> other way and refused to enforce the state's tough discharge  
> selenium standards. Kesterson Reservoir became a wake-up call.
>
> But no one at the State Water Resources Control Board woke up.  
> Toxic, selenium-contaminated agricultural drainage water still flows  
> through the west side of the San Joaquin Valley and into the San  
> Joaquin River.
>
> And the State Water Resources Control Board is about to approve  
> another 10-year waiver for its selenium discharge standards. That  
> means another 10 years of toxic water headed toward the Sacramento- 
> San Joaquin Delta – and our drinking water.
>
> For west-side irrigators, this is business as usual. And the state  
> water board plans to keep it that way.
>
> Some may view this as a blast from the past. In Kesterson, follow-up  
> studies documented that selenium-laced runoff from Westlands Water  
> District lands and other west-side irrigators produced the selenium  
> wastewater that caused the Kesterson disaster. Now, the state water  
> board is about to allow one of the state's biggest drainage  
> polluters to keep loading selenium into our waterways.
>
> Of course, the west-side irrigators will tell you things have  
> changed. They may quote their new slogan: "Dilution is Grasslands'  
> and Westlands Water District's solution."
>
> But these giant west-side agricultural powerhouses' "solution" falls  
> far short of fixing the problem. Selenium builds up in the bodies of  
> plants and animals. So while the levels of selenium vary with  
> dilution, this toxin builds up in the food chain and has caused bird  
> deformities, reproduction problems and death in wildlife. It can  
> even threaten human health and is known to cause symptoms as varied  
> as hair loss, nervous-system effects, and digestive harm.
>
> Let's follow the water. Bearing levels of selenium high enough to  
> deform wildlife and threaten drinking water, the drainage swirls  
> past signs posted along Mud Slough and parts of the San Joaquin  
> River. The signs warn would-be anglers not to eat fish caught in the  
> toxic brew, to prevent potential birth defects. Seeping its toxic  
> cargo into groundwater all the way, the water finally flows to the  
> Merced River and empties into the Delta.
>
> Westlands and the other west-side irrigators are simply too  
> politically powerful. Westlands and these other irrigators are some  
> of the state's foremost proponents of a proposed peripheral canal.  
> The federal government has documented that the continued use of  
> federally subsidized irrigation for about 400,000 acres of selenium- 
> rich soils along the west side of the valley are causing the  
> selenium contamination of groundwater and surface waters spreading  
> out from Westlands Water District and the other west-side irrigators.
>
> For years, these polluters have received a free pass as they dumped  
> toxic selenium into our drinking water, and harmed our fisheries and  
> the Pacific Flyway. The State Water Resources Control Board should  
> deny approval of the proposed amendment to the San Joaquin Basin  
> Plan that would give Westlands and these water users another decade  
> to avoid enforcement of selenium water-quality standards and aquatic  
> life protections.
>
> These west-side irrigators need to wake up and follow the rules.
> Jim Metropulos represents the Sierra Club on statewide water and  
> energy issues.
>
>
>
> Byron Leydecker, JcT
> Chair, Friends of Trinity River
> PO Box 2327
> Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327
> 415 383 4810 land/fax
> 415 519 4810 mobile
> bwl3 at comcast.net
> bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org (secondary)
> http://www.fotr.org
>
>
>
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> env-trinity at velocipede.dcn.davis.ca.us
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