New Fees Sought To Fight Nitrate Pollution


New Fees Sought To Fight Nitrate Pollution

When it comes to addressing what it terms  widespread nitrate pollution problems affecting California groundwater, the State Water Resources Control Board says the state should pursue what it terms as stable, long-term funding sources.

To most people following the current all-out effort by the State Board and Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board to regulate agricultural discharges into groundwater, such “funding sources” translate to new fee proposals.

Fees on nitrogen fertilizers are understood to be one such proposal.

Fourteen other recommendations were made by the State Board in a 73-page document sent to the Legislature in February as required by a program implementing drinking water pilot projects in the Tulare Lake Basin and Salinas Valley.

More than 2 million Californians rely on nitrate-contaminated groundwater as a source for drinking water, according to the state.

The new report states a comprehensive strategy is needed to fulfill requirements of last year’s AB 685 “Right to Water” legislation, which asserted every Californian has a basic right to safe drinking water.

According to the State Board, a stable, long-term funding source for small disadvantaged communities is the “most critical.”

Recommendations focused on four areas — providing safe drinking water; monitoring, assessment and notification; nitrogen tracking and reporting; and protecting groundwater.

Most of those issues are expected to be contained in a draft Tulare Lake Basin Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program general order expected to be released this month by the Regional Board.

A public workshop on the issue will be held by the Regional Board at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center, Ventura and M streets, Fresno. The time has not been set.

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