Selenium Cleanup in the San Joaquin Delayed Again


This post is from the Restore the Delta newslettter:

West side farmers just can’t make that deadline for cleaning up their irrigation water. They’ve been trying for 14 years and have spent $100 million – although not all their own money, of course. But they need more time to develop a water treatment plant to eliminate contamination from 97,000 acres between Firebaugh and Interstate 5.

The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board has given its approval for a 10-year extension for the Grassland Bypass Project. The California Sportfishing Protection Alliance and the California Water Impact Network argued that contamination will jeopardize revival of salmon runs and harm wildlife as far out as Suisun Bay. They said that a two-year extension would have been more reasonable than a full decade.

Farm representatives argue that fish pass through the river when higher flows dilute the selenium level.

Next, the matter goes to the State Water Resources Control Board, which is not known for making decisions that might inconvenience west side agriculture. They apparently still don’t view selenium as a stressor.

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