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Home > Natural Resources > Water Strategies to Preserve Natural Resource Supplies and Quality

1,328 New Waterways Are Added to California's Streams that are IMPAIRED.

The State and Regional Water Boards assess water quality data for California's waters every two years to determine if they contain pollutants at levels that exceed protective water quality criteria and standards, as required by the Federal Clean Water Act.

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California's statewide list of polluted waterways. The 2010 Integrated Report places each assessed water segment into one of the five non-overlapping USEPA categories based on the overall beneficial use support of the water segment and whether the development of a TMDL is required.

You can download the full 2010 Integrated Report, or use the interactive database found on the Waterboards.ca.gov website.

The 2010 list, adopted by the California State Water Resources Control Board makes trash a factor for the first time in determining whether a creek or other water body is considered "impaired" under the federal Clean Water Act.

In its first update since 2006, California added 1,328 new waterways containing a variety of pollutants, from E. coli to cadmium. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency still needs to approve the listings, which could take several months.

Trash is difficult to regulate. Stormwater moves litter into creeks from sidewalks, parking lots and open trash bins. The listing has no regulatory power and doesn't impose a limit on how much trash can be allowed to enter the Bay, according to Bruce Wolfe, executive officer of the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board.

"It brings attention to the problem, and to a certain degree it helps us and the communities get grant funding focused on the problem," Wolfe said.

In principle, trash is one of the less complicated pollutants to regulate because it is visible, as opposed to arsenic or selenium which is difficult to detect.

Stormwater is only one potential source of pollution. Sanitary-sewer overflows, wastewater-treatment plants, and industry all contribute.

Many polluters are subject to limits on what they can release into the Bay, but experts say stormwater is the last frontier.



Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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