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volume 2 - resource management Strategies

treatment is being identified as a potential source of salinity in groundwater. California, and especially the central San Joaquin Valley, is experiencing increasing salts in the groundwater water. As the salinity of local groundwater sources increase, more water customers use water softeners to improve the quality at their tap. This in turn results in a higher discharge of salts to the wastewater treatment plants, increasing the salinity of wastewater and exacerbating the problem. The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board completed a study in May 2006 on salinity in groundwater in the Central Valley, introducing the concept of a long-term salinity management program for the Central Valley and the State of California (CVRWQCB, 2006).

Disposal of residuals such as backwash water or spent media poses additional costs for water treatment, especially those that may be classified as a hazardous or radioactive waste due to the concentration and leaching characteristics of the contaminant. Selection of treatment alternatives for arsenic, especially, must consider disposal issues. The spent treatment plant media must be evaluated under the California Waste Extraction Test (WET) for classification prior to determining appropriate disposal options due to the potential for the arsenic to leach off the media in a landfill environment. The California WET classification is more stringent than federal leaching tests.

Security of Drinking Water Facilities

Water system facilities are vulnerable to security breaches, intentional acts of terrorism, and natural disasters. Both water system personnel and the general public have developed a greater awareness of this vulnerability of our infrastructure as a result of the events of September 11, 2001, and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The enhancement of security and emergency response capability are crucial in maintaining a reliable supply and delivery of drinking water.

Under the US Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, drinking water utilities serving more than 3,300 people are required to conduct Vulnerability Assessments and develop Emergency Response Plans. All of California’s water utilities in this category prepared these documents. These documents are an important element in building and maintaining the ability to respond to security breaches and other catastrophes.

Accomplishments to protect our water and wastewater facilities from terrorism by the water and wastewater industry and regulatory agencies include the following:

  • Emergency Water Quality Sample Kit developed by CDPH, based on the USEPA Response Protocol Toolbox, to quickly provide water systems with a resource to sample drinking water for an unknown contaminant during a credible event.

  • Partnerships between water agencies and the regulatory community established to address emergency response, including the California Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network (WARN); Laboratory Response Network (LRN); and the California Mutual Aid Laboratory Network (CAMAL Net).

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caLifoRnia WateR PLan | update 2009

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