Central Valley Water Board Plan to Reduce Nitrate Contamination in Groundwater Gets Approval

California Water News Daily –

Help is on the way, both immediate and long-term, for the nitrate and salt contamination of groundwater basins and surface water in the Central Valley. Although the long-term resolution may be a multi-year process, stakeholders have developed a plan to address one of the region’s most challenging water quality problems.

After more than 13 years in development by stakeholders and the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (CVRWQCB) a plan was approved earlier this week by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to address the buildup of salt and nitrates in Central Valley groundwater basins and surface water. In the interim the plan also includes the delivery of clean drinking water to disadvantaged communities impacted by nitrates until impaired aquifers are restored.

Nitrate buildup in the Central Valley’s groundwater is largely due to decades of irrigating and applying fertilizer to some of the nation’s most productive farmland. But dairies, wastewater treatment plants and other sources have also contributed to the valley’s nitrate contamination. Regardless of the source, groundwater is now unsafe for consumption in many rural communities from Colusa to Kern counties and it has proven to be harmful to human health, especially for infants.

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