The week that was, 9/13-19/2009

Posted on | September 20, 2009 | No Comments

Station Fire, Los Angeles, September 16, 2009. Source: NASA's Earth Observatory

Burn scar from the Los Angeles Station Fire, September 16th, 2009. Photo: NASA. Click on the image to be taken to the Earth Observatory.

Most expenses are never assigned to the bottom-line costs of wildfire. — Comment piece in The Oregonian

By Saturday [September 19th] the arson-caused fire that claimed the lives of two firefighters was 93% contained and had cost nearly $84 million to fight. More than 700 firefighters remain on the fire lines. Los Angeles Times

Although up to 15 percent of the city of Los Angeles’ water comes from local sources such as the Angeles National Forest, other neighboring communities in the San Gabriel Valley rely on the forest watershed for most of their water. TreePeople press release

logoFollow Pee Outside on Twitter! — Atlanta water conservation group Pee Outside.Org via Thirsty in Suburbia

“Sure, they have the rights, but that doesn’t mean the water is going to be there.” — Karen Hadden of the Austin-based SEED Coalition quoted in the San Antonio Express News on plans for a water-hungry nuclear reactor in drought-stricken South Texas

Photo: Department of JusticeAt sentencing, the court found that [the defendant] made as many as 55 separate falsifications in reports from September 2004 and continuing through May 2007, in which he reported levels on discharge reports that purported levels of E. Coli, Ammonia NH3-N and CBOD-5 that were in compliance with the permit concentration limits, even though [he] knew that the levels were actually higher. — US Department of Justice press release on the sentencing of former Indiana water treatment plant superintendent Herbert L. Corn. According to the release, Corn possessed a state of Indiana Class III license as a waste water treatment operator, the position of president of the Indiana Water Environment Association, a sewage industry trade group, and had received several awards for environmental achievements related to sewage treatment. In addition, Corn taught courses on waste water treatment.

“Sometimes it smells like a barn coming out of the faucet.” Wisconsin resident quoted in the third installment of the New York Times series “Toxic Waters.”

The river was a cauldron of 21 different medicinal ingredients used to treat hypertension, gonorrhea and chronic liver ailments. — Toronto Star mention of a river in India bordered by 90 pharmaceutical companies

The most likely source of the contamination is a dry cleaner less than 300 feet from the well. — Chicago Tribune on the contamination of the community well serving the suburb of Crestwood

“We have federal judges for the salmon. We have federal judges for the smelt. Where is the federal judge for the farmers?” — California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to Fox News’ Sean Hannity at a Fresno rally, via Aquafornia

Some people are blaming the Obama Administration’s efforts to conserve salmon populations and the delta smelt, a threatened fish, for water shortages. They are asking the federal government to turn on water pumps … the pumps are on. Department of Interior statement, via Aquafornia

If Assemblymember Mike Villines really wanted to help solve the Valley’s ag water problem, he could do two things. One, break up the sweetheart relationship between the State Water Project, the Kern Water Bank, the Kern County Water Agency, Paramount Farms, and their policies that allow water to be “divvied up” sold “down the river” to Southern California. — Letter to the Fresno Bee

Resnick has a huge stake in the outcome of numerous lawsuits swirling over environmental regulations in the Delta. One group that has filed some of those lawsuits, the Coalition for a Sustainable Delta, is housed in Resnick’s Bakersfield offices. — From “Farm Baron gets High Level Help,” Contra Costa Times, via Aquafornia. Who he? Click on the titles  for “The Resnicks: Farming’s power couple,” “Gaming the water system,” “Pumping water and cash from the Delta,” also by the Contra Costa Times’ Mike Taugher.

Los Angeles Times / Photo: Al Seib

Los Angeles Times / Photo: Al Seib

“As Sherlock Holmes used to say, when you eliminate everything, whatever is left is the reason . . .  If the pipe wasn’t bad, and it [wasn’t seismic activity] and it wasn’t a funky contractor, well, what you’ve changed is this twice-a-week surge flow because of watering restrictions.”– Richard Little, director of the Keston Institute for Public Finance and Infrastructure Policy at the University of Southern California quoted in the Los Angeles Times on LA’s plague of water main breaks since the city introduced two-day-a-week watering ordinance in June

Growth has stopped, but expensive water projects have not, so the Southern Nevada Water Authority will raise rates over the next two years to help bolster its construction activities. — Las Vegas Review Journal reporting that the authority projects connection charge revenue of $27.8m this year and $14.7m next year to be down from a high of $188.5m in 2006

“It puts a label on grass as bad — that it’s not something to be used.” — Kris Kiser, executive vice president of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, a trade group representing equipment manufacturers for the landscape, lawn and other industries on WaterSense landscaping standards proposed by the US Environmental Protection Agency , Wall Street Journal

Governments will confront impending disaster when it’s on their doorstep and no sooner, said Honey Rand, a state water expert and author of “Water Wars,” a book about Tampa Bay’s troubles. — “The End of Cheap Water,” Daytona News Journal

As anxieties about water supplies rise among the public and politicians, private speculators see an opportunity to tie up water rights and sell their goods to cities. — Austin American Statesman

Anyone in the mood to sing in the rain could have belted it out loudly through the wee hours of Wednesday morning as rain pounded Santa Fe. — Staci Matlock, Santa Fe New Mexican

Fundamental to the significance of water in Judaism is that water is the stuff of heaven. Parabola

This post has been updated.

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