California’s “Water Crisis”

I’m a semi-proud Californian. On one hand, California has the largest economy in the entire US (probably because of Silicon Valley).1

On the other hand, California has plenty of humanitarian crises that need to be solved, such as the sheer amount of homeless people.

Humanitarian Crises Shouldn’t Be Politicized

As of late, California was slapped by the EPA over water quality.

California currently is facing droughts, Uranium, and Nitrate contamination (most likely by the agricultural industrialization).2

It should be kept in mind that California is also the third-largest state with over 39 million people and it is the 11th most population-dense state in the US. 3

That’s not to say that the water quality slap wasn’t a political move against Democrats. California is a member of The Big Eight, the top eight states with the most electoral votes, and it’s very Democratic. California is definitely a gigantic target, and considering its population density and the waste created because of it, there is a lot for the EPA to pick at.

The Letter from the EPA to California

Here is the link to the full letter.

The EPA is aware of the growing homelessness crisis developing in major California cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, and the impact of this crisis on the environment. Indeed. press reports indicate that “piles of human feces” on sidewalks and streets in these cities are becoming all too common [2]. The EPA is concerned about the potential water quality impacts from pathogens and other contaminants from untreated human waste entering nearby waters.

The press article linked is this one, and it shows how filthy the streets of San Francisco are. It’s worth keeping in mind that San Francisco makes up 0.02% of California’s population4 and that the pollution in San Francisco isn’t what it is throughout the entire state.

The amount of homeless people in the big cities is startling (sort of), California invests lots into supporting the homeless, and housing has skyrocketed in that 0.02% area politicians keep using to represent the entirety of the state.

It does not help that a certain promise by a certain someone to create an interagency council to end chronic homelessness has been stalled.

San Francisco is also one of the few major cities with sewers that combine stormwater and sewage flows that is not under a federal consent decree to meet the requirements of federal law

I was able to find this page on the combined sewer system in San Francisco.

Both combined and separate sewer systems take sewage to sewage treatment plants (duh), but the way they handle stormwater is a little different.

Combined sewer systems let stormwater and wastewater flow into the same pipes, which go to the treatment centers.

Separate sewers, as the name implies, have separate lines for stormwater.

In addition, separate sewer systems overflow less often, and they are newer. Most combined sewer systems are really old and can develop severe blockages like fatbergs.

Sewage overflow is a big problem, and there is no dodging the fact that San Francisco needs to invest billions of dollar into removing the inadequate and old combined sewer system.

As an important note, stormwater isn’t strictly rainwater. Stormwater can pick up trash, chemicals, oils, gas, and other random junk as it flows.

Myths

  1. California does not shoot needles into the bay.
  2. California’s sewer system is in working condition, even though it could be better, it isn’t extraordinarily horrible.
  3. California’s homelessness and water pollution problem are not linked.
  4. California is not pronounced Cali-fre-nia.

California Has Thirty Days

Gov. Gavin Newsom has thirty days to provide a detailed plan to get California to comply with federal environmental laws.

I request a written response within 30 days outlining in detail how California intends to address the concerns and violations identified herin.

Once those thirty days are up, the EPA will take control of operations.

It has become startlingly obvious that the Trump Administration does not like California.

The Trump Administration has removed California’s right to impose laws on limiting air pollution while threatening to stop federal highway funds if California doesn’t clean up more of its air.

The impending EPA takeover is not a good sign, either.

So, is the Trump Administration using the government as a massive club against California?

Maybe.

And that’s the conclusion I was able to reach. If you spot any horrible mistakes in this post, please send me an email. This topic is very, very sensitive due to the political aspects (when it really shouldn’t be a political issue at all), and I can’t afford to be another outlet of misinformation when we should all be teaming up to think about this problem.

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