What’s in the Water?

(Credit: US EPA)

KQED’s Josh Johnson talked this morning to Jared Blumenfeld, the head of the US EPA’s Region 9 (Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, and 147 Native American Tribes). For many years, federal and state officials have tried together to move towards restoring the Sacramento – San Joaquin Delta ecosystem.

Today, the EPA launches an investigation into pollutants, specifically things like ammonia from waste water treatment facilities, to selenium from agriculture and oil processing, to pharmaceutical drugs individual consumers are flushing into the bay.

Scientists have discovered invasive species moving into the ecosystem, everything from blue-green algae to “jellyfish that we’ve never seen here before, taking over the system,” Blumenfeld says. “25 million Californians drink this water, and it irrigates 4 million acres of crop land. This is an incredibly critical system to the health of California’s economy and to the health of its agriculture.”

The EPA hopes to have an action plan proposal out by the end of the year. You don’t have to get out of your pajamas to comment. You can send an e-mail

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Rachael Myrow

From KQED’s Bureau in San Jose, Rachael Myrow’s mandate is to cover politics, economics, technology and culture in a region that stretches from Burlingame to Edenvale to Fremont. She also covers food and blogs for Bay Area Bites. Her posting as Silicon Valley Correspondent follows more than seven years as the daily host of KQED's California Report, broadcast on NPR affiliates throughout the state. She continues to guest host The California Report Magazine and Forum, and files as a freelancer for NPR and PRI’s The World. Before KQED, she worked for Marketplace and KPCC in Los Angeles.

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