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What’s in the Water?

| February 10, 2011
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(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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Category: Environment, Health

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About the Author ()

Rachael Myrow hosts the California Report for KQED. Over 17 years in public radio, she's worked for Marketplace and KPCC, filed for NPR and The World, and developed a sizable tea collection that's become the envy of the KQED newsroom. She specializes in politics, economics and history in California - but for emotional balance, she also covers food and its relationship to health and happiness. Reach Rachael Myrow at rmyrow@kqed.org.

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