Drinking Water in California Compromised With Wastewater
The musty odor from the drinking water was linked to a blue green algae growing out of control, called algae blooms, in the Delta. Blue green algae produce toxins that have negative effects on the brain, liver, blood cells and the endocrine system and can be very toxic to humans and animal. Studies have linked substances released by the blue green algae to Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS).
Algae love ammonia and need phosphorus and nitrogen to survive. All three are still present in treated wastewater when being discharged into lakes, rivers and streams, depending on the design of the wastewater treatment plant.
Discharges of treated wastewater by the Sacramento Wastewater Treatment Plant into the Sacramento River have been fingered for the increased levels of ammonia in the Delta.
The Sacramento wastewater treatment plant uses the Sacramento River to dilute the treated wastewater in order to meet federal effluent standards. This practice is used all over the US.
A study recommended that the elevated levels of nitrogen flowing through the Delta due to discharges from the wastewater treatment plant must be reduced in order to benefit the fish populations and protect the future of drinking water.
The high concentration of substances that come from wastewater discharges not only increases algae growth, but also decreases the oxygen content of water, diminishes the amount of light for photosynthesis and promotes bacterial growth, compromising not only the drinking water for humans, but also all populations of the aquatic ecosystem. 1. Taugher, Michael, Sacramento Sewage Fouls Delta, Times Herald, 2010 2. Todorov, Kerana, Still Waiting on Delta Water, 2009 3. Algae, New World Encyclopedia, 2008 4. The Food Web, Water on the Web, 2004 5. Ammonia and the Nitrogen Cycle, Bioremediate, Environmental Quality Assurance, 2010 6. Blue-Greem Algae (Cyanobacteria) and their Toxins, Wikipedia 7. New Research Links Decline of Endangered California Delta Smelt to Nutrient Pollution, University of Maryland, May 2010
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