Santa Cruz Good Times

Saturday
Jan 31st
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Town Hall with Assemblymember Mark Stone

Mark StoneWhat are some of the persisting safety issues with drinking water in the state, and what would the Freshwater Protection Fund change?

More than 16 million Californians get at least some of their drinking water from groundwater, which comes from both public water supplies and private wells. The state regulates and tests our communities’ public water systems, but private domestic wells are unregulated and untested. As a result, many neighborhoods throughout California, especially those in agricultural areas, currently lack safe drinking water due to nitrate-contaminated groundwater. This contamination comes primarily from nitrogen in fertilizer used to grow crops. If consumed at a dangerous concentration, nitrate contaminated water can put individuals, especially pregnant women and infants, at a particularly high risk for serious health problems and even death. Newborns can suffer from “blue baby syndrome,” where there is not enough oxygen in their blood, and adults can experience gastric problems. 

Most communities with nitrates in their water lack the funding resources to clean up their water supply or start getting water from other sources. Sadly, California does not have the infrastructure or a dedicated fund to assist with providing clean drinking water.

Springfield Terrace, an agricultural community in Monterey County, provides a sobering example of the problem of nitrate contamination in drinking water. Since 1986, wells in this community have shown nitrate levels above the 45 parts per million (ppm) level considered safe. At this time, some of this community’s wells have nitrate levels reaching as high as 300 ppm. Residents of this predominantly farm worker community can’t afford to increase water rates to finance the replacement of their contaminated well, nor can they afford to travel 20 miles to purchase water for daily use.

That’s why I introduced legislation to establish the Freshwater Protection Fund, also known as Assembly Bill 467. The purpose of this fund is to create a reliable, stable funding source to provide long-term safe drinking water infrastructure as well as short-term solutions for communities impacted by nitrate contamination.

Specifically, the money in the fund can be used for “direct” and “indirect” assistance to help ensure that our water is safe to drink. Direct assistance includes the provision of alternate non community water supplies, closures of wells impacting groundwater, and monitoring of private wells and grants. Indirect assistance includes public education and awareness campaigns, evaluation of water management practices, and other research.  It’s long past time to ensure that all Californians’ drinking water is safe.  This legislation is long overdue. AB 467 is currently under consideration in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

What are your thoughts on the governor’s proposed May budget revision?

In the legislature, we need to pass an on-time, balanced state budget by June 15.  I appreciate the governor’s commitment to maintaining fiscal stability, and I look forward to being part of the process to review thoroughly the governor’s proposals and revenue projections. As a member of the Budget Committee, I want to make sure that the final budget continues fiscal responsibility, strengthens the middle class, and protects our state’s most vulnerable residents.

Ultimately, I, along with my colleagues in the legislature, will focus on making sure our state takes the critical steps needed to improve our schools, small businesses, safety net, higher education, courts and other key areas that have been harmed during the Great Recession. I will be sure to update you on our progress over the next month. 

Comments (2)Add Comment
I'm Puzzled
written by Water Guy, June 24, 2013
The State (CDPH) regulates large public water systems however, counties regulate anything below 199 connections. In addition, CDPH already... provides funding to public water systems. County EHS offices are already in the business of (or are chartered to and thus already should be) doing what is proposed above. This piece of legislation is reinventing the wheel and as far as I'm concerned a waste of time because the mechanisms are already in place to do what is described above.
Monterey Bay Conservancy
written by Douglas Deitch, May 23, 2013
This is laughable. No one is more responsible for our dire nitrate and salt water intrusion ground water contamination catastrophes in the Monterey Bay Region than former supe and Coastal Commissioner Stone, who purposefully ignored and neglected both our laws and LCP (www.pogonip.org/ord.htm) and his oath to us all to do exactly that ... www.ourinconvenienttruth.org , www.thinklocalactlocal.org , www.thinklocalactlocal.net

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Throwing It All Away

Everybody’s for recycling, right? So why are we all doing it wrong? Our reporter gets down and dirty to uncover 10 secrets that will finally make the recycling process make sense

 

Aquarius Calling, Humanity Rising

Aquarius (11th sign after Aries) is the sign of service—serving one another, building community. Aquarius is fixed air, stabilizing new ideas in the world. When new ideas reach the masses the ideas become ideals within the hearts and minds of humanity. Air signs (Gemini, Libra and Aquarius) are mental. They think, ponder, study, research, gather and distribute information. For air signs, education and learning, communicating, writing, being social, tending to money, participating in groups and creating sustainable communities are most important. One of the present messages Aquarius is putting forth to the New Group of World Servers is the creation of the New Education (thus thinking) for humanity—one based not on commodities (banking/corporate values) but on virtues. Humanity and Aquarius Aquarius is the sign of humanity itself. We are now at the beginnings of the Age of Aquarius, the Age of Humanity (rising). The “rising” is the Aquarian vision of equality, unity, the distribution and sharing of all resources and of individual (Leo) creative gifts for the purpose of humanity’s (Aquarius) uplifting. This is the message in the Solar Festival of Aquarius (at the full moon) on Tuesday, Feb. 3. We join in these visions by reciting the World Prayer of Direction, the Great Invocation.Tuesday’s solar festival follows Monday’s Groundhog Day, or Imbolc (ancient Celtic fire festival) the halfway mark between winter solstice and spring Equinox). The New Group of World Servers (NGWS) during these two days are preparing for the upcoming Three Spring Solar Festivals: 1. Aries Resurrection/Easter Festival (April); 2. Taurus Buddha/Wesak Festival (May); and 3. Gemini’s Festival of Humanity (June). Aquarius and the new and full moons together are the primary astrological influences behind all of humanity’s endeavors. The NGWS are to teach these things, calling and uplifting humanity. Join us everyone. (301)

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Job Insecurity

Woman fights for her job in thoughtful, life-sized ‘Two Days One Night’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Jeffrey’s Restaurant

Why quick and friendly service matters at a local diner.

 

If you didn't live in Santa Cruz, where would you be living?

I would live in Kauai because the water is warmer, and I just love it there. Maureen Niehaus, Santa Cruz, Dental Assistant

 

Clos LaChance Wines

Pinot Noir 2012

 

Striking Gold

A taste of Soquel Vineyards’ five gold medal-winning Pinots