Delta Toilet Bowl
Primarily we must ask what's really wrong with the delta?
Jul 13, 2018
In our last newsletter (Calinsanity!) we told you about the State Water Resource Control Board's (SWRCB) proposal to send twice as much water down the Stanislaus, Toulumne and Merced Rivers to the delta to try to save fish. We also told you we'd tell you which rivers the environmentalists would be going after next in the this newsletter, but before we do that we need to go over a couple of other things. Primarily we must ask what's really wrong with the delta? Is it really a lack of water from the rivers feeding into it? Or could it be something else?
We have written numerous newsletters about the partially treated sewage being dumped into the Delta from sewage treatment plants located in Sacramento, Stockton and other cities around the delta. In 2008 Matt Weiser wrote in the Sacramento Bee, "After years of searching high and low for a culprit in the collapse of delta fish populations, scientists are learning the problem may lie right under their noses." What did the scientists find? "The likely fish killer is ammonia, a common byproduct of human urine and feces." Ammonia is what's left when sewage is partially treated, then dumped into rivers that flow to the delta.
The Sacramento Regional Sewage plant "each day releases about 146 million gallons of treated wastewater into the Sacramento River." Stockton and other cities release less, but their cumulative numbers are huge. These problems have been known for years, but the SWRCB continues to ignore them while always going after more farm water from rivers like the Stanislaus, Toulumne, Merced and San Joaquin.
We also have noted that many of the salmon smolts and smelt are eaten by the striped bass who are thriving in the Delta. Mike Dunbar recently wrote in the Modesto Bee (We must fight the water grab) that "to send more water to the bass-infested San Joaquin Delta (where 97% of all salmon juveniles are eaten), the state is willing to crucify one of the state's poorest regions, killing jobs, hurting schools, shuttering businesses and sending the crops raised on thousands of small family farms south with the water."
One more thing. In 2011 the Stockton Record published a story titled "Delta's biggest enemy hard to pinpoint", where they noted there are "more than 40 potential causes for the Delta's decline" and ultimately the scientists said "they could not conclude that any one factor or any small combination of the 40-plus factors is the root of the Delta's problems."
Nevertheless, the SWRCB's plan is to continue to go after more water from more rivers in the future and we will get more into that in the next newsletter.
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