News Briefs: Japan Plans Release of Contaminated Water from Fukushima Plant

Also in this week's water and wastewater news, the owner of a private industrial wastewater pretreatment facility is indicted for years of illegal discharges into Orange County, California, sewers

Japan is planning to release into the Pacific Ocean more than 1 million tons of contaminated water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant, according to the nation’s government.

The first discharge is scheduled in about two years in an effort to give the plant’s operators time to filter the water and get regulatory approval.

Nearby nations are calling the plan irresponsible, but Japan argues it’s a necessary step in decommissioning the plant, which was destroyed in a 2011 tsunami.

The United States has sided with Japan on the matter. “The U.S. is confident that the government of Japan is in very full consultations with the International Atomic Energy Agency,” said climate envoy John Kerry, according to Insider.

Western U.S. Could See Federal Water Shortage Declaration

In other news, the American West is preparing for its first possible water shortage declaration, as the Bureau of Reclamation forecasts that the man-made lakes storing water will fall to historically low levels.

Should the federal government make the official water shortage declaration, it would trigger cuts in Arizona’s and Nevada’s water allocation from the Colorado River, reports The Associated Press.

The news came as the Bureau of Reclamation recently released its 24-month projects for the Colorado River.

Private Treatment Plant Owner Indicted for Years of Illegal Discharges

The owner of a private industrial wastewater pretreatment facility called Klean Waters in Orange, California, has been indicted for breaking environmental laws and dumping untreated toxic wastewater into an Orange County sewer system.

The owner, along with the company, is charged with participating in a conspiracy and discharging without a permit into a publicly owned treatment works.

The indictment alleges that the problems date back to the company’s establishment in 2012 and include discharging wastewater that was not pretreated adequately, failing to perform self-monitoring and preparing accurate reports, making false statements about discharges, tampering with monitoring devices placed by the Orange County Sanitary District, and preventing inspectors from reviewing official company documents.


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