Contra Costa County - Water Hyacinths/Toxic Chemicals
Welcome to the Contra Costa County, CA Water Hyacinth & Toxic Herbicide Spraying Section of the ADC Website
Today your drinking water source and the residents of the Contra Costa Delta Waterways are being exposed to the yearly spraying of a whole host of toxic herbicides and surfactants. The list includes, but is not limited to, 2,4-D (1/2 the chemical composition of Agent Orange which was used by the United States as a defoliant in the Vietnam War), Diquat, Glyphosate, and the toxic surfactants used with them.
If you need more information on their toxicity, health, labels, Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), and other information on these herbicides and surfactants, please visit the California EPA Website and type in the name of the chemical in which you have an interest - this website is one of the best in California and will be able to give you a large amount of information on each of the herbicides listed in this section: http://www.calepa.ca.gov/
In addition, the Discovery Bay area, Bethel Island areas and other Delta Waterways are being sprayed with a toxic herbicide called Fluridone (pellets), to control another aquatic noxious water weed: egeria densa. This program was promoted and sponsored by Supervisor Mary N. Piepho, Chairman of the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors.
Please feel free to Contact Supervisor Piepho regarding these issues and request a public hearing in order to explore biological controls, hand and mechanical harvesting instead of the use of toxic chemicals. You may attend their board meetings - for dates and public comment times:
The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment & Public Health Goals in Drinking Water is a good agency that will give you additional information on the herbicides listed in this section.
U.S. Federal Law Requires that all Herbicides and Other Toxic Chemicals be labeled and have MSDS. This information is vital to your understanding of what is in these products and how to protect yourself and your family from exposure.
We encourage everyone to take a look at this Map showing the source of your drinking water in Contra Costa County, CA. If you live in Contra Costa County, in most cases the source of your drinking water is the Contra Costa Delta Waterways. If you live in the Contra Costa Delta areas your exposure increases as the herbicide/surfactant spraying continues each year with no safer alternatives being proposed for this area by your Contra Costa Board of Supervisors...U.S. Congressman Miller, and your local state respresentatives in Sacramento, CA
STOP 2,4-D HERBICIDE SPRAYING IN THE SOURCE OF YOUR DRINKING WATER TODAY & BEGIN TO CONSIDER SAFER ALTERNATIVES!
REQUIRE MORE DRINKING WATER TESTS BEFORE THIS WATER REACHES YOUR TAP.
THE COUNTY SHOULD BE PLACING WARNING SIGNS IN LOCAL NEWSPAPERS & IN THE DELTA AREAS WHERE HERBICIDE SPRAYING IS CONDUCTED EACH YEAR IN ORDER TO PROTECT THE PUBLIC WHEN BOATING, SWIMMING & FISHING IN THE CONTRA COSTA DELTA WATERWAYS!
HERBICIDE SPRAYING HAS BEEN CONDUCTED IN THE CONTRA COSTA DELTA WATERWAYS SINCE THE EARLY 1980s. Your Contra Costa Supervisors Continue to allow this practice and encourage it...without warning you about the potential hazards in order to protect your health. There are alternatives...there are more drinking water tests that should be required each year before your drinking water reaches the water tap in your home.
Martinez, California Press Release in 1983 - A group of protestors in Contra Costa County placed dozens of signs, like these in Martinez, in Contra Costa County. They were erected in support of a lawsuit against the spraying of 2,4-D, Diquat and Glyphosate in the Contra Costa Delta Waterways to "Eradicate" Water Hyacinths. Judge Wilcox ruled that the Plaintiffs had filed their lawsuit too late to stop the project as planned by the State of California Department of Boating & Waterways. (The case was not decided on the merits or health effects possible from using herbicides like 2,4-D (1/2 of Agent Orange A Defoliant Used by the U.S. During the Vietnam War), Diquat or Glyphosate (including surfactants used with them).
It should be noted that the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors could have initiated the use of mechanicaland hand harvesting along with biological contrails in 1983. The Supervisors turned down matching funding from the State of California for the purchase or use of a mechanical harvester and never demanded that safe biological controls be used in Contra Costa County. Since 1983, U.S. Congressman George Miller, and your state and county elected officials have not worked to stop the use of these chemicals in the source of the drinking water for over 300,000 (possibly as high as 500,000) people.
Today, (2012), no mechanical or hand harvesting is conducted in Contra Costa County. Biological controls of Water Hyacinths are not used here...and the spraying of these toxic herbicides continues today near the the Contra Costa Delta Island areas where some of the drinking water intakes for the Contra Costa Water District are located. With additional herbicide spraying in the Sacramento Delta area and the San Joaquin Delta, our water supplies, boaters, swimmers, fishermen, and others are potentially exposed to these toxic herbicides and surfactants each year.
Have Water Hyacinths been eradicated or controlled by herbicide use as claimed in the early 1980s? NO, they are still here in huge numbers in the Sacramento, San Joaquin & Contra costa Delta Waterways.
Could the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors change direction today in order to protect the health of its residents? YES!
The Contra Costa Board of Supervisors have the power to stop this herbicide spraying, initiate biological controls, and mechanical harvesting in Contra Costa County. They also have the power to demand that spraying areas be posted during the spraying season and that newspapers warm residents of the hazards. In addition, mechanical harvesting of Water Hyacinths could produce benefits to Contra Costa County by being used for producing power or used as a biofuel. Water Hyacinths are used in many areas of the United States for water purification and as a power source (San Diego Water Treatment Plant as one long-term example).
The citizens of Contra Costa County have the power to address this issue and start working on safer alternatives than the continuation of herbicide spraying for another 30 years. Write letters...make telephone calls...E-Mail...and speak out during their morning meeting public comment time in Martinez, CA. Also contact your local newspapers, write letters to the editor...and handout fliers. Your supervisors can make positive changes to protect the people of Contra Costa County and their drinking and recreational areas. CONTACT THEM TODAY!
BUG ATTACK: Controlling water hyacinth on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
"...This year, the state of California is trying something new to get rid of the hyacinth. The Department of Food and Agriculture is spending about $50,000 to release thousands of insects that thrive on and destroy hyacinth. Water hyacinth plant hoppers are being let loose in San Joaquin and Sacramento counties where hyacinth is rapidly spreading..."
"...The state traditionally sprays chemicals on the hyacinth as well each summer. But spraying by the Department of Boating and Waterways hasn't yet started..."
This section of the ADC website will be updated with information about Contra Costa County. Water and Air Quality issues are always at the forefront of interest throughout this county. Updates will be made to this section on a monthly basis unless there are critical issues which need the prompt attention of the residents.
This section of the website also contains information on the Water Hyacinth Control Program in the Contra Costa Delta Waterways. In the Spring and Summer Months herbicides are used in the Delta to Control Water Hyacinths. The herbicides and the surfactants used with them are toxic to some types of fish. The spraying in this area is conducted near the drinking water intakes of the Contra Costa Water District and also other drinking water sources in Contra Costa County. (This herbicide spraying program covers the Sacramento, San Joaquin, and Contra Costa Delta Waterways.)
In some areas of the Delta biological controls have been introduced for the first time to control Water Hyacinths. We should lobby the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors to request that these biological controls be introduced in Contra Costa County to reduce or eliminate the use of toxic chemicals like 2,4-D, Diquat and Glysophate (Roundup), in the source of our drinking water supplies.
The Water Hyacinth is a floating plant that could be harvested and turned into green energy for power production. (The San Diego Water Treatment Plant is powered by Water Hyacinths after they have been used as a water purification device in their water treatment process.)
Mechanical Harvesting Not Used in Contra Costa County, CA - It should be noted that mechanical harvesting is used in other parts of the United States. Water Hyacinths & Egeria Densa could be used as a source of biofuels or to produce power. Water Hyacinths are used to help purify water in wastewater treatment plants and then once taken out water treatment ponds they are used for power generation.
Note that Mechanical Harvesting has no impact on water quality if Water Hyacinths are not shredded first. With Egeria Densa each shredded piece can produce a new plant. It should be noted that different methods apply to various types of noxious weeds. Noxious aquatic weeds eventually become herbicide resistant requiring stronger herbicides to try and control them...these noxious weeds have never been eradicated through Herbicide Spraying.
This Herbicide is 1/2 of the Herbicide Formulation that was used in the Vietnam War as a Defoliant by the U.S. Government. Many are still suffering the health effects from the use of this toxic herbicide. This herbicide has been used in the Sacramento, San Joaquin & Contra Costa Delta Waterways (along with surfactants), since the early 1980s.
Remember that no studies have been conducted to determine the health impacts from using 2,4-D. In Contra Costa County the Delta is the source of drinking water for over 500,000 residents with the main drinking water intakes located in the Delta and the main drinking water supplier the Contra Costa Water District.
It should be noted that Water Hyacinths can become resistant to herbicides used in Aquatic Weed Control Programs. In addition, since its introduction in our Delta Waterways the Water Hyacinth and other aquatic weeds have not been eradicated and continue to proliferate in the Delta.
Glyphosate (Roundup) is another Herbicide (along with surfactants), in the Sacramento, San Joaquin, and Contra Costa Delta Waterways. Many noxious weeds have become resistant to this chemical thus requiring the use of more powerful herbicides to control weeds.
There are very few studies which asess the cumulative and synergistic impacts of using multiple herbicides, insecticides, and pesticides together. It is an area which needs immediate research. Our elected officials clearly resist approving this type of testing.
The Contra Costa Water District is the largest supplier of drinking water in Contra Costa County. In order to protect the drinking water supplies of the people who depend upon them for water quality they should be conducting herbicide, pesticide, insecticide, dioxin, and surfactant testing at the site of all drinking water intakes and wells during all herbicide spraying times in the Sacramento, San Joaquin, and Contra Costa Delta Waterways.
The CCWD should also test the final treated water during this same time period to make sure that their treatment process removes all the chemicals used in the aquatic weed program to make sure that none of these chemicals are delivered to the tap water in your home or yard.
Remember that the CCWD Annual Water Quality Reports come at the end of each year...not during the year. Also note that the drinking water data provided in average-summarized form...not actual test results.
If you need to see this actual test data for all water contaminants tested for by the CCWD it is available to you under the California Public Records Act upon your formal request.
This WQM Document explains the Codes and Other information that are listed on the California State Department of Health Drinking Water Division Website Spreadsheets below. If you need additional information please contact this agency or the Contra Costa Water District for more information.
All of the Drinking Water Tests for the entire state of California are available online at the California State Department of Health, Drinking Water Division Website. We have provided this data for Contra Costa County below from January 1, 2006, through December 31, 2010. In addition, we have provided the Water Test results for 2011 from January 1, 2011 through November 15, 2011. The date of the test, time of the tests, contaminants tested for, location of the test, and the findings (test results), are all available online along with daily updates made by the California Drinking Water Division as they tests are provided to the State by all water district and public wells, etc.
Fluridone (and surfactants), are being used to control Egeria Densa in the Contra Costa Delta Waterways without warning the public about the hazards of using this herbicide. In addition, the public has not been warned that Egeria Densa will become resistant to Fluridone in a very short time period and continue to be an aquatic problem in many areas. Other methods of control (no eradication is possible once established), should be considered to protect public health and the source of our drinking water.
Fluridone (Sonar Aquatic Herbicide) Labels and Material Data Safety Sheets are provided below in order to let the public know how they can protect themselves, their children, and pets from coming into contact with this toxic herbicide. It is not advisable to eat the fish or to swim in waters which have been sprayed with these pellets.
Many of the Herbicides, Insecticides & Pesticides used in Aquatic Weed Control are also used in our forests, croplands, golf courses, lawns, pet supplies (collars), injected into GMO seeds, and may be used in public parks and school grounds. Your children and your pets are at risk when playing in sprayed areas.
When used in forest lands to kill vegetation and unwanted trees they can leach into drinking water supplies.
The Contra Costa County Agriculture Department Approves Permits to Apply Herbicides, Pesticides, and Insecticides in Contra Costa County. If you need more information on the Herbicides now being used in the Contra Costa Delta Waterways please contact them at:
Under the California Public Records Act they must provide you with the the permit information, place of use, amount of chemicals used, the actual product label and product MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet), which gives information, as required by law, about the product, hazards, etc. Remember that Aquatic Herbicides are used with Surfactants which can be as hazardous as the herbicide itself.
California State Department of Boating & Waterways
Please feel free to contact this department for more information about herbicide usage in the Sacramento, San Joaquin, and Contra Costa Delta Waterways. They have not required the use of biological controls (neither has your Contra Costa Board of Supervisors), or mechanical harvesting to control Water Hyacinths. The use of toxic herbicides and surfactants is promoted to the exclusion of other safer control methods in Contra Costa County. Contact: http://www.dbw.ca.gov/
CALIFORNIA STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH DRINKING WATER TEST RESULTS
The California State Department of Health, Drinking Water Division, Sacramento, California, has all of the water test data from every public drinking water source in the State of California, dating back to 1980s. These tests are required by the EPA and the State of California, due to possible health effects, when various metals, herbicides, pesticides and other toxic contaminants are found in drinking water sources. The California
EPA has complete listings of these chemicals, associated health effects, and drinking water standards for these water contaminants. The results of all drinking water tests are available free of charge online from the California State Department of Health.
The graphs below were generated from the water test results from the California State Departent of Health, Drinking Water Division.The Data from the California State Department of Health is in spreadsheet format showing date of test, location of water test, time of test, whether the test is at a drinking water intake, well source, etc. We encourage everyone to look at this data. The graphs below were provided as they show trends in contaminants in drinking water sources at the Contra Costa County Water District.All of this information is available to the public under the California Public Records Act.
Live Well With Cantwell WCGH 1490 Radio-Connecticut February 7, 2012 Audio Podcast The Increasing use of 2,4-D in Agriculture, in Drinking Water Sources to Control Aquatic Weeds, Along Roadways, and in Forest Lands to Kill unwanted Trees & Plants. Pauline's Guests: Rosalind Peterson & Author Carol Van Strum provides information on this usage, public health impacts, and deadlines for Public Comment.
U.S.D.A APHIS is also making available today a PPRA and a draft EA to address a request from Dow, Inc. seeking a determination of nonregulated status of its DAS-40278-9 corn. This corn has been genetically engineered to provide tolerance to 2,4-D and aryloxyphenoxypropionate (AOPP) acetyl coenzyme A carboxylase (ACCase) inhibitors, also known as “fop” herbicides. DAS-40278-9 corn has been field tested in the major corn growing regions of the continental United States as well as Hawaii. APHIS’ risk assessment indicates that DAS-40278-9 corn is unlikely to pose a plant pest risk. APHIS is making available for public comment the Dow petition for nonregulated status, APHIS’ PPRA and draft EA. These documents can be found at: