State water quality board wants to cut back on inspections

California water quality regulators are considering a policy change that would end testing and cleanup of several thousand underground storage tanks that have leaked gasoline and other petroleum products.

In a draft policy circulating for comment, the staff of the State Water Resources Control Board proposes to end groundwater monitoring, investigation and further costly cleanup at sites deemed “low risk” for spreading pollution.

By doing so, the agency is trying to free scarce funds for more pressing cleanup projects as part of a strategy the state water board authorized more than a year ago.

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Water quality improving at California’s beaches

Water quality at California beaches has continued to show improvement, even as the future of monitoring programs remains uncertain because of state budget shortfalls, according to a report released Wednesday by Heal the Bay.

This summer was one of the cleanest on record for California beaches and the fourth straight summer of excellent water quality grades statewide. Of the beaches tested, 92% received A or B grades during the high-traffic beachgoing season, according to the environmental group’s End of Summer Beach Report Card.

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