Groundwater Nitrates Workshop

April 24, 2013

Co-presenter, The State Bar of California, Agricultural Law Conference

I.  Welcome and Introduction/Overview of Program  8:30 to 8:45 (Meyer)

II.  Overview of Nitrate Contamination Problems in Groundwater (UC Davis co-presenters)  (8:45 to 10 am, followed by break) (Harter, Dzurella, Pettygrove)

  1. Genesis of the current focus and emphasis (reg. history before and after SBX2 1)
  2. Sources (including new vs. historic) ( Nitrates generally; nitrogen cycle context)
  3. Potential (or challenges) relating to remediation and treatment
  4. Affected areas/communities
  5. Stakeholders (including Calif. communities that rely on contaminated gw)
  6. UC Davis Nitrate Report findings and status

III.  Overview of Potential Solutions  10:15 to 11:45 (Creedon, Kapheim, Mercer, Mazzera)

a.  Prevention

  1. Waste discharge regulation from irrigated lands, dairies and other sources; salinity and nitrate management plans
  2. Management (Best) Practices; Dept. of Food and Agriculture role

b.  Drinking water supply treatment and management; remediation c.  Prioritization and tailoring of solutions d.  Identifying who will implement solutions and funding sources e.  What we can learn from experiences with Superfund and the UST Fund

IV.  Potential Liability/Litigation Issues (Goldberg, Meyer, Hartman) (11:45 to 12:30)

a.  Groundwater contamination

  1. Potential parties
  2. Liability theories (passive migration, pumping influence)
  3. Damages
  4. Potential Defenses and Problems

    1. Apportionment, Causation/Proof, Tracing/Fingerprinting,

b.  Toxic Tort and Products Liability (e.g., In re MTBE) c.  Other Enforcement (federal, state, or local government)

Lunch, with Panel Presentation (12:30 or 45 to 2pm):

V.  Where Are We Headed with Addressing Nitrate Contamination (Merkley CFFB, Schubert CDFA, Lund UCD, Downey moderator)

a.  Regulatory and Voluntary Approaches b.  Legislation

  1. Funding
  2. Liability relief/waivers

c.  Litigation and Administrative Enforcement d.  Overcoming impediments and streamlining solutions (e.g., fast-track approvals, or templates; improving water supply system functions and organization)

VI.  Closing Remarks

Speakers include:

  1. Dr. Thomas Harter, Dr. G. Stuart Pettygrove, Dr. Jay Lund and Kristin Dzurella of the University of California at Davis
  2. Pamela Creedon, Executive Officer of the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board
  3. Sandra Schubert, Undersecretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture
  4. David Mazzera, Assistant Division Chief, Division of Drinking Water and Environmental Management, California Department of Public Health
  5. Chris Kapheim, General Manager of Alta Irrigation District
  6. Danny Merkley, Director of Water Resources for the California Federation of Farm Bureaus
  7. Kay Mercer, President of KMI, Inc.
  8. Ray Hartman of DLA Piper
  9. Steve Goldberg and Steve Meyer of Downey Brand