In This Section
China to ban water-polluting paper mills, oil refineries
Judge: Monterey County water agency on hook for ag runoff
Hundreds of illicit oil wastewater pits found in Kern County
Steelhead numbers alarmingly low at American River hatchery
Are there any pollution-free places left on Earth?
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California Polluted Waters
Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act requires states to identify all seriously polluted, or "impaired," water bodies every two years. The states put each polluted water body and its associated contaminants on what they call the "303(d) list." In California, the State Water Resources Control Board and nine Regional Water Boards maintain and update the 303(d) list. Thirty-five years after the creation of the Clean Water Act, though, many of California's waterways remain contaminated, and the problem is getting worse. The map below shows all impaired water bodies in red. Select a region below to learn more about water pollution in your area, where it comes from, how it can affect your health and the environment, and how you can help stop the pollution! To learn about polluted beaches, or how key pollutants statewide degrade water quality, click on one of the options below. Once you've had a chance to learn about water pollution in your area, we would appreciate it if you would please fill out a quick survey to let us know what you think; your feedback will help us improve these maps. The data displayed in these maps is from the last list adopted in 2006. California's Regional Water Boards updated their lists throughout 2008 and 2009. The State Water Board conducted their final review of these lists and adopted the statewide 2008/2010 list of severely polluted waters in August 2010. In October 2011, U.S. EPA finalized the list, which reflected a 170 percent increase in the number of of rivers, streams and lakes in California exhibiting overall toxicity since 2006.