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The State

Selenium discovered in a drain next to the Delta-Mendota Canal may have been caused by subsurface seepage, a state official said. Selenium levels between 110 and 620 parts per billion were discovered in a 10-mile collector drain alongside the Bureau of Reclamation canal last spring. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set a drinking water standard of 10 ppb for selenium, which is needed in minute amounts for animal health but is toxic in larger amounts. Dennis Westcot, who does water monitoring for the Central Valley Regional Water Control Board, said the amount of selenium placed in the Delta-Mendota Canal by the drain “is very, very small” and should have little effect on the canal that brings Northern California water to the San Joaquin Valley.


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