About 2,500 acre-feet of the selenium-polluted Kesterson Reservoir will be diluted and drained into the San Joaquin River starting Wednesday, officials announced. The estimated $26-million project, which will allow crews to scrape up contaminated muds and vegetation and put them in an on-site landfill, originally was set to begin last week but was delayed by equipment problems. State water officials in March ordered the farm waste water evaporation ponds to be scraped and cleaned, rejecting a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation proposal to keep the selenium locked in the pond bottoms by keeping them flooded. Continuing bird deaths and deformities at Kesterson have been linked to selenium in the drainage water.
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