Some Trinity County Residents Being Warned to Treat Their Water Because of Pesticide Runoff From Illegal Grows

Water and marijuanaPress release from Trinity County Environmental Health and Trinity County Public Health. Hat tip to the Trinity Journal:

[Note: this is a press release and we won’t be able to call the agencies involved until Monday but questions we would have liked to ask include— if they have any cases of poisoning (I haven’t heard of any) and if they have any cases of water testing at poisonous levels at anyone’s house site. (If so, why didn’t they describe the situation?)]

Trinity County’s Environmental Health Director and Trinity County’s Public Health Officer are notifying the public about water quality concerns they have along the Trinity River and its tributaries.

Illegal marijuana grows on public lands are of increasing concern.  According to recent study titled Sciencewith Solutions: Documentation, Reclamation and Monitoring of the Ecological Impacts of Marijuana Cultivation on Endangered Species (IERC 2017)1, multiple sites evaluated in Trinity County have tested positive for California banned pesticides and residuals of those pesticides spanning over several years, and they found that even sites that are several years old continue to contaminate the soil and leach chemicals into the surrounding area.

Illegal marijuana cultivation on public lands is often not cleaned up or remediated due to lack of funding, so many of these sites remain and still have the potential to contaminate Trinity County’s drinking water, the wildlife, the aquatic life, and the vegetation. These illegal grow sites are found to be wide spread throughout the South Fork of the Trinity River and its tributaries, the North Fork of the Trinity River and its tributaries, and throughout publically owned land in Trinity County (A list of known areas are listed below). It’s unlikely that current testing being done, even in public water systems, is  capable of finding pesticides from these grows in the drinking water, and treatment to remove pesticides depends on the pesticide that’s contaminating the stream. Variations of hot/cold weather, and wet/dry weather can determine whether or not a stream is actively being contaminated.

One of the major pesticides being found in these grow sites is a US banned pesticide by the name of Carbofuran and because of the tendency of these illegal growers to use creek beds and proximate areas to cultivate, we have decided to warn the public about the potential contaminates polluting surface waters.

Carbofuran is a toxic pesticide of the carbamate class of pesticides and the over-riding concern is that most of Trinity County’s drinking water sources could be impacted due to the fact that most large water systems are water diversions of the Trinity River. We will continue to share more information as we receive it. Here are some additional resources/information links:

For testing of your water source at any given point in time (may not give an accurate representation throughout the year due to activity and environment)—North Coast Labs in Arcata, CA: EPA 531.1 –  N-methyl-carbamoyl oximes and carbamates includes testing for Carbofuran and EPA 507 – Nitrogen-Phosphorous Containing Pesticides includes Thiobencarb).

The bottom line, and the point we wish to emphasize, is that if you drink water down-stream from an illegal grow site you need to treat your drinking water out of an abundance of caution. 

How do you treat water before drinking? Many of the pesticides of concern can be treated with a Granular Activated Carbon filter and non-ionic polymeric resin filters. Individuals can Google NSF 42, 53, and 401 point-of-use or point-of-entry filters, or they can call our office at 623-1459 for more information.

Here’s the list of affected Trinity County waterways:

Bar Creek

Barker Creek

Baxter Gulch

Bear Creek

Bear Gulch

Bell Creek

Bierce Creek

Big Bar Creek

Big Canyon

Big Creek

Big Creek (Denny)

Big Creek (Hyampom)

Big French Creek

Black Rock Creek

Brock Gulch

Browns Canyon

Browns Creek

Canadian Creek

Cave Creek

China Creek

Clawton Gulch

Clear Gulch

Cold Spring’s Creek

Conner Creek

Conrad Gulch

Copper Creek

Corral Creek

Dark Can Creek

Deadwood Creek

Digger Pine Flat

Dobbins Gulch

Don Juan Creek

Drinkwater Gulch

Duncan Creek

Dutch Creek

Dutton Creek

E. Branch E. Fork N. Fork Trinity

E. Fork Browns Creek

E. Fork S. Fork Trinity

Eagle Creek

Gold Creek

Grassy Flat Creek

Hastings Creek

Hawkins Creek

Hayfork Creek

Hayshed Creek

Headwaters Grouse Creek

Headwaters N. Fork Eel

Indian Creek

Italian Creek

Jim Jam Creek

Jims Creek

Kekawaka Creek

Kerlin Creek

Kingsbury Gulch

Line Gulch

Little Brown’s Creek

Little Creek

Little French Creek

Lower Big French Creek

Lower Devil’s Canyon

Lower Eltapom Creek

Lower Grass Valley Creek

Lower Indian Creek

Lower Mumbo Creek

Lower Rattlesnake Creek

Lower Tule Creek

McAllister Creek

McClellan Place

McDonald River

Middle Eltapom Creek

Mill Creek

Miner’s Creek

Monroe Creek

N. Dobbyn Creek

Naufus Creek

North Fork Gulch

North Fork Trinity River

Olsen Creek

Panther Creek

Pelletreau Creek

Plummer Creek

Post Creek

Prince Creek

Prospect Creek

Quinby Creek

Red Lassic Creek

Rich Gulch

Ripstein Gulch

Rush Creek

Salt Creek

Salt Creek (Eel tributary)

Shell Mountain Creek

Smokey Creek

South Fork Trinity River

Sulfur Grade Creek

Thurston Gulch

Tom Lang Gulch

Treloar Creek

Upper Big Creek (HYK)

Upper Big French Creek

Upper Corral Creek

Upper Trinity River

Upper Tule Creek

W. Fork Van Duzen

W. Hayfork Creek

Wilson Creek

Yellow Jacket Creek

Article referenced above:

Gabriel, M.W.(1), G.M., Wengert(1), J.M., Higley(2), D.L. Clifford(3), R.H., Poppenga(4),

L.W. Woods(4), S. McMillian(3), S. Torres(3), (2017) Science with Solutions:

Documentation, Reclamation and Monitoring of the Ecological Impacts of Marijuana Cultivation on Endangered Species, Final Performance Report, Grant #F14AP00021, USFWS: Endangered Species Act (Section-6) Grant-in-Aid, 6, 2017)



  • That’s just awesome.

  • Sure glad it is a sanctuary state. I’m sure they are sanitary with their poop also.

    • For real. Sanctuary bullshit. Why is our local law enforcement so inept when it comes to dealing with organized crime? Time for some local militias to walk the forests and handle the criminals seeking sanctuary and money at the expense of CA tax payers. Illegal immigrant felons can kill in broad daylight in this state and walk. When will CA issue cartel hunting licenses?

      • You’re serious? First off, your local law enforcement is organized crime and second these “local militias” you speak of, if they exist would most likely be growers, so…

  • I looked at the link and it is useful information. It is a pretty rare happening thank goodness but your first warning that a chemical has entered your water system may animals dying who drink directly from the creek or river. Luckily people seem to be more resistant to many toxins than their stock. But to constantly be on guard for the rare incident is most irritating.

  • OMG….what about Humboldt, southern in particular???

  • Where can one obtain untainted water, Trinity County Health Department?

  • Have had this testing on my property now for a few months. Guys come and collect the samples every other week. Would like to see more published on the results. The waterway is clean in my part of the woods thankfully. Wish these guys would release a map of test sites so we can see upstream and downstream of the problems. I am at the headwaters of browns creek and we tested clean but a mile down below us did not.

  • Now I want to nuke all the dope growers, I always did, but now more so. Do the sportsmen/women think that all the deer in the hills the last 5 years have been hiding or do you think they just drank the water?

    • Do you think someone who uses public land for growing dope has a problem with illegal meat? One of the cartel grows they found near my place had all the heads of the animals they ate on sticks surrounding their camp as a warning. I used to count 15-20 deer every drive to the gate, I haven’t seen deer for years except the occasional. Super stoked the liberals protect this. They should all wear shirts that say “I support violent human trafficking, an exploited workforce and decimation of our forest ecosystems!”

      • Yeah sure chuck. All the liberals support this. Good one. Take it down a couple notches- this isn’t a liberal vs conservative issue, unless you make it one.

    • Yes nuke ourselves lets all be radiated yay

  • It seems ‘funding’ in Trinity county is always a problem. Unless of course you are on the Board of Supervisors, where there seems to be plenty of funding for giving themselves and other management raises. Just sayin’.

  • Unbelievable. 110 creeks?!!! That is off the hook bad.

    I don’t drink the water because I don’t live there, but I play and swim with my family and dogs in a few of the spots above. Even some of the more remote and hard to get to places are affected. It’s astonishing to see the widespread scale of it all.

    Can human beings really screw the water up so badly in so many remote places? Is there no decency and consciousness for the environment anymore?

    I think I may get our two creeks tested just to see what comes up. Thanks for telling us where you can get it done. Does anyone know how much a simple test costs?

  • End result of GREED!! Now we need to make the land righteous again. Such a damn shame

  • I call BS. Just like growers used all the water and killed the salmon….


  • Bullshit

  • Gee I wonder why all the children with autism , when did the grow scene get big? When did autism explode? Huh , just more free loaders costing the taxpayer more, carry on

  • That’s every creek and tributary, Humboldt should do the same testing. What’s the quality of our water? Central valley water is contaminated ask anyone in McFarland, cancer rates are high in children, agriculture and other contaminates everywhere

    • That’s every tributary, because they just listed every tributary with public land. They didn’t test every creek and or tributary they simply listed all of them a a scare tactic or a blanket statement, take your pick. I would wager that the testing locations that they did weren’t even a half ass attempt. But heh, it has people ranting about cancer and autism… they didn’t list how much they found and or where they found it, cause it is most likely BS. If it isn’t BS try releasing some actual information on what you have found instead of trying to impress people by showing you can read all the names on a map.

      • I imagine that the list was created by listing every water source that is within the same watershed as a grow. Which these days means every water source.

        It does not mean every source is contaminated. But then some might very well be. That’s the joy of living with widespread violations of the law. Many of the people who put money over following the law are equally willing to put money over public health.

      • The last sentence says: “Here’s the list of affected Trinity County waterways:”
        I would more likely think it means the specific affected waterways before I believe it’s a bluff or scare tactic.
        I would also think it means it’s a very real thing, not a conversational starter for ranting about cancer or autism.

        Yes, Humboldt should test their waterways. But our Board of Supervisors would have to do something rather than turn a blind eye and deaf ear to it. I don’t think they’re competent or proactive enough to do anything. Heck, they’re not even reactive.

  • Same can be said for any water run-off from big ag. Treat it out of “an abundance of caution”.


    But it’s medicinal and kills us?
    That pesticide is outlawed…meaning it’s for outlaws to use…

  • Cannabis Is Legal

    Cannabis is legal.

  • Hurry, somebody, and screenshot the stocks for “Granular Activated Carbon filter and non-ionic polymeric resin filters” now and after the news release. Also, take note of who dumped their stocks a few days before the release and then bought some more just before the release.

    Oh, btw, there is no such thing as “public land”. Ask yourselves, where can we homestead?

    Kym, I’m looking forward to your Q&A update.

    • Yep, It’s just a ploy to sell water filters! Sure! You definitely can tell the growers on this site.
      All Defensive and in Denial! No, that’s not a town near Burnt Ranch!

  • Kym likes to paint growers as nice hippy folks growing a few plants. This is the harsh reality .

  • I had to stop drinking the water in my area Year’s ago after timber company had the headwaters sprayed .. I waited for months of rain to hope it washed out.. had to get drinking water in town or a spring.

  • Sure glad it’s all coming from illegal grows on public land. Illegal grows on private land must be alright.

  • Would be nice to see some hey thanks guys for testing the creeks and streams. I do stream water monitoring and have been chased by dogs, bitten by ticks, chased off by growers with guns, trying to get defensible data for stream contaminants, so that you all can make informed decisions. Bottom line is unless proven otherwise streams downstream from any grows are likely contaminated, if not with pesticides/herbicides then nitrogen or phosphorus. Those of you with young children and babies should google impacts of nitrogen in drinking water and “blue babies”.

  • This reflects the bias of marijuana grows. It is not just illegal grows on public lands! It is also the medical and recreational grows on private lands.
    There are very few sustainable growers who are conscious of environment and local habitats. Even a large % of organic herbicides, pesticides and feeds for plants are bad for the environment and wildlife.

  • If ever the value of real estate can be affected, I believe the announcement of contaminated water would potentially have an influence. Isn’t there an election coming in trinity co? The office of sheriff is looking for New blood. If I’m not mistaken one of the candidates is also in charge of the eradication effort. Its hard to get New residents to vote for you when the opportunity to get rich growing some weed Is the only reason they moved here and you are first in line keeping them from their pursuit of happiness. Still the majority of registered voters are not going to be New residents, but the life long folks who have now made a fortune selling groceries and hardware to these used to be flatlanders. And all those fish and game people who “arnt working with TCS” might just be first in line at your local polling place…..job security?

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