SAN DIEGO

Judge signs off on landmark water accord

A California judge has approved the nation's largest farm-to-city water transfer that ends a decadelong dispute over how to divide the state's share of water from the Colorado River.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Lloyd Connelly on Wednesday affirmed his tentative ruling in June that upheld a 2003 agreement between the Imperial Irrigation District and the San Diego County Water Authority.

The deal was challenged in court by environmentalists, government officials and some farmers, who argued the water transfer to San Diego accelerates the demise of California's largest lake, the Salton Sea.

The water from the Colorado River serves as a major source of drinking water and farming in California, six other Western states and much of northwest Mexico.

LOS ANGELES

Firm to pay $157K fine for ammonia release

Federal regulators say a Southern California food processing company has agreed to pay a $157,000 fine for releasing toxic ammonia and other violations.

In a release Thursday, the Environmental Protection Agency says Ontario-based Ventura Foods failed to notify officials after an unlawful release of ammonia.

Anhydrous ammonia is poisonous, and exposure can damage eyes, irritate skin and make breathing difficult. Prolonged exposure can cause lung damage and death.

Regulators say the company also lacked proper safeguards, such as a risk management plan and chemical accident prevention protocols. Upgrades have been implemented after EPA inspections.

Ventura Foods manufactures, packages and distributes many oil-based food products, including salad dressings, sauces and mayonnaise.

Their grocery brands include Marie's and Dean's.

A spokeswoman for the company says comment would be provided later Thursday.

HUNTINGTON BEACH

8th arrest made in 'Surf City' mob violence

An eighth person has been arrested in connection with mob violence that erupted in a Southern California beach town after a popular surf contest.

The Orange County Register reports police on Wednesday arrested an 18-year-old Chino man on suspicion of lighting fires during Sunday's disturbance in Huntington Beach. He was held on suspicion of arson, inciting a riot, participating in unlawful assembly and refusing to disperse.

An off-duty Fullerton firefighter was among those arrested after a mob broke windows, looted and fought in the streets downtown after the U.S. Open of Surfing. The competition draws thousands to Huntington Beach every year.

Prosecutors have so far charged one person in the disturbance, which injured several people and caused thousands of dollars in damage.

Nineteen-year-old Chase Christman, of Simi Valley, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to felony vandalism and other charges.

-- Associated Press