California water regulators recently published a new draft of permitting requirements applicable to many businesses – including many businesses never before subject to water quality regulation. After 16 years of settled practice, businesses will face a significant change to storm water regulation in California if the draft requirements become the law.
On July 19, 2013, the California State Water Resources Control Board (“State Board”) issued a draft general NPDES permit that regulates storm water discharges associated with industrial activity. This “Industrial General Permit” would require industrial facilities to comply with a set of new requirements.
The new Industrial General Permit would impose mandatory best management practices (“BMPs”), require increased sampling and monitoring, and mandate technical reports and action plans if monitoring shows that storm water discharges exceed certain pollutant concentrations. In addition, “light industry” facilities, previously exempt upon a simple self-certification, would now have to file an annual, public report and could be subjected to inspections by water regulators.
As under the current Industrial General Permit, facilities that fail to comply with Permit requirements would be subject to civil penalties of up to $37,500 per day per violation under the federal Clean Water Act. Accordingly, all businesses and industrial facilities would be well advised to develop a sophisticated understanding of these new requirements.
The State Board is accepting written comments and evidence on the proposed Industrial General Permit until noon on August 29, 2013. To learn more, the public can attend a web conference workshop on the new permit on August 14, or attend the public hearing on August 21 in Sacramento. Following the comment period, final adoption of the Industrial General Permit is scheduled for early 2014.
Additional information is available on the State Board website at http://www.swrcb.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/stormwater/industrial.shtml
UPDATE, August 19, 2013: The State Water Resources Control Board has extended the public comment period from August 29, 2013 to 12:00 noon September 12, 2013.
UPDATE September 12, 2013: The State Board has once again extended the public comment period from September 12 to September 19, 2013.
Attorneys from Barg Coffin Lewis & Trapp, LLP, a nationally-recognized environmental law and litigation firm in San Francisco, will continue to monitor these developments. For more information, please contact Donald Sobelman, firstname.lastname@example.org, (415) 228-5456, or David Metres, email@example.com, (415) 228-5488.