Water board may step back from statewide policy

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Feb. 23, 2007 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

At a California Association of Stormwater Quality Agencies (CASQA) meeting in San Diego last week, State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) member Dr. Gary Wolff stated that he did not think that there would be a statewide, uniform stormwater policy established.  This announcement was a surprise to industry who have been advocating for just such a policy.

A number of regional boards have applied numeric limits on stormwater discharges for NPDES (National Pollution Discharge Elimination System) permits and TMDL’s (Total Maximum Daily Loading) without adequate study or scientific justification.  Different regional boards have come up with widely varying interpretations and applications for similar circumstances.  The regional boards do not have the technical expertise to make decisions based on data and science and may be too easily swayed by the politics of the situation.

Last year the State’s Blue Ribbon Panel, consisting of highly-educated PhD-level, experienced individuals, had a great deal of difficulty determining the feasibility of developing objective numeric limits for industrial stormwater runoff.  The panel endorsed the use of scientific methods and data to derive numeric limits and institute them only when it is necessary and feasible.  The panel further found that the current lack of monitored data and economic impact considerations raised many concerns.   

While CMTA recognizes that the regional boards have more local knowledge of the circumstances surrounding a permit application, we firmly believe that a uniform, consistent statewide policy needs to be developed and operated by a specifically trained unit of the SWRCB.  SWRCB will be reviewing its Strategic Plan on March 12th and 13th.  The meeting may provide an opportunity to comment on strategy.

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