Big increase in wastewater discharge fees

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Sept. 26, 2013 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

On Tuesday, September 24th, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) approved emergency regulations revising their regulatory fee schedules for waste water discharges significantly upward. 

The Board’s figures indicate the need to increase revenues by $18.9 million (32.5 percent) for Fiscal Year 2013-14 to meet their budget. There was just an increase of 35 percent in fees in FY 2011-12 and, disturbingly, expenditures exceeded revenues in that year by $3.4 million. It is unclear why costs are increasing in this program.

Stormwater fees will increase a whopping 27.5 percent with the adoption of new permits but there has been no discernible increase in the level of service from the SWRCB. The State Water Board records show that the stormwater program is the only program with a positive balance over the last 9 fiscal years by a wide margin. This increase will be on top of more costly compliance costs under recently adopted new permit requirements.

The fee increase was rushed through as an emergency regulation. Such action was perhaps justified in the past when the need for fee increases couldn’t be pinned down until allocations from the General Fund were known; however, the SWRCB no longer gets any significant moneys from the General Fund. Fee payers bear the entire cost of the SWRCB’s operations. The Board approved this increase with little acknowledgement to the comments provided in opposition.

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