State water board begins effort to adopt new stormwater requirements

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Aug. 12, 2005 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Following an "invitation only" meeting of select individuals and State Water Board officials in April, the State Board has convened an "advisory panel" of eight individuals to address three questions – the outcome of which may have dramatic and costly implications for all stormwater permit holders in California.  The questions are: 
  • Is it technically feasible to establish numeric effluent limitations, or some other objective criteria, for inclusion in stormwater permits
  • How would such limitations or criteria be established
  • What information and date would be required
The clear purpose of the "questions" developed is to determine whether future stormwater permits – industrial, construction and even municipal should contain specific, numeric permit limits that will determine compliance.  Currently, virtually all stormwater permits in California are based on "narrative" standards that rely on imposition of "best management practices" to determine compliance.  Few other states in the country regulate stormwater discharges by numeric effluent limits and the current approach by US EPA is to rely on the system now being used by the State and Regional Boards.

At an April meeting of the State Board staff, environmental group representatives and some stormwater dischargers decided to create a technical advisory panel to address the three questions and make recommendations for future, possible State Board action.  The panel is scheduled to meet in Sacramento on September 14 to take limited testimony from selected discharger groups, to ask questions of these representatives and to consider the information provided.

The advisory panel will convene again on September 15 to develop specific recommendations for the State Board to consider and, according to a State Board source; the panel’s deliberations on September 15 will not be open to the public.  The legality of holding closed-to-the-public deliberations of a state agency convened advisory group has been questioned by some stakeholders.

CMTA will likely be submitting written comments to the State Board on this effort.   If you are interested in getting more information about this issue, contact Mike Rogge at mrogge@cmta.net or 916-498-3313. 
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