Gino DiCaro

Numeric limits for stormwater in the news

By Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications

Capitol Update, July 14, 2006 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

The State Water Resources Control Board's (SWRCB) "Blue Ribbon Panel" has reported its findings concerning the feasibility of adopting numeric standards for stormwater. It was expected to be finalized by the end of 2005.  The report basically states that limits are not feasible for municipalities, are feasible for construction sites, and may be feasible for specific industrial sites.  Here is a link to that report:  Final Report

CMTA has maintained that numeric limits for the industrial sector are unrealistic, unattainable and would waste precious taxpayer dollars while also driving employers out of business.  A few regional boards have already imposed unobtainable numeric limits on their permit holders.  The compliance cost in a number of instances has been in the millions of dollars.

The SWRCB has scheduled public workshops for July 21 in Sacramento and July 28 in Los Angeles to hear testimony focused on the future direction of policies, plans and regulatory measures in light of the panel's recommendations (Notice of Public Workshops). The deadline for written comments is July 28, 2006.

The panel acknowledged that more information is needed from industrial sites before meaningful numeric standards should be considered.  CMTA agrees and advocates more robust monitoring and data analysis to determine what can be accomplished by readily available Best Manufacturing Practices (BMPs).  The majority of the environmental community have encouraged implementation of numeric standards now, regardless of the cost.

Before numeric limits should be considered by the State Board, the panel thinks that BMPs for various sectors should be improved and more efficiently enforced.  However, this begs the question: Who handles the enforcement?  If local government does not have the interest or the funding, should the State be imposing more regulations?

The real cost to implementing numeric standards needs to be analyzed.  Everyone (the Governor, the Legislature and the local taxpayers) needs to understand the full impact before any action is taken.  CMTA believes that a stay should be imposed on the actions of regional boards in this regard until the State has given direction.

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