Tuesday, December 2, 2008

California Stormwater Permitting Program Temporarly Shut Down By Court Order

In July 2008, court actions in California effectively shut down a large portion of the State's stormwater permitting program, leaving many new dischargers without a viable means of obtaining a stormwater discharge permit. This impacted new industrial dischargers; however the most significant impact was on new construction sites.

On July 2, 2008, the Orange County Superior Court issued a Writ of Mandate ordering the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) to a cease, desist and suspend all activities relating to the implementation, application, and/or enforcement of the Standards in the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board's Basin Plan, as applied or to be applied to Stormwater. This injunction prohibited the approval of Notices of Intent (NOIs) in the Los Angeles Region under the Statewide National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Construction, Small Linear Utility, and Industrial Storm Water General Permits.

The State Water Board and Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board immediately stopped enrolling dischargers, processing NOIs, and assigning Waste Discharge Identification (WDID) numbers for activities in the Los Angeles Region. Applications (NOIs) received in July were rejected. This action did not eliminate the regulatory obligation to obtain a stormwater discharge permit. Therefore, new dischargers who were not already covered under the permit were not able to obtain coverage under the general permit.

On August 1, 2008, the Orange County Superior Court issued an order limiting the effect of a Writ of Mandate, and allowing the processing of Notices of Intent (NOIs) and Notices of Termination (NOTs). Dischargers with rejected NOIs were instructed to resubmit their NOI to the State Water Board with the applicable fee and a WDID Number would be assigned as soon as possible.

For further information contact Caltha LLP at
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