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The California Water Boards' Annual Performance Report - Fiscal Year 2011

ENFORCE: NPDES WASTEWATER

GROUP:  ALL NPDES WASTEWATER FACILITIES
MEASURE:  VIOLATIONS SUBJECT TO MANDATORY MINIMUM PENALTIES, 2000-2011
MESSAGE:  Two regions documented 93% of total reporting MMP violations in the state since January 2004.
KEY STATISTICS

 

MEASUREMENTS  - Data last updated on: 

Regional
Board
Effluent Reporting Serious MMPs Total
Chronic MMPs Serious MMPs

WHAT THE MEASURE IS SHOWING

The table above shows the number of violations subject to mandatory minimum penalties (MMP) recorded from 2000 to 2011. According to the CIWQS database, 29,457 violations subject to mandatory minimum penalties occurred between January 1, 2000 and September 30, 2011.  Of these, 25,832 (88 percent) are recorded as having received a minimum or greater penalty.  Some portion of the reported effluent violations may qualify for statutory exemptions. The data shows that two regions (R4 and R5S) concentrate 64% of all recorded MMP violations. Mandatory minimum penalties for failure to submit compliance self-monitoring reports started in January 2004. Since then, two regional boards recorded 93% of all documented reporting violations subject to MMPs.

WHY THIS MEASURE IS IMPORTANT

On January 1, 2000, new legislation (Senate Bill 709) required that certain permit violations under the Water Code be subject to mandatory minimum penalties (MMP). Mandatory penalty provisions are required by California Water Code section 13385(h) and (i) for specified violations of NPDES permits.  For violations that are subject to those mandatory minimum penalties, the RWQCB must either assess an ACL for the mandatory minimum penalty or assess an ACL for a greater amount.  California Water Code section 13385(h) requires that a mandatory minimum penalty of $3,000 be assessed by the RWQCB for each serious violation.  The RWQCB is also required by California Water Code section 13385(i) to assess mandatory minimum penalties of $3,000 per non-serious violation, not counting the first three violations. Identification and documentation of violations is important to ensure that water quality is protected and that serious violations and those high priority violations receive an adequate enforcement response. Tracking violations and compliance rates over time is necessary to assess the effectiveness of the Water Boards enforcement policies and actions. For every enforcement action taken, the discharger’s return to compliance should be tracked in the Water Board’s enforcement database.

TECHNICAL CONSIDERATIONS

GLOSSARY

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)
The NPDES permit program (Section 402 of the Clean Water Act ) controls water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants into waters of the United States. Point sources are discrete conveyances such as pipes or man-made ditches. Individual homes that are connected to a municipal system, use a septic system, or do not have a surface discharge do not need an NPDES permit; however, industrial, municipal, and other facilities must obtain permits if their discharges go directly to surface waters. US EPA has approved the Water Board's program to issue NPDES permits.

Mandatory Minimum Penalty (MMP)
Mandatory penalty provisions are required by California Water Code section 13385(h) and (i) for specified violations of NPDES permits. For violations that are subject to mandatory minimum penalties, the Regional Board must either assess an ACL for the mandatory minimum penalty or assess an ACL for a greater amount. California Water Code section 13385(h) requires that a mandatory minimum penalty of $3,000 be assessed by the Regional Board for each serious violation.

Serious Violation Subject to Mandatory Minimum Penalty (MMP)
A serious violation is any waste discharge that exceeds the effluent limitation for a Group I pollutant (priority pollutants) by 40 percent or more, or a Group II pollutant (toxic pollutants) by 20 percent or more. California Water Code section 13385.1 also defines a serious violation subject to MMP a failure to submit a compliance self-monitoring report for each complete period of 30 days.

Chronic Violation Subject to Mandatory Minimum Penalty (MMP)
A Chronic violation subject to mandatory minimum penalty of $3,000 is any waste discharge that exceeds effluent limitations four or more times in any period of six consecutive months. (see California Water Code section 13385(i)).

( Page last updated:  6/27/12