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Cannabis Cultivation Waste Discharge Regulatory Program - General Order Information

Cannabis Cultivation Waste Discharge Regulatory Program - General Order Information

Address:

Central Valley
Regional Water Quality Control Board
364 Knollcrest Drive, Suite 205
Redding, CA 96002
Phone: (530) 224-4845
Fax: (530) 224-4857

Adopted General Order


General Order Overview

The General Order includes enforceable requirements for cannabis cultivators in the Central Valley Region whose cultivation activities occupy and/or disturb more than 1000 square feet, to ensure that their operations do not impact water resources. Cannabis cultivators whose cultivation activities occupy and/or disturb less than 1000 square feet, have not been demonstrated to cause more than de minimis impacts to water quality, and are not required to obtain coverage under the General Order. Cannabis cultivators whose cultivation operations are not in compliance with local/county ordinances cannot obtain coverage under the General Order, but should abide by all Discharge Prohibitions and Discharge Specifications, and implement all applicable Best Management Practices outlined in the General Order, to ensure their operations do not impact water resources.

The General Order classifies cannabis cultivation operations into three different Tiers based on threat to water quality, as determined by specific physical characteristics of the operation and its surroundings. The greater the threat to water quality that a cannabis cultivation operation poses, the more that is required of the cultivator for the protection of water quality and to comply with the General Order.

  • Tier 1 (Low Threat) is for cannabis cultivators whose cultivation activities are located on slopes less than 30%i, occupy and/or disturb less than ¼ acre, AND are not located within 200 feet of an aquatic life bearing water body.

  • Tier 2 (Moderate Threat) is for cannabis cultivators whose cultivation activities are located on slopes less than 30%, occupy and/or disturb less than an acre and no more than 50% of the cultivator's/landowner's parcel(s), AND are not located within 200 feet of an aquatic life bearing water body.

  • Tier 3 (Elevated Threat) is for cannabis cultivators whose cultivation activities do not qualify as Tier 1 or Tier 2 operations. Meaning that their cultivation operation is located on slopes greater than 30%, occupies and/or disturbs more than an acre or more than 50% of the cultivator's/landowner's parcel(s), OR is located within 200 feet of an aquatic life bearing water body.

Cannabis cultivators shall implement all applicable Best Management Practices outlined in the Best Management Practices Manual (Attachment A to the General Order), and shall abide by the Discharge Prohibitions and Discharge Specifications applicable to all cannabis cultivators and the Discharge Specifications applicable to the Tier under which they are enrolled.

Enrollment

To obtain coverage for a medicinal cannabis cultivation operation under the General Order, a cultivator must:

  • Step 1 Download Notice of Intent to Obtain Coverage (NOI)

  • Step 2 Complete NOI and make check payable to: State Water Resources Control Board
    Fill out and submit a Notice of Intent to Obtain Coverage (NOI) and pay the annual fee for the Tier under which their operation falls (see the Annual Fee Schedule below). The NOI requires cannabis cultivators seeking coverage for a new, recently expanded, or expanding operation to conduct an Environmental Compliance Assessment. Cultivators may have to submit additional documentation with their NOI as a result of the Environmental Compliance Assessment. Cannabis cultivators, whose cultivation operations DO NOT fall under Tiers 1 or 2, must develop and submit for approval a Site Management Plan describing practices that will be implemented to minimize impacts to water resources. Site Management Plan requirements are detailed in the General Order and on the last page of the NOI.

  • Step 3 Mail NOI and Annual Fee Payment
    NOIs can be emailed to Griffin Perea at griffin.perea@waterboards.ca.gov; or faxed, mailed, or delivered to:
    Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board
    364 Knollcrest Dr., Ste. 205
    Redding, CA 96002
    Annual Fees can be mailed or delivered to the address above and should be made payable to the State Water Resources Control Board.

    NEW! All cash payments must be submitted directly to the State Water Resources Control Board, not the Regional Water Board. The State Water Board prefers that payments be made by check or money order. Money orders are available in large denominations (up to $1,000) at many retail outlets and post offices across California, and, if used, will expedite the enrollment process. The State Water Board may be able to accept cash payments at its downtown Sacramento location. Cash payments, however, will require additional time and an appointment with the State Water Board's Sacramento office. A delay in enrollment due to the need for a cash payment is not an excuse for non-compliance with applicable enrollment requirements.

    For an appointment, please call: (916) 341-5021
    If you are sending a cash payment it must be sent to:
    State Water Resources Control Board
    P.O. Box 1888
    Sacramento, CA 95812-1888

  • Step 4 After NOI is approved, a Notice of Applicability is mailed to the Cultivator/Enrollee.

  • Annual Fee Schedule for Marijuana Cultivation:
    • Tier 1 (Low Threat)
      $1000
    • Tier 2 (Moderate Threat)
      $2500
    • Tier 3 (Elevated Threat)
      $10,000

    The above Annual Fee Schedule for Marijuana Cultivation can be found within the FY 2015-16 Fee Schedule - California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 23, Division 3, Chapter 9. Waste Discharge Reports and Requirements, Article 1. Fees (the link will take you to State Water Resources Control Board's Water Quality Fees web page).

Third Party Programs

Under the General Order, medicinal cannabis cultivators have the option to enroll, participate, and demonstrate compliance through an approved third party program. Third party groups operate as discharger-funded intermediaries between the Water Boards and the thousands of cannabis cultivators in the Region. At this time the third party program is being developed. You are encouraged to contact Griffin Perea at griffin.perea@waterboards.ca.gov if you are interested in forming a third party group, and sign up on our Cannabis Cultivation Waste Discharge Regulatory Program electronic mailing list for updates on third party program development.

Inspections

The General Order requires that enrollees allow Water Board staff and/or California Department of Fish and Wildlife staff reasonable access to their cannabis cultivation operations for the purpose of performing inspections to determine compliance.

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iSlope should be determined by measuring between cannabis cultivation areas or associated facilities and nearest surface water body.


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--Web page updated 04/25/2017