Agriculturally Dominated Water Bodies Evaluation
Municipal and Domestic Supply (MUN) Beneficial Use Project
Via the Sources of Drinking Water Policy (88-63), the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board Basin Plans (Basin Plans) designate MUN beneficial use to all water bodies unless they are specifically listed as water bodies that are not designated with MUN. The Basin Plans state that waters designated for MUN must not exceed Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) for chemical constituents, pesticides, and radionuclides. While 88-63 does contain exceptions for the MUN designation, to utilize the exception, the Basin Plans require “. . . a formal Basin Plan amendment and public hearing, followed by approval of such an amendment by the State Water Board and the Office of Administrative Law.”
During permit adoptions for the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program, there have been challenges to protecting the MUN beneficial use designation in agricultural drains due to the stated exception in 88-63. The cost for POTWs to comply with protecting the MUN beneficial use has been estimated at $3 - $7 million (City of Willows, case example). The POTWs have been provided the option of pursuing a basin plan amendment as part of their permit compliance.
Concurrently, the CV-SALTS initiative has identified the need to evaluate the protection of MUN beneficial uses in agriculturally dominated water bodies. CV-SALTS identified receiving waters of four Publically Owned Treatment Works (POTWs - Cities of Willows, Colusa, Biggs and Live Oak) as potential archetypes (case studies) for evaluating appropriateness of a MUN designation. These same potential archetypes have challenged the MUN designation during NPDES permit renewals.
In May 2011, a draft Central Valley Water Board staff report evaluated the appropriateness of the MUN beneficial use in a water body (agricultural drain) receiving effluent. The report found that more data needs to be collected before determining if a basin plan amendment is needed. The data needs noted included: characterization of the receiving waters, water quality data for the effluent and all receiving waters, flow data for all of the receiving waters, an antidegradation analysis, and an environmental analysis.
This MUN beneficial use project is the first phase of the agriculturally dominated water bodies evaluation effort. Sponsored by the Central Valley Water Board in conjunction with the CV-SALTS initiative, the project attempts to combine and leverage the work desired by four POTWs (the cities of Willows, Colusa, Live Oak, and Biggs) and the archetypes identified by CV-SALTS. The second phase of the evaluation will be focused on determining the appropriate beneficial uses for all agricultural dominated water bodies.
- Fact Sheet, 510 KB, PDF (PDF info)
- Historic Studies
- Project Work Plan
- Upcoming Meeting:
- Regional Board Meeting - Project Update Presentation February 1, 2013, 1.59 MB*, PDF (PDF info)
- CEQA Public Scoping Meetings - October/November 2012
- CEQA Scoping Notice, 108 KB, PDF (PDF info)
- Informational Document, 1.41 MB*, PDF (PDF info)
- CEQA Meeting Presentation, 2.43 MB*, PDF (PDF info)
- Meeting Notes
- Comment Letters:
- United States Environmental Protection Agency, Region IX, 106 KB, PDF (PDF info)
- California Urban Water Agencies, 91 KB, PDF (PDF info)
- Central Valley Clean Water Association, 422 KB, PDF (PDF info)
- Colusa Glenn Subwatershed Program, 18 KB, PDF (PDF info)
- Michael L. Johnson, LLC, 163 KB, PDF (PDF info)
- Operations and Permitting Specialists (on behalf of the City of Live Oak), 412 KB, PDF (PDF info)
- Sacramento River Source Water Protection Program, 535 KB, PDF (PDF info)
- San Joaquin River Group, 291 KB, PDF (PDF info)
- Response to Comments, 436 KB, PDF (PDF info)
- Past Stakeholder Meetings
- Draft Monitoring Plan, 1.06 MB*, PDF (PDF info)
- Draft Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP), 2.75 MB*, PDF (PDF info)
- Draft Raw Data (last updated 12/20/2012), 316 KB, MS Excel
- Lab Reports
For more information, contact: Anne Littlejohn at (916) 464-4840 or by email at email@example.com.