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.
Basin Plan Amendment Documents
- Basin Plan Amendment to Remove the Municipal and Domestic Supply (MUN) Beneficial Use in Twelve Constructed and/or Modified Water Bodies in the Sacramento River Basin that receive Treated Municipal Wastewater from the Cities of Biggs, Colusa, Live Oak or Willows
The Central Valley Water Board adopted this Basin Plan Amendment on 16 April 2015 with Resolution (R5-2015-0022) , see below. Before becoming effective, this Basin Plan Amendment must be approved by the State Water Resources Control Board, Office of Administrative Law and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
- United States Environmental Protection Agency Action: Pending
- Office of Administrative law Action: Pending
- State Water Board Action: Pending
- Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board Hearings
- Final Central Valley Water Board Resolution (R5-2015-0022), 202 KB, PDF (PDF info) - Includes Final Basin Plan Amendment language
- Final Staff Report
- Buff Sheet, 24 KB, PDF (PDF info)
- Draft Resolution, 68 KB, PDF (PDF info)
- Draft Staff Report, 3.53 MB*, PDF (PDF info)
- CEQA Filing Fee No Effect Determination, 183 KB, PDF (PDF info)
- Comment Letters:
- City of Sacramento, Department of Utilities, 2.44 MB*, PDF (PDF info)
- California Rice Commission, 585 KB, PDF (PDF info)
- California Urban Water Agencies, 229 KB, PDF (PDF info)
- Central Valley Clean Water Association, 270 KB, PDF (PDF info)
- Tulare Lake Basin Water Storage District, 40 KB, PDF (PDF info)
- Response to Comments, 111 KB, PDF (PDF info)
- Notice of Public Hearing and Notice of Filing of draft Environmental Documents, 206 KB, PDF (PDF info)
- Supporting Documents:
- 18-month Sacramento Case Study Water Quality Final Report
- June 2014 Synoptic Evaluation Final Report, 3.33 MB*, PDF (PDF info)
- Sacramento Case Study Water Body Characterization Final Reports:
- Region-wide MUN Evaluation Process Basin Plan Amendment
- Notice of Public Workshop, 187 KB, PDF (PDF info)
- Information Document, 493 KB, PDF (PDF info)
- Board Workshop Presentation - 16 April 2015, 3.18 MB*, PDF (PDF info)
- Draft Staff Report - Pending
- CEQA Public Scoping Meetings - October/November 2012
- Next Meeting: TBD
- Past Stakeholder Meetings
- Regional Board Meeting - Project Update Presentation February 1, 2013, 1.59 MB*, PDF (PDF info)
Other Project Links
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