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The California Water Boards' Annual Performance Report - Fiscal Year 2011-12


MESSAGE:  Enforcement focused on responding to violations with informal enforcement such notices of noncompliance.


MEASUREMENTS  - Data last updated on: 

Region Enforcement Actions
All Other


The data show the volume of work in the stormwater program in response to documented violations. The volume of informal enforcement response is greater than the rest of regulatory programs combined. Five regions issued penalty actions for stormwater violations.



Enforcement plays a significant role in the Water Boards' strategies to protect water quality anrepresents a significant amount of work for both the State and Regional Boards. Enforcementdeters potential violators and protects public health and the environment. The Water Boards use progressive enforcement by addressing some violations with an informal response such as a phone call or staff enforcement letter followed, if needed, with a more formal action. If violations continue, the enforcement response should be quickly escalated to increasingly more formal and serious actions until compliance is achieved. This measure displays the use of formal versus informal actions to address documented violations. The California Water Code has specific enforcement provisions for NPDES stormwater facilities and although most violations are for failure to submit annual reports or for failure to implement best management practices, the first level of response is an informal action notifying the discharger of the violations. The most significant violations received a higher level of enforcement that may include penalties and Cease and Desists Orders.



  • Data Source: CIWQS and SMARTS Period: July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012. Extracted on July 30, 2012.
  • Unit of Measure: Number of enforcement actions with an effective date during FY 11-12. Enforcement Actions issued for violations of the Construction Stormwater permit and the Industrial Stormwater permit.
  • Data Definitions: Informal Enforcement: any communication from that notifies the discharger of a problem (1 for reporting purposes it includes 13267 letters and notices to comply). Formal Enforcement: administrative or judicial actions that impose sanctions and/or require compliance where a hearing is available to contest the allegations (2 for reporting purposes it does not include Administrative Civil Liabilities (ACL) actions). Formal Penalty Enforcement: includes Administrative Civil Liability actions and any other monetary assessment imposed.
  • References: The Water Boards' NPDES Stormwater program
    Public Reports and Data
    Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Information
    The Water Boards' Enforcement Policy



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.

General Permit
An NPDES permit issued under 40 CFR 122.28 that authorizes a category of discharges within a geographical area. A general permit is not specifically tailored for an individual discharger.

Penalty Actions
Administrative or judicial enforcement actions that impose a penalty or requires the completion of a project associated to a monetary amount. Penalty actions include liabilities imposed with an Administrative Civil Liability (ACL) and settlement agreements pursuant to Government Code section 11415.60.

Compliance Actions
Administrative or judicial enforcement actions that impose sanctions and/or require compliance where a hearing is available to contest the allegations. Compliance actions typically uses authority established under Article 1 of Chapter 5 of the California Water Code. Compliance Actions include Time Schedule Orders (TSO), Cease and Desist Orders (CDO) and Clean Up and Abatement Orders (CAO).

All Other Enforcement
Includes any communication or enforcement action taken by Water Board staff that is not defined in statute or regulation. For reporting purposes, it also includes Notices to Comply, Notices of Stormwater Noncompliance, and Technical Reports and Investigations required under section 13267 of the California water Code. It can include any form of communication (oral, written, or electronic) between Water Board staff and a discharger concerning an actual, threatened, or potential violation. The purpose of this actions is to quickly bring an actual, threatened, or potential violation to the dischargerís attention and to give the discharger an opportunity to return to compliance as soon as possible. from the Regional or State Water Boards that notifies the discharger of a problem or a violation. It is the first level of response.

Construction Stormwater Program
Dischargers whose projects disturb one or more acres of soil or whose projects disturb less than one acre but are part of a larger common plan of development that in total disturbs one or more acres, are required to obtain coverage under the General Permit for Discharges of Storm Water Associated with Construction Activity Construction General Permit Order 2009-0009-DWQ. Construction activity subject to this permit includes clearing, grading and disturbances to the ground such as stockpiling, or excavation, but does not include regular maintenance activities performed to restore the original line, grade, or capacity of the facility.

Industrial Stormwater Program
Discharges associated with 10 broad categories of industrial activities are regulated under the Industrial Storm Water General Permit Order 97-03-DWQ (General Industrial Permit), which is an NPDES permit.

( Page last updated:  9/12/12 )