Welcome to the State Water Resources Control Board Welcome to the California Environmental Protection Agency
Governor's Website Visit the Water Board Members Page
My Water Quality
Performance Report

State Water Board Logo

The California Water Boards' Annual Performance Report - 2013


MESSAGE:  penalty actions issued in calendar year 2013.




Enforcement Action Type 1 2 3 4 5F 5R 5S 6A 6B 7 8 9 Grand


FusionCharts will load here


Enforcement Action Type 1 2 3 4 5F 5R 5S 6A 6B 7 8 9 Grand


Enforcement Action Type 1 2 3 4 5F 5R 5S 6A 6B 7 8 9 Grand


Enforcement Action Type 1 2 3 4 5F 5R 5S 6A 6B 7 8 9 Grand




The tables list the number of enforcement actions taken by the Regional Water Boards grouped from informal to more formal during calendar year 2013. As expected, the Regional Boards use informal actions more often to notify dischargers that violations have been noted and recorded. The use of formal actions (compliance actions and penalty actions) in several regions is limited to the imposition of penalties. There is a significant variability in the number and types of enforcement actions issued overtime by Regional Water Board.


Enforcement plays a significant role in the Water Boards' strategies to protect water quality and represents a significant amount of work for both the State and Regional Boards. Enforcement deters potential violators and protects public health and the environment. Enforcement can prevent threatened pollution from occurring and can promote prompt cleanup and correction of existing pollution problems. 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.


  • Data Source: CIWQS Period: January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013. Extracted on September 22, 2014.
  • Unit of Measure: Number of enforcement actions with an effective date during calendar years between 2000 and 2013.
  • 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.
  • All Other Regulatory Programs: Include facilities regulated under section 401 and wetlands, Irrigated Lands, Non Point Source, Reclamation, Site Cleanup, Timber Harvest, and those facilities unregulated or not directly regulated.
  • Resources: Public Reports and Data
    Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Information
    The Water Boards' Enforcement Policy


Waste Discharge Requirements
The Waste Discharge Requirements (WDR) - Waste Discharges to Land Program regulates all point source discharges of waste to land that do not require full containment (which falls under the Land Discharge Program), or are not subject to the NPDES Program.

Conditional Waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements
A Regional Water Board can formally waive Waste Discharge Requirements (WDRs) for specific discharges to surface waters that are not subject to National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System regulations provided that certain conditions are met, including that the discharge will not cause or contribute to violations in water quality. An individual conditional waiver of WDRs can be issued directly to an individual discharger. For discharges of a certain type, such as discharges from irrigated agricultural lands, individual or groups of dischargers may enroll under a general conditional waiver of WDRs.

Irrigated Agricultural Lands
Lands where water is applied to produce crops such as land planted to row, vineyard, pasture, field and tree crops, commercial nurseries, nursery stock production, managed wetlands, and rice production that do not currently discharge under waste discharge requirements, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits, Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permits, or other NPDES permits.

Site Cleanup
The Site Cleanup program addresses commercial, industrial and other non-military sites with non-fuel contamination. Many of these sites are considered Brownfields because of their reuse potential. Site Cleanup Requirements generally mandate a time schedule for specific tasks that must be performed by the responsible party(ies) to investigate and clean up the site. Water Board staff oversee implementation of these tasks including investigations, corrective actions, and human health risk assessments at sites with current or historic unauthorized discharges, which have adversely affected or threaten to adversely affect waters of the state.

401 Certification/Wetlands
This program encompasses wetlands protection but stems from the legal authority in Clean Water Act section 401 governing the discharge of dredge and fill material in federal waters. Discharge of "fill" material means adding into waters of the United States materials (such as concrete, dirt, rock, pilings, rip-rap, or side-casting material) that are for the purpose or have the effect of either replacing an aquatic area with dry land or raising the elevation of an aquatic area.

Timber Harvest Forestry
This program regulates discharges from logging and associated activities. Timber harvesting activities with the greatest potential to impact waters of the State include: felling, yarding, and hauling of trees; road construction and reconstruction; watercourse crossing construction, reconstruction, or removal; and herbicide applications. Excessive vegetation alteration, soil erosion, and sediment delivery associated with these activities can impact the beneficial uses of water by: 1) silting over fish spawning habitats; 2) clogging drinking water intakes; 3) filling in pools creating shallower, wider, and warmer streams, and increasing downstream flooding; 4) creating unstable stream channels; and 5) losing riparian habitat and function. Timber harvesting in the riparian zone can adversely affect stream temperatures by removing stream shading, especially important for maintaining cold water beneficial uses in temperature impaired waterbodies.

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.

Formal Enforcement
Formal enforcement actions are statutorily recognized actions to address a violation or threatened violation such as Cleanup and Abatement Orders.

Informal Enforcement
An informal enforcement action is any enforcement action taken by Water Board staff that is not defined in statute, such as staff letters and notices of violation.

Type of Enforcement Action Description Classification
Expedited Payment Offer A conditional offer that provides a discharger with an opportunity to resolve any outstanding violations subject to mandatory minimum penalties by acknowledging them and providing full payment of the accrued mandatory penalties identified in the payment letter. Informal
Verbal Communication Any communication regarding the violation that takes place in person or by telephone. Informal
Staff Enforcement Letter Any written communication regarding violations and possible enforcement actions that is signed at the staff level. Informal
Notice of Violation A letter officially notifying a discharger of a violation and the possible enforcement actions, penalties, and liabilities that may result. This letter is signed by the Executive Office. Informal
Notice to Comply Issuance of a Notice to Comply per Water Code Section 13. Formal
13267 Order A letter utilizing Water Code Section 13267 authority to require further information or studies. Formal
Clean-up and Abatement Order Any order pursuant to Water Code Section 13304. Formal
Cease and Desist Order Any order pursuant to Water Codes Sections 13301-13303. Formal
Time Schedule Order Any order pursuant to Water Code Section 13300. Formal
Administrative Civil Liability (ACL) Complaint ACL Complaint issued by the Executive Officer. Formal
Administrative Civil Liability (ACL) Order An ACL Order that has been imposed by the Water Board or SWRCB. Formal
Settlement A settlement agreement per California Government Code Section 11415.6. Formal
Referral Referral to the District Attorney, Attorney General, or USEPA. Formal
Referred to a Task Force Any referral of a violation to an environmental crimes task force. Formal
Referral to Other Agency Any referral to another State Agency. Formal
Third Party Action An enforcement action taken by a non-governmental third party and to which the State or Water Board is a party. Formal
Waste Discharge Requirements Any modification or rescission of Waste Discharge Requirements in response to a violation. Formal

( Page last updated:  10/22/14 )