State Water Boards Bacterial Objectives
The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) is proposing a statewide bacteria water quality objectives and implementation options to protect recreational users from the effects of pathogens in California water bodies. The objectives and implementation options are proposed as a new part 3 of the Water Quality Control Plan for the Inland Surface Waters, Enclosed Bays, and Estuaries of California, and as an amendment to the Water Quality Control Plan for Oceans Waters of California.
Official Documents and Timeline
- Project Timeline
July 2014 January and February 2015 January 23, 2017 June 30, 2017 July 10, 2017 August 1, 2017 August 16, 2017 January 18, 2018 To be determined Focus Group
CEQA Scoping Scoping meeting on Water Quality Standards Variance
Public Comment period began
Staff workshop State Water Board Public Hearing Public Comment period ended Release of the Proposed Final Provisions, Staff Report, and Comment Summary and Responses State Water Board Meeting - proposed adoption
- Phase currently in progress: Preparing for the State Water Board’s consideration of adoption.
- The State Water Board’s adoption of the Bacteria Provisions and associated WQS Variance Policy had been scheduled for February 6, but will now be rescheduled. State Board recently received information about state-specific epidemiological studies that may be relevant to the choice of indicators proposed in the Ocean Plan amendment. The Water Board is taking additional time to review this information to ensure California’s beaches are adequately protected.
- Agenda Item and Draft Resolution for Adoption - (posted 01/26/2018)
- Revised Proposed Final Part 3 of the Water Quality Control Plan for Inland Surface Waters, Enclosed Bays, and Estuaries of California—Bacteria Provisions and a Water Quality Standards Variance Policy – (posted 01/26/2018)
- Revised Proposed Final Amendment to the Water Quality Control Plan for Ocean Waters of California—Bacteria Provisions and a Water Quality Standards Variance Policy - (posted 01/26/2018)
- Updated Notice Of Document Availability (posted 01/18/2018)
- Proposed Final Part 3 of the Water Quality Control Plan for Inland Surface Waters, Enclosed Bays, and Estuaries of California—Bacteria Provisions and a Water Quality Standards Variance Policy - (posted 01/18/2018)
- Proposed Final Amendment to the Water Quality Control Plan for Ocean Waters of California—Bacteria Provisions and a Water Quality Standards Variance Policy - (posted 01/18/2018)
- Proposed Final Staff Report, including Substitute Environmental Documentation for the Bacteria Provisions - (posted 01/18/2018)
- Comment Summary and Responses - (posted 01/18/2018)
- Revised Notice of Consideration - (posted 12/01/2017)
- Notice of Consideration - (posted 11/2/2017)
- Comment Letters
- Staff Workshop Power Point Presentation - (posted 07/10/2017)
- Draft Staff Report - (posted 06/30/2017)
- Draft Bacteria Provisions - (posted 06/30/2017)
- Economics Analysis (posted 06/27/2017)
- Revised Notice of Opportunity for Public Comment, Staff Workshop, Public Hearing and Notice of Filing (posted 06/15/2017)
- Notice of Opportunity for Public Comment, Staff Workshop, Public Hearing and Notice of Filing (posted 05/31/2017)
- Notice of Variance Policy Scoping Meeting
- Variance Policy Scoping Document
- Variance Policy Scoping Meeting Power Point Presentation
- Scoping Document - 2015
- Scoping Notice - 2015
- Scoping Meeting PowerPoint Presentation
- CDPH Uniform Guidelines for Sewage Disinfection
Focus Group Outreach
Focus Group Meeting were held to obtain early input on the scope of the proposed bacteria objectives.
Existing statutes and regulations
- Ocean Beaches AB 411, Chaptered into law in 1997 added Sections 115880-115915 to the California Health and Safety Code.
These statutes (AB411 is the shorthand) are for the California beach water quality monitoring program that samples fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) and provides public notification if it is safe to swim based at 476 California coastal and San Francisco Bay saltwater beaches.
- U.S. EPA Recreational Water Quality Criteria
U.S. EPA's nationally recommended Recreational Water Quality Criteria (RWQC) protect human health in inland and coastal waters. The criteria are designed to protect primary contact recreation, such as swimming, surfing, and diving.
- CDPH Beaches and Recreational Waters
The California Department of Public Health provides links to the Regulations (based on AB411 statutes) and guidance material to assist local health agencies in addressing microbiological contamination of fresh and saltwater beaches and recreational waters.
- US EPA Nationwide Bacteria Standards Protect Swimmers at Beaches
A 2004 US EPA overview of the implementation of Beach safety programs nationwide based on the 2000 BEACH Act.
Subscribe to our email list Freshwater Plans and Policies under the Water Quality Section on this page: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/resources/email_subscriptions/swrcb_subscribe.html to receive notifications, updates and other correspondence on this topic.
(Page last updated 2/22/18)
Water is a precious resource in California, and maintaining its quality is of utmost importance to safeguard the health of the public and the environment.