The Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board enforces environmental laws to ensure protection of human health, water quality, and the environment. The Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act gives the Water Boards the authority to implement and enforce water quality laws, regulations, policies, and plans to protect groundwater and surface waters of the State. Timely and consistent enforcement of these laws is essential to the success of the Water Board programs in protecting all beneficial uses of California's water and to ensure the people of the State have safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water adequate for human consumption, cooking, and sanitary purposes.
View the Central Coast Water Board’s Enforcement Program’s Primary Responsibilities.
Compliance with regulations is critical in protecting public health and the environment. It is the preference of the Water Board that the most effective and timely methods are used to assure that the regulated community achieves and maintains compliance. Tools such as providing assistance, training, guidance, and incentives are commonly used by the Water Board and work very well in many situations. However, there is a point at which this cooperative approach no longer works and staff begins progressive enforcement, which contemplates an escalating series of actions beginning with notification of violations and compliance assistance, followed by increasingly severe consequences, culminating in a complaint for civil liabilities or other formal enforcement. The Water Board follows the State Water Board Water Quality Enforcement Policy for developing fair, firm, consistent, and transparent enforcement.
Central Coast Water Board Enforcement Priorities
- Address violations that pose an immediate and significant threat to water quality or result in significant detrimental impacts to human health and/or the environment.
- Prioritize violations associated with discharges that impact water quality in Underrepresented Communities.
- Prioritize violations associated with discharges that result in drinking water supplies exceeding drinking water standards for individuals and/or small communities.
- Address violations involving falsification of information and non-compliant dischargers that realize a significant competitive economic advantage over compliant members of the regulated public.
Underrepresented Communities include, but are not limited to, Disadvantaged Communities (DACs), Severely Disadvantaged Communities (SDACs), Economically Distressed Areas (EDAs), Tribes, Environmentally Disadvantaged Communities (EnvDACs), and members of Fringe Communities.
Current Enforcement Actions
Notice of Public Hearing of an Administrative Civil Liability Complaint for an Alleged Violation of Agricultural Order Requirements – The Central Coast Water Board will consider adoption on the following Administrative Civil Liability Order (ACL Order) for alleged violations associated with failing to submit Total Nitrogen Applied (TNA) Reports as required by Agricultural Order General Waste Discharge Requirements for Discharges from Irrigated Lands Order No. R3-2021-0040 (Agricultural Order):
- Administrative Civil Liability Complaint No. R3-2023-0050
- Hearing Procedures
- Operator: JSM Organics, Inc.
- Ranch: El Rancho Triple M
- Ranch Location: Assessor Parcel Number 181-251-001-000, Monterey County
- Proposed Administrative Civil Liability: $49,415
- Revised Hearing Procedures
A hearing was held before the Central Coast Water Board at its October 19, 2023 meeting to consider adoption of an ACL Order for JSM Organics, Inc., Monterey County, Administrative Civil Liability Complaint No. R3-2023-0050. At the October 19, 2023 meeting, the Central Coast Water Board decided to continue the hearing at its February 15-16, 2024 meeting. The Central Coast Water Board may revise the amounts of the civil liability at the hearing. For questions regarding the complaint, please contact: Tamara Anderson, 895 Aerovista Place, Suite 101, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401, or Tamara.Anderson@waterboards.ca.gov.
Expedited Payment Program - The Central Coast Water Board Enforcement Unit has issued a conditional offer to participate in the Central Coast Water Board’s Expedited Payment Program for the following bulleted parties to settle violations subject to mandatory minimum penalties pursuant to California Water Code sections 13385(h) and (i), and sections 13399.33(c) and (d). The listed recipients have agreed to pay the penalties proposed by the Assistant Executive Officer, pending public comment and subject to approval by the Central Coast Water Board or its Executive Officer.
- None at this time
Adopted Formal Enforcement Orders
The link below provides a list of discretionary administrative civil liability orders adopted by the Central Coast Water Board, or its delegate, since 2011. Administrative civil liability orders resolve alleged violations and typically include monetary penalties.
In addition to discretionary administrative civil liability orders, the Central Coast Water Board takes many other forms of enforcement action that the public can access online (for example, expedited payment letters to resolve mandatory minimum penalties, cease and desist orders, etc.).
To view those actions, please see the Central Coast Water Board’s Adopted Orders webpage, select the order’s applicable year from the “Water Quality Orders By Year” links, and then select the desired document links for that order. Alternatively, you may see the Enforcement Reports section of the State Water Board’s California Integrated Water Quality System (CIWQS) Public Reports webpage.
Water Quality Enforcement Policy
Please visit the State Water Resources Control Board's Water Quality Enforcement Policy website for information about the Policy. There you can view and download the 2017 Water Quality Enforcement Policy (effective October 5, 2017) and the associated 2017 Penalty Methodology Spreadsheet. The 2017 Enforcement Policy will apply to violations that occur from October 5, 2017 onward.
Enforcement Program staff will apply the 2009 Enforcement Policy to violations that occurred before October 5, 2017. The Application of the 2009 and 2017 Enforcement Policies memo describes how the state and regional boards intend to apply each version of the Policy for violations that occurred before and after the October 5, 2017 date.
Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs)
2017 SEP Policy
The State Water Board adopted Resolution 2017-0074, which amends to the Policy on Supplemental Environmental Projects, on December 5, 2017. The Office of Administrative Law (OAL) approved the regulatory action on May 3, 2018 and the amended policy became effective on that date.
- 2017 SEP Policy
- Notice of Approval of Regulatory Action
- Application of the 2009 and 2017 SEP Policies
Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) are environmentally beneficial projects that a settling party agrees to undertake in the settlement of an action to offset a portion of a civil penalty. The Central Coast Water Board supports the inclusion of SEPs in the settlement of an enforcement action, so long as these projects align with the Central Coast Water Board’s regional priorities and meet the criteria specified in the SEP Policy to ensure the projects have environmental value, further the enforcement goals and other important policies of the Water Boards, and are subject to appropriate input and oversight by the Central Coast Water Board.
Submitting Project Proposals
The Central Coast Water Board will consider proposals for potential SEPs and may make them available to settling parties. Any public or private party that (a) can receive and distribute funds and (b) has the ability to complete the work, may submit a SEP proposal provided the project meets the criteria specified in the SEP Policy and it is aligned with Central Coast Water Board regional priorities. The Central Coast Water Board will only consider SEP proposals that meet the following regional priorities. The priority criteria are:
- Implements the human right to water and Resolution R3-2017-0004;
- Provides water quality benefits to disadvantaged communities in the Central Coast Region;
- Implements regional climate change mitigation or climate change adaptation strategies;
- Implements local water quality monitoring and assessment projects for issues of regional significance;
- Supports development and implementation of water quality focused sustainability activities and related projects in regional groundwater sustainability plans.
Please include a cover letter with your SEP proposal that describes how the SEP proposal implements the Central Coast Water Board’s regional priority criteria. You should also go to the Office of Enforcement’s SEP website and review the Supplemental Environmental Projects FAQ document before writing your proposal. Proposals should be submitted using the Water Board SEP Proposal Form.
The Central Coast Water Board considers new proposals on a continuous basis and updates the list of potential SEPs periodically, however, the current list of potential SEP projects is currently under construction. Submittal of an acceptable SEP meeting the above stated criteria does not guarantee it will be added to the list or be selected by a settling party for implementation. The Central Coast Water Board plans to evaluate and respond to SEPs proposed for inclusion on the SEP list within its jurisdiction on an annual basis. For any SEP that requires oversight by the Central Coast Water Board, the full costs of such oversight must be paid for by the settling party. Based on its resource constraints, the Central Coast Water Board may require the settling party to select and hire an independent management company or other appropriate third party, which reports solely to the Central Coast Water Board, to oversee implementation of the SEP in lieu of oversight by Central Coast Water Board staff. If no arrangement for the payment for necessary oversight can be made, the SEP will not be approved, absent exceptional circumstances.
The Central Coast Water Board may limit the number or size of potential SEP projects available to settling parties or coordinate with settling parties and SEP implementing parties to combine funds from multiple settlements for the implementation of a SEP as needed to effectively administer oversight of SEPs during any given year based on staffing resources.
Authorized Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEP), Enhanced Compliance Actions (ECA), and Compliance Projects (CP) - Penalty Project Report
The Penalty Project Report allows the public to search for a list of enforcement actions associated with a SEP, ECA, and/or a CP, by specifying search criteria to obtain information on projects, including the monetary amount and status. Please use this glossary to obtain definitions of the program acronyms listed on the search criteria page.
The State Water Board's Office of Enforcement Supplemental Environmental Project website provides information about the current 2017 SEP Policy, submitting project proposals, active SEPs, and completed SEPs.
Administrative Civil Liabilities
The Fact Sheet describes the process that Water Boards follow in imposing administrative civil liabilities.
Water Code Sections 13225(k) and 13323(e) Quarterly Enforcement Reports
The Regional Water Boards are posting, on a quarterly interval, information related to all enforcement activities that are recorded in their data system. In addition, for administrative civil liability actions, they are providing information related to the initial assessment of the civil liability, the final assessment of civil liability and whether a hearing was waived. The following reports provide this information for the previous three years.
In addition to the summary information provided by these quarterly reports, access to enforcement information on a real-time basis is available to the public. This information can be accessed from the California Integrated Water Quality System (CIWQS) Public Reports page on the State Water Resources Control Board's Internet website.
Regular Water Board Agenda Enforcement Reports
To view Enforcement Reports provided in the Central Coast Water Board's regular agendas, please go to the Board Meetings web page, select the year of interest and then the meeting agenda. Once viewing the agenda, select the item titled Enforcement Report.