Cannabis Cultivation Waste Discharge Regulatory Program
General Order Information
Adopted General Order
A Statewide Cannabis Cultivation General Order, Order No. WQ 2019-0001-DWQ, has been adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board. Cannabis Cultivators who are seeking coverage for their operations will now be enrolling under the Statewide Cannabis General Order:
Enrollment in this Order does not preclude the need for permits that may be required by other governmental agencies, nor does it supersede any requirements, ordinances, or regulations of any other regulatory agency, including necessary certification and permitting for the application of pesticides and proper handling and disposal of solid and domestic wastes.
The General Order regulates the discharge of wastes from cannabis cultivation activities to waters of the state. This General Order does not authorize, endorse, sanction, permit, or approve the cultivation, use, or sale of cannabis.
General Order Overview
The General Order includes enforceable requirements for cannabis cultivators to ensure their operations do not impact water resources. Enrollment in the Statewide Cannabis General Order is required for all legal cannabis cultivation facilities, and is a required step to obtaining a CalCannabis license for cannabis cultivation. The Statewide Cannabis General Order includes Best Management Practices that are included in Attachment A. The complete Statewide Cannabis General Order can be found on the State Water Resources Control Board 2019 Water Quality Orders page.
The Statewide Cannabis General Order classifies outdoor cannabis cultivation operations into two different Tiers based on size, and three different Risk levels based upon site characteristics and threats to water resources.
Certain outdoor and indoor cannabis cultivation operations obtain coverage through exemption categories, for specific details regarding exemption categories see the full Statewide Cannabis General Order.
Tier 1 – Cultivation sites with disturbed area greater than 2,000 square feet and less than 1 acre (43,560 square feet).
Tier 2 – Cultivation sites with disturbed area greater than 1 acre.
Low Risk – No portion of the disturbed area is located on a slope greater than 30 percent, and all of the disturbed area complies with the setback requirements.
Moderate Risk – Any portion of the disturbed area is located on a slope greater than 30 percent and less than 50 percent, and all of the disturbed area complies with the setback requirements.
High Risk – Any portion of the disturbed area is located within the setback requirements, regardless of the slope.
Class I Watercourse (Perennial watercourses, lakes, ponds, or springs) – 150 feet
Class II Watercourse (Intermittent watercourses or wetlands) – 100 feet
Class III Watercourse (Ephemeral watercourses) – 50 feet
Watercourse Classification Summary:
(Full watercourse classifications are defined in Attachment A of the Statewide Cannabis General Order.)
Class I (Perennial) watercourse – water flowing for more than nine months during a typical year, fish present seasonally or year round or habitat to sustain fish migration and spawning is present.
Class II (Intermittent) watercourse – water flowing for three to nine months during a typical year, provides habitat for non-fish aquatic species. Additionally, a watercourse may be classified as Class II if fish are present 1,000 feet downstream and/or riparian habitat is supported, even if water flows less than three months during a typical year.
Class III (Ephemeral) watercourse – water flowing for less than three months during a typical year and the watercourse does not support riparian vegetation or aquatic life. Class III watercourses typically flow for a short duration during and after precipitation events or snowmelt and are capable of sediment transport.
The General Order requires that enrollees allow Water Board staff reasonable access to their cannabis cultivation operations for the purpose of performing inspections to determine compliance.
Change of Information
If an enrollee is needing to update enrollment information please complete the Change of Information Request Form and submit to the Central Valley Water Board. Instructions on filling out the form and submittal are included in the Change of Information Request Form.
NOTE: submittal of this form is a request to change enrollment information associated with your site, and does not imply permission to make physical changes to your site or to alter discharges associated with the site. After receipt of this form, staff will be in contact with you regarding the requested changes.