Watershed Regulatory

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits are required by all dischargers that discharge pollutants from any point source into waters of the United States.  Our authority to regulate these point sources comes from Section 402 of the Clean Water Act and Section 13370 of the California Water Code.  The Regional Boards issue NPDES permits in accordance with a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the U.S. EPA and the State.  The requirements of the MOA are spelled out for staff in the administrative procedures manual for NPDES permits.  Additionally, indirect dischargers (i.e., those facilities that discharge to a Publicly-Owned Treatment Works (POTWs)) also receive oversight by the Watershed Regulatory Section’s Pretreatment Coordinator.

The Watershed Regulatory Section includes the following three Units: Municipal Permitting, Industrial Permitting, and General Permit/Special Projects.  The Watershed Regulatory Section implements the NPDES permitting for the Region.  The Municipal Permitting Unit not only develops NPDES permits for discharges from POTWs to surface water, section staff also write water recycling requirements (WRRs) and some waste discharge requirements (non-Chapter 15 discharges to land, WDRs) for POTWs that also hold NPDES permits.  The Industrial Permitting unit writes or updates permits for non-POTW facilities, such as refineries, power plants, manufacturing, desalination plants, and other industries with discharges to surface waters within the Region.  Often, certain classes of discharges are identified and, where similar types of discharges occur from similar types of operations, general permits are developed to streamline the permitting process.  The General Permitting unit enrolls these types of dischargers under existing adopted general permits under these categories: construction dewatering; hydrostatic test water; non-process wastewater; petroleum fuel cleanup; discharges from water purveyors, and, discharges from the cleanup of volatile organic compounds.