Site Cleanup Program

The Site Cleanup Program program is designed to protect and restore water quality from spills, leaks, and similar discharges. The SCP program has several components at the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board: (1) complaint response, (2) non-permitted discharge investigations, (3) site cleanups under the oversight of the Water Board, (4) site cleanups pursuant to methods analogous to procedures in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and (5) cleanups performed by redevelopment agencies. In some cases, the Regional Water Board oversight costs are recovered from responsible parties.

Complaint response and investigations are coordinated with local agencies, and enforcement actions on non-permitted discharges may occur either through coordination with the district attorney or through administrative processes of the Regional Water Board. Cleanups may be occurring voluntarily by responsible parties who have recognized the threat from non-permitted discharges. Voluntary or directed cleanups may occur under Orders issued pursuant to section 13304 of the California Water Code (CWC), or through technical reports required pursuant to CWC section 13267. State Water Resources Control Board Resolution 92-49 is the over-riding policy guiding the Regional Water Board's SLIC cleanup program.

Cleanup levels for soil are determined based on the threat to water quality. Such levels are determined on a case-by-case basis considering the nature of the contaminants, the type of soil, the depth to groundwater, distance to surface water, and other hydrogeologic characteristics. Cleanup levels for groundwaters and surface waters are determined based on application of existing laws, regulations, plans, and policies. In general, waters shall be cleaned up to: background, where feasible; to levels achievable through best available technology; and in all cases at least to water quality objectives. The water quality objective is determined based on the beneficial water use, and the most stringent water quality objective is selected for a given receiving water. Water quality objectives may be numerical (such as those based on Maximum Contaminant Levels or drinking water standards) or may be based in narrative standards, and converted to numerical limits (such as those associated with taste and odor).

General waste discharge requirements exist for contaminated soil and groundwater treatment. General National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits exist to regulate the year-round discharge of highly treated groundwater derived from cleanups involving volatile organic compounds.

A SCP information system (GeoTracker) lists all the sites where discharges to the environment have been indentified. Find information on SCP cases/facilities at the GeoTracker website.

Site Cleanup program contact:

Craig Hunt (707) 570-3767.