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13385(0) Report

Legislative Mandated Reports - Water Code Section 13385(0) Enforcement Report

Mandatory Minimum Penalties (MMPs) Update

This section provides an analysis of the effectiveness of current enforcement policies including Mandatory Minimum Penalties. Mandatory penalty provisions are required by California Water Code section 13385(h) and (i) for specified violations of NPDES permits. For violations that are subject to mandatory minimum penalties, the Regional Board must either assess an ACL for the mandatory minimum penalty or assess an ACL for a greater amount. California Water Code Section 13885(h) requires that a mandatory minimum penalty of $3,000 be assessed by the Regional Board for each serious violation. A serious violation is any waste discharge that exceeds the effluent limitation for a Group I pollutant by 40 percent or more, or a Group II pollutant by 20 percent or more. California Water Code section 13885.1 also defines a serious violation subject to MMP a failure to submit a compliance self monitoring report for each complete period of 30 days.

Summary of MMP Violations and MMP Enforcement Actions

Early trends in MMP violations indicated an overall reduction in the number of violations at NPDES facilities.  We believed that the reduction was partly a result of increased compliance due to the deterrent effect of MMPs.  Data for 2003 and 2004 showed an increase in violations, but we believe this is partly due to an increased emphasis on recording and collecting these mandatory penalties.  Additionally, the introduction of MMPs for reporting violations in 2004 put a greater emphasis on reviewing and tracking monitoring reports.  The Regional Water Boards generally prioritize MMP issuance to facilities with greater compliance problems because of the staff costs associated with issuing ACLs.  While MMPs were intended to be a streamlined process for penalty issuance, these penalties are often challenged by dischargers and can consume as much staff time as an ordinary ACL complaint assessing discretionary penalties.  Some portion of the reported effluent violations may qualify for statutory exemptions

Table 11: Violations Subject to MMPs by Violation Type.
Figure 1: NPDES Wastewater MMP violations since 2000 by Violation Type.
Table 12: Status of Violations Subject to MMPs.
Table 13: Facilities with MMP Violations and Pending Enforcement Actions.

Prompt and complete submission of self monitoring reports is a priority for the Water Boards because monitoring reports are the main instrument to ensure compliance with effluent limits and monitoring requirements in NPDES permits.

Compliance rates for reporting violations vary significantly among regions and type of dischargers. Typically, most major dischargers submit their monitoring reports on time.

Compliance Rates for Major Facilities

A key performance measure for the Water Board’s enforcement program is the compliance rate with requirements. Of special significance, because of their threat to water quality is the compliance rate for NPDES Wastewater Major Facilities. Figure 5 shows that compliance rates among Major NPDES wastewater facilities are improving overtime. Not only has the total number of Major facilities with violations recorded been reduced but the number of facilities with more than 25 violations during the year has seen a significant reduction, going from 31 in the year 2000 to only 13 in 2007 and 18 in 2010. Figure 5 displays the distribution of the number of NPDES major facilities with no violations, the number of major facilities with one to 10 violations, the number of major facilities with 11 to 25 violations and the number of major facilities with more than 25 violations.

Figure 5: Number of NPDES Wastewater Major Facilities 2000-2012 Compliance Rates.


( Updated 3/4/14 )