Enforcement Program

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.

Click here to see 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

  1. Address high priority violations that pose an immediate and significant threat to water quality, or that have detrimental impacts to human health and/or the environment.
  2. Prioritize violations that involve a discharge or threatened discharge that impact drinking water sources in disadvantaged communities or communities with financial hardship.
  3. Require replacement water for individuals whose drinking water supply is polluted by nitrate or other contaminants above drinking water standards with a focus on those individuals in disadvantaged communities.
  4. Address violations involving falsification of information and non-compliant dischargers that realize a competitive economic advantage over compliant members of the regulated public.

Current Enforcement Actions

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.

Greka Oil & Gas, Inc. - On May 13, 2010, the Central Coast Water Board adopted Stipulated Administrative Civil Liability Order No. R3-2010-0034 imposing a $1.2 million penalty on Greka to settle allegations that Greka violated cleanup requirements applying to petroleum-impacted waste materials stored throughout its facilities in Santa Barbara County. The Water Board issued a news release on May 19, 2010.

Greka Oil & Gas, Inc. - July 10, 2009 Resolution No. R3-2009-0054 requesting that the Attorney General seek civil enforcement against Greka for alleged waste discharges (e.g., crude oil, produced water, residuary products of petroleum) to state and federal waters.

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.

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.