Conditional Waivers of Waste Discharge Requirements for Low Threat Discharges

Conditional Waivers Overview

The San Diego Water Board adopted Order No. R9-2019-0005 (Order) on May 8, 2019 Conditional Waivers of Waste Discharge Requirements for Low Threat Discharges in the San Diego Region (Waivers). The Waivers require the implementation of effective management measures (MMs), and structural and non-structural best management practices (BMPs) to manage low-threat discharges of waste to land. The required MMs and BMPs are necessary to mitigate potential impacts associated with storm water run on and runoff, groundwater, wastes, and wastewater discharges to land.

Furthermore, the Order implements the goals of the San Diego Water Board’s Practical Vision for Healthy Waters, Healthy People.

Strategizing for Healthy Waters - The Order provides protections for groundwater and surface water quality while unburdening the public from over-regulation of low-threat discharges; and

Proactive Public Outreach and Communication - The development of the Order included a proactive stakeholder outreach program. As such, San Diego Water Board staff performed a number of tasks to accomplish public outreach and communication, which included:

  • Development of these web pages, dedicated to the Waivers, to keep stakeholders and the public informed;
  • Convening a formal stakeholder meeting on November 6, 2018, and
  • Providing a formal and informal written public comment period, and a published Response to formal Comments Report.

Sustainable Local Water Supply - The Order streamlines the approval process for some recycled water, and graywater projects, thereby reducing the Region’s use of potable imported water.

The San Diego Water Board is required to protect the quality and beneficial uses of the waters of the State. The Water Code requires any person (including any city, county, district, or other entity) discharging, or proposing to discharge waste that could affect the waters of the State must submit a report of waste discharge (ROWD). Water Code section 13269 gives the San Diego Water Board the authority to waive the requirements found in the Water Code. For specific discharges or specific types of discharge, the San Diego Water Board may issue a conditional waiver provided the waiver is consistent with the Basin Plan and is in the public interest. The San Diego Water Board may waive the requirements for a discharger to file a ROWD or obtain waste discharge requirements (WDRs), or both.

The Waivers in the Order address discharges expected to pose a low threat to water quality, as long as the dischargers comply with waiver conditions. The Technical Report developed as part of the agenda package for the Order provides the supporting rationale for the waivers. Dischargers who comply with the general and specific waiver conditions may become eligible for enrollment in a waiver. The Executive Officer’s Summary Report from the May 8, 2019 public workshop on the waivers, describes the specific discharge types and waiver categories, and some of their important features.

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