The Regional Board is required to develop, adopt (after public hearing), and implement a Water Quality Control Plan (Basin Plan) for the San Francisco Bay region. The Basin Plan is the master policy document that contains descriptions of the legal, technical, and programmatic bases of water quality regulation in the San Francisco Bay region. The plan must include:
- A statement of beneficial water uses that the Regional Board will protect;
- The water quality objectives needed to protect the designated beneficial water uses
- The implementation plans for achieving the water quality objectives through its regulatory programs.
The Regional Board first adopted a plan for waters inland from the Golden Gate in 1968. After several revisions, the first comprehensive Water Quality Control Plan for the region was adopted by the Regional Board and approved by the State Board in April 1975. Subsequently, major revisions were adopted in 1982, 1986, 1992, and 1995. Since 1995, the Basin Plan has been updated on an ongoing basis as TMDLs and other amendments are adopted by the Board. Each proposed amendment to the Basin Plan is subject to an extensive public review process. The Regional Board must then adopt the amendment, which is then subject to approval by the State Board. In most cases, the Office of Administrative Law and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) must approve the amendment as well. More information about Basin Plans.
Contact: Richard Looker (510) 622-2451
We work to reduce the impacts from construction activities on local waterways. Through a vigorous inspection and enforcement program. Staff have also set up an on-going education program for the construction industry and local governments. More information about the Stormwater Program.
Contact: Michelle Rembaum-Fox at (510) 622-2387 for information and questions.
The Water Board’s Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Energy (DoE) cleanup program addresses active and former DoD facilities and DoE laboratories. Working with other State and federal agencies, Water Board staff oversees cleanups at these sites. Areas of concern include soil and groundwater contamination, storm water and surface water discharges, and contaminated sediments. More information about the Depts. of Defense & Energy Cleanup Program.
Contact: Alec Naugle (510) 622-2510
The Regional Board has the authority to enforce all its requirements, orders, and standards. The primary goal of enforcement is to stop on-going problems and cleanup as necessary to preserve the beneficial uses of the Bay Area's water resources. Enforcement options include issuing letters or orders requiring certain activities, assessing administrative fines directly, or referring the case to local, state or federal prosecutors. Administrative fines imposed by the Board have total millions of dollars since 1985. Approximately 70% of the fine money is used for local environmental enhancement projects, the rest goes to a statewide cleanup fund. More information about Enforcement.
Contact: Brian Thompson (510) 622-2422
The Board regulates landfills, waste ponds, and other waste disposal to land operations. This includes both active and closed facilities. The primary concern is to assure that wastes contained in these facilities do not escape to either surface or groundwaters. Regulation consists of design standards for liners, covers, etc., environmental monitoring, and cleanup when necessary.
Contact: Terry Seward (510) 622-2416
The San Francisco Bay region oversees the investigation and cleanup of legacy mines that have the potential to affect human health and the environment via water quality impacts. More information about the Mines Cleanup Program.
Contact: Lindsay Whalin (510) 622-2363
The NPDES program is a federal permit program under the Clean Water Act that is administered in the Bay Area by the Regional Board. The program requires that any discharge of wastewaters to surface water needs a permit. The permits set limits on the quality of the wastewater and require monitoring. All permits are adopted in public hearings and are designed to protect the beneficial uses of the receiving waters. All sewage treatment plants and large industries have permits. Smaller industries that discharge to sewer systems are regulated by the local systems. The discharge of contaminated groundwater is also regulated by NPDES permits. Stormwater is also covered by NPDES permits. More information about NPDES Permitting.
Contact: Bill Johnson (510) 622-2354
Nonpoint Source Pollution - Agricultural Programs
Nonpoint Source Program
Nonpoint source (NPS) pollution is the result of land runoff, rainfall, drainage or seepage from diffuse sources such as agricultural fields, urban streets, confined animal facilities, and streambank erosion. NPS pollution is one of the major impacts on the water quality of San Francisco Bay, its tributary streams, and the Region's coastal waters. Region 2 is implementing NPS management measures through the California NPS Program Plan and NPS Policy, with a focus on confined animal facilities, urban runoff, and hydromodification. Click here for more information about the Nonpoint Source Pollution - Agricultural Programs.
Our grazing and confined animal facilities programs address sources of nonpoint pollution and implement TMDLs adopted in the region. For more information on these programs, please follow these links.
- Tomales Bay Grazing Waiver Program page
- Napa River/Sonoma Creek Grazing Waiver Program page
- Confined Animal Facilities Program page
Contact: Jan O'Hara (510) 622-5681 (for Nonpoint Source, grazing waiver and confined animal facilities programs)
Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program. A range of pollutants can be found in runoff from irrigated lands, such as pesticides, fertilizers, salts, pathogens, and sediment. At high enough concentrations, these pollutants can harm aquatic life or make water unusable for drinking water or agricultural uses. The Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program (ILRP) has been established to prevent agricultural runoff from impairing surface waters. Waste discharge requirements (also known as "WDRs" or "Orders"), which protect both surface water and groundwater, address irrigated agricultural discharges throughout the San Francisco Bay Region. We implement general WDRs for vineyards in the Napa River and Sonoma Creek watersheds and cannabis regionwide.
Please visit the Napa River and Sonoma Creek Vineyard Program page for more information about the vineyard general permit and the cannabis cultivation regulatory program for information about permitting indoor and outdoor cannabis grows.
Contact: Jim Ponton (510) 622-2492 (for cannabis and irrigated lands programs)
The Site Clean Up Program (SCP) program is designed to cleanup the impacts of current or historic unauthorized discharges, primarily to groundwater, but in some cases also to surface waters or sediments. The program issues cleanup orders that require investigations, source removals, set final cleanup standards, treatment and monitoring. More information about the Site Cleanup Program.
Contact: Cheryl Prowell (510) 622-2408
Stormwater pollution is now the major source of pollutants to surface water bodies in the Bay Area. To deal with this the State and Regional Boards have issued NPDES permits that require implementation of certain actions (BMPs or Best Management Practices) to control the pollutants in stormwater. The State Board has issued two general stormwater permits, one to industrial facilities and another to construction sites. Both these general permits require notification, implementation of BMPs and monitoring. The Regional Board has issued municipal stormwater permits to urbanized areas. These permits require local governments to implement certain practices, for example public education (e.g. storm drain stenciling), municipal activities (e.g. street sweeping), monitoring, local commercial/industrial inspections, and new development review. More information about the Stormwater Program.
Streams and wetlands are essential elements of the Bay Area’s natural heritage that can protect and enhance water quality in a variety of ways. Streams and wetlands, and the water that flows through them support the ecological processes all human, plant, and animal watershed residents depend on. Vegetated riparian and wetland corridors protect and enhance water quality, and healthy stream and wetland systems store flood waters, provide flood control during large storm events, and recharge groundwater. More information about Protecting Streams and Wetlands.
Many of the Water Board's water quality protection programs rely on monitoring data, which we and other agencies collect for our own use and also make available to the public. More information about the SWAMP program and regional monitoring.
Contact: Kristina Yoshida (510) 622-2334
Total Maximum Daily Loads(TMDLs) are actions to restore clean water. Section 303(d)of the federal Clean Water Act requires that states identify water bodies that do not meet water quality standards. TMDLs examine these water quality problems, identify sources of pollutants, and specify actions that create solutions. More information about the TMDL Program.
Contact: Kevin Lunde (510) 622-2431More information about the UST Program.
Contact: Laurent Meillier (510) 622-3277
Watershed management is a strategy for managing resources by integrating water quality monitoring and assessment, planning, nonpoint source and point source discharge regulation, planning, groundwater protection, and other programs at the State and Regional Boards. More information about Watershed Management.
Contact: Keith Lichten (510) 622-2380
Under the federal Clean Water Act either dredging or wetland fill activities require permits from the Army Corps of Engineers. The Regional Board needs to certify that these federal permits meet State water quality standards. Thus, dredging and fill projects need to be reviewed and approved by the Board. The Board's concerns are that the projects minimize their impacts on water quality.
- More informaton about California's 401 Certification process, see the State Water Board's 401 Water Quality Certification and Wetlands Program page.
- More information about our region's 401 Certification Program.
- Xavier Fernandez, Senior ES
(510) 622-5685, Xavier.Fernandez@waterboards.ca.gov
North Bay Section Leader (Marin, Napa, Solano, Sonoma, SF, SCVWD)
Dale Bowyer, Senior WRCE
(510) 622-2323, Dale.Bowyer@waterboards.ca.gov
South Bay Section Leader (Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Caltrans, ACWD)