Wastewater generated from residential, commercial, and industrial processes contains sewage, gray water (e.g., water from sinks and showers),oil and grease and various chemical constituents. Municipal wastewater from household, commercial and/or industrial connections are typically conveyed through sewer collection systems to wastewater treatment plants where pollutants are removed prior to discharge to waters of the United States, waters of the State, or to land. Process wastewater generated from industrial facilities that discharge directly to waters of the United States, waters of the State, or to land are also required to remove pollutants prior to discharge.
Municipal and industrial wastewater dischargers to waters of the United States must obtain permits to discharge pursuant to the Federal Clean Water Act and California's Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act. Individual and general permits issued under these authorities must comply with the federal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) requirements and the state’s Waste Discharge Requirements (WDRs).
Some wastewater discharges to waters of the State only are exempt from federal NPDES requirements, but California law may still apply. Under California law, those dischargers are issued WDRs. WDRs are also required for discharges of treated wastewater to land, such as recycled water. Reclamation requirements for recycled water produced and discharged within the Santa Ana Regional Board jurisdiction are incorporated into the recycled water producer’s NPDES/WDR individual permits.
Permits contain specific requirements that limit the pollutants in discharges. Dischargers are required to monitor their wastewater to demonstrate compliance with all requirements. Wastewater dischargers must maintain their treatment facilities, and treatment plant operators must be certified. Regional Board staff routinely inspect treatment facilities and enforce permit requirements. Many wastewater discharges are permitted individually. However, discharges that are of less threat to water quality and/or that are similar are permitted through general permits issued by the Regional Board or State Water Resources Control Board.
Wastewater discharge to land through septic systems, generally referred to as onsite wastewater treatment systems (OWTS) are currently subject to the minimum lots size requirements specified in the Basin Plan . Regional Board Staff handle exemption requests from the minimum lot size requirements until replaced by approved Local Area Management Plans (LAMPs), administered by local agencies. By May 13, 2018, new and/or replacement onsite wastewater treatment systems in areas without approved LAMPs will be subject to the applicable requirements of the OWTS Policy.
The Regional Water Board adopts permits at public hearings after consideration of public comments. To receive email notifications of upcoming comment opportunities please subscribe to the appropriate electronic mailing list.
Wastewater Program contacts:
Julio Lara (951) 782-4901, Section Chief
Susan Beeson (951) 782-4902
Kathleen Fong (951) 774-0114
Michael Perez (951) 782-4306
Ryan Harris (951) 394-9508
Najah Amin (951) 320-6362
Christine Silken (951) 782-7961
Regional General Wastewater Discharge Permits:
General Waste Discharge Requirements for Discharges to Surface Waters that Pose an Insignificant (de minimis) Threat to Water Quality- Order No. R8-2020-0006, NPDES No. CAG998001
Orange County projects: Ryan Harris, (951) 394-9508
Riverside County projects: Kathleen Fong (951) 774-0114
San Bernardino County projects: Michael Perez, (951) 782-4306
Newport Bay/San Diego Creek Watershed de minimis permit: R8-2019-0061
Contact: Ryan Harris, (951) 394-9508
Waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements for Specific Types of Discharges, Resolution No. R8-2019-0062
Contact: Susan Beeson, (951) 782-4902
Statewide NPDES General Wastewater Discharge Permits:
Drinking Water System Discharges
Suction Dredge Mining
Utility Vaults and Underground Structures
Statewide General Waste Discharge Requirements:
Sanitary Sewer Overflow Program
General Waste Discharge Requirements for Small Domestic Wastewater Treatment Systems
Water Reclamation Requirements for Recycled Water Use
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