SEP Program

Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs)

2017 SEP Policy

The State Water Board adopted Resolution 2017-0074, which amends to the Policy on Supplemental Environmental Projects, on December 5, 2017. The Office of Administrative Law (OAL) approved the regulatory action on May 3, 2018 and the amended policy became effective on that date.

Introduction

Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) are environmentally beneficial projects that a settling party agrees to undertake in the settlement of an action to offset a portion of a civil penalty. The State Water Board supports the inclusion of SEPs in the settlement of an enforcement action, so long as these projects meet the criteria specified in the SEP Policy to ensure that the selected projects have environmental value, further the enforcement goals and other important policies of the Water Boards, and are subject to appropriate input and oversight by the Water Boards.

Submitting Project Proposals

The Water Boards are currently seeking ideas and proposals for potential SEPs.   Any public or private party that (a) can receive and distribute funds and (b) has the ability to complete the work, may submit a SEP proposal.  Please review the Supplemental Environmental Projects FAQ document before submitting your proposal.

Proposals for SEP projects should be submitted using the Water Board SEP Proposal Form.

Proposals received by the State Water Board’s Office of Enforcement will be forwarded to the appropriate Regional Water Board or State Water Board Division for evaluation and inclusion on that Regional Board/Division’s Potential SEP List.  Potential SEP Lists may be found on each Regional Board website.  In addition, the Office of Enforcement has combined the Region’s lists into a state-wide potential SEP list.  This list is updated at least annually.

Current Proposed SEP List (updated January 2018)

If you have questions about the SEP proposal form, you may contact Jennifer McGovern of the Office of Enforcement at Jennifer.McGovern@waterboards.ca.gov.   If you have questions about a Region’s Potential SEP List, you may contact that Region’s Enforcement Coordinator. 

Active and Completed SEPs, ECAs, and CPs

The links below provide tables which list the active and completed SEPs, ECAs (Enhanced Compliance Actions), and CPs (Compliance Projects) for each Regional Board from January 2012 through December 2018. Each of these projects were authorized through the settlement of an Administrative Civil Liability (ACL). Information about ECAs and CPs may be found in the 2017 Water Quality Enforcement Policy.

Additional information about current and historic SEPs and ACLs may be found using the CIWQS database. Each of these public reports can be searched and sorted in multiple ways.

2017 Policy Amendments

Assembly Bill 1071 (AB 1071), passed into law in October 2015 as Public Resources Code section 71118 (a)(3), defines a SEP as “an environmentally beneficial project that a person subject to an enforcement action voluntarily agrees to undertake in settlement of the action and to offset a portion of a civil penalty.”

The Water Board’s February 2009 Policy on Supplemental Environmental Projects was subsequently amended to fulfill the requirements of AB 1071, which required each board, department, or office (BDO) within the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) to establish a policy on SEPs that benefit disadvantaged communities, and include at least the following:

  • A public process to solicit potential SEPs from disadvantaged communities.
  • Allowing the amount of a SEP to be up to 50 percent of an administratively imposed civil liability brought under the jurisdiction of a BDO within CalEPA.
  • An annual list of SEPs that may be selected to settle a portion of an administratively imposed civil liability brought under the jurisdiction of a BDO within CalEPA.
  • A consideration of the relationship between the location of the violation and the location of the proposed SEP.

The SEP Policy has also been amended to (a) apply not only to the State Water Board and the nine Regional Water Boards, but also to enforcement actions prosecuted by the Division of Drinking Water and its Districts, and the Division of Water Rights, (b) include human right to water considerations, (c) align with the State Water Board's April 4, 2017, revision of the Water Quality Enforcement Policy (Enforcement Policy), and (d) clarify certain principles that are central to the SEP Policy and improve transparency in Policy implementation based on stakeholder input.

Additional Information