National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) - Suction Dredge Mining


California Fish and Game Code section 5653.1, subdivision (b) has statutorily prohibited the use of vacuum or suction dredge equipment in the state since 2009. However, Senate Bill 637 which became effective on January 1, 2016 has amended section 5653 of the Fish and Game Code and added section 13172.5 of the California Water Code to provide a framework to lift the statutory prohibition on suction dredge mining.

Consistent with the requirements of Senate Bill 637, Water Board staff has solicited input from stakeholders and California Native American Tribal interests by conducting five public meetings with staff of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in January and February 2017 in Fresno, San Bernardino, Orleans, Redding, and Sacramento prior to developing a draft statewide NPDES permit for discharges from suction dredge mining activities.

Additional information about Section Dredging:

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General Permit Information

Renan Jauregui
(916) 341-5505


For Fee information please check this Fee Schedule link and see the section related to other general NPDES permits, Category 3.

Please Note: The California Water Code requires the State Water Board to adjust the fees each fiscal year to conform with the revenue levels set forth in the California Budget Act. The fees may change every year.

Previous Workshops per SB 637

Staff conducted five public meetings throughout the state in early 2017 to solicit input from stakeholders and California Native American Tribal interests prior to developing a Water Board permit or waiver for suction dredge mining. The public meetings were held in: Fresno on January 17, 2017; San Bernardino on January 18, 2017; Orleans on January 24, 2017; Redding on January 25, 2017; and Sacramento on February 6, 2017. The following links provide the video of the Sacramento meeting, the slides presented by Water Board staff at the Sacramento meeting, and a Frequently Asked Questions document: