Ocean Standards

Ocean standards protect the beneficial uses of California’s marine waters through establishing water quality objectives and implementation provisions in statewide water quality control plans and polices. Ocean standards plans and policies include: the Water Quality Control Plan for Ocean Waters of California (Ocean Plan); the Water Quality Control Plan for Control of Temperature in the Coastal and Interstate Waters and Enclosed Bays and Estuaries of California (California Thermal Plan); and the Water Quality Control Policy on the Use of Coastal and Estuarine Waters for Power Plant cooling (Once-Through Cooling Policy).

The Ocean Standards Unit is responsible for developing and updating the statewide plans and policies involving marine waters, and providing scientific support and inter-agency coordination regarding marine pollution and resource management.

California Ocean Plan

California Ocean Plan 2019 (effective February 4, 2019)
Whale breaching

News

The comment period for the 2019 Review of the Water Quality Control Plan for Ocean Waters of California closed on August 8, 2019 at noon. Please see associated documents under the “Ocean Plan Reviews” section below.

Ocean Plan Reviews

Ocean Plan Amendments Recently Adopted

State Water Boards Bacterial Objectives

The amendment to the Ocean Plan addressing new bacteria water quality objectives and implementation provisions to protect recreational users from the effects of pathogens in ocean waters of California (Bacteria Amendment) was adopted by the State Water Board on August 7, 2019 as Resolution 2018-0038. The Office of Administrative Law approved the Bacteria Amendment on February 4, 2019.

Seawater Desalination Facilities

The amendment to the Water Quality Control Plan for the Ocean Waters of California addressing Desalination Facility Intakes, Brine Discharges, and to Incorporate Other Non-substantive Changes (Desalination Amendment) was adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board on May 6, 2015 as Resolution 2015-0033. The Office of Administrative Law approved the Desalination Amendment on January 28, 2016.

Statewide Water Quality Control Plans for Trash

The amendment to the Water Quality Control Plan for Ocean Waters of California to Control Trash and Part 1 Trash Provisions of the Water Quality Control Plan for Inland Surface Waters, Enclosed Bays, and Estuaries of California (Trash Amendments) was adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board on April 7, 2015 as Resolution 2015-0019. The Trash Amendments was approved by the Office of Administrative Law on December 2, 2015 and approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on January 12, 2016.

State Water Quality Protection Areas and Marine Protected Areas Amendment

 Model Monitoring, Vessel Discharges and Non-Substantive Amendments

Reasonable Potential Calculator

A program to determine when effluent limitations are needed.

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