Ocean Standards

The Ocean Unit is responsible for the development and updating of statewide water quality control plans, policies, and standards involving marine waters. This includes the California Ocean Plan, the California Thermal Plan, and the development of sediment quality objectives in bays and estuaries. The unit is also responsible for providing scientific support to the Water Boards, and inter-agency coordination, regarding marine pollution and resource management issues.

California Ocean Plan

California Ocean Plan 2015 (effective January 28, 2016)
Whale breaching

Ocean Plan Amendments Under Development

Fecal Coliform Shellfish Standard White Paper - Review of potential actions State Water Board can take with regard to implementing a Fecal Coliform Standard in the Ocean Plan for Shellfish harvesting in state recreational waters. This is Issue 5 from the Ocean Plan Triennial Review Workplan 2011-2013.

Ocean Plan Amendments Recently Adopted

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

Triennial Review

Reasonable Potential Calculator

A program to determine when effluent limitations are needed.

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