MENLO PARK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The California Stormwater Quality Association (CASQA), recently documented concern over a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Decision regarding the Los Angeles County NPDES stormwater permit, which determined that a municipality is strictly liable for violations of its permit if rainfall runoff causes or contributes to an exceedance of a water quality standard in the receiving waters, regardless of the source of the pollution.
The 9th Circuit Court decision potentially places every municipal stormwater discharger in the State of California in non-compliance with their stormwater NPDES permit if monitoring data shows pollution in public waterways. Members of the CASQA board believe this exposes municipalities to considerable liability, fines and costly remediation with no reasonable timeframe to improve the water quality entering their systems and they believe the decision undermines the historical systematic and cost effective approach to addressing stormwater quality issues previously established by the State Water Board.
“CASQA’s solution is to work with the State and Regional Water Boards to craft permit language that fully supports an iterative process to address problematic stormwater discharges,” indicated Richard Boon, Chair of CASQA. “ NPDES stormwater permit language must be redrafted to remove the immediate unlimited legal liability for all of California’s municipalities for stormwater discharge.” Currently two NPDES permits, Los Angeles and San Diego, are being renewed and the issue of the iterative process is a critical factor.
The Clean Water Act establishes NPDES permit requirements for storm discharges from municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4 Permits), which makes cities, counties and others responsible for minimizing pollutants discharged from their publicly owned storm drains and flood control channels. The intent of the regulation is to protect the quality of creeks, rivers, estuaries and ocean waters receiving storm runoff. Federal regulations acknowledge that stormwater pollution is not created by municipal discharges.
CASQA’s mission is to “advance stormwater quality management through collaboration, education, implementation guidance, regulatory review and scientific assessment”. CASQA is a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting the State Water Resources Control Board and municipalities throughout the State of California in implementing the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) stormwater mandates of the Federal Clean Water Act. www.casqa.org