Storm Water Management Program-History

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Program History

The City of Santa Maria proactively manages storm water within its City limits (CWA). Historically, the City has focused on the impacts of storm water as it relates to flood control; however, in the last decade additional regulations have been adopted in the State of California which specifically address the discharge quality of storm water from a City's storm water conveyance system.

Storm Water Regulations

In 1972 the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, known as the Clean Water Act, was enacted. The CWA established the baseline goal of attaining fishable, swimmable waters throughout the United States. The CWA also instituted the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program to control water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants into waters of the United States. Point sources are discrete conveyances such as pipes or man-made ditches. Individual homes that are connected to a municipal system, use a septic system, or do not have a surface discharge do not need an NPDES permit; however, industrial, municipal, and other facilities must obtain permits if their discharges go directly to surface waters.

CaliforniaMapThe California State Water Resources Control Board facilitates the NPDES permit program in California; however given the size of California, program administration is further supported by 9 Regional Water Quality Control Boards. The Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB or Water Board) has jurisdiction over a 300-mile-long by 40-mile-wide section of California's Central Coast shown on the map (at right) in yellow. Its geographic area includes the City of Santa Maria and, therefore, the Water Board is responsible for the coordination and control of water quality locally, including compliance oversight associated with three storm water general permits.

The California General Permit for Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s)

The California General Permit for Small MS4s addresss storm water discharges from MS4s with a population of less than 100,000 (Small MS4s) and requires a Storm Water Management Plan. The Storm Water Management Plan must provide the framework for a Storm Water Management Program which is designed to reduce the discharge of pollutants to the maximum extent practicable (MEP), protect water quality, and satisfy water quality requirements of the Clean Water Act. The Storm Water Management Plan must include an array of Best Management Practices (BMPs).

California Industrial Storm Water General Permit

In 1997 the State Water Resources Control Board adopted the Industrial Storm Water General Permit which regulates storm water discharges from 10 broad industrial activity categories (e.g., Landfills, metal scrap yards, sewage treatment plants). The permit requires:

  • implementation of best management practices to reduce the discharge of pollutants from industrial activities and sources at the site;
  • preparation of a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) and a monitoring plan, which identifies the sources of site-specific pollutants and the means to manage them; and
  • an annual report be submitted to the State Water Resources Control Board by July 1 of each year permit coverage is maintained.

California Construction Storm Water General Permit

In 1999, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted the Construction Storm Water General Permit. The permit regulates dischargers whose projects disturb 1 or more acres of soil or whose projects disturb less than 1 acre but are a part of a larger common plan of development that in total disturbs 1 or more acres. "Disturb" includes clearing, grading and disturbances of the ground such as stockpiling, or excavation.

The Construction Storm Water General Permit requires development and implementation of a SWPPP that includes a site map, a list of BMPs the discharger will use to protect storm water runoff, a visual monitoring program, a chemical monitoring program for "non-visible" pollutants, and a sediment monitoring plan if the site discharges directly to a water body impaired for sedimentation/siltation.

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