Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Increase Proposed For California Water Discharge Permits

The California State Water Resources Control Board is considering emergency measures that will result in a significant increase the fees charged to stormwater permittees and other permittees holding NPDES discharge permits.

According to the State Board, the increase is needed to respond to both reductions in revenue generated and increased program costs. The shortfall in revenue is a result of under-collection of revenue in the Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program (SWAMP) in FY 2009-10 and a substantial drop in enrollment under the State Water Board’s recently adopted storm water construction permit. In July 2009, the State Water Board adopted Order 2009-0009-DWQ requiring storm water construction dischargers to enroll in a new storm water construction permit by July 1, 2010. Approximately 64 % of previous storm water construction permit holders did not renew their permits by the deadline and have been terminated from coverage. Many of these permittees did not reenroll because of a decline in construction activity. At the same time, the downturn in the construction industry has resulted in a reduction of the number of new permits being issued.

During the same period, costs increased substantially due to a shift in funding for basin planning from General Fund support to fee support and a return to full payroll costs due to the discontinuance of the furlough program.

According to the State Board, the Storm Water program needs to generate an additional $4.4 million in revenue to meet the FY 2010-11 Budget, which translates to a 21.5 % increase to all Storm Water fee categories.

The NPDES program needs to generate an additional $6.4 million in revenue to meet the FY 2010-11 Budget. This translates to a 31.4 % increase to all NPDES fee categories.

Caltha LLP provides expert consulting services to public and private sector clients nationwide to address water quality standards, wastewater permitting and assessing potential impacts of chemicals in the aquatic environment.

Caltha LLP Aquatic Toxicology / WQ Standards Services Website