Oct 21, 2011 – Important Update on NPDES Efforts

Calls and letters helped! Discussions continue in Washington, D.C.!

Special thanks to all who contacted Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Barbara Boxer this week reiterating your strong support of H.R. 872, as well as inclusion of similar language in the FY12 Agriculture Appropriations bill. Discussion on this issue is continuing in Washington, D.C. It is still possible that there may be some legislative intervention to requirements included in the current permit. MVCAC will continue to update its members with any further developments on a possible legislative response to the NPDES permit scheduled to go into effect on November 1, 2011.

NOA Requirement

If your agency needs to receive its NOA from the SWRCB by October 31, 2011 as you may be making applications on/around waters of the U.S. immediately, please alert the MVCAC office. SWRCB staff indicated that they will expedite NOA’s for agencies that need to have the permit in place to cover their applications. Some districts know that they won’t be making any applications until spring. If your agency is going to need to receive its NOA by October 31, 2011, please e-mail MVCAC Executive Director Catherine Smith (casmith@mvcac.org) so we can provide a list to SWRCB staff to ensure the necessary NOAs are received.

NPDES Coalition Monitoring Webinar

If your agency registered individuals for Monday’s MVCAC NPDES Coalition Monitoring Webinar, you should have received information on how to sign-in from URS. The sign-in information you received can be shared with any other employees who you may want to attend. There is no cost or limit to the number of participants in the webinar. Don’t forget to complete and return the CEU sign-in sheet that has been provided. The CDPH has approved the webinar for 1.5 CEU credits. The program number is 13-00030.

SWRCB Responds to MVCAC Inquiry on 303(d) Listed Waterways

In mid-May, MVCAC sent a letter to the SWRCB for clarification on a few issues but mainly, to have clarification on applications to 303(d) or listed impaired water bodies. MVCAC received a response this week following a meeting between MVCAC representatives and SWRCB Chair Charlie Hoppin. Although the letter did not appear to give a definitive response to our question, MVCAC Legal Counsel Dick Shanahan has interpreted the letter as follows:

  • SWRCB staff rejected the requested MVCAC changes for clarification;
  • The provision restricting pesticide applications to 303(d) listed waterways remains unchanged;
  • SWRCB is proceeding with the toxicity study in cooperation with MVCAC;
  • SWRCB may consider revising the NPDES permit in 2013 following completion of the toxicity study and based on the results of that study.

MVCAC has the option of formally petitioning the SWRCB (i.e., the Board members) to amend the permit, but that would likely be an unsuccessful endeavor before completion of the toxicity study. Individual districts need to develop their own plans to comply with the permit and evaluate any potential risks of permit violation in regards to 303(d) waterways. MVCAC will continue to seek more clarification but at this time, the 303(d) listed waterway provision stands as written and each individual district must determine how to proceed and evaluate its own risk and make the determination if application will be within permit requirements or no application can be made.

These issues will be discussed at the upcoming MVCAC Fall Meeting.