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1415PERFORMANCE REPORT The Water Boards...

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The California Water Boards' Annual Performance Report - Fiscal Yea 2013-14


MESSAGE:  43% of individual NPDES permits would need to be renewed in FY 13-14 to meet statutory requirements.



In order to eliminate the NPDES permit backlog (permits adopted more than five years before the adoption date) the Water Boards would need to renew 43% of active individual NPDES permits in fiscal year 2013-14. The goal for the NPDES Program for FY 2011-2014 is to attain and maintain 90 percent of all individual (major, minor, and stormwater-MS4) and general permits as current. Another goal is to sequence NPDES permit reissuances to achieve a long-term level permitting workload. To sequence NPDES permit reissuances, the Water Boards should address at a minimum 20% of the permits per year (1/5=20%). The data shows that region 4 would need to renew 59% of permits and R5 45%. R8 would need to renew 62% and R9 75%.


NPDES permits are written to protect water quality, reflect the most current water quality standards, incorporate all currently applicable NPDES permitting requirements, and implement TMDLs, where established. In order to ensure that discharges to surface waters do not adversely affect the quality and beneficial uses of such waters the NPDES permits must be reviewed and revised to reflect new standards and requirements (such as new TMDLs and other water quality plans and policies adopted) and updates to monitoring and reporting requirements (reflecting previous facility performance and compliance history). NPDES permits expire five years after issuance and shall be reissued (renewed) every five years or less (40 CFR Part 122.46 and California Water Code section 13380 ). Permits may also be revoked or terminated. Typically, permit requirements remain in effect until the permit is reissued. Revising and reissuing permits for major facilities requires a significant amount of time and resources and is considered a good indicator of overall program performance. Comparing the number of individual permits expired and expiring in the future would assist management in early detection and correction of problems.


  • Data Source: CIWQS. Extracted on August 12, 2013.
  • Unit of Measure: Number of active NPDES permits for Minor facilities as of June 30, 2013.
  • Data Definitions: Permits expired before FY 12-13: permits adopted in FY 07-08 or before and not renewed. Permits expired in FY 12-13: permits adopted in FY 08-09 and not renewed (as of June 30, 2013). Permits expiring in FY 13-14: permits adopted in FY 09-10 and expiring in FY 13-14.
  • References: Information on the Water Boards' NPDES Program
    Public Reports and Data


Major Facility
Major municipal dischargers include all facilities with design flows of greater than one million gallons per day and facilities with approved industrial pretreatment programs. Major industrial facilities are determined based on specific ratings criteria developed by US EPA/State.

Minor Facility
A minor facility is a discharge with a design flow of less than one million gallons per day (MGD) that has not been determined to have an actual or potential adverse environmental impact classifying the discharge as major.

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)
The NPDES permit program (Section 402 of the Clean Water Act ) controls 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. US EPA has approved the Water Board’s program to issue NPDES permits.

NPDES Permit
The Clean Water Act prohibits anybody from discharging "pollutants" through a "point source" into a "water of the United States" unless they have an NPDES permit. The permit contains limits on what can be discharged, monitoring and reporting requirements, and other provisions to protect water quality and public health. In essence, the permit translates general requirements of the Clean Water Act into specific provisions tailored to the operations of each person discharging pollutants.