San Diego Region - Do I Need a Permit?

If your activities or discharges from your property or business affect California's surface, coastal, or ground waters, you will need to apply for a permit from the RWQCB.

If you are discharging pollutants (or proposing to) into surface water you must file a complete National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit application form with the RWQCB.

Other types of discharges, such as those affecting groundwater or from diffused sources (e.g., erosion from soil disturbance or waste discharges to land) are handled by filing a Report of Waste Discharge with the RWQCB in order to obtain Waste Discharge Requirements (WDRs).

For specified situations, some permits may be waived and some discharge activities can be handled through enrollment in an existing general permit.

Typical activities that affect water include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • discharge of process wastewater not discharging to a sewer (factories, cooling water, etc.)
  • confined animal facilities (e.g., dairies)
  • waste containments (landfills, waste ponds, etc.)
  • construction sites
  • boatyards
  • discharges of pumped groundwater and cleanup (underground tank cleanup, dewatering, spills)
  • material handling areas draining to storm drains
  • sewage treatment facilities
  • filling of wetlands
  • dredging, filling and disposal of dredge wastes
  • commercial activities not discharging to a sewer (e.g., factory wastewater, storm drain)
  • discharge of waste to land