A petition for Writ of Mandate was filed May 8 asking Alameda Superior Court to order the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to immediately reopen and modify the new Industrial General Permit (IGP), adopted April 1, 2014. The new IGP replaces the 1997 permit which was to have expired in 2002, but which continued in effect while the SWRCB wrestled with its reissuance.
Petitioners seek modifications in two areas. First, Petitioners demand that the SWRCB include monitoring requirements sufficient to demonstrate compliance with Receiving Water Limitations which require that discharges not cause or contribute to an exceedance of any applicable water quality standards in any affected receiving water. Petitioners argue the IGP violates the Clean Water Act by failing to include such monitoring requirements, citing the recent LA Flood Control case, NRDC v. County of Los Angeles (9th Cir, 2013).
Petitioners also demand that TMDLs be incorporated into the IGP immediately, asserting that the SWRCB is without discretionary authority to delay TMDL implementation or excuse dischargers from meeting wasteload allocations. To avoid further delay in the reissuance of the IGP, the SWRCB adopted the permit with a schedule to reexamine wasteload allocations and translate them into TMDL-specific requirements applicable to industrial dischargers. The IGP set a deadline of July 1, 2016 to reopen the IGP for comments on incorporating TMDL-specific requirements. Petitioners’ seek numeric effluent limits immediately.
The petition creates some uncertainty in the monitoring requirements and effluent limits applicable to discharges to impaired receiving waters. The list of TMDLs for which the SWRCB will develop specific requirements, either on its own timetable if it prevails, or the court’s if it loses, is in Attachment E of the IGP.
Petitioners are California Coastkeeper Alliance, San Francisco Baykeeper, and Los Angeles Waterkeeper. The case is California Coastekeeper Alliance v. SWRCB, Case No. RG14724505. The SWRCB has 30 days to answer.