Real Estate & Land Use Newsletter: Superior Court Orders Regional Water Board to Evaluate Water Quality Standards as Applied to Stormwater Discharges


In a victory for the building industry and municipalities, Judge Thierry P. Colaw of the Orange County Superior Court has ordered the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board (?Regional Board?) and the State Water Resources Control Board (together, ?Water Boards?) to review (and revise if appropriate) its water quality standards as applied to stormwater discharges and to suspend all activities relating to the implementation of the standards. The most immediate impact of the decision, tempering the victory somewhat, has been the Water Boards? interpretation that Judge Colaw?s order prohibits the processing of enrollments in the General Permit for Storm Water Discharges Associated with Construction Activity (?Construction General Permit?) and the General Permit for Storm Water Discharges Associated with Industrial Activities (?Industrial General Permit?). Thus, developers of sites (where greater than one acre of soil will be disturbed) cannot obtain the necessary permit to begin construction. Significantly, sites already covered under the Construction General Permit are only modestly affected. For these sites, the limited effect of the ruling is that the processing of a Notice of Termination (?NOT?) will be delayed. However, because the Regional Board takes several months to process NOTs, the delay may not ultimately be significant if the duration of the judge?s order is only a few months.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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