On 11 April 2014, CSPA appealed the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board’s approval of general waste discharge requirements (WDRs) for growers within the Western San Joaquin River Watershed and San Joaquin County and Delta that are members of a Third Party Group to the State Water Resources Control Board. The new general WDRs were approved on 12 March 2014 and replace the existing waivers of WDRs. The WDRs for San Joaquin County and Delta regulate discharges from some 5,865 farms covering approximately 582,000 acres and the WDRs for the Sacramento Valley regulate discharges from some 12,000 farms covering approximately 1,777,000 acres. Virtually all of the streams within the areas are identified as seriously polluted by agricultural wastes.
Unfortunately, the requirements in the new WDRs are essentially the same as those in old waivers except they don’t have to be renewed every five years. The Regional Board and the public will still not know who is discharging, where discharges are occurring, the pollutants discharged, impacts to local receiving waters, whether management measures have been implemented or if implemented measures are effective.
In lengthy comments to the Regional Board, CSPA stated that the proposed order failed to comply with California’s Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act and the state’s Nonpoint Source Control and Antidegradation Policies. CSPA asks the State Board to vacate the approval and remand the order back to the Regional Board with instructions prepare and circulate a new tentative order that comports with regulatory requirements.
CSPA now has appeals of the WDRs for the Eastside San Joaquin River, Westside San Joaquin River, San Joaquin County and Delta and the Sacramento Valley pending before the State Water Board. Collectively, these WDRs regulate discharges from some 24,565 farms covering approximately 3,846,058 acres of irrigated lands. On 25 May 2012, CSPA successfully sued the Regional Board over the old waivers of WDRs when Judge Timothy M. Frawley found that the waivers violated the state’s Antidegradation and Nonpoint Source Policies. CSPA expects to have to litigate these WDRs that replaced the old waivers.