On 7 February 2014, CSPA and CWIN 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 that are members of a Third Party Group to the State Water Resources Control Board. The new general WDRs were approved on 9 January 2014 and replace the existing waivers of WDRs that regulate discharges from some 3,100 farms covering approximately 500,000 acres. Virtually all of the streams within the area 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.