Implementation of the NPDES Storm Water Regulations by Municipalities in the San Francisco Bay Area

by Jill C. Bicknell, Kennedy/Jenks Consultants, San Francisco, United States,
Sachiko Itagaki, Kennedy/Jenks Consultants, San Francisco, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water Resources Planning and Management: Saving a Threatened Resource?In Search of Solutions


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) final rule for storm water discharge regulation under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) requires municipalities with populations greater than 100,000 to obtain NPDES permits for discharges from separate storm sewer systems. In California, the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional Board), which has authority to issue NPDES permits, began an aggressive urban runoff management program in advance of the publication of the EPA regulations because of the documented impacts of pollution from urban runoff on the sensitive receiving waters of San Francisco Bay. As a result, some cities and counties in the Bay area have already obtained permits and begun to implement baseline or comprehensive control programs to manage stormwater, while others are just beginning the permit application process. Successes achieved during the process of implementing the municipal storm water regulations in the San Francisco Bay area include: development of good cooperation among the counties, cities and local agencies in the region; open communication between the Regional Board and the regulated community which has resulted in feasible and sensible programs; creation of extensive and effective public education programs which have increased public awareness of the problem; and the issuance of two early NPDES permits due to the proactive efforts of the Regional Board and the co-permittees. The major problems encountered in meeting the state and federal requirements include difficulty in obtaining steady funding for developing and implementing the programs, conducting representative dry weather monitoring, and obtaining meaningful data from characterization studies of highly variable runoff flows.

Subject Headings: Stormwater management | Municipal water | Urban and regional development | Water pollution | Water discharge | Water quality | Urban areas | California | United States | San Francisco Bay Area

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