Trash is not only a problem in California, but a growing concern for our oceans. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a collection of marine debris in the North Pacific Ocean that spans waters from the West Coast of North America to Japan. A plastic water bottle discarded off the coast of California can take a trip around the North Pacific Ocean driven by ocean currents. The amount of debris in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch accumulates because much of it is not biodegradable and many plastics do not wear down and break up into smaller pieces. Much of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is made up of microplastics that can’t be seen by the naked eye. For an eye-opening experience of the Pacific Ocean trash issue, check out CNN’s coverage of the plastic debris that is inundating the Midway Atoll.
What are the Trash Amendments?
In 2015, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) adopted state-wide Trash Provisions to two of their Water Quality Control Plans:
Together, they are collectively referred to as 'the Trash Amendments'. Through the adoption of these statewide Trash Amendments and regional National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4) permit requirements, SWRCB regulators have mandated that trash discharged from regulated stormwater systems be significantly reduced to protect local waterways. These provisions are directed to Phase I and Phase II MS4 permittees who retain regulatory authority over Priority Land Uses, which include the following developed land uses:
The State Water Resources Control Board sent 13383 Orders to traditional and non-traditional Small MS4 permittees in 2017 and the Regional Water Quality Control Boards issued their Phase I permittees either Water Code 13383 or 13267 Orders. In response, permittees are implementing significant new and enhanced management actions that are designed to reduce the generation or transport of trash in stormwater by selecting one of the following compliance tracks.
In addition, the General Permits for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Industrial and Construction Activities will contain the prohibition of trash in storm water and non-storm water discharges when those permits are reissued.
To learn more give us a call at 562-495-5777 or email our Water Resources experts:
Garth Engelhorn, QISP/ToR, CPSWQ, can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Renfrew, QISP/ToR, QSD, CPSWQ, can be reached via email at email@example.com.
State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) Trash Implementation Program https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/stormwater/trash_implementation.html