The California State Water Resources Control Board is poised to become “the first regulatory agency in the world to specifically define ‘Microplastics in Drinking Water.’” Health and Safety Code section 116376 adds microplastics regulations to California’s Safe Drinking Water Act. It requires the State Board to adopt a definition for Microplastics in Drinking Water by July 1, 2020. Additionally, before July 1, 2021, the State Board must: (1) adopt a standard methodology for testing drinking water for microplastics; (2) adopt a requirement for four years of testing and reporting of microplastics in drinking water, including public disclosure of the results; (3) consider issuing a notification level or other guidance to help consumers interpret the testing results; and (4) accredit laboratories in California to analyze for microplastics. Water suppliers in California will be the first in the nation to test for microplastics in drinking water.
Continue Reading Regulating Microplastics in Drinking Water: California Retains its Vanguard Status

On March 20, the California Water Boards issued guidance about complying with regulatory requirements during the COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders. The guidance directs regulated entities to “immediately” notify the Board if compliance is not possible and to seek appropriate relief. Water Board staff committed to “do their best to respond within 24/48 hours.” It has now been a month, and preliminary data about the extent to which regulated entities have sought relief, and how the Regional Water Boards have responded is available. Information was presented today providing detail about extension requests and delays by regulated entities as of the week of April 20 (i.e., at the conclusion of the first month of the policy).
Continue Reading In First Month of COVID-19 Guidance, the California Regional Water Quality Control Boards Have Issued Hundreds of Approvals for Compliance Extensions Submitted by Regulated Entities

On April 15, 2020, the California Environmental Protection Agency, the umbrella agency for California’s environmental boards, departments, and offices (e.g., CARB, DPR, DTSC, OEHHA, SWRCB) issued a Statement on Compliance with Regulatory Requirements During the COVID-19 Emergency. The Statement comes in the wake of numerous questions regarding environmental compliance obligations for California facilities impacted by COVID-19. It follows COVID-19 guidance issued by U.S. EPA and various announcements by the state boards and local districts that are on the front lines of administering state, local, and federal environmental programs affecting public health and the environment, as well as companies operating facilities in California, like refineries, oil and gas terminals, mining, food processing, and other manufacturing operations.
Continue Reading CalEPA, Stepping into the Perceived Breach, Issues COVID-19 Regulatory Compliance Statement

The California State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) and the nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards (the Regional Water Boards) recently published guidance on complying with regulatory requirements during the COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders.
Continue Reading Compliance with State Water Board Requirements and Permits During California’s Shelter-in-Place Order Associated with COVID-19

This summer, California’s State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) adopted amendments to the Underground Storage Tank (UST) Regulations (California Code of Regulations, title 23, division 3, chapter 16). The new regulations, which become effective on October 1, 2018, impose new design and construction, upgrading, monitoring, notification, testing, inspection, recordkeeping, training and reporting requirements on UST owners and operators in California. The State Water Board’s purpose in amending these regulations was essentially two-fold: (1) to effectively make the California UST regulations just as stringent, and consistent with, the federal UST regulations (part 280 of 40 Code of Federal Regulations); and (2) to reduce the risk of groundwater contamination resulting from UST releases.
Continue Reading California State Water Board Amends Underground Storage Tank Regulations to “Reconcile” Requirements with Federal Law