BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 1251
                                                                  Page 1

          Date of Hearing:   April 30, 2013

           ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENTAL SAFETY AND TOXIC MATERIALS
                                  Luis Alejo, Chair
                    AB 1251 (Gorell) - As Amended:  April 10, 2013
           
          SUBJECT  :   Stormwater discharge.

           SUMMARY  :   Establishes the Stormwater Task Force (Task Force) to  
          develop recommended control for sources of stormwater pollution.  
           Specifically,  this bill  :

          1)Makes legislative findings that California's stormwater  
            clean-up efforts primarily focuses on end-of-pipe requirements  
            and there is a need to provide a more comprehensive regulatory  
            strategy that considers limiting the sources of contamination  
            in stormwater.

          2)Requires the Secretary for Environmental Protection, of the  
            California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal-EPA), to  
            convene a Task Force to review, plan, and coordinate  
            stormwater-related activity to maximize regulatory  
            effectiveness in reducing water pollution. The Task Force  
            would include:

             a)   Representatives agencies and departments within Cal-EPA;
             b)   The Secretary of Food and Agriculture; and
             c)   A representative from the Office of Planning and  
               Research.

          3)Requires the Task Force to provide a statewide stormwater  
            plan, by January 1, 2017, that makes recommendations on  
            appropriate legislation to integrate the control of sources of  
            stormwater pollutants with existing programs related to water  
            quality in an efficient manner.

          4)Requires in developing the plan, the Task Force to consider  
            all of the following:

             a)   The full spectrum of stormwater constituents that are  
               considered pollutants and all potential methods to address  
               and control the sources of those pollutants;
             b)   The cost-effectiveness and the economic impacts of the  
               control measures;
             c)   The costs and benefits of stormwater capture and use  








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               systems as compared to stormwater discharge regulations;
             d)   The beneficial uses of water;
             e)   The benefits to public health; and
             f)   Consistency with the fundamentals of the federal Clean  
               Water Act 

          5)The bill would sunset on January 1, 2021.

           EXISTING FEDERAL LAW:  

          1)Establishes, pursuant to the federal Clean Water Act (CWA),  
            the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) to  
            regulate point source discharges of pollutants into U.S.  
            waters.  An NPDES permit sets specific discharge limits for  
            point sources discharging pollutants into U.S. waters and  
            establishes monitoring and reporting requirements as well as  
            special conditions.
          2)Authorizes individual states to implement the program allowing  
            states to impose more stringent requirements or expand the  
            scope of its program to meet state priorities.

           EXSISITNG STATE LAW:

           Under the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act, the State  
          Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) and the Regional Water  
          Quality Control Boards (RWQCBs) regulate discharges of  
          pollutants in storm-water and urban runoff by regulating,  
          through the NPDES, industrial discharges and discharges through  
          the municipal storm drain systems and from industrial activity.  
           
           FISCAL EFFECT  :   Not known

          COMMENTS  :   

           1)Need for the bill  :  According to the author, "The current  
            regulatory scheme that guides California's stormwater clean-up  
            efforts has primarily focused on end-of-pipe requirements.  
            This is not surprising because the State and Regional Water  
            Boards, which were established to implement the Federal Clean  
            Water Act, have limited jurisdiction over what they can and  
            cannot regulate.  While they are fully authorized to regulate  
            permit holders, they cannot regulate industries that produce  
            materials that leave behind pollutants that permit holders are  
            required to clean up when stormwater runs off their property.   
            As compliance standards increase, the burden of clean-up has  








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            disproportionally fallen on property owners who are tasked  
            with cleaning up pollutants that they did not leave behind.   
            California's water quality improvement efforts should include  
            a comprehensive approach that will allow stormwater clean-up  
            to be more manageable and achievable.  Stormwater regulations  
            should shift more focus onto source-control tactics to combat  
            stormwater pollution, in addition to current end-of-pipe  
            approaches.  Studies show that source clean-up is economically  
            and environmentally superior to after-the-fact clean-up."

           2)Regulation of stormwater discharge  .  Water runoff from cities,  
            highways, industrial facilities and construction sites can  
            carry pollutants that harm water quality and impair the  
            beneficial uses of California waters.  The SWRCB and the US  
            EPA regulate the runoff and treatment of storm water in  
            industrial, municipal and residential areas of California.   
            According to US/EPA, stormwater discharges are generated by  
            runoff from land and impervious areas such as paved streets,  
            parking lots, and building rooftops during rainfall and snow  
            events that often contain pollutants in quantities that can  
            adversely affect water quality.  Most stormwater discharges  
            are considered point sources and require coverage by an NPDES  
            permit.  The primary method to control stormwater discharges  
            is through the use of best management practices (BMP).

            Under the CWA Section 402, the NPDES permit program regulates  
            point source discharges of pollutants.  An NPDES permit sets  
            specific discharge limits for point sources discharging  
            pollutants into U.S. waters and establishes monitoring and  
            reporting requirements as well as special conditions.

           3)Municipal and Industrial Stormwater Discharges  .  Cities and  
            other jurisdictions that operate large, medium and small storm  
            water systems, as well as specific industrial activity sites,  
            including constructions sites that disturb more than an acre  
            of land, must apply for storm water permits.  The SWRCB  
            provides policy and regulatory oversight, on behalf of the  
            federal government.

            CWA Section 402(p) requires stormwater permits for four major  
            classes of stormwater discharges:  1) discharges for which a  
            permit has been issued under Section 402 before the date of  
            the enactment of this subsection; 2) discharges associated  
            with industrial activity; 3) discharges from a municipal  
            separate stormwater sewer system serving an incorporated or  








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            unincorporated, urbanized population greater than 100,000;  
            and, 4) discharges that contribute to a violation of a water  
            quality standard or are significant contributors of pollutants  
            to waters of the U.S..  This program stresses the use of BMP  
            to minimize or eliminate the contribution of pollutants to  
            stormwater discharges to U.S. waters, including wetlands.

           4)Prior legislation  .  AB 2177 (Gorell) 2012, would have  
            established a reporting requirement for the SWRCB on  
            stormwater management was approved by the ESTM committee in  
            2012.  AB 2177 was held in the Assembly Appropriations  
            Committee.

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :

           Support
           
          None on file.

           Opposition 
           
          None on file.
           

          Analysis Prepared by  :    Bob Fredenburg/ E.S. & T.M. / (916)  
          319-3965