California Senate Bill 205 to Enforce Further Industrial Stormwater Compliance

November 14, 2019

NGOs, State, and Regional Water Quality Boards fire a warning shot across California’s waterscape for industrial stormwater non-filers, now is the time to seek compliance or risk business licenses.

Long Beach, CA − On October 2, 2019, Senate Bill, SB-205, passed establishing new rules for issuing a business license or renewing a business license in California, Sections 16000.3, and 16100.3. The legislation impacts business operations considered as a regulated industry, as defined in Section 13383.5 of the California Water Code.

California leaders note that many industries and businesses are already enrolled and in compliance under the current National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permit for Storm Water Associated with Industrial Activities (Order NPDES No. CAS000001) (Industrial General Permit or IGP), which was adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) on April 1, 2014 and became effective on July 1, 2015. SB-205 targets non-filers by invoking new requirements through business permitting.  It also recommends that potential dischargers that are not in compliance take this opportunity to correct their status. The statutory provisions address concerns regarding the quality, health, and safety of surface water and drinking water sources throughout California. As a matter of statewide concern, the provisions also apply to charter cities, charter counties, and charter cities and counties.

Existing law requires regulated municipalities and industries to obtain a stormwater permit.

Existing law imposes various requirements on California cities and counties before issuing specified business licenses, including verifying that a person applying for a business license to conduct business as a contractor, which is licensed by the Contractors’ State License Board.

The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) and the nine California Regional Water Quality Control Boards (RWQCBs) prescribe waste discharge requirements for the discharge of stormwater by municipalities and industries in accordance with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program and the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act.

SB-205 Requirements for Initial Business License and Renewal

SB-205 requires a person applying to a city or a county for an initial business license or business license renewal, who conducts business operations as a regulated industry to demonstrate enrollment with the NPDES permit program. Under Section 13383.5 of the Water Code, the county shall confirm that the Waste Discharge Identification (WDID), WDID application number, Notice of Non-applicability (NONA), or No Exposure Certification (NEC) corresponds to the business requesting the initial business license or business license renewal. Providing specified information, under penalty of perjury, on the application, including, among other things, the Standard Industrial Classification Code for the business demonstrates enrollment.

The statute applies to all applications for initial business licenses and business license renewals submitted on and after January 1, 2020. The statute permits a city or county to develop a provisional license procedure for business license renewals that provides businesses three months to comply with these provisions. The information is required to be submitted under penalty of perjury; this statute expands the crime of perjury and imposes a state-mandated local program.

SB-205 requires the city or county to determine, as specified, the applicability of any Standard Industrial Classification Code and, if applicable, confirmation that the information submitted to demonstrate enrollment corresponds to the business requesting the initial business license or business license renewal. The statute requires the city or county to transfer that information to the State Water Resources Control Board upon request, thereby imposing a state-mandated local program.

The statute requires the State Water Resources Control Board, on or before April 1, 2020, to post on its Internet website a list of applicable Standard Industrial Classification Codes for the determinations made by cities or counties, and requires the state board to update that list, as specified.