California State Water Resources Control Board

September 13, 2017

ERA Level 1 Status

Your facility will need a Qualified Industrial Stormwater Practioner (QISP) to perform an ERA Level 1 Assessment, on or before October 1, 2017, and follow up with an ERA Level 1 Technical Report by January 1, 2018, or as soon as is practicable.  We recommend that this assessment and report be performed prior to the wet season of the 2017-18 permit cycle year, to assist dischargers in reviewing their minimum required BMPs and if needed, implement additional BMPs.

ERA Level 2 Status

Review your ERA Level 1 Action Plan now. Is it correct given the additional NAL exceedances?  You should review all items needed for a successful ERA Level 2 Action Plan and Technical Report to successfully reduce and/or eliminate pollutants of concern in stormwater discharge.


Requirements, Actions, Deadlines

Your facility is required to submit an ERA Level 2 Action Plan, prepared by a QISP, which addresses each Level 2 NAL exceedance via SMARTs. This Action Plan must identify which of the three options below (or a combination thereof) of demonstration(s) the Discharger has selected to perform:

  • Industrial Best Management Practice (BMP) Demonstration – Description/evaluation of relevant potential pollutant sources whereby additional Facility BMPs are implemented to comply with all applicable effluent limitations (BAT/BCT, ELGs and/or TMDLs) and to prevent future NAL exceedances (If this is not feasible to implement, you must provide estimated cost and rationale);


  • Non-industrial Pollutant Source Demonstration (run-on from adjacent facilities, aerial deposition). This option allows for a Discharger to demonstrate that the pollutants causing the NAL exceedances are not related to industrial activities conducted at the facility, and additional BMPs at the facility will not contribute to the reduction of pollutant concentrations.  The determination that the sources are not from industrial activity or natural background must be done by a QISP; and


  • Natural Background Pollutant Source Demonstration (e., iron in soils). This option takes its cue from the 2008 Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP) whereby and if a Discharger can determine that the exceedance of a benchmark (NAL) is attributable to the presence of that pollutant in the natural background. A Site Plan(s) is very important in this regard which should include, but not limited be to facility locations, available land cover information, reference site and test site elevation, available geology, and soil information for reference and test sites, photographs showing site vegetation, site reconnaissance survey data, and records.


The State Water Board acknowledges that there may be cases where a combination of the demonstrations may be appropriate; therefore a Discharger may combine any of the three demonstration options in their Level 2 ERA Technical Report, when appropriate.

It is important to note that Level 2 is a serious situation under the IGP and you should start working immediately on your stormwater management goals for the ERA Level 2 Action Plan, which is due by January 1, 2018. For the BMP demonstration option, Dischargers may have to implement additional BMPs, which may include physical, structural, or mechanical devices that will reduce and/or eliminate pollutants in stormwater discharge.

The ERA Level 2 Technical Report, which summarizes the option(s) chosen and all relevant technical information, including design storm standards for treatment control BMPs, must be overseen and signed by a California Professional Engineer (PE) and submitted by January 1st, 2019.


Four important considerations in light of the ERA Level 2 exceedances:

    • Your facility Pollution Prevention Team (PPT) and/or consultant hopefully reviewed all the relevant 2016-17 storm water sampling analytical results during the annual report process. It is worth taking another look and reviewing each and every lab report, and look for j-flags, and potential issues during sampling to make sure it is truly an NAL exceedance. If this is an issue, training should also be done fairly soon to ensure proper sampling techniques during the 2017-18 stormwater season.


    • Budgetary: Capital expenditures can take time to get approved. The earlier the compliance-based BMP items are submitted for budgetary approval, the better. This will give the Discharger more flexibility and options for a tiered approach for implementation.


    • Non-government Organizations (NGOs) and Environmental Groups (EGs) are a “de facto” regulatory mechanism, and there has been a proliferation of citizen suits under the Clean Water Act recently. ERA Level 2 Dischargers could be on a short list for non-compliance and have greater exposure.


  • Remember, if you return to Baseline status under the IGP and breach the former ERA Level 2 NALs with a yearly average or instantaneous maximum exceedance(s), your facility returns directly to ERA Level 2. Make sure your BMPs are implemented for the long-term to prevent returning to Level 2 status.



Get help now by contacting an SCS Stormwater Professional near you.





Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:03 am

September 7, 2016


The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB)’s industrial stormwater website has developed many new guides to help industrial dischargers (Industrial General Permit, IGP, permitees) understand what is required  and how to best to utilize the on-line reporting protocols for IGP compliance.  Despite the resources and this outreach provided on the SWRCB website many industries and businesses could be at risk, and may not understand that they could be in violation of the current IGP.


Recent direct communications with SWRCB and local Regional Boards’ have indicated that during the 2016-2017 permit cycle year, inspections will be more detailed for facilities considered to be at high risk, which were specifically named as those with a long history of water quality violations, as well as scrap metal recyclers, and End-of-Life Vehicle (ELV) recycling. There will also be increased focus on facilities that discharge to impaired waterbodies with adopted Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) requirements.


Industries should take action now if there is any uncertainty in regards to the meeting permit regulations.  Contact your local SCS Engineers’ office or one of our industrial stormwater experts in California, Cory Jones or Jonathan Meronek.  If you need questions answered, or if you are unsure of your business’s requirements, and believe that your facility may be in violation, SCS will help sort through the permitting red-tape. This includes SMARTs filing, NOI/NEC or NONA submittals, SWPPPs and Monitoring and Implementation Plans.


Recent News, Stats, and Resources

  • The State Board notified enrolled permittees that they must submit their annual reports electronically.  Reference the Electronic Reporting – Storm Water Multiple Application and Report Tracking System (SMARTS) Database
  • As of June 30, 2016, only approximately 2000 out of 8581 annual reports (statewide) have been submitted electronically.
  • NONA: The State Board has reviewed the Notice of Non-Applicability (NONA) forms submitted for the Statewide NPDES Permit Coverage for Drinking Water System Discharges; only a small percentage (9 of 150±) were done correctly and approved.
    • The State Board found that a certification by a professional engineer had not been completed approving that the sites are not hydraulically connected, or
    • A No Exposure Certification (NEC) should have been filed instead of a NONA.


More Resources



Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

November 14, 2015

SCS stormwater professionals are available to assist newly required permittees with filing and compliance requirements.

The Industrial General Permit is an NPDES permit that regulates discharges of stormwater associated with industrial activity. Based on the projected revenue and the predicted surplus, SWRCB is working to refine program funding and plans to adjust the current IGP permit fee structure.

Glen Osterhage, Fee Branch Manager for the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), Division of Administrative Services, met with industry leaders on November 3, 2015, to discuss potential changes to the stormwater Industrial General Permit (IGP) fee structure. Meeting attendees included: SCS Engineers, the Industrial Environmental Association (IEA), California Stormwater Quality Association (CASQA), the California Taxpayers Association (CTA), California Chamber of Commerce, the Independent Energy Producers Association (IEPA), and the host – California Manufacturing and Technology Association (CMTA).

The SWRCB funds eight core permit programs through the Waste Discharge Permit Fund, which pays for over 800 staff. California has cut allocations for agency staff funding by approximately $30 million dollars, forcing SWRBC to distribute its cost burden across the permit fee base. Currently, IGP permit fee revenue is $14.4 million (a single permit fee of $1,791 multiplied by approximately 8,035 permittees). However, SWRCB projects higher revenues due to increased enrollment when all newly required permittees file.  Core programs are also subsidized with excess funds coming from the Construction Permit fees (excess of $2M over required $2M last year).  Based on the current projected revenue and the predicted surplus the SWRCB is working to refine the IGP program funding and plans to adjust the structure of the permit fee from a flat rate to a rate adjusted for facility size, project complexity, and the threat to water quality.

Following the 2017 to 2018 year permit periods, the SWRCB will have better estimates with which they can accurately adjust fees. The SWRCB is exploring the potential for providing fee discounts for benefits or subsidizing other permit compliance cost burdens. For now, the No Exposure Certification (NEC) IGP Permits are likely to remain a flat fee, but their value may change following additional baseline permit data results.

The SWRCB’s revenue goal is, as always, to break-even; any proposed change to the fee structure is not intended to boost agency revenue over expenses. Another goal is to have data readily available for selecting a permit fee tier from the information submitted on the IGP’s online database application (Storm Water Multiple Application & Report Tracking System, SMARTS,

The SWRCB will have additional meetings to collect comments on the proposed change in hopes of creating a consensus with permittees on these impending changes.

SCS Engineers will provide information as it becomes available. Our professionals are available to assist newly required permittees with filing and compliance requirements.

Contact SCS’s Stormwater Manager, Cory Jones at 1-858-571-5500 or .

Stormwater Management Services

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am