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May 6, 2014  |  Written by Brittany Lewis-Roberts

State Board Releases Draft General Order for Recycled Water Use for Public Comment

On April 29, 2014, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) issued a draft General Waste Discharge Requirements for Recycled Water Use (Draft General Order).  As a response to the Governor’s drought proclamations, the Draft General Order streamlines agency approval of recycled water projects for non-potable uses.

If approved by the State Board, the Draft General Order would authorize the use of recycled water that meets the requirements of title 22 of the California Code of Regulations (title 22) for non-potable uses.  The Draft General Order does not cover activities designed to replenish groundwater resources or disposal of treated wastewater by means of percolation ponds or other excessive hydraulic loading.  To obtain coverage, an applicant must submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) and application fee to the regional water quality control board (regional board) with jurisdiction over the project area.  The NOI must include a title 22 engineering report before it is considered complete.  If the recycled water application meets the requirements of the Draft General Order and title 22, then the regional board may approve the application and issue a Notice of Applicability (NOA).  The California Department of Public Health must also submit an approval of the title 22 engineering report before the regional board can issue an NOA.  Once approved, the applicant becomes an “Administrator.”

The Administrator assumes the responsibility for meeting the requirements of the Draft General Order, such as ensuring that users apply recycled water to the use areas at agronomic rates.  In addition, the Administrator must require users to meet use area conditions, ensure recycled water meets title 22 quality standards, and administer the program approved in the NOI.  The Administrator must also implement the monitoring and reporting program set forth in the Draft General Order.  Standard observations, sampling, results of random inspections, and other monitoring requirements must be submitted in an annual report to the regional board.

The State Board will consider adoption of the Draft General Order at the June 3, 2014 board meeting.  Written comments are due by May 27, 2014.

For more information on the Draft General Order, please contact Brittany Lewis-Roberts atblewis-roberts@somachlaw.com.

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