The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) is a federal
permit program under the Clean Water Act that is administered locally by the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB), a part of the California Environmental Protection Agency.
REDUCING POLLUTANTS IN THE SANITARY SEWERS
- Part of the original Clean Water Act passed in 1972 contained a requirement for most publicly-owned treatment works (POTWs) to establish a pretreatment program to greatly reduce the pollutants discharged into the sanitary sewers by industries.
- The CMSA Pretreatment Program is in conformance with detailed federal regulations and is monitored by the RWQCB. The RWQCB performs an annual inspection to verify compliance with the federal regulations.
Pollution Prevention Program
- The primary elements of the CMSA Pollution Prevention Program are regulation of automobile repair facilities, dental offices, restaurants, and industrial facilities, and public education and outreach. The discharge of toxic materials into the sanitary sewer system is reduced by issuing permits or establishing required Best Management Practices (BMPs) for more than 400 facilities.
- Other significant source control activities are regulation of septic tank, portable toilet, and grease trap wastes delivered to CMSA, and regulation of contaminated groundwater discharged into the sewer collection system.
PROTECTING THE STORM DRAIN SYSTEM
Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan
- To protect the Bay and comply with an NPDES General Permit issued by the RWQCB, CMSA has a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) for Agency property.
- The SWPPP, and its associated Monitoring Plan, specifies how staff will prevent stormwater pollution from occurring in their everyday activities, how to respond to spills and other unusual events, and to conduct periodic in-house inspections and testing to verify compliance with the SWPPP.
Enforcement of Stormwater Requirements
- Under an agreement with the City of San Rafael, CMSA staff may issue City citations for violation of the City’s Stormwater Ordinance.
- The agreement specifies that CMSA’s responsibility and authority is limited to events related to facilities that CMSA regulates as part of the Pollution Prevention Program.