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San Diego Water Board Waives Regulation to Spur Water Conservation Saving Time and Money without Compromising Water Quality

For Immediate Release
June 26, 2014
Contact: Roger Mitchell
Phone: (619) 521-5898

San Diego -- The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board (San Diego Water Board) adopted an Order conditionally waiving regulation of 36 types of waste discharges, some of which will assist in regional water conservation efforts during the state’s third year of drought.
For example, this action makes it easier for homeowners to use domestic greywater for outdoor irrigation, and for the construction industry to use recycled water for dust control – all without additional red tape. The 36 types of waste discharges include low-threat discharges ranging from aerial fireworks debris that land on the ground, to evaporation ponds that receive wastewater from wine production.

"Waivers of low health threat applications create a win-win situation for the Board and the public," said the San Diego Water Board's executive officer, David Gibson. "The Board conserves resources which can be focused on bigger problems, while the public avoids time-consuming and costly regulation, all without compromising water quality."

By waiving the requirement to apply for and be issued a permit for these low-threat discharges, the San Diego Water Board will conserve its limited resources to address more serious threats to water quality, and in many cases, save the public from a costly and time-consuming permit process, Gibson explained. The waivers have conditions, however, that must be adhered to in order to protect water quality while avoiding the permit process.

Two of the most visible activities, that have been waived, focus on conservation, and enhance the public’s ability to create a local, sustainable water supply in the San Diego Region, so heavily dependent on imported water. Specifically, the two waivers will allow homeowners to irrigate their landscapes with domestic greywater and allow contractors to apply recycled water for dust control at construction sites without getting a permit from the Board.

Another important waiver with sustainability implications allows unimpacted soil from contaminated sites to be reused for construction purposes without getting a permit.  Without this waiver, precious space in the region's landfills might be taken up by this soil.

The regional board will continue to examine its regulation and rulemaking in an effort to respond to suggestions, observations, and in some cases, criticism of the board's approach to regulating environmental impacts to waters in the regional board's jurisdiction.

The San Diego Water Board is comprised of seven part-time members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. The Water Board’s mission is to protect and restore water quality in the southwest portion of the state, including parts of San Diego, Riverside, and Orange counties. For more information visit the regional water board homepage.

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