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U.S. EPA, State of California Regional Water Quality Control Boards inspect industrial sites before the 2004 storm season begins

Release Date: 10/19/2004
Contact Information: Francisco Arcaute, U.S. EPA, (213) 244-1815

LOS ANGELES - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state of California have started inspecting industrial facilities to determine if they comply with requirements prohibiting the discharge of contaminated stormwater runoff.

The EPA and California's Regional Water Quality Control Boards, with the assistance of Tetra Tech, an EPA contractor, will inspect 550 industrial facilities -- including a wide range of manufacturers and their products -- across the state to determine each facility's compliance with federal stormwater permit requirements.

Companies that discharge pollutants -- such as industrial wastewater, cooling water and stormwater -- into the waters of the United States are required to obtain permits under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System program, a component of the federal Clean Water Act. Facilities failing to comply with the regulations could ultimately face fines up to $32,500 per day per violation, depending on the nature of the violations.

Over the last year the EPA levied $300,000 in penalties against 13 stormwater violators in California.

"Stormwater runoff often contains pollutants that can severely affect water quality," said Alexis Strauss, Water Director, EPA Region 9. "By performing site inspections to ensure that companies are doing what they should and can to reduce contaminated runoff from their sites, we can avoid potentially harmful discharges to California's waters."

When inspecting an industrial site for compliance with stormwater requirements, inspectors typically review a facility's file for proper recordkeeping, and inspect outside areas for unpermitted discharges and to ensure that the facility is implementing best management practices to reduce runoff contamination. If an inspector observes potential violations, a referral is made to the appropriate regional water board and EPA for follow-up action.

For more information on the EPA's and California's stormwater requirements for industrial facilities, visit :