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Water Quality Laws Overview

FlowchartThere are multiple laws on federal, state and local levels that regulate storm water pollution and discharges from Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s), i.e. storm drain systems. The overarching goal of these laws is to improve water quality in surface waters such as rivers, creeks, lakes, lagoons and oceans. Below is a flow chart of regulating agencies and links to these agency’s laws.

Federal
Federal Clean Water Act (CWA)

State
State Water Resources Control Board

Local
Regional Water Quality Control Board

City of Oceanside
Clean Water Program

Federal: United States
The Federal Clean Water Act is the basis for our water quality laws today. Sections 401 and 402  added in 1987, require all states and cities to implement storm water programs to reduce the impact of urban runoff and storm water pollution on local waterbodies.

State: California
California’s primary law granting the authority to implement storm water regulations is the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act . This law allowed our California Environmental Protection Agency to create the State Water Resources Control Board and the nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards.

Local: San Diego Region
The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board is one of nine California Regional Water Quality Control Boards that issues regulations concerning storm water discharges, affecting all industrial and commercial businesses, construction sites, residents and municipal agencies. The San Diego Municipal Storm Water Permit  issued January 2007 to all San Diego municipalities has become the basis for the City of Oceanside’s local ordinances.

Chapter 40  (260 KB) is the City of Oceanside’s Storm Water Ordinance. Listed in this ordinance you will find all of the discharges prohibited and exempted from entering the municipal storm drain system.

Construction and development project proponents can view copies of grading ordinances by contacting the Engineering Department.

Report any water running in the street when it is not raining or someone dumping something in the storm drain or curb and gutter by calling the
Urban Runoff Hotline at 760-435-4500.