Water Quality

Ocean Discharges

“All discharges into the waters of the state of California must be permitted by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB). The SWRCB regulates these discharges under the authority of a number of state and federal statutes. Point-source discharges (such as pipes or man-made ditches) into ocean waters are regulated under the federal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), which is a component of the 1972 Clean Water Act. For more information on the NPDES program, see http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/npdes/.”

Impaired Waters

“Under Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act, states, territories and authorized tribes are required to develop a list of water quality limited segments. These waters on the list do not meet water quality standards, even after point sources of pollution have installed the minimum required levels of pollution control technology. The Clean Water Act requires that these jurisdictions establish priority rankings for water on the lists and develop action plans, called as Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL), to improve water quality. Every two years, the California State Water Resources Control Board submits a report on the State’s water quality to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency pursuant to Section 305(b) of the federal Clean Water Act. The Report provides water quality information to the general public and serves as the basis for U.S. EPA ‘s National Water Quality Inventory Report to Congress. This dataset is a compilation of the linear water bodies (rivers, streams, coastlines) in California assessed under Sections 303(d) and 305(b) of the Clean Water Act for the 2010 listing cycle. Each water body is assigned a unique Water Body ID (WBID) number as well as selected associated information (water body name, Regional Water Quality Control Board number, etc.).”

Areas of Special Biological Significance

“The Areas of Special Biological Significance (ASBS) are 34 ocean areas monitored and maintained for water quality by the California State Water Resources Control Board. ASBS cover much of the length of California’s coastal waters. They support an unusual variety of aquatic life, and often host unique individual species.”