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  • Active – Late Holocene-age deposits Abandoned – Early to Mid Holocene deposits with moderate to strongly varnished surfaces, bar and swale morphology Relict Fans – Pleistocene-age fan deposits, remnants of past processes in a geologic epoch defined by considerably more rainfall, colder climate, and multiple glacial and interglacial periods
  • Bay-Friendly Landscaping
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Pimple dimples eureka2013 Pimple dimples eureka2013 Presentation Transcript

  • Pimples to Dimples A regulatory perspective on our efforts to control runoff from new construction in CA. Greg Gearheart, PE Storm Water Program / SWRCB
  • I wish to acknowledge the hard work of my colleagues at the State Water Board in helping gather information used in this presentation: • Eric Berntsen, PH, CFM, CPESC, CPSWQ • Bill Hereth • Laurel Warddrip
  • Dimples
  • Regulating Symptoms vs. Causes
  • The Tail (of the Dragon) • The mission of the Water Boards is to preserve and enhance the quality of CA’s water resources, and ensure their proper allocation and efficient use for the benefit of present and future generations.
  • Millions of Californians 1980 – 23.7 million 2005 – 37 million 2020 – 50 million (projected) Where do we put everyone? “The Californians”- SNL & Tumblr.com
  • Hydrologic Cycle From Lake (2004)
  • Exurbanization in the Sierra Foothills from “New Geographies of the American West” by William Travis
  • Relict F Abandoned Active Relict Fan
  • Native Soil From King County
  • Disturbed Soil From King County
  • Oki 2009
  • From NOAA Lawn is the largest irrigated “crop” in the US
  • Sources of Impairment (USEPA 2006)
  • New Construction Numbers • In FY 2008-2009: ~ 17,000 enrollees in our construction permit ~ 3,000 new enrollees • FY 2009-2010: –~10,000 enrollees/facilities –~150 new enrollees per month –~50 acres per facility = ~500,000 acres • Today: ~5000 (new permit + economy)
  • 1950's – Sacramento Area 2000's – Sacramento Area
  • Driven by maintenance interests...
  • Water Boards nuts and bolts Our regulatory actions (e.g., CWA401 Certs, WDRs, NPDES Permits, enforcement, etc.) require discharges to be protective of our water quality standards (WQS): – Water quality standard = beneficial uses + objectives – Water Boards may “choose to prevent any degradation”
  • CWA - Water Quality Standards • Water Quality Standards are made up of: – Beneficial Uses (designated to specific waterbodies), plus – water quality criteria; and – an antidegradation policy. • Beneficial Uses (BUs) are: • often not directly related to key water resource uses valued by communities (it might take a suite of them to protect wetlands and streams, for example)
  • Beneficial Uses Used to Protect California Wetlands & Streams • AGR – Agricultural Supply • FLD – Flood Peak Attenuation/Flood Water Storage • FRSH – Freshwater Replenishment • GWR – Groundwater Recharge • MAR – Marine Habitat • MUN – Municipal and Domestic Supply • RARE – Preservation of Rare and Endangered Species • REC-1 – Water Contact Recreation • REC-2 – Non-Water Contact Recreation • SHELL – Shellfish Harvesting • SPAWN – Fish Spawning • WARM – Warm Freshwater Habitat • WILD – Wildlife Habitat • WQE – Water Quality Enhancement
  • Functional Framework: Regulatory Tools • Landscape (laparoscopic?) and watershed tools: – Storm Water NPDES Permits – CEQA ? • Waterbody tools: – CWA 401 Certifications / Wetland program • Project tools: – Construction permit, CEQA, local ordinances, building code?
  • Clean Water Act Permits • CWA Section 402 – Point Sources – The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) – applies to all point sources of pollutants – Storm water outfalls are considered “point sources” and these regulations apply to: • Industrial Sources (including Construction Activities) – BAT/BCT standard applies • Municipal Sources (large and small communities) – MEP standard applies
  • MS4s and MEP • Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) – Local governments, Caltrans, and some “non-traditionals” in Phase II • Maximum Extent Practicable (MEP) – MS4s must reduce pollutants in their effluent to the MEP – A hybrid standard – part performance-based and level of effort ($)
  • MS4 Water Quality Standards (WQS) apply to receiving waters. MS4 Permits are supposed to ensure WQS are met via MEP standard applied at “ends of pipes.” LID
  • MS4 requires project to use LID to reduce pollutants to MEP to protect WQS WQS MEP Receiving Water Limitations Effluent Limitations MS4 LID Permittee Desired Practice (applied to project)
  • Enforcing Post- construction Standards via MS4 Permits • City Y has an MS4 Permit that requires all projects adding over 10,000 square feet of impervious area, etc., to do LID to meet the 5% EIA standard • Project X in City Y fails to comply (or worse, fakes compliance) • Project X is built w/o compliance → City Y is in violation • State/EPA must enforce against City Y
  • NPDES Permit Drivers towards LID • 1990's – MS4s had to have post- construction elements in their plans • ~2000 – MS4s had to have Standard Urban Stormwater Management Plans (SUSMPs) – capture/treat 85 %ile, 24-hr runoff event – often resulted in regional basins – difficult to enforce
  • Modern MS4 Tools • SUSMPs (the plan, not necessarily the standard) • Hydromodification Management Plans (HMPs) • Low Impact Development • Additional post-construction elements (e.g., water quality BMPs)
  • Common Triggers for Projects Required to do LID, etc. • >10,000 square feet of impervious • “Priority projects” - varies statewide • Older permits may trigger at 20,000 square feet • other thresholds
  • Common Project Outcomes • Older permits – Large vaults, structural devices – Detention basins – Capture/treat approach • Newer permits – LID – Flow duration control – Hydromod/instream intervention in some cases
  • Common Performance Criteria • Criteria (varies) – “Post equals pre-development” runoff volume – Ranges of flows to control – (Effective) Impervious area threshold(s) • Method of analysis/calculation (varies) – Continuous simulation – Rational (modified) method – Not specified
  • Specific LID Requirements • Construction General Permit requires “post equals pre” and uses LID-esque runoff credits (trees, cisterns, etc.) • LID Manuals (some developed, some in progress) • Vague “LID preferential” language in some cases • Some MS4 permits contain no LID language
  • Subdivision Example
  • Pre- Development (Pre-Project) Post- Development (5% EIA) Post- Development (1% EIA) Percent EIA 0 5 1 Precipitation (inch) 0.75 0.75 0.75 Runoff (inch) 0.002 0.04 0.007 Project Area (acres) 10 10 10 Runoff (acre-ft) 0.002 0.03 0.006 % Increase over Pre-Development N/A 1,500 300 Subdivision Example
  • Effective Impervious Area (EIA) • Concerns over using EIA as a surrogate for hydrologic performance • Treats the symptom (surface), not the cause (hydrology) of WQS impacts • Could be gamed (the “grassy moat” scenario) • Should use Runoff Volume, Time of Concentration, and other appropriate hydrologic metrics instead
  • The importance of soil • Healthy soils are critical to watershed health and function • Engineers tend to focus on the plumbing more than the soils and biotic features • Infiltration and recharge do not always work – LID is flexible, why aren't we?
  • Native Soil From King County
  • Disturbed Soil From King County
  • From Soil Food Web, Inc
  • State Water Board’s Watershed Management Initiative (1996) “water quality and ecosystem problems are best prioritized, addressed, and solved at the local watershed level rather than at the individual discharger, waterbody, or state agency level……”
  • Watershed Management Zones •Allow us to identify the most appropriate criteria to protect dominant watershed processes. • Examples: No channel protection criteria in subwatersheds without streams • Prescribe higher infiltration volume for areas that can handle it • Limit development on areas that supply coarse sediment
  • Social well-being Sustainability Personal Health Leadership & demonstration Efficiency ethic Environmental awareness Minimal impact Public acceptance & demand Product & service availability Professional competency StewardshipStewardship Reduce Runoff Soil Conservation & Health Water Quality Habitat Urban environment Water Energy Air (carbon / GHG) Biomass (green waste reduction) Resource Efficiency & Protection Watershed Efficiency & Protection Market Transformation Market Transformation Quality of LifeQuality of Life Watershed Approach – The New Norm (CA Urban Water Conservation Council)
  • BUILD “LIVING SOIL” • Healthy soil biology, full of micro- organisms forms the foundation for the entire site ecology • Similar to the role of plankton in the ocean · Creates soil structure · Stores and cycles nutrients · protect plants from pests · Improves water infiltration and storage · Filters out urban pollutants
  • UTILIZE MULCH • Apply minimum 2” layer mulch over all planting beds • Utilize local, recycled, organic mulch from tree trimmings • Avoid forest product mulches • Reapply as needed • Keep away from root crowns and trunks
  • From Eric’s Front Yard
  • From Ann Riley
  • Risks of over-engineered LID • Engineered boxes often require engineered soils • Devices buried in corners of commercial lots • Site runoff performance may meet goals, but overall watershed goals and sustainability of project is questionable
  • Challenges Ahead for LID • Regulating LID – Retrofits, hydrologic criteria, performance measurement, over-engineering, enforcement, linking to WQS and outcomes • Legislating LID – Diverse interests, oversimplification of CA hydrology, promises of global savior • Mother Nature
  • Sustainability Tests • Resource – protection to enhancement and reuse (“runoff is a resource”) • Technical – complex, technological standard-based to simple, natural, performance-based solutions • Institutional – centralized, subsidized approaches to decentralized, self-supporting approaches • Community – healthy individual, societal cost driven equations to healthy community, community opportunity equations
  • My Recommendations • Water Board/USEPA should develop numeric criteria and objectives that address hydromod impacts using LID, instream, and other techniques – in support of beneficial uses and WQS • Wherever feasible, directly regulate those responsible for constructing projects (and maintaining BMPs), discharging storm water • Open source model → performance-based standards with flexibility to adapt/learn • Promote sustainable approaches to water management wherever feasible (soils, irrigation, gray water, everything)
  • Greg Gearheart | 916-341-5892 | ggearheart@waterboards.ca.gov