Fecal Coliform TMDL Stakeholder Process – What Was Learned
In 2016 the County of Orange received notice from an environmental organization of its intent to file suit under the Clean Water Act alleging unlawful discharges of fecal coliform bacteria to Newport Bay. Newport Bay has an adopted Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) that sets standards for both contact recreation and shellfish with compliance dates of 2014 and 2019 respectively. The TMDL requirements are included in the 2009 areawide Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit issued to the County and the cities.
In seeking to resolve the issue it was agreed that a facilitated stakeholder process would be initiated comprising the environmental community, County, cities, Regional Board, and businesses with the goal of making recommendations to the Regional Board on adoption of a revised TMDL or alternative regulatory program which reflect current bacterial water quality indicators of public health protection and Newport Bay-specific considerations.
A facilitator was agreed to and the stakeholder process commenced in late 2016 and is scheduled to conclude this summer. In the intervening period much has been learned about the dynamics of a stakeholder process, the motivations of the environmental community, the differing views and interpretations of data, the appropriateness of the indicators, the lack of understanding of the shellfish beneficial use, the complexities of rain event impacts, and the limitations and costs of the controls. The presentation will summarize what was learned from this extensive multi-year process and will be supportive of the conference theme.
Chris Crompton is the Manager of the North Orange County Watershed Management Area for the County of Orange/Public Works Department. The North Orange County Watershed Management Area covers an area of 500 square miles with a population of almost 2 million people. In this position Chris is responsible for: the countywide, municipal stormwater permit compliance program under the Clean Water Act, involving the County government, Flood Control District, and 24 cities; a number of pollutant-specific Total Maximum Daily Load compliance initiatives; extensive monitoring, assessment, and reporting programs; and multi-jurisdictional watershed planning efforts.