Urban Run-Off and Ocean Water Quality in Southern California: What Tools Does the Clean Water Act Provide?
56 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2006
This paper explores the tools available in the Clean Water Act and, to a lesser extent, the Coastal Zone Management Act, to protect ocean water quality from the pollutants in urban run-off, using southern California beaches as an example. It argues that the new effect of the CZMA is to convert much urban run-off from nonpoint to point source pollution, subjecting that run-off to the Clean Water Act's stormwater permitting provisions. Once covered by the Clean Water Act's NPDES permit provisions, moreover, urban run-off to coastal waters must also meet state water quality standards, and the discharge is subject to total maximum daily load (TMDL) requirements. In southern California, the evolution of urban run-off management to protect ocean water quality has recently culminated in the bacteria TMDL for Los Angeles area beaches.
Keywords: Clean Water Act, water quality, ocean, coast, coastal, Coastal Zone Management Act
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