The State Water Resource Control Board adopted the revised general permit that regulates water quality at construction sites throughout the state on Wednesday, September 2nd. There are some of the far-reaching effects of this permit and some revolutionary new requirements that consultants will need to understand in order to ensure their clients can maintain compliance with the permit .
The Permit governs all construction sites one acre and larger throughout the state, large-scale linear projects (e.g., utilities), and sites less than one acre that are part of a common development plan. The adoption of this Permit will introduce numeric effluent limits for the construction industry – something the construction industry has never had to contend with before now.
The key aspects of the newly-adopted permit are risk-based classification, numeric effluent limits, numeric action levels, post-construction flow requirements, sampling of runoff and of downstream receiving waters, and electronic filing of documents.
There are penalties for permit violations, which can be as high as $25,000-$37, 5 00 per day per violation in either state or federal court, with 6- and 7- figure penalties not uncommon. Mandatory minimum penalties will apply for certain types of violations (e.g., exceedances of numeric effluent limits and filing reports late). Additionally, the potential liability for administrative enforcement or citizen-lawsuits is extremely high, with any violation of the Permit subjecting site owners to possible fines and other penalties.
Developers, landowners, consultants, and construction companies all have a substantial stake in this Permit, as its terms will affect not only construction budgets and timelines but also will dictate specific design elements for many projects and certification requirements for those preparing documents and implementing permit programs at construction sites .
Companies need to learn the new requirements and begin modifying their compliance programs to meet the Permit's terms
Ms. Beltran is senior counsel in the firm's Orange County office, where her practice focuses on environmental, land use, and water resources matters, representing primarily residential and commercial developers, homebuilders, building industry trade associations, utility companies, power producers, and industries. She advises clients on state and federal resource protection laws, including those relating to water quality and supply, wetlands, hydrology and drainage issues, hazardous substances, contaminated properties, and environmental impact analysis and documentation under the National Environmental Policy Act and California Environmental Quality Act.
Ms. Beltran has extensive experience in the areas of water quality, storm water pollution, wetlands, and water supply matters, including permitting and compliance; environmental diligence and auditing; representation before local, state and federal administrative bodies; and defending clients in citizen-initiated lawsuits. She has assisted clients in obtaining and maintaining state and federal water quality and wetland permits. In addition to participating in major water transfer and water leasing projects, Ms. Beltran has helped clients secure water rights for new housing projects and energy development. Her experience also include interaction with state and federal agencies, for purposes of drafting and interpretation of regulations and water quality permits, and assisting clients in the defense of environmental permits and water quality and supply enforcement actions brought by state and federal agencies and environmental citizen groups. In addition to offering her expertise on the controversial biological and water resource aspects of development, Ms. Beltran also assisted clients with obtaining necessary regulatory approvals and entitlements to develop housing, multi-use and commercial projects, transportation and energy projects, redevelopment and infill projects, and contaminated property development.
Ms. Beltran has authored and/or co-authored articles on water quality issues, appearing in publications such as the Texas Environmental Law Journal, the ABA 21st Annual Water Law Conference Proceedings, and the ABA 15th Annual Real Property Symposium Proceedings. Additionally, Ms. Beltran has served as a guest lecturer, speaking extensively on water quality issues.
Ms. Beltran has practiced in the area of environmental and land use law in both Texas and California, and prior to joining Allen Matkins, she was Of Counsel with Latham & Watkins LLP. Ms. Beltran is a member of the Environmental Law Section of the State Bar of California, the Environmental Section of the Orange County Bar Association, the Environment, Energy, and Resources Section of the American Bar Association, and an inactive member of the Environmental Law Section of the State Bar of Texas.
Ms. Beltran received her J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law in 1997, where she served as an executive editor for the Texas International Law Journal. In 1994, she received her B.A., graduating cum laude, from the University of Texas at Austin.