Winery Waste Discharge Requirements Scheduled for Adoption in November 2020

July 2020

California’s State Water Resources Control Board continues to advance its development of general waste discharge requirements (“WDRs”) for wineries. On July 3, 2020, the board gave notice of a July 22, 2020 online public workshop and scheduled a November 17, 2020 hearing to adopt the new winery WDRs. A link to the notice, the draft WDRs and related documents can be found here.

If adopted, the WDRs would allow wineries to discharge winery-derived wastewater and other waste (washwater, wine, juice, leaves, stems, pomace, lees, bentonite, etc.) to ponds and/or land. This would create a new statewide system for the 2,070 wineries estimated to be affected, while phasing out local programs and individual discharge requirements. Specific requirements would vary under a tiering system that groups wineries according to the total volume of “process water” discharged annually.

The WDRs would not apply to wineries that discharge their wastewater to a community sewer system or that haul wastewater offsite. The WDRs also will not disturb the existing stormwater discharge requirements under the Industrial General Permit. Wineries subject to the new WDRs would be required to submit an application (known as a Notice of Intent), a technical report and fees to the local regional board.

We will continue to monitor and report on future developments.

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Sean Hungerford is a Partner at Harrison, Temblador, Hungerford & Guernsey LLP in Sacramento, California.

© 2020 – Harrison, Temblador, Hungerford & Guernsey LLP. All rights reserved. The information in this article has been prepared by Harrison, Temblador, Hungerford & Guernsey LLP for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.