Written by Alyssa Burley.
On May 8, 2013, the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board, adopted a Municipal Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit for the San Diego Region. The new permit changes from the original prescriptive requirements to a more activity and goal based permit. The permit also provides more flexibility for improvements by breaking the county up in distinct watersheds and allowing them to identify the key issues that impact water quality. In order to identify the problems and solutions, each watershed in the County must complete a Water Quality Improvement Plan (WQIP). Due to the existence of designated construction aggregate resources in the San Luis Rey River, Project Cornerstone has been attending the WQIP public workshops to ensure that construction aggregate resources are considered and protected from adverse regulatory restrictions.
Project Cornerstone staff attended the latest public workshop in Oceanside on June 24, 2014. The priority pollutant identified thus far in the watershed through the WQIP process was bacteria. However, due to the previous comments from Project Cornerstone, the implementation strategies for improving water quality were focused on a comprehensive approach that could provide multiple benefits. The extraction of sand for the benefit of the watershed was considered and will continue to be a part of the discussion throughout the process.
Further documentation and studies will focus on hydromodification and Alternative Compliance Programs as these implementation strategies may provide more opportunities for combining mineral resource extraction for the benefit of water quality improvement, ground water recharge, infiltration, etc.
Project Cornerstone will be submitting a comment letter by July 8th and attending further workshops to ensure that the construction aggregate industry's interests are represented in this new regulatory process in San Diego County.