Chapter 7.78


7.78.010    Purpose.

7.78.020    Scope.

7.78.030    Definitions.

7.78.040    Wastewater discharge permit.

7.78.050    Project denial.

7.78.060    Fees.

7.78.070    Appeals.

7.78.010 Purpose.

The Board of Supervisors finds the quality of Santa Cruz County’s coastal waters could be jeopardized by increased discharges of wastewater, with predictable negative impacts on the health and welfare of the County’s citizens. The potential sources for this wastewater originate from both within and outside of Santa Cruz County. While wastewater is generally thought of as treated municipal sewage, it can potentially include any number of toxic and/or hazardous materials from industrial processes and other sources. Consequently, additional wastewater discharges have a high potential for disrupting the marine environment of Monterey Bay and the County’s coastal waters. It is therefore imperative that the County have strict guidelines and controls for all wastewater discharges into Monterey Bay and the County’s coastal waters. Furthermore, it is specifically the intent of this chapter to preserve the water quality of Monterey Bay by regulating all such wastewater discharge to the Bay or coastal waters regardless of the source or the method by which the wastewater is transported to the Bay or coastal waters.

It is not the intent of this chapter to place additional regulations on individual residential or commercial connections to existing sewer systems which do not require expansion of existing treatment or discharge facilities. [Ord. 3789 § 1, 1986].

7.78.020 Scope.

This chapter shall apply to discharges into the Monterey Bay and the Pacific Ocean abutting the unincorporated limits of the County of Santa Cruz of wastewater originating from or transmitted through the unincorporated area of the County of Santa Cruz. [Ord. 3789 § 1, 1986].

7.78.030 Definitions.

The following words and phrases as used in this chapter shall have the meanings set forth in this section.

(A)    “Department” means the Health Services Agency of the County of Santa Cruz.

(B)    “Health Officer” means the Santa Cruz County Health Officer or his/her authorized representative.

(C)    “Sewage” means waste substance, liquid or solid, which is associated with human habitation or which contains, or may be contaminated with, human or animal excretion or excrement, offal or feculent matter, or matters or substances that may be injurious or dangerous to health.

(D)    “Wastewater” means all municipal sewage and other potentially toxic and/or hazardous materials or effluent resulting from industrial processes or other sources. Wastewater shall not include stormwater runoff. [Ord. 3789 § 1, 1986].

7.78.040 Wastewater discharge permit.

(A)    All new wastewater discharges into the Monterey Bay or the coastal waters of Santa Cruz County and any proposed expansion of wastewater discharges shall require a permit from the department. Applicants for such permits shall be required to submit, at a minimum, the following information and studies:

(1)    Three years’ monitoring records identifying the existing characteristics of wastewater entering treatment facilities and of the wastewater discharge. Three years’ monitoring records identifying the existing characteristics of wastewater entering any industrial user’s pretreatment facilities and of the wastewater discharge from those facilities. Records of any past accidental spills or discharges of inadequately treated wastewater. Particular areas of concern include toxic chemicals, toxic metals, bacteria and other indicators identified as threats to the health and safety of coastal waters.

(2)    Comprehensive projections of anticipated future wastewater entering treatment (and pretreatment) facilities, and the proposed wastewater discharges from those facilities; both quantitative and qualitative characteristics must be specifically identified. Specific figures for the indicators identified in subsection (A)(1) of this section must be included in the projections.

(3)    Complete information on levels of treatment proposed at the treatment and pretreatment facilities to remove those indicators mentioned in subsections (A)(1) and (2) of this section. This information shall also include reliability and efficiency data of the proposed treatment.

(4)    A comprehensive monitoring plan for testing of wastewater (both at treatment and pretreatment facilities) for indicators identified in subsections (A)(1) and (2) of this section to ensure ongoing treatment is adequate.

(5)    Oceanographic studies to determine the most suitable location and methods for discharge into the ocean.

(6)    Tests of ocean waters at the proposed discharge site and surrounding waters to establish baseline or background levels of toxic chemicals, toxic metals, bacteria and other water quality indicators. These tests must be performed no more than one year prior to submittal of the proposal. Historical data may not be substituted for this requirement.

(7)    Toxicity studies to determine the impacts of the proposed wastewater discharges on marine life, as well as on recreational uses of the coastal waters, and the possible impacts if the proposed treatment and/or pretreatment programs fail and untreated or improperly or partly treated wastewaters are discharged.

(8)    A study identifying and analyzing alternative methods of wastewater disposal. This shall include hydrogeologic studies of the applicant’s groundwater basin to determine the water quality problems in that area and if land disposal will have an adverse impact on groundwater quality.

(B)    The information and studies and the results of requirements in subsection (A) of this section shall be submitted to the County’s Health Officer for evaluation, and shall be subject to his/her approval as to the information and studies provided and as to the results thereof. A wastewater discharge permit shall be issued only if the above information demonstrates that the proposed wastewater discharge will not degrade marine habitats; will not create hazardous or dangerous conditions; and will not produce levels of pollutants that exceed any applicable local, State or Federal water quality standards. The County Health Officer is hereby empowered to establish implementing regulations and policies for determining which information and studies shall be required and the extent thereof. The administrative policies developed by the Health Officer shall include a provision for public notice of the issuance of any wastewater discharge permit.

(C)    Notwithstanding subsection (B) of this section, if information submitted pursuant to subsection (A) of this section or from other sources indicates the potential presence of hazardous pollutants in the proposed wastewater discharge for which State or Federal water quality standards have not yet been established, no permit shall be issued until such time as it is clearly demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Health Officer that the proposed wastewater discharge will not degrade marine habitats or create hazardous or dangerous conditions.

(D)    All applications for wastewater discharge permits shall be subject to the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), including but not limited to the provisions for public noticing and preliminary CEQA review. [Ord. 3789 § 1, 1986].

7.78.050 Project denial.

An application for a wastewater discharge permit shall be denied if the Health Officer determines that the hazards to marine habitats or the public health and safety cannot be mitigated to acceptable risk level as established by SCCC 7.78.040(B) and (C). Applications shall be approved only if the requirements of SCCC 7.78.040 are all satisfied. [Ord. 3789 § 1, 1986].

7.78.060 Fees.

Fees necessary for administration and implementation of this chapter, including permit processing and issuance, shall be set by resolution of the Board of Supervisors. [Ord. 3789 § 1, 1986].

7.78.070 Appeals.

Any person who is adversely affected by any act or determination of the Health Officer under this chapter may appeal such act or determination to the Board of Supervisors under the following conditions:

(A)    A written request for hearing, accompanied by the appeal fee as established by resolution of the Board of Supervisors, is filed with the Clerk of the Board within 10 days after the Health Officer’s decisions;

(B)    The written request specifies in detail the reasons that the appellant believes the permit should or should not have been granted; and

(C)    The Board of Supervisors, upon review of the relevant documents, may determine to grant the appellant a hearing. The Board shall have discretion to accept or reject any request for hearing filed pursuant to this section. Upon granting a hearing, the Board may affirm, modify or reverse the decision of the Health Officer. [Ord. 3789 § 1, 1986].