Report 2017-118 Recommendation 10 Responses

Report 2017-118: State and Regional Water Boards: They Must Do More to Ensure That Local Jurisdictions' Costs to Reduce Storm Water Pollution Are Necessary and Appropriate (Release Date: March 2018)

Recommendation #10 To: Water Resources Control Board

The State Water Board should direct its staff and those of the regional boards to revise their storm water management requirements when staff become aware of changing circumstances that would make certain monitoring by local jurisdictions unnecessary.

6-Month Agency Response

The State Water Board will direct Regional Water Boards to revise requirements when staff become aware of changing circumstances that would make monitoring unnecessary. At this point, however, there appear to be few instances where Water Boards continue to require unnecessary monitoring. While the Audit Report identified bacteria testing as a source of concern, the testing protocols continue to be necessary for beach postings purposes under California Department of Public Health standards.

On May 23, 2018 and July 9, 2018, the Los Angeles Water Board modified the Monitoring and Reporting Programs for the three Phase I MS4 permits in its region to eliminate the requirement to monitor fecal coliform in freshwater consistent with the Los Angeles Water Board's reliance on E. coli rather than fecal coliform in its water quality standards to protect recreation in freshwaters.

  • Estimated Completion Date: To be determined
  • Response Date: August 2018

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending

The Los Angeles Regional Water Board provided evidence that it removed the unnecessary standards we identified in our audit. To ensure that the State Water Board and regional boards proactively identify unnecessary monitoring, we would expect that the State Water Board would develop and adopt policies to require its staff to regularly assess the relevance of monitoring requirements and take action when unnecessary monitoring is identified.


60-Day Agency Response

The State Water Board will direct Regional Water Boards to revise requirements when staff become aware of changing circumstances that would make monitoring unnecessary. At this point, however, there appear to be few instances where Water Boards continue to require unnecessary monitoring. While the Audit Report identified bacteria testing as a source of concern, the testing protocols continue to be necessary for beach postings purposes under California Department of Public Health standards.

  • Estimated Completion Date: To be determined
  • Response Date: April 2018

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending

As we note on page 26 of our report, state law allows the use of different indicators if, based on the best available scientific studies, the alternative indicators are as protective of public health. The USEPA has identified since 1986 that the bacteria testing required by the State Water Board is outdated. The State Water Board should consider the steps it may need to take to address outdated indicators that result in unnecessary monitoring. For example, it could work with the California Department of Public Health to address the relevance of the outdated indicators pertaining to bacteria.


All Recommendations in 2017-118

Agency responses received are posted verbatim.