On June 20, State Water Resources Control Board staff hosted a Water Quality Fee Stakeholder Meeting to discuss the proposed water quality fees for Fiscal Year 2014-15. Staff also distributed materials that indicate which program areas will face proposed increases as well as highlighting historical spending and revenue trends.
On a positive note, the current proposal does not call for an increase in the NPDES permit fees for the coming year because anticipated program revenues at existing fee levels are sufficient to meet projected expenditures within the NPDES program.
Fees for Waste Discharge Requirements (WDR), however, are anticipated to increase by approximately 9.2% across the board. This includes dischargers covered under the Statewide General WDRs for Sanitary Sewer Systems as well as other WDRs. Fee increases for a number of other programmatic areas are even more significant, some in excess of 30%. Water Board staff are expected to release a draft of the proposed fee regulations for the coming year in early August, for consideration by the State Water Board in September.
Though not a fee increase, the Water Board staff is also proposing to change the way that fee payers are charged to support the state’s ambient monitoring programs. Currently, NPDES permit holders pay a surcharge of 21% annually to support the Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program (SWAMP); entities subject to WDRs pay a 9.5 percent surcharge to the Groundwater Ambient Monitoring and Assessment program. In FY 2014-15, staff is proposing that these surcharges be rolled into the base fee assessment. This means the annual fees for NPDES dischargers will appear to have increased under the proposed fee regulations, but because permittees are already required to pay the SWAMP assessment as a surcharge, this will not result in any actual net increase to NPDES permittees.
CASA will review and comment on the proposed fees and will continue tracking this issue closely going forward. For more information about the FY 2014-15 water quality fee regulations, please contact Adam Link at email@example.com.
Tags: policy, water