Commercial, Industrial, and Institutional (CII) Permit in SoCal

Updated: Sep 14

What you Need to Know:


Image 1: California State Water Boards, Los Angeles Region 4, CII Permit

Big changes are coming for southern California businesses with more than 5 acres of impervious area. A new draft NPDES storm water permit (CII Permit) has been released for comment that applies to Commercial, Industrial, and Institutional (CII) sites in the following two Southern CA watersheds:

  1. Dominguez Channel/Greater Los Angeles and Long Beach Harbor Watershed

  2. Los Cerritos Channel/Alamitos Bay Watershed

The draft permit’s definition of Commercial, Industrial, and Institutional sites is very broad, but it generally includes shopping centers, strip malls, non-industrial portions of industrial sites such as parking lots and roofs without industrial stacks, industrial no exposure certification (NEC) facilities, and other impervious properties greater than 5 acres. Sites that are subject to this permit must comply with one of three compliance options. Information on each of these compliance options, important deadlines, and links with more information are provided below.


ALG has been actively participating in the permit development on behalf of our clients, so please get in touch if you have any questions regarding what this regulation could mean for your property or business.


Immediate Deadlines

Public Workshop: The public workshop was put on by representatives from the EPA, State Water Board, and Regional Water Board and was held on August 30, 2022. While this date has passed, ALG was in attendance and a recording was taken.


Public Comments: The deadline for public comment was recently extended to October 24, 2022.


Hearing for Adoption: The Los Angeles Water Board will hold a public hearing to consider issuance of the CII permit on December 8, 2022.


Compliance Deadlines: There are a number of compliance deadlines within the permit itself, including:

  • Submittal of Notice of Intent (NOI) and Permit Registration Documents (PRDs) within either 1 or 2 years of the effective date, depending whether your site is already subject to the Industrial General Permit (IGP).

  • Required implementation of all minimum Best Management Practices (BMPs) – there is no “feasibility” assessment in the draft permit as currently written, even though BMPs in the IGP are only required to the extent feasible. This is very concerning as there are several minimum BMPs that could require significant commitments, such as diverting run-on.

  • Annual Reporting is required by December 15 each year.

  • All reporting must be done through SMARTS.


Compliance Options

Option 1—Agreement with Local Watershed Management Group to Fund Regional Project: Under this proposed option, dischargers shall enter a legally binding agreement with local Watershed Management Group to fund, or partially fund, a downstream regional project. The funding must be proportional to the volume of storm water or authorized non-storm water discharge (NSWD) produced compared to the total regional project storm water capacity. During the August 30 public workshop, the Regional and State Water Boards and the EPA were very clear that this is their preferred compliance option under the CII permit.


Option 2—Facility Specific Design Standard to Reduce Stormwater Runoff: Under this proposed option, dischargers shall design, implement, and properly operate and maintain stormwater control (structural and/or non-structural BMPs) with the effective capacity to capture and use, infiltrate, and/or evapotranspire all NSWDs and the volume of runoff produced up to and during an 85th percentile 24-hour storm event. Attachment I of the CII permit provides specific design requirements. Compared to the IGP, the CII Attachment I does not provide a Table B list of contaminants of concern. The IGP Attachment I was a significant design difficulty and it appears to have not been carried over to the draft CII permit.


Option 3—Direct Demonstration of Compliance with Water Quality Based Effluent Limitations: This compliance option requires dischargers to demonstrate direct compliance with the water quality-based effluent limitations by implementing the monitoring and reporting requirements described in the CII permit. The discharger must monitor for all parameters in the permit – i.e., there is no pollutant source assessment and no ability to demonstrate that pollutants are from natural background. In addition, the limits prescribed in the permit are effluent limitations, not action levels. Exceedances are therefore violations subject to mandatory minimum penalties of ~$3,000 per violation.


If you would like to learn more about how the draft CII Permit may affect your site, or need assistance with stormwater planning, contact:

For More Information:

State Water Board CII Webpage

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