Sen. Floor Analyses

Office of Senate Floor Analyses
(916) 651-1520 Fax: (916) 327-4478
SB 485
Bill No:
SB 485
Hernandez (D), et al.
AYES: Hertzberg, Nguyen, Beall, Hernandez, Lara, Moorlach, Pavley
SUBJECT: County of Los Angeles: sanitation districts
SOURCE: Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts
DIGEST: This bill authorizes specified sanitation districts in the County of Los
Angeles to acquire, construct, operate, maintain, and furnish facilities for the
diversion, management, and treatment of stormwater and dry weather runoff, the
discharge of the water to the stormwater drainage system, and the beneficial use of
the water.
Existing law:
Authorizes the formation of sanitation districts responsible for the
construction, operation, and maintenance of facilities to collect, treat, and
dispose of wastewater and industrial wastes.
Does not explicitly authorize county sanitation districts to collect, treat,
and make use of stormwater and dry weather runoff.
Authorizes, through respective special statutes, the Irvine Ranch Water
District and Orange County Sanitation District, to acquire, construct, and
operate facilities that divert and treat urban runoff, that return the water to the
drainage courses, and for the beneficial use of the water.
SB 485
Page 2
Requires municipalities that discharge water into rivers, lakes, and oceans
to obtain and comply with a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4)
This bill:
Authorizes specified sanitation districts in Los Angeles County to acquire,
construct, operate, maintain, and furnish facilities for the purpose of:
 Diverting stormwater and dry weather runoff from the stormwater drainage
 Managing and treating stormwater and dry weather runoff;
 Discharging the water into the stormwater drainage system or rivers, lakes,
oceans and other watercourses; and
 Beneficial use of the water.
Specifies that its provisions must not be construed to interfere with
existing water rights or existing water rights law.
Makes legislative findings and declarations as to the necessity of a special
statute for the County of Los Angeles.
Rainwater and runoff from manmade sources, such as irrigation, builds up on
impermeable surfaces, picking up pollutants as it travels across urban landscapes,
down rivers, and runs into lakes and the ocean. Left untreated, stormwater and
(dry weather) urban runoff can create water quality issues. To protect rivers, lakes,
and oceans, the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) requires the states to reduce
pollution from stormwater and urban runoff. Under the CWA, municipalities that
discharge water into rivers, lakes, and oceans must obtain and comply with an MS4
permit. In California, the federal government has delegated enforcement authority
for the CWA to the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB). SWRCB and
the nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards are increasingly pushing counties,
cities, and special districts to reduce urban runoff and stormwater discharges under
the MS4 permit requirements.
SB 485
Page 3
Cities in the Los Angeles region, as well as Los Angeles County and the Los
Angeles County Flood Control District, are subject to especially heightened
regulatory pressure under MS4 permit requirements. Los Angeles city officials
estimate that compliance with these requirements could cost local governments
billions of dollars.
In response to these challenges, several Los Angeles area cities, Los Angeles
County, and the Los Angeles County Flood Control District are looking for
innovative, cost-effective ways to bring the storm sewer systems under their
control into compliance with the MS4 permit. One such proposal is to partner with
the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts (LACSD) on a case-by-case basis to
manage and treat stormwater and dry weather urban runoff.
LACSD are a group of 24 special districts authorized to collect, treat, and dispose
of wastewater and solid waste under the County Sanitation District Act. Because
state law does not expressly authorize county sanitation districts to conduct
stormwater management, LACSD now seeks explicit statutory authority to manage
stormwater and urban runoff to help local governments in Los Angeles County
comply with their MS4 requirements. In 2001 and 2002, respectively, the
Legislature passed special legislation authorizing the Irvine Ranch Water District
(AB 810, Campbell, Chapter 209, Statutes of 2001) and Orange County Sanitation
District (AB 1892, Harman, Chapter 79, Statutes of 2002) to treat dry weather
runoff for similar purposes.
FISCAL EFFECT: Appropriation: No
SUPPORT: (Verified 5/7/15)
California Contract Cities Association
Cities Council of Governments
City of Alhambra
City of Arcadia
City of Carson
City of Cerritos
City of Claremont
City of Culver City
City of Diamond Bar
City of Downey
City of Duarte
City of El Segundo
City of Glendora
Fiscal Com.:
Local: No
SB 485
Page 4
City of Hermosa Beach
City of Industry
City of La Puente
City of Lakewood
City of Lomita
City of Long Beach
City of Monterey Park
City of Norwalk
City of Palos Verdes Estates
City of Pasadena
City of Ranchos Palos Verdes
City of Rosemead
City of San Dimas
City of Sierra Madre
City of Signal Hill
City of South El Monte
City of South Gate
City of Temple City
City of Torrance
City of Walnut
City of West Covina
City of West Hollywood
City of Whittier
Council for Watershed Health
County Sanitation District of Los Angeles County
El Monte/South El Monte Chamber of Commerce
Gateway Water Management Authority
Los Angeles County Division League of California Cities
San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments
Sierra Club of California
South Bay Cities Council of Governments
Three Valleys Municipal Water District
Westside Cities Council of Governments
OPPOSITION: (Verified 5/7/15)
San Gabriel Valley Water Company
SouthWest Water Company
Suburban Water Systems
SB 485
Page 5
ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT: According to the author, “Compliance with MS4
permit requirements have been estimated to cost billions of dollars. The
requirements not only address stormwater but also prohibit discharge of dry
weather runoff (such as over-irrigation). SB 485 would provide cost-effective
flexibility to achieve compliance with municipal stormwater requirements through
collaboration among existing local agencies in Los Angeles County by allowing
the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County to assist local jurisdictions in Los
Angeles County in stormwater and dry weather runoff management projects.”
ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION: Opponents have expressed concerns to the
author regarding unintended consequences with respect to water rights in the San
Gabriel Valley.
Prepared by: Toren Lewis / GOV. & F. / (916) 651-4119
5/8/15 15:36:37
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