In June 2011, San Mateo County began working on the Fitzgerald ASBS Pollution Reduction Program to comply with the Water Board's General Exception to the Ocean Plan with Special Protections. The program is led by the Department of Public Works in collaboration with the San Mateo County Resource Conservation District and the San Francisco Estuary Institute. The program is partly funded by a Proposition 84 grant from the State Water Resources Control Board and involves the implementation of targeted stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs), water quality studies and BMP effectiveness monitoring within the ASBS watershed boundary, along with education and outreach. The program's goal is to improve water quality and protect beneficial uses of the Fitzgerald ASBS and additionally assist in the County's compliance with the ASBS stormwater regulations.

How does this affect private properties located within the Fitzgerald ASBS watershed?

To comply with the State Water Board's Special Protections, the San Mateo County Planning and Building Department must regulate private stormwater discharges into the ASBS by:

  • Discharges may occur only during the wet weather season (Oct. 1 through April 30) and must 1) be composed of only stormwater, 2) be free of pollutants, and 3) must not alter natural ocean water quality in the ASBS.
  • All new point source discharges into the ASBS shall either be retained on-site or treated on-site before entering a County storm drain.
  • Are required to be identified on project plans and implemented during construction and future maintenance.
  • For properties served by private septic, pool and/or spa discharge shall be dechlorinated and slowly discharged to landscaped areas (determined adequate to support the volume).
  • Requiring erosion and sediment control plans be submitted for review and approval for projects within the ASBS watershed that involve soil disturbance and are subject to a building or grading permit.
  • Pursuant to the Water Board's General Exception to the California Ocean Plan with Special Protections (Attachment B, Section A.2.c.1), weekly construction site inspections are required for all construction sites within the ASBS watershed that involve soil disturbance and are subject to a building or grading permit (considered Stormwater Regulated Construction Sites [SWRS]).
  • On-site areas (new or replaced) used for car washing shall drain to adequately-sized vegetative areas or other on-site treatment facilities or occur on porous surfaces (e.g., gravel, grass) and use as little detergents as necessary. Phosphate-free or biodegradable soap is highly encouraged. Discharge to the sanitary sewer is prohibited (Montara Water and Sanitary Code).
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  • The County's adopted WELO applies to:
    • new and rehabilitated landscapes with a total landscape area equal to or greater than 2,500 sq. ft. for public agency and private development projects or which are developer-installed in single-family and multi-family projects
    • new landscapes with a total landscape area equal to or greater than 5,000 sq. ft., which are homeowner-provided and/or homeowner-hired in single-family and multi-family residential projects areas
    • cemeteries (limited sections of the WELO are applicable, see Section 490.1(a)(1))