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Storm Water Management Program (SWMP)Creeks

Proposed Storm Water Permit Amendments to Post-Construction (SWMP) Requirements (2020)

A summary spreadsheet with the proposed changes, a list of exemptions and partial exemptions (Appendix J), and a complete full-text version of the draft Storm Water BMP Guidance Manual may be viewed below.

Proposed Changes Matrix (09/11/2020)
Proposed Appendix J (09/03/2020)
Draft Guidance Manual (09/11/2020)


City of Santa Barbara Storm Water Management Program (SWMP)

The federal Clean Water Act’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase II regulations govern storm water discharges from small municipalities that operate storm drain systems. The State Water Resources Control Board (Water Board), and the Regional Water Quality Control Boards (RWQCB), are responsible for implementation of NPDES regulations. 

The City's Storm Water Management Program (SWMP) details how the City will protect water quality by listing a series of Best Management Practices (BMPs) and Measurable Goals that the City must meet each year. The City of Santa Barbara has been implementing a SWMP since 2006 in compliance with the prior General Permit. The Creeks Division has provided overall coordination and administration of the SWMP since its adoption, and submits Annual Reports to the Central Coast RWQCB (see below). 

New General Permit

In February 2013, the Water Board adopted a new NPDES General Permit for municipal storm water discharges. A draft of the renewed General Permit was released in summer 2011, and Creeks Division staff participated in a comprehensive review and comment effort coordinated by the California Storm Water Quality Association (CASQA). The new General Permit significantly changed the State’s storm water standards, program structure, and reporting requirements. These changes impact all municipalities and other entities governed by the General Permit.  

The new General Permit requires that the City produce a new “Guidance Document” (which the City will continue to refer to as a SWMP), and redefine our City’s overall permit and implementation requirements. The new SWMP must include identification and assessment of the existing BMPs, and whether or not their implementation will be maintained, reduced, or ceased. Many of the City’s existing BMPs already meet or exceed the new General Permit requirements, but some requirements will be new for the City. 

Most of the new requirements have to do with illicit discharge detection and elimination (such as creating new commercial/industrial facility inventories, maps, and inspections), as well as monitoring (new specifics for visual monitoring, field sampling, and remedial actions). The City is not proposing to reduce or cease any existing BMPs.

The new General Permit requirements went into effect July 1, 2013. Creeks Division staff has notified and/or coordinated with other relative City staff about these changes and will continue to administer the program to ensure compliance.  

View the new SWMP documents on the State Water Resources Control Board's webpage.

Regulations for Development/Redevelopment Projects

The new General Permit also establishes new storm water quality regulations for development and redevelopment projects, which include new “post-construction requirements” (PCRs) for storm water management developed by the Central Coast RWQCB over the past several years. The new Central Coast PCRs include a provision for municipalities to propose continued implementation of a pre-existing program for post-construction requirements in lieu of the new Central Coast post-construction requirements. 

After careful review of the new PCRs, City staff decided to apply for an exemption from the Central Coast PCRs, and to continue implementing the existing City program. Due to the built-out status of the City and the type of development and redevelopment we experience here, the City’s existing program provides greater protection for water quality than the new Central Coast PCR program. In addition, the City has been formally and successfully implementing the existing post-construction storm water requirements for projects since July 2008. 

Production of the requirements, thresholds, and associated Guidance Manual involved extensive outreach and numerous trainings, as well as consultant costs. Over the past six years, City staff, project applicants, and design professionals in our community have worked to become familiar with the City’s post-construction requirements and how to implement them. The City's exemption request was submitted to the RWQCB in October 2012, and the exemption was granted in early January 2013.

View our SWMP Trigger Flow Chart (2015) to see if your project requires storm water BMPs.

Storm Water Ordinance

The Central Coast RWQCB is requiring that all Permittees “implement its post-construction requirements through enforceable mechanisms (e.g. municipal codes, regulations, standards, and specifications) by September 6, 2013.”  Due to the fact the City has been implementing storm water requirements since 2006, and created the Guidance Manual that defines the requirements and implementation in 2008, City staff is proposing to simply codify the post-construction requirements of our existing storm water management program into the Municipal Code by early September 2013.     


For more information on the City's Storm Water Management Program, please contact Cameron Benson at (805) 897-2508 or Jim Rumbley at (805) 897-1910.

**Please note that the first document below is the complete Guidance Manual and is a very large file. Following the first file, it is broken out by chapter.**

SWMP Annual Reporting

Last Updated: Sep 11, 2020
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