Rancho Palos Verdes City Council

City Council



DATE: MARCH 4, 2003



Request staff to work with the County of Los Angeles, other cities within our watershed, and the Regional Water Quality Control Board to explore alternatives to a city program of NPDES compliance.


One of the continuing sources of debate among the County of Los Angeles, cities throughout the county, and the Regional Water Quality Control Board is the cost to comply with board regulations. A recent study conducted by board reported that there is a wide range of estimated compliance costs reported by cities. The board estimates compliance costs at $ 17.21 per household.

In a recent email to the Board, Jim Noyes, the Director of Public Works for the County of Los Angeles, indicated that he believes the board’s estimate for compliance cost is low. Because of this Mr. Noyes offered to pay the board a fee based on their estimate, in exchange for the transferring the responsibility of NPDES to the board. Mr. Noyes encourages cities to consider taking similar actions.

Utilizing the board’s per capita costs, and an estimate of 11,000 households translates to a cost of $189,301 for the City of Rancho Palos Verdes. While this amount is greater than our current cost for NPDES compliance, in time our annual cost will likely exceed this amount. Staff believes that given the uncertainty of new regulations, the possibility of shifting responsibility for compliance to the board in exchange for a fee is something that warrants further investigation.


Adopting the staff recommendation will authorize staff to explore the possibility of shifting compliance for NPDES from the city to the regional board in exchange for a fee.

Submitted by,
Dean E. Allison
Director of Public Works

Reviewed by,
Les Evans, City Manager


Email from Director of Public Works County of Los Angeles to Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Noyes to Dennis Dickerson on NPDES Costs - Please see the following e-mail to Dennis Dickerson from Jim Noyes

The South Bay Daily Breeze, in the January 26, 2003, edition, quotes a source at the Regional Board as saying that the cost to implement the current stormwater permit (which incorporates TMDLs as they are developed) is $17.21 per homeowner (per year).  That translates to approximately $32,600,000 per year.  We find that interesting since the County Flood Control District NPDES expenditures for the past fiscal year were $40,900,000!¹

However, if $32,600,000 per year basin-wide is what the Regional Board has determined in their cost analysis, we must be doing something wrong.  Therefore, I would like to make the following proposal.  The County, perhaps with the assistance of the cities, would on each July 1 provide the Regional Board with a check for $35,000,000.

The Regional Board would use the money to implement all the required programs² of the stormwater permit without having to interact with the County and the cities.  The County and the cities would provide all the necessary permits, etc., to allow you or your contractors access to any of our facilities to implement the permit.  BMPs could not compromise flood protection.  In return, the Regional Board would indemnify us and hold us harmless, as it would now become the implementing agency.  We would agree that each subsequent year, the amount of funding provided to the Regional Board would increase in accordance with the CPI.

Think about it and let's talk.

¹ Our costs report subtracts out programs which we would do even without NPDES requirements such as street sweeping, sewer maintenance, annual catch basin cleaning, etc.

 ²  Other than those done by the County/city prior to NPDES, such as street sweeping.