California adopts new rule for winery wastewater

Jan. 29, 2021

The State Water Resources Control Board recently adopted a general order for how wastewater is processed and discharged at winery locations in an ongoing effort to safeguard groundwater and surface water from wastewater discharges.

The order protects groundwater and surface water quality while giving wineries the flexibility to select compliance methods that best fit their site-specific situation, including tiering the compliance requirements to the winery size and associated threat to water quality.

Under regulatory authority of existing Water Code Sections 13260 and 13263, the order also streamlines statewide permitting of currently unregulated winery process water discharges and establishes statewide consistency, while allowing regional water boards to focus their resources on compliance.

The order was developed with substantial involvement from industry and stakeholders and addresses feedback provided during a five-year process that included release of an administrative draft order in February 2019 and regional and statewide workshops and meetings. The board also received feedback from the Wine Institute, California Coastkeepers Alliance, consultants, winemakers and tribes.

The Wine Institute estimates 2,036 of the 3,612 bonded wineries in California will be

subject to the order.

Fore more information about the order’s requirements, go to

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