FAQ: Water and Waste Removal and Management


“What is dewatering?”

Dewatering is the removal of accumulated pools of standing water from industrial sites and locations such as utility vaults.

Is dewatering regulated by the city?”

Yes. Improper disposal of standing and accumulated water can lead to environmental pollution. Noncompliance with all applicable state and municipal regulations can result in exorbitant fines (up to $10,000 for each day of continued rule infringement) and other sanctions.

Which entities regulate the process of dewatering?

Dewatering operations in California are overseen by the state’s Regional Water Quality Control Boards. There are nine of these RWQCBs spread throughout the state, each of which determines which types of waterwaste discharge need to be regulated in their region. Each Regional Board regulates these listed effluents under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System. Any facility that discharges a regulated effluence has to acquire an NPDES permit for that region in order to do so. Dewatering operations that include discharging waterwaste into storm drains and water bodies need to be carried out in strict adherence to the terms set out in the NPDES permit.

Are there any dewatering operations that do not require an NPDES Permit?”

Yes. Many types of storm waters are not regulated by the NPDES system depending on the region you are located in. There is variety of options for dealing with different types of wastewater, such as arranging to discharge it to the property owner, designating a specialized facility or properly recycling the water onsite for your construction processes. (Municipal laws apply) You can option to contract a company like Green Clean Water and Waste to remove the contaminated water & waste for management and disposal services.

“Why is it important to regulate dewatering operations?”

Discharged wastewater from construction sites can contain chemical and bacterial contaminants that can negatively affect the health of the surrounding water bodies. Regulating dewatering operations ensures that pollutants do not enter the storm drain system and contaminate the receiving water bodies such as our lakes, bays and oceans.

“Is there such a thing as an illegal discharge?”

Yes. Any discharge into the storm drainage system that is not comprised purely of storm water is considered to be an illegal discharge. Engaging in the illegal discharge of waterwaste through the storm drainage system is considered to be a violation of the San Diego Municipal Code.

“How can I spot polluted water?”

There is no surefire method of spotting polluted water with the naked eye. Although a lot of contaminants such as grease, sediment, and petroleum byproducts are easy to spot, many other impurities are colorless and odorless. The only way to tell how and to what extent your water is polluted is to get it tested in a laboratory.

“Can a pH test tell me if my water is polluted?”

pH testing can only determine how alkaline or acidic your water is. While pH testing can give you an indication concerning water pollution, it takes far more in-depth testing to detect other toxic contaminants including bacteria, chemical impurities, and heavy metals.